The Man in Black

Thinking back to all the wonderful holidays I have had – and a good number of them have been in Bali. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival twice as a volunteer. And each time I’ve been swept up by the magic of the written and spoken word, the humidity, the heat, the hospitality that is uniquely Bali…

A post from 2012 worth revisiting…..

Catch Up With A Mate

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…

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Arcade Fire

 

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

It has been a while since I have added to the collections of blog posts I term ‘ friendship fire starters’. But as I watched my niece dance in her car seat to pop music, I silently declared to myself that I would take responsibility for her musical education. And then this story surfaced. But before I get to that, to Ms R, prepare to be wowed by the voice of Whitney, the moves of MJ and the poetry of the Man in Black, Mr Johnny Cash.

My own musical education is questionable. I have written about it before. I have long been a fan of the humble boy band, and when I found myself living in the UK as a  22-year-old, I was in heaven.

The Australian Music scene had always taken itself too seriously for my liking, and whilst I was a fan of the rock, grunge and alternative music, I looked further afield for my pop stars. The UK was a melting pot of awesomeness in that department, think BoyZone, Westlife, a solo Robbie Williams, a solo Ronan Keating.

And then there was the Latin movement that took hold, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin…. It is fair to say that between the ages of 22 and 24, whilst living abroad, I was lost to Pop.

This rather angered, indeed infuriated a young man I came flat with in Edinburgh. How this Aussie bloke and I remain friends today is a modern mystery. Music was his world. I termed him the ‘ repressed rocker’: he was forever playing an imaginary drum set, curly mop of hair thrashing about, beatbox sound effects released at random.

He was passionate, rather obsessive about music and I admit, I admired him for it.

My taste in music he despised – and he made that very , very clear.

Not one to be deterred – I continued to play BoyZone, Westlife and Enrique at every opportunity.

Fast forward 5 years, and I am back home, living and working in Sydney. I recieved a call, out of the blue from the repressed rocker, he has a spare ticket to a band held in the highest of regard : Arcade Fire.

‘ I’ve never heard of them’ I whimpered down the phone ‘ Are they like Enrique Iglesias or Westlife??’

Silence

‘ Enrique or Westlife?’ I ask again, thinking hadn’t heard me the first time.

‘ Your not coming’

Dial tone – he has hung up on me!!

I am left puzzled – who is this majestic band I have been deemed unworthy of watching? Why has my penchant for pop cost me so dearly? Arcade who?

Hurt and confused I refuse to torture myself. I put in my headphones , resuming the data entry whilst listening to Enrique

And this evening, whilst watching youtube videos I see that Arcade Fire have just released a new album. This band I did go on to discover, in my own time, in 2013, on a holiday in the UK. It was love at first listen. The song ‘ Sprawl II ( Mountains Beyond Mountains’ was my self-declared moving song when packing up my Randwick Flat in 2014. The tune channelled the courage required to  immerse myself in shared living again.

So Mr Repressed Rocker, did you know that Arcade Fire has new material out? Am I finally ahead of the game?

What I expect you’ll say is that they are no longer cool, and that you have moved on.

What I want you to say is that you like their new music.

Most importantly what I need to say is thank you for introducing me to this exquisite music by default all those years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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