Sunday, June 7, 2020

Thought for the Day

5 x 5: Songs About Australia, Part 1

5 Facts about 5 songs about Australia  . . . 

(a favourite of mine)

Great Southern Land 

By Icehouse 


Young Einstein clip: 


Standing at the limit of an endless ocean 
Stranded like a runaway, lost at sea 
City on a rainy day down in the harbour 
Watching as the grey clouds shadow the bay 
Looking everywhere 'cause I had to find you 
This is not the way that I remember it here 
Anyone will tell you its a prisoner island 
Hidden in the summer for a million years 

Great Southern Land, burned you black 

So you look into the land and it will tell you a story 
Story 'bout a journey ended long ago 
Listen to the motion of the wind in the mountains 
Maybe you can hear them talking like I do 
". . they're gonna betray you, they're gonna forget you 
Are you gonna let them take you over that way . ." 

Great Southern Land, Great Southern Land 
You walk alone, like a primitive man 
And they make it work, with sticks and bones 
See their hungry eyes, its a hungry home 

I hear the sound of the stranger's voices 
I see their hungry eyes, their hungry eyes 
Great Southern Land, Great Southern Land 
They burned you black, black against the ground 

Standing at the limit of an endless ocean 
Stranded like a runaway, lost at sea 
City on a rainy day down in the harbour 
Watching as the grey clouds shadow the bay 
Looking everywhere 'cause I had to find you 
This is not the way that I remember it here 
Anyone will tell you its a prisoner island 
Hidden in the summer for a million years 

Great Southern Land, in the sleeping sun 
You walk alone with the ghost of time 
They burned you black, black against the ground 
And they make it work with rocks and sand 

I hear the sound of the stanger's voices 
I see their hungry eyes, their hungry eyes 
Great Southern Land, Great Southern Land 
You walk alone, like a primitive man 
You walk alone with the ghost of time 
And they burned you black 
Yeah, they burned you black 
Great Southern Land 

"Great Southern Land" is a 1982 single released by the Australian rock band Icehouse.   Regarded by many as an unofficial Australian anthem, Iva Davies of Icehouse, who wrote the song, it was intended as an antidote to Men at Work’s cliche-filled Down Under. Iva Davies has also stated that he was initially told to deny his song was about Australia for fear of alienating international listeners. 

"Great Southern Land" was featured in the 1988 Yahoo Serious film "Young Einstein" and is used as the walk out tune for the Australian cricket team for their home matches during the Australian summer. 

The original film clip, link above, was filmed at the disused Jones' quarry in the Sydney suburb of Wahroonga in 1982, with solarised clips of the band in daylight and surrounded by camp fires at night. 

From the National Film and Sound Archive at: 

'Great Southern Land' is one of the most enduring popular songs from the early 1980s about the nature of Australia. The song reflects a blend of Australian geography and culture, with lyrics that cast back across the vast history of the land and its Indigenous inhabitants, to a time long before the arrival of white settlers. The music adds to the sense of place, suggesting the openness and expansiveness of Australia’s desert interior. Songwriter and composer Iva Davies made extensive use of the new generation of polyphonic synthesizers, especially the Prophet 5 and Linn drum machine, in creating the song and the LP, Primitive Man, from which it came. 'Great Southern Land' reached No. 5 on the national charts. 

Early mapmakers and scientists thought that there must be a large land mass in the bottom half of the planet to counterbalance all the land in the northern hemisphere. Their maps showed such a hypothetical continent and called it Terra Australis, Latin for South Land. It was also called the Great Southern Land and appeared on maps between the 15th and 18th centuries. This theory of balancing land has been documented as early as the 5th century on maps by Macrobius, who uses the term Australis on his maps. 

The name of Australia derives therefrom, the name having been popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders from 1804. It has been in official use since 1817, replacing "New Holland," the Dutch name, as the name for the continent. 

Down Under 

By Men at Work 



Traveling in a fried-out Kombi 
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie 
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous 
She took me in and gave me breakfast 
And she said 

Do you come from a land down under? 
Where women glow and men plunder? 
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? 
You better run, you better take cover 

Buying bread from a man in Brussels 
He was six-foot-four and full of muscles 
I said, "Do you speak-a my language?" 
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich 
And he said 

I come from a land down under 
Where beer does flow and men chunder 
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? 
You better run, you better take cover, yeah 

Lyin' in a den in Bombay 
With a slack jaw, and not much to say 
I said to the man, "Are you trying to tempt me 
Because I come from the land of plenty?" 
And he said, oh 

Do you come from a land down under? (Ooh yeah yeah) 
Where women glow and men plunder? 
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? 
You better run, you better take cover ('cause we are) 

Living in a land down under 
Where women glow and men plunder 
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? 
You better run, you better take cover 

Living in a land down under 
Where women glow and men plunder 
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? (Ooh yeah) 
You better run, you better take cover (we are) 

Living in a land down under (ooh yeah) 
Where women glow and men plunder 
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? 
You better run, you better take cover 

Living in a land down under (living in a land down under) 
Where women glow and men plunder 
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? 

“Down Under" is a 1981 song recorded by Australian rock band Men at Work which hit No 1 in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland. 

The lyrics to Down Under depict an Australian man travelling the globe, who meets people who are interested in his home country. The story is based in part on singer Colin Hay's own experiences, including a prominent reference to a Vegemite sandwich (a popular snack in Oz, hate the stuff myself, as readers know), which derived from an encounter, during Hay's travels abroad, with a baker who emigrated from Brunswick, Melbourne. Hay has also said that the lyrics were partly inspired by Barry Humphries' character Barry McKenzie, a comically stereotypical Australian who tours abroad. 

Slang and drug terms featured in the lyrics: 

fried-out: over-heated 
Kombi: Volkswagen Type 2 combination van 
head full of zombie: use of a type of marijuana 
Hippie-trail: subcultural tourist route popular in 1960s and 70s which stretched from Western Europe to South-East Asia 
chunder: to vomit. Its origin is not, as stated in the Barry MacKenzie film, from the nautical shout to “watch under” if someone in the rigging was going to throw up. It dates from the 1950s and believed to come from from the rhyming slang Chunder Loo, rhyming with ‘spew’. This comes from the name of a cartoon character Chunder Loo of Akim Foo, who appeared in advertisements for Cobra boot polish in the Sydney Bulletin in the early 20th century. 

According to Hay: 

The chorus is really about the selling of Australia in many ways, the overdevelopment of the country. It was a song about the loss of spirit in that country. It's really about the plundering of the country by greedy people. It is ultimately about celebrating the country, but not in a nationalistic way and not in a flag-waving sense. It's really more than that. 

The promotional video comically plays out the events of the lyrics, showing Hay and other members of the band riding in a VW van, eating muesli with a 'strange lady', eating and drinking in a café, and lying in an opium den. The band are moved along at one point by a man in a shirt and tie who places a 'Sold' sign in the ground. The exterior shots for the music video were filmed at the Cronulla sand dunes in Sydney. The band are seen carrying a coffin across the dunes at the end. This, Hay has explained, was a warning to his fellow Australians that their country's identity was dying as a result of overdevelopment and Americanization. Hay has also stated that the same ominous sentiment lies behind the choral line “Can't you hear that thunder? You'd better run; you'd better take cover.” 

It was used as a theme song by the crew of Australia II in their successful bid to win the America's Cup in 1983. Men at Work played this song in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, alongside other Australian artists. 

Extra fact:

In 2007, on the ABC-TV quiz show Spicks and Specks the question was posed "What children's song is contained in the song 'Down Under'?" The answer, "Kookaburra", a song whose rights were owned by Larrikin Music, resulted in phone calls and emails to Larrikin the next day. Larrikin Music subsequently decided to take legal action against Hay and Strykert, the song's writers. 

Hear the parts of the two songs that led to the legal action: 

In June 2009, 28 years after the release of the recording, Larrikin Music sued Men At Work for copyright infringement, alleging that part of the flute riff of "Down Under" was copied from "Kookaburra". On 4 February 2010, Justice Jacobson ruled that Larrikin's copyright had been infringed because "Down Under" reproduced "a substantial part of 'Kookaburra'".On 6 July 2010, Justice Jacobson handed down a decision that Larrikin receive 5% of royalties from 2002. In October 2011, the band lost its final court bid when the High Court of Australia refused to hear an appeal. The decision was not popular with the Australian public, many being of the opinion that the Men at Work riff was quite different from that in Kookaburra, a feeling with which I agree,. 

Colin Hay has since suggested that the deaths of his father, Jim, in 2010, and of Men at Work flute player Greg Ham in 2012 were directly linked to the stress of the court case. 

More to come. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Quote for the Day

"Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya." ​
—Joe Biden, 
to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair, Columbia, Missouri, Sept. 12, 2008

See it at:

From the Vault: 3 Letters

From Bytes, May 28 2010:

The Pullman Bedbug Letter:

Whilst discussing a customer complaint with a client, I was reminded of the Pullman bedbug complaint. A quick enquiry on the internet enabled me to locate it and even, that debunker of urban myths and furphies, states that it is believed to be true.

The story is that on 4 March 1889, Mr Phineas P Jenkins, a salesman of pig-iron products, travelled on the sleeper of the Pullman Palace Car Company.

A disgression . . . 

The sleeping car, or “palace car”, had been developed by George M Pullman (above) who modelled them on the boats that travelled the Erie Canal. After Lincoln’s body had been transported by a Pullman sleeper, orders poured in. In 1867 he established the Chicago-based Pullman Palace Car Company. His railway cars incorporated such luxuries as freshly prepared gourmet meals in Pullman-operated dining cars, chandeliers, electric lighting, table lamps with silk shades, leather seating, and advanced heating and air conditioning systems. And, of course, the famed Pullman porters. Pullman sleepers operated until 1968.

Back in 1889, however, Mr Jenkins was moved to send a letter of complaint to the Pullman Palace Car Company at having had to share his bed with bedbugs. In return, he received a heartfelt apology from George M Pullman himself, the company president. The company had never heard of such a thing, Pullman wrote, and as a result of the passenger's experience, all of the sleeping cars were being pulled off the line and fumigated. The Pullman's Palace Car Company was committed to providing its customers with the highest level of service, Pullman went on, and it would spare no expense in meeting that goal. Thank you for writing, he said, and if you ever have a similar problem — or any problem — do not hesitate to write again.

Enclosed with this letter, by accident, was the passenger's original letter to Pullman, across the bottom of which the President had written, "Sarah - Send this S.O.B. the bedbug letter."

Although Mr Pullman and his sleeper cars are no longer with us, the bedbug letter lives on…

In November 2000 Ian Payne, a fan of actress Jean Simmons, wrote to the BBC to request a season of Jean Simmons films. In the same letter he requested an autograph of Lorraine Heggessey, the Controller of the BBC. He received back a short letter saying that it was unable to consider a Jean Simmons season at this time. Attached to his letter was a Post It Note saying “Nutter, polite fob off – no autograph.” The BBC subsequently “apologised unreservedly”, declaring it had tried to track the culprit from the handwriting but had been unable to identify the person responsible.

From Bytes, February 3, 2011:

The Cleveland Browns letter:

Another great moment in letter writing dating from 1974. That was the year that one Dale O Cox, a principal of the Akron law firm Roetzel & Andress, sent a letter on his firm’s letterhead to the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Stadium. Cox, a Browns supporter, was disturbed by the practice of fans turning their programmes into paper aeroplanes and sailing them downwards, much as happens at the Sydney Entertainment Centre

A few days later Mr Cox received a letter from James N Bailey, General Counsel for the Browns:

There has been speculation as to whether the letters are a hoax or legitimate, but legitimacy was established by Michael Heaton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer who contacted both persons in late 2010.

James Bailey is now aged 66 and lives in San Diego. He blames the letter on youthful indiscretion: “I was all of 28 years old when I wrote that letter. I should have been more cautious. I’m just glad my mother’s not around to see that letter.”

As noted at the bottom of the letter, Bailey copied in Arthur Modell, the team owner, on the sending of the letter. Bailey has revealed that he was chewed out for it.

Cox is aged 72 and still practises law in Idaho. He advised Heaton that he is still a Browns supporter and, rather than being offended by Bailey’s response, he has himself used the letter a number of times himself.


From Bytes, September 13, 2010 and reposted since then, the last occasion in February this year.  It's one of my favourite posts so no apologies for reposting more than once.  Thanks again Noel for having introduced me to it.

Sir Archibald Clark Kerr

The following item was reposted in 2017 but is worth another airing for a couple of reasons: 
- Kate and I had another laugh over it on the weekend. 
- I love Sir Archibald Kerr's use of language in his letter. 
- I am pressed for time on this occasion and a reByte is better than no Byte. 

Caution: risqué content 

My father in law, Noel, drew my attention to a wartime letter by Sir Archibald Clark Kerr (1882-1951). Sir Archibald was an Australian who served as a British diplomat, being Ambassador to China 1938 to 1942, Ambassador to the Soviet Union between 1942 and 1946 and to the US between 1946 and 1948. 

Sir Archibald Clark Kerr

Tehran Conference, 1943. 
The Tehran Conference (codenamed Eureka) was a strategy meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill from 28 November to 1 December 1943, after the Anglo-Soviet Invasion of Iran. It was held in the Soviet Union's embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first of the World War II conferences of the "Big Three" Allied leaders (the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom). 

Seated from left: Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. 
Standing from left: Harry Hopkins, Vyacheslav M. Molotov, W. Averell Harriman, Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, and Anthony Eden. 

Despite his many years of loyal service to Britain, his friendships with Stalin during WW2 and the Kaiser’s sister before WW1, and the fact that he was a disappointed suitor of the Queen Mother, he is today also remembered for a letter he wrote to Lord Pembroke in 1943 whilst he was Ambassador to Moscow:  

A transcript of that letter is as follows:

Lord Pembroke
The Foreign Office
6th April 1943 

My Dear Reggie,

In these dark days man tends to look for little shafts of light that spill from Heaven. My days are probably darker than yours, and I need, my God I do, all the light I can get. But I am a decent fellow, and I do not want to be mean and selfish about what little brightness is shed upon me from time to time. So I propose to share with you a tiny flash that has illuminated my sombre life and tell you that God has given me a new Turkish colleague whose card tells me that he is called Mustapha Kunt.

We all feel like that, Reggie, now and then, especially when Spring is upon us, but few of us would care to put it on our cards. It takes a Turk to do that.

Sir Archibald Clerk Kerr,
H.M. Ambassador.

Superb. One luxuriates in the beauty of the language, simple, informal, yet elegant.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Thought for the Day

Funny Friday


Welcome to another Funny Friday, readers, the first of the new month. And what a new month it’s already been. Who would have thought that events would take place that would overtake COVID-19.

As someone in the US put it in a message to me:
1020 so far: 
January - talk of WW3 and tensions with Iran
February - Coronavirus begins
April - Coronavirus, everyone is now on lockdown
May - Murder hornets and shit
June - Riots, looting, and Target is literally targeted 
What's next for July? Aliens? Zombies? Another $1200 cash prize for surviving America? Stay tuned for next month's episode of "What the Fucking Fuck, America?"

So take a timeout, think about lighter matters and read some funnies, best done  with a cup of coffee or tea and with someone to turn to and say “Hey, listen to this one . . . “ 

A word of warning: some of the items are risque so stop here if you might be offended. 




A cop in the US pulls over an old lady for speeding on a highway. He asks for her driver’s licence and registration. 

When she opens her wallet, he notices a conceal-carry permit. 

He asks, “Ma’am, do you have a weapon in your possession at this time?” 

She responds that she has a .38 Special in her purse. And a .45 in her glove box. And a 9mm Glock in the centre console. And a shotgun in the trunk. 

“Jesus, lady,” says the cop. “What are you so afraid of?” 

The old lady looks him in the eye and says, “Not a fucking thing.” 


A married man was having an affair with his secretary 

One day their passions overcame them in the office and they took off for her house. Exhausted from the afternoon's activities, they fell asleep and awoke at around 8.00pm. 

As the man threw on his clothes, he told the woman to take his shoes outside and rub them through the grass and dirt. 

Confused, she nonetheless complied and he slipped into his shoes and drove home. 

"Where have you been?" demanded his wife when he entered the house. 

"Darling," replied the man, "I can't lie to you. I've been having an affair with my secretary. I fell asleep in her bed and didn't wake up until eight o'clock." 

The wife glanced down at his shoes and said, "Liar! You've been playing golf!" 


A young guy met a sixty years old woman at a bar and she looked pretty good for her age. 

He found himself thinking she probably had a really hot daughter. The young guy drank a couple of beers and one thing led to another, she asked if he’d ever had a Sportsman’s Double? 

“What’s that?” he asked. 

“It’s a mother and daughter threesome,” she said. 

As his mind began to embrace the idea, and he wondered what her daughter might look like, he said, “No, I haven’t.” 

They drank a bit more, then she said with a wink, “Tonight’s your lucky night.” 

They went back to her place, they walked in. She put on the hall light and shouted upstairs: “Mum…you still awake?” 



An 86 year old man walked into a crowded waiting room and approached the desk at the doctor’s surgery. The receptionist said, "Yes sir, what are you seeing the doctor for today?" 

"There's something wrong with my dick", he replied. 

The receptionist became irritated and said, "You shouldn't come into a crowded waiting room and say things like that." 

"Why not? You asked me what was wrong and I told you," he said. 

The receptionist replied; "Now you've caused some embarrassment in this room full of people. You should have said there is something wrong with your ear or something and discussed the problem further with the doctor in private." 

The man walked out, waited several minutes and then came back in. 

The receptionist smiled smugly and asked, "Yes?" 

"There's something wrong with my ear", he stated. 

The receptionist nodded approvingly and smiled, knowing he had taken her advice. "And what is wrong with your ear, sir?" 

"I can't piss out of it," he replied. 



Regular contributor Tim B from the USofA sent me an email which I share with you, with a bonus of 3 limericks from him. Thanks Tim. 

Tim’s email appears below but, again, a risqué content warning, Bear in mind the accurate observation about limericks: 

The limerick packs laughs anatomical 
Into space that is quite economical. 
But the good ones I've seen 
So seldom are clean - 
And the clean ones so seldom are comical. 

Tim’s email: 

Hope you and your family are doing well. My brother is a retired lawyer here in Georgia and in his retirement he is learning to play the ukulele, doing woodworking, and writing. I know that you are a fan of limericks and he has written a few. Hope you enjoy.  
Take care,  
Tim B

There once was a fellow from Dublin
Whose date found his penis quite troublin’
She said “That will just tease me,
Twice bigger would please me.”
He replied “Sure, and it soon will be doublin’.”

There once was a sinner named Gaylord
Who said “If you really did say, Lord,
That we must be meek,
Turn the other cheek,
I’m in trouble because I can’t obey, Lord.” 

The last limerick started me thinking and inspired the following: 

I call my car’s GPS “Lord”, 
It isn’t meant untoward 
For just like Jesus.
Saving the lost, it frees us, 
It’s the truth and the way onboard. 


GALLERY . . . 





"Hello. I'd like a book by Dickens, please. 

"Which one?" 



The worst thing about working from home is Dress Up Friday. 

I have to wear a suit and tie all day. 


If you're here for the yodelling lesson, please form an orderly orderly orderly orderly queue. 


Just been to get a loaf of bread at a cost of $1.48 and gave the grumpy looking girl at the till a $20 note. 

She said "Haven’t you got anything smaller as that will take all my change." 

I said "No, sorry but I can pay by card if that helps?" 

She sarcastically said "Of course it would help." 

As I presented my card she said "Cash back?" 

I said "Yes please.” 

"How much?" she asked 

I said "$18.52.” 


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Thought for the Day

Urban Surrealism

Alex Chinneck MRSS (1984 - ) is a British sculptor known for creating temporary public artworks in a style that has been aptly described as “urban surrealism.”

Alex Chinneck standing next to A Pound of Flesh for 50p

Most of Chinneck's installations feature across Greater London.

His early works include . . .

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth (2012):

Chinneck used 1,248 pieces of glass to create 312 identically smashed windows across the derelict facade of a factory in Hackney.


From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes (2013):

Located in Margate, Chinneck created the illusion that the entire facade of a house had slid into the garden.


Under the Weather but Over the Moon (2013):

A commercial property situated on Blackfriars Road has been created to look as if it had become completely inverted.


For his work in Hackney, local residents have described Chinneck as the "Banksy of Glass".

His more recent works include . . .

Take my Lightning but Don't Steal my Thunder (2014):

A building located in Covent Garden designed to appear as if it floated in the air.


A Pound of Flesh for 50p (2014):
A temporary installation consisting of a house on Southwark Street made from 7,500 paraffin wax bricks which slowly melted.


Pick Yourself Up and Pull Yourself Together (2015):

A Vauxhall Corsa suspended upside down in Southbank Centre car park.


The Guardian has called Chinneck a "master of architectural illusion".

And more . . .

A Sprinkle of Night and a Spoonful of Light:


Alphabetti Spaghetti:


Birth, Death and Midlife Crisis:


A Bullet from a Shooting Star:


Open to the Public:


Six Pins and Half a Dozen Needles:


Self-Employed Sculpture: