Audax Australia
This is the umbrella organisation running long distance cycling events in Australia Their website includes a calendar of events.

A place where cyclist can keep track of their mileage and any number of other statistics, as well as an attached forum.

A set of discussion forums covering almost every conceivable cycling related topic.

Cycling Adventurer
The Cycling Adventurer has tossed in the structured life of an urbanite to explore the world by bicycle. A well-written site detailing how he came to cycling, and what he learned along the way.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Bicycle touring journals from all over the world, including a couple of my own.

Johns Cycles

This is my LBS on the Gold Coast. While they cater more to the racing market, their service, advice and workmanship is the best on the coast.

St Kilda Cycles

Importers of all manner of things hard to find in Australia, including the legendary Schmidt hub dynamo & E6 lights.


Wonderings and wanderings out and about in Portland, Oregon, US

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

Aussie Writer and Cycletourist
A blog chronicling the writing and cycling of a seaside baby boomer.

Up in Alaska
Jill's subarctic journal about ice, bears and distant dreams of the midnight sun.

The Kin Chronicles
Taking mediocrity to a new level of ordinary.

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

CouchPilot-2-BikePilot (Zin's cycling blog)
Living an adventurous life with Type-2-Diabetes.

The adventures of Crazy Biker Chick
... Including cycling, adventuring, cooking, knitting and ranting.

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

Treadly and me
"Work is something I do between riding my bicycle".

Womanist philosophy and theology. Cycling, climbing, art, single-motherhood and fire-twirling.

Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
A bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all.

Geo's big adventure
The life and times of Geo.

It's about the bike
Musings on the cycling life.

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

Tweed Coast Treadly
An old man's bicycle riding diary.

A cyclist's life in Tenerife
(Canary Islands).

Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
Just the random scribblings of a guy with a bicycle

I'm not drunk enough for this
Really, I'm not.

What can I say? Just read it.

Mozam's cycling adventures
A random collection of the things I like to do most, and mostly that is to ride my bikes, bicycles that is... My musings from competitive riding, long distance endurance to puttering around the neighborhood..

More cycling blogs

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Australia's Greatest Export

In my life, there aren't too many regrets. However, one that lingered was that in 2001, I had the chance to see Midnight Oil play live, and didn't take it. I guess I figured that the opportunity would come again some time soon. History shows, of course, that it didn't. However, thanks to Wave-Aid (the Tsunami Relief gig) and Triple J, I was able to relieve some of that regret by listening to their reunion performance. Musically, they absolutely creamed every other act there, including some that were quite good -- and this from a band that hadn't played together in three years! However, there is so much more to Midnight Oil than this.

There have been a number of singers, musicians and bands who have made their living on the old "singing about Australia" line -- many of them have been country singers (John Williamson, Slim Dusty and Rolf Harris come to mind), and some short-lived rock bands back in the 1980's. However, none of them managed to do it in the way Midnight Oil did. The key difference being that the Oils covered all the bases, and believe me, not all of them were pretty.

Growing up in the 1980's and early 1990's as I did, I was able to witness quite a few changes in both lifestyle and the landscape; I had witnessed The rich get richer, The poor get the Picture, doing so in a country town, I had realised that The old world is not as safe with the new world closing in. However, our elected representatives didn't seem to care: everything's set, everything's fine, you've just gotta stand in line. Other times, I've seen beautiful landscapes threatened by reckless development: your dreamworld is just about to end.

Indeed, it's surprising how late I came to Midnight Oil, it was 1990 and Blue Sky Mine before I really discovered them -- although upon hearing their earlier records, I realised they had already been entrenched in my psychology for a long time. However, it was the video clip to Blue Sky Mine that really stuck with me -- coming from the working class background that I did. Here was someone prepared to stand up for the workers risking their lives in a mine while the suits raked in the fruits of their labour, not caring about those making it happen, or indeed the surrounding landscape; the company takes what the company wants, and nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground.

In time, of course, they would open my eyes to other issues; we've seen US Forces give the nod when market movements call the shots. We've seen the genocide committed against the aborignal people of Australia, how white man came, took everything. I found it quite ironic from the country that refuses to offer so much as an apology for this, to "celebrate" the aboriginal culture at the Sydney Olympics back in 2000. Of course, it was the Oils, during the closing ceremony, who sent out the message that so many of us wanted to convey, but didn't have the means.

It wasn't the first time they sent out such a message, who could forget their hit and run concert in front of the Exxon building in New York back in 1990? Indeed, last night they mentioned "our friends in Timor", then sung the following:

Now we don't live with an absent master; we don't live on an island divided, don't want my kids to grow up in shame; in a country with a different name

However, it wasn't always doom and gloom. Songs such as In the Valley, Capricornia and Surf's up Tonight (just to name a few), showcase some of the beauty that this country has to offer. Sometimes it's the sense of escapism (and much of their earlier work seemed to be themed on this), sometimes it's just the feeling that comes from the place without a postcard. Either way, often after listening to some of these songs, I have the temptation to jump on the bike and just go, accompanied only by the Stars of Warburton.

Ultimately, it was the combination of these messages that identifies them, sets them apart from pretty much every other musical act ever produced by this country, or indeed the world. It also tells us that if we do things right, there is a future, and a positive one: In the end the rain comes down, and washes clean the streets of a blue-sky town.

However, there is one thing that cannot be denied, whatever that future holds: Forget about your cheap "souvenirs" at those stupid Duty-Free stores in Surfers, if you want a real taste of Australia, of my country, right or wrong, just pick up a Midnight Oil CD, and turn the volume up to 11.


Blogger surlysimon said...

I discovered the oils back in the 80's and had the luck to see them live twice. one of my abiding memories of the 80's is the triple J ten year concert on goat island (i still have it on video). my all time favourite is still "Back on the borderline" which i generaly play at maximum volume. it is sad to think that we won't see or hear anything new from them again.
simon (surly pacer, surly singlator and three surly hubs, this might be turning into an obssesion)

8:01 am  
Blogger Chris L said...

You know, I almost bought a DVD of that concert last weekend (I'm just a little broke after throwing away $600 for a Schmidt hub). Maybe in a few weeks time. I have seen footage of that concert though, I'd have loved to have been there. I'm not sure I really have a favourite song -- it seems to change every week. It's actually quite amazing just the way their music evolved over 25 years -- I can just about always find something that suits my mood from their back catalogue.

9:38 pm  

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