Michael Scott

I was up all night making this one – that’s what she said! For my television hero Michael Scott.

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The Dark Knight

Before I got into music, I always wanted to become a comic book artist. After I picked up the guitar, my childhood dream of drawing sort of vanished. Tonight I spontaneously felt the urge to draw again, and this is the result. For having not practiced drawing in years, I even surprised myself a little!

Image

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“Streetcar” Acoustic Cover

For a while I’d been wanting to record a cover of the song Streetcar by Funeral For A Friend. It’s always been one of my favourite songs, and despite the band’s changes over the years, it has never failed to “wow” me with each and every listen. I’m usually apprehensive about doing covers and tend to stay away from them unless I feel I can make it unique in my own way. But this song has a special place in my heart, and I felt that I could do it justice.

So, I finally decided to record it. I hope you enjoy my interpretation of this beautiful song.

And if you like it enough, you can stream and download it from here: http://soundcloud.com/trentobento/trent-davis-streetcar

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Originally posted on INFX.com.au:

Acoustic acts are a dime a dozen in the YouTube age, and its no longer difficult for amateur musicians to pick up their guitars and take to the virtual stage. But finding one with talent, soul, and modesty is another challenge altogether. For the last few years, Adelaide folk musician Cassie OGrady has been establishing a solid fanbase that understands this challenge through relentless performances at the citys live venues. The young songwriters repertoire of uncompromising folk-influenced tracks, including inventive covers of such artists as Cyndi Lauper and The Romantics is sure to rival some of the major players of the genre. With the upcoming release of her debut EPKings, recorded and mixed by Adelaides very own punk/folk lovechild Ben David, the rest of…

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Dead Joe ‘6’ EP Available Now on iTunes

My band DEAD JOE has released our debut EP ‘6’ on iTunes today. Physical copies will be available on Friday 23rd March at our EP LAUNCH and at our WEBSTORE. Exciting!!

GET IT HERE ON iTunes NOW!

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KONY 2012 Responds to Criticism

In response to much of the criticism that KONY 2012 has received over the past few days following their enormously successful viral campaign, Invisible Children offered answers to some of the tough questions that the public has been asking.

Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children and maker of the KONY 2012 film, spoke on Australian national television about some of the public’s concerns.

Jolly Grace Okot Andruvile, Invisible Children’s Country Director in Uganda, put up this video not more than 5 hours ago expressing her feelings on the campaign’s success and its consequent criticism.

It’s great that many of us are now taking a greater interest into not only working towards the protection of children in central Africa, but also showing concern for child soldiers and slavery all over the world. Perhaps what I am most surprised about is the fact that people are finally checking their sources. You should never believe everything you hear, and it’s always important to make sure that the information you are taking in is credible and accurate. I think it’s fantastic that people are questioning the movement, and the same approach should be taken with ANY information you take in. That includes the news, social media, the internet, your friends, and your leaders.

But it’s important to remember that whilst such information should be questioned and critically analysed, it should be done with respect. Bloggers, video bloggers, and even news sources have dished out some pretty harsh criticsm of the people behind KONY 2012 movement, and some have even claimed that they are “telling lies”. It’s quite easy to make these claims from behind a keyboard, but would you say the same thing face-to-face to someone like Jolly Grace Okot, a survivor of child abduction and sexual slavery? Or Jacob Acaye, a child abductee featured in the KONY 2012 film that witnessed his brother’s death before his own eyes?

Be very careful with what you say, because in this era YOU are the publishers – it goes straight on to the internet, without editors and without filters. Somewhere along the line, people like the ones I mentioned above may read what you said, and they may get upset about your unfounded or insensitive claims. They are humans too, and that doesn’t change just because our connection is through a screen. We are all human beings, and we all feel.

For some further reading, here is an interesting article in which Jacob Acaye defends Invisible Children and their movement:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/08/jacob-acaye-child-kony-2012

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KONY 2012: Phenomenon or Fraud?

The other day my sister posted a link to her Facebook wall titled KONY 2012, and it wasn’t until yesterday that I took the time to watch the 29-minute campaign video. As soon as the film ended, my Facebook News Feed was flooded with KONY 2012-related posts. When I checked it this morning, what I found was nothing short of astounding. Political and social debate on Facebook!? As pleasant as it was to see that my feed wasn’t dominated by personal complaints and unfunny memes, I felt like I had woken up in a parallel universe.

I’m sure all of you are now very aware of this phenomenon sweeping social media sites, but just in case you don’t – KONY 2012 is a campaign facilitated through social media sites by a nonprofit organisation called Invisible Children. Over the past 9 years, they have been active in setting up rehabilitation and network services for child soldiers in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, specifically those involved in the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). Their latest effort in promoting awareness for child soldiers in Africa has involved an emotive 29-minute film urging viewers to make Joseph Kony, the head of the LRA and indicted war criminal, infamous. Why? The organisation hopes that increasing public awareness of Joseph Kony and his crimes will show support for US military intervention and ultimately lead in his capture. The video has done exactly that, and what was once a name that people would raise their eyebrows to has now become an inescapable topic of conversation.

But just as quickly as the video went viral, widespread criticism followed. Bloggers attacked the organisation’s finances, their interventionist approach, their support of Ugandan security and military forces (who have a long history of corruption), and the emotive and allegedly misinformed content of the film. Some argued that Joseph Kony is no longer a problem, but some even went so far as to call Invisible Children a money-making scam. Whilst most critics do not dispute the good intentions of the organisation, many fear that military intervention may only exacerbate problems in the region by encouraging retaliatory attacks by the LRA.

Though I agree with some of the criticism put forward regarding the consequences of Invisible Children‘s support of military intervention, what I find disturbing is that many of these skeptics use these criticisms as a reason not to take action. It is far too easy to be complacent with a long and difficult problem, and simply finding holes in an organisation’s efforts to bring about change is not contributing to a better solution either, even if you don’t agree with said organisation’s practices. I fear that many begin thinking, “Kony is in hiding, and Uganda has started rebuilding. It’s no longer a problem I should concern myself with.” The reality is that whilst these facts may hold some truth, it does not change the fact that the LRA is still in operation, and continues to destroy central-African communities. Watering down the problem does not make the problem disappear.

Whilst I was familiar with the LRA and the problems they cause, I will admit that I did not know the name Joseph Kony. Even though I don’t support all of Invisible Children‘s goals, and that their latest film is a blatant attempt to manipulate emotions and is at times misinformed, I’m glad that their video has opened my eyes a little wider to the issue. If anything, the KONY 2012 campaign can’t be faulted in its success as a tool for public awareness, and it has promoted discourse on social media networks about this pressing issue. People may not all agree on it, but it’s good to see that they’re finally talking about it.

But it shouldn’t stop there. The issue of child soldiers is not one that is confined to Africa, and there are children being recruited for war all over the world in regions like Asia and the Middle East. If we are taking action against the recruitment of children in Africa, then we should apply that same enthusiasm and compassion for child soldiers everywhere.

So what do I think about KONY 2012? Everyone should watch the video. But like any piece of information, one source is not enough to demonstrate understanding. A 29-minute video will certainly not explain the complexities of the social and political landscape of the central-African region. People should analyse and question the video, and conduct further research so that they are properly informed of the context of the situation and the potential consequences of taking particular courses of action. Make sure you know what you’re supporting before you take action. And don’t confine your learning to the problem in Africa – child soldiers are a global issue, and research should be done on other areas to understand the full extent of the problem.

Here are some useful links for you to make your own mind up:

http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kony

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord%27s_Resistance_Army

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Uganda

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kony_2012

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_soldiers

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