MUSIC: All the week’s news

Blink-182 make bid for freedom

ROCKERS Blink-182 have split from their record label.

Guitarist Tom Delonge took to Twitter on Tuesday to reveal that the band is now independent, uploading a snap of Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart and a still from alien movie Independence Day.

‘‘Freedom!! Blink as of today, is now an independent Artist! You know what today is? Blink-182’s very own Independence Day!’’ Delonge wrote.

The group was signed to Interscope Records for the release of last year’s album Neighborhoods.

Ahlborn-Galanti arrival celebrated

SCOTS Kirk on the corner of Tudor and Murray streets, Hamilton, will host a concert at 2pm on November 4 with guest organist Peter Guy to celebrate the recent installation of a three-manual Ahlborn-Galanti organ, generously donated by Scots organist, Peter Newey.

There will be a demonstration of organ features by Ian Sell, of Pipeless Pipe Organs.

Admission by gold coin donation – all proceeds to Westcott Aged Care.

Last concert for band association

THE Hunter Regional Band Association is organising its last major event for this year. Bands in the Park will be held in King Edward Park from 11am to 3.40pm on Sunday, November 11. There will be three community brass bands, two community concert bands and two high school concert bands that will each present a program of music for free.

Doin It For The Kids event looms

DOIN It For The Kids, a concert to raise awareness of cuts to education funding, will be held at Speers Point Park on Sunday, November 11, from 10am to 8.30pm.

Organiser David Forbes has put together a line-up that includes Dave Gleeson and the Rock and Roll Brothers (Izzy Osmanovich, Steve Mac, Craig Foster and Dave Forbes will play hits from the Screaming Jets and The Angels).

Also playing will be The Blues Bombers, KISStory, Backfire, Milestones, Mr Kite, The Viper Creek Band, Punkfish, Steely Diva’s, Brian McVernon, Dave Carter, Bob Corbett and Angie Burgess.

There will also be jumping castles for the kids and food and drink vans on site.

Voices of Christmas here

ARTISTS from The Voice have collaborated for The Voices of Christmas, to be released on November 9. The artists recorded the tracks with The Voice producer, Eric J. Dubowsky.

The album includes Karise Eden singing Merry Christmas Baby, Sarah De Bono delivering All I Want For Christmas Is You, Darren Percival’s rendition of Winter Wonderland, Prinnie Stevens and Mahalia Barnes’s version of Sleigh Ride and Rachael Leahcar’s cover of Jingle Bell Rock.

Another release for Rihanna

RIHANNA will release her seventh studio album Unapologetic on Island Def Jam on November 16.

The first single from the album, Diamonds, has reached the No.1 position on iTunes in 27 countries and hit the No.1 spot on the US Billboard’s Hot R&B songs chart.

The recipient of six Grammy Awards and seven Billboard Music Awards, Rihanna has sold more than 37million albums and 146million digital tracks worldwide, and holds the record as the top-selling digital artist of all time.

Example to launch fourth album

ENGLISH singer and rapper Example will release his fourth album The Evolution of Man on November 19 ahead of his appearance at Stereosonic on November 24.

The first single from the album Say Nothing hit No.2 on the UK charts and he will release the album’s second single, Close Enemies, on November 11.

Example, whose real name is Elliot Gleave, embraced his rock side for this album and drew inspiration from music idols including adolescent heroes Blur.

He built a friendship with Graham Coxon after meeting him backstage at a War Child gig.

Coxon’s distinctive guitar playing can now be heard on four tracks on the album.

Example is dating Australian model and actress Erin McNaught and said in August he planned to propose to her within the next six months.

OperaMania coming to Newcastle

ONE of Russia’s best opera companies, Moscow Novaya Opera, will bring its theatrical production OperaMania to Newcastle next year.

With a selection of music by the world’s most celebrated composers including Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Mozart, Bizet, Rossini, Verdi, Bellini and Johann Strauss, Moscow Novaya Opera will take you on a journey highlighting some of the most loved operas of all time including The Magic Flute, Rigoletto, The Pearl Fishers, Tosca, The Barber of Seville and Carmen.

The show features 10 dynamic soloists and four dancers from the Russian Imperial Ballet in full costume and a brilliant 44-piece symphony orchestra.

There will be performances at 3pm and 7.30pm on April 14, 2013, at Civic Theatre Newcastle.

Tickets are on sale now through Ticketek.

CAROLS: Karise Eden will join with other artists from The Voice for an album of Christmas carols being released next Friday.

JEFF CORBETT: Regrets? I’ve had few

AT the end of every year I own up to columns that were regrettable and every year the cynics among you ask if I really really do regret offending anyone.

Yes, there are such cynical people out there.

The fact is that I do regret offending anyone unfairly, without justification, undeservedly, and so you’ll understand that I have to pad out such regrets to fill this column space. It’s a problem every year.

Going simply by the number of people who claimed to have been unfairly maligned I’d have to regret my February column calling for people who sleep with dogs to be identified by a badge so we can avoid contact with them. I mean, who would want to order a sandwich from a woman who shares her bed with slobbering, backside-licking mutt with more smells and emissions than Orica on Kooragang!

I’ll say sorry when you get the badge.

Anything I write about soccer is going to offend those who see males chasing a ball around a paddock as something more than a distraction on a very dull day, and so it was when Newcastle Jets fans went from prancing around with feather boas to feeling that their heart was ripped out in April after Nathan Tinkler’s show of handing back the Jets licence. Mr Tinkler played them for the geese they are.

Unfair? No, but I do feel sorry for them.

That anyone who goes from school to university to school is going to be desperately in need of exposure to the real world is obvious to everyone but teachers, and they were projecting their annoyance when I pointed that out in late April. We listen in silence to their tales of taking work home, of arriving early and leaving late, of being terribly stressed, but their squealing that they’re underpaid was too much for me. Freshly armed with a soft degree, they earn more than new lawyers, accountants, vets, architects and pharmacists, who don’t, by the way, enjoy the automatic pay rises so treasured by time-serving chalkies.

I am sorry that I couldn’t use that column as a comprehension test for teachers.

My asserting in May that parents who allow their child to become seriously obese are guilty of child abuse upset some. Tough.

Remember the case of the two American staffordshire bull terriers that jumped the fence and very nearly killed a 19-year-old Mirrabooka woman?

Well, my stating the obvious, that we’d all be safer if dogs bred to fight and kill were eradicated, brought out those who used to argue that it was upbringing, nothing else, that had girls playing with dolls and boys with guns and swords. This time they were arguing that it was a dog’s treatment, not genes, that determined its likelihood to maul and kill.

It’s a pity they weren’t visiting the Mirrabooka woman on that day in May. And no, I’m not sorry for that either.

Moaning in July about retired old codgers in supermarket queues was definitely out of order and I apologise unreservedly.

A couple of days later I was foolish enough to question the logic of women who present themselves sexually crying foul when they’re looked upon sexually, and I copped the predictable sneers about rape being the woman’s fault then.

Still, it is women teetering about in heels and debilitatingly tight skirts who preserve their status as sex objects, not men, and I don’t know how I can apologise for that. And I don’t want to.

And explaining a fortnight later that it is a smaller parietal cortex that prevents most women from reverse parking efficiently didn’t make them feel any better about me. The parietal cortex is the part of the brain involved in the perception of space, not that such science matters to women who can’t reverse park. OK OK, sorry. A bit.

Sending an overweight Leisel Jones to swim in the Olympics was about as sensible as sending a smoker to run the marathon, and the truth of this didn’t appease the fatties, either. But nothing a tub of chips with gravy wouldn’t fix.

My biggest regret? Running out of time this year to again point out the idiocy of those who believe skin graffiti gives their life meaning.

OPINION: City scores high with world-class events

IF you could give Newcastle an award for having a world-class feature, what would it be? World-class beaches? Definitely. World-class recreation areas? Without a doubt. A world-class place to live, work and play? For sure.

But world-class events? It is probably not the first thing that springs to mind about Newcastle. But it should be.

The people of Newcastle have mastered the art of celebration. And the city has now been globally recognised, by the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA), for its ability to stage world-class festivals and events.

The IFEA awards recognise the best in community leadership as well as festival and event partnerships around the world.

Newcastle has been awarded the accolade of 2012 World Festival and Event City in the category of cities with a population under 500,000 people.

Sydney also took out this year’s award in the category for cities with a population of more than 1million. This is unexpected – but a great honour.

Cultural tourism is a growing market, and Newcastle is in an excellent position to take advantage of these opportunities.

Festivals and events create tremendous community and economic capital. And any city needs support from the local community to sustain existing festivals and events, let alone attract and encourage new events.

Newcastle can now fly an internationally recognised flag to show that we have the capacity to provide an environment conducive to successful festivals and events.

Our award bid was prepared by the City of Newcastle and Destination NSW. It featured events such as the Fat as Butter music festival, Surfest, a rugby union Test match we hosted in 2012, the Australian National Beach Volleyball Championships, the Nutri-Grain Iron Man Series, the Australian Surf Rowers League Championships, the NSW State Netball Championships, Civic Theatre’s Inspirations season, and exhibitions at Newcastle Museum and Newcastle Art Gallery. These provide just a snapshot of what we are capable of.

The state government, council, event partners, local industry and community groups, all play a major role in the success of events staged in Newcastle and the Hunter.

Newcastle received nearly 3.3million visitors in the year ending March 2012, of whom around 6.7per cent arrived specifically to attend an event.

With this new emphasis on developing existing events and attracting new major events, we are reaping the benefits of an industry worth about $700million to local economies.

The success of events and festivals in Newcastle is due in no small part to the strong support provided by local residents, volunteers and non-government organisations.

Newcastle embraces events, and the local community consistently goes out of its way to provide many of the services necessary for success. The Hunter Volunteering Centre (HVC) in Newcastle provides direct support to event organisations and encourages and empowers volunteers to contribute. For example, more than 128 student volunteers helped to make Surfest 2012 a success.

The Newcastle business community provides outstanding sponsorship support for major events, whether as financial investment, services ‘‘in kind’’, marketing and media expertise, or event brand enhancement.

The major events of Newcastle could not survive without strong sponsorships. Although this generally comes from international and national companies, local businesses of all sizes in the Newcastle area regularly sponsor events – either financially or through providing services or products.

In 2013 Newcastle will host the Asia Pacific Special Olympic Games, in which 28 countries will compete in a week-long program of events. An estimated 5000-plus visitors will inject more than $21million into our local economy.

The city is also working on attracting more high-profile international events to add to its major events roster.

Our challenge for the next decade is to ensure that we can host events and festivals.

We also hope to attract new tourism operators to the city. This will in turn help build our range of accommodation, activity and destination options.

Phil Pearce is general manager of the City of Newcastle.

LETTERS: Sad events need welcoming room

We are writing in response to comments by Robyn Cotterell-Jones, of the Victims of Crime Assistance League (‘‘Intimidating interview’’ Letters 22/10).

Ms Cotterell-Jones expressed concern that the interview room at the new office of the Newcastle Joint Investigation Response Team (JIRT) appeared to be ‘‘sterile and cold’’ and devoid of ‘‘toys and colourful appointments’’.

We want to assure people that the facility is child-focused and child-friendly.

It houses a staff with many years’ experience and dedication in the field of child-abuse investigation. The welfare of children attending our office is our number-one priority.

It was also a key consideration in the design of the new facility.

While the waiting room is brimming with toys, books, colouring-in pencils and DVDs, we purposely keep those items to a minimum in interview rooms.

When interviewing children, our job is to find out important details that will help protect them from further harm and put their abusers before court. That could be difficult if a child was distracted by toys.

And there is only ever one interviewer in the room with a child. If he or she wants, a support person can also be present. Our focus is to make the process as non-threatening as possible.

We encourage anyone with information about child abuse to report it via Crime Stoppers, on 1800 333 000 or the Child Protection Helpline, 132 111.

Newcastle Joint Investigation Response Team

NSW Police Force

Green light for poker machine reforms

CONTROVERSIAL watered down national poker machine reforms are set to go ahead after the Greens agreed to back the Gillard government’s scheme, which will also give the green light for a trial of mandatory precommitment in the ACT.

After months of negotiation, and several offers from the Greens to support the bill if $1 bets were accommodated, the Greens have agreed to back the reforms which will see every poker machine in Australia offer punters the option to pre-set how much they are willing to lose.

Independent Andrew Wilkie has already “reluctantly” declared support for the bill and lashed the Greens for standing in the way of unprecedented federal pokies reform. Poker machine regulation is currently the domain of states.

Other key independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor have previously said they support the ideas of the bill, without having actually seen it.

The Greens support should see the bill pass the lower house and guarantees it through the Senate.

The Greens have, and continue, to campaign for a $1 maximum bet limit as the best way to curb problem gambling on pokies.

Greens gambling spokesman, and public health doctor, Richard Di Natale said the party had now agreed to back the bill in exchange for government funding of a national gambling research centre.

In January Prime Minister Julia Gillard reneged on her deal with independent Andrew Wilkie for a national scheme that would force all punters to preset how much they are willing to lose on the pokies.

Facing a multi-million dollar public campaign from the clubs and pokies industry, particularly in marginal New South Wales and Queensland seats, the government said it did not have support of the parliament to pass the reforms.

Instead, the government offered a national voluntary scheme that would require all machines to offer punters the option of setting a loss limit. While Mr Wilkie reluctantly agreed to back the bill, because it was better than nothing the government, the government has been unable to pass legislation, with the Coalition and Greens both against it.

Under the government’s plan all new machines would also have to be mandatory precommitment ready, with all machines to have the technology by 2016.

If a trial was conclusive then a national network of mandatory precommitment could be switched on by a future government.

Under the scheme there would be a national regulator, all pokies within a state would be eventually be electronically linked.

The Greens have campaigned heavily for a $1 maximum bet limit as the best way to curb problem gambling on pokies, but the government has frequently ruled this out as too costly.

The pokies lobby is vehemently opposed to $1 bets.

The government’s bill also will include a $250 ATM withdrawal limit in pokies venues, and in the case where states have a tougher law, for example in Victoria ATMs are banned from pokies venues, the tougher measure would prevail.

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