Home, Curriculum Vitae, Press & Reviews, Testimonials, Recordings, Videos, Newsletter Archive, Recipes, Contact

Friday Aug 3rd, 2007


'Better to be Prepared and to not have an Opportunity,
than to have an Opportunity and to not be Prepared."
The Unknown Boy Scout



Hi folks,

'Gwrywgydiwr' is the Welsh word for Catamite, in case you didn't know. (If anyone knows how to pronounce this word, let ME know, although I have a hunch that it probably sounds a lot like some of Bob Dylan's recent recordings played backwards.)

Did you hear about the Catamite who did it Doggy-style and became a Whorse? (I think that's from Ovid's 'Metamorphoses.')

The leading quote, about being prepared for opportunity, is something that has given me much solace in the past two decades since I first heard it. It can keep a creative artist focused on their work when nothing appears to be happening for them. Other metaphors come to mind: the idea of the saturated solution - that you can keep stirring crystals into a liquid, yet cannot see any apparent change. The crystals keep disappearing. Then, one final flake saturates the solution and the whole crystalline structure appears like magic. Whipping cream or making mayonnaise is another example. You keep cranking that eggbeater until your wrists feel like they are going to fall off - keeping the faith, baby - and then, emulsification and Peaks happen!


'Be Prepared,' was also the Boy Scout Motto. I got kicked out of the Boy Scouts when I was a kid for talking my whole troupe into a nude swimming excursion while at a summer Scout camp. I must have been trying to 'prepare' myself for the Bare Ass Swimming Badge. Remember those great boy scout merit badges? (The 'Boy Power - Man Power' one seems a bit suss, now, in retrospect.)


I don't mean to be going all motivational on you here but something a friend wrote recently also has stuck with me. Good things to meditate on during the tough times. Chris Depasquale, the chess columnist for the Melbourne Age, was writing about Australian grandmaster, Ian Rogers' recent retirement, and in the notations for an apparently balanced position against then World Champion, Karpov, he remarked:

" An expert knows what to do when there is something to do,
but the Grandmaster knows what to do when there is nothing to do."

I'm contemplating having a weekly 'Songwriting Workshop' section of the newsletter where I review and analyse a song's strengths and weaknesses. Let me know if this is something you are interested in and some suggestions for any particular songs you would like me to look at.

Favourite Letters of the Week

G'day Joe,
 Like (I suspect) many others, I am buggered if I know where you got my e mail address from, but I hasten to tell you that I thoroughly enjoy reading your messages and the eclectic mix of information they contain.  Vic J.

Hi Joe......
I glowed like a light bulb when I read your opening.  Why???  Because I am a narcissist lol.  I am incredibly humbled to have had my lyrics compared to Leonard (I- should- have- had -your- baby- when- I  had- the- chance) Cohen and Dylan.  In fact, I have been affectionately dubbed, the queen of the slit-your-wrist song by many a colleague.  For me it has always been the words.  I am incredibly lucky to be married to a composer who can take those words and put them to , let-me take-the-first-slash music.  Ah yes, we are the death eaters of our generation.  What I have found is that in every person there is a very dark place.  This place needs it's own music and we provide it.  We are about to release a new CD "It's The Coming of The Time'....not a foot stomping, happy birds, rainbows and wine song release, but each track is poetry in song meant to wrench your heart right through your nose.  Warning, remove all sharp objects from the immediate area. FLY Williams website

re: Black Version of the Google Search Engine
If you are working on a Mac with OSX....( and heaven be kind to those who continue wrestling with Windows)...you can set Universal Access the area in Systems Preferences where teachers and parents tweet the interface for kids with learning difficulties or impairment, to White on Black. Setting the screen to 'White on Black' does reduce the energy consumption of the monitor AND lends one the sheer ugly pleasure of freaking someone out if you time the switch over to match someone's key strokes. It is also a good move if you have been in front of a 'bright' computer for a few hours. Nice alternative view on the world that works very well on your newsletter, I notice. Regards, Dominic
P.S. Nice to see you still rating mentions on the ABC's Spicks & Specks.

(Note: Dom, the great Windows/Mac bun fight (and the potential upcoming Blue Ray/HD one) reminds me of the old VHS/Beta struggle back in the early 80s. I was one of the supposed idjuts who bought one of the first Beta systems on the market: camera, recorder, the works. When VHS trumped Beta as the preferred commercial format, even though we knew that Beta was BETTER, we all had to change over to VHS. Luckily, however, for a couple of years, I recorded all our precious family footage on Beta and this week, I made transfers onto DVD and the quality was still almost perfect. Vindication at last!)

Hey Joe . . . I have a fantasy that one day I will learn 'Death of Bach.' Do you have the music written anywhere? I thought when you sang it for Charlotte and me that it was extraordinary but on second hearing it's even better! Oh, and I like the rest of the CD too! . . . it's a keeper without doubt. Love, Judy Small website

(Note: Folks, I've made it pretty obvious that I admire Judy Small's songwriting so an unsolicited comment like the above is particularly rewarding. Judy's new double CD is now out, 'Live at the Artery'. 25 tracks. Great songs like: 'Mary Parker's Lament,' (an almost classical historical ballad about her great-great-great-great grandmother who was transported from England), 'Mothers, Daughter's Wives,' and 'You Don't Speak For Me,' (one of the finest protest songs ever written) - to mention only a few. Every song in this collection is actually ABOUT something worth listening to and thinking about. With the glut of B-grade writers out there getting all the slathering media attention, it is invigorating to listen to an authentically original voice. As Mozart said the first time he saw one of JS Bach's scores: 'Now HERE is something we can learn from.")

Lucky for you - and all of us there's the likes of Dave Graney. Have you read his book "It is written, baby"? His lyrics are a dip in a parallel universe. Surprised you didn't mention him. He is outside the square. greetings S website

(Note: Thanks S, while perusing Dave and his partner Clare's site, I stumbled on this other great act:



Notorious first ladies of crazed adagio, the Town Bikes ­ Gabi Barton and Carla Yamine ­ have graced and disgraced stages across the globe with their inimitable stylings. Part burlesque, part slapstick, part sick-joke and part sexed-up rock eisteddfod. website
Town Bikes Photo Album

Sheila - 'Et Ne La Ramène Pas'

Here is a rare clip of one of France's most well-known pop singers doing her French language cover version of 'Shaddap You Face':
(thanks to Frankie Onions)



I've noticed that a few of us have been a bit late to the party setting up MySpace sites. Better late than pregnant. I don't have many friends yet because I want REAL friends. Some of my contemporaries have sites with 'friends' like Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Denver, etc. You may have noticed that several of those people are DEAD, so unless, somehow, there is a Medium involved, this tells me these sites have either been set up by their fans or their record companies. That well-known social butterfly, Bob Dylan, has a MySpace, for instance, with 96,000 friends listed! I'm sure Bob has invited them all, too. What a load of carpola. . . Let me quote a wise old gwrywgydiwr:

'Champagne to my real friends and real pain to my sham friends.' Oscar Wilde

Better to have a two real ones than a thousand made of silicon.


Kurzweil A.I.

If you are interested in some of the following concepts, this site might be for you:

1. Marvin Minsky puckishly suggested we could solve any population problem by uploading the minds of 10 billion people and running them on a computer that occupies a few cubic meters and costs only a few hundred dollars to run.
2. Researchers have created a molecular switch that can reversibly turn any mammalian gene on or off and control its level of expression.
3. The Department of Homeland Security is funding the creation an LED flashlight that uses powerful flashes of light to temporarily blind, disorient and incapacitate people.
4. The dimensions of transistors are shrinking, and silicon, as it's used today to make these transistors, will not be able to scale down and maintain the same speed. The industry estimates that silicon will reach its physical limitations by about 2012, and there's a scramble to find the best materials to replace it.
(Note: Does this mean that we can look forward to smaller but more efficient breasts?) website
(thanks to Joe Creighton

(that Celebrities have used checking into Hotels)

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson - Iffy Boatrace.
Tom Cruise - Mr Bellacon
Kevin Costner - Tom Feral
Lenny Kravitz - Pepper La Bijou
Drew Barrymore - Anita Mentor
Michael Jackson - Benji, Good Charlotte
Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder - The Clearly Brothers, Ike C. and Seymour (boom boom!)
and my favourite:
Cat Stevens (in the 70s) - Ivan Toby Allen, ie. I vant to be alone!
(thanks to popbitch)



I read recently somewhere that Nigerian schoolchildren who were given free laptops by a U.S. aid organization were found to mainly use them to surf the net for porn. (As you would.)

Here is my Favourite Porn Spam Heading of the Week:

Subject: You do not need to want to find a fuckfriend but you need to find Jesus.



The Bells of RHUM-NEE

This is from my mate, Dai Woosnam, in the UK.

Subject: The Sad Bells of Rhymney
This will be RIGHT up your street.
 You can get it for the next 5 days on Radio 4 Listen Again: listen
 Again, let me stress this is a NEW programme marking the 50th anniversary of the song.
 The great Pete Seeger is on top form during the interview.  Fascinating how he admits that when he recorded the song back in the Fifties, he did not know how to pronounce "Rhymney".   Perhaps the first he ever knew of it was when I wrote to him about the very matter c/o Sing Out! magazine in 1966.   He kindly acknowledged my letter with short single paragraph reply.
 But by then, the genie was out of the bottle.   The Byrds, Judy Collins and Cher had all followed the great Pete and pronounced it this curious way "Rhim- nee" (instead of RHUM-nee).  Indeed Britain's own Oyster Band - who should have known better - continued the mispronunciation, some years later.
 The whole pronunciation of the letter Y in Welsh is an  interesting one.  Usually it is pronounced (but not always) as a letter "u" as in bug/dug/tug.
 Indeed, had Robert Zimmerman ever known, he might be calling himself Bob DUL-an these days.
 For that is how Welsh speakers often pronounce the poet Dylan Thomas's name!  Kt, David "Dai" Woosnam

(Note: Well, Juhmmy, had Duhlan buhn less tuhmuhd, he could have still buhn Bobby Zuhmmerman, too. But while we're imaguhnun here - had Buhly Cluhnton refrained from suhmulating with huhs cuhgar about Monuhca Luhwinski's chuhmney, we might have a poluhtuhshun with some vuhm and vigor there, rather than huhm that we currently possess: meaning that duhm-wuhtted ruhm of a monkey's arse, Bush.)


Sam Cooke
By Art Garfunkel

Sam Cooke was grounded in a very straightforward singing style: It was pure, beautiful and open-throated, extraordinarily direct and unapologetic. Let's say you're going to sing "I love you for sentimental reasons." How do you hit that I? Do you slur into it? Do you put in a little hidden h? The attack on that vowel sound is the tip-off to how bold a singer is. If you pour on the letter i from the back of your throat, the listener gets that there is no fudge in the first thousandth of a second. There's just confidence from the singer, that he knows the pitch, and here's the sound. That's what Sam was great at. He had guts as a singer.

Sam also threw a lot of notes at you. Today you hear everyone doing those melismatic notes that Mariah Carey made popular. Sam was the first guy I remember singing that way. When he's singing, "I love you for sentimental reasons/I hope you believe me," the next line should be, "I've given you my heart." But he goes, "I've given you my-my-mah-muh-my heart/Given you my heart because I need you." It's as if he's saying, "Now that I've sung the word, I'm going to sing it again, because I've got all this feeling in my heart that demands expression." He could have given us less, and that would have been enough, but he put in all those extra notes, as in "You Send Me," where he's scatting between the lines: "I know, I know, I know, when you hold me."

He had fabulous chops, but at the same time fabulous taste. I never felt that he was overdoing it, as I often feel with singers today. He stayed rhythmic and fluty and floaty; he always showed brilliant vocal control.

I must have sung "You Send Me" to myself walking up and down stairwells at least a thousand times. It was on the charts right when I was having my first little success with Paul Simon as Tom and Jerry. Our "Hey, Schoolgirl" was on the charts with "You Send Me," "Jailhouse Rock" and "Jingle Bell Rock." I was just a kid, calling on radio stations for promotional purposes, and all I heard was "You Send Me." Sam was great to sing along with. He was my hero.

There was a deep sense of goodness about Sam. His father was a minister, and he obviously had spent a lot of time in church. His first success came early as a gospel singer, and he expanded into R&B and pop. It looked like he was making the right choices in life until he got shot by the night manager of a motel. You wonder who he had fallen in with.

Paul Simon, James Taylor and I covered "Wonderful World," which he also wrote. It was a teenage short story like Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" or "School Days." You're stroking the teenager's sense of style with those pop songs. Sam was a master of that idiom. "Wonderful World" was both unsophisticated and very Tin Pan Alley.

Sam came along before the album was discovered as an art form. You think of him in terms of songs. My favorites are "Sad Mood," "Wonderful World," "Summertime," "For Sentimental Reasons" and "You Send Me." I think that "A Change Is Gonna Come" shows where he could have gone if he had lived through the Sixties, doing Marvin Gaye kind of lyrics about the society we live in. It was a tremendous loss when he was killed. I remember thinking, "Oh, that can't be." He was such a rising star, a fabulous singer with intelligence. And that brilliant smile.

I used to think he was just a great singer. Now I think he's better than that. Almost nobody since then can touch him.

Sam Cooke singing "I love you for sentimental reasons": 
(thanks to Stefan Abeysekera)


Bob Dylan's 1965 San Francisco Press Conference

This website proper has disappeared from the visible internet but you can still access it through the convoluted URL I've given at the bottom. Great old photos and links and the only existing videotaping of an early Dylan press conference.

Dylan was prophetic even back as far as 1965, it appears. When asked if he'd sold out to the big commercial interests, he replied, 'Well, I don't feel guilty. Anyway, if I did sell out, it would be ladies' garments," uncannily predicting his 2004 ad for Victoria's Secret panties, which shows the 63-year-old Dylan at the Palazzo in Venice leering at a scantily dressed model wearing angels' wings as a remix of his 1997 song 'Love Sick' is played. youTube Ad

Of course, anyone can change their mind. It's only human. Like when Zimmie said recently (2007) for Rolling Stone:
" I don't listen to any of my records. When you're inside of it all, all you're listening to is a replica."

But in the 1965 thought differently, "Concerts are a kick," Dylan had said during his enervating afternoon press conference, "but the albums are more important: they're more concise and the words are easier to hear."

Tickets are currently on sale for Dylan's Melbourne concerts this month. It might still be a bit chilly but make sure to wear your Victoria's Secret underwear and toss a few garments on the stage to let him know you still care. Tickets are expensive - between $100 and $200 a pop. For the same price, you could buy both Season One and Two of the awesome mini-series 'Rome'. I'm expecting Season Two to arrive any day now.

1965 San Francisco Press Conference website




' Bob Dylan . . . has made but one commitment to the future - he would like to write a symphony. It's the only firm commitment verbal, philosophic, or social that he offered yesterday to a world that he perceives as being otherwise without hope. . . .It will be like no other symphony... as the high priest of the folk-rock cult described it to reporters at KQED, it will have "different melodies, words and ideas all being the same and rolled on top of each other." He made a delicate gesture with delicate hands as if he were kneading pastry dough.' From Bob Dylan's 1965 Examiner interview with Lisa Hobbs

Hmmmmmm? " . . .different melodies, words and ideas all being the same and rolled on top of each other. . . ." Sounds more like a puff pastry dough. Forty-two years later, we're still waiting for the great pastry symphony. I guess we still have something to look forward to from the musical naked chef, so to hold us over until then, here is a little something made with REAL pastry dough.

These two tarts come as a result of a recent baking workshop with Loretta Sartori. What a good investment that was! Everything has been coming out perfect since then. I heartily recommend finding some chef (or songwriter) you respect and asking them about some hands-on lessons. (Failing that, you could join Dylan's MySpace site and be Friend Number 96,001.)


Lemon Tart

Pasta Frollo
1-2-3 sweet shortcrust pastry - from Loretta Sartori. Named thus so as to make it easy to remember: 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter - 3 parts flour. Eggs are optional. This pastry freezes well and is so tasty that you can freeze the left over bits and just roll them at a moment's notice into shortbread biscuits to quickly bake for ten minutes and have with tea or coffee.)

1 egg (optional)
100 g sugar
200 g unsalted butter
300 g plain flour

Cream butter and sugar lightly. Add the egg and continue creaming until absorbed. Carefully fold in flour, mixing only until just combined. The dough will still be a little sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Knead the chilled dough lightly first to soften, then roll out evenly in all directions with a small amount of dusting powder.
Blind Bake: Line a 3.5 cm deep, 24 cm fluted tart tin, with a removable bottom, with the pastry, pressing gently into base and sides. Cut excess pastry around edge with rolling pin, cover with plastic wrap and chill the tart case for one hour. Preheat oven to 180C. Press a layer of aluminium foil into the tart case and fill with beans to keep the edges stable in the oven. Bake for 10 -15 minutes. Remove from oven when outer edge of crust is golden brown. Remove beans and check bottom. If bottom is still moist, return to oven (without beans) for five minutes until base is ready.

Lemon Filling
3 large lemons
6 eggs
250 g castor sugar
200 ml cream
Powdered Sugar
Extra cream for serving
Whole candied orange and candied lemon peel for garnish.

Pre-heat oven to 160 C. Zest and juice lemons. Combine eggs and sugar until well-blended. Add zest and juice. Stir. Add cream and mix thoroughly using a whisk. Pour into just baked pastry. TIP: Place a pizza pan, or any flat surfaced pan, in the oven about 10 minutes before you are ready to put the tart in. Place the tart tin on top of this and it will keep any overflow during the baking from messing up your oven. This is the way I fill the tart case with the filling: I place the unfilled tart case in the oven on the pizza pan, then ladle the filling into the tart case slowly until it just reaches the top. This step saves you the trouble of having to then move the full tart case from the bench into the oven which invariably causes some spillage which is unpleasant. My way of doing it avoids that problem. Bake for 35 minutes or until set. Cool in tin for 30 minutes before serving.

Turn out onto a wooden board. Garnish with the candied fruit. Finding a whole candied orange isn't easy but they are out there. I get mine from the local Italian deli. I cut the whole orange into thin slices and decorate the surface of the tart. You can alternate with candied lemon or lime for variety. Dust with icing sugar

Chocolate Tart

You can use the pasta frollo above but I have been using a less sweetened pastry with the addition of some cocoa powder thusly:

125g chilled unsalted butter
1 tble castor sugar
200 g plain flour
2 tbles Dutch cocoa
2 egg yolks

300 g dark couverture chocolate, finely chopped
100 ml double cream
125 g unsalted butter, chopped
4 eggs
100 g castor sugar
1 tble golden syrup

Cream butter, sugar, flour and cocoa powder under it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add egg yolks and 1 1/2 tbles iced water and continue mixing only until just combined. The dough might still be a little sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Knead the chilled dough lightly first to soften, then roll out evenly in all directions with a small amount of dusting powder.
Blind Bake: Line a 3.5 cm deep, 24 cm fluted tart tin, with a removable bottom, with the pastry, pressing gently into base and sides. Cut excess pastry around edge with rolling pin, cover with plastic wrap and chill the tart case for one hour. Preheat oven to 180C. Press a layer of aluminium foil into the tart case and fill with beans to keep the edges stable in the oven. Bake for 10 -15 minutes. Remove from oven when outer edge of crust is cooked. Remove beans and check bottom. If bottom is still moist, return to oven (without beans) for five minutes until base is ready.
For the filling, combine chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir continuously until butter and chocolate are melted and mixture is well combined. Remove bowl from heat and set aside. Whisk eggs, sugar and golden syrup until pale and creamy, then fold into chocolate mixture. Pour filling into tart shell (use techniques outlined in previous recipe) and bake at 150C for 35-40 minutes or until just set. Cool tart to room temperature before serving with double cream.



Sappho's writing has been a big influence on mine over the years. She lived around 600 BC but I just found out recently that although she was born of an aristocratic family and her home was on the island of Lesbos, she fled to SICILY when the government of Lesbos was toppled by a rebellion led by Pittacus. (Part of my family hails from Sicily - I knew I had something in common with that woman!)
I have just finished transposing a four-fragment setting of Sappho's poetry, that I originally composed in 1997. Originally scored for two sopranos, flute, gamba and harpsichord, I have now whipped it into shape for a solo guitar and tenor, so that I can sing it myself. I will premiere it this weekend for a friend's birthday party, Here are the lyrics:

Evocation of Sappho

The gods bless you
may you sleep then
on some tender
girlfriend's breast

Tonight I've watched
the moon and then
the Pleiades
go down.
The night is now
youth goes;
I am
in bed alone

My lovely friends
how could I change
towards you who
are so beautiful?

You know the place: then
leave Crete and come to us
waiting where the Grove is
pleasantest, by Precincts
sacred to you; incense
smokes on the altar, cold
streams murmur through
the apple branches, a young
rose thicket shades the ground
and quivering leaves pour
down deep sleep; in meadows
where horses have grown sleek
among spring flowers, dill
scents the air

Queen! Cyprian!
Fill our golden cups with love
stirred into clear nectar . . .


('Evocation of Sappho,' composed by Joe Dolce, Dolceamore Music, 1997. Words: Sappho: A New Translation, translated by Mary Barnard, used with permission and published by The University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. USA.)

(Note: You can hear a recording of Movement II (Fragment 64), for voice, guitar and viola da gamba, on my MySpace website

Also if anyone is curious as to what Sappho's poems sound like in Greek: website







Catolic Dog

Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company.

One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked,
"Fadder, my dog is dead. Could ya' be saying' a mass for the poor creature?"

Father Patrick replied, "I'm afraid not; we cannot have services for an
animal in the church. But there are some Baptists down the lane, and
there's no tellin' what dey believe. Maybe dey'll do something for the

Muldoon said, "I'll go right away, Fadder. Do ya' tink $5,000 is enough
to donate to dem for the service?"

Father Patrick exclaimed, "Sweet Mary, Mother of Cheesus! Why didn't ya
tell me the dog was Catolic?

(thanks to Bill Lempke)