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Medal honours Erebus rescuer

BRAVE: David Armstrong receives his medal from New Zealand High Commission military adviser Lieutenant-Colonel Darren Beck yesterday.ONE of only four Australians to help with the recovery effort after New Zealand’s worst air disaster in Antarctica in 1979 has been honoured with a special medal.
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David Armstrong, of Jewells, was presented yesterday with the New Zealand Special Service Medal at Greenleaf Retirement Village.

Mr Armstrong was an air dispatch Warrant Officer in the army helping unload supplies at the McMurdo Base in Antarctica in November 1979 when Air New Zealand flight 901 crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board.

The flight was the first commercial route to Antarctica for sight seeing and on its 14th trip when the plane flew into the mountain in total ‘‘whiteout’’ conditions.

David Armstrong and his three men were Australia’s contribution to the recovery effort.

The men, whose day job was directing and unloading planes, had the daunting task over the next fortnight of recovering and identifying bodies and belongings, all in sub-zero conditions.

Mr Armstrong, 74, now suffering Parkinson’s disease, said he developed a stutter and shake because of the stress.

‘‘Nobody was to be blamed and everybody got on with the job,’’ he said.

‘‘You imagined what it would be like if your family was on the craft.’’

The special service medal was approved in 2006 and the New Zealand government has been tracking down those involved.

New Zealand High Commission military adviser Lieutenant-Colonel Darren Beck said rescue workers all went above their call of duty during an unprecedented event.

Those involved have spoken of working 24 hours a day covered in black human grease from burned bodies, warding off circling birds, surviving freezing conditions and finally being stranded by bad weather with supplies running low.

‘‘It was the work of people involved that really made it a little easier for families and brought closure to the lives of their loved ones,’’ Lieutenant-Colonel Beck said.

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The Seabellies to play at home for NYE

The Seabellies.IT will be a return to an old stomping ground when Newcastle six-piece band The Seabellies play at the Great Northern Hotel on New Year’s Eve.
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‘‘We used to do a residency at the Great Northern. It was a venue that really helped us hit our straps. We played there on a Sunday night for a couple of years,’’ frontman Trent Grenell told LIVE. ‘‘But we haven’t played there for maybe four years or 4 years. I really have no idea what to expect, so I’m looking forward to it.

‘‘It will be really interesting. We’re usually away on New Year’s Eve playing a show, so it’ll be nice to be home for a change.’’

The Seabellies formed in Newcastle in 2005 and two years later won the 2007 Garage to V competition, edging out more than 400 bands across the country. The win earnt The Seabellies the chance to play alongside the likes of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and The Pixies at Sydney’s V Festival.

The same year The Seabellies took out the major prizes at the 1233 ABC Music Awards .

Many festival gigs followed, along with several local and international supports, including for Evermore, Something for Kate and Augie March.

In 2010 the band released its debut album By Limbo Lake, which Rolling Stone magazine described as ‘‘bustling, widescreen indie rock’’.

Fans also warmed to their indie tunes with sweet melodies and trickling guitars including Young Cubs, Heart Heart Heart Out, Prairie, Trans Ending and Board the Apartment Up.

The six-piece is back in Newcastle ‘‘in full pre-production mode’’ for its next album after stints in Melbourne and Europe to write the material.

The Seabellies spent a month in Melbourne writing and playing shows in late 2010, when the band hit the headlines after a group of thugs attacked them.

They recuperated in Newcastle and played a few east coast festivals before heading to Europe on their own journeys, reconnecting later in Berlin to write.

‘‘We wanted to see how getting away would influence our writing, it was different in Melbourne but it wasn’t quite different enough. We were being influenced by similar things, but we had some different ideas in Berlin certainly,’’ Grenell said.

The frontman said that both a change of scene and exposure to new types of music in Germany helped kick-start the creative process.

‘‘It was a bit of both really, just different experiences from general life. There are a lot of different types of bands and genres of music across Europe,’’ he said. ‘‘It was six months in Berlin and we had access to a studio right in the city, the Eastern Bloc.’’

The Seabellies didn’t play shows during their six months in Berlin. They focused instead on writing and demo-ing songs ready to record next year in Sydney.

‘‘We’d just come off our album cycle and toured five singles and so we all just took off and did our own thing and reconnected in Berlin. We just started getting back into it, it was more of a writing mission than anything,’’ Grenell said.

‘‘It’s been five years of touring so at the end of the album cycle we just took a few months off. It’s hard to schedule six different lives and you don’t have a lot of down time when you have singles to tour, so it was nice to have a little breather. It doesn’t take long before you realise you’re itching to play again; I can’t wait.’’

The new album, which is as yet unnamed, will be recorded with what Grenell refers to as the ‘‘A Team’’: Berkfinger from Philadelphia Grand Jury and Tim Whitten (Powderfinger, Hoodoo Gurus, Augie March).

Grenell said the new material had a link to By Limbo Lake but also marked a progression for the band.

‘‘Melodically it’s not a far cry from what we’ve done before but it’s going into a bit more experimental territory. Essentially we’re a melodic-based band,’’ he said.

‘‘Our first album was written while talking to a lot of record companies so we had a lot of mixed messages and were pandering to a lot of people. It was kind of not-the-most comfortable and natural situation to make an album. But this time we’re completely comfortable and had a lot of support from our publisher. It’s a more natural and organic way to make a record.’’

Grenell said the band had learnt lessons during the six years since forming and is in a good place to record its sophomore album.

‘‘We’ve got the things in place that make it a lot easier for us these days. It’s still a very tough industry, but we’ve managed to get a lot of support for our music and we just want to put albums out and tour and things like that.’’ Despite assumptions that country cousins can face more of a struggle to get into the music industry, Grenell said coming from Newcastle worked in the band’s favour.

‘‘Initially when we started to try and hit the Sydney scene it was a positive. It seemed to work out for us. When it comes to photo and video shoots, people from Sydney love the fact we’re from Newcastle and are always pushing to do things in Newcastle. It’s a different vibe.’’

Sadly, Grenell has witnessed an increasing number of live venues closing in both regional and capital cities in the years since The Seabellies formed.

‘‘Some have closed in Newcastle and Sydney recently. In the last year Sydney has just been decimated,’’ he said.

While the band has no New Year’s resolutions yet, scoring a spot in the triple j Hottest 100 for its song Board The Apartment Up would be a bonus. To vote click here.

The Seabellies will play at the Great Northern Hotel on December 31, with support from The Owls. Tickets at thegreatnorthern.oztix南京夜网.au.

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Pattinson out due to injured left foot

James Pattinson, Shaun Marsh and David Warner celebrate after Pattinson takes the wicket of Virat Kohli.SYDNEY – Australian quick James Pattinson has been ruled out for the remainder of the Test series against India due to a left foot injury.
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Pattinson reported pain in his foot during India’s second innings of Australia’s innings and 86-run win at the SCG.

The 21-year-old was taken for X-rays and scans shortly after the end of the second Test yesterday where he was cleared of stress fractures but it was revealed that he had developed the early stage of stress-related bone trauma on his left metatarsal.

Chairman of selectors John Inverarity said the Victorian right-armer, who has taken 25 wickets since making his Test debut against New Zealand in Brisbane, would probably have been rested for the Perth Test regardless of his injury status.

Pattinson becomes the second young quick to fall foul of a foot injury with New South Wales teenager Patrick Cummins ruled out of the entire summer after injuring his heel in his stunning Test debut against South Africa in Johannesburg.

Queensland paceman Ryan Harris is now all but certain to come into the Test line-up after missing every Test this summer in his own recovery from injury.

NSW left-armer Mitchell Starc, who featured in both Tests against New Zealand but has yet to feature in the Indian series, will come into the squad for the third Test as Pattinson’s replacement.

“This young man has played in four Test matches over a period of just five weeks,” Inverarity said of Pattinson.

“This intention to rest Pattinson has become a necessity after post-match scans have revealed James’s foot injury.”

Australian physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said the paceman would be managed for the “next few weeks” and ruled him out of the remainder of the series.

Pattinson’s omission is the only change from the squad which defeated India in Sydney, with all-rounder Shane Watson still not deemed fit enough to be considered for selection.

Squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin, Ed Cowan, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Ash Grunwald loves the troubadour life

FREE AS AIR: Provided he’s got that good old guitar, Ash Grunwald’s halfway to heaven.THERE’S a special bond between a blues man and his guitar, whether it is on the road or on stage. Blues and roots musician Ash Grunwald is no exception.
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‘‘I’m so thankful to that guitar for taking me around Australia and around the world and seeing it in that much detail,’’ Grunwald told LIVE. ‘‘I love the one man band format, that’s what I did for so many years. There’s a different purity in just doing a solo set.’’

‘‘I took to the whole touring thing with a lot of vigour. I really do love that about the job. The tough life on the road was romanticised for me and that’s what I wanted, I never even had aspirations to play overseas and now I’ve played over the world.’’

Grunwald has spent the best part of a decade travelling around the country with his guitar in tow and has released eight EPs and albums along the way.

His track Breakout won the APRA Music Award for Blues and Roots Work of the Year in 2010. His album Hot Mama Vibes was nominated for the ARIA for Best Blues and Roots Album alongside the work of Dan Sultan, Jeff Lang, the John Butler Trio and The Wilson Pickers.

As well as critical acclaim, Grunwald has also built a loyal legion of fans who lap up his blues, funk and progressive sound.

By now, he’s well accustomed to playing both as a solo musician and with a band. He relishes touring and travelling alone (‘‘you’re more open to new experiences’’) and casually brushes off perceptions of the difficulties of being on stage alone.

‘‘I’ve got to say, it’s actually a bit of a scam really. People often say wow, it’s amazing how you can hold an audience, it must be lonely up there or whatever,’’ Grunwald told LIVE. ‘‘But if you’re up there by yourself on stage, you draw the audience in as your friends. As soon as you have one harmonica player with you or one guy on percussion, then it’s you and the team presenting to the audience and you’ve lost the link you had when you were solo. So I think its easier to connect with audiences solo for sure.’’

Grunwald also has a following overseas and has played gigs across Europe and Asia. Surprisingly, the blues and roots musician said audiences in different countries seemed to connect with his sound in the same way.

‘‘The most startling thing is a lack of difference. The two most interesting places are probably France and Japan,’’ he said. ‘‘To see those people reacting the same way as Australian audiences is amazing. You think, wow, the power of music and, I’ve been working so hard on crafting these lyrics and they can’t even understand what I’m saying and it’s still the same. There’s probably more we get from music on that animal level than we do on an intellectual level.’’

Next year Grunwald will tour Canada and Europe and play his first shows in New Zealand. Even after years on the road, it’s obvious he still enjoys playing to live audiences the world over, whether it’s in brief sojourns or longer journeys.

‘‘As time has worn on, especially when my touring entourage got bigger and bigger, it became more of those blocks – you go out and do the album tour and that’s it. But then there is more of the blues troubadour in me that just wants me to just keep gigging and stay on the road.

‘‘For me, the road has often been more of my home than my home. It’s where I write my songs, where I test stuff and a lot of my songs over the years have been written as I perform them. That influence has kept me kicking [on with touring] a little bit more than your average camper.’’

This tour is no exception when it comes to road testing new material, with Grunwald planning on playing some of the 16 or so new songs he’s already recorded for the album, which should be finished by April or May.

The tracks were recorded at Grunwald’s home studio – his pride and joy – stacked with vintage gear.

‘‘My studio I am absolutely in love with and as it was being built I was on eBay buying really good gear and I’ve been really happy with the way it has been going,’’ he said. ‘‘I wanted to get stuff to be able to do something absolutely 100per cent record quality so that every time you record something it’s valid.’’

Ash Grunwald plays Lizotte’s Newcastle on December 28. More information and tickets at newcastle.lizottes南京夜网.au/live/.

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Causing no offence

Do I ever regret offending anyone? Of course I do, especially when the offence is unintended or unwarranted! The problem is that I don’t think I’ve offended anyone without intention or good reason this year, and so I’ve been having great difficulty writing my annual column of regrets. To help flesh out the required space, in the newspaper at least, I’ve been reduced to regretting offence that was warranted, although in some cases I could not, despite my need, offer even a fleeting regret.
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My list of possibly regretful columns includes labelling female donkey drivers as jennies and my call a few weeks later to bring back the curtsy. However, even including warranted offence in my regrets list is not enough to express regret for unifying the thousands of pear-shaped Ulysseans and their pear-shaped boilers who spent days wobbling about the Lower Hunter on their ocean liner bikes in March, but there is one teeny little matter. When I suggested that people checking out the Saturday display of bikes might be wise to find out exactly when the 89-year-old Ulyssean with the Russian motorbike would be riding back to Queensland I didn’t mean to enrage him. Not at 89.

As short as I am of 2011 regrets I cannot bring myself to regret the offence caused to some men by my column in May describing their use of public toilets as sex venues as posing a threat to children.

In writing about the monster steak and monster burger eating challenges at Cardiff Panthers and Wests Mayfield in August I offended people of Cardiff and Mayfield by describing those suburbs as epicentres of obesity. This was, I accept, unduly unkind to Mayfield.

And what about my cat’s broken leg! My decision, after careful inspection and consideration, that Tilly would do a fine job of mending her broken leg came under sustained attack from almost everyone, and the fact that Tilly’s leg did mend seamlessly didn’t seem to matter to them. Well, I’m sorry, but I have to say that when I think of the money I saved on veterinary bills I’m not very sorry.

Have I offended you this year? Today’s the day to demand an apology or give me a lashing, or both.

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