Magical aural moment: “The Prince” by My Friend The Chocolate Cake

A tinkling, plunking piano, that world-weary, slightly raspy David Bridie voice . . . Right away, we hear his opening line – “When the Prince sings” – and we know this is about Trump, Turnbull, some tyrant. Drum and bass sneak in. Your memory buds activate and you remember the sublime “World Leader Pretend” from R.E.M. nearly three decades ago. “When the Prince says go back to your country, this is not your real home, nothing’s for you here” . . .

And then plucked strings, a held violin note, and Bridie begins a lyric-less refrain that sounds like “gooda-gooda,” soft and shifting, bursting with sad melody, the band swelling around him, and fair dinkum, hairs stand up on the back of your neck. So unexpected and intense is this yearning croon that the song instantly transforms from a quiet tune of rage into something transcendent.

If you don’t know My Friend The Chocolate Cake, this new album The Revival Meeting stands as one of their best and is perfect as an introduction. Buy it and please, please wait patiently through eleven tracks until “The Prince.”

Month 8 of the Big Year

Strange to say, only now in August am I settled into a productive Big Year environment. Why so long? The Fitness Big Year was clumsily conceived (too complex) and had to morph three times. The Writing Big Year inculcated steady, quality work but my emphasis on nothing-but-writing mornings was misplaced: I’m more at peace exercising early. The Rock Music Big Year is straightforward and I’ve stuck to it but only now am I gaining joy from it (I need to figure out why).

None of this reflection makes me regret my first eight months, not at all. Happiness isn’t wine and roses, at least for me, and my inner battles this year have been worthy. Daily calls to action work for this geek.

Fitness Big Year: Gyms are unlovable, right?

I’ve never set off for a gym with a grin. I can appreciate the absorption the gym jocks must feel, it’s clear they love their sessions, often long, carefully sculpting bumpy bits on arm and chest and leg. But for me, gym is labour, pure and simple. A means to an end: the best way to stave off arthritis, general upper body resilience, prevention of those common pulled muscles.

But this morning I must have woken differently. The gym was almost empty. Down on my bench, weights raised, I felt instantly alert and serene. Perhaps a more holistic view of this year’s exercising efforts – foot, bike and dumbbell – is on offer to me. Perhaps even a geek whose idea of bliss is slumpy reading can progress towards physical freedom and fun. Perhaps . . .