‘(Zoro) Lawson Street’, photo by Alicia Bee, taken at Mount Evelyn, on 31 July 2013, printed on Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, 6 x 8 inches.
PUBLIC SPEECH- ENTER THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
Most people may be unaware but I love getting gifts from friends and strangers. I get gifts all the time- for my birthday, for Christmas and Easter, and every other celebration of the year.
I love opening the wrapping paper, ripping the packages from the mail, and getting more than my postbox filled with envelopes labelled in my name. It helps to make the bills seem less painful as ‘good mail’, and reminds me that I am working journalist on a daily basis.
People could sing a song about my postbox because it is one of the things that makes me smile regardless of life events or weather. And people have sent me things just to say thankyou for writing.
Because getting lots of mail proves that you are a busy important person, I do love staying on your mail lists.
In the 90s and into the first half of the 00’s it was commonplace to receive CDs and door tickets for every interview, review and promotion we did in radio, television and streetpress, along with stickers, posters and merchandise like t-shirts.
Though since digital music became popular, CDs have become more scarce, as publicity departments in the major record labels have got smaller, and independent labels became more thrifty with their few promotional CDs.
The second half of the 00’s was a period of dry online music listening, versus independent musicians who still loved to make actual CDs, and it was these newer musicians who liked to treat music journalists to the gift of their record in the old-time way with hard copy.
In the music industry gifts of CDs and door entry are not frowned upon, for they are the tools needed for research for our interviews and stories. Though in other writing industries accepting gifts of CDs and concert tickets could lead to accusations of media bias and conflict of interest, the music industry is still filled with working journalist fans who adore music enough to appreciate a little disc in cover art as their own.
The truth about this blog is that WordPress doesn’t pay me to write it, and while I have other writing jobs, the love affair I have with my own editorial is all that drives my need to publish another edition of Miss Piggy Journalist.
While saying that my love for writing not money churns this blog – many musicians, writers, artists, movie promotors, fashion labels and other good companies have provided me with some gifts that also my salivate my desire to keep blogging. Those gifts are in no way payment, and I do not link my blog to Google cash, but sometimes they provide a $10 or even $70 retail value bonus for writing. Some products have been retail valued higher – and I really like it when they are.
Some of the musicians below may be unaware that their gift could be rewarded, for their own ‘love and not money’ reasons they had given me their music so that I stayed enjoying their sound. However as a professional I did accept their CD in the same silent above-the-table exchange for a few sentences of writing about them, and without a deadline nor editor above me, the word-length here is my own decision.
In wrapping up – if you have a fashion item worthy of my body, bottle of wine or food good enough for my tongue that you want reviewed by my palate, or a Rolling Stones-type concert you want me attend- give me some incentive to write about it, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are some exciting new products available in the misspiggyjournalist gift shop.
‘Run On’ is Midnight Scavenger’s descriptive lyric filled warning of the dangers of walking at night. This ominous song journey suggests a Halloween fright night filled with characters to scare the innocence out of every ‘holy daughter’.
‘How much can you borrow from steeple-chase runner?’ is defined from the lyrics in the first listen, and will be remembered from live shows as a Midnight Scavengers crowd favorite.
Heavy chords pound their message that The Midnight Scavengers band are one serious act of our Melbourne city night-life.
Featuring the reference of their own band name ‘midnight’ twice in the lyrics this A-Side single ‘Run On’ could be read to set the tone as the first Midnight Scavengers anthem for their upcoming album.
Dimitri Kucharzewski’s European vocal accent compliments the gothic genre and follows the historical stage set by other Melbourne vocabulary laden ranters of similar content like Nick Cave and Burn In Hell.
Jo Brockman joins partner Dimitri for ‘Sweet Soft Pearls’ backing vocals with a breathy affection for the lyrics. As romantic as the gift of pearl earrings to your best female friend, this B-side is The Midnight Scavengers‘ gentler warning of an indoors sensitive side.
POPULAR MUSIC –
CHARM: A TOUCH LIGHTER/ EP.
If the 90s trio sound of Charm is familiar, it is because this fun band result from a generation who lived on Australian music influences, before they even took up their own instruments to play and join the scene onstage.
Trevor Weeden and James Harrison’s band act have charmed many since their 2009 birth as products of a frequent gig going audience, but countless concerts and 4 drummers later they have practised so heavily they now release their own emo ‘A Touch Lighter’ to a honed rock sound. ‘A Touch Lighter’ is still heavy rock, but Charm’s drums and guitars are lower than the dual vocals that lead you through songs with understandable lyrics and recognised melodies.
And they are working with a new drummer now who seems to suit the sound even better than the heavier hitters of their past.
“We’re not as ashamed as we once were” the lyrics in Charm‘s first song ‘Contain’ explain, with a follow-up at the end of the next quatrain, “we are not as contained as we once were”.
Watch them live again now, and you will see what is also smooth is the bass and guitarist position swap mid set in their live shows, that had once seemed awkward- but was always unique to Charm and their important band decisions.
Now Charm have mastered their own act, they also offer advise to others in song ‘Stay In Tune’. “You’ve got it down pat every minute, every day, a little hard to sleep but your in good time, some mistakes have weasled in, ironing them out every practice, with every try, you’re a little out of tune but you’re holding fine,’ Charm assure through those charming male vocals that are playing one of your new favorite songs.
First time listeners of Larry Maluma will be happy with ‘Ndakondwa (I’m Happy)’ as they recognise reggae and its celebration.
The album opens with song ‘I Can See A Rainbow’ a jubilation of the weather, sunshine and rain. ‘I Can See A Rainbow’ exults everything that would remind the listener of holidays, festivals, family, communities and the reggae summers of their past.
This eleventh album from Larry Maluma came from relistening to the quality outtakes of his 8th album recorded 10 years ago, and now they are released and able to shine in all their own glory.
Zambian language is featured on many of the new Australian folk songs. ‘Ndakondwa’ the title is translated as ‘I’m Happy’ in text and four songs are also sung in vernacular interpreted by most audiences only by their English title and the tone of the songs.
‘Mpuluula’ is a traditional song sung to chorus without shout- along with ‘Mabvuuto (difficulties)’- the lower volume used to convey sadness and information through song. While ‘Ndakondwa (I’m Happy)’ and ‘Koya (Go)’ is sung with rejoice as life anthems- and the listener understands a bit more of the language from the sound.
Former Zambian Larry Maluma uses the Jamaican developed music genre to discuss this life on the island of Australia that has been his base for 29 years.
The reggae formula is used as a great way to communicate songs throughout the world, and like other world music genres, in Larry Maluma’s songs the beat makes people move when they can’t understand the language.
The social consciousness storytelling element of reggae and folk songs is heard more clearly to wider audiences in such Larry Maluma titles as ‘Game Over’, ‘Speak Out’, ‘Believe In Yourself’ and ‘Homesick’.
‘Homesick’ discusses a longing to travel back to Zambia, “I had to go- I’m homesick, let me go home,’ he sings along with the more literal needs of returning to a house.
“We got the sun, we got the moon, we got the stars, we got the rain,” lists Larry Maluma in ‘I Can See A Rainbow’ as a celebration of our shared happiness that starts ‘Ndakondwa’ album.
Local pub stalwarts and Australian music followers who don’t know Larry Maluma may be even happier when they find out this musician from Melbourne has supported Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers, Angelique Kidjo, and played some great folk and roots music festivals.
Mal Webb plays trombone and slide trumpet on 4 tracks, and Nicky Bomba is credited as helping Larry Maluma flesh out the sound from the original album outtakes, at his Freeburg Station studio in country Victoria.
PALATE: GOOD BREW COMPANY KOMBUCHA
Though the Kombucha tea trends had moved out of the 90s sharehouse after one too many detoxes and funghi reproductions, there are still many people that drink it to this day in the modern world.
‘Portlandia’ the US TV series featured Kombucha in one of their episodes. The Good Brew company had enough initiative to bottle and brand Kombucha before Nestle or other large drink manufacturers tried to patent the ‘natural cleanser’, and they are peers with a couple of other smaller organic drink companies to release it on the market.
But Kombucha drunk this way is different to what was known in 90s culture. It’s carbonated with natural spring water, and the Good Brew Kombucha comes in three flavors with other natural herbs. So the tastes can be a little more exciting than the ritual iced tea Kombucha those who liked to grow the funghi – no doubt in a fridge they also used to have – in the past.
Like yoghurt products this Good Brew Kombucha is said to contain 20+ billion probiotic active enzymes, amino acids and antioxidents, which is of course a great edition to brunch dining as a reminder of your healthy living.
Kombucha is produced by fermenting the tea using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and the Good Brew company also uses organic sugar to do that.
Most 350ml bottles also contain a trace of the Kombucha culture floating in the drink – which could also be used to grow your own funghi if retrieved.
If you do feel a little different from Good Brew Kombucha – it may be because the process involves a 7 day fermentation and the funghi produced culture contains a trace amount of alcohol (0.5% – 1.15%), so you may be feeling lighter and happier on consumption for a reason.
GREEN TEA + SENCHA MINT + APPLE
With strong apple flavors and a base of green tea and sencha mint, the Good Brew’s Kombucha flavor was still clear because of the sediment left from the laying position in my fridge. Subtle enough not to hurt the mouth with its bubbles, the Good Brew’s Apple Kombucha is like having a cider without the alcohol content.
GREEN TEA + HIBISCUS + LEMONGRASS
For quite some time sugared Hibiscus has been marketed as a perfect addition to sparkling wine, and available in bottleshops for those willing to spend an extra $10 on something nice. Now Good Brew has added the flavor to their Kombucha drinks. As sweet as candied fruit the same flower flavors in Good Brew’s Hibiscus are creamed with the mousse of carbonated springwater which is the same reaction created by adding hibiscus flowers to sparkling wine. Added to the sweetness is Good Brew’s selection of lemongrass herb to complete the body and aftertaste with a tartness of ginger, that wont leave you feeling sickly from the sugar.
By Alicia Bee
New found land
She’s born to think
Hot Pink, Rose Lips.