Top 50 Songs List – The Sequel


It’s been close on 12 months since I posted my original Top 50 Songs list.


I thought at the time making the list would be a fulfilling experience. To finally sort in some type of order so many great songs which had been buzzing around in my head for all these years like trapped horseflies banging up against a pane of glass looking for a way out, was, as it turned out, a truly joyous and cathartic experience.

Yet in some ways it raised almost as many questions as it answered in regard to songs it literally pained me to leave off the list.

How better to correct that problem then to make another list!






Benefits include –

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  • complimentary SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK sample bag containing –Capture 3Capture3Capture 3
  • membership card written in invisible ink readable only under UV lightCapture
  • cheat codes and answers to any quiz run on the site
  • a copy of the SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK mix tape containing all the favourite tunes of the site as listed HERE
  • loyalty card & the ability to accrue and redeem points based on number of views, likes and comments



  • unlimited usage of SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK HQ’s ping-pong table
  • high fives galore


Platinum Subscriber’s GO PREMIUM! Package is invitation only.

If your computer has been able to recognise and display the GO PREMIUM! tab on the home page menu, congratulations! That means you’ve already passed the first stage of the screening process for entry.

To fully qualify you will need the endorsement of two current members who propose you.

Upon admission members agree to abide by the Platinum Subscriber’s GO PREMIUM! Code of Conduct and Rules for Viewing which include a blanket ban on the wearing of denim while visiting the SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK site.


So what are you waiting for?

Go ahead today and start organising your application.

You’ll be on your way to opening the doors to an alternate world of blue ribbon VIPcontent and privilege.

Well-poured literary cocktails and an unspoiled view like no other will be yours for the enjoying.

Step up and reward yourself today.

GO PREMIUM! Where everything’s premium except the price.



P.S. Speaking of facelifts…

To avoid attracting the unkind label ‘Overzealous Promotions Daddy’, it’s probably best if some actual news content made it into this post as well, in addition to the more-than-ridiculous  ‘Go Premium’ call to arms

Call them sequels, reboots, comebacks, reimaginings or even offerings from the ‘there’s still life in the old dog yet’ manufacturing plant, these ‘oldies but goodies‘ are all set for reincarnation in the near future –


  1. The three surviving members of rock icon band LED ZEPPELINJohn Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page – have reunited to co-author an illustrated book due out in October to mark the band’s 50th anniversary.
  2. A new Crocodile Dundee movie starring Paul Hogan entitled THE VERY EXCELLENT MR DUNDEE will begin shooting next month.
  3. She had style! She had flair! She’s back? 90’s tv show THE NANNY creator Fran Drescher has confirmed she is in talks to reboot her signature show.
  4. 76-year-old ex-Beatle Paul McCartney will release his first new album in five years, titled EGYPT STATION in September.

And finally…

Congratulations go to this blog’s favourite politician JACINDA ARDERN – New Zealand’s Prime Minister and someone whose been spoken about on these pages before – on the occasion of the birth of her first child yesterday. She is only the second world leader in modern times to give birth while in office, the first being Pakistan’s then-prime minister Benazir Bhutto 28 years ago.



I’ve got a secret!


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It’s no secret I’ve got a secret and I’m gonna tell it to you.

You’re finally going to learn where I hid the money.

I know. I know.

You’ve heard this all before because I’ve been dropping teasing hints for some time.

No more hints. No more games.

The moment has arrived.

I grew up in the leafy green Brisbane suburb of Toowong.

One of the steepest hills of my old childhood stomping ground was the million-dollar views-once-you-were-on-top Miskin Street. Anyone looking to develop the bulging legs of an Olympic cyclist could do worse than make travelling up it’s God’s-gift-to-steepness bitumen a part of their regular training routine.

Near the top of this street, just before it connects to Sherwood Road, is a little tucked away laneway called Fewings Street. In the backyard of the 2nd house along, stood a wooden cubby house. Incredibly, it’s still there today, four decades aged, blanketed in green moss and barely visible amongst the overgrown thicket of vines and shrubbery.


Somewhere over that rickety hill-side fence is the loot.

Back in the late seventies, four pre-teen mates and I stored an air rifle inside a gap under the floor boards of that cubby house. It proved to be such a perfect, undisturbed hiding place that I returned some years later and placed a quantity of money enclosed in an old off-white hessian bankers coin bag in the same spot. And I can honestly say, to the best of my knowledge, that money is still there today.

How do I know? ‘Cause I checked. Only a little over three months ago. It wouldn’t be enough to retire on but with inflation over 40 years factored in it might just be enough to buy a new fishing rod. Or cricket bat. Or cheap electric leaf mulcher.

cricket bat

Overseas readers have hopefully worked out by now unearthing this long hidden ‘treasure’ probably wouldn’t be worth the trip. I say this with the tragic yet fascinating case of Japanese office worker Takako Konishi in mind. Back in 2001 she was found frozen to death in a snow-covered field in Minnesota U.S. It was reported at the time she had died while trying to find the money buried by actor Steve Buscemi‘s character in the 1996 film FARGOThough the truth of her death was somewhat less bizarre, this story grew legs and eventually grew to the status of urban legend.


I’m mentioning this now because having at last spilled the beans as to the location of the buried money, I wouldn’t want to be held in any way responsible for someone who, blinded by sheer greed and ruthless determination to get there first and claim the untold riches, ends up becoming entangled in a backyard jungle of thorny caterpillar vines and is never heard from again.

Nothing’s worth that fate. Especially not this nothing.

Ps. This week’s bonus read is the real story behind the urban legend of the Japanese woman who went in search of the money buried in the snow by Steve Buscemi’s character in the 1996 movie FARGO.



Pss. And then there’s these…

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Pss. Don’t think my little stash over in leafy Toowong would have made it into any of these volumes but you never know… (ok, you do know but I’m gonna say that anyway).

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Psss. This week’s book recommendation is the 2014 published memoir of active professional treasure hunter William Carl Jameson (1942 – present). This guy’s encounter’s with rattlesnakes, drug runners, park rangers, mine-shaft cave-ins and poisonous centipedes all while on the hunt for hidden treasure is the stuff of Indiana Jones’ movies and all reputed to be true.

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And one more thing…

Next week treasure of a different kind will be unearthed on SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK.

In just seven more sleeps a true one-of-kind revolution is set to unfurl on these humble pages that will force readers to bring into question everything they thought they once knew about SWS.

Spoilers aside, it’s no exaggeration to say the changes to the site set to be unveiled next Friday will have more landscape-altering effect then the 291–306 War of the Eight Princes, the 782–785 Saxon revolt against Charlemagne and the Cornish Rebellion of 1497combined!

That’s quite the promise I realise.

But I’m confident once you lay eyes for yourself on the head-spinning Beverly Hills style makeover, you’ll agree all the pre-launch buzz was worth it.

Until next week…


‘Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting!’


My current retro favourite thing to do on Sunday nights is glueing an ear, 1950’s style, to the radio (‘wireless’ if you want to keep it real old school).

The station of choice for me on these occasions appears to be more often than not the Brisbane chapter of ABC Radio.

There’s a talkback/arts, community & music focussed show with a fun, breezy tone that airs from 5:30-8pm. If that description sounds like it’s been lifted straight from the station’s own website – that’s because it has! The program is  hosted by Rhianna Patrick (pictured below). Rhianna is a Torres Strait Islander (where I lived for two years) who moved to Brisbane at the age of 10. Last year she was a speaker at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival. 

CaptureOn a recent Sunday night she invited listeners to ring in to talk about their favourite martial arts movies. I took up the offer, but by the time I was through waiting on the line the show slid into the 8pm news and I was left karate chopping thin air. Quite a few callers spoke in glowing terms of the three movies (and their sequels) pictured below –


It reminded me once more of just how ‘old school’ my tastes in so many things have become. Partly in rebuttal therefore and partly because for some strange reason it makes me feel for an ever-so-brief moment somehow absurdly powerful, I give you my Top Ten Favourite Martial Arts Movies –

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PS. As a special treat, in all it’s crane-kicking glory, may I interest you in Steven Seagal’s infamous “Anybody Seen Richie?” scene from 1991’s OUT FOR JUSTICE.

Anyone who’s ever admired the resourceful genius of wrapping a billiard ball in a white handkerchief during times of danger owes it to themselves to click HERE

(Be aware this clip comes with more warning labels than a lead-lined canister of weapons-grade 239 plutonium, which should in no way make it any less entertaining to watch)

Pss. Staying with the martial arts theme (a little but not a lot)  – I was walking through a Big W store last weekend when a book on display caught my eye –Capture

Here’s the plot synopsis –

Sometimes love means having to broaden your literary horizons

Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person will do.

It’s not that she hasn’t tried. She’s the queen of online dating. But enough is enough. Inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop, Frankie decides to take fate into her own hands and embarks on the ultimate love experiment.

Her plan? Plant her favourite books on trains inscribed with her contact details in a bid to lure the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams.

Enter Sunny, and one spontaneous kiss later, Frankie begins to fall for him. But there’s just one problem – Frankie is strictly a classics kind of gal, and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Like really.

Written by first-time novel Melbourne authors and best friends Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus, this two person creative team both run and fund a fascinating community initiative called BOOKS ON THE RAIL.

Books on the Rail is made up of a team of Book Ninjas, all of whom leave books on public transport for people to take, read and then return to the rails for someone else to enjoy. It copies a similarly run program in London called Books on the Underground.

Books on the Rail is now Australia-wide, made up of over 1000 Book Ninjas, and is supported by some big name Australian publishers who provide books to distribute onto the rails.


Psss. Your bonus read this week is an article about the Hyman Archive in London which stores the world’s largest collection of magazines.


 or HERE

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And one last thing…

As a follow-up to last week’s impassioned manifesto regarding the impending vanilla slice apocalypse, thanks-with-icing-on-top must go to the loyal subscriber who treated me, real-world style, to one of these pastry (used-to-be) delights during the week. Reader dedication like that should not go unrewarded, so I declare this true-blue patron‘KING FOR A DAY’.




The Great Vanilla Slice Ripoff


Charting the sad demise of the vanilla slice from the ‘Chardonnay of pastries’ to the common cask wine of the pantry.

Prepare to be shocked, rocked and variously dismayed.

Get ready to bring everything you thought you once knew into question.

Brace yourself for an encounter with the misshapen truth.

In the tradition of trailblazing investigative journalism reminiscent of the glory days of The Washington Post or more locally Tracey Grimshaw & all the gang at A Current Affair, SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK, after months of exhaustive research in and around the coffee shops of Brisbane, is finally now ready to lay bare the foundation-rocking findings of its undercover probe into what can only be labelled THE GREAT VANILLA SLICE CONSPIRACY. 


Before the canon goes ‘boom’ however, let me establish some bona fides.

Vanilla slices and I have enjoyed a wanton love affair since as far back as when I was in the 6th grade. I can remembering ordering them from the school tuckshop and pretending to myself they were real food. Back then they came with pink icing on top and the custard (the colour of Maccas cheese) inside was quite gelatine which meant a vaguely plasticky feel (though still yum) when you bit down on it. And square, very square compared to today’s rectangular creations.


Nothing but old school.

So to the business…

Food manufacturers reducing the portion sizes of their products but failing to adjust the price is nothing new. Australians are well aware of chocolate maker Cadbury’s much publicized many sins in this regard over recent times. Last year in the UK the company that produces Toblerone bars was forced to confirm, after suspicions were raised, that in an attempt to increase their bottom line and give consumers less for the same price without it being overly obvious, they had increased the size of the gap between its triangular chunks (smart!).

I can now verify that over the course of the last four to five years, the vanilla slices served up in various Brisbane coffee shops chains have gone from containing two internal layers of pastry to one internal layer of pastry to now no internal layers of pastry (see top photo). Naturally the in-your-guts kicker is the standard price for one of these poor-excuse-for-a-vanilla-slice anemic looking imitations is the you’ve-got-to be-kidding-me extortionist fee of $7.90!


The charmless lunatic that is deflation – getting charged more for less.

Both Gloria Jeans and The Coffee Club (who use the same supplier for their pastries) are chief linchpins in the conspiracy. And a most silent conspiracy up until now it has been. When was the last time you saw vanilla slices front page news?  No one’s been talking about it but all that ends now. The More Thriller Vanilla (MTV) movement is born as of today. The goal of this people’s movement is obviously to have at least one, and in time, both of the internal pastry layers restored. MTV will not rest until it’s goals have been achieved and in the meantime calls for a boycott of the purchase of all internal-pastry-layerless vanilla-slices.

Save the whales?  By all means!

Save the white rhino?  I’m pumped!

But for the love of all that is holy in this world can we also save the goddam vanilla slice before it’s too late for that endangered species as well!


Ps. Usually when I get this pent-up I call for someone to hand me a vanilla slice to soothe me. Since that won’t be possible under my present self-imposed ban I’ll be forced to reach for my other go-tomusk sticks!


Pss. Your bonus read this week is from a person who likes (quality) vanilla slices almost as much as me.


Psss. Your recommended reading this week is a 2012 published novel titled LIFE, DEATH and VANILLA SLICES written by English comedian, novelist and actress Jenny Eclair (1960 –     ). LIFE, DEATH and VANILLA SLICES has been described as both funny and gut-wrenchingly poignant.


Pssss. As the photo below proves, VSD (Vanilla Slice Disillusionment) has spread to the top end of town across nations separated by vast blue water oceans. But allied power such as this can easily stop VSD dead in its tracks. I believe its time for those in positions of power to act before it’s too late. The economic rationalists responsible for this insidious erosion of vanilla slice standards may very well be planning to go ahead and remove the bloody top icing layer as well! And that would mostly definitely be a bridge too far.Capture

And one more thing…

Not sure what the standard of vanilla slices is in England but I know the person to ask should I ever wish to know. James is a schoolteacher who lives in the town of Reading (40km from Oxford) in the south-east of England. He’s the CEO and chief ideas person behind a very entertaining blog calling itself JAMES PROCLAIMS. (SEE IT HERE)

A feature of James‘ blog is his standing offer to supply meaningful answers to any question posed to him. Recently I availed myself of his services when GOOGLE could not properly assist me. Here’s what I asked –

“Do our idyllic childhood memories set us up for a life of disappointment when inevitably many aspects of adult life do not measure up to how we first conceived of them from our cocooned viewpoint as ‘babes in the woods’ or… are we all really on our own Wizard of Oz ‘Peak Behind the Curtain’ journeys where the ultimate goal is acquiring wisdom and understanding without being brought undone by the occupational hazards of accompanying bitterness and disillusionment?”


And here was James’ reply –

To be honest Glen, by the time I got to the end of that question, I had pretty much forgotten how it all began. I find that my attention span isn’t what it once was. Or is it? I don’t know. I can’t remember if I ever had much of an attention span. Probably not. More to the point, am I actually answering your question at all? Let me revisit the question again…

(Musical interlude while James goes back to read the question)

Right, I think I’ve got this. Adult life is inherently disappointing, and we are definitely prone to reminiscing about better times. But they never happened. Life was always rubbish, and the only reason we might not have thought that when we were kids is because we were stupid. Although, even as an infant I was a little world-weary in truth.