The Maddens and Music Memories


How times have changed. (This is code for, “I’m getting old.”)

Back in the day when I used to go to many, many concerts, I could never have imagined sitting near a couple of young girls texting and Facebooking their way through a live show. Mainly because those things didn’t exist back in the day, but I just couldn’t imagine paying to see a concert and then not watching the stage for 90% of the night.

Anyway, enough reminiscing …. at least for a couple of paragraphs.

Last night Pauline and I headed to Crown Theatre to see The Madden Brothers. It was a great show with heaps of humour, fun, great musicianship and some amazing vocals. It was great to hear a bunch of Good Charlotte songs as well as the brothers’ more recent music.

Seeing a great band playing live was a great reminder of some of the dozens of concerts I’ve seen over many years. I’ve put a bit of a list together of some acts I’ve seen. I know that I’ve forgotten several over the decades but here’s a large selection of the live music I’ve experienced. Most were concerts but some, like Tina Arena’s 3 songs in a shopping centre, were shorter performances.

Not all have been personal favourites. Some were support bands for other acts that are listed here. Sometimes the support acts were better than the main act. Some I’ve seen several times with others only once. As you’ll see there are even a couple of ‘kids’ bands that I saw with Emily and James when they were very young.

I don’t get to as many concerts as I’d like these days so the list is a bit ‘retro’.

Adam Hall and the Velvet Playboys, Amy Grant, Aneiki, Angry Anderson, Australian Crawl, Billy Joel, Birtles, Shorrock Goble, Bob Carlisle, Bob Dylan, BogarnisCarman, Clannad, Cliff Richard, Colleen Hewett, Daryl Braithwaite, David Bowie, David Meece, DC Talk, Diana Krall, Dion, Dire Straits, Divinyls, Elton John (with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra), Elvis Costello, Feargal Sharkey, Gangajang, Garth Hewitt, Genesis, Glen CampbellGrace Knight, Hi-5, Hoi Polloi, Hoodoo Gurus, Hothouse Flowers, Human NatureINXS, James Morrison, James Reyne, James Taylor, Jimmy Barnes, Joan Armatrading, Joe Jackson, John Farnham, Jon English, Kate Ceberano, Keith Green, Kenny Marks, Larry Norman, Leslie Phillips (now Sam Phillips), Linda Ronstadt, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Lou Reed, The Madden Brothers, Margaret Becker, Mental as Anything, Motels, Neil Diamond, Newsboys, Olivia Newton-John, Paul Kelly, Perfect Strangers, Phil Collins, Randy Stonehill, Ray Charles, Ray Davies, Rez Band, Robert Cray Band, Rogue Traders, Ross WilsonRoxette, Sade, Sensitive New Age Cowpersons, Simple Minds, Spandau Ballet, Split Enz, T-Bone Burnett, The Angels, The Saints, The Wiggles, Tina Arena, Tom BurlinsonTom Petty & the Heartbreakers, U2, Van Morrison, Vijay Benedict, Violent Femmes, WA Symphony OrchestraWendy Matthews, Whiteheart

I’d be interested in hearing about a few of the concerts you’ve seen. How many do we have in common? How many of the acts that I’ve listed here have you seen live?

I tried to list a few of my favourites but it was too hard to narrow down.

By the way, if you went to any concerts with me that I’ve missed, please let me know. I’ll probably update the list from time to time as I remember more.

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The World’s Most Awkward TV Interview


In my years of working in the media I had the opportunity to interview a very wide variety of people. From politicians to music legends and even a Tour de France winning cyclist, an absolute highlight for me, and while not every interview was brilliant, I’m thankful that I never had a moment like this one.

Ian “Molly” Meldrum’s interview with Prince Charles is legendary. I can’t watch it without cringing for Molly. It’s incredibly awkward but such great television. Great to see that after all these years Prince Charles has a wonderful sense of humour about it all.

This video is worth watching all the way through.

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51 Year Old Legs


Saturday’s final day of the Ride for Hope was the most punishing of all. 107 kilometres from start to finish with lots of very serious climbing and one major descent. Add strong headwinds and you have a recipe for several grueling hours on the bike.

To be honest, I found the day rather exhilarating. While it was a very tough day, and I could have done with quite a lot more training before the event, my 51 year old legs seemed to remember what to do and carried me across the hills with far more ease than I had expected.

My bike computer tells me that from Monday to Saturday I cycled 528.3 km from Albany to Perth. I cycled with 29 other riders, supported by an incredible team of 9.

I enjoy the cycling part of rides like Ride for Hope but I love what they’re able to achieve. Thanks to some very generous supporters the ride raised over $50 000 between two very worthwhile causes, with around $27 000 so far headed to Compassion to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

If I could communicate anything to you about why I ride it would be that Compassion’s programs work. I know that beyond a doubt because I’ve personally seen it in five of the twenty six countries where it’s working, in both rural and urban areas.

I also know that the programs work because independent research that was released last year shows it very clearly.

Compassion child sponsorship works. Independent research shows that children who participated in Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program between 1980 and 1992 stayed in school longer, were more likely to have salaries and white-collar employment, and were more likely to be leaders in their communities and churches than their peers who did not participate in the program. Once Compassion sponsored children, these adults are now making a difference in their communities as mums, dads, pastors, teachers, doctors, even members of parliament.

The ride may be over for 2014 but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to contribute. While we’ve unpacked our bags, cleaned our bikes and put our feet up for a little while, poverty hasn’t stopped. You can still make a difference for those in extreme poverty by donating through my fundraising page. I hope and pray that you’ll consider giving generously.

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I Wanted to Complain


I wanted to complain today. As we left Wagin to cycle towards Narrogin and then onto Pingelly, I wanted to complain about the wind that was smashing into our team of riders on Ride for Hope 2014. I wanted to complain but I couldn’t

I couldn’t complain because my difficult day on the bike was nothing compared to the experiences of the mother and child I sat with in their tiny home in Rwanda. In that small one roomed home with it’s dirt floor and tin roof they told me that if it wasn’t for Compassion they would both be dead.

I wanted to complain about the mosquitoes that buzzed around my legs at our morning tea spot but we had insect repellent. Our discomfort was nothing compared to the devastating results of mosquito bites in many of the countries where Compassion is working. At least the mosquitoes we encountered weren’t carrying malaria or other deadly diseases.

There’s a lot that can upset our days but I find myself less and less able to complain. When I think of the stories of genocide I heard in Rwanda earlier this year I am reminded just how much reason I have to count my blessings. I also realise that I have a responsibility to bring hope and healing wherever I can. That’s why I’m cycling around 520 kilometres in six days, raising money for Compassion.

Can I encourage you to consider all the reasons you can be thankful and then give someone else a reason to be thankful by sponsoring my ride with your donation to Compassion. Please visit my fundraising page today.

If you’d like to hear my interview with Tim Long of 98five Sonshine FM just click play on the audio player below.

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A tough day ahead on the road


A couple of days down and a new day about to begin. I’m on the Ride for Hope, cycling from Albany to Perth, a distance of around 520 kilometres for Compassion. I’m riding with 29 other cyclists and being supported by t a great crew. We’re all determined to make a difference for others and I invite you to play your part by sponsoring my ride.

Day one brought rain, constant traffic and a few hills. It was a tough day. Our second day from Cranbrook to Katanning was a great day for cycling. The wind behind us at time, mostly smooth roads, fewer hills, and an amazing stop for lunch at Tambellup, where we’re always looked after with an absolute feast for lunch.

You can hear an interview I did with Tim Long from 98five before we started our second day by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

Today we leave for Wagin. The forecast tells us it’s going to be hot and that there’ll be storms rolling in. We’re hoping to get to our destination by the middle of the day to avoid the coming hail storms. There will be hills today to slow us down. It may be the shortest day of our journey in distance but it won’t be the easiest.

If you know anything about me you’ll know that I work for Compassion, but I’m not supporting Compassion simply because it’s my job to do so.

I work for Compassion because I am convinced that there is no more effective organisation serving the world’s poor. I have seen no other method of working with those in poverty that even comes close to the way that Compassion is working.

I’ve seen Compassion’s work first hand in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Every time I visit another church that is partnering with Compassion I am amazed at the change it is making in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our world, children.

My fund raising target is $2000. I’m still a long way from achieving that goal so please consider making your contribution while I continue to battle the conditions.

Please consider giving whatever you can. Every donation of $2 or more is tax deductible in Australia. (Donations are still welcome from anywhere in the world.)

If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of children who desperately need your support, simply visit my fundraising page.

I can assure you that your money will be well spent in releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

For the 13th consecutive year, Compassion International has earned the highest rating for U.S. charities from Charity Navigator—the nation’s largest charity evaluator. The 4-out-of-4 stars rating places Compassion International in the top one-percent of non-profits reviewed by Charity Navigator

Let me thank you in anticipation of your support for children in poverty.

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I’m sitting safely inside after getting buffeted by the wind on the way here. We beat the storm but it’s coming. I can hear the thunder and see the lightning, We dodged it today but tomorrow maybe a soggy affair.

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