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Top Ten Tunes

Nick Ryan

Wine Writer

Ladies and Gentlemen! First of all -- our apologies for the increased virtual entry fee tonight to the fabled Dayglo. Needs must. Just for the sheer QUALITY of tonight's guest DJ, we have had to raise our fee from a virtual bargain to a virtual fortune. Even now, with the economy the way it is. Booming! What, I hear you say? It's in the dunny? Surely not -- the Treasurer/Minister of Finance/Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us we are in good hands? Oh, that was the last lot? I am SO confused. And indeed where are we exactly? Oh come on, let's put all that behind us -- it's PARTY time at the Dayglo. And here tonight -- what a rare privilege, a DJ in demand from Tenerife to Dubbo, as well being of course The Thinking Drinker's Writer, The Drinking Writer's Thinker, The Writing Thinker's Drinker, The Drinking Man's Hero, The Drinking Woman's Pinup, The Thinking Woman's Mistake, The Drinking Australian's Warney, The Thinking Universe's Black Hole...a man with impeccable convict origins (tonight please note was not a Royal Command performance -- we all remember how that went last time -- Christ Nick, that was just unnecessary), impeccable creds and impeccable trousers before 11 a.m.) Oh look here he is, dapper, oozing Aussy charm from every pore, immaculately turned out, on his feet even... Come on up Nick, and please take the mike, tell us a bit about yourself, and PLEASE don't go The Bennie and use the third person -- keep it light, if you will...Ladies And Gentlemen! In his own words! MR NICK RYAN!

Thrown out of university in Adelaide and moving to Sydney, Nick Ryan used the knowledge he'd gained raiding his old man's cellar to land a job with one of Sydney's leading wine merchants. Realising that writing about it was easier than lifting it has led him to where he is now. He's a regular contributor to Men's Style Australia, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Jamie Magazine and many more. He is passionate about wines that are just as interesting by the fourth glass as they are at the first and would give it all up to play one game for the Port Adelaide Football Club.

Oh dear, it was going so well, third person aside, up to the Port Adelaide bit...Security! Eject that man! The one throwing old mangoes at our guest! Yeah, the one in his...what, pyjamas? Mike Bennie, that's the one. And don't come back, ya bastard!

Sorry folks, but when there are Australians in the house, you have to call it like you see it. Anyway, here he is -- the Drinking Drinker's Drinker himself, your pal and most certainly ours too, the drollest of the droll, an ORNAMENT to both his profession and his girt-by-sea country...the wonderful MR NICK RYAN!

Be careful what you wish for and be wary of offers coming from evil-eyed Kiwis wreathed in leaves and flowers. All those years waiting to be asked to contribute and then when the time finally comes you quickly realise this is all just Sam's devilish plan to f*ck with your mind.

So, three long lists, nine shortlists and several sleepless nights later here's my Two Paddocks Top Ten.

  1. Sue's Last Ride - The Dirty Three

    Noah Taylor beat me to this one but there's no way that could stop me including my favourite piece of music ever. Warren's violin captures most people's attention but just look at it again and follow Jim White's sublime work on the skins. He's simply the greatest drummer on the planet. This song is the gateway people use to enter my life- I can't love you if you don't love this. I've lost a few that way, but I don't care.

  2. At Least That's What You Said - Wilco

    Some songs you remember exactly where you were the first time you heard them. I bought Wilco's ‘A Ghost is Born' album the day it came out and slipped it in the cd player while driving home from work. That moment when that crunchy, high-tensile guitar kicks in after two whispered verses stopped me in my tracks. I pulled the car over beneath a big Moreton Bay fig tree in Rose Bay and hit ‘repeat' on the CD player at least a dozen times.

  3. Racing In The Street - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

    Growing up there were a few fundamental truths in our house. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty was true for dad's clients but never his kids. You keep your losing bets quite and your winning ones even quieter. Don't talk back to your mother. And Bruce Springsteen is, was and always will be, The Boss.

  4. Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner - Warren Zevon

    This whole list could've been Springsteen songs -- the perfect pair of Thunder Road and Born to Run, the operatic glory of Jungleland, anything off Nebraska -- but in the end I went for what might just be the perfect Springsteen song.

  5. God - My Pal

    It's got all the key elements of the Springsteen universe, the noble everyman, the dream-dashed girl waiting wistfully on a porch, fast cars, open highways,sin, sorrow, absolution and flight to the promised land.

  6. Castiotone for the Painfully Alone - I Love Creedence

    It's also a great E Street Band song in a quiet and restrained way. Roy Bittan's piano is achingly beautiful and when Danny Federici's mournful organ comes in late you just can't help but cry.

  7. Mogwai - Mogwai Fear Satan

    If Springsteen was God in 70's then Warren was the Devil. Classically trained by Igor Stravinsky, Warren Zevon was more Rock-n-Roll than just about anyone. He drank like ten thirsty Hemmigways and wrote some of the sharpest, funniest and most beautiful songs ever recorded.

  8. Withered Hand - Religious Songs

    Warren Zevon's records were central to Dad's record collection even though his alphabetised filing system kept them at one end. ‘Werewolves of London' might have been the song that led me to Zevon, but Roland is the song that made me love him. It's like a five minute Fredrick Forsyth novel and it contained everything an eight year old kid needed to know about geopolitics in the 1970's.

  9. Tender Is The Night - (The Long Fidelity) - The Triffids

    It's quite simply the greatest song about headless Norwegian mercenaries ever written and the last line -- "Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland's Thompson gun, and bought it." -- is pure genius.

  10. True Love Will Find You In The End - Daniel Johnston

    Somewhere in Rock-n-Roll heaven is a small, sturdy box in which reside the handful of purely perfect riffs known to exist. They are dispensed sparingly and mysteriously. Keith Richards received Satisfaction in a dream and Richie Blackmore found Smoke on the water in the opening movement of Beethoven's Fifth. Joel Silbesher was a 15 year old Melbourne kid having a shower before school when he got his.

Nick. Wait. A moment. That Daniel Johnstone has me blubbing every time. A hanky please, someone. PFFFHHHSSSHHH. Ah, better. Nick you rock, my man. Come back to the Dayglo any time my friend. Oh, hang on. That's you hangin' here every Friday night anyway...Ladies and Gents! Another big Dayglo hand for MR NICK RYAN!

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