ABC Cuts. Implications for the music industry.

November 27, 2014 § 1 Comment

There’s a feeling of unease in the music community.

That cuts to the ABC will have far reaching consequences for the music industry.

WA music educator and performer Matt Styles, wrote the following on facebook:

While cuts to the ABC have been touted as corporate ‘fat -trimming’, the cost to the cultural landscape will be far bigger and more damaging. The Perth Classic FM executive producer (along with many other TV crew) was given a redundancy package yesterday. Will this position be filled by an itinerant ‘FIFO’ producer from the east? A national broadcaster is just that – national.

Australian Orchestral conductor Ben Northey, said in a facebook post that.

Today’s cuts to the ABC mean less live broadcasts on ABC Classic FM. Such a blow for lovers of music in regional areas who rely on these broadcasts, and for all those who are unable to attend concerts. Very disappointing decision which impacts on Australian culture.

It’s vital that kids have the opportunity to attend concerts AND hear them at no cost on the ABC. Out here in the west,

“Perth has joined a musical revolution born in South American slums that has improved child development and helped reduce school dropout rates and youth violence.” ~ From an article about WASO’s first steps into a wonderful music education programme, El Sistema, or The System. (From an article about WASO’s involvement with the music education programme, El Sistema, or The System.)

At at a recent WASO Education Chamber Orchestra concert in Kwinana, the kids were so excitedly engaged and absorbed it was almost like a footy match! Judging by their response, I think El Sistema is already paying dividends in Kwinana.

So how can these kids gain access our concerts if they can’t get there in person? WASO have an iinet website, where concerts can be watched live, or on demand. But surely this should be an adjunct to, rather than a substitute for, the ability to hear them on a free-to-air national broadcasting network.

Access to music, like sport, is essential for everyone. Reducing the ABC’s opportunities to broadcast concerts would only serve to diminish the quality of life for all Australians.

A truly educated mind has had music as part of its education. Every child in this country should have an opportunity to have a truly educated mind.”

~ Richard Gill

Cycling and the law

February 27, 2014 § 3 Comments

We need to pursue legislation which protects vulnerable road users, as is the case in the Netherlands.

As a regular road cyclist and cycling commuter, I’ve started wearing a GoPro on my helmet. The amount of respect I’m now given by motorists has increased dramatically. To me, this suggests that if there’s potential legal ramifications for thoughtless or dangerous behaviour towards cyclists, then drivers will think twice before taking unnecessary risks around them.

That said, I’d support an education program for ALL cyclists to learn preventive, sensible ways of riding in traffic. Before we can tackle legislation towards bad motoring behaviour we as cyclists, we should get our own house in order by finding ways to deal with bad behaviour which brings our noble activity into disrepute.

Let’s hold Tony Abbott, or any subsequent PM to account with regard to safer cycling infrastructure. Mr Abbott has said he wants to be known as the “Infrastructure PM”. Surely as a cyclist himself, he would understand the need for safer cycling in Australia as a means to alleviate traffic congestion, address rising obesity levels, and enable better physical and mental health in the community.

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Road safety for all. Especially vulnerable road users.

February 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

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As a car driver, motor cyclist, commuter cyclist and road cyclist I see this issue from a variety of angles.

And that’s what we all need to do.

We all need to obey the law, whilst remaining vigilant and careful around vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.

Impatience around vulnerable road users can, and does kill them.

Governments MUST provide safe infrastructure and also help to promote greater community awareness of the benefits of cycling and walking in our cities.

The demonizing of all cyclists because of the illegal behaviour of a few is misguided and inappropriate. That said, I agree that a formal road education/licensing program for all cyclists could well be beneficial, as long as a similar cyclist awareness program was conducted for motorists on how to behave when approaching them. Then, everyone is on the same page. 

Holland has legislation which protects the rights of vulnerable road users. Victoria has now made it an offense for motorists to “menace” pedestrians crossing the street into walking faster.

I don’t agree with bike registration. It may seem on the face of it to be logical and sensible but if a family owns multiple bikes as many do, it would create a financial impost which may discourage many obese and/or disadvantaged Australians from taking up a healthy, worthwhile activity or simply having access to cheap, effective transport.

In planning our cities, do we want to follow bad American models, or good European ones? “Cities of the 21st century should be lively, safe, sustainable and healthy cities. Jan Gehl tells us how all of these qualities can be achieved through the policy of making walking and cycling the preferred mode of movement in the city.

Dear friends, let us not forget the tragic and avoidable death of the brilliant young violinist Richard Pollett.
I enclose a poignant quote linked to a cycling safety article and video … “Recently, in the Financial Review, businessman and cyclist Andy Sheats said his one wish was “for drivers to pass cyclists with the same care and safety that they would take in passing their own son, daughter or loved one”.

Yours in compassion and loving kindness,

Alex.

My 2014 ride to conquer cancer

October 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Over the years I’ve seen many friends and workmates touched by cancer and this is my way of making a difference.
So my reason for riding is the people I care about.
With your help we can raise money in the fight against cancer.

If you’d like to donate, click on the link below.
Don’t worry, it’s legit.

Alex

http://sa.cancercouncilfundraising.org.au/alexmillier.

“How’s the serenity?”**

August 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.*

This is of course the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) serenity prayer. It’s been a valuable thing for me to have in my tool kit during recent attempts to reduce my alcohol consumption.

I’m neither religious, nor am I connected with AA, but I’ve left references to God in here. I hope it doesn’t make any atheists (or temporarily abstaining folks for that matter) feel uncomfortable.

In his recent book “Religion for Atheists”, Alain de Botton says of this secular age that we shouldn’t “throw out the baby with the bathwater”. He essentially says that cherry picking the good and useful aspects of religion is perfectly legitimate.

A sense of community helps drive Hello Sunday Morning (HSM). This is an online group where people support each other in “taking a step back” ie reviewing and moderating their alcohol consumption. Of course there’s still no substitute for face to face contact with terrifically supportive fellow humans. I’m tremendously grateful to my friends, family and colleagues who’ve helped me on my quest to find my booze “off switch”.

So HSM is a temporary “secular” break from booze and AA is a permanent, somewhat religiously inclined one. They’re both cut from similar cloth, but I’ve found HSM to be a pragmatic approach to regaining control of one’s alcohol consumption through the use of a social media style forum in lieu of formal meetings, sponsors and religion.

I reckon Alain de Botton would love the concept of HSM…. I know! I’ll ask him!
His twitter handle is @alaindebotton

PS Here’s the original unabridged serenity prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.*

*According to Wikipedia, the abridged AA serenity prayer is from a longer prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, although it may have been “floating around for centuries”. In the latter stages of WWII (1944) it was included in a Federal Council of Churches (FCC) book for army’s chaplains and servicemen. After 5 years of bitter fighting and destruction, soldiers, their families and civilians would’ve definitely needed the solace these sentiments had to offer.

**And of course “How’s the serenity” is a quote from one of the most beloved Australian movies of all time, “The Castle”.

12 Booze Free Months

July 26, 2013 § 4 Comments

Well, I’ve done it. 12 booze free months. 28 kgs lighter and more than 7,000 kms travelled on my bike. I’ve found a new addiction. Celebrated my “soberversary” with a 185km bike ride.

I’ll to try to continue this sobriety thing until Christmas. If I can do “moderation” after that, then I reckon we’re winning. If not, I now know how to “do abstinence”.

I didn’t travel this journey on my own.

I want to publicly acknowledge and thank Chris Raine, the founder of “Hello Sunday Morning” for establishing this important organization. A wiser head on such young shoulders would be hard to find. http://hellosundaymorning.org/

Jill Stark, journalist, and author of the highly acclaimed book “High Sobriety” for documenting her pithy, intelligent insights into a Scots/Aussie party gal taking on a year without booze. In it, she also illustrates how the booze industry likes to fuel our love affair with grog by saturating major sporting events with ads. (I’ve attended numerous footy games this past year without beer goggles and they’ve all been awesome!)
“High Sobriety” http://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/title/high-sobriety/

Ben Mitchell, whose blog Year of Living Sober (YOLS) I found randomly through twitter, and whose efforts inspired me to tackle a booze free year in the first place. Thanks for those encouraging tweets in the early days of my own YOLS Ben!
http://yearoflivingsober.com/ Ben’s also written a couple of novels. Not necessarily about booze, but about other stuff. You can find them here. http://www.benjamingrantmitchell.com/BGM/Home.html

I also want to thank my friends, colleagues and family especially my beautiful wife Linda. Without their constant love, support and encouragement, my year off booze would’ve been that much harder. A special thanks too to my cycling buddy Liam, who helped me up those first hills on the bike on our way to doing the 145km 3 Dams challenge in Perth earlier this year.

And to James, whose wise counsel kick-started a sensible idea into action, I thank you.

So here’s to any of us who take on the personal challenge of changing our relationship with alcohol. Maybe we’re heralding a new beginning in developing different attitudes towards booze. Or maybe we just want to prove to ourselves that we can make and keep a commitment of temporary or permanent sobriety. We’re finding ways of socializing, de-stressing, being funny, sexy whatever, that don’t necessarily have to include booze. And in my book if we can just do that, then we’re all winning. One day at a time.

Here’s to life!

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Tour de France

July 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

C’est l’hiver ici. Pas très bon pour le vélo aujourd’hui. Mais en tout cas le café est bon ici

Tour de Swan Valley en hiver.

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