The heat is on!

While I still have three months until my thesis is due, it’s really only two months and then it’s actually only about three weeks. This is because it needs a preread by a non-examiner to make sure I’m on track(hope I am!)m a full read by my supervisor and then submission. So what seemed a long time when I started no longer is.

I’m really feeling like the heat is on! The pressure is building and it’s not like something I’ve experienced since my professional entrance exams because it’s so personal. In the past  the pressure has been to deliver for a client with the backing of a massive infrastructure now it’s just me with the support of a supervisor who has been truly awesome(I’ve been so lucky on that count).

It’s been code data, analyse, write, then  read, write, review, read, write, review and over again. It feels relentless. I’m struggling to find time for my bike and my music choice is either a Spotify Playlist or NZ’s The Sound – no time to think about what to listen too.

In fact there’s no more time for this post either as I need to get on with it!

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Thousands of Words and Thousands of Tracks

With just ten weeks to go until my formal thesis draft is due for review  I was reflecting on what music has accompanied my recent studies. Each week I listen to so much music with the result that across the period of my Honours i could have listen to more than twenty thousand tracks.

It’s been a mix, sometimes a playlist that comes up on Spotify because I can’t be bothered thinking about what I want to listen too. Maybe it’s listening to The Sound, an Auckland based radio station that streams, listening to the audio of a Pay TV station or a focus on an artist. 

Generally it’s been low key smooth music. Generally it’s stress less music.

I’ve been listening to Tori Amos’s Gold Dust quite a lot. It’s a remix of some of her earlier material. When it was released I thought it was OK and that it was a bit of a rehash however on reflection I can see how it repositions some of her classics and lesser known songs with an orchestral feel. The highlight of the album for me is Girl Disappearing.

When it comes to soft rock it’s hard for me to go past The Shins. Continue reading

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Are Cyclists like Cats on a Rainy day?

Our Cat!

Our Cat!

I was struck by a thought as I walked back from University on a wet cold Adelaide winter’s day.

Are Cyclists like Cats on a Rainy day?

On rainy days our cat wanders from window to window seeing if it is raining outside each. I found myself effectively doing the same on my walk home. It wasn’t raining behind me which was towards the coast but it was in the hills which were in front of me. So, maybe a flat ride might be OK? Then once home the sun was shining out to the north – maybe that was the direction for a ride?

In any event, shortly thereafter the wind came up, the clouds took over and down came the rain. Like our cat everywhere I looked there was no respite. Another day without a ride.

As a result, just 25kms on the bike in the last 10 days but it has enabled me to spend hours and hours on my thesis. Not a bad thing as a recent discussion with the Honours Co-ordinator confirmed that I have just 12 weeks to finish it. With that thought has come the first hint of panic. Continue reading

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Planning – Italy 2015

Mt Etna

Mt Etna

For the very few of you who have followed my blog since it early days (apart from thank you) you will know that as I focussed on “What’s next” I have wanted to spend 3 months in Italy. In Novemebr 2015 we will – well almost- Insurance and Visa rules mean it will be a few days short.

Agrigento - Sicily

Agrigento – Sicily

On insurance, my new post fulltime work cost saving regime means we will use our credit card policy which allows only 90 days for the trip. While on the cost cutting, yet again, I couldn’t face the cost of Business Class (just over double the cost of economy). We have decided however that we will only do daytime flights – we are not in a hurry.

To do this we enlisted the support of a travel agent something we haven’t done on recent trips given the resources available online. Our initial discussions weren’t that fruitful with agents suggesting that it really wasn’t feasible. Then we stumbled upon a very helpful travel agent who seemed to immediately grasp the idea. She understood that we are not we weren’t in a hurry so flying in a number of steps is not a problem to us. Infact the whole idea of this holiday is slow travel – apparently this brings the cost down? Using stop-overs in Singapore,Sri Lanka and Dubai we land in Milan having flown only during the day. Our return will be Rome, Dubai, Singapore, then home via Perth. To claim the Perth leg is a day flight is a stretch (lands at midnight) but it is only a short hop from Singapore – so I will claim it. We won’t have to attempt to sleep on the plane which is something I really struggle with. It also provides an opportunity to spend a few days in Sri Lanka, something that wasn’t on our agenda previously and for my favourite person it will be her first visit to Singapore. Continue reading

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Book Review Man on the Run, Paul McCartney in the 1970s

Source : Amazon.com

There were two reasons that I bought Tom Doyle’s book Man on the Run, Paul McCartney in the 1970s. The first my love of The Beatles and the second my interest in exploring “What’s Next”.

Given my age, my love of The Beatles started about the time of their breakup. My first record was Abbey Road. I have all of their albums and listen to them along with a large slice of their post Beatle individual contributions on a regular basis.

In and earlier post I have mentioned that I have been to The Dakota Building and Straberry Fields in Central Park. All part of paying homage to the greatest band of all time.  That said, when it comes to The Beatles individually my favourite has always been Paul and particularly his time with Wings. I was lucky enough to see them in 1975 on their Australian tour.

So about the book as after all this is a review!

Through access to those individuals who were around Paul including the other Beatles across the 70s, Doyle tells a story that he rightly points out has had little exposure beyond the public slanging match between Lennon and McCartney and Paul’s well publicized drug busts. The book addresses these openly but not in a sensional manner and perhaps even more importantly in context.
In a sentence, the book starts with the end of the Beatles and tragically ends at the time of the death of John Lennon. 

I find the context particularly interesting given my interest in “What’s Next”. Early on we get a pretty raw account of the difficulty Paul McCartney faced; moving from being at the top as a member of the greatest band of all time and then  seeing it all end well before he was 30. It is no wonder he and his new wife fled to Scotland to hide!

Doyle recounts Paul’s early post Beatles solo career. The formation of Wings and Linda’s role in the band which was always controversial. Denny Laine, one of Doyle’s major sources apart from McCartney himself, provides great insight as to Linda’s importance in keeping Paul out of his personal post Beatles malaise. It is an important reminder of the central role Linda played in Paul’s life.  Infact perhaps she  was the true hero in the 1970s Paul McCartney story,  rather than the villain she is so often portrayed. There are also insights into his family life which seemed to cycle from idyllic farm life to the choatic life of a rock band. This perhaps is also a sign of the challenges being faced by someone who has been to the top and is then faced with a void to be filled. One minute living the quiet family life away from it all and the next craving the bright lights and publicity. All provide insights as to how Paul dealt with his early post Beatles days.

The Wings tour of Australia gets a mention with special attention given to the Norman Gunston interview which in my opinion it is one of the most hilarious interviews of all time. In truth, it is this period of Paul McCartney’s post Beatle life that I am most familiar. This is  perhaps not surprisingly given as Doyle notes, the enormous success that the Wings US tour followed by the painstakingly  MCartney mastered triple live album and video Rockshow. 

References to the relationship between Paul and John play an important but not pivotal role in the book. McCartney and Lennon’s post Beatle interactions were bitter sweet . On occasions they and their wives enjoyed each others company and then on others the relationship was decidedly frosty. Again perhaps this is how it is after people move on from an intense relationship – a reminder that it can never truly be the same.

I can’t deny that I didn’t find the references to Paul and John’s relationship the most interesting aspect of the book. However it was also interesting to reflect on, how in the post Beatles phase Paul could ever have thought his fellow Wings members ever be his equal, why did Paul want an amateur (Linda) in a world touring successful rock band and why did he record Mary had a little Lamb? Doyle gives us insights into each and much more.

It’s  well worth a read.

Other posts on The Beatles and Paul McCartney :

The only thing you did was Yesterday
The Beatles Boxed Set
Memories of a Great Concert

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