Author: Duncan S

Want Fries With That? Modern Pop as McDonalds

  As a guitar teacher, I get to hear quite a few modern pop songs.  I’ve noticed most of them share a number of traits: Very simple chord patterns, repeated through the whole song, often in both the verse and

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People Who Don’t Read Fiction

  Every so often I meet people who don’t read fiction. They’re proud of it too, in the way other people are proud of not drinking or gambling. But why? Today I’m going to try to understand the strange mentality

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The Mirror Test

There’s always one kid who goes too far, isn’t there. For a couple of years now, celebrities have been competing with each other to show how much they hate Donald Trump. Well, we finally have a winner. Comedian Kathy Griffin

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Big Bang Theory Disproves God

In the late 19th century, the theory of evolution made people doubt the existence of God. For me in 2017, it’s not evolution but the Big Bang Theory. No, not the scientific concept of the origin of the universe, the

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The Wisdom of Solomon and Clapton

  There seems to be one idea a few religions have in common – that physical life isn’t much good. Apparently when you get really advanced, you realise all the pleasures of physical life are unsatisfying and not worth much

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How Could They Drink the Poison?

Welcome to Hell

How Could They Drink the Poison? How Could They Not? There’s a giveaway for my book Cultown on Good Reads. To coincide, I’ll briefly revisit a famous cult from the past. I’ve been reading a lot about Jonestown, the settlement

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So Hard to Say Goodbye

(If you’ve never loved a pet, this story will mean nothing to you. If you have, you’ll understand. Names have been changed to protect privacy.) I knew the grief was coming. I knew what to expect. It still took me

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How To Earn $990 An Hour For Doing FA

I recently applied for permission to quote two Slayer song lyrics in my novel, Cultown. I went through a copyright agency who said there’d be a minimum fee of $495 per song to process my request. At two songs, the

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The Book With the Girl in the Title

Have you wasted years of your life reading how-to guides about book marketing? Then stop. This is the only one you’ll ever need. If you want to have a literary bestseller, you’ve got to get the title right. That means

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Robin Hood Rides Again

  Yesterday, I started my attempt to put out a blog every Monday in 2017. And since today is Tightarse Tuesday, here’s an extra one today for half price – meaning you still get it for free. Which is appropriate,

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Judgments and Opinions

  Just because a thing is sometimes bad doesn’t mean it is always bad. Being ‘judgmental,’ for instance. A friend of mine, who is a Buddhist, recently confessed to this ‘fault.’ When he sees certain types of people in the

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Why the Best Van Halen Singer Was Gary Cherone

One way to begin a story is with a headline so absurd that people read on just through annoyance. So here we go. Van Halen has had three singers. David Lee Roth made six brilliant albums with the band. Sammy

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Who Are the Foxes?

    Peter Fitzsimons doesn’t know who the Foxes are. This is odd for two reasons. First, Fitzsimons is a leading sportswriter and right now the Foxes are the greatest story in world sport. Second, the Foxes are underdogs and

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Liking Things Ironically

  You know that phrase ‘the guilty pleasure’ – what’s that about? Binge drinking? Gluttony? Serial killers who enjoy their work? Actually, serial killers don’t tend to suffer from moral angst. No, the guilty pleasure is about ‘cool’ people who

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Anjali Ramkissoon vs Mitchell Pearce: When Drunken Pests Attack

It used to be said you shouldn’t drink alone. Times have changed. If you’re going to get drunk and crazy these days, do it in private. Otherwise some bastard will be there filming it on his phone to make you

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The Top Five Paul Gallico Books

Paul Gallico was a 20th century American author. His best works are dark romances which show how love survives despite harsh conditions. Literary snobs tend to dismiss him as a popular author. While he made no attempt to be highbrow,

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A Horror Story With No Apparent Foe

A nightmare is usually something you wake up from with a sense of relief. For John Grant the ‘nightmare’ is something he awakens into, in a state of dread, each morning for five days. Hence the title, Wake In Fright,

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Hayne Hype

One year ago, rugby league star Jarryd Hayne moved to the US and tried to make it in the NFL. Looks like he failed. His team the San Francisco 49-ers is one of the worst in the country but he

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Cocker Crisis – Judge Judy Case

Cocker Crisis – Judge Judy Case #1375: Woodward vs Hartigan Calendars Dear Judge Judy, Last December, I purchased a 2015 Cocker Spaniel calendar for my girlfriend. She has a great devotion to the breed and I assumed this gift would

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The Station Nightclub Fire

  Warning – this story is not for the faint hearted. When someone famous dies, we often see recent footage of that person on TV. It makes me wonder if they had any idea how little time they had left

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I Love You, Zoella!

  Every aspiring author knows how hard it is to get signed by a publisher. Even a little indie publisher is hard to crack. As for the big ones, you’ve got more chance of flying to the moon by jumping

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Evil Avril

  I teach guitar to a few kids at schools. Most of them are nice but a few years ago there was one who was a real little bastard. Rude, agro and borderline violent … and he was only nine.

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The Invisible Man Goes to the Cricket

Photo – Alastair Cook, Michael Clarke, and the invisible Jimmy Brandt at the SCG.   What do you think happens when the invisible man  goes onto the field during the Ashes cricket test in Sydney? Those of you who have

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More is Less: a Review of The Hobbit

the hobbit film

‘Every good story needs a little embellishment’ says Gandalf  in a scene from the new film of The Hobbit. This is Peter Jackson’s way of excusing a few liberties he’s taken with Tolkien’s book. But the comment doesn’t make sense.

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2013

Hi Everyone, I celebrated New Year by time-travelling back to the 1970s and living in an ‘alternative lifestyle’ commune. Well, that’s what it felt like anyway with the daily meditation, vegetarian food and shared housework duties. Yeah, a real 70s

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Bilbo You Beauty!

  Have you heard? ‘The Hobbit’ has been made into a film. Or rather, three films. That’s right. JRR Tolkien’s quite thin paperback has been made into a trilogy. This is great news  but the question must be asked: why

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Mental Health

  It began with a pregnancy and ended with a suicide. Prince William’s wife  Kate announced she was pregnant. There was a media frenzy along with some smart ass remarks from republicans. Two radio DJs got in on the act

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Playing the Race Card

So, the new American Idol judge, Nicki Minaj has told last year’s judge, Steven Tyler, to go fuck himself. Nice way to hand on the baton. What triggered this? Looks like Tyler had a shot at Nicki’s ability to judge rock

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Satisfaction Denied

  ONE   In 2005, Rolling Stone magazine ran a story on the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” The songs were voted on by journalists, musicians, and others in the music business. There is a lot that could be

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White Collar Crime

lots of money, 45 million

A young woman recently got busted stealing 45 million dollars from the finance company where she worked. 45 million eh – how about that? Wasn’t 44 million enough? The woman’s lawyer tried to get her off on the grounds that

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The Smile of Sheldon Cooper

  So there I was holding a book called The Big Bang Theory and Philosophy and something was very wrong with the cover. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me – Sheldon was smiling. I refer,

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The Coffee Invasion of the Universe

  So there I was driving up the main street in my suburb when I spied an empty shop with a sign on it. “Coffee Shop opening soon.” “Good,” I thought. “If there’s one thing Sydney needs it’s more coffee

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Boo Hoo – The Crying Olympics

Just before he was hanged, the bushranger Ned Kelly was visited in jail by his mother. She told him to ‘make sure you die like a Kelly.’ He walked to the gallows calmly and kept his composure to the end.

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The Road to a Pulitzer Prize

                                                       The Road is a novel that won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in

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A Thousand Words About Kevin

Tilda Swinton

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I would dispute that, based on some of the films that have recently been adapted from books. A good example is the film version of Lionel Shriver’s book We

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The Fair Weather Friend

A true friend is someone who stands by you no matter what. In good times and bad, the true friend is there for you. But the ‘fair weather friend’ is only there in the good times. Was there ever a

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The Man With The Missing Will

By the time Stieg Larsson had a mega-bestseller with his Millennium book series, the poor bugger was already dead. His gripping tales of  Blomkvist and Salander sold zillions but he never saw a single krona of the profits. Thirty years

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Sparks #1

Most of the best blogs have a theme or a snappy title. My girlfriend came up with a great title – ‘Sir Rants a Lot’. She thought this would reflect my habit of going off into impromptu rants on various

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