The other week (I’ve been meaning to write about this for ages actually) I turned on the radio to hear some band doing a Queen cover. Now I’m no Queen expert but I know most of their most popular stuff – despite this I couldn’t place this one even though it sounded insanely familiar. Once it was over I got online and headed over to Google where with some judicious searching I was able to discover that it’s not a Queen song at all. It’s actually the title track of (of all people) My Chemical Romance’s new album Welcome to the Black Parade!
Now, no matter how much the emos may protest, it’s quite clearly a Queen song. Or more accurately the best bits from a number of really good Queen songs chopped up and thrown into a blender. There’s a slow, whistful start ala Bohemian Rhapsody which dissolves into Brian May guitar work which then turns into… well I can’t quite remember which Queen song it is, but it’s definitely a Queen song. In fact the only bit that doesn’t seem to have been ripped wholesale from Queen is the “We’ll carry on! We’ll carry o-o-onnn!” bit in the chorus. If it didn’t all sound so fantastic Freddy Mercury would be rolling in his grave.
And that’s the thing. It may be plagiarism, but it’s damn good plagiarism. And not all of that can be attributed to the fact that a good Queen song is hard to break. They’ve done a great job with it, and I’m probably going to pick up the single at some point (I don’t think I’ll buy the album, I’m not going to turn into a emo just yet thank you :).
So yes, on to politics.
There’s a lot of talk about nuclear power floating around at the moment. This is because the Prime Minister has finally woken up (prodded by figures showing the current drought is the worst in the country’s history) to the fact that climate change is a reality and (more importantly) could lose him votes if he continues to ignore it, which is pretty much what his government has been doing for the last 10 years. Rather than doing anything sensible about it however he’s decided to buy into the ‘nuclear power will save the world’ argument (which is hardly surprising as most of the rest of his policies come from the 1950s as well) and set up a heavily weighted committee to
prove that ahem! consider whether nuclear power is the way forwards for Australia. They reported back this week saying that nuclear power is wonderful, radioactive waste is good for fluffy little kittens and the country needs to build 25 reactors as soon as possible. Big surprise there eh?
Anyway there’s a lot of debate going on which has produced some truly wonderful bits of spin doctoring and bald-faced denial of logic. My (somewhat paraphrased) favourites?
Journalist: Your report says the country needs 25 nuclear reactors, where would they be located?
Committee Member: We don’t need to know that.
Journalist: But you’re saying we need to build 25 reactors, surely we should have some idea where to put them?
Committee Member: Once the debate on building them has been settled we can decide where to put them. It’s foolish to say where they’ll be located until the debate is over and the decision to build them has been made.
Kerry O’Brian (of the 7:30 Report): Isn’t it true to say that no-one in the world has yet managed to build a secure nuclear waste dump, and as a consequence 40 years of nuclear waste is sitting around with nowhere to keep it?
Government Minister: All that proves Kerry is that you don’t need to worry about storing the waste for 40 years after you start the reactors.
Don’t you just love it? (irony)
On the subject of locating the reactors I’m pretty certain I know where they’d put one here in Perth (God forbid). There are two requirements for a nuclear power station, it has to be close to the grid, and it needs coolant water. With the current drought and looming climate change the only reliable source of coolant is the ocean, so the reactor would have to be on the coast. That gives three logical locations.
- Kwinana. Kwinana is the major coastal industrial area just south of the city. There are already plenty of refineries and factories and things down there, and the government’s building it’s much vaunted desalination plant down that way – a nuclear power station would fit right in.
- Bunbury. Bunbury is the next major city down the coast (unless you count Mandurah which is basically just part of the urban sprawl nowdays). The advantage of placing a reactor there is that it’s the closest bit of coast to the Collie coalfield, which is where the city’s power stations are now. All the infrastructure for running power up to the city is already in place at Collie, you could run a line in from Bunbury quickly, cheaply and with minimal disruption.
- Swanbourne. There are large chunks of land in the coastal suburb of Swanbourne that are owned by the Federal government (which is why the nude beach is there – State laws prohibit public nudity but only Federal law applies to that bit of coast). The State government is strongly anti-nuclear so the Federal government could conceivably bypass them completely and build a reactor at Swanbourne, probably on the old firing range just off the nude beach.
In any case if they build a nuclear power station in Perth – anywhere in Perth – I’m moving to New Zealand.
So, I’ve been up to a few things lately (apart from deconstructing emo music and speculating on nuclear power sites). I had a very enjoyable night out with Rebecca and Dom a few weeks back. It started out as after work drinks in the city and stretched out into dinner at a Thai restaurant. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of Thai (some of the spices disagree with me and I don’t like coconut milk) but it was a good night nonetheless. We also discovered a great little cafe in West Perth (on King Street, just off Murray) which we’ve decided to make out city regular. The food is excellent, the prices reasonable (they seem a little high until you get your meal and realise it’s huge) and there’s all sorts of horrible art on the walls to criticise – so all the entertainment bases are covered.
I went back on Monday for lunch with Katie (we hadn’t caught up for a while and both had the day off). Then we spent about half an hour wandering around the city trying to find the building she had to go to for a job interview later in the week. We found it, but it seemed to be completely locked up. There was a piece of paper taped to the inside of the door saying something-or-other-company had moved, and giving their new address – we presumed it was the correct company 🙂
Then we went to her new flat so I could have a look at it (never having been there before). It’s actually really nice (with the exception of some paint issues in the bathroom) and it’s in a quite classy area of Mount Lawley. Ironically it’s also just over the railway line from where I used to live, which doesn’t sound terribly ironic I suppose until you realise that I moved from Mount Lawley to Bayswater and ended up only a few streets away from her, and then she moved from Bayswater to Mount Lawley and ended up only a few streets from where I was – see? Ironic! 🙂
Most of the rest of my time lately has been spent creating a Firefly based card game I’m calling Plyin’ the Black. The idea for it came to me a few weeks back when an package of Firefly related shirts I’d ordered from Cafe Press arrived, and I went on to spend most of the weekend playing Munchkin with Ryan and Fabian. I woke up the following Tuesday morning with the basic game mechanics fully formed in my head (this being the kind of thing that happen to me on a disturbingly regular basis).
(On the subject of Cafe Press and Firefly I seem to have got my order in just before Universal set their legal hounds onto 11th Hour. I could well be the last person on Earth to get a hold of her wonderful ‘Crisis/Never’ shirt).
Anyway much of my time since then has been spent writing up the rules and making the cards so we can test it out. If it works (which it should do, with some tweaking) I’ll probably do it up as a PDF and stick it up on Wyrmworld for the general enjoyment of all Browncoats. I wouldn’t charge for it, Universal would probably send me a bill for $8000 US Dollars or something if I tried.
The most interesting thing about getting the game together though is that I’ve been writing the rules in as good a Firefly accent as I can, which is having some weird effects on my brain. I find myself thinking in Fireflyese, which makes it difficult not to talk in Fireflyese, which I don’t think would go down too well. It’s affectin’ my writin’ as well, as you can no doubt clearly see now’s I’ve quit tryin’ to hold onto it. It do have a certain panache and charm to it I’ll freely admit but you don’t wanna go round talkin’ to folk like a refugee from a western film ‘less they’re like to recognise where you’re comin’ from – which they ain’t, even with the assistance of a fancy looking Firefly decoratin’ your shirt.
Right, enough of that I think 🙂
Anyway I’ve got to get to some serious cleanin’ (damn! you see what I mean?!) I’ve got to spend some time cleaning up the apartment today so I’d best (dagnabit!) I’d better quit, STOP, I’d better STOP writing now and do it (before I drive myself nuts trying not to type in Fireflyese :).