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













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??’


‘ 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.

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

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


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:


Scott Gray


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… 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

Ode to Daniel Johns

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

I have been writing a post about Daniel Johns in my head ever since my dinner date on Friday night with a childhood friend

As our conversation danced from family to children, school days, horror movies and a shared love of chocolate…we somehow got on the to topic of music festivals. My friend is a journalist and is writing a piece on the Australian music festival Homebake, which runs in Sydney each December.

Homebake is a favourite festival on mine, and when it was introduced to the dinner conversation it prompted discussion on all the wonderful bands we had been fortunate to see play live.

We both recalled fond memories…but I became stuck on one in particular….when a three-piece band from Newcastle debut their new material from what would go on to be the Australia’s album of the year in 2007, Silverchair’s ‘ Young Modern’

One day music festivals like Homebake require commitment….commitment to the 12 hour music schedule, commitment to drinking ( what ever your poison, the line for fluid is always miles long!!) commitment to queuing in general…for food and the ghastly port-a-loos!!

These festivals start early, 11am and by sun down…  moods can swing either way…You either amp it up, or come crashing down….The thought of standing in a field with 20,000 other people for one more music act appears a task more taxing than climbing Everest.

2006 was one such year….Scorched by the summer sun….I was baked, dehydrated and thoughts of home were never far from my mind…But I had made a commitment to myself that I would stay for the final act…it was after all my all time favourite Australian rock group….the one, the only, Silverchair…

When did I fall for hard for the Newcastle trio?….It was in 2002 with the release of their 4th studio album, Diorama.

I’m watching you, watch over me

And I got

The greatest view from here

 The Greatest View, Diorama, 2003

Their music prior to this album had never captivated me….I regarded it is loud, angry teenage boy music….Kind of like my younger brother’s band ‘ Rigamortis’…only much more successful!!

Diorama signified a shift. Their music became melodic and layered. The lead singer, Daniel John’s voice, had softened, the anger was gone…the lyrics too had begun to diversify…the band had grown up.

Rolling Stones Magazine called Diorama ‘ One of the boldest musical statements ever made by an Australian Rock Band’

I loved them for it….and it was then and there I became a fan…not of the die-hard variety, I simply admired from afar the trio’s ability to re-invent themselves, to bring about change when really no one had asked for it. There old sound was what had made them a success…this change of direction was a huge risk, a big leap of faith… I was on board.

‘Cause what lies beneath the clouds

Is an altered perception and I’ll pay for  sanity

But sanity don’t come  cheap

Luv Your Life, Diorama, 2012

Homebake 2006 and Daniel John, Ben Gilles and Chris Joannau took to the stage at 9pm. The atmosphere was electricSilverchair had not released new material or been together on stage for what seemed an eternity….it was here and now that they would debut their new sound.

5 years had passed since the release of Diorama…everyone in the crown waited in anticipation for a hint of the musical direction the band would take them during their 45 minute set.

And then the music started….and  true to the Silverchair ethos, it was new, progressive and undeniably unique. John’s had never appeared so sure of himself, of his lyrics or the raw power of his voice.

Recalling that night 6 years ago, words fail me….but strong feelings emerge. The overall excitement of being caught up in a moment, witnessing something ground breaking and redefining.

On stage, were a band, who, yet again were prepared to take a huge risk, another musical shift. As they threw caution to the wind, the audience did too….20,000 people enjoying the dawn of something new.

I remember sounds…the saxophone, the piano, and John’s voice, strong, powerful and the surge of emotion that came over me when I heard ‘ Straight Lines’ for the first time….

I love Silverchair and am a huge fan of Daniel John’s.

I love what the band accomplished, for the musical landscape they provide their audience and their commitment to reinvention time and time again. Though the band may have called it a day in 2011…for me, the music plays on…

I admire Daniel John’s from afar….his musical sensibility, his raw talent and the suffering he has endured as a result of his art.

I admire his commitment to his craft, his dedication and risk taking….he is a modern day musical prodigy.

I admire John’s for his ability to overcome illness, his battles with depression and auto immune disease….His strength and resilience in the face of adversity resonates with me.

And lastly, I find him incredibly sexy, I think anyone who is passionate is sexy.


Daniel John of Newcastle New South Wales, patron saint of Australian Music Redefined.

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