The world is a bad place… a terrible place

Just on twelve months ago I wrote a post <a href=”http://www.browney237.com/reflections-of-my-life/“>Reflections of my Life</a>. It was inspired both by The Marmalade’s song of the same name and a visit to Berlin’s Topography of Terror. However, the last week coupe of weeks have caused me to reflect again on the two lines which were the central theme of that post

<em>The world is a bad place, a bad place

A terrible place to live, oh but I don’t wanna die.</em>.

In recent weeks we  have had reports of the terrible happenings in Iraq, the continued and seemingly never ending challenges around Israel and The Palestinians whilst in Australia, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-unravelling-of-harriet-wran-20140816-104xfb.html“>the sad report about the daughter of a former state Premier facing murder and attempted murder charges </a> which are allegedly linked with her need to fill her drug habit.

These are all awful. Each in their own different ways.

What have the “run of the mill” people of Iraq, Israel or the Palestinians done to deserve this? How can it be that a young, apparently intelligent women brought up in a well to do family find herself allegedly involved in such a mess?

What is becoming of our world? We simply seem to be unable to learn from the past. For heavens sake, it’s 100 hundred years since millions of people lost their lives for the “war to end all wars” so ironically now known as the First World War.

It’s just all so sad.

Relevance deficit syndrome – the road to retirement

My last week or so have been interesting to say the least. Whilst there has been no secret about my retiring from my firm, it’s now common knowledge amongst my staff, partners, clients and associates. No hiding anymore and no denial!

At one level it’s liberating. My replacement is intact and as he takes over the reigns I am not feeling the slightest resentful but it’s certainly different. As one of my friends, and more importantly a major influence on my career said, it’s coming to terms with your lack of relevance which is the challenge. He’s definitely right on that one. No one is coming to me to make the decision, it’s the new breed’s role. My advice is being sought on occasions but it’s all happening around me.

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Bob Dylan – The Beginning the Middle and the End or The Barometer of our Times?

While I had friends whose older brothers introduced me to Bob Dylan in the late sixties it was a school teacher when I was about 15 who truly introduced me to Dylan.

I remember his words “Dylan is the beginning the middle and the end” and I have no doubt he meant it. I am not sure whether they were his own words, an adaption of someone else’s or a direct quote. Another quote I liked was “Dylan is the barometer of our times”. Again I’m not sure to whom that quote should be attributed, however through the sixties and seventies it seemed apt.

So,why the discussion about Dylan?

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1975 – The Best Year in Music?

I was watching Max the music channel on Foxtel and they were playing songs from 1975. It gave me pause for thought as to whether this was in fact the greatest music year if my life? I have always considered the 70s as the golden age of music rather than the 60s. While there is no doubt that the emergence of The Beatles and Rolling Stones in the 60s were central to the era I think the 60s were formative rather than quintessential.

Using Wikipedia I trawled through what was released in 1975. Blood on the Tracks (Bob Dylan), Night at the Opera (Queen), Blue Jays (Justin Hayward and John Lodge), An Evening with John Denver (John Denver), Between the Lines ( Janis Ian), The Original Soundtrack (10cc), Face the Music ( Electric Light Orchestra), Siren (Roxy Music), All Around My Hat (Steeleye Span), Still Crazy After All These Years (Paul Simon), Horses (Patti Smith), The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Welcome to My Nightmare (Alice Cooper), Venus and Mars (Paul Mccartney and Wings), One of These Nights (The Eagles), Have You Never Been Mellow (Olivia Newton-John) and Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen)  were my favourites of 1975.

Whilst I could discuss each and everyone of these at length I’ve singled out just a few for special mention.

Blood on the Tracks for its sheer consistency. From Tangled up in Blue to Buckets of a Rain, every song is brilliant however for me Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts is my favourite. I just love the line,
She was with Big Jim but she was leanin’ to the Jack of Hearts .

Janis Ian’s, Between the Lines had At Seventeen which my wife tells me was every girl’s favourite song of the time. Whereas for me it was Olivia!

I know John Denver was often seen as homely and sweet however he was a great country singer. He was fabulous live and  An Evening with John Denver, truly captured the experience. Favourite off this album the soaring Rocky Mountain High.

The amazing a Night at the Opera showed the sheer talent of Queen. There are no duds on this album. Bohemian Rhapsody is the song most associate with the album, but there is so much more such as You’re my best Friend and Thirty Nine Nine.

Former keyboard player with Yes, Rick Wakeman was prominent in the 70s. The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth and Journey to the Centre of the Earth were great, however my favourite is Myths and Legends released in 1975 with The Last Battle showing Wakeman at his best.

The release of Venus and Mars by Wings continued to showcase McCartney in a band setting. The tour which accompanied its release was just amazing. It remains one of my all time favourite concerts.

The Eagles One of these Nights included Lyin’ Eyes and Take it to the Limit  as well as One of these Nights. ELO’s Face the Music had Evil Women and Strange Music, Roxy’s Siren included the classic Love is the Drug and Both Ends Burning.There was also Paul Simon’s Still Crazy after all these Years, which apart from the title track also included My Little Town, and 50 Ways to Leave your Lover. Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare had the classic Only Women Bleed.

However there is no doubt which album was my favourite in 1975: Born to Run. This album simply has no flaws at all and is my opinion the greatest album of all time.

So my conclusion,1975 was the greatest year in music – what do you think?

Well that’s Semester One Done

As if work running into 30 June isn’t hectic enough for an accountant I’ve combined it with an exam and an assignment!

Over the last four months I’ve attended 13 workshops, 13 seminars, 9 presentations, completed 5 assignments and sat one exam, whilst working full-time. It certainly has been a challenge.

From a work perspective it has also seen one of the busiest periods we have seen for a while. Plenty of good and challenging work as I completed my second last year of professional practice.

From a study perspective, the word count is about 11,000 words submitted and countless others edited out. Numerous journal articles carefully read to extract the gems needed to support my work. Then there is the exacting task of referencing, something which after 5 assignments now seems quite straight forward – it certainly wasn’t back in March!

So what have I learnt? I know that I’m still not good at statistics, although compared to what I knew on the 1st of March I am an expert! I’ve learnt about the inductive and deductive approach. I know that method and methodology aren’t the same thing and lots more. I’ve found that writing every day does work better; that “snack writing” actually works and writing early in the day is a productive use if my time as against sleeping (which is definitely over rated)! What however is more important is that I now realise I am thinking differently and that this is not just helping my study but also work.

I’m a quarter the way through my Honours program with still many thousands of words to write and much to learn. Whilst the last few months have been challenging I’m still enjoying it.

So now a few weeks before saddling up again. Time to take in the balance of The World Cup and Tour de France on TV.