Saturday, June 13, 2009

Spinning on that dizzy edge

Triple J are running the Hottest 100 of All Time in July. They last did it back in 1989, when this song was number 1 (I suspect it'll be up there this year too):

I voted this week, and it was difficult! First you creat a shortlist, and then you select up to 10 favourites from that list. You can also nominate your number 1 song, which enters you in a prize draw.

I browsed my iTunes collection (over 10,000 songs) to create my shortlist of 55 songs. From that, I had the torturous task of selecting just 10 songs. Here they are (in no particular order, apart from number 1), with my reasoning behind each choice...

1. 'Just Like Heaven' The Cure

Click here (YouTube embedding disabled).

This song just makes me happy - the melody, the lyrics, and the association it has with happy moments in my life. Also, I love to dance to it. In my loungeroom.

(The Cure's 'In Between Days' could've easily made it into the top 10. I love to dance to it too.)

2. 'Find The River' R.E.M.

That's the acoustic version - you can find the original music video on page 2 at this site.

R.E.M. are my favourite band, in case you hadn't already figured that out. 'Find The River' and 'You Are The Everything' are my two favourite songs, but 'Find The River' wins for the sheer joy I feel listening to it. The instruments, the harmonies, the lyrics - perfect.

3. 'Disarm' Smashing Pumpkins

This song reminds me of uni in the early 90s. I have a specific memory of a summer holiday down the south coast of NSW, listening to this song over and over. We especially loved the line, "To wither in denial".

Oh yes, and I should mention - as a (bad) violinist, I love string arrangements in pop/rock songs. *swoon*

4. 'Light & Day' The Polyphonic Spree

This one should also come as no surprise. A beautiful, joyful song. Great to sing along to in the car. It's a good motivational song too.

5. 'I've Got A Plan' My Friend The Chocolate Cake

One of my favourite Australian bands. I first discovered them in the early 90s with my first boyfriend (he's now gay, and one of my best friends, and isn't that a whole other story?), and I've lost count of the number of times we've seen them live. This song in particular resonates for me, but there are so many to choose from.

6. 'Lover, You Should've Come Over' Jeff Buckley

The 'Grace' album is amazing of course, and many people love the more well-known songs like 'Last Goodbye', 'Grace', and 'Hallelujah', but I adore this one. My favourite line is, "She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever". I was lucky enough to see Jeff in concert in 1995 - amazing.

7. 'At First Sight' The Stems

My favourite Aussie love song. "Just say the word and I would die for you."

8. 'The Rainbow Connection' Kermit the Frog

What's not to love? I saw The Muppet Movie at a drive-in in 1979 or 1980. We owned the LP soundtrack too. Hmmm, I wonder if my Mum still has it somewhere...

9. 'Even When I'm Sleeping' Leonardo's Bride

Another wonderful Australian love song. I saw Abby Dobson perform this at The Famous Spiegeltent in December last year, backed by her old bandmate Dean Manning. It brought a tear to my eye.

10. 'Crash Into Me' Dave Matthews Band

Click here (YouTube embedding disabled).

I was a late convert to the Dave Matthews Band - they're not hugely popular in Australia (at least not on the radio), and I first heard this song on an American workmate's computer back in about 2005. I quickly amassed all their albums, and saw them live in 2007. They've just released a new album, which I need to buy. I love many of their songs, but this one is my fave.


So - what's your top 10?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Country feedback

It's the beginning of week 3 of my GP term and, as predicted, I'm bored.

I'm on my rural placement in far western NSW with another student from my uni. We thought we were going to Broken Hill, but we've actually done one week in Wilcannia, and just started a two-week placement in Menindee. They're both very small towns.

Wilcannia was an eye-opener. It's a really depressing place. It used to be a thriving riverside town - the beautiful old sandstone buildings are a reminder of that time. But now it has one shop (a supermarket where, for example, broccoli costs $13 a kilo), one pub, and one club - and a raft of social, cultural, and health problems. There is a large indigenous population.

The hospital is very nice (another gorgeous sandstone building), and our accommodation was better than expected. But we couldn't go out at night, and felt very isolated. Even walking to the supermarket at 4pm on a Wednesday meant encountering groups of drunk men walking the streets.

It's a frustrating place. I have a lot of respect for the people who are trying to make it better, but I don't know how they can handle it. Small steps, I suppose. Health has improved in recent years with the implementation of a chronic disease monitoring program, and an early childhood program. Change is coming - slowly. But there's just so much that needs to be done - not just in healthcare. It's a place that many people have tried to fix over the years, but the list of failures is long.

One night we put our names down for ambulance/ED callout, and were woken at 1am. There was a brawl - one man had been glassed and he was in the ED, very aggressive and not allowing anyone to examine him. It was obvious that he hadn't just been drinking. Drugs are having more and more of an impact on the community. The perpetrator was there too - he'd broken his arm.

I was given the task of examining a woman who'd come in after having the crap beaten out of her by her drunk partner. I'd never examined an assault victim before (I'm sure it'll be all-too-common next year though), and I was pleased that I stayed calm and got a good history and did a good examination. In the ED we have to phone the on-call doctor at the RFDS base in Broken Hill, and she was happy with my assessment. Thankfully, the woman was not too seriously injured (no broken bones).

We found it hard to learn much about general practice because the doctors weren't there every day. One day, the RFDS doctor couldn't land due to fog, so we ran his clinic and called him to sign off on what we were doing. Sounds interesting, but it wasn't too challenging and we weren't getting feedback on our performance, so it didn't feel worthwhile. The clinic staff were very grateful for our help though. The worst thing we saw was a child's infected scalp still crawling with lice. (I just typed that and then scratched my head - happens every time I think about lice.)

We arrived in Menindee this morning, and the healthcare setup is more of the same - except there are even fewer doctors here, and fewer patients coming to the ED. Today dragged like you wouldn't believe - and I'm here for 11 days. Thankfully this town is more functional than Wilcannia (two shops, two pubs!), and we feel safe walking around. But it's cold and windy and rainy, and we've already had enough.

The aim for the next two weeks is to knock over all of my uni assignments so that I can relax when I get back to Sydney. It'll be good to do my urban placement with one GP who I can build a relationship with over the three weeks, and hopefully learn from.

PS. We were quite amused to see that Wilcannia Hospital made the news while we were there! Thanks to Yay for letting me know...