Posts from December 2007

Thoughts On Sydney On The Plane To Melbourne

We spent five days in Sydney. The first two were a fog induced by serious jet lag.  We had a few days of iffy weather. And on Christmas Day, Sydney was a ghostland. So we could have come away with the wrong impression.

Fortunately we got a day to remember yesterday. We started at the Opera House which I posted on yesterday. What a magical place that is.

Then we headed out to the beaches and did the beach walk to Bondi and then headed back to Bronte for lunch.  Along the way we got a bird’s eye view of the Sydney to Hobart sailboat race from the Bondi cliffs. That was something to see. Then back to Sydney (we took the bus everywhere and it works great) to go out to dinner ,which we did on the docks in Pyrmont at Flying Fish. We sampled some amazing seafood and watched huge tankers get pulled by tugs through the harbor. The Gotham Gal has a much longer post on our last and best day in Sydney with pictures.

I love the way you can be in the city one minute and 20 minutes later you can be on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  We’ve been to other cities like this, Rio, Los Angeles, Cape Town, etc. They are all very cool places.

As the Gotham Gal said to me yesterday, we’ll be back to Sydney. The things I want to do when we come back is sample some of the over the top “mod oz” foodie places which were all closed during our stay, get the Gotham Gal to the top of the Bridge Walk, and see something magical in the Opera House. Too bad it’s a 24 hour flight and 16 hours of time difference from NYC.  It may be a few years before we get back to Sydney.

#Blogging On The Road

Top 10 Records of 2007 – Number 5

So much great music is coming from the UK these days, but the best new thing out of the UK this year was this record, Panic Prevention, from a young brit who calls himself Jamie T.

Corey, who I know from the UBO days, gave me this record early this year and it’s been a mainstay all year.

Josh and I dig this record big time. He likes the opening song, Bass Guitar. We’d get in the car, connect the iPod, and Josh would blast that song all summer long.

Like many debut records, there are so many great tracks on this record, including the single Sheila, the thumping bass line of Salvador, the two songs the Gotham Gal can take, Calm Down Dearest and So Lonely The Ballad, and my favorite, If You Got The Money. I also like Ike and Tina and Operation. Hell, all the tracks on this record are great.

The comparisons to Mike Skinner/The Streets is obvious, but Jamie T is something a bit different. The live performances I’ve seen on YouTube make him out to be more of a singer than a rapper.

If you want a record that will make you laugh, dance, and sing along, get this one. It’s a gem.

Operation – Jamie T – Panic Prevention

#My Music#top 10 records 2007

Top 10 Records of 2007 – Number 6

This record is at the top of most of the top 10 lists I’ve seen on the blogs this year and it is certainly at the top of many of my friends’ lists as well. Neon Bible is a great record and Arcade Fire is a great band.

My greatest musical regret of 2007 was missing the Arcade Fire shows at Judson Church at NYU this winter and their show at Radio City this spring. I also missed them at Randalls Island this fall. So I missed them three times this year. Maybe if I had seen them live, something I’ve been told is a transformative experience, this record would have been number one on my list as well. Seeing a band live often takes me back to a record for another run. Unfortunately, this record’s run lasted until the spring for me and then it petered away. Not true for any of the top five on my list.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that Neon Bible is missing the intensity of Funeral, Arcade Fire’s amazing debut record. There’s nothing on this record that can touch the ferocity of Rebellion, for example. Arcade Fire is headed into U2 territory, not Modest Mouse or Pixies territory. That’s good for them and their pocketbooks. But maybe not for my love of their music.

All that said, Neon Bible is a great record and deserves to be at the top of many best of 2007 lists. Just not mine.

Antichrist Television Blues – Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

#My Music#top 10 records 2007

Thoughts On Sydney, Four Days In

Sydney Australia is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited. It’s up there with Rio and Cape Town. Our home, New York City, also sits in the middle of a major body of water, but the way Sydney sits on the water is so different than the way New York does. It’s like Sydney’s harbor is the equivalent of our central park.

We are staying downtown in the central business district, but we’ve ended up spending most of our time in the eastern neighborhoods; Darlinghurst, Paddington, Potts Point, Woolhara, and today we visited Bondi Beach. We also enjoyed the southern neighborhoods of Waterloo and Surry Hills. These neighborhoods remind us a bit of the various neighborhoods of San Francisco. Like SF, Sydney seems like a very liveable city.

My favorite moment so far was our ferry ride and day at Manly Beach. That’s probably because the weather was great that day and has been kind of crappy every other day. We came all this way in search of sun and warmth and haven’t had a lot of that so far.

The jetlag was also a bitch for me for the first couple days. The 16 hour time difference is not something I was able to just blow through as much as I was hoping to. I took me a couple days to feel normal and even now, I’m not 100 percent.

We are in Sydney for one more day and then headed to Melbourne on the 27th. I’ve been doing more "microblogging" of this trip on tumblr and twitter than anything else so far. I expect that will continue to be the case.

#Blogging On The Road

Top 10 Records of 2007 – Number 7

I find my music in lot’s of places these days, but one of the best is in the comments to this blog. And that’s how I found out about Patrick Wolf. Josef left this comment to my post celebrating Ben Kweller’s prodigious songwriting talents:

I love Ben – been friends with him since he was 14.
I would also say Patrick Wolf if one of the greatest of his generation as well.

I know Josef has great taste in music, but I didn’t know he’s been friends with Ben since he was 14, and more importantly, I had never heard of Patrick Wolf until I read that comment.

RIght then and there I went to the Hypemachine and typed in Patrick Wolf. I was introduced to a song called The Magic Position that has become one of my favorite songs of the year. So I got the record of the same name and have been listening ever since.

The Magic Position is not a perfect record by any means. It has three or four tracks that I barely like. But for some reason I don’t skip them. I think it’s because the record flows so well. It has a mood which is delivered over the entire record and I enjoy the experience even though some of the songs don’t really grab me.

In addition to The Magic Position, there are several other standout tracks including Get Lost, Accident and Emergency, and The Stars. I think this guy has serious talent, kind of David Bowie-esque. I hope he continues to develop. He could be something really special.

#My Music#top 10 records 2007

Septembers of Shiraz

One of the best things about these two week trips our family takes around the year end holidays is that I get to read books, something I’ve always loved to do and don’t make enough time for. Thankfully the Gotham Gal reads a book or two a week so I just ask her to recommend the best five books she’s read all year and I get some great reading in on vacation.

I just finished her first pick for me, called Septembers of Shiraz, a story about a jewish gem trader in Tehran who is imprisoned in the wake of the revolution. It’s a semi-autobiographical novel written by Dalia Sofer, whose own father was imprisoned and whose family left Iran when she was ten.

It’s a powerful novel in the vein of Kite Runner which is one of my favorite recent novels. This line, which I quoted on my tumblog a couple days ago, really sums up the story for me:

Back in his cell Isaac thinks of Reza and the
thousands of revolutionaries like him – men and women who thought they
were part of something big, much bigger than their daily lives – who
thought they were changing the course of history. And here they are,
having replaced crowns with turbans.

#Random Posts

Top 10 Records of 2007 – Number 8

The number five record of 2005 may have been the best record of 2005, that being Howl Howl Gaff Gaff by the Shout Out Louds. If our family has a house band, it’s this super cool band out of Stockholm, Sweden (actually it might be Belle and Sebastian now that I think about it some more). But regardless, we love the Shout Out Louds.

So when Our Ill Wills came out this spring, Jessica took one listen and reported that "it’s not anywhere near as good as Howl Howl". And upon first listen, I would agree. Fortunately, we didn’t listen to this record just once. We ended up listening to it all year.

And then Jess, Emily, and I went to see them at Bowery Ballroom which was a memorable night in and of itself.

Our Ill Wills is a great pop record and I suspect that in 2009, I might be saying that number 8 was too low as well.

Hard Rain – Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills

#My Music#top 10 records 2007

Flying Foxes

We were walking down the path in the botanical gardens in Sydney this morning and all of a sudden Jessica starts flipping out. "Dad, are those bats?", she asked. "Nope", Emily said, "they are flying foxes". Correct Emily. The flying foxes are pretty wild looking things for sure.


They were all over the place in the botanical gardens.

And then when we walked out of the garden and into the Art Gallery of New South Wales (a great museum), we saw this installation in the lobby.


The Flying Foxes were all over the place this morning.

#Blogging On The Road