Archive for December, 2012

Samuel’s Musician Of The Week: Chris de Burgh

The weekend before Christmas seems like as good a time as any to bring my Musician Of The Week award out of hiatus, and what better way to do so than with a Christmas song?

This week’s award goes to Chris de Burgh, and the feature song is “A Spaceman Came Travelling”.

A spaceman came travelling on his ship from afar,
‘Twas light years of time since his mission did start,
And over a village he halted his craft,
And it hung in the sky like a star,
Just like a star.

He followed a light and came down to a shed,
Where a mother and child were lying there on a bed,
A bright light of silver shone round his head,
And he had the face of an angel,
And they were afraid.

Then the stranger spoke, he said “Do not fear,
I come from a planet a long way from here,
And I bring a message for mankind to hear.”
And suddenly the sweetest music filled the air.

And it went La La La La, La La La, La La La,
La La La La, La La La,
La La La La, La La La, La La La,
Peace and goodwill to all men,
And love for the child.

La La La La, La La La, La La La,
La La La La, La La La,
La La La La, La La La, La La La,
La La La.

This lovely music went trembling through the ground,
And many were wakened on hearing that sound,
And travellers on the road, the village they found,
By the light of that ship in the sky, which shone all ’round.

And just before dawn at the paling of the sky,
The stranger returned and said “Now I must fly,
When two thousand years of your time has gone by,
This song will begin once again, to a baby’s cry.”

And it went La La La La, La La La, La La La,
La La La La, La La La,
La La La La, La La La, La La La,
This song will begin once again,
To a baby’s cry.

And it goes La La La La, La La La, La La La,
La La La La, La La La,
La La La La, La La La, La La La,
Peace and goodwill to all men,
And Love for the child.

Oh the whole world is waiting, waiting to hear the song again,
(La La La La, La La La, La La La,)
There are thousands standing on the edge of the world,
(La La La La, La La La,)
And a star is moving somewhere, the time is nearly here,
(La La La La, La La La, La La La,)
This song will begin once again, to a baby’s cry.

Merry Christmas!


December 23rd, 2012 at 06:16pm

Guns are not the problem – the attitude of people who use them for evil purposes is the problem

And it has to be said, the way these horrible events play out in the media is part of the problem too. An unfortunate example of this is the way that the day-to-day small-scale shootings from robberies and various personal disputes which would normally get local attention only, are automatically given national and international attention in the days after a mass-shooting. This, it could be argued, gives disturbed people an opportunity for notoriety by having the media link, without due cause, their act to the mass-shooting.

I don’t often defer to actors for their opinions, however Morgan Freeman has made a very good point about all of this in recent hours. His point, which I’ll let him explain in detail, is that we should be focussing on the victims and not the murderous lunatics as the notoriety which these murderers receive helps to fuel other murderous nuts. He says we should think of the victims instead of thinking of increasing regulations on guns as we would see less copycat killings if the murderers didn’t become famous for “going out in a blaze of glory”. I think Morgan has a very valid point.

You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine?

Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.

(h/t The Examiner)

It is a natural part of human curiosity that we want to know why events like this happen, and to that end it probably is important that we get to know who is responsible for this type of atrocity, but it is also important that we don’t make a martyr out of someone by plastering their name and face over every news bulletin for days and even weeks. The victims are much more important.

To that end, again courtesy of The Examiner, here are the names of the victims of this latest tragedy.

– Charlotte Bacon, born February 22, 2006, female

– Daniel Barden, born September 25, 2005, male

– Rachel Davino, born August 17, 1983, female.

– Olivia Engel, born August 18, 2006, female

– Josephine Gay, born December 11, 2005, female

– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, born April 4, 2006, female

– Dylan Hockley, born March 8, 2006, male

– Dawn Hocksprung, born June 28, 1965, female

– Madeleine F. Hsu, born July 10, 2006, female

– Catherine V. Hubbard, born June 8, 2006, female

– Chase Kowalski, born October 31, 2005, male

– Jesse Lewis, born June 30, 2006, male

– James Mattioli , born March 22, 2006, male

– Grace McDonnell, born December 4, 2005, female

– Anne Marie Murphy, born July 25, 1960, female

– Emilie Parker, born May 12, 2006, female

– Jack Pinto, born May 6, 2006, male

– Noah Pozner, born November 20, 2006, male

– Caroline Previdi, born September 7, 2006, female

– Jessica Rekos, born May 10, 2006, female

– Avielle Richman, born October 17, 2006, female

– Lauren Russeau, born June 1982, female (full date of birth not specified)

– Mary Sherlach, born February 11, 1956, female

– Victoria Soto, born November 4, 1985, female

– Benjamin Wheeler, born September 12, 2006, male

– Allison N. Wyatt, born July 3, 2006, female

May they all rest in peace.


December 16th, 2012 at 04:16pm

The US Shooting – some thoughts, but not debate right now

An email to 2UE’s John Kerr. Respectfully, I think it is too early to debate US gun laws. This email does not do that. If you wish to engage me in debate on the subject, please note that I will not reply until later in the week. Nothing can be gained out of debating this at this moment when the emotion of the horrifying shooting largely obscures logic.

Good morning John,

The shooting in the Connecticut school is truly horrifying, and it is disturbing that anyone would ever be of a mind to inflict harm on innocent children, or the adults who were harmed for that matter. Many families will never be the same, and that is a terrible tragedy.

This is clearly the work of a mad man, possibly even an evil man. It is horrifying and I am very sad for everyone who is involved.

I must say though, I am quite disgusted by the people in the US who are using this tragedy to try and score political points on the gun control debate. That may be an important debate, but surely they could at least let the families get their heads around the tragedy, and allow law enforcement officials to figure out what exactly happened, and why, before passing judgement on what laws they think should or should not change.

The debate about gun laws is one better held when the emotion of what has happened has subsided, so that any decisions which are made, are based on facts and not a natural emotional knee-jerk reaction. Evidence of that, to my mind, is the fact that Connecticut has some of the stricter gun laws in America, and this is mostly being overlooked at the moment by people who are engaging in debate on the subject.

And for the people in this country who believe that a blanket ban is an obvious answer which should have been implemented years ago, I believe it is important to recognise the cultural differences between Australia and the US. Our laws work here for the most part because our country was founded peacefully and we therefore do not have as defensive a mindset. The mindset in the US is very different, and while something may need to be done, simply applying our laws to their country will probably do more harm than good as people will, for lack of a better term, cling to their guns, and violently so, if their government tries to outlaw guns. I should also note that, while we don’t have mass-shootings here, when people want guns in Australia, they find them, as evidenced by the spate of drive-by shootings in Sydney in recent years. It worries me that people in this country immediately decry American laws without giving any thought as to why they have them in place. I think that the views expressed in this country would have more effect on the US debate if more thought was given to those views.

Out of respect for the families of the fallen, I will not engage in a detailed debate of the intricacies of the US gun laws this morning, however if this is still of interest next weekend when the emotion of this awful event has subsidied, I would like to discuss this with you and get your input.

I hope you have a very nice week.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

2 comments December 16th, 2012 at 02:29am

2UE’s John Kerr is retiring

On his 2UE show this morning, John Kerr announced his retirement from radio after 55 years on the air, 18 of which have been on the overnight shift at 2UE, first on weekdays and now on weekends. John made a private announcement to a select number of his biggest fans at a listener lunch in Sydney yesterday afternoon.

John Kerr at a listener lunch on 2007John will stay on the air until the Australia Day weekend. At this stage it is believed that his final show will be on the morning of Sunday the 27th of January, 2013.

John’s departure from 2UE has been rumoured for some time, especially since the weekday edition of the overnight show has been networked from Melbourne for a few months and 2UE has been on a bit of a cost-cutting exercise due to low ratings. At this stage it is unclear whether 2UE will take the weekend overnight show from 3AW in Melbourne after John leaves, but if they do it will be interesting to see how 3AW handle having NSW and Queensland stations taking their show on the weekend given the stark differences between the sporting tastes of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and 3AW’s position as a leading player in Melbourne’s radio coverage of AFL.

In other changes at 2UE, Mike Jeffreys returns to the 8pm-Midnight shift from December 10, filling in for the man who took his place in this timeslot, David Oldfield.

Next year could see many changes at 2UE with some odd sign-offs from existing hosts yesterday. Breakfast host Jason Morrision and Drive host Paul Murray both stated that they are unsure if they will return to their current timeslots next year. Some changes to the station’s lineup could depend on the outcome of NRL radio rights discussions. 2UE and 2SM are believed to have put in a joint bid for radio rights, and it is believed that this bid has been unsuccessful, but without any confirmation from the NRL or the radio stations themselves, anything could still happen.

Anyway, I will be sad to see John Kerr go. He has been an institution on my radio for many years and has been a welcome guest on the speaker of my radio. I have greatly enjoyed listening to John and having some conversations with him on the phone. I am also incredibly thankful to John for his time on a few occasions where he agreed to be interviewed for a school assignment and then again for Samuel’s Persiflage. I consider John to be a good friend, and will greatly miss his company.

John is a lovely man, and I intend on enjoying every moment of his remaining couple months on the air.


2 comments December 1st, 2012 at 01:10am


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