Buskers in the City

Sydney’s Busking Culture

Recently I’ve kicked off a conversation wth a few of the Pitt St mall buskers.

It started from a thought that the buskers would be suffering during the economic downturn and has just grown from there.

I am fascinated with this whole sub culture, the street performers, musicians and entertainers who drop the hat to earn a few coins, maybe a note, from passers by.

Remarkably, unknown to most of the passing crowd is the calibre of musician who stands before us.

Buskers of Renown

The Pitt St mall is quite a hotly contested area for performers, with its foot traffic and central location.

It has attracted renowned musicians including an ARIA award winner guitarist, semi finalist of Australia’s Got Talent and cureent competitor. One group has in excess of 25,000 Facebook fans.

To take the time to hear them perform is well worth the visit. To spare a few coins or buy a CD – well your supporting a local musician ekeing out an existence in a tough circuit.

Unfortunately, at least in Pitt St, you have to wait until after 2:00 pm as council don’t allow buskers to start until then.

Worse, a few shops are complaining trying to close off Busking altogether.

20120517-185738.jpg

If you’d like to support buskers in the city, please join this Facebook group.

The ANZAC Spirit

Today Australia remembers its armed service men and women who fought, who served and many who gave their lives to retain a lifestyle many of us take for granted.

It’s hard to consider sliding doors, what would have been had WWII gone in a different direction.

What Are We Fighting For?

The question I pondered this morning is what did we fight for? What freedoms, liberties, rights were the lives laid down for?

Are we honouring those lives now?

Are we thankful for our rights? Our right to vote, to worship, to attend school, for equality in race, gender?

More to the point, have we achieved those ideals? Are we any closer now to equality than in the 40′s?

There is still a real under current of rascism and sexism in Australian society – in fact today many Japanese and Korean descended men and women will stay at home today for fear of historic judgment.

Or our modern “enemy” broadly referred to as Muslims or the Islamic community. Are they entitled to the same freedoms?

How about Australian women? Are they achieving equality? Or do they suffer the same limitations of the 1950′s? A facade of opportunity yet still limited by the reality of a male dominated power class.

As we celebrate the bravery, the service of the ANZACs it’s important to remember the legacy they fought for. Why their lives were sacrificed. What rights, freedoms and rules were worth the lives of so many thousands of Australians.

Lest we forget.

The Amazing Internet

Are you blown away by the Internet?

Have you tapped the potential? Stretched its boundaries? Explored the depths?

The Online Library

My dad used to say how the State public library was the most under used resource offering limitless insights, commmentary and factual information yet many never visited.

Now the public library has been brought to you – literally at the tips of your fingers on Smart Phones, using free public wifi.

Come on, this has to blow you away.

A Life Lived Offline?

There are a whole generation that are coming through that never lived without an online environment.

Have never experienced school homework with the encyclopedia supported by a horde of other references. Where the experience was limited to the written word – no multi media, chat rooms and Google; just Funk & Wagnell’s or The World Book!

For many the Internet is just there … the concept that a life could be lived offline is so foreign that even the thought of enduring a few hours without Facebook stings to the very heart.

Untapped Public Resource

What I find amazing is how small this tremendous resource is becoming.

Increasingly just a few power brokers are dominating the majority of the traffic leaving extraordinary sites in the wings.

Breaking through this ever maturing resource has become virtually impossible.

In fact a mythical phrase dominates many marketing departments … viral campaign.

Elusive Viral Marketing

The yeti, the big foot, of the Internet has become the breakthrough viral campaign.

Tunneling through the walls of noise and mayhem and attracting an audience – crowd sourcing – and achieving a legitimate viral campaign truly is an extraordinary feat.

Which makes me feel for legitimate great causes like Milaap, Media Cause or, a personal fave, ONE80TC (Teen Challenge).

The depth and breadth of the Internet is truly mind blowing – beyond the super highways of Google, Facebook and, now, Pinterest … but further out of town, in the back streets.

Out in the side streets and back alleys where you’ll find incredible diversity of life. Where you can still find the true colour of humanity.

The Amazing Internet is suffering the same fate as any platform – ultimately dominated by few with pseudo censorship promoting the voices only they wish to be heard.

But just below the surface, just a few clicks away is a much deeper online culture, a much vaster resource, a true goldmine.

On the Buses

Travel Ten Pass

If you’ve heard of a travel 10 pass then likely you’ve been on the buses.

Recently made the decision, well forced. Decision, to swap my commute to travel via bus rather than train.

I’m still sticking to the public transport system, in fact embracing it even more … for now I’m travelling all the way from home to the city rather than the deive to the station.

The Bus Queue Phenomenom

i don’t know if this is universal or just indicative of my particular route, but the bus crew or commuters are so much more friendly.

Maybe it’s more personal queueing for a bus? Or sharing a journey via road vehicle? I’m not sure, but people seem so much more approachable.

I’m loving this commute, albeit a little less flexible – but all the same a fantastic way to travel.

Once again a big thumbs up to the Sydney public transport system!

For $50 I Would

Read a good thread in a forum posing the question if you were given $50 what would you do with it?

This was spiced up a little by actually giving away $50 to the best comment.

The focus was on ideas, a glimpse of peoples character and I guess a good forum for insights into what $50 really can get you.

This forum was predominantly tech related, so the inevitable suggestions of backlinks packages, articles, domain names and hosting were offered.

Others went the track of trinkets or little tidbits.

Then there were the altruistic, that supported a cause or event like Milaap or ONE80TC.

How about you … $50 on the line what would you do with it?

Team Sports Like Football

Who’s bright idea was it to play sport after 40?

So, I’m standing there with my 5 year old … awaiting under 6 team allocations and there heralds an announcement: Attention please, the over 35′s division 9 are short a few players please see the registration desk if interested.

Over 35 – tick. Division 9 – sounds reasonable. Me reigniting my soccer career and running around a soccer oval for 90 minutes – tick. Signed up, ready to go – tick.

Now if this were a mathematical equation then the excel spreadsheet would have reported an error – unknown variable.

(>35)+(-abilty)+(=90 mins)+(me)=ERROR

The first three factors are fine, no untruths – the competition is greater than 35 year olds, the lesser ability is emphasised by the ranking of division 9. A mens game of soccer is 2x 45 minute halves. All factual.

The erroneous calculation in this equation is the addition of me … I’ve trained one night and I’m still sore!

I have the right equipment, I almost look the part – ignoring the bulge in the middle … so in theory the equation works.

Theory vs Practice

Don’t you love lab experiments gone wrong!

The theory is sound, I am over 35, certainly of lesser ability, and in theory my body can move for 90 minutes.

Yet this is an important lesson for those yet to reach their 40′s: theory and practice don’t seem to = each other, there seems to be a < sign in there. Practice is < theory!

So here I am readying myself for the first trial game. Acknowledging that I have in fact signed optimistically for a season while I'm still trying to recover from our first light training.

The only hope left now is to pray … hope for mind over heavy matter and await the inevitable pains, aches and woes of tomorrow.

Yours in soccer, "Gummy" boots!

20120318-111043.jpg

Weather With You

Bringing Back the Crowded House

Who remembers Crowded House? Hope it’s not just me … I’m sure there are others who know this great New Zealand come Aussie, and a few Americans, band.

These guys launched hit after hit during the 80′s through 90′s including Don’t Dream it’s Over, Better Be Home Soon, Distant Sun … and on and on.

A personal fave was “Weather With You” first released in 1991 by Crowded House on their Woodface album, and then released in 1996 on their greatest hits album, Recurring Dream.

A cracker of a song and pretty cool clip.

Chrissie Pearce | Weather With You

Now, Chrissie Pearce, known for her album Comfort Chair has released the song.

Now I know remakes are always hard to get right, but damn, with slide guitar and almost a folk, even bluegrass feel, they’ve done this song justice!

Check out the behind the scenes look at their upcoming video release.

Crowded House fans

So were you a Crowded House fan? Did you crowd in at the Opera House? Are you old enough to remember these cracker songs? You might even remember Split Enz! :P

Well for my two cents worth, Chrissie has done the song proud.