Stuff and Nonsense

The Finn Brothers – Neil and Tim

Split Enz, Crowded House

Lyrical Gods, Masterful Musicians

Songs that help one make sense of the world.

Songs that offer wisdom and insight

Songs that encourage laughter, songs that induce tears

Songs that offer hope to the lost, and joy to those in love.

 

I once lived for the future

Everyday was one day closer

Greener on the other side

Yes I believe before I met you

I assumed that your love was brighter than the stars in my eyes

Now I know how and when I know where and why

Stuff and Nonsense – Lyrics by Split Enz

Takin’ the long way round.

Coming full circle, by takin’ the long way round.

To truly move forward, one must look back to realise how far along the journey they’ve come.

I am taken back to 2008, the very best & very worst of years.

Kindred spirits worked their magic and when the timing was just right, our paths crossed- Melle, KM, JK, work colleagues who are now life long friends. Strong, striking women helping to fill out an already exquisitely beautiful friendship circle, one that continues to expands with each passing year.

2008, the year my world turned upside down. My personal ground zero. Each year since has been excruciatingly hard, personally, professionally, spiritually, mentally….but true to form I took the long way round to recovery, slowly setting things back on track…..and I’m not done yet.

2008, the year I first heard ‘ The Dixie Chicks’ album ‘ Taking the Long Way Round’. The songs contain the raw anger, sadness and despair felt upon exercising their right to speak freely, opposing as they did the then American Government’s stance on war.

Thinking back to to 2008, this album was a gift. Three women singing, songs of self expression centred around a personal crisis. If I had been ready I would have identified with the hurt, anger and boundless compassion in their voices…..but I wasn’t able too…My time to let go, to truly let go and risk it all was only just unfolding….

‘Well I fought with a stranger and I meet myself

I opened my mouth and I heard myself

It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself

Guess I could have been easier in myself’

Takin the Long Way Round – Dixie Chicks

And I did it, the hard way, the only way, I took the long way round, the long long way round…. And my loving family and friends saw me through….the journey never truly ends, we just continue, side by side, a hell of a lot closer than before.

The Dixie Chicks sang way back then, eloquently about risk taking and the suffering it unleashes. But from the depth of pain, with the passing of time, comes an unwavering belief that one can meet challenges head-on, learn life lessons and the ability to love unconditionally.

Thank you Melle, KM & JK for coming into my life when I needed you most.

Thank you to the Dixie Chicks for recording an album that is forever close to my heart.

The power of YES

On a recent vacation I got into a conversation with a lifelong friend about the Power of YES.

It was a safe place to discuss our points of view….we have been friends since primary school, stood on opposing sides of a debating team, handball court and chess board.

Was I worried about a clash of opinions? Of having to stand my ground, defend my viewpoint with a person known in the business world as ‘ The Terminator’ for their uncanny ability to use wear down the fiercest of opponents in ANY arena.

No I wasn’t…but I knew I was in for a battle ….and debate aside, whatever the outcome…it would leave me questioning my chosen viewpoint – be it different, the same or, heaven forbid, undecided.

Our friendship has stood the test of time….we are very different people, but I believe we share the same outlook on this gift called life, we are here to ‘suck the marrow’ out of it, we just go about this vision at different paces.

If I look back on my 36 years, I have said yes to things, yes to many, many things. I also know that whilst I have said yes to many things, I was often closed-minded to the opportunities  packaged within each experience…preconceived ideas clouded the ability to truly revel in the power of ALL the YES’s I was saying.

With age, I am slowly learning to let go, to feel more at ease and comfortable in my skin, to truly embrace the Yes‘s I say…to savour the moment, the here and now.

With age, I also have come to accept the painful reality that life is oh so short, and I want to make sure that my yes’s are said with conviction, that I apply them with utmost care to the precious time I have on this earth.

I have set criteria for the yes’s I impart –

  • They will involve quality time with life affirming people
  • They will be applied to the everyday and to the grand and opulent.
  • They will provide time for personal reflection and relaxation
  • They will provide opportunities to submerge fully into that which feeds my soul.

From the Great Debate, I took that yes’s are as precious as gems, they cannot be given lightly, and they should not be.

My lifelong friend may disagree, that is OK with me…. we are both ‘sucking the marrow out of life’, just at our own unique pace.

Your gonna hear me ROAR!!

I am going to the Katy Perry concert.

Katy Perry-Picture sited from Wikipedia

Katy Perry-Picture sited from Wikipedia

It is an attempt at not taking life too seriously. Am I taking this life motto too far?

Am I to old to attend said concert? Is this one of the craziest things I have ever done?

Quite frankly I don’t care to answer those questions….

For tonight’s concert there could be no better companion than my beautiful sister-in-law. Along with my brother, these two people are constantly teaching me life lessons.

Lesson number one-

Don’t overthink things. If you want to do something, simply do it.

Lesson number two-

Life is filled with challenges, the good, the bad, the ugly….but everything is made that little bit easier if you have some-one by your side, to share the journey.

Lesson number three

Family and friends ( & pets) are all that important in this life

Lesson number four

Don’t overthink things. If you want to do something, simply do it.

Yes, lesson one & four are identical, as this is by far the best lesson I have learnt from my brother & his wife. Overthinking often leads to stagnation, indecision, procrastination and endless worrying. Questioning everything wastes time.Time that would be better spent getting on with it.

So going to Katy Perry is me putting this life lesson into practice.

I wanted to see her, I asked my friends if they cared to join( shout out to Liz in Denmark who expressed sincere interest), my sister-in-law opted in and we brought tickets.

Simple, fuss free and spontaneous.

And now the day has arrived when we will witness the fanfare that is Katy.

I simply can’t wait.

Related posts- Katy Perry Vs Kate Boyle

Ode to Peter Allen- 2014

I originally wrote the post in 2012….and during the last week, my love of Peter Allen and his music has been invigorated….I will leave that to another post….but I dragged this writing out of the vault and am giving in some 2014 exposure…..

I don’t remember when I first feel in love with the music of Peter Allen….if I had to take a stab in the dark it would be as a young child, when my neighbour would  play her record collection on high volume….the cool summer breeze carrying the tune  ‘ I go to Rio’ through my bedroom window.

And I would dance…..

I didn’t know the life story of Peter Allen till my late teens….and I am continually inspired  by the path he dared to take on this journey called life. A young boy, destined to be an entertainer in an era when ‘ men where men’ and women where women’…the odds where clearly stacked against the dancing, singing, flamboyant Australian boy from the bush….

A man who hid from the spot light his personal struggle  with his sexuality, found freedom in the form of his craft, his singing, dancing and painfully honest lyrics……His movement of stage was effortless, he exuded pure joy….

A man who dared to express himself through song, through movement….I am in awe of his achievements, both personally and professionally….Despite all hardships, Allen found the strength and courage it took bring his ‘ all dancing, singing, one man show’ dream to fruition.

I was 13 years old when Allen passed away…..And throughout my childhood, his lyrics would float through my bedroom window, and I would be transported by his beautiful melodies, to Rio, to regional Australia, America….

I was 19 years old when the musical ‘ The Boy from OZ’ opened in Sydney’s theatre district. I could not have brought a ticket quick enough. With my equally keen girlfriends, Jess and Rhonda, we high tailed it to the big smoke one Saturday evening, and watched performer Todd McKenny embody Allen, and tell his life story through song with accuracy and precision.

Fast forward to 2006, and the ‘ Boy from OZ’ came back to Sydney, this time with Australian superstar, Hugh Jackman in the lead role. Staged at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, the show was bigger and bolder, yet still true to the music of Allen. Jess and I returned to see this production….but it did not live up to our expectations….

Part of Allen’s talent as a song writer, was the ability to connect through his lyrics to listener…In such a large venue at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Jackman’s version of Allen’s songs failed to connect..

As I write this homage to Allen, I am listening to his music….on high rotation whilst thinking of my childhood neighbour, and thanking her for refusing to turn the volume down on such joyous music!!

His sweet melodies will continue to be played for many years to come…at dinner parties, catch ups, birthday parties and picnic, in car trips to the supermarket….And friends and family will dance, sing and smile as the infectious songs play over and over…

Cafe Del Mar, Sydney, Australia

Cafe Del Mar

Cafe Del Mar

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

Café Del Mar….I had longed to go there.

One of the greatest gifts of travel…exposure to new things, new cultures, new foods, new music, different points of views, life lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom or learnt from a book.

Two years living in Europe many moons ago, and I fell in love with the idea of going to Café Del Mar, a trendy café and music emporium located in Ibiza, a party island found of the Spanish coastline in Mediterranean sea.
But truth be told……I would not have survived a day on this party island. My catholic upbringing insured I was too inhibited for such hedonistic fun.

Fast forward 12 years….times have changed…I am ready!

Armed with two of the bestest girlfriends I could ever want, Ms Kate and Ms Steph, we ascended on Café Del Mar, Sydney City.

Us girls would have a good time anywhere….location, location, location is so secondary when I catch up with these ladies.

And whilst the view was stunning, the food and drinks spectacular and the Sunday session tunes very smooth….I could not help but think that this experience was a bit dated….If I had only jumped on a plane all those years ago and dived head first into the Ibiza party scene I might have well avoided yesterday!!

No, I wouldn’t change a thing……yesterday was special, a great catch up……location irrelevant.

And it wasn’t till I reflected on the lunch later that evening that I was overcome with the strangest realisation….I had never really wanted to go to Café Del Mar at all…..rather its rival, the Buddha Bar in Paris.

For those who are curious about either place…their official website below:

Cafe Del Mar, Ibiza

Buddha Bar, Paris

Contemporary Dance VS a Full Moon

Looks like the sun, but it is last nights full moon

Looks like the sun, but it is last nights full moon


Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.
In October last year, I returned from a four week European vacation.
It was a great holiday.
Whilst I was in London, I was a culture vulture, going to West End Musicals and theatre, museums and the like….oh yes, and two contemporary dance shows.
Contemporary Dance and I had never been on a date before, and I was thrown in the deep end as the friends I was staying with in London town were avid consumers of the dancing movement.
Not saying I was hooked on the new form of human expression I was exposed too…rather intrigued, curious….and so on returning to OZ, I early awaited for the Sydney Festival 2014 program to be released.
Pining for the holiday that was action packed, back in October of last year I booked 4 shows in the space of one week.
This week is that week….and last night I saw the first show, Forklift, a contemporary dance piece involving a forklift and 3 dancers.
It was unusual, odd, at times disturbing and at times awe inspiring…the movements theses dancers put their bodies through….breathtaking.
Art in motion.
And then it was over.
As I left the theatre I was reminded Sydney is in the middle of summer. It is HOT.
I got in my car and drove with the air conditioning on high. As I neared by home by the sea, I glanced up at the beam of light that was glowing in the night sky. The full Moon. It was beautiful.
In an instant I forgot about returning to my house, and drove to the seaside, so I could watch the moon for a bit, and her yellow light show dancing on the ocean.
What a sight!
Yes, the Contemporary dance piece was inspiring, showing a seated audience of all that is possible through considered movement…..but the moon, the full moon, captivated me and stole my heart last night.

An Ode to Blondie

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

Blondie…one way or another….she was going to get me…and get me good!

Homebake 2012…the first music festival of the summer season in Sydney and my friend Sarah and I were there for one reason only….to see the lady with platinum blonde hair and listen to her string of hits which dominated airwaves in the late 70’s , early 80’s.

As Sarah and I sat in a bar in Surry Hills, we could hear the festival in the distance..the drum and bass, the squeals of festival goers of carnival rides…But we had other plans…We only really wanted to see the main act, and Ms Harry did not come on stage till 9.45pm…so naturally we decided to drink our way to the concert in the park!!

Over cocktails the conversation centered around our fear that we were indeed too OLD for Homebake….Both of us had been to this festival for the first time in the late 90’s,  and boy had times changed…Sarah had had to arrange a baby sitter for the day! We openly expressed fears at being OVER the festival HILL….

We both agreed, however, it was too late to turn back…we were headed in one direction…and that direction was HOMEBAKE 2012

Our fears were baseless….looking around at other patrons…we were actually on the younger side of old! It was refreshing…we ran into people who had been part of our earlier Homebake experiences…who reassured us it was cool to be part of the day, that Homebake was a ‘nostalgic festival’ of loyal followers…in short….the message we took on board was this-

‘ You are never to young or too old to enjoy a Homebake’

And who better than Ms Harry to reinforce this…At age 67, Blondie rocked and rolled with an effortless cool swagger….Sarah and I were caught up in a truly special moment as hit after hit filled the balmy night air….’ Heart of Glass’, ‘ One Wayr’ ‘ The Tide is High’…and my personal favourite ‘ Rapture’

So thank you Blondie, for reminding Sarah and I of our youth and the importance of setting aside time to do the things you love.

Above all thank you for reminding us both that once aquired, personal style, self belief and self confidence is never ages.

Ode to K.D Lang

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

Dedicated to my childhood friend, Cameron…a true global citizen xx

Canadian singer, K.D Lang released her album ‘ Ingénue’ in 1992.

In 2002, I found myself sleeping on the floor of a mouse infested bed-sit in Soho, London. My childhood friend Cameron, had thrown caution to the wind, and relocated to the UK.

He had arrived with a small back pack and big, big dreams. Coupled with unwavering self belief and determination, the world was his for the taking…London was just the beginning.

Yet something was missing and I identified this as being the music of K.D Lang…

So I brought this cd for my friend and all the stars aligned.

Fast forward to 2012.…and on the weekend I found myself in another charity shop. I find a divine black top, and hold onto my treasure as I walk to the back of the store…to the music section. More dust-covered cd’s that apparently nobody wants…..except me.

And there she is Ms Lang‘s ‘ Ingénue‘….waiting for me….

20 years after the albums first  release

10 years after the music was the soundtrack to my childhood friends life changing move to London town….

Finally, in 2012, I am ready to listen

As I drive home from the shopping expedition, I play the cd…and am moved to tears

Beautiful music, songs of love, longing, desire and heart-break.

All the important stuff, the only things that matter

And I am hooked….addicted…the songs have been played on high rotation ever since….nothing else makes sense to me at the moment except K.D Lang and her lyrics

The song that has stolen my heart?

Still Thrives this Love

Why?

Because only recently have I come to realise that despite everything I have been through, the ups and downs, the speed bumps, wrong turns, flat tires and train wrecks….Love remains a constant in my life.

For many years I had denied loves importance, ignored it, feared it, banished it from the landscape of my life.

But it never truly left my side, it was always there…I just didn’t realise it

But as the saying goes, that was then…this is now

Still thrives this love

It propels me forward, and with each considered step I know I am heading in the right direction.

The Man in Black

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I sat in the audience at Indus Restaurant, Ubud, Bali….it was hot, humid and their was a general buzz of excitement in the air.

A crowd of 200 people had gathered for ‘ An Evening with Nick Cave’, part of the 2012 Ubud Writers and Reader’s Festival line up.

I felt a  fraud, an impostor….I was neither fan nor friend of Mr Cave….I had never understood the allure, listened to an albums, read a book or followed him in the press.

Yet I was in the audience, sat amongst die-hard groupies, being who worshipped at the altar of St Nick….middle age women blushing at the very thought of an evening in HIS presence, grown men proudly wearing ‘ Pussy Riot ‘ t-shirts.

My general assessment of the situation was that the entire audience was on heat…for Mr Nick Cave.

And then there was me…nevously I wrote in my travel diary the names of those I knew would sell a body organ to be in my place…It is to them that I dedicate this blog post:

Elena

Scott Gray

Philllippa

My cousin Andrew and his wife Emma

Then he appeared…the man in black…

He read from his book …captivating the room with his wit and charm

He answered questions , signed things books, postcards, pieces of paper

Then he left

What did I make of it all? What was all the fuss, the hype, the heavy breathing about?

I concluded three things

  • Nick Cave has lived the rock and roll lifestyle… IN STYLE since 1973… He has dared to pursue a lifestyle most would not have the courage nor faintest desire to…He has earnt the right to tell his story, it is a very colourful story ,worthy of an audience
  • Nick Cave the artist has stood the test of time…he has been writing, producing, performing and collaborating in music industry for nearly 40 years…He he has done so with conviction, passion and unrivalled self belief
  • Nick Cave idolises Johnny Cash, sites him as one of his personal heros…My heart softened upon hearing this, something I could relate too…and all at once I felt a new understanding and appreciation for this modern-day man in black.

So is Nick Cave Australia’s version of Mr Cash?…The attire– the formal black suit, the pride in his appearance suggest so….His craft– his ability to tell stories, beautiful stories through music to which people connect suggest so- His story– A man who has been to the brink and back ( many times over it would appear), who lust for life and love remains a constant, suggest so.

And prehaps after all, I was meant to be in the audience on that balmy night in Ubud…..it was me after all who would benefit most from meeting Nick….

For now my own journey of discovery can begin, a door has been opened, Nick Cave’s words and music have lured me in….I might just be beginning to understand….

Note- I insert this song clip as in Ubud, Cave referred to Johnny Cash covering his song ‘ The Mercy Seat’ as the ‘ Greatest Honour / Compliment’

Note-I have placed this blog post under the category ‘ Friendship Fire Starters- Music’, as it is my friends who inspired this post…..A Friendship Fire starter is a term I use to describe  something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people….I think that sums up Mr Cave’s music nicely xx

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