Rogue’s Gallery lived up to its name.
It was meant to be the high point of the 2010 Sydney Festival but appeared on the horizon as a rolling, shambolic ship of celebrity vagabonds in sloppy seas. Perhaps that was the point. You can’t help thinking the early days of the rum colony that became NSW ran along similar lines. Actually, it still does.
Nonetheless, after watching Marianne Faithful struggle to read the lyrics for two songs she’s either beyond remembering or couldn’t be bothered to learn, many left feeling pillaged by the $145 ticket price. They stood outdoors for 150 minutes at the Opera House forecourt in thunderstorms and intermittent rain.
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Here’s proof of the abundance of great new music. The great benefit of those end of the year lists of favourite songs/albums/bands for the previous 12 months is that there’s always some gold in them crooked ventures.
The end of 2009 was no different. A friend in Sydney tipped me to the Girls and I still don’t know how I missed their eponymous debut. It’s been on high rotation since.
As has the Canadian band Metric - their CD Fantasies came to my notice when someone picked their song Sick Muse as one of the tunes of 2009. It’s solid, art-pop-rock, New Pornographers stuff and worth a listen. Metric was a band I’d half heard but never focussed on. I’m making up for lost time now.
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It’s only when you have finished a job like programming the Sydney Festival that you fully appreciate what a lucky bugger you were. You get paid to listen to albums, go to shows and exhibitions and then work with those artists you most admire. And you get paid for it.
Obviously it’s not without its strains – a friend of mine often cites the excruciating five-hour incomprehensible nonsense we sometimes have to work our way through and claims “I get paid to watch this crap so you don’t have to!”.
The truth is of course, somebody has to do it. We all want and need someone to trawl through the blizzard of choice and come up with combinations of plays and concerts that have been selected with us in mind. During my time in Sydney this was particularly apparent when it came to popular music.
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