The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Rev Jules'

20

A surfer mate of mine in Byron Bay first told me about these guys, a group of ultra tough surfers who take their name from an abbreviation of their local break; Maroubra aka 'Bra, and so 'Bra Boys.

According to the press release for the movie, “Bra Boys is a film about the cultural evolution of the inner-Sydney beachside suburb of Maroubra and the social struggle of its youth – the tattooed and much maligned surf community known as the Bra Boys. The story is narrated by Australian actor Russell Crowe and is told through the eyes of members of the Bra Boys. Central to the story is the true-life struggle of the Abberton brothers – Sunny, Koby, Jai and Dakota … one charged with murdering a Sydney standover man, another pursuing a professional surf career but charged as an accessory in his brother’s legal fight, another trying to hold the family together and a young brother whose inheritance is his siblings’ notoriety."

Now, what the PR release doesn't mention is that it was, for the most part, made by the Boys themselves. Variety Magazine wrote the picture off with the words, "A fatally one-eyed docu made by senior members of the working-class fraternity...The overall impression is that of an unconvincing PR exercise. Murky vid sources are cruelly exposed on 35mm, though the soundtrack rocks"

So far, so what. And what the hell does this have to do with music anyway? Well, first of all, the public perception of a surfer is half a century out of date and is mostly drawn from Brian Wilson's iconic songs depicting California surf culture. It's an innocent vision that has been recently repackaged in the various MTV 'reality' shows such as 'Laguna Beach' which focus on the lives and loves of rich kids in SoCal. The Bra Boys are the antithesis of that, their surfing exists within a world of neglect not privilege. As 3Seven7 sing on the soundtrack, "This is not South L.A, this is South Sydney / This is where we grew up / That's the corner where I first threw up"

Which brings is along nicely to the soundtrack that accompanies the film and which Variety concedes, "rocks". It's an all-Australian affair and couldn't be further from the Men At Work cliche that has dominated our popular view of Australian rock.

Here is the track listing:


Two Feet On The Ground - 3Seven7
Times We Had - The Camels
Ready To Brawl - 3Seven7
Steamworks - The Presets
Allstars - Def Wish Cast
It’s Hard To Speak Without A Tongue - Parkway Drive
Don’t Go To Sleep - Regurgitator
Reach - The Butterfly Effect
La Mar (The Ocean) - The Beautiful Girls
Too Far Gone - The Camels
Champion - Grinspoon
Bra Boy Warriors - 3Seven7
Causing Trouble – The Camels
My Brothers Keeper - Jamie Holt

 

 

Watch the trailer here.


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17

Following on from the success of ‘Diary of a Debutante’, broadcast on TV3 in 2006, Paradise Pictures are now producing the ‘Diaries’ series and they are looking for a surfer to feature in their sports star episode. According to their press release,"Our aim is to capture the unique atmosphere of the surfing world in Ireland through the eyes of an Irish surfer. If you are a surfer in Ireland with a talkative personality and wouldn’t mind being on TV then We Want You! You don’t have to be the best surfer in the world but you do need to be working towards a specific event or competition this year."

For further information:

E-mail info@paradisepictures.ie Or Call 01-6610234


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14

When Michael Flatley, Jean Butler and the entire Riverdance troupe came stampeding out onto the stage during the 1994 Eurovision, they heralded in a new era in Irish life. They gave Irish people a reason to be proud of their Gaelic culture and heritage and this pride somehow, in a karmic way, partly led on to Ireland's remarkable economic boom.

That's what an increasing number of economists and social commentators have opined at any rate. It's grist for the mill in many Irish corporate DVDs although, strangely, its not given as a reason on the official website of the Irish State which lists a high standard of education, a commitment to open markets, the return of skilled emigrants to Ireland and good co-operation between Government, Industry and Trade Unions with regard to economic policy as some of the contributing factors. On the other hand, it is certainly valid for historians and economists to study the cultural life of a country as part of a wider study of its economic and social development; as Professor Simon Schama has shown in his recent BBC series, “The Power of Art”.

I don't know, I'm not an economist and I may be missing the bigger picture here but surely an economic boom needs more than a few photogenic hoofers on television to help get itself off the ground, or am I just being naive? Ok, let’s just say for a minute that there is such a thing as a Eurovision Theory of Economics. Where does that leave the future of Ireland's economy in the aftermath of Ireland's last place disaster in the 2007 Eurovision and the ongoing failure on Broadway of the "Pirate Queen" which is brought to you by the producers of "Riverdance"? Not too good I would imagine.

I, for one, feel genuinely sorry for John Waters, Tommy Moran and Dervish. If they went array anywhere it was in thinking that the Eurovision is actually about the songwriter's craft. In fact, the Eurovision was originally conceived not by the music department of any European television station but by a collection of broadcast engineers belonging to the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) in the 1950s. The EBU is focused on helping its members in regard to technological advances in radio and television broadcasting and in the 1950s the idea of a pan European live broadcast was floated by these guys at a conference. After all the technological issues were ironed out the last question to be asked was, "So, what shall we broadcast?". "How about a song contest?" came a reply from one of the techies. "Fair enough, we'll go with that". And so a monster was born.

Now, according to John Waters, the Eurovision is about "desire" and whilst that may seem a bit off the topic, he is actually right because if there is one thing that the host broadcaster of any Eurovision desires, it is to show how superior they are in their broadcasting skills. As a result, money is thrown at the contest. Engineers get the chance to buy all kinds of systems and equipment that, up until then, they had been denied in annual budgets and the top above and below the line talent available to the broadcaster is drafted in to deliver the show. Certainly, the appearance of “Riverdance” as the interval act for the 1994 contest demonstrates the very high level of desire the producers had that year to show RTE and Ireland in a good light. So great was the pressure on RTE to deliver a top show year after year during the early Nineties and so good were Irish acts at winning it in the first place, 1992 to 1994 consecutively, that many of the people drafted in to work on the shows went on to stellar intenational careers in entertainment elsewhere, such as Michael Flatley and Declan Lowney who went on to direct "Father Ted".

Meanwhile, back at my theory...I should say that I am something of a fan of John Waters. He is a formidable man with a formidable intellect who has fought and won battles in this country that; given Ireland’s legal and social framework, I thought were impossible to win. As a result I read him on a regular basis and thus I have noticed that he, on occasion, queries a subject on two levels and to demonstrate what I mean I will give you an absurdist example of this intellectual tactic. Let's say you were to ask me about a bottle of milk, I could answer you as follows, “There are two questions to be asked of the bottle of milk. Firstly, what is it? Secondly, what does it mean?”

So, if we apply that approach to our 2007 Eurovision loss, firstly we might say that it is a loss for a group of Irish musicians who drew on Irish culture to create a song that they hoped would win a song contest. Secondly, we might say that it represents a general failure of Irish culture to translate or connect with other countries within Europe. It means that Irish culture and society, just as it was virile and relevant in a wider context in the early 1990s, is now impotent and irrelevant in the early 21st Century and that this has deeper economic implications for us in the future.

In other words, we are now where Finland used to be; they came last in 1963, 1965, 1968, 1980, 1982, 1990, 1992 and 1996. Perhaps future Finnish economists will look back and talk of 2006 as the beginning of the Lordi generation, when Finns saw their love of, eh, heavy metal turn them into winners just as the economy was looking up after 16 years of recession.

So, in the event that the above is, in some oblique way correct, what do I then propose, dear reader, to solve our imminent economic demise? Well, given the Eurovision’s recent appetite for Sturm und Drang, combined with a tasteful display of female flesh, I propose that next year we send out the legendary Irish punk band Paranoid Visions along with a crack team of Leeson Street lap dancers to do battle on our behalf. That should put the wind up the Serbians.

 


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12

Take a good look at the advertisment to the left. It's a recruitment poster for the US Marines and I doubt you would have seen it in any American music magazine that you care to read. However, if you read American surf magazines, adverts like this are becoming more and more prevelant with video commercials for the army also being tagged on to the start of the surf movie trailers that are accessible on 'SURFING' magazine's website.

Advertisments of this kind, to say the least, leave me cold. They play on the machismo that young men like to display in what should be their salad days. "If you have what it takes to make it", the poster dares the reader without telling them that having what it takes might involve being wounded or not coming back at all.

I had thought long and hard about what to write concerning why I am so opposed to this advert; it appeared on page 81 of the June 2007 edition of "TRANSWORLD SURF", but I thought that, since a picture is worth a thousand words, I would instead show you a photograph of former Marine Casey Owens, in his dress blues, after he returned from active service. The woman in tears standing to the left is his mother Janna Owens. Casey is one young man who will never surf again and this image of him could have been taken straight from the Bob Dylan song, "John Brown", which ends with the stanza:

"As he turned away to walk, his Ma was still in shock
At seein' the metal brace that helped him stand.
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
And he dropped his medals down into her hand."

I

 

 


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09

Legenday surfer Laird Hamilton jetted into Dublin on Tuesday to make publicity appearances on behalf of his sponsor Oxbow at both Onboard Surf Shop in Duke Street and 53 Degrees North in Carrickmines where he signed autographs and posed for photographs. A big guy in every respect; his SUV was parked outside the Shelbourne Hotel with a massive surfboard lashed to the top, he is best known on this side of the Atlantic for his starring role in 'Riding Giants' which he helped to finance.

So far, so what. This sort of thing happens all the time in music stores around Ireland when an artist has a new album to plug but it is very new in the world of Irish surfing and has caused some comment, in particular the fact that although the autograph signings were free, the talk and presentation that Hamilton gave at 6pm in 53 Degrees North came with a price tag of € 5.00 leaving some people to question why should they have to pay for what was, in effect, a marketing trip on behalf of his sponsor ?

Now, I didn't got to either of the signings nor did I attend the talk so I cannot comment on whether it was worth the time or money. I'm sure Laird had some excellent advice to impart; as does any person who is at the top of their profession, although I think the opportunities of learning from an expert surfer are very limited if you are not in the water with them. The main reason though that I didn't show up was that I think you should only stand in line for one of your heroes and none of my heroes are surfers because there is nothing heroic, in my opinion, about surfing.

Surfing is, when you strip it down, a selfish pursuit. It's one person - one wave and it is pursued primarily for self gratification. I'm sure Laird is a wonderful person and he certainly gave his all to his Irish fans on Tuesday but he appears no more heroic to me than any excellent athlete. That is not to diminish his many amazing sporting achievements but, you see, its not what you do on your own behalf that marks you out as a hero, its what you do on behalf of others. Bob Geldof on television promoting his song " I Don't Like Mondays" is not heroic. Bob Geldof on television during Live Aid, pleading with people "to give us your f*cking money", that's the stuff of a hero.

It's a point well made in the somewhat clunky but heartfelt blockbuster 'The Guardian" which stars Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher as two US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers. The real life motto of these guys is "So Others May Live". Yes, the dialogue was a little jaded, yes the plotting was full of cliches but the central idea of the movie, that you devote your life to helping others, ran through the script like the stringer in a surfboard.

Laird Hamilton performs superhuman feats in the Pacific ocean, he looks great in magazines and on screen, and there are certainly many who would wish to emulate his sporting abilities but he is not my idea of a real hero. And it is a view that surf writer Matt Warshaw appears to share, "Surfing is devalued by all the inflated talk of gods and heroes. It is nothing but a rhythm, a pulse, an alternating tension and relaxation - and that is grand enough"

So who is a real hero? Well, the people who serve in the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI for a start. Like I said before, its not what you do for yourself that counts, its what you do for others. And don't go telling them about some surfer dude challenging the might of the ocean, they know all too well the real power of the invulnerable tide.

 

 


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08

In October of 2006, Cecilia Stego Chilo the Swedish Minister for Trade who oversaw funding for Sweden's state broadcaster STV, stepped down after admitting that she had failed to pay her television licence for 16 years and that she had been paying her nanny cash in hand. Did you get that? Will I repeat it for you?

Now, in the Sunday Independent on 6/5/2007, a poll commissioned by the newspaper found that 37% of the electorate still want Bertie Ahern to lead the next government, 5% more than his nearest rival Enda Kenny, even after it was revealed that Bertie had received € 50,000.00 in undeclared donations from businessmen in the early 1990s. In fact, after he initially admitted to receiving these payments his popularity in the polls actually increased, and he certainly didn't resign over the disclosure.

In other words, the Swedish idea of ethics and standards in public life is very different than our own which is the long way of saying that when you compare us to the rest of Europe, Irish politics is a laughing stock whereas, when it comes to Irish comedy, nobody is laughing. A Minister for Finance who didn’t have a bank account himself? That’s better than any routine by Des Bishop.

This is why I cannot take the newly formed Irish Rock the Vote organisation seriously or the latest lame attempt to satirise Irish political life, that suprisingly unfunny and toothless show "The State of Us” fronted by the actor Risteard Cooper and written by Gerry Stembridge, a fine writer himself who doesn't appear to have the same fire in the belly as Dermot Morgan had. I once met Morgan, by the way, and I asked him how come his political impressions were so spot on and his reply was simple, “because I hate the f*ckers”. To be fair though, sharp satire is not alway an effective means of dealing with politicians. It pained Morgan greatly that the more vicious he made his parodies of Squire Hockey, the more people seemed to like CJH. Equally, Will Ferrell's brilliant turn as George W. Bush is credited with improving his public image; not something I imagine Ferrell had in mind.

Rock The Vote is not, as you would imagine a call to arms by a new generation of politicised young Irish people in the tradition Bob Geldof who want to see the end of a style of politics that has seen not just one but two TDs end up in jail in the last decade as a result of the work of the Tribunals, nope, its actually an organisation out to answer such questions as, Where do I go to vote?”, “How do I cast my vote? “, What happens then?”, “How is my vote counted?”, “What if a candidate isn’t happy with the result?”, “Where can I find out about the results?”. What !!!  If this is the new generation of electorate, the question isn’t how can the present government stay in power, it is how can they not? Jesus, if CJH had been up against this bunch of numpties he could have been made dictator for life.

I won’t bore you with tales of my college days but just let me say this. When I was in university, RTE wasn’t running expensive adverts made with public funds begging you to wear a condom. In fact, student unions were breaking the law in their attempts to provide young people with contraception because it was illegal to sell them without a prescription, and the chances of getting one on a prescription were almost impossible anyway unless you were married. And that sea change in Irish public life wasn't effected by a generation of people who thought that voting was what you did when you were watching 'You're a Star"

Look, I am not telling you who to vote for, that’s up to you, what I am saying is that we aren’t going to get higher standards in public office unless we expect and demand them and, when we don’t get them, we should demand the removal of those in office who do not meet those standards. Perhaps we should rock the voters before we rock the vote.


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07

If anything demonstrates how far behind the times your average logger is then it is the news posted on SURFING Magazine's website on April 30th 2007 that Arcade Fire are "amazing" after the magazine caught the first night of their "comeback tour" at San Diego’s Spreckles Theater. Didn't know the band had gone away in the first place guys. SURFING goes on to say that "this is one band you should be into by now.". Wow, like, really  dude ?

Although I surf, I certainly don't hold dear many of the sacred cows so beloved of fellow waveriders. I think its great that women surf, I think bodyboarding is much more difficult to master than standing up on a 10 foot longboard, I think its great that Clark Foam was closed down, I think that localism is nonsense, I think that clinging to technologies from the 1950s such as fibreglass and rejecting modern advances such as carbon fiber is not retro or soulful, its just dumb, and I think that judging whether other people are 'real surfers or not' is for morons.

SURFING Magazine's taste in music is, in my opinion, well dodgy but taking this long to discover a band like Arcade Fire puts them into the Stone Age. What next ? An exclusive scoop that The Beatles have broken up or that a hip new band from Ireland called U2 have just released their first single ? Doh !

 

 


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06

At the moment, Burger King are running television advertisments for a new food product called 'Dark Whopper' which they claim is inspired by 'Spider Man 3'; adman speak for a hamburger inspired by a turkey. Few films I have seen this year have matched Spider Man 3 for sheer lack of quality and that includes the lousy 'Idiocracy'; a satire on stupidity that manages to be even dumber than the people it has set out to parody.

'Spider Man 3' is the latest in a series of movie adaptations of comic book characters that attempts to give their subject some, er, depth. Hulk, Batman, Superman and Spidey himself have all befallen attempts to give them greater emotional range and the results have been, without exception, 'Hamlet' as re-written by the script team behind 'The OC'; and in Spider Man's case complete with the Ghost of Banquo as played by Willem Dafoe. I won't bore you with the details but the fight between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn in Osborn's penthouse is more reminiscent of a backstage catfight between two drag queens at the Miss Alternative Ireland contest, "Take that you bitch!", than it is a punchup between two super strong alpha males, and Parker's dark side is revealed when he starts to dress like a 16 year old Goth fan complete with eyeliner and floppy fringe.

I am not surprised though. I had feared the worst when I learned that the soundtrack to 'Spider Man 3' contained a track  by Snow Patrol, a band into whose every song you could insert the lyric, "Mummy / I have wet the bed / Again" and it would fit perfectly. Try it yourself sometime. It would appear that the continuing march of Girly Man culture, which has all but destroyed modern guitar rock, has now got a firm hold on the action movie too. Pity.

 

 


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04

The news that English enviromental charity Surfers Against Sewage have pulled the plug on their 2007 fundraising Surfers Ball on the basis that it was losing money, despite its popularity, raises the question whether charity gigs are really for charity ?

Listed by The Sunday Times as one of the top summer events to attend, atrracting crowds of up to 4,000 revellers and featuring live bands such as Razorlight and The Darkness just as they were on the cusp of chart succcess there is no question that the SAS Surfers Ball was one of the big social events in the English calendar but the spiralling costs involved in mounting the event meant that the charity was using its own funds, raised from other charitabe work, to underwrite and subsidise what was intended to be a fundraising event in its own right.

The simple economic fact is that the money that is raised for the named charity at the average charity gig is simply the net profit after costs, if there is any profit to begin with. Far from being first in line for a cheque, the charity is often last in the queue after all the supplier's costs are deducted. Yet, each week the Irish press is full of advertisments for charity balls and charity gigs for a host of worthy causes but when you read the after gig coverage you wonder who the real beneficiaries of the event are. Here is a brief excerpted media report of the backstage atmosphere of one high profile charity concert in Ireland, "Food was smoked salmon on brown bread and chicken wings carried around on platters. The venue was decked out in thick carpets, leather sofas and big gilded mirrors. Heavy velvet curtains separated the VIP bar from the main room." Hmm.

It's something that Surfers Against Sewage have been aware of and have decided to take positive action on since, if any charity event is not working first and foremost for the goal that the charity is devoted to, then it is pointless to continue with it. As they say themselves, "We are clear that we cannot run the event again unless we are confident it can raise significant funds for SAS. We can never allow ourselves to reach a position where our campaigning work may suffer as a result of us having to subsidise an event such as the Ball".

Maybe its time to say goodbye to the fundraising gig and hello again to just sending the charity the money in the post. I certainly dont want my hard earned donation to get turned into smoked salmon canapes for some Z list celeb.


To learn more about Surfers Against Sewage and to support their invaluable enviromental work:
http://www.sas.org.uk/


 


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03

Last night, BBC Two broadcast a powerful film and inspiring film on the ongoing ecological threat to Hawaii entitled, "Hawaii - Message in the Waves", featuring contributions from a number of Hawaiian surfers, such as musician Jack Johnson, who are playing an ongoing role in protecting the ecological riches of Hawaii.

One of the sequences showed Johnson touring Hawaiian schools to teach young children about the importance of sustainable development by employing his skills as a musician though simple songs such as "Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle" to bring that message home.

In another sequence, we were taken to the most northerly Islands in the chain which, although declared a national park and protected by law, also contain some of the dirtiest beaches in the world as various forms of throw away plastic products from other countries, some dating back to the 1960s, wash up on the shores there after years of circling the Pacific ocean. This rubbish is also leading to the decline of Albatross numbers in the area as chicks swallow a variety of plastics such as cigarette lighters, toys and toothbrushes leading to starvation as they subsequently have less space in their stomachs for food or water. One of the contributors spent an hour walking across one of the beaches collecting detrius from the decaying carcasses of a number of these chicks and then laid it out neatly on the sand. The results were horrifying as the contributor simply explained that we are all responsible for this rubbish.

In a third sequence, dolphins were filmed playing a favourite game of theirs where they race through the waves, balancing a fallen leaf on their fins and passing it from dolphin to dolphin except now they play the game with discarded plastic bags. Depressing and inspiring in equal measure, this programme encouraged viewers to each play their part in making this world a cleaner place to live in for all creatures great and small and pointed out that it is a privilege to play in our oceans and that privilege comes with responsibility. It is a form of stewardship that the Ancient Hawiians understood very well and that Hawaiians of today through the the rediscovery of old values are beginning to realise is still just as relevant.

Image Credit: Albatross © Rebecca Hosking

 


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Nuggets from our archive

2001 - Early career profile of Damien Rice, written by Sinead Ward. This insightful profile was written before Damien broke internationally with the release of his debut album 'O'. This profile continues to attract hundreds of visits every month, it being linked to from Damien Rice's Wikipedia page.