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Book Review: Post Office by Charles Bukowski

13 Mar

On of my favourite television series is Californication, a fantastic series about a womanising writer named Hank Moody. The series itself deserves to be covered in a separate post, but suffice to say it is worth watching. One of the inspirations for the Hank Moody character is Charles Bukowski, an irreverent American author who by all accounts lived a very colourful life. I decided to get started on Bukowski’s work with Post Office, his first novel.

Chalres Bukowski

Courtesy 3ammagazine.com

I’m far from an avid consumer of classic literature but as I’ve stated earlier, one of my goals this year is to become more widely read and for me Bukowski seems like the perfect place to start. Post Office was at times dry and witty, at times hopeless and overall an excellent diatribe on the drudgery of the daily grind. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into more of his work!

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Sons of Anarchy

12 Feb

I’ve just finished watching the 4th season of Sons of Anarchy. It’s a drama set in present day California that is centered around a fictional outlaw motorcycle club, Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original (SAMCRO). In many ways it explores similar themes to one of the greatest television series ever made, the Sopranos. It examines the inner workings of an organised criminal group that usually operates far outside the world that most of us occupy day-to-day. It is a little more blunt, commercial and obvious than the Soprano’s, but achieves the same effect with perhaps a little less intricacy and flair. The juxtaposition of the violent and the banal, strong family bonds and raw emotion help the audience empathise with characters usually viewed with revolt and disgust. It is compelling viewing – this trailer for season 4 might give you a taste:

While their methods, rationalisation and general lack of conscience is at times appalling, many of their actions set in the context of a war-time film could be justified, perhaps even heroic. Indeed, the founding members of SAMCRO (the “First 9”) are made up primarily of Vietnam veterans who struggle to fit in to a post-war, modern world. Many members of SAMCRO are men of another time, a more brutal, honest and dangerous time. They are men of action and they dedicate their lives to their own (however warped) important code of honor. Although as viewers we can question and moralise their values, we cannot fault their commitment to them.

Most of all, in Jax Teller, the central protagonist we recognise the struggle of the modern man. Caught between the stereotypes of generations that pervade our lives, the fight between primal instincts and modern sensibilities. It is a blend we all strive for but struggle to define. The right blend of protector and lover, alpha male and metrosexual, hunter and discerning consumer is difficult to find and many of us might find ourselves longing for simpler times. I recommend SoA as an outlet for your inner outlaw and a way to tune out of our molly-coddled, nanny-state world. Don’t be surprised if you see a little of yourself in Jax, who is struggling to find the balance or Clay, a man who is out of place in the modern world. And… enjoy those bikes.

Lay it down for summer

2 Feb

Summer is by far my favourite season. Long days, balmy nights, cocktails, the beach, cricket… I could wax lyrical forever about my love of warm weather. One of the greatest things about summer is sitting out on the deck as it cools down at night, having some ice cold beers with a couple of friends and listening to first class tunes. This one is perfect for such an occasion – an undiscovered Australian band with some laid back bluesy-rock. Sit back, crack a cold one and enjoy the shit out of it…

Tommy Hafey inspires some reading

1 Feb

Tommy Hafey is a former AFL coach and motivational speaker – I first saw him when I was 14 and his simple, honest messages have always stuck with me. He’s a tough old bastard – 80 this year and still runs 7km each day, along with 200 push ups, 700 sit ups and a swim. I recently saw an article about him and he mentioned his New Years Resolutions; “read 24 books, go to the movies 12 times, visit six new places in my state, go to six concerts and take my wife to a new restaurant once a month.”

These are simple, measurable goals and I have no doubt that Tommy will achieve them and many more in his 80th year on this planet. I’ve written down my bucket list but I haven’t even broken down goals for this year, let alone posted anything on FG about it. So I thought I’d just get started by stealing one of Tommy’s goals – to read 24 books this year. I’ve got a tonne of books on my Amazon wish list so I’ll order some of those and get stuck in!

Update – 9th September: I’ve read three books so far and have plenty more sitting in my bedroom to get through!

  1. Post Office by Charles Bukowski
  2. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  3. The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL by Eric Greitens
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
  6. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  7. The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson
  8. A World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler
  9. Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles
  10. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  11. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Brother!

29 Jan

This song polled incredibly well in Triple J’s Hottest 100 this year. Here is a fantastic live version – it’s raw, passionate and full of emotion. Fantastic music to re-start my blog!

Sideshow Alley

8 Oct

So I’m hesitant to post twice in one day, lest I run out of steam, but I’ve been watching these all morning and had to share. I refer to a growing collection of videos of musical performances filmed in the laneways of Melbourne. They are beautifully shot, well selected and showcase lanes in the City, Richmond, Brunswick and Fitzroy. Live music, interesting people and awesome locations – everything I love about Melbourne town – burn city! Here are a few of my favourites, make sure you watch in HD:



Lana Del Rey – “Video Games”

4 Oct

After a song to impress your better half with? To set the mood for a date? Just to relax to?

I have been listening a lot to the track “Video Games” by the very beautiful Lana Del Ray. She has an amazing voice, it is very well produced and will definitely get stuck in your head.

“”I heard that you like the bad girls honey… is that true? It’s better than I ever even knew, they say that the world was built for two.”

Enjoy!