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