Steve's Addiction(s)

Steve beer

Initially I thought I may attempt a poem to parallel the Passenger song ‘I Hate’, one of my favourite ditties from the hit album ‘All The Little Lights’. I am addicted to music – always have been – always will be. In my very early years I was listening to country and western on my father’s old 78s; in my teens the addiction was vinyl and now, of course, it’s CDs – they being where I draw the line in the sand. I haven’t gone beyond and I will not until that format dies a death. Hopefully they’ll outlast me. Many music tragics my age are stuck in the past – hanging on to the geriatric heroes from when they were also in their pomp – and there’s nothing wrong with that. I do a bit of it as well. My wonderful BTD – Beautiful Talented Daughter – ensures that I am kept up to date. But when my mates state something like, ‘Modern music is all crap.’ – thanks to her, I can roll out a list of names from her generation that are the bee’s knees – Josh Ritter, Megan Washington, Dan Sultan, Eskimo Joe, the Panics, Busby Marou, Sarah Blasko, Lanie Lane – and on and on I could go, but you get the idea. And no, I am not trying to be hip. You couldn’t get further away from a hipster than this old codger – I just like them. I wouldn’t waste my hard earned on something just to big note! And, as with BTD, I am also addicted to lists. Each year – sort of like the J’s OzDay musiclistfest – I compile a rank order of my favourite albums of the past twelve months. It’s too early for 2013’s – I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to ruminating over that – but if you’re interested in 2012’s, please click on

But I digress – back to Mr Passenger – yes, it’s a person, not a group – a la Pink, Cat Power, Sting etc. His collection is terrific and surely will be a candidate for the above. There are many singalongworthy tracks – but it is the ‘afterthought’ of the album that really struck a chord (pun intended). On it he musically riffs about racism, drugs, Facebook, fussy eaters, festival toilets, X-Factor and the evils of fashion magazines. Take a peek at the YouTube and hear for yourself

But then I thought, ‘Nah! Life’s pretty good for this old bloke at the moment. I want to focus on the positive; be glass half full – not the reverse.’ So with apologies to Jane – the muse and inspiration for the band named in her honour – see, that’s the music coming out in me – here are my Top 10 addictions. It is taken as given that my DLP (Darling Loving Partner), BTD, a wonderful son and my wondrous granddaughter float way above this list, as do other family members and my mates. And, as always, feel free to throw your addictions back at me.

1. Music – I’ve rabbited on enough on that topic. See above.

2. The Superior Gender – Women. Again I have said enough on that score in other places on my blog. Here is just one take on that

And my world receives such a fillip when a beautiful lady – and ninety-nine percent of all women are beautiful – gives me an eye-smile. What’s an eye-smile?

3. West Wing – Most are aware that my prime television addiction is ‘Mad Men’

However, after watching the luscious Sidse Babett Knudsen do her ice cool schtick as a Danish equivalent to Julia in ‘Borgen’, I decided to check out the first season of the above when I spied it on special in JBs. Evidently the Scandipol drama is heavily influenced by its US predecessor. And of course, now I am hooked. There are seven, yes seven, series of it to get through, but I am in for the long haul. I know it is hokey in parts. Yes, I know it disses out lamentably on every other country in the world that does not share the Yanks’ high moral ground as the ‘good guys’ and yes, tanks could be driven through some of the holes in its plot-lines. This political junkie finds it engrossing and is rivetted. I am looking forward to seeing if ‘House of Cards’ has the same effect. At the present time the first season of ‘Homeland’ is the DVD DLP and I are working our way through. It’s not bad – anything with Mandy Patikin in it must have legs – but some of it seems to me to be stretching the bounds of belief somewhat – surely he/she/they could see what would happen if they did that? And happen it does!

4. Football – specifically Aussie Rules – more specifically, the Hawthorn Football Club. You know, I actually look forward to this time of year now footy is off our television screens as now I can do other stuff on Friday and Saturday eves. And Yay! Yay! The brown and gold are premiers for 2013, just in case you didn’t know. A decade or so ago test cricket would have had this spot, but I am dark on cricket at the moment – and not just because lady luck has gone dark on our test team either. Here is another list – a very AFL unbiased one!

5. Taking Baths – I am in the firm belief that the rise in stress levels in the Western world is down to two factors – on-lineism (don’t get me started) and our penchant for taking showers. Or, I should say – your penchant, for I don’t if can possibly help it. Me? Each morning I am a like a big grampus wallowing in my warm, manly fragranced bath for at least half an hour! There’s no spending the inordinate amount of time finely tuning the balance between hot and cold before placing my shivering body under a feeble spittle of moisture emanating from a shower head for me. There’s no sissy squealing from me if someone else turns on a tap in one’s abode. No, I am perfectly languorous in my steaming blanket of soapy water – perfectly at ease with the world. There are no frantic gyrations for me to ensure as much of my anatomy as possible has a warm jet of liquid aimed at it – it simply is. And, of course one can ruminate in the tub. It’s where I do my best thinking – some would say my only thinking. It is the location where my blogs are germinated, including this one; in another life, where my lessons were planned. Ban showers, I say; the world would be a calmer, more serene place. Politicians wouldn’t yell at each other, road ragers would cease to rage and the bottom would drop out of the coffee market. Copious caffeine to get one through the day would not be required!

6. Bill – There are some actors who, with their manner and mannerisms, tics, even – in some cases – their gormlessness – I could sit, transfixed, through any old dross as long as they were on screen. Several examples come to mind – Hugh Grant in anything he gets to play Hugh Grant; Daniel Auteuil in anything; John Hamm in ‘Mad Men’; David Duchovny in ‘Californication’; Richard Roxburgh in ‘Rake’; David Wenham when in Sea Change persona. Towering over them all, though, is Bill. I first became infatuated with Mr Nighy back in 1991 when he played an amoral university academic in the BBC adaptation of Anne Oakey’s ‘The Men’s Room’. It was a fine series from a fine source. Then he seemed to disappear off the radar for a while. He returned with a shambolic turn – in the best sense of the word – as a member of the reforming band in ‘Still Crazy’. Of course his star moment is and always will be, as Billy Mack in ‘Love Actually’. His taking the piss out of every dirgeful Christmas opus is a classic – be reminded, dear reader, be reminded!

bill nighy sly guy

To my mind, he is masterful in such lesser known roles as ‘The Girl in the Cafe’, ‘Gideon’s Daughter’ – both made for television – and ‘Wild Target. I eschewed the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise forever after what they did to poor Bill’s lovely face in the second instalment.

7. The State Cinema, Brunswick Hotel, Fullers Book Shop – aka my favourite Hobart watering holes. They obviously provide me with more than just flat whites, ales and ciders. In the former I can slake my desire for quality art house productions; in the second my desire for quality craft beer and in the latter, for quality literature. And the staff at each venue are noted for their eye smiles.

8. Books – adore reading, adore indie bookshops, adore launches, adore reviewing them on this blog and yes, I adore working out my top reads for any given year. See last year’s for tomes (and films)


9. Beaches and Buffett – The two go hand in hand. My days of disporting myself on Mangoland, and other, beaches are now gone – but they are still marvellous for perambulating, camera in hand. Here’s one take

BTD marrying her lovely man was one of the happiest days of my life. I gave my gorgeous Kate away to the parrothead lyrics of Jimmy. There can be no greater tribute to the man’s music.

10. Life – Yes, life is too blissful to waste time concentrating on one’s hates. I reckon my beloved DLP could list them well enough – starting with showers, ‘Minuscule’, SUVs in the city – and so on. But I won’t dwell. With she by my side, with her wonderful optimism, I am smiling with joy every day. Grandfathering makes it all magic too. My Poppet is only very small at the moment, as is the other mite who has come into our lives – LFM (Little Ford Man). I like to look at the small things – maybe even capture them with my camera, for in those small things great beauty and wonder exist. It’s all too marvellous for downers. There’s stuff I’ve missed. – photography, art exhibitions, Mangoland, mangoes, cooking, whiskey, and so on – maybe there’ll be a Steve’s Addictions Part 2!All in all, I am a lucky old bugger.

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