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Review - The Shiny Bum Singers & Brett Robin Wood @ The Dog, Sept 2007
8PM, Saturday 22 Sept 2007

By Dawn Davis
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This month our performers were those most engaging of Canberra public servants, the Shiny Bum Singers, and Sydney's Brett Robin Wood.

Firstly, we had a floor spot from David Myers, who sang an old Kingston Trio song, "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley". His second song a parody of "Help Me Make it Through the Night", "Help Me Make it Through the Song".

Bob Bolton

Bob Bolton, our erstwhile regular press photographer and fountain of folk knowledge, then recited a humorous poem about a horse called "Incognito" and one of by Henry Lawson's shearing poems.

Our first act, The Shiny Bum Singers, then took over the spotlight. Their ability to turn ordinary songs into clever parodies on life in the public service and other topics is hilariously funny.

The Shiny Bum Singers blokes

Songs such as "Daggy Suits", (sung to Buddy Holly's 'Peggy Sue') a commentary on the dress of public servants, and their song to the tune of the Major General song from HMS Pinafore, about the different jobs of public servants, were filled with ironic comments and ill-concealed jibes. "Waiting" described an occasion when one of the choir members got stuck in a lift - a situation which any sane person would fear. "Too Soon" was a song of early retirement and its joys and freedoms after being tied to a desk. And their signature tune, "How Peculiar", a song sung to the old Leonard Cowan song "Alleluia" is about climate change and the lies we are fed by our illustrious Pollies (a very pertinent subject at the dawn of a Federal Election). One of the funniest of all their songs was "Ten Meg Morris", a passing tribute to all Morris Men but actually on the topic of the biggest frustration for any public servant, the crashing of the computer networks. It was good to note, however, in the process of replicating the vibrant activity of the Morris dance, they were able to take out these frustrations very effectively by the use of keyboards in place of the traditional sticks.

Brett Robin Wood

Our next performer was Brett Robin Wood, whose songs are simple and expressive. "Thanks for Coming Out Tonight" was ja song of thanks and introduction to the audience. "Bondi Sand" painted some lovely word pictures of his life at this iconic beach and the surrounding area. "It Doesn't Matter" was a song telling of all the things that we try to do that get us into a spin and how, if we are to maintain our sanity, we must give up the struggle. The song "Believe" told of fulfilling dreams and believing that they can really happen.

"Haka" is sung by a group of female Public Servants psyching up to face a Senate Committee.

After the break, The Shiny Bums brought on the good old ukuleles and the washboard. Their first song "Down in the Corner” described the daily fight for seats on peak hour buses and trains. "Howard times" (to the tune of 'Hard Times') was a song dear to all our hearts concerning Johnny Howard and all his gang of merry men and all their schemes and lies. "Haka" is sung by a group of female Public Servants psyching up to face a Senate Committee. "I hate Pollies on Telly" was a fabulous parody sung to the tune of the classic jingle "I Like Aeroplane Jelly". They completed their performance with an encore of "Howard Times".

Brett Robin Wood

Brett then came back and sang "Farewell" a song of bittersweet goodbyes and memories of coping with lost love. He also sang a beautiful rendition of the Sting song "Fields of Barley". "The Ballad of Joe, Marie and Rusty the Dog" and "Dream Girl" were two songs about the way things that we plan in our lives often don't work out the way we want them to. He finished off with a song called "Beautiful Nothing" describing the need we sometimes have to erase all misconceptions and start over again with an open mind. Brett’s performance was engaging, thoughtful and very pleasing.

We all went home from the Dog this month with a head full of hilarity and politics and a smidge of romance.


Photos Bob Bolton & Sandra Nixon

Microphones courtesy of Wayne Richmond who was creating a video recording of the performance in the best acoustic space in Sydney, if not the world!

Venues/Clubs The Loaded Dog

Annandale Neighbourhood Centre
Johnston Street

Sandra Nixon
(02) 9358 4886

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