George Michael RIP

Freedom! ’90

I don’t belong to you, and you don’t belong to me. Freedom.


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Pet Sounds doesn’t sound fifty

Pet SoundsOne of the greatest musical achievements of our time, composed by the genius Brian Wilson.

Released in May 1966 by Capitol Records, Brian defined the genre of psychedelic rock.

Rolling Stone got it right when they ranked Pet Sounds #2 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, second of course, to The Beatles’ Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

So how do you describe this work of art?

In 1972 US music journalist, rock biographer and Rolling Stone contributor Stephen Davis said Pet Sounds was the first rock record regarded as a ‘concept album’. He described it this way:

“from first cut to last we were treated to an intense, linear personal vision of the vagaries of a love affair and the painful, introverted anxieties that are the wrenching precipitates of the unstable chemistry of any love relationship. This trenchant cycle of love songs has the emotional impact of a shatteringly evocative novel…”. Whew.

With sweeping harmonies and complex orchestral arrangements, this album touches the soul and takes your heart and mind to another place.

Pet Sounds 50 anniversaryIn 2004 Pet Sounds was listed on the National Recording Registry which exists to preserve those sound recordings deemed as ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’. Over 400 recordings have made the list, but not all are songs or albums. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech, Abbott and Costello’s ‘Who’s on first?’, Kennedy’s 1961 Inauguration Speech, and the first Transatlantic broadcast in 1925 are preserved forever.

This year Brian has been taking Pet Sounds to the world, playing it in its entirety on tour, and for the final time.

Australia saw him perform his masterpiece live in April and to date, Brian’s still on the road, travelling through the US, and then on to London and Paris.

Pet Sounds – still sounding fresh and contemporary fifty years’ on.

God Only Knows what we’d be without your music, Brian.

Here’s a tribute:

And the background to the tribute:


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Best of breed in sport

Best of Breed’s top three sporting moments 2015

No.1 Winx

Winx smashed Might and Power’s 1997 W.S. Cox Plate track record and recorded the greatest winning margin since Sunline in 2000.

No.2 American Pharoah

American Pharoah breaks a 37 year drought and wins the US Triple Crown.

No.3 Stuart Broad

Stuart Broad takes 8/15 at Trent Bridge and sets up England’s Ashes victory.

Australia all out for 60 on day one of the first innings at Trent Bridge! Say what?

…Another massive year in sport.


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Right to the front for American Pharoah

American Pharoah 2015Racecaller:

Best of Breed quotation mark 1They’re off, in the Belmont Stakes. Not a great start for American Pharoah, but he will be set for the lead by Victor Espinoza. So he waits no longer. Right to the front for American Pharoah… And here it is, the 37 year wait is over. American Pharoah is finally the one. American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!Best of Breed quotation mark 2

Best of Breed congratulates American Pharoah, only the 12th winner of the US Triple Crown.

Owned and bred by Ahmed Zayat of Zayat Stables, American Pharoah joins the elite company of horses such as Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed on the prestigious honour roll. History-making for Bob Baffert, the colt’s trainer.

Let’s see how race favourite American Pharoah lived up to the enormous challenge:

Source: The NY Racing Association, Inc. YouTube


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The art of war

Menin Gate Will Longstaff 1927 Source Aust War MemorialANZAC art at its best.

It was Capt. William Frederick Longstaff of Eltham who painted this timeless war gem – Menin Gate at Midnight, 1927 – as his tribute to the fallen soldiers who lay buried in unmarked WWI graves on the battlefields of the western front.

Capt. Longstaff was an Australian painter who served in the Boer War, and then in the Great War in France and in the Middle East during 1915-17.

In 1918 he became an official ‘war artist’ and was famous for his art commemorating those who gave their lives in the First World War.

The painting shows the ghost-like images of soldiers marching past the Menin Gate.

You’ll find Capt. Longstaff’s painting in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

And who was Capt. Longstaff’s commanding officer while in the Middle East? None other than Banjo Patterson.

Capt. Longstaff was the cousin of Sir John Campbell Longstaff, also an Australian painter and war artist, and multiple winner of the Archibald Prize. Sir John won the Archibald in 1935 for his portrait of Banjo.

What is the Menin Gate?

A war memorial located in Ypres, Belgium, called ‘The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing’.

It was built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1927 as a dedication to Commonwealth soldiers buried in unmarked graves in the Ypres region during WWI. Soldiers would pass through this region on their way to the front line.

The ANZAC spirit, in its 100th commemorative year, is alive and well. Just ask the young artists who produced this gem on a schoolyard fence in Capt. Longstaff’s home town:

ANZAC 100 poppy tribute 2015

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Sixty-three not out

Phillip Hughes

A man who wore the baggy green so well. And still does, as he reigns down on the Cricket World Cup 2015.


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World’s best asset class produces her best return

Black Caviar and her first filly

It’s not often royalty is born and bred in your home state Victoria.

Black Caviar delivered her first foal on 13 September, a gorgeous bay filly, with a white mark on her forehead and two white socks on her front feet!

Her investment value? Priceless.

The world’s best asset class has just delivered her best return – off the track!

Don’t forget Dad, Exceed and Excel

To maximise the investment return, Black Caviar partnered with the Hunter Valley champion sire Exceed and Excel, Australia’s champion sire of 2012-13 grossing $11.4m.

As Australia’s leading sire of two year old winners from 2009-10 to 2012-13, he’s now one of the world’s leading sires of 2yo Stakes winners.

The son of Danehill is 14 years old now, and he’s also a Dad to Overreach, a Golden Slipper winner, and Earthquake, a Blue Diamond winner, and many more – it’s all in the genes, as they say. According to Darley, Exceed And Excel’s fee is $110K – not bad for a multiple Group 1 winner and speed machine who broke track rExceed and Excelecords.

Black Caviar’s sprinting record of 25 starts for 25 wins sums up the decision to pair these two. And for me, the day she won the 2013 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, breaking the track record, was the day most realised she would never be beaten.

All horse racing fans look forward to following one of the greatest best of breed stories ever told. Stay tuned royal watchers!


Update: Another Caviar on the way

On 28 October 2014, the news was delivered. Black Caviar and Sebring are about to create history – with another foal for Black Caviar!

Who’s Sebring? He’s by More Than Ready from Purespeed. He raced only as a two year old and won the Group 1 Golden Slipper and Sires Produce in 2008. Sebring finished his racing career with a 6:5-1-0 record and was crowned Champion 2yo of Australasia. A Dad to Criterion and Dissident, he is regarded as ‘the hottest young stallion in Australia’. Whew.


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That’s All Right, sixty years on

Elvis Presley That's All Right

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s recording of ‘That’s All Right’ (Mama). First recorded at Sun Studio, Memphis Tennessee on 5 July 1954, the song was first played on US radio by DJ Dewey Phillips, and the rest is history.

To mark the song’s anniversary, actor and musician Sam Palladio hosted ‘That’s All Right: 60 Years On’ live from Sun Studio – I mean, where else would it be held?

Originally written and performed by blues singer Arthur Crudup in the 1940s, Elvis took the song and made it his own.

The famous Sun Record label was owned by entrepreneur Sam Phillips back in the 1950s  and he first recorded Elvis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and many more.  The story goes, that Sam was looking for a ‘white man who sounds like a black man’ and that his assistant Marion Keiser knew of someone – Elvis. Sam arranged for Elvis to team up with two local session players, bassist Bill Black and guitarist Scotty Moore, and together they produced this song.

It’s rockabilly at its best.

Here’s some classic footage of Elvis singing ‘That’s All Right’ in his 1968 NBC TV special. The song is still all right, sixty years on!

Sun Studio – the birthplace of rock and roll

Sun Studio

If you love music, then one of the best things you can do in Memphis is take a tour of Sun Studio, the heart and soul of rock and roll.

This video gives a great insight into the studio. If you’ve taken the tour in the last few years you may remember Cora Pitt – she’s in the video, and I remember her knowledge on the topic was amazing.

Well that’s all right now mama, any way you do.


What’s rockabilly?

An early form of rock and roll music in the 1950s made famous by singers such as Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. The genre includes a mix of country, bluegrass and rhythm and blues and the influence continues to remain strong in Nashville and Memphis.


Related articles

Memphis has a heartbeat like no other


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Tom Hafey

Deepest sympathy to Maureen and the Hafey family at the passing of our beloved Tommy last month.

We are all so much better off for having known this truly great man. An inspiration to us all, his legacy will endure. And his legacy includes that of AFL super coach, with a dynasty just continues on.

Thomas Stanley Raymond Hafey (5 August 1931 – 12 May 2014)

  • Born and bred in Richmond
  • Played for Richmond between 1953 and 1958
  • Coach of four Richmond premierships: 1967, 1969, 1973 and 1974
  • Coached Richmond, Collingwood, Geelong and Sydney over the period 1966 to 1988
  • Coach of Richmond’s Team of the Century in 1998
  • Australian Football Hall of Fame Inductee in 1996
  • AFL Coaches Association Coaching Legend Award winner
  • Inspirational motivator, speaker, fitness fanatic, community figure and so much more!

Tiger banner 17 May 2014The Richmond Football Club Cheer Squad put together a banner to honour his passing. It said ‘A Tiger To A T’. Those words sure hit the heart of all Tiger supporters, but also those of many other football supporters and people from all walks of life.

Tom Hafey was a true Leo – no surprise given his leadership ability, but his personality was tempered by a beautiful warm heart, and that’s what set him apart.

Here’s Tommy at his best, in one of his more recent interviews, where his feelings for Carlton sum up his passion for Richmond and the game of Australian Rules Football.

RIP Tommy Hafey.


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Spirit Of Booooom!

Spirit of Boom2It’s not often that a ‘bridesmaid in sport’ inspires you. But when Spirit Of Boom got up to win this year’s William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley, he reminded us of what racing’s all about. Persistence.

No longer the luckless second to the great horses at Group One level, he broke through for his first G1 win, and deservedly so.

Mind you, his win came with a nervous wait for the number to appear in the frame. Queensland trainer Tony Gollan and the owners held their breath when the judge called for a photo that showed the narrowest of margins.

What happened next was excitement and elation. The holy Spirit Of Booooom finally had God on his side!

When jockey Michael Rodd saw his horse had won, he said ‘I can’t tell you how much this means to me’. He’s not the only one!

Being on track made it all the more special

Just ask Greg Irvine, owner of this very special photo (above) taken moments after the race. Greg’s photo says so much about the occasion, the emotion, and what it feels like to have the ‘monkey off the back’ in sport.

The 6yo son of Sequalo, Spirit Of Boom started his Group 1 autumn campaign with a second in the Oakleigh Plate over 1,100 metres and a second in the Newmarket over 1,200. His performances served as great preparation for the William Reid, a Group 1 sprint race at weight-for-age, run over 1,200 metres on a tight turning track they call the ‘Valley’.

A great race creates its own history, and the status of winning this race went up a notch knowing that Black Caviar had won it twice.

Why single out Spirit Of Boom?

Every horse has a story and Spirit Of Boom has his. His racing style is the epitome of never giving up, always contesting and giving it his best shot. And always figuring in the finish. It’s a story about his trainer and owners never losing patience with him, and placing their ‘investment’ where it would eventually be realised.

Best of Breed quotation mark 2Tony Gollan: This is my second Group 1 win as a trainer and I’m rapt to win it down here as the state (Victoria) has been good to me. He’s a very tough stallion, he’s been Best of Breed quotation mark 1racing for many seasons. He enjoys his racing. Source:

Spirit Of Boom’s next assignment?spirit-of-boom

He’s off to Randwick for the T J Smith Stakes* and maybe the Goodwood in May! Then, it’s a visit to some ladies? Rumour has it, he’ll join his dad Sequalo later this year!

Why not talk to @SpiritofBoom on Twitter and ask him how he intends to run his next race!

And who’s William Reid?

A Victorian banker who owned a number of racehorses including Uncle Sam, winner of the Caulfield Cup in 1912 and 1914, and third home in the Melbourne Cup of 1912. He was a former committee member of the Moonee Valley Racing Club and died in 1923.


Updates to this post

*12/4/14: Spirit Of Boom was scratched from the TJ Smith Stakes due to the heavy track conditions. But that’s a minor hiccup for this champ, and we look forward to seeing him race at least once more before retirement.

24/5/14: Spirit Of Boom wins his second Group 1, the Doomben 10,000 on 24 May, beating half brother Temple Of Doom. What a way for the champ to go out, or, will he contest the Stradbroke? We’ll know shortly!

9/6/14: Spirit Of Boom ran his last race in the Stradbroke Handicap and finished a gallant fourth. He’s off to stud now, ready for the next phase of his life. His on-field record will show two Group 1s for his efforts racing against the best, including Lankan Rupee, currently rated as the world’s fastest sprinter. Well done, champ.


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