Singapore Adventures! 

I arrived mid afternoon for my two day jaunt around Singapore en route to London and was greeted by warm sunshine and incredibly high humidity.  My hotel for the stay, The Champion Hotel was situated near the heart of the city and was easily accessible by the local metro so once my bags were dropped off, I pounded the pavement to enjoy some familiar surroundings and new experiences.  


Singapore was once the worlds largest shipping port run by the British so there are still many traces of colonialism that was in place up until the fall of Singapore on February 15 1942 during the Second World War at the hands of the Japanese.  The battle had lasted little more than a week.  Despite having less troops and ammunition, the Japanese outwitted some incredibly incompetent British army chiefs.


The first thing that strikes me about this city is the clean and tidy feel.  Crime is also minimal due to the severity of punishments dealt out so you can happily walk the streets without feeling threatened in any way.  More importantly, woman are respected and the Police are quite friendly and approachable for tourists.  Exercise is also big on the agenda and will stumble over countless walkers, runners and open air Zumba classes on the streets as evening falls.  Food options are cheap and a small scattering of British and Irish pubs ensures a good drop is never too far away.


Despite the city centre looking beautiful, I like to make my way to the dirtier sides of cities and, from my last visit here in 2015, Little India and Chinatown were two spots that would guarantee to satisfy my needs.  And that they did.  Sadly, the fresh exploration of these small regions were met with heavy rain that occasionally ceased for all be it brief glimpses of broken clouds and sun which only increased the already sticky humidity.  Today alone, I used no less than three different shirts and two pairs of socks! 


My flight to Singapore with Scoot from the Gold Coast only set me back $129 and with $117 for one night in a city centre hotel on top of cheap eats, it’s been a very cost effective start to my latest adventure.  My advice is to definitely spend a little more on city centre accommodation as it allows great walking access to all the major attractions and, as I experienced two years ago, the accommodation options outside the city centre may be super cheap but lack the basics like air conditioning and comfy beds.  


It’s almost time to board my flight to London now.  A two hour lay over in Kuala Lumpar will help break things up a little before arriving at Heathrow for yet another football adventure in England, Spain, Portugal, Scotland and Germany! 

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Why Life Is More Important Than Your Job

Over the past 10 years, I’ve worked in a number of roles within the health industry.  It’s been a fabulous adventure but I have, unlike too many of you, made work my number 1 priority in life.  Why you ask? Let me explain.

Companies and organisations don’t give a fuck about you!  They never have, never will.  If you think they do, then are one serverely misguided and obtuse human being.  


Life is short.  You may think it drags on at times however, before long you will be stuttering into old age, often with far too many questions than answers.  We are born to live out our hobbies and passions, not cowering down to bosses and managers on power trips.  So why do we do it then?

The answer is simple.  From a young age, we are conditioned to think hard work will bring with it, recognition and rewards.  The rewards can be a big house you need or an employee of the month certificate that matters only to your own ego.  Neither of these things are important in any way.  Possessions won’t make you happy.  If certificates were meant to justify your diligence and hard work, why not a cash bonus?  I mean, when managers and CEO’s “perform”, they are injected with money.  So why not plebs like you?

Over the years, I have dealt with all sorts of precocious, arrogant and pretentious grubs who hide behind their title or job description.  You know the ones?  They think they are above you because they are a Doctor, surgeon or earn three times as much as you do.  They still shit the same as you. Sleep the same as you.  Breath the same as you.  So why bow down to them? Seriously, why do you do it?  


I held a hospital job once and was subjected to an office manager who micro managed everybody.  A few months into the role, this office manager berated a fellow work buddy that one time too many.  I walked over and tore shreds off her.  At first she didn’t know how to reply then, walked off.  Nobody had ever taken a stand with her before.  Once she left the office and the tension lifted, a few colleagues said that it was the first time anyone had stood up to her.  A few weeks later, I was shuffled on to a new department and the micro managing bitch (best way to describe the cow) was also moved on.  The moral of that story is that you should never take shit from gob shites who don’t respect you.


I’ve fallen foul of many management teams in the past.  Often, they are not used to dealing with staff who fight back.  You have rights as a worker and you should always utilise them to your advantage.  Bosses in the past have called me “unique”, “interesting” or “different”.  These descriptions normally follow a meeting where they have tried to pull me into line and I have refused to budge after stating my rights as a worker.  You see, management don’t like people who rock the boat.  In their training, they are brainwashed to think the best workers are the ones who do as they are told and don’t answer back.  In fact, they are the worst employees to have.  As an employer, you should look for those who are capable of thinking for themselves and getting outside the comfort zone.  The only problem with that is management tend to “lose power” and “control” over the workers when this happens.  Their ego is bruised because workers are less inclined to bow down to them.  

Go out and live.  Before you do that, remind your boss and management team that you have rights that should be respected.  

The Lodger Returns!

At the time of its release, David Bowie’s Lodger LP was met with somewhat mixed reviews and not so hand album sales.  Off the back of Low and “Heroes”, Lodger felt like a minor disappointment for fans hoping for a more complete finish to the Berlin “trip-tych” as Bowie labeled the series of LPs.  I myself, first heard Lodger by way of the Rykodisc CD re-issue in 1993.  The album felt other worldly to my teenage ears.  Bowie escorted us through a series of stories about travel, adventure, discovery, fame, domestic violence and and ability to be comfortable in ones skin.  For many years, Lodger was a personal favorite that I would often revisit time and again.  It’s the sort of record you want to listen to when walking the street of Borneo or Kuala Lumpur, both of which, I have done.

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The only issue that I had with Lodger, and something that sticks to me to this day is the seemingly “muddy” mixing job that Tony Visconti originally performed on the 10 track opus.  You always felt like there were things buried so far deep within the album that it was always going to feel like a somewhat incomplete listening experience regardless of how good the album was as a whole piece. Actually, listening to Lodger pre-2017 was like kissing that girl you always liked who always pulled away when your hands started to wander.  OK, perhaps Lodger isn’t a “frigid” album per say but you get the drift yes?

I digress.

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Enter Tony Visconti, the original producer of Lodger who has, in effect cleaned Lodger up to be heard the way it probably always should have been heard.  It’s been re-issued as part of the “A New Career In A New Town” box set that was released this week through Parlaphone records.  It’s the third in the ongoing annual series following on from “Five Years” in 2015 and “Who Can I Be Now?” from last year, both reasonable releases without anything terribly new or exciting being included.  Let’s just say all these releases are fantastic for the casual or new Bowie fans wanting to find out what all the fuss was about?  Each box comes beautifully packaged and presented.  But what of the 2017 Tony Visconti mix of Lodger?  Let’s find out…..

From the opening bars of Fantastic Voyage, we are immediately welcomed with instruments and vocals that one had never thought existed on the original release or subsequent re-issues in 1991 and 1999.  The original 1984 RCA CD release had probably been what I consider to be the best of a bad lot in terms of re-issues.  However, now, we have one of the most impressive remasters of the Bowie cannon on offer.  What hit me most of all the tracks was “Yassassin”, Bowie’s ode to his Turkish region of Berlin that he embraced with open arms for just over twelve months in the late 70’s when living with Iggy Pop.  To be honest, it’s actually incredible to hear a new vibrancy to the song.  Even after the solitary listen this morning on my rather expensive headphones, i’m anticipating many more listens over the weekend.  After all, it’s my favorite period of Bowie’s career.  He was edgy, dangerous and simply didn’t give a fuck what people thought of his music releases.  It’s the way every artist should be but simply isn’t.

Famously, Bowie coerced his band of session musicians to swap instruments and play like a teenage boy band on “Boys Keep Swinging”.  Speaking in the past, Bowie, Carlos Alomar and Visconti have both stated the original version sounded too polished hence the improvisation. It works a treat and on this new mix you can hear so much more giving the song a new lease of life.  It’s that good a single that, if released today by say, The Killers, it would be a massive chart hit on both sides of the Atlantic.  That’s the distinct beauty behind Lodger.  To the casual music fan, they would struggle greatly to pin point a year of release had they not know who or what they were listening too.  Imagine The White Stripes going art house or Radiohead moving back to their garage roots?  That’s Lodger!

Upon release in May 1979, Lodger only trouble the TOP 10 in four countries, with New Zealand being it’s highest performing effort, peaking at number 3 in June of the same year.  The androgyny of “Boys Keep Swinging” (a TOP 10 UK hit) and “DJ” coupled with the art house feel of “Look Back In Anger” made Lodger partly inaccessible for some.  For me though, it’s the charm of an inspiring album that you would be utterly foolish not to rediscover again or even discover for the first time.  For those of you like myself, not shelling out for the “A New Career In A New Town” box set, you can indulge in a listening session via Spotify.  What on earth are you waiting for?

Jurgen Klopp: 2 Years On

I’m not going to start out by throwing you a plate load of stats and comparisons to former managers today.  What I am going to do is try and explain why it’s important for Liverpool to keep moving forward with our manager at the helm.

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It was a fantastic day back in mid October 2015.  A man thought to be a messiah of sorts had arrived on Merseyside to help dig us out of a rut that had been carrying on for almost 18 months now.  I was there on the fateful Monday night when we threw away 2 valuable points against Crystal Palace and with it, any chance of winning the league.  I’d spent over four long months talking utter shit on a Cyrstal Palace fan forum to get in with the locals and secure a couple of tickets in the home end.  We all know that away tickets have become a closed shop in recent years (thanks to Bolton, Wigan and Blackburn fucking off) and you either have to know the right people or just strike it lucky on the day.  I honestly don’t think Liverpool recovered from that 3-3 result.  More so, the manager at the time failed to recover as well and was punted after almost a season and a half of post Suarez disappointments.

Then came Jurgen.  Now, we were on our way back.  The chosen one was with us, expectations were high and the supporters were behind the team as one once more.

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Outside White Hart Lane, we gathered earlier than normal, sorted our tickets and moved in to sing our bleeding hearts out.  There was a special atmosphere in the air.  Fast forward 90 minutes and we had escaped with a goalless draw against Spurs and probably could have taken all 3 but it wasn’t to be.  I vividly remember the players running themselves into the ground and being impressed by this new and adventurous style of play that was being implemented.  Fast forward four months and we were back at Wembley in a cup final.  The day didn’t end the way we had all hoped but things were looking up.  It’s one of the best days out at Wembley I have ever had and part of that was down to the manager.  Fast forward a further two months and I watched back home in awe as our manager inspired a memorable come from behind European classic that will live in the lives of those who attended for the rest of their living days.  In between there were a number of other astounding results.  At the end of that season, we were in another European final.  Once more, a shit result but we were moving forward.

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All the time through the second half of the season, I kept thinking back to that day at Spurs.  That’s where it started.  That’s where it continues to this day.

Last season, Klopp’s first full season in charge, he helped the club back into the dining halls of Europe’s elite.  Back in the big time.  Sure there were some moments where we were left flat.  Think the meek showing at home in the League Cup semi final when we should have battered an average Southampton and gone onto another Wembley adventure.  Or some of those tosh results to substandard clubs at home during the season.  Regardless, we finished in fourth and looked forward to the coming season playing against Europe’s royalty of the football kind.  In 18 months, we’d enjoyed some adventures and good times were ahead.

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Think once more, back to that day at White Hart Lane and remember how exciting it was that Liverpool had secured an elite manager who had come from Germany with impressive pedigree and a bright future ahead for us all.  Well, that future is still alive and kicking.  Listening to some of the fools on radio phone in shows or reading some of the utter shit coming from poorly educated mouths on social media forums shouldn’t deter you.  It’s from people who are never satisfied.  The same people who expect a treble every season and then shout to the rooftops when it fails to eventuate.

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Think of that day at White Hart Lane some two years ago.  Think of those amazing European nights so far.  Think of two cup finals and most of all, think of the great nights ahead in this seasons Champions League and another top four finish.  Most of all, be grateful that we have a manager who wants us to succeed and will move hell and high water to see it happen.  Calling for the managers head is nonsense.  It’s the sort of talk that should have you having a word with yourself.

Get behind your team, be patient and show some faith and trust in a man who will bring many more special days and nights.  You don’t yet know how good you have it……

Spur Of The Moment?

Ever had that moment where you look at something and just think to yourself, “Fuck it! Why the hell not?”.  Well, that was me this morning when I entered the Bayside half marathon on the back of little to no training.  As they say, you only live once so why not enjoy yourself and just go for it?  The last time I decided to do something silly like this was two years ago when I ran the Brisbane half marathon after only returning from an overseas adventure a couple of weeks prior.  My portly tummy held up, as did my legs and my ever so tight hamstrings.  It’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to something.  Oh, I ran that day in 1 hour and 57 minutes, a good 15 minutes quicker than I actually expected to finish it in.

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2015: Brisbane half marathon completed in 1 hour 57 minutes

I think i’ve had a couple of runs in the past few weeks.  Nothing more than 10 km’s but what’s a cheeky 21.1 km run on a beautiful Saturday afternoon by the water with a few thousand running buddies ey?  Lots of fun, that’s what I say!  Perhaps that’s the astute beauty of these events?  I’ve done 30 halves before so I know how easy it is to mentally conquer any fears and doubts that may arise.  That’s half the battle.  The other half is the conditioning or lack of.  The only thing I can do is just put my head down, bum up and crack on.

The lesson from this is that you really can do and achieve anything your heart desires.  You just have to hold the self belief, confidence and have a mind that is easily motivated to get things done.  If any of you should happen to fancy a trot by the water this weekend, drop me a line and let’s achieve something fun together!

My Year In Cinema PART: 2

Well, it’s been a few months since I last wrote about the films I have seen at the cinema in 2017.  For those of you who don’t yet know, I am clocking my way towards 100 films at the cinema in 2017.  Why you ask?  Because I can!  And, I love film.  Always have and no doubt, I always will.  It provides the perfect escape into foreign worlds and adventures.  Not to mention, it’s a beautiful way for one to relax and unwind.  Seriously kids, what’s not to love about going to the cinema?

I’ve really pushed my way outside the comfort zone this year.  Normally, film goers flock to the big budget Hollywood blockbusters and the foreign/art house films are left to the weirdo’s and odd balls like me.  This year however, I have seen a decent smattering of Hollywood big budgets flicks and been pleasantly surprised by the quality (The House) and naturally, been left deflated by some absolute Hollywood tosh (Rough Night) and thankfully, missed some dreadful releases (Snatched and King Arthur) whilst still getting my fix of some truly brilliant flicks (The Big Sick and Bag of Marbles).  Tonight I am due to hit film number 60 for the year.  slowly but surely.  Anyway, let’s take a look back at some more of the films I have paid my hard earner to witness in 2017.

DUNKIRK:

Any new Christopher Nolan film deserves your full attention.  Don’t think about it.  Just see it because you know it’s going to be good.  Dunkirk was no exception.  Actually, it was that good that I saw it twice in the space of three days.  The aerial scenes fought off the coast line were something else all together.  Dunkirk is the story of a miraculous evacuation of some 400,000 troops of the beaches of Dunkirk.  It came down to local British fisherman to pull of a high portion of the rescue mission which you could not imagine yet it’s how it all happened.  An all star cast which was led by a masterful acting class from One Direction singer, Harry Styles.  The lads got talent as an actor and I will look forward to seeing more of him on the silver screen in years to come.

THE PROMISE:

Have you heard of the 1.5 MILLION Armenian refugees slaughtered before and during the first world war?  I thought not.  Whilst we are constantly reminded of the plight of the Jews from 1936 onwards, The Promise tells the story of an American journalist who accidentally uncovers a massacre of human life on a grand scale.  It all unfolds towards the end of the Ottoman empire in 1915.  Christian Bale gives perhaps the performance of his career as Chris Myers and is back up superbly by fine supporting roles led by Oscar Issac and Charlotte Le Bon.

PARIS CAN WAIT:

Truth be told, I love a good rom com and Paris Can Wait, whilst being a tad predictable in patches does a rather cute job at adding new life to an always struggling genre.  We follow a love triangle that really doesn’t go anywhere yet goes everywhere in the same breath as Anne (Dianne Lane) sets off on a journey to Paris from the south of France with her husbands’s confidant, Jacques (Amaud Viard).  The problems arise when Anne’s husband, Michael (Alec Baldwin) constantly put his marriage to Anne on the back burner whilst he chases the Hollywood dollars through European film sets.  It doesn’t take too many brain cells to follow what happens next but a few twists and turns leave you all warm and fuzzy by the end.

ATOMIC BLONDE:

I never really imagined Charleeze Theron to excel in a role as bold and adventurous as Lorraine Broughton but fuck me sideways, the girl does good in one of the best films of 2017!  Once again, a stellar support cast including James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan and John Goodman follow the story of an MI5 agent (Theron) as she battles her way past the secrets and lies of East Germany in 1989, just before the fall of the wall.  Atomic Blonde is a colorful landscape of the time which opens the lid of crime and corruption through a seedy underworld where you just can’t trust anyone who crosses your path.  If you are looking for something sexy and sophisticated then may I suggest you get your hands on a copy of Atomic Blonde to enjoy.  The only real let down was a deflated lesbian sex scene between Theron and support actress, Sofia Boutella.  Why not go for a male on male sub plot for a change?  Kinky sex antics aside, you simply won’t want to miss this stellar production from director, David Leitch.

AMERICAN MADE:

Where do you start with Tom Cruise?  Pretty much any role the guy takes on, he excels at like nobody else can.  He may be a twat off the set but he always brings his best form to the big screen and American Made is simply no exception.  American Made allows us to follow the deceit and corruption by the US government through the 1970s and 80s as Barry Seal (Cruise) is picked up to fly planes in and out of South America transporting a absolute shed load of snow white (cocaine for those of not up to speed on slang) and other substances into the United States.  If you hadn’t already guessed, Bill Clinton (then Governor of Arkansas), Ronald Reagan and George Bush Snr collaborate to ensure they get their slice of the pie.  American Made is a fabulous look into a world where you trust absolutely nobody, including your government.

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO:

The story of the negro in America is the story of America.  It is not a pretty story!

Whenever I hear a white man tell what a hard life he has had, I always like to remind of things like, well, you know, the slave trade and segregation throughout American history.  I am Not Your Negro follows the story of James Baldwin who, in 1979 wrote to his then publisher informing him of his intentions to start writing about the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Medgar Evans and Malcolm X.  The book is never published.  In fact, only 30 pages were written so we are given a snap shot of the civil rights movement that was led some powerful and provocative characters of the times.  A chilling and powerful narration by Samuel L Jackson provides the backdrop to a truly terrifying story that was in fact, a harsh reality for millions of African American men, woman and children.  A nation of hate that still exists today in some quarters.

The film is screening in limited release but is one you need to see.  At time, the archival footage is incredibly difficult and upsetting to watch but that’s the whole point of the film.  A not so subtle reminder of just how horrible human beings can be and still are.