Please Like Me

The series ‘ Please Like Me’ might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it is mine.

I’ve served myself the entire series, twice.

I never intended to watch it again. It just happened. ‘ Nanette’ by Hannah Gadsby recently aired on Netflix. Hannah loves a cup of tea. Hannah features in Please like Me. And so as the credits rolled on Nanette it felt natural to throw myself whole heartedly into PLM, for the second time, tea-cup in hand.

I don’t like PLM, I love it. And a year had passed between viewing, but like old friends, it was ever so easy to connect again, pick up where we left off, series one episode one.

Steph Harmon, Culture Editor with the Australian Newspaper, The Guardian wrote in 2016 ‘ Josh Thomas’s Please Like Me has quietly become one of the most surprising, honest and devastating shows on television. Over four seasons, the series has traversed all manner of topics that other shows with bigger budgets fear to cover, and delivered them with sensitivity, nuance, frankness and frequent hilarity. The show has dealt with homophobia and racism, depression and workplace harassment, breast cancer and STDs. There was an abortion which, in a refreshing turn, was treated not with kid gloves but with openness and no regrets. There was commendably realistic gay sex – a lot of it. And in the second season, many of the scenes and three of the main characters were based in a mental health institution.

Sad tear, happy tears and laughter, lots of it. Vulnerability at the forefront of each performance, like quickly turns to love, adore even, a bunch of characters who resonate, glow, ‘ shine bright like a diamond’ from lap taps, tablets and iphones. Or in my case, lounge room tv, screening on demand.

This last week in June has been divine. Thank you PLM.

I look forward our next encounter, third time lucky. I know the drill, cup of tea in hand, tissue box in close proximity. Cannot wait!!

‘ Love Yourself’ Series 4, Episode 2

Please Like Me is currently screening on Netflix, Series 1-4.

Nanette by Hannah Gadsby is currently screening on Netflix

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Welcome to New York , it’s been waiting for you

At the start of this month, a childhood bestie flew to North America for a work conference. But before work, there must be play. Always. And New York provides the perfect amusement park. Always.

Solo travel. Often daunting, at times overwhelming. On the flip side endless possibilities, opportunities to do absolutely anything the heart desires. Scary. Yes. Exhilarating and life affirming. That too.

Not till you hit NYC’s sidewalks is the days adventure revealed. Often you can’t help but be picked up by the momentum of the foot traffic, destination unknown.

But that’s the magic!

I’d recently started on season four of the Netflix series ‘ Chefs Table’. An episode featuring Christina Tosi of Milkbar Bakery fame, with it’s all American focus on sugar, butter and more sugar, gave me a tooth ache. But like all good sugary products, I love longed for more!! I imparted the discovery of ‘ crack pie’ and ‘ cereal milk’ panacotta to my bestie & let the city of NYC do its magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To provide balance to the sugar high ‘ MilkBar’ would inflict ‘ Humming Puppy’ Yoga was prescribed as the perfect antidote. My bestie and I have long been fans of ‘ Humming Puppy’ Sydney. It provides the perfect escape from the everyday that is city living : fast cars, endless office deadlines and concrete skylines. I can only imagine that ‘ Humming Puppy’ NYC provides this oasis and more. For its been said you travel to NYC to feel alive, energised and inspired. You travel to Sydney to sleep.When comparing the energy of the two cities, I’d agree.

What else did my bestie do on her travels? I can’t wait to catch up with her and find out. For its true that NYC provides the perfect canvas for a solo adventure. With an open heart, the city will reveals itself to you, befriend you and offer up experiences that appear tailor-made. Timeless memories and magical moments.

Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you – Taylor Swift

 

 

Memories in Music

Last night as I left my local supermarket, a song heard over the shopping mall sound system, though faint and almost undetectable due to the 5pm rush hour traffic,  transported me back to the United Kingdom, January 2002.

I’ve been there ever since!

London, January 2002. I was 23 and embarking on another year abroad. No clear road map, little direction and even less money. Yet I was convinced I would build on the life skills I had mastered in 2001, when aged 22, I had boarded a one way flight to the United Kingdom with my 19-year-old best friend.

London, January 2002. The epitome of cool, I was going clubbing with my friend Ali, the ‘ beautiful person’, whom I had befriended whilst backpacking through Barcelona, Summer 2001. We were venturing to ‘ Fabric’ nightclub, East London. I would be out of my depth, my home town of Wollongong, on the South Coast of NSW, population 400,000 had no prepared me for the drum and base, dupstep, house and techno scene that was London, United Kingdom, population 7 million.

Not one to show my fear, I bedazzled my face with two tiny fake butterfly tattoos and headed out into the night. With Ali by my side, we could do anything!!

16 years ago. A bouncer, a door, an entrance to the unfamilar. Music, drum and base, pulsating through our tiny bodies, exiting through our extremities, finger tips, toes. Unable to fight the compulsion to move, we danced and danced and danced.

Last night, on the streets of Waterloo, I stood with a bag of groceries – olive oil, brown onion, can of chickpeas. But little did people know that a song, barely detected over the shopping mall sound system had transported me some 24,000km to another place, another time.

‘ World of our Own’ by Westlife

 

And as the title of the song suggests, it contains a lifetime of memories, moments in time that are mine, moments that have been enhanced by the smiles, laughter, tears and awkward dance moves of people I treasure most.

Memories in Music, the soundtrack to a life half lived.

A treasure chest to be revisited, over and over again. With new additions to be added as the years progress, as I evolve, change and grow. I can hardly wait!!

We got a little world of our own
I’ll tell you things that no one else knows
I’ll let you in where no one else goes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner Date

I did not take a photo of a truly momentous catch up that took place on the weekend.

A meal with four women, a tight-knit circle of lifelong friends that have wrapped me in unending love, support, wisdom and wise counsel for some 30 years and counting.

To the onlooker, our waitress, fellow dining patrons, it would have appeared unremarkable. A table of five, sharing a meal, a few drinks and dessert over conversation. A Saturday night text-book restaurant experience.

To the onlooker that is. But the significance of the occasion was not lost on me.

In the hustle and bustle that is daily life, days, sometimes weeks can pass without contact with these precious gem stones. The occasional text, phone call, often scheduled and made whilst driving, hands free, the only time busy Mums and business women seem to be able to chat without interruption.

And the day-to-day grind can be a hard slog, project managing families, children, complex careers whilst prioritising the complexity of the emotional, physical and mental wellbeing of loved ones, themselves if they are lucky.

Sitting around the table on Saturday night was a group of women giving a collective sigh that we had pulled of this catch up. One of 2018’s greatest achievements? Most certainly in my books!

And I feel a shift, a deeper understanding and appreciation of just how special our time together is. In the craziness that is the everyday, our ability to connect , despite all obstacles, is undeniable. It is a precious, precious thing, fluid and flexible, accommodating and inclusive. It demands we are the best version of ourselves, and supports and nurtures us as we stride confidently towards our uniquely personal goals and dreams.

Saturday night dinner date – unremarkable to the onlooker.  Yet those women who  shared my table are nothing short of amazing to me.

Ode to Kesha

 

Just as my sudden appreciation of John Mayer’s music took me by surprise earlier this year,  my adoration for female vocalist Kesha has floored me. It’s taken all of 10 months to come to terms with why I feel an affinity with her 2017 album ‘ Rainbow’

It was August, 2017, when a best friend from Queensland landed on my doorstep for a girls weekend. With her she brought her unrivalled enthusiasm for coffee, cake, shopping, fancy dinners & music. And Kesha was top of her play list.

Familiar with her early music, I was not a fan. But my besties whole-hearted lip sync rendition early on Saturday morning, complete with rolled up newspaper microphone, of the ballad ‘ Praying’ that streamed via YouTube made time stand still.

Gut wrenching lyrics, calculated and crafted with a clear message – that Kesha, a victim of sexual harassment, refused to be silenced by her perpetrated. She would have the last word.

‘ Cause I can make it on my own,
I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring fire, I’ll bring rain
When I’m finished they won’t even know your name’

Using her undeniable gift for song, Kesha war cry is a resounding message of hope. From the darkness she has emerged as a women assured of her power, of the don’t fuck with me variety. Reliance in abundance, she has channeled all of her resources into moving forward. Her voice a weapon, disarming and shaming her perpetrated, but in a testament to her character she croons ‘ I hope find your peace, falling on your knees, praying’

Experiences in 2017 were challenging and for me the song ‘ Praying’ became a firm favourite, as I continued to pick myself up and move on from situations that left me feeling depleted. And always there, always encouraging was Kesha’s music.

Confessing this to my Queensland bestie recently ‘ Whatever  gets you through!’ her response.

So thank you Kesha, life is again looking peachy, I see ‘Rainbows’ and I’m ‘ Learning to let Go’.  Thank you for strength of character, for continuing along your path, when it would have been far easier to retreat from the public eye. To remain silent.

No, still steadfast, still bold, your lyrics a reminder that all one must do in trying times, is stay true to themselves and trust that all will be well.

‘ I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters I can breathe again
And you said that I was done, You were wrong and now the best is yet to come ‘

Dedicated to my Queensland Bestie Lauren – Happy Catch Up with A Mate Month 2018 xxx

Catch Up with A Mate Month 2018

Catch Up with A Mate Month turns Seven!!

Catch Up with A Mate - Winter 2018

Catch Up with A Mate – Winter 2018

Hard to believe that 2555 days ago I decided that in June of each year I would devote my attention and time to fostering friendships, with old and new friends alike.

It was with nostalgia that I looked over the stories from June, 2011. So lovely to be reminded in words and pictures of the people who light up my world. A tug at the heart-strings, missing from the celebrations will be my fur best friend Flora, a founding member of the friendship movement that began 2555 days ago.

Determined to honor her memory , I’m going to commit to writing a blog post each day. For a blogger whose commitment to writing can best be described as sporadic, that is going to be a tall ask!

But a certain reader remarked earlier this week, ‘Blog writing, you hardly do that anymore”… and well,  it got me fired up. The desire to write returning with vengeance of the ‘I’ll show you’ variety! There are stories to be told. About what, only time will tell. Its going to be an unforgettable, quite possibly unremarkable month.

Cannot wait to tell you about it!!

P.S For old times sake, why not take a look back to the month of  June 2011 – Catch Up With A Mate month in its infancy. Bless xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Bright

I attended the 5th birthday of Ms Rainbow last Sunday.

Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can see a Rainbow, see a Rainbow
See a Rainbow in you

IMG_5389

I used to live in the darkness
Dress in black, act so heartless, but now
I see that colors are everything
Got kaleidoscopes in my hairdo
Got back the stars in my eyes, too, yeah now
I see the magic inside of me – lyrics by Kesha, Rainbow

Yes Ms Rainbow you are a source of colour, light and love in my world. Dark clouds part, heavy fogs lift and I am bathed in glorious sunshine when I’m with you.

You are a reason to write. You make me want to be the best version of myself- present, attentive, a good listener, a hug giver, memory maker.

Your party started early, 9.30am. True to form you’d already been awarded ‘ Player of the week’ at your Sunday sport of choice Auskick, had your AFL team mates sing you Happy Birthday twice, and most importantly, spotted a Rainbow in the sky on the drive home.

And in just 5 short years you are well on the way to achieving your career goal – ‘ When I grow up I want to be a Rainbow’.

I’ve a hunch your there already!

But please don’t stop, oh the places you’ll go, with your imagination, creativity, inquisitive mind, adventurous spirit and open heart, you’ll be a double rainbow before too long.

I found a Rainbow , Rainbow, Baby
Trust me, I know, life is scary
But put those colours in Girl,
Come and play along with me tonight – lyrics by Kesha, Rainbow

Los Angeles – A Like Story

Los Angeles  – City of Angels – California – USA.

Melrose Ave - Los Angeles

Melrose Ave – Los Angeles

I left you this time last week, and whilst I was more than ready to come home – those 6 days in your company affected me.

My aim was to fall in like with you – not love, in 6 days that would be too much to ask.

To achieve this, I transported the best version of my Sydney life – yoga, beach visits, pancake eating, coffee sipping and general meanderings to the West Coast and waited.

And wait I did, I began hoping and praying that each time I left the comfort of my West Hollywood Air BNB apartment the mixture of self-consciousness, anxiety and fear would subside.

As I ventured to numerous West Hollywood yoga studios, Runyon Canyon for mountain hikes, Santa Monica Boulevard for the most AMAZING pancakes, Down Town LA for a change of scene, Venice Beach for a little more CRAZY and listened to the music of John Mayer – this chronic over-thinker began to notice a shift.

Despite the confronting scenes LA served up in quick succession – I noticed my heart softening, the inner chatter diminishing as I became transfixed by the heartbreak, the chaos, the raw beauty that is LA living.

All I had to do was to leave the house and get amongst it – stop thinking, start doing.

And I had heard that saying countless times before but in LA, of all places, it.finally.made.sense.

Back in Sydney, I will be forever thankful for the lessons learnt on the West Coast. If a sense of peace can be found in a city with 6 lane freeways ( in EACH direction) then it can be found anywhere.

Despite the inner chatter, the pleas from within that your best self is to be found on the couch, mindlessly watching NETFLIX – to that I can confidently say ‘ NO’

In spite of what appeared at times to be the most inhospitable surrounds, the beauty and warmth of the human spirit was there to be uncovered – and with an open heart, I got to experience just that.

Thank you LA – I do indeed LIKE you very much.

Palm Springs – Forever Love

Palm Springs, California – Desert country.

Forever love blooms & blossoms.

Palm Springs, California - Desert Country

Palm Springs, California – Desert Country

I’ve proof, having just attended the wedding of a best friend, an Aussie Wonder Woman who tied the knot with her UK lover boy.

They met in Canada, united Down Under, and got hitched in the USA.

A modern-day fairy tale, a love fiesta with all the trimmings.

I’ve been a friend of the Bride since High School, a beautiful soul who puts friends & family first – always. Bar the time she started dating her now husband.

On that occasion, their relationship was priority number one. She introduced this strapping hulk of a man to countless curious friends on her terms, in her time. I could not have been more proud.

It was the start of my friends journey to putting her needs first, prioritising her happiness.

And in doing so, she became even more selfless. By filling her cup first , the overflow of love, laughter and mischief multiplied, and was gifted to her global posse.

To witness the marriage of two kindred spirits, half way across the globe, was indeed special. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Passport at the ready, when true love takes hold, basking in its beauty is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Palm Springs, California – Desert country.

Scott & Kate’s forever love blooms and blossoms.

 

Ode to John Mayer

I awoke on the 1st of January, 2018 to find myself a John Mayer fan.

There was no warning, I did not see it coming nor could it be explained away.

I thought this fixation might be fleeting, so I kept it to myself for the past 31 days.

To mark the beginning of a new month, I was out early for my morning caffeine fix, riding my bike to the truly hip ‘ Artificer ‘ Speciality coffee bar and Roastery, Surry Hills.

Hipster music of choice played over the airwaves. Cafe patrons, myself included, sipped our coffee whilst tapping feet on the pavement to John Mayer tunes.

There seems no escaping it, its February, I’m calling it, there is a John Mayer movement occurring and I’m wholeheartedly in – hook, line, sinker.

His catalogue of work is extensive, dating back to the late 90’s, and having previously showed no interest I’ve catching up to do – but I’m invested in the ‘ movement’!

And in Mr Mayer, I see parts of myself – parts I refused to acknowledge for a long time.

Formerly a person consumed by inner turmoil, angrily rallying against the nondescript.

A reformed chronic overthinker and  intellectualisor of everything. Paralysed by fear, acting out or not all.

‘My Shadow days are over’ sang Mr Mayer in 2012.

True that John! The sun shines on us both.

A slow, often painful personal awakening , enabling an acceptance of self.

Given the chance I’d ask John to reword his 2006 hit  ‘Waiting on the World to Change’  to ‘ Change starts with me’. Personal change ignites and inspires profound shifts that ripple outward.

But its all about timing, that was then, this is now.

John Mayer version 2018 is purely melodic – achingly beautiful, introspective, poetic music. Continuing to question the human spirit – this time with grace and ease.

Vulnerability, hope, truth, above all love in song form.

Thank you for the music John Mayer.

Your newest forever fan xx

 

In The Blood – 2017, Album ‘ The Search for Everything’

 

How much of my Mother has my mother left in me

How much will my love be insane to some degree

What about this feeling that I’m never good enough

Will it wash out in the water or is it always in the blood

 

How of my Father am I destined to become

Will I dim the lights inside just to satisfy someone

Will I let this woman kill me or do away with jealous love

Will it wash out in the water or is it always in the blood

 

I can feel the love , I can feel the love I need

But it’s never going to come to the way I am

Could I change it if I want it, can I rise above the flood

Will it wash out in the water or is it always in the blood

 

 

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