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

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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

 

 

Ode to Katy Steele

Sydney Fringe Festival 2017 Delight - Conversation with Katy

Sydney Fringe Festival 2017 Delight – Conversation with Katy

It was my brother who introduced me to the Sleepy Jackson.

My brother was cool. I was not. It was 2005.

It started an appreciation of all things Steele. A musical education indeed.

I discovered Little Birdy on my own. Though the band had long split, their musical catalogue would enthrall and inspire till present day.

There was one stand out instrument that appeared on each album, each track, cementing me as a forever fan. Forget the talent exuded from guitars, drums, percussion instruments – it was THAT voice, Katy’s voice.

I was hooked.

In 2014 I saw Katy Steele perform solo at the Basement, Sydney. The ticket set me back $25.00. That same month I parted with $165.00 to see Katy Perry.

The $25.00 ticket to this day remains one of my musical highlights – the collective spirit that wrapt concert goers that late October evening was priceless. A full choir joined Katy on the stage, and she drew the crowd in with her energy, her passion, her presence and THAT voice.

Fast forward to Sunday just passed, and I’m on the edge of my seat in a small theatre in Newtown.  As part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, 2017 Katy is in conversation with APRA AMCOS, an organisation supporting songwriters, composers and music publishers.

It is an intimate affair, an audience of 30, a videographer, a photographer, an interviewer and Ms Steele.

The interviewer tells the audience Katy is nervous. Katy confirms this – I am taken aback. But this disclosure humanises my idol. I relax into the afternoon.

We are treated to rare glimpse of the struggle of the creative spirit and the critical mind, the beauty of connecting with your craft and the importance of staying true to yourself.

Thank you Katy. I was fence-sitting as to whether to attend this event. For no particular reason. But I am so glad I did.

In that 1 hour conversation on Sunday afternoon, you reminded that sharing ones unique gift, tapping into the essence of individuality, makes the world a better place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why DID the Chicken Cross the Road?

Because I thought August 2017 ended yesterday – 30 days has September, April, June and November ALL the rest have 31….I can now post one final recylced post.
August 2017…the month that. will.not.end.
Be done with you I say!!
But till then, a tale from the Eastern Suburbs, 2015 about the infamous Clovelly Road Chicken and the lesson to be learnt from the bird that dared to walk the roads.

Catch Up With A Mate

Back in 2010, the infamous Clovelly Road chicken crossed the road, and ultimately found itself lost. Silly, silly bird. But fear not, for the Clovelly road chicken was fortunate to met a kind human, who threw poster form, attempted to reunite bird with owner.

Clovelly Road Chicken circa 2010 Clovelly Road Chicken circa 2010

Fast forward to 2015, and I too am crossing the road. Many of them, from East to Inner West. Like the Clovelly Road chicken all those years ago, who threw caution to the wind, flew the coup so to speak…it’s time for change and taking chances.

This chick is packing up her Eastern Suburbs pad and moving on….Whilst unlike the Clovelly Road chicken, I have a destination, in so many ways our decision to cross the street is identical.

In road crossing, we are daring ourselves to seek out a better life. We are no longer content with routine, we are restless…

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Ode to Ben Quilty

Last night on the ABC 7.30 report, the story of an art teacher, Mariah Calman, whose engaging teaching style is shaping young lives. Her presence and influence capturing the attention of one of our countries most civic minded artists – Mr Ben Quilty.

A perfect post to round out a month of recyled blog entries.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-28/mariah-calman-raps-in-class-to-help-her-students/8849696

Catch Up With A Mate


There is so much thanks to bestow upon Australian Archibald prize winner & Official war artist Mr Ben Quilty.

A recent guest on ABC television show, Home Delivery with Julia Zemiro- Ben came across as a great artistic talent, intellect and humanitarian- wearing his heart on his sleeve, sensitivity ozzing from every pore.

My Mum commented post show, in one of our almost dayly phone catch ups that she felt ‘ He looked tired’. She attributed this tiredness to Ben’s friendship with Bali Nine prisoner, Myuran Sukumaran and the suffering he endured whilst campaigning to save his life, grief experienced upon his execution.

According to my Mum, the loss of his mate had ‘Aged him’. I agreed. I felt that Ben had as an artist, more importantly, as human being, had suffered deeply for his art, his beliefs, his values. His genuineness, personable nature & belief in the inherit goodness…

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CUWAM: An open letter to NYC city and the blind date birthday

As another birthday approaches, I cast my eye back to my most memorable celebration to date – the blind date birthday dinner in NYC 2011. As recycled blog posts go, this one will always bring a smile.

Catch Up With A Mate

This entry will not do justice to the birthday party NYC put on for me….24 hours spent in the city, which lavished me with gifts from a fantastic meals, museum visits,  coffees, cocktails, gin and tonics, subway rides, one in a life time meetings with friend I never knew I had, the kindness of strangers, the smiles, the laughs, the sunshine and an rain drops and the overwhelming messages of love that greeted me when I logged onto my face book account.

The decision was made back in May, when I knew I would travel during the year, that NYC was the only place I wanted to be when another digit would be added to my biological age….A place where anything would be possible, and I knew that whatever presented itself to me that day would be treasured, both on that day, and for the many that would hopefully follow….So…

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Who would have thought?

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If you’d asked me six months ago were my focus would be in regards to work as an internship coordinator, sport management placements would have featured way down  the list.

I’m not a sports fan, I openly admit that, very un- Australian of me!

I’ve been dragged along to the occasional Sydney Swans game, feigning interest…but deep down, as my friends scream, yell, stamp and cheer in the direction of Buddy Franklin, I’m daydreaming of my next beach holiday. I just don’t get it. 

Yet I admire the passion and dedication of sports fans. I’m actually envious of it.

Sport can be a guiding force in life, defining weekend activities, entire Saturdays can be taken up by game day. It bonds people, barracking for the same team means you become part of a something bigger than yourself. Take the AFL,  for 6 months of each year you are busy being a fan. I’m just cold and miserable, wanting summer to return.

I find that sport fans are driven and determined, loyal and optimistic. A girlfriend of mine, travelled from Brisbane to Sydney for the Rabbitohs NRL grand final win against the Bulldogs. ‘ Born a Bunny’ back in 1977, a true believer, she witnessed the historic win that night, and revelled with the Redfern community the day after. A true fan, of the A to Z variety. All codes, all disciplines. Passionately, hopelessly mad about sport. The end.

Possessing none of the above, a focus on sports management internships have pushed me out of my comfort zone and into an iron man race against time to secure countless opportunities for sports mad interns.

Think Canterbury Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Illawarra Dragon, Parramatta Eels.

Think Invictus Games ( Prince Harry, oh la la!!) Football Australia and Athletics NSW.

And surprisingly , I’m loving every minute of it!! The in-person meetings, the phone calls, the emails. Endless conversations about sport.

And each time a site agrees to host an intern, it’s like scoring a grand final goal or world record at the Olympics.

Perhaps I do possess the qualities of an sports fan after all – tenacity, grit & steely determination. It’s what I’ve needed in spades as I’ve navigated my way into the unchartered world of all disciplines, all codes.  

Whether I win or loose as I slam dunk, sprint and peddle my way to my target, I’ve come to view journey as the grounds for personal growth and learning. 

It is challenging, fun and I’m constantly learning – what more could I ask for other than an interest in sport??!!

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Ode to Olly Alexander

Well, nothing’s gonna hurt me with my eyes shut

I can see through them
I can see through them
I am drawing pictures I’m evading
I will not use them
I will not use them
Again

 

Vocalist Olly Alexander, of the British electronica trio, Years and Years, has described his song ‘ Eyes Shut’  as “a personal torch song.”

“It came out of a very depressing time. I didn’t intend for it to be on the album, but we started doing it live with just me on the piano and people seem to respond to it.”

I respond to this song. It is musical perfection for me, compliments the life stage I find myself entering.

Over the last 6 months, I have attended events of significance. The passing of time marked by a school reunion, a milestone birthday.

At both events, I found myself in tears. Sobbing on the way home from one celebration, public display of emotions at another.

I was never one to show emotion. I kept so much in for so long. But I welcome this change.

Everything used to hurt as I strained to keep my eyes open, fearful that night terrors would be more painful than  the reality of drawn out days.

It was a Saturday night’s milestone birthday  I ‘ think’ I heard through the laughter, tears and general revelry, the voice of an angel, Olly Alexander.

What I think I heard, lead me to return to the band Years and Years music yesterday at work.

This continued at home, song after song warmed up the winter chills that cloaked Sydney.

‘Cause I wanna be bigger than life
For you
For you

‘Cause I wanna be bigger than life
For you
For you

Yet on Saturday night, as this splendid voice pierced the party atmosphere, my tears flowed.

Upon reflection, familiar faces at school reunions and milestone birthdays  have a tendency to bring the past cascading back. Such events remind me of the heaviness I carried around for decades that consumed my ability to see with clarity the possibilities in front of me.

Nights such as school reunions and milestone birthdays also help to reinforce that whilst confronting the past has and will continue to be painful, I am travelling in a new direction.

The tears will continue to flow – I can’t stop them – and I don’t want too.

But eyes shut, eyes open – I have arrived in the here and now.

Would Justin Timberlake’s Brittany Spears break-up inspired number ‘ Cry me a River’ have been a more appropriate song to pen these self revelations too?

No, Olly Alexander and his Years & Years comrades are just what I needed to delve a little deeper into the never-ending process of self discovery.

Voice of an angel, thank you xxx

Resilience Personified

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For a number of years I have steered clear of the Sydney Writers Festival ( SWF)

But for some reason, this year, I glanced over the program. I’m not an avid reader, I write blog posts from time to time but I love story telling, and listening to accounts of lives well lived.

The 2017 SWF seemed a good a place as any to stumble across autobiographical accounts of unique life perspectives.

And so I found myself in the audience last Sunday morning at Walsh Bay, surrounded by other curious souls, for a one hour panel conversation with Ms Turia Pitt.

For those unaware of Turia’s celebrity, in 2011, whilst completing an ultra marathon in Western Australia, she was caught in a grass fire, suffering burns to 65% of her body. The sheer grit, determination and resilience this young women has shown, to get her life back on track, on her terms………..word fail me.

Last Sunday’s audience laughed, cried and sighed in unison, as Turia walked us through her life story. She made it easy for the audience to digest the pain, suffering and trauma experienced in the 2011 grass fire and continuing recovery, by her unwavering sense of humour.

I was captivated by her spirit from the moment she walked onto the stage, till the conclusion of the hour-long interview, when she graciously accepted offer from the audience to go for a surf and to drink a beer at the local pub with another.

Resilience personified.

When it was over, and our clapping serenaded her off stage, I left the auditorium and wandered aimlessly for about 10 minutes. It was an attempt to process all I had just heard.Surrounded by Writers Festival patrons, I remained inward in thought.

On Wednesday Turia Pitt featured on Charlie Pickering’s show ‘ The Weekly’ on the ABC. I happened to watch the interview. Again, I was mesmerised.

And yesterday, I got the chance to chat with my Mum- about the Writers Festival and the Weekly interview. My Mum has seen Wednesday nights interview and in a three words she nailed it ‘ Turia upstaged him ( Charlie)’

Yes, that was exactly it – Turia upstaged Charlie Pickering on the Weekly, and she certainly upstaged the interviewer on Sundays panel at the SWF.

She had upstaged us all….been through the unimaginable, refusing to give in to the pain and trauma that to this day, has capacity to consume her.

It was inspiring to listen to her first hand account of what it takes to live a life, not one defined by an event, gender or occupation, but by hope, strength, determination and love.

Turia has chosen the harder option, and as a result we are graced with the gift of her tenacious spirit and insight.

She is resilience personified.

Ode to Harry Styles

Those you know me well know my questionable taste in music.

Though I continue to age, the musical soundtrack that serenades me on my way has of late, gotten stuck, fixated on youth, beauty and a strong set of vocal chords ( height and killer check bones having sealed the deal)

And so it is that on high rotation I find myself listening to Mr Harry Styles. Song of choice ‘ Sweet Creature’. Also fond of ‘ Sign of the Times’ , and ‘ Two Ghosts’ and….whatever, you get the picture!

And I had to admit this fixation in public recently. I was at the gym, and my trainer, knowing my preference to work out to music by  artists who passed away in 2016- think George Michael, Prince, Bowie. offered to change the music.

‘ No, please don’t!’I whimpered.

‘ But you have good taste in music’ remarked my trainer

‘ Yes, but I do like Harry’

Then in an attempt to cover up this admission, I started over compensating with endless chatter, disclosing that Mr Styles’ album was to be the soundtrack to a June road trip , when a girlfriend and I would drive from Brisbane to Toowoomba and back again, with only Harry on the airwaves. I disclosed that my girlfriend, a mother to four beautiful children, and I decided that Harry would rock our world for the 4 day road trip, at the completion of which, the album would be gifted to her eldest: Ms Eleven.

And to you dear reader, I admit now that I lied.

I will keep the album , all to my greedy little self.

The grown adult in me needs to be reminded of youthful beauty, height, high cheek bones and a good set of vocal chords. That beautiful ‘ Sweet Creatures’, the Harry Styles of this world, do actually exist.

 

 

 

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