Star Wars Acapella

I saw this quite a while ago and loved it.

I’ve now found it on youtube.



The Water Diviner

water divinerRussell Crowe’s film The Water Diviner is part of the growing focus on the 1915 Gallipoli campaign leading up to the event’s centenary.

It’s the story of a bereaved father who travels to Turkey to find the remains of his three sons killed in the conflict and return them to Australia.

Crowe plays the father, Joshua Conner, an Australian farmer with a talent for water divining, a skill useful on his drought ridden farm. He’s confident that his skill can also locate his dead sons.

Through his quest Connor learns about the campaign that robbed him of his sons and its cost to fighters on both sides of the conflict. Despite an official end to hostilities, peace has not been obtained and he finds himself caught up in some of the continuing violence.

This film was another part in my attempt to find out more about the approaching Anzac Day centenary. While portrayal of the actual Gallipoli conflict plays a relatively small part of the film, it is at the heart of everything; its effects linger in the lives of all of the characters four years after that particular series of battles ended.

There are a few scenes depicting Connor’s sons in battle that show the brutality of a conflict fought with weapons ranging from machine guns to rifles, bayonets and any blunt instrument that comes to hand. Death came on open ground where there was little cover to stop a soldier being cut to shreds by machine gun fire, as well as in claustrophobic trenches where it was barely possible to recognise enemy from friend. Those battle scenes aren’t pretty, but it’s the human suffering afterwards that is harder to watch (and hear). This isn’t an action movie where death comes cheaply and frequently, usually with a wise-crack from the hero. Death lingers and delays its coming leaving victims wailing with the pain suffered in their torn bodies.

One of the things that makes this story different to others about Gallipoli, is its view of the Turkish side of things: that the Turks were being invaded and were protecting their homeland, and that they suffered greater losses than all other participants combined: over 86,000 dead and 164,000 wounded compared to 44,150 dead and 97,000 wounded from the British led allies. ( and

The film doesn’t glorify war and doesn’t set out to lay blame; it brings recognition of the dehumanising effects of war that can make anyone capable of regrettable acts and gives hope of the possibility of reconciliation and forgiveness afterwards.

Another three bite the dust

Over the last week I’ve been able to transfer three books from my “Reading Now” list to this year’s list of books read.

rock bottomRock Bottom (Inspired by God), by Michael Teter is only a short book, but it took me a long time to get through it. I read about half of it some time ago but didn’t get back to read the rest for several weeks. The book is a testimony of how Teter’s life was dramatically changed by an encounter with God while serving a prison sentence. It comes across as an honest and heartfelt, no-frills story that would have benefitted from some basic editing for spelling and grammar. The technical shortcomings in the writing made the book more difficult for me to get through, but maybe its lack of literary polish added to the authenticity of the book .

tina arenaNow I can Dance is Tina Arena’s autobiography. Starting her career as a child star on the once popular Australian variety show Young Talent Time, Tina Arena has been one of Australia’s most successful singers, both at “home” and also overseas. Until very recently I gave no attention at all to Arena’s music, but for some reason that changed a couple of months ago.

She’s an artist I’ve admired in the past after hearing her sing live at two separate record store promotions. I’d never before witnessed a singer putting so much emotion and power into a performance of a song. But she didn’t sing the kind of songs I liked at the time. Now it seems my musical tastes have broadened.

While she is 10 years younger than myself, the fact that her singing career started at such a young age, a lot of the book covers times that are familiar to me, from the 1970s through to the present day and I found a lot of personal memories being stirred as well as learning something about the background of Arena’s life and music.

electric edenThe last of the three was Electric Eden by Rob Young. I bought this book because it seemed to be about a history of British folk music, starting in the late 19th- early 20th centuries when a systematic collecting of folk music and songs began, through to the beginning of the 21st century. While there was a continuing thread of that historical journey, Young was more interested in the reflection of the “spiritual psyche” of the British, as portrayed through the music and perceived by the author who seemed to lean favourably to a new age/pagan/ Gnosticism.