Thursday, August 26, 2010

Taylor Love

A few months ago I stumbled on this:

An amazing little girl in West Virginia who has been using her special musical talent and donating her time to raise money for a the now 5 year old girl Taylor Love who has been battling stage 4 high risk Neuroblastoma since she was only 18 months old. She is now undergoing more chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant for chemo induced Leukaemia. I can't imagine going through anything worse, especially as a parent. The heartbreak and the fear and the uncertainty would be suffocating. My hat is tipped to both Taylor's parents Ammiee and Michael. And of course to little Taylor, ever the warrior!

This is just a quick blog (the first in a long time) to ask you to watch the above video and follow beautiful Taylor's story at . Research about childhood cancers, especially rare types like Neuroblastoma, is much needed and underfunded in the world. Anything people can do to bring awareness is worth the effort. For those reading in Australia, consider donating to The Children's Cancer Research Institute of Australia at

And just to finish off, a little poem I wrote about staying positive and always having hope.

Cheers All,


Tis all I ask
That I become rich, not in wealth
But in love, in spirit and in fulfilment
Tis all I ask
That I may be shown the way
To the light of tomorrow
And leave the darkness behind me
Tis all I ask
That your smile continue to shine
And your heart lift me up to the greatest height
So that I may hang from the stars
And find strength I never knew I had
Tis all I ask
That the sweet melody shall never stop
And that the flowers continue to bloom
That I shall find the endurance and the stamina
To persevere
To radiate sunshine
To find the spirit and joy in every day
And to make every day momentous
Tis all I ask
To not just hear, but to listen
And to always have someone to listen to me
To not just be loved, but to love eternally
To give
To trust
To hope
To believe
For it is you I continue to believe in
Just as I believe that a new day will always come
Tis all I ask
To hang on, even if shall it be by a thread
To feel, even if shall it be pain, fear, loss or abandonment
To be embraced always
By your warmth, love, and promise that everything will be okay
Tis all I ask
To share your joy and laughter, your sorrow and your tears
To share this beautiful gift
...Of life

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


...You are a songwriter and musician, in Nashville, the holy grail of tunes. And imagine you got writer's block while you were in the one place you expected to find inspiration...Oh the irony!

Well... that is exactly what I just did. My favourite, mr Wes Carr has just landed in Nashville Tennessee for a songwriting stint,and in true mad hatter style, I thought about how amusing it would be if you got writers block while there and just to add to the irony, ended up writing a country song about having writer's block in the Country/Blues capital of America.

After I randomly wrote the chorus and tweeted it to Wes, I thought I'd better finish it off, after all this is genius right here. Just for a bit of background, Wes met Reba McEntire who was sitting next to him on the plane and he was too shy to talk to her at first (it's true), and he did go to all the bars when he got there, but I made up the story about the nude cowboys.

So, ahhhheeeem, mr Carr... feel free to take credit for this. It's genius after all... I wouldn't blame you for stealing it. :P

Oh I went down to Nashville
And I got writers block
Yeah all my words got stuck my lord
And it was such a shock
I somehow forgot all the things
That I had to say
Yeah lord I fell off the beaten track
I guess I lost my way
Oh yeah. Oh Oh Yeah

Reba she sat next to me
When we was on the plane
Her hair was swishin’ near my face
It was a bright red flame
And I was much too scared
To even say hello
But then we started talkin
And the conversation flowed
Yeah she was nice
As nice could be
Cos I told her I was a personal trainer,
I had her fooled ya see
And then the plane, it landed
Oh yeah it touched down
Now it was the time
For me to hit the town

Oh I went down to Nashville
And I got writers block
Yeah all my words got stuck my lord
And it was such a shock
I somehow forgot all the things
That I had to say
Yeah lord I fell off the beaten track
I guess I lost my way
Oh yeah. Oh Oh Yeah

So I went looking for my words
When I got off that flight
I searched in every bar in town
Oh it was quite a night
I saw two naked cowboys
Have a massive fight
And then they kissed when they made up
It didn’t feel quite right
I tried real hard to look away
My face was turnin' white
But still I glanced back over
Cos it was quite a sight
Here I was in Tennessee
In the middle of the night
All alone, my mojo lost
What a load of shite...

Oh I went down to Nashville
And I got writers block
Yeah all my words got stuck my lord
And it was such a shock
I somehow forgot all the things
That I had to say
Yeah lord I fell off the beaten track
I guess I lost my way
Oh yeah. Oh Oh Yeah

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day - A Ditty

As a single person, I usually think Valentine's Day is a bit of a bore, and today is no different. Except for one little thing...

Just for a little laugh, I wrote a silly poem intended to take the piss out of both myself and Valentine's Day itself. Not very surprisingly really, it quickly evolved into a dedicated, and hopefully both touching and humorous poem for "that boy" everyone knows I have a big ol' crush on!


Oh Valentine’s Day, please go away
I do not, do not, like this day
I do not like it, not a bit
All this love, it makes me sick
Heavens above, a day of love
I think I’ll give this day a shove
Single is as single does ma’am
V-Day’s just a couple’s sham
But then again it’s such a pity
To spend all day feeling shitty
It’s so much better to be all witty
And write myself a clever ditty
Especially when that long haired brute
Is in my loop, by gosh he’s cute!
How could I not be filled with glee?
He’s Wezzy! Oh Wezzy McGee!
Although he’s someone else’s boy,
He’s like a toy, my endless joy,
And there’s no one else I’d rather annoy.
So what I propose, to banish my woes
Only shows, what he already knows
But on this day of the year, with a great deal of cheer
(until later when I drown my sorrows in beer)
Wes, I send to your heart, a smile from mine
Whizzing through space, in the form of this rhyme
I could send a big kiss, as well if you wish
Not that you do, just saying....ish
And along with the smile, and the kiss with real style
I’ll send three words said only once in a while
Dear Wesley, today, it’s fairly safe to say...’re my favourite!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

That Boy...

So don’t talk in tongues. ‘Cause you know I’m not what you want me to be. And I could be your canvas, so paint me a picture of what you want me to be, yeah. You distort a simple reason, but I’m too young to be so right. And I will just keep standing, and she will just keep walking away. And if you ask me if I’m alone...I will lie.

You may not recognise the above lyrics, but the man who wrote them is known as Wes Carr. Otherwise known by me as Wezzy McGee. It’s not really cool to be so adoring of a winner of Australian Idol, but Wezzy McGee is not like other ex-idols. He has something else. Something that captivates me and leaves me waiting for more.

Wes, at least to me, has an aura. An invisible blanket of warmth about him that completely envelops me on every occasion that I’ve been in his presence. When he is in the same room, I can’t take my eyes off him. And whenever I hear his voice, it’s both familiar and comforting. His music is like stories written especially for me. It’s a strange thing to feel about someone you barely know, but there it is.

Although his latest release, The Way The World Looks, is quite a commercial offering, the above lyrics were written long before that. He wrote them way before Australian Idol, and way before ‘woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh’. They were from a song called I Will Lie from an EP he recorded in 2006 called Rhythm To Fly. Written at a time when he was clearly heartbroken, angry and feeling lost, the Rhythm To Fly EP is probably the most bluesy, folky collection of songs he has recorded to date. And definitely the music that has resonated with me the most. Not that the rest of what he has written doesn’t hold substance, in fact, for some reason Wes’ lyrics and vocals affect me more than any other singer-songwriter.

Probably my favourite song Wes has recorded ever is on this EP - a song called Please, which was used recently on the Three Blind Mice soundtrack. The song is probably the most vulnerable of anything Wes has written lyrically, a desperate cry of help from a sad, helpless and depressed soul. His pleading vocals make me want to reach out and give him a cuddle.

When I decided I wanted to write about my favourite music, I put my feet up and reflected on it. I wanted to write about the music that truly got under my skin and turned me inside out, and I found that what I thought about first was Wesley’s warm, gentle smile; his intense, moody blue-grey eyes; and his bluesy, raw, storytelling vocals. There is much about Wezzy McGee that for me, is special. For some he’s just the scruffy, hairy, feral boy that was on Idol, not particularly standing out from the rest and, who more than likely, would suffer the same fate as every other idol. But to me he is different, and yes, I do think he is cute. Hairy and feral and little as he may be, with his thin, almost non-existent lips, I still think he is handsome with his unkempt, yet shiny blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. And his hats always add a few inches to his modest 5”7 frame anyway!

One of the first things that captured me about him from his very first audition on Idol, was his quiet confidence. It was clear that he was comfortable as a performer, yet he had a sort of shy, reserved demeanour. Though I think he has described himself as extraverted in the past, he carries himself with the air of someone who, offstage, is still not always entirely sure about himself as a man. I feel extremely endeared by that. It warms me to see him look nervous when he appears on a show choc full of extremely confident comedians and tv personalities. It makes him relatable. He is also very sincere and a genuinely nice boy.

I’ve met Wezzy McGee three times and he is just the same in real life. He’s so normal, you can’t help but relate to him, and so sweet and kind that you can’t help but like him. He has always gone out of his way to show an interest in me and make me feel important to him. I will never forget his kindness, his intent smile, the time he had for me and those big squeezy hugs. He’s a beautiful boy and his girlfriend is very lucky to have him!

Anyway, I digress. Other than his Rhythm to Fly EP with its bluesy folky vocals and harmonica stamping their mark on the piece, Wes also put together an LP before Idol called Simple Sum. Simple Sum, on some tracks, is a follow on of Rhythm to Fly, and on others a reflection of his love of The Beatles and other sixties and seventies rock and folk music. There is both a pop sensibility to it, and a nostalgic feel, and it’s almost as though an irresistible force is making you sing along and get swept away in the lyrics.

Several songs on this album were written when Wes was just 15 years old. One of them, White Rabbit Day, is one of my favourites of Wes’ songs and like Please, has a melancholy and very lost feel. Another of my favourites, Train to Yesterday, deals with heartbreak and the fear of being hurt again that causes someone to engage in shallow sexual encounters on the rebound. Elsie Brown, inspired by the story of an elderly woman who died in her home and wasn’t found until months later, touches on Wes’ own fears of growing old and dying alone. The album is a diverse one and, at the risk of sounding like a walking cliché, is full of peaks and valleys... an emotional rollercoaster if you will.

Some of you may also be aware of Wes’ previous work with Ben Gillies of Silverchair. In 2005, Wes teamed up with Ben and formed a collaboration called Tambalane. Their songs Free and Little Miss Liar received quite a bit of airplay on Triple J, and their self titled album was a perfect blend of Ben’s Silverchair influences and Wes’ sixties and seventies Brit-Rock love affair. Wes’ gravelly rock vocals and strong Beatles influence are smeared all over this album. Although it didn’t gain much commercial success and the band parted ways after the first collaboration, it is a great rock album that I think many would enjoy even if they don’t think they’d be keen on the work of an Australian Idol.

So that brings us to the present. The Way The World Looks. While this album is admittedly a little more commercial than I would have truthfully expected from Wes, it is still a great record. His bluesy, old school rock influence seasons this album with the ‘Wes’ flavour just as it has everything else he has recorded. He channels Bruce Springsteen in his powerhouse pub anthem Feels Like Woah, an alternate brit-pop influence permeates Any Other Way, and in Love Is An Animal - re-recorded with a more pop like gloss - the initial folky feel that the song had when Wes wrote it at 15 still remains and adds another dimension to the album. The album is as diverse as anything else he has recorded, albeit more a pop album than he has created before. But it’s still sincere, still nostalgic, still like a record he wrote for me, and most importantly it is still Wes.

For those still not convinced, I would predict that Wes’ next album is really going to make a lot of people sit up and pay attention. He has, at this time, written more than half the next album already, and has confirmed song writing collaborations with Don Walker of Cold Chisel, Eskimo Joe and Josh Pyke. I think it is unreal that he has had the opportunity to work with these great people who obviously think highly of him, rather than judging him for his Australian Idol background. Ian Moss, who he toured with for three months last year, described him as being a round peg in a square hole on idol and an old school blues rocker at heart. I agree with him completely. Wes is more than people often give him credit for and I am so looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table in the coming months. If his influences of late are anything to go by – The Clash, Nick Drake, Bon Iver, Bobby Womack, John Lennon, The Finns – it should be a record worth waiting for.

Wezzy McGee, if you are reading this, I’m expecting greatness. But please don’t be scared by that... I believe in you! Always...

Yours, in anticipation of a really great record from my favourite boy,

RB x

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale of all.
- Hans Christian Andersen

I dunno about that, Hans Christian Andersen. But I'm going to tell you all a little fairy tale anyway:

Once upon a time, there was a young woman of 29 years. She lived by herself in a one bedroom unit with a loft style bedroom that was located up a large flight of stairs. One very very wet morning, she awoke feeling calm and relaxed by the rain, but also upbeat and eager to begin what was to be an enjoyable day. The day in question was Australia Day. Here in Australia, we also fondly recognise it as ‘Triple J Hottest 100’ day.

The young woman was looking forward to the ‘Triple J Hottest 100, and this year, the country embraced the national music countdown more warmly than ever before. This year there was more than 130 000 votes cast, and the winning song won by the largest ever margin. The woman was ready to celebrate the glorious countdown with those she loved most. She checked her email, Facebook and Twitter from the comfort of her bed and then rolled out of the sheets and made for the stairs. The rain was distractingly heavy. It wasn’t very good weather for a barbecue or party, but still, there would be great music and the beer would be sure to flow. That was the main thing.

She contemplated the day as she stared out of the window at the rain beating down on the bricks in the courtyard. That pesky ex-cyclone Olga was making the weather miserable, still, 2 days after the threat had passed. As the young woman neared the bottom of the stairs, she hoped the rain would clear a little...after all Australia Day was about sunshine and good times, not miserable grey skies and tropical floods. It was then that she realised she had missed some steps and fallen to the floor with a great thud. She was not certain about whether or not she had heard a snap, but the pain was excruciating and she knew she had done major damage to her foot. She knew her day of lounging around enjoying the ‘Triple J Hottest 100 and was over, then and there.

So instead of enjoying it, she laid on the couch at her mumma and daddy’s house, not able to walk even, a tiny bit, trying to forget the pain of her swollen, blue, pulsing, right foot. Her driving foot, none the less. It was a disappointing day all round, and as it eventuated, the woman’s foot was broken. She didn’t get to listen to the Hottest 100 and she didn’t have even one beer. But she did find out the results later, and she does look forward to purchasing the Hottest 100 of 2009 album.

That, ladies and gentleman, is the story of how I broke my foot on Australia Day. Unfortunately, because my turntable lives up those ghastly stairs that caused my injury, blogging about vinyl records is on hold for the time being. BUT, that won’t stop me from blogging about my other favourite music!

Stay tuned!

RB x

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A "Disneyland For My Dinkle"

Perhaps you’re wondering what formulated my peculiar sexuality? It ain’t that peculiar. I’m a bloke from Essex who likes birds with big bottoms and big boobs: Lucy Pinder, Lindsay Dawn McKenzie, Maria Whittaker, lovely dolly-birds. I don’t mean to be dismissive, they might be incredibly dark, fretful Sylvia Plath-style heroines for all I know, but if they are, I’d rather not find out because life’s difficult enough without women who superficially resemble a ‘Disneyland for my Dinkle’ thrusting me into a torturous realm of introspection.

Before I plunge headfirst into a rich analysis of Russell Brand’s predominantly disastrous (and whore-laden) life, I have to share an amusing anecdote because clearly in some Freudian fashion, Mr Brand seems to be rubbing off on me already (oooh, I bet he’d like that too). As you all already know, this blog is located at Yes, The Rock Lair. Well, I was trying to log on to the page to post this blog and strangely blogspot kept telling me the page didn’t exist. After trying a couple of times and staring at it, checking the address, and staring some more, I realised the root of the problem. I’d been trying to locate the page The Cock Lair is still is still available if anyone wants it! And that, ladies and gentleman, is a perfect example of how Russell Brand and his “winky” influences women!

Anyway, on to the book. Russell Brand’s Booky Wook. One thing that can be said about Russell Brand is that even off his head on smack, crack, speed, weed and whiskey, he has an undeniable charm. No matter how lewd and revolting and completely unrestrained he behaves, he is very difficult not to like. He’s like a real life, walking, talking Captain Jack Sparrow, if you will. Though his track record of meaningful relationships with women is dismal, you would be forgiven if you wanted to shag him anyway. That’s just Russell. And luckily for him it really comes through in his Booky Wook.

I have to say this is an incredibly entertaining read and I really found it hard to put down. Russell is the type of writer who has a total incapacity to take himself at all seriously and turns every potentially awful, horrendous anecdote into a great, big, fat old joke. I laughed out loud pretty much non-stop. Perhaps it’s not a read for the feint hearted. Or a read for the sentimental type who wants to be taken away on an emotional journey. Nope, Russell Brand is not that type of person. He clearly wasn’t writing the book for any therapeutic reason, or wanting to delve into the “torturous realm of introspection”. He just wanted to make people laugh. At him. And there is no doubt whatsoever that he succeeded. Even as he describes “wanking” a gay man off in a toilet cubicle for his MTV show, RE Brand, it’s funny. As he emblazons your mind with images of his first foray with prostitutes in Thailand – in the same room as his father – he is funny. As he recalls the raincoat which he dubbed “the cloak of love” when he was at a performing arts school as a teenager and the rather sleazy behaviour that went with it, it’s impossibly funny.

His humour probably isn’t for everyone. It’s both silly and a bit twisted and unhinged, and if you have ever watched his MTV show or stand up comedy sketches, you’ll know that he is a bit like a little boy who has overdosed on red cordial. When he is interviewed, it’s a strange experience because his personality is so huge, it overshadows many of the hosts of the shows he has appeared on. Here he is on David Letterman.

If his humour is for you, then I highly recommend this book. And I also highly recommend watching this episode of RE Brand, where he gets a lovely 73 year old lady to pretend to be his girlfriend just to see people’s reactions and gauge societal perceptions of relationships with large age differences. You’d expect to be quite grossed out, but all you can do is giggle at charming Russell’s antics. At least, I did.

Despite being high as a kite during most of the recording of this show, it’s actually very entertaining. It’s all about challenging society’s taboos and as well as the above, have included having a homeless person live with him for a week, living with a prostitute and her family for a week, and testing whether homosexuality was innate or influenced by environment through masturbating a gay man in a toilet cubicle. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure, but never-the-less entertaining!

Russell Brand’s My Booky Wook is like no autobiography I’ve read before. It’s better.

And with that, I promise to be back on to the vinyl records soon. The world of Russell Brand and his “dolly-birds” is quite exhausting. Thank goodness he’s straightened out and is in lurve with Katy Perry (with whom he is newly affianced).


Raspberry Beret

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Great Gig In The Sky

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

Yep. I got that Pink Floyd record! Ha! That sister of mine hasn’t even mentioned anything, so I guess the Bundy and Coke must have addled her brain on Christmas day and she’s forgotten that “rock off”. Oh well. She loses. And I win. I have listened to parts of this record many times before, but never on vinyl. I still think music sounds better on vinyl. do I best describe The Dark Side of The Moon? It’s kind of like a movie soundtrack to someone’s life, going through different moods and phases of person’s being. It’s an explosion of sound. A smorgasbord of special effects, complete with the ka-ching of a cash register at the beginning of Money. It’s a bit of a cynical record really and depressing at times. Maybe it’s just too truthful for a dreamer like me! It touches on a many themes though, and every song has a poignant message that leaps out at you and pokes you in the eye surreptitiously.

Money is a tongue-in-cheek jeer at the greediness of society. Time is a slightly depressing glance at a life wasted away...a reminder that now is as good a time as any to do the things you keep saying you are going to do. The Great Gig in the Sky is a poetic metaphor for death... and a brilliant piece of music to boot, even with its vocals that are a little like a monkey wailing in pain. I know I’m probably going to be beaten with a stick by Floyd lovers for saying that, but come on!! It’s true! And its okay, it’s on the song about supposed to sound like someone, or something, crying in agony. Anyway I like it. In a strange way.

I think my favourite part of the record though, is Brain Damage. The song is actually about guitarist Syd Barrett’s mental breakdown but is somehow quite a facetious, and not very politically correct jesting of nutcases the world over. You can’t help but giggle at the opening line “the lunatic is on the grass” ha ha. Just in case you’ve no idea what I’m on about...check this out.

So that’s The Dark Side of the Moon. Sometimes satirical and jaded, yet the wall of sound every song provides is awe inspiring and actually quite uplifting. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up from Ms Beret. Then again, it is the third highest selling album of all time – a cool 45 million copies in case you wondered – so enthusiasm and thumbs up are to be expected!

The only disappointment is the fact that this record (and a few others) are pretty bloody dirty and marked and the record skipped a few times as a result. But my record cleaning kit is in the post, as is my enormous box of plastic LP record sleeves so I can make all my records pristine and protect them in true ‘wanky record collector’ form. :D

Happy Happy Joy Joy.

In my next installment I will be rabbiting on about Elvis Costello, cause he is cool and cause my awesomely talented friend Gerard Masters reminds me of him, somewhat. Unsurprisingly, Gerard was very pleased with that comparison! And I'm going to very unabashedly plug him and tell you all to check him out cause if I have anything to do with it, you'll all be hearing him on the radio this year!

Until then, see you round like a fruit loop,

Raspberry Beret Xx