Leunig and the Olympic circus

Found this on the back of Issue #47 of the Brisbane Catholic Worker paper ‘Mutual Aid’ (circa mid-2000).  I offer it as we go into the circus that will be the Winter Olympics…


ain’t got time to die: my soundtrack to 2009

It’s taken longer than usual, but here’s my soundtrack to 2009.  Like a movie soundtrack, music accompanies events and periods of my life.  This is a way to reflect on my year AND have a productive outcome – a compilation album of quality music.  I recommend any and all of these songs and the albums they come from.  Enjoy!

Marker in the Sand – Pearl Jam
I went on a massive Pearl Jam bender for the last 6 months of the year, just putting every Pearl Jam album I have on my mp3 player and soaking it up.  Who knows why?  But this was a standout.   Great light and shade.

Counting Crows – Cowboys (live from Palais Theatre, Melbourne, 27-3-09)
After cancelling their Australian tour 4 years ago, they finally came back – and it was worth the wait.  In two nights they blew through two MASSIVE sets of more than 22 songs each, repeating just one.  The main song I wanted to hear was Cowboys.  When they opened with it, I knew it would be a good night.

Wake Up – Rage Against the Machine
One night this year I just happened to catch a new documentary called Chicago 10.  Strangely I’d never heard of these guys who had been arrested and tried as the Chicago 7 (then 8 when Bobby Seale was indicted, and now they call themselves the Chicago 10 because their lawyers got caught up in it…).  Anyway, it was a truly inspiring story of a bunch of activists who proceed, at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, to make a public mockery of the government and judicial systems by their wit, humour, and anti-establishment spirit.  The director decided that if he was going to tell this story in 2009, he would need to update the music.  This is from the soundtrack.

Adelaide – Ben Folds Five
I made two trips to Adelaide this year – once to be keynote for a Uniting Church young leaders conference, and the other to hang out with my friend John Dear for the weekend.  Both were amazing.  I did warn the UC crew with my opening line, “I might as well apologise now.  Everything I know about Adelaide I learned from Ben Folds.”

Onion Skin – Boom Crash Opera
I picked up the best of BCO for about $10 and it transported me back to my high school years like a crazy time machine…anyway, January 2009 was devoted to them as well.  I have a vivid memory of listening to all of these on repeat during the National Christian Youth Convention I was involved in, so this was the soundtrack to having 150 Christian kids descend on BAe Systems, the world’s 3rd largest weapons manufacturer. Weird?  Yes.

Inside Job – Pearl Jam
Great patient buildup.

I’ll not lose my faith
It’s an inside job today
I know this one thing

Landslide – Lior
Yeah, what can I say.  I just like it.

Live Forever – Oasis
Counting Crows do an amazing piano version of this as an intro to Long December, but if you don’t already know the original you really need to.  Classic.  I listened to this a lot this year.

I don’t really wanna know
How your garden grows
‘Cos I just wanna fly…

Ain’t Got Time to Die – Acapella
The first time I heard this song was Jarrod singing it in the back of the police transporter on the way back to Rockhampton.  We ran through every spiritual we knew, and then taught each other ones we didn’t.  It was so much fun, and I realised that this is what group singing is for – to collectively affirm truths when we most need them, and to deepen the meaning of things at such times.  If we don’t practice them together beforehand we don’t have them to reach for when we need them.

Lord I keep so busy workin’ for the Kingdom
I keep so busy workin’ for the Kingdom
Keep so busy workin’ for the Kingdom
Ain’t got time to die

Come in from the Cold – Joni Mitchell
Have I had a yearly soundtrack without Joni in it?  I don’t always listen to her, but there’s always a time of year when I listen to her a lot.  This happened to be in the dead of winter.  Perfect.

Back in 1957
We had to dance a foot apart
And they hawkeyed us from the sidelines
Holding their rulers without a heart
And so with just a touch of the fingers
It could make our circuitry explode
All we ever wanted was just to come in from the cold

Counting Crows – Miami (live from Palais Theatre, Melbourne, 30-03-09)
As I said, they repeated just one song in their two Melbourne shows.  That song was Miami, and they did it electric the first night, and then acoustic the other.  This is the acoustic version, and includes a new interlude.

If you knew everything
If you could see everything
Before it happened
What would you do?
If you knew that the love that you threw away
Would mean everything to her
If you knew it would ruin her
What would you do?

Let It Go – Resonance Choir
This is the closing song for inspiral evening prayers (a Leunig poem set to music), but it gained new meaning for me in Queensland in July.  It was my first night in the lockup, and we put in solitary.  They wouldn’t let us eat, and wouldn’t give me my prayer book, but I sang this song to the cells around me for an hour as a prayer and a meditation.  This is a recording of Anthony’s old choir too – listen out for him!

The Path to Your Door – Gyan and Leunig (with Paul Kelly)
My birthday gift from Chris and Jane was this remarkable cd of a woman called Gyan who has put a whole bunch of Leunig poems to music.  From the strange (Billy the Rabbit is dead) to the beautiful (Summer Palace), it’s a truly fascinating listen.  I never fail to find this one deeply moving.