Sucker for a good bridge

In songwriting, I'm a sucker for a good bridge in a song. To make an ordinary song in the standard Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Chorus-fade turn into something extraordinary for me, all you need to do is change key and insert a bridge before the two ending choruses.

Been listening to the Sarah Blasko album I picked up in Sydney, and Don't U Eva works for me in this way. Love that bridge and its synth backing line. Lovely.

Voting Labour

Last night I went to Hammersmith and Fulham FOE's pre-election meet-the-candidates thingy to try and make up my mind about who to vote for.

The Lib Dem was, as expected, a dorky looking type without much presence nor firm policy. The Tory, again as expected, was smarmy, charming and completely full of shit. The Labour candidate was surprising. Far from being parachuted in by Neo Labour Head Office (our sitting Labour member is standing down this election) she's actually a passionate local campaigner.

I didn't stick around for the Green candidate. She's apparently a "lifestyle coach", whatever that means. I think you'd be hard pressed to find me a candidate's profession I'd be less likely to vote for.

So it looks like, despite being from a party that is a lying sack of shit, I think she's the right one to go for. In this appalling first-past-the-post voting system, in a tight electorate with the Tories only 2,000 votes behind, I think the fact that the candidate's heart is in the right place counts for a lot.

You may wonder why I'm not voting Lib Dem. Well, I'm not convinced they're not just the socially liberal part of the Tory party. They certainly seem to believe a lot in laissez-faire free market economics.

So, it seems, I'll be voting for Melanie Smallman. I will, however, be making sure she knows I'm not voting for Iraq or for Tony Bliar.

Ouch sore!

This broken foot is quite a pain. The flight from Australia was a nightmare with the foot swelling up enormously and an annoying bitch behind me kicking my seat constantly.

Swelling has gone down now and I can actually hobble along without the crutches. This is a good thing because the crutches I was given by Ryde Hospital are terrible. I've got a huge blister on the palm of my hand and my arms feel like I've spent hours at the gym doing weights. A work colleague has given me some of the more modern metal ones, which seem better in that regard.

Makes me think about the inaccessibility of London transport. My world has been significantly reduced the last few days. Getting more mobile now though.

Ack! Broken foot.

This has been an eventful trip to Sydney. I'm flying back to London tomorrow morning, but this afternoon while walking in Bronte, I slipped off the footpath, twisted my ankle and broke my foot. ARGH!

With a bit of luck I'll get an upgrade, but it's really not good.

Bought loads of Aussie music

While I've been here in Sydney I've bought a huge amount of Aussie music. Stuff you just can't get in London.

Combat Wombat - Unsound $ystem seems to be a grouping within the Elefant Traks keiretsu. From my listens so far, I would say it's the best release on the label yet. Really quite serious, intense lyrically with tightly polished beats. Really impressive.

Decoder Ring - Decoder Ring is fantastic, immense soundscapes. I've been hearing their stuff for ages on Triple J's Sound Lab programme. Glad I've finally managed to get hold of the album. Love it.

Prop - Small Craft Rough Sea is another brilliant soundscape type piece. Kind of like Tortoise and Godspeed! You Black Emperor, only I think better. Track 9 is an incredible xylophone number. The album is probably my fave from the buying spree. If you like some of the soundtracks by Philip Glass, I'd recommend checking these guys out. I'm going to try and hunt down their latest album now.

Hilltop Hoods - The Calling we saw these guys play at Cargo in London about a month ago, when it was snowing in London. Absolutely incredible live set, and the place was jammed to the rafters with happy Aussie hip-hop fans. Looks like there's good demand for Aussie hip-hop over there. Incredibly, the guys weren't financing their tour beer fund with merchandise sales, so I couldn't buy their album. Finally found it now, though their distributor needs to pull his finger out because I had to trawl through four shops to find it.

In Sydney for now

Results from my Dad's tests have shown his heart is fine. That's excellent news and means his chest pains were probably the result of stress over the last few weeks, and nowhere near as worrying.

So I'm still currently booked to be in Sydney until Monday. I'm trying to get on a flight back to London for the weekend, because it's Holly's birthday and we have big plans for it, though it's unlikely I'll get onto an earlier flight. Still trying though.

If I'm around on the weekend, I'd love to catch up with people. Saturday night is looking good, and this time I'll choose a pub that's not so crap. Maybe the Courthouse?

I'm in Sydney

Haven't had a chance to post to the old blog for a bit. My grandmother died last weekend and so I flew into Sydney for the weekend. Now my Dad's sick, so I'm not sure how long I'll be here.

I've already made and broken plans to meet a large group of people. Thanks for your support guys and sorry for standing you up. Was unavoidable. Maybe we can make another set of plans.

In other news, Catalyst now has a Planet site to aggregate a bunch of Cat peoples' blogs. Bound to be interesting reading.

Funky Porcini

The fantastic cheese stall at North End Road market had a fantastic thing on offer this weekend. Giant 250g tubs of dried porcini mushrooms for £5. Incredible.

So last night I cooked a mushroom casserole. Rehydrated the mushrooms, chopped up an onion, zucchini, couple of carrots and bunged it all into a casserole dish with a veggie stock cube, a healthy glug of Worcestershire Sauce and some dried thyme, topped up with boiling water.

In the oven at 180 degrees C for an hour and a half, stirring every half hour. I served it up with sweet potato mash (with some roasted aubergine mashed in). Yum!

Vietnamese Mint

With the weather warming up, Holly has been getting her herb seedlings going. Last year we had a fantastic crop of chives, basil and oregano. Considering the small space available (one window sill) we had an incredible crop. The basil variety, in particular, was fantastic with massive leaves from a relatively small plant.

This year we want to grow Vietnamese Mint (also known as Vietnamese Coriander. You can find the fresh herb in most greengrocers in Sydney, but I have yet to see it anywhere here in the UK. It's absolutely vital for Vietnamese cold rolls (goi cuon) and works well in stir fries. It's mildly minty and quite spicy.

So I figure we can grow this through the Summer here in London if only I could find some seeds. No luck with a solid hunt around the net. Any ideas? Even importing them would be okay.