Saturday, February 6, 2016

Photo of the Day #6

A photo posted by @westkiama on

Songs Of My Life - Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell - 1977

Songs Of My Life #6. 
Dad had this album when it was released, and it often got played in both the car and at home. Over the years it was ingrained in me, and all of the songs became favourites. Yes, even "For Crying Out Loud". The obvious favourite is still this title track, which contains a bit of everything. A bit of theatre, a bit of opera, a bit of pop and some hard rock rockin'.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Photo of the Day #5

Songs Of My Life #5 - Loverboy - Working For The Weekend - 1981

Songs Of My Life #5.
Well, it's Friday so I guess we can all relate a little bit to this. I still remember it from the radio back in 1981, and I'm pretty sure it made the playlist at our Year 6 Dance at the end of that year. In recent times, every time I hear it all I think about is Derek Zoolander back in the pit with his father and brothers becoming a miner. Great stuff.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Songs Of My Life #4 - D Generation - Five in a Row & Five More in a Row

Songs Of My Life #4
The D-Generation has spawned dozens of TV shows and radio programs and movies and stand up acts. These two songs perfectly sent up Australia's best rock and pop stars and showed how clever they were. If you can find their two albums - pretty sure The Satanic Sketches is on You Tube and the Radio Years with Wayne from St Albans - do yourself a favour and listen to them.

Photo of the Day #4

A photo posted by @westkiama on

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Songs Of My Life #3 - Dio - King of Rock and Roll - 1986

Songs Of My Life #3.
This was the first song I ever saw at a live gig. My first gig was seeing Dio at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on September 13, 1986. It still remains as a defining moment in my life. My memory of it is exactly as this clip shows - this DVD was recorded less than three months before our group saw them. 

Photo of the Day #3

A photo posted by @westkiama on

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Songs Of My Life #2 - Billy Don't Be A Hero - Paper Lace - 1974

Songs Of My Life #2. 
With a name like William / Bill / Billy there are a few songs out there that people sing back to you because of the lyrics. I got this fairly often through primary school and occasionally through high school. It was a hit when it was released so it was on the radio a lot and also on a couple of Mum's mixed tapes of the period.

Photo of the Day #2

A photo posted by @westkiama on

Monday, February 1, 2016

Songs Of My Life #1 - Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go Go's - 1981

Songs Of My Life #1
Still reminds me of the final days of Year 6. I've always loved the opening drum and guitar riff, as well as having a crush on Belinda Carlisle. Great upbeat song that translates well to a faster and heavier conversion.

Photo of the Day #1

A photo posted by @westkiama on

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

25 Years

So. Today signifies 25 years to the day that Helen Wade and I went on what could be constituted as our first date.
We went to the movies. Helen chose to watch Green Card, starring Andi McDowell and Gerard Depardieu. It is fair to say that it is in the top ten worst movies I have ever seen, though the relationship that began on that evening probably makes it into the top three of my life, alongside cricket and... well... no just cricket.
The thing I have learned most over that time is this - Helen's taste in movies has not improved much in 25 years.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When Docile Wickets and Panicked Batting Can Still Produce an Upset

ABC Grandstand Report: Unfathomable India Collapse Hands Australia 25 Run Win

Courtesy of

Australia's groundsmens' summer of flat, lifeless wickets continued at Manuka Oval in today's match, and despite the (rather unexpected) climax to the match, it again highlights a problem that either Cricket Australia is the mastermind of, or that Cricket Australia must solve before next summer comes around.

For 87 overs of this match the batsmen dominated more than batsmen should ever be able to dominate. Australia did almost as they pleased during their innings of 8/348, only losing wickets at the end in the quest for more runs. Warner returned to belt 93 before throwing his wicket away. You know the pitch must be flats and unresponsive if Aaron Finch makes a century, because all he does is hit through the line. Mitch marsh showed that even out-of-form all rounders can manage to make a few, while both Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell played a variety of shots that you can only get away with if you are super confident of what the ball is going to do off the pitch. Then, just to prove the point, Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan and Virat Kohli just smashed the bowling, going at 8 runs an over from the outset and never appearing in any trouble at all. Sharma gifted his wicket away strangled down the leg side, and his frustration was obvious. Australia's bowlers had no answer to the onslaught, and at 1/277 off 37 overs the game was over.

When did it become good cricket when there is no contest between bat and ball? For the most part this is what we have seen all season in international cricket. The only time the ball seems to have had a half decent chance was on the green-topped pink-balled Adelaide Oval Test, and whenever the West Indies batted in their three-Test series. These one dayers have seen all eight innings produce totals in excess of 290 runs, a first in international cricket. Even the use of two white balls has not stopped the batting carnage. Now while this is good to see on occasions, because everyone likes to see good innings, it just becomes ludicrous if every match is dominated by the batsmen, who have nothing to fear from a pitch that provides perfect bounce and speed and a ball that doesn't move in the air or off the seam. Quite honestly, much of those first 87 overs of this match became boring, because there was no challenge.

So what happened in those final 13 overs, when the India freight train suddenly careered off the rails at a frightening speed and disintegrated? OK, so Shikar finally falls. That's understandable. Then Dhoni comes in and finds a way to get out third ball. OK, such is cricket. However, when Kohli meekly surrendered to mid-off, it was total chaos. Steve Smith turned the screws, brought in his field, put in a slip, and was immediately rewarded for his tactics. Despite the fumbling gloves of Matthew Wade again returning to centre stage, it was a collapse worthy of the term "Kiama Kollapse", leaving Australia not only victors, but victors by an amazing margin of 25 runs, when India had needed 72 runs from 78 deliveries with 9 wickets in hand. The unloseable match.
If it had been Pakistan, there would have been immediate rumblings of match fixing. Australia weren't suddenly that good. India just crumbled under pressure.

More than anything else with this match, it must not take away the focus of the real problem here. India's inability to win this match should not dim the fact that Australia's pitches are far too docile in this modern age, and that unless this is arrested and the bowlers are given some assistance from the country's pitch curators in the near future, the standard of cricket that is bringing the fans to the game will deteriorate, to the detriment of the game in our country.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Vale: Glenn Frey

I grew up listening to the Eagles in my house. Not only were their hits of the 1970's plastered all over the radio at that time, but both Mum and Dad were fans, and so they were one of those bands that became ingrained in my psyche as I grew up.
As I got older and began to appreciate such things as harmonies and guitar riffs and song lyrics and the like, I began to enjoy the band and their music for more than just a nod to my childhood. I appreciated everything that went into each song, could hear each members harmony or lick in each song.

In accordance with the recent deaths of famous musicians populating the news feeds, the news of Glenn Frey's death at the relatively young age of 67 was as sad and unexpected as most of those others in recent weeks. The Eagles had only finished their world tour entitled "The History of the Eagles" in the middle of 2015, and now some six months later Glenn had succumbed, apparently to a combination of surgery for an abdominal problem and the onset of pneumonia.
Glenn was one of the founders of the band, and not only wrote or co-wrote a lot of the material he also sang lead vocals on many of their greatest hits, and certainly some of my favourites. Songs such as "Take it Easy", "New Kid in Town" and "Lyin' Eyes" are some of my favourite Eagles songs (with "Take it Easy" being on my karaoke roster on the few occasions I deem it necessary to partake in such activities), while he also sang on other great tracks "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "Already Gone", "Tequilia Sunrise", "How Long" and "Heartache Tonight".

His solo career, for me, was less enthralling, but his hit "The Heat is On" from Beverly Hills Cop and "You Belong to the City" from Miami Vice were tracks that stuck in your head during the 1980's.

While his best material came years ago, it is a loss to see Glenn Frey move on. As he sang so well, "They will never forget you till somebody new comes along..."

BBL05 Review - The Bottom Four

Brisbane Heat
Once again built a squad that relied heavily on local Queenslanders with just a sprinkling of other state players (most of whom didn't get a look in), and probably finished better than expected with three wins to finish the season. The loss of Brendan McCullum before the comp started was a hindrance. Certainly had star power in captain Chris Lynn and West Indian Badree, but rarely had the firepower to go with other teams.
Lynn was excellent and gave the crowds someone to chant for. Joe Burns Test duties kept him out of the team for most of the series, while the local Grade batsmen were mostly unable to provide the basis of a good total for the team. Last minute inclusion Lendl Simmons is no McCullum.
James Hopes played his last BBL tournament and was again the mainstay with both bat and ball. He has been a great servant for Australian and Queensland cricket and both will miss him.
The Heat probably need a clean out and a re-think before BBL06 comes around to plug the gaping holes in both their batting and bowling line ups.

Hobart Hurricanes
Under performed dreadfully given the roster they had, and the fact that they lost only one player to rep duties (George Bailey) and that was only for their final match.
The batting failed to fire as they would have hoped. Star import Kumar Sangakkara was extremely disappointing, perhaps ranking as the biggest failure of the sixteen imports of the competition. Ben Dunk also failed to find any great form during the tournament, leaving Tim Paine, Bailey and Dan Christian to have to do the heavy work with the bat.
Shaun Tait had his usual moments during the tournament, as did Cameron Boyce, while new kid Jake Reed performed beyond expectations. In the long run, the team was unable to score enough runs with the bat to enable their bowlers to force the issue. For a team with so much batting firepower down through the order which was almost entirely unaffected by injury and representative duties, BBL05 was a massive disappointment.

Sydney Sixers
Last year's finallists were unable to put up a repeat performance this season, though they were a little unlucky along the way. Despite having Michael Lumb, Brad Haddin and Nic Maddinson for the whole tournament, the loss through injury of Moises Henriques left the team a batsman short on most occasions, and also an extra bowling option short. Jordan Silk was also not as beneficial as last season, which meant that big totals were not forthcoming.
Without Brett Lee and Mitchell Starc leading the charge from last season, the bowling also lacked some bite. Jackson Bird was tidy, and Nathan Lyon bowled well when available, but mostly the attack was flat and lacked penetration. Travis Head's demolition of Sean Abbott on New Years Eve was probably the most telling couple of overs of their season.
The squad the Sixers had should probably still have made the finals. No doubt a review of the season will suggest the same theory.

Melbourne Renegades
Had a complete revamp of their playing roster for this season, and still fell short of the finals. The costly exercise of importing Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, as well as picking up Cameron White and Matthew Wade among others, still was unable to force their way into the semi-finals. With the recruitment of the big names, the team appeared unbalanced in having to go with lesser names for other places in the XI, and in the majority of cases this was costly in those games where they were unable to compete. Could be a case of back to the drawing board for the second Melbourne team in the BBL.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Gayle's Personal Glory Helps Renegades... Zero

From ABC Grandstand : Link here.

Chris Gayle has blasted the equal-fastest half-century in Twenty20 history but it was not enough for Melbourne Renegades to advance to the Big Bash League semi-finals.

The Renegades needed to reach Adelaide Strikers' target of 171 runs in 16 overs if they were to replace Sydney Thunder in fourth place on the ladder but they fell to a 27-run defeat, despite Gayle's heroics.

In front of 25,227 fans at Docklands, the star West Indian import set the tone early with four sixes in a row off the first over of Renegades' innings, bowled by Greg West.Gayle equalled the 12-ball half-century made by India's Yuvraj Singh with his seventh towering six before he was caught behind by Tim Ludeman off the bowling of Travis Head for 56 runs off 17 balls at a strike rate of 329.41.
The innings was a return to the headlines for Gayle - for the right reasons this time - after he copped plenty of ire for a sideline chat earlier this season with journalist Mel McLaughlin, where he said he was keen to be interviewed by her "just to see [her] eyes for the first time".
But at Docklands, while Gayle plundered the attack at one end, wickets fell regularly at the other.
Tom Cooper, Cameron White and Dwayne Bravo departed cheaply as Renegades slumped to 3 for 60, with a groan of disappointment heard around the ground when Gayle followed.
Peter Nevill (21 off 19 balls), Nathan Rimmington (26 off 19) and Cameron Gannon (23 off 15) kept Renegades' faint hopes alive but their BBL05 campaign ended in the 16th over - bowled out for 143.
Head was the pick of the Strikers bowlers with 3-16 off two overs.

Earlier, White won the toss and sent Adelaide in to bat but, led by openers Jono Dean and Tim Ludeman, the visitors were cruising at 0 for 85 in the 11th over.However, the Renegades managed to launch a counter-attack - storming back into the contest with 4 for 22 through the middle overs.
Bravo made the important breakthrough, dismissing Dean for 48 off 35 balls, with Travis Head (0) and Alex Ross (4) falling in quick succession.
Ludeman had played a support role to Dean, who smashed four sixes, but the opener became Xavier Doherty's second wicket when he was trapped LBW for 49 off 41 balls.
Strikers skipper Brad Hodge, who finished unbeaten on 37 from 21 balls, combined with Jake Lehmann for an important 55-run partnership that tipped the scales back in their side's favour.
Doherty was the best of the bowlers with 2 for 30 from his four overs as Strikers finished their 20 overs at 5 for 170.
Strikers will host the first semi-final against Thunder on Thursday night, with Melbourne Stars to host their semi-final against Perth Scorchers at the MCG on Friday night.

As much as people raved over how good this 12 ball 50 was from Chris Gayle, the method and timing of his dismissal, after seeing his team lose three wickets in the chase for a victory target that had to be achieved to reach the finals, spoke more of his drive in the game of cricket. Much like the ballooning praise and worship he received in last year's World Cup after his double century against a weak opponent which was then followed by a series of failures against teams that he needed to succeed against, this innings only proved once again that he may well electrify crowds every six innings or so when he comes off, but his value to a team in a tough situation cannot be relied upon. 

The same can also be said of his West Indian teammate Dwayne Bravo, whose unimaginably reckless shot to the first ball he faced, allowing himself to be bowled by the very part-time offies of Travis Head, is the fairest indication of how he approaches his cricket.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Definition of Commitment

Definition of Commitment:
Playing cricket all day Saturday, and having to back up Sunday morning for an hour and a half of backyard cricket, complete with catching drills. And the threat of more to come before the ODI starts this afternoon.
The body has held up better this week, though mostly due to the fact that we only fielded for about 18 overs or so, and not much batting to be done. 
Josh just keeps on improving. He's counting the seconds until he can play a real game, but is also excited that he will get to play against Jack Yates next Sunday. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Vale: Alan Rickman

There is a very very small list of actors/actresses in the history of acting. That list comprises people who, no matter what movie or show they are in, no matter whether it is hugely popular and enjoyable or complete trash and rubbish, their performance is still hugely watchable or captivating.
Alan Rickman was most certainly on that list.
His sad passing today of cancer allows us to reflect on his wonderful and perhaps understated career. He rarely appeared as a leading man but he almost always stole the screen in every movie he appeared in. Some no one knows about. As Ed the painter alongside Kevin Kline in The January Man. As the Metatron in Dogma. As the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Wonderful.
As terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard he was superb. If not for him playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves it would have been a disaster. He and Tim McInerny made Sense and Sensibility slightly less tedious. His role as Harry in Love Actually was subtlely superb. No one could ever have brought Severus Snape to existence on the screen so brilliantly and believably as he did. And one of his finest performances will never receive the recognition it deserves, as it was in the Sci-Fi parody Galaxy Quest. In which he was brilliant.
So many performances left unsaid here. But for me he is firmly in this exclusive list of genius performers.
Thanks for everything Alan. "By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged".