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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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…

View original post 112 more words

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…

View original post 617 more words

Who would have thought?

IMG_4018

 

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??!!

IMG_4021.JPG

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

IMG_3954.JPG

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.

 

 

 

Ode to Hannah Gadsby

Last Friday night I travelled from Sydney to Wollongong for a night out. A comedy act that I had long admired was in town for one night only. I booked my solo ticket and caught the train South, smiling ear to ear.

A couple of years ago, I would have never have imagined it possible,  that a comedy show, in the Spiegeltent no less, would grace the Coal Coast. Culture, class and top-notch entertainment finally in the ‘Gong, some 15 years after I left…in search of just that.

Upon hearing of the Spiegeltent’s one month seaside residency, I made a pact with myself that I would support the event whole heartedly. I told any one who would listen that the tent was in town, and with reasonably priced tickets for world-class comedy and musical acts, it was a win win situation.

Perhaps in my heart of hearts, the advocacy work I did spruiking the event, was my way of making peace with my 22-year-old self, who had turned her back on the Gong for the UK in 2001, Who, upon return had lasted but a year before another move to Sydney. Always searching, finger on the pulse for the next comedy show, the next musical, the next music act.

But in 2017 – the Gong, Wollongong, proved that good things come to those who wait. Fifteen years of searching behind me, I was happy to be home turf.

It was the best night out. My Father, who had NEVER been to a comedy show in his life decided to join me. Hannah Gadsby was headlining.

It. was. amazing.

Did the show start with Ms Gadsby stating she was retiring from the comedy circuit? For good? I don’t recall when this remark was made, but I knew very early on that this was going to be unlike any comedy show I had seen before. My Dad….he was in for a ride!

Hannah’s voice controlled, measured and her delivery on point. She did not waver from a common theme thread though-out the hour-long performance. She was retiring after 10 years at the top of her game,  no longer prepared to withhold the personal truths erased from all accounts of her comedy shows, no longer willing to shield her audience.

But not last Friday – with conviction she barely stopped to breathe as she recounted story upon story that revealed deep suffering. From the audience, there was little laughter, her decision to retire was final and we would be free to make what we like of her daring, bold, often confronting stories.

Of course Hannah made us laugh, some cried, her brave account, her honestly, her smile and her generous insight was beautifully refreshing, enlightening, moving, above all, raw.

As we left the Speigeltent that night, John Farnham’s classic played loud and clear ‘ You’re the Voice’. Never had Farnsie seemed so fitting –  Hannah had come full circle, to an understanding of the power of voice, an acceptance of story, and a burning desire to for truth and accountability.

I thought about this show for days after, my Dad did too.

‘ Not all comedy shows are like that’ I told him on the car ride home.

But given the importance of what we had witnessed, the bar has now been set so high that Ms Gadsby, I believe it will be the first and only comedy show my Father attends whilst on earth. Perhaps too my search is over for the perfect comedy act. I’ve seen it – it was hard-hitting, it was Hannah Gadsby. It was in Wollongong, 2017.

So thank you Hannah – an ode to you. In your show you mentioned you have a soft spot for Nanna’s. One of my Nan’s favourite sayings, which my Mother recited at her eulogy in 2014 ‘ Thank you for being you’

Hannah Gadsby ‘ Thank you for being you’ – we need people like you to make us stop and think. And then have a nap.

Lest We Forget

Four years ago, I heard for the first time the story below, as told by my Grandfather, one of his experiences of World War 2. It was a story he would often revert to until his death in February 2015. In his final years he became very teary, almost childlike and he became stuck on certain themes…the war was one of them.

Both my Nan and Grandfather have now passed on but one of my proudest Anzac Day memories was accompanying my Nan along George Street in the March in 2007. I held back tears – Nan was legally blind and managing crippling pain for a bone disease with endone, yet one foot in front of the other – we marched in time, hand in hand, bag pipe music serenading us down the street. So proud.

And my Grandfather, the private man, who held so much in, told me the story below on the 25th April, 2013.

 

Catch Up With A Mate

 

My Grandparents- Bruce and Joan Gibson- True Anzacs xx

My Grandparents- True Anzacs

Anzac Day, 25th of April, 2013

My Grandfather told me a story about his war-time experience that I hazard a guess he had never told anyone. It made for a very special day, I felt honoured and privileged that he opened up to me and told me a tale that for 68 years had never had an audience….

‘ His name was Alton Neil Robinson….but we all called him Bill. He was a few years older than me at school and very intelligent. He completed his leaving certificate at Mudgee High School ( 5 years of High School). I only did three years of secondary school’

‘ In Bills civilian life, he was a very talented cyclist. He also had a passion for languages’

‘ How many languages did he know?’ I asked but I did not…

View original post 366 more words

Shaping Young Lives into ‘ Perfect Storms’

Any one who knows me is aware of my vivid imagination – I have a tendency to run off with it at times. Yesterday was no exception.

The end of another student internship program. Farewelling bright, bubbly twenty somethings, with hopes, dreams and burning desires to bring about change in their chosen professions.

I listened to Kelly Clarkson’s song ‘ Invincible’ on repeat as I churned through the days administration tasks. It was a busy but in between the emails, phone calls and filing I chatted to students as they submitted their internship time sheets, dropped of bags for storage, prepared for final exams.

Beat down on me, beat down like a waterfall cause I can take on so much more than I had ever dreamed

The noticeable shift in the student interns demeanour – a quiet confidence oozing from every pore, a new found belief and mastery of their unique skill sets, their gifts.  

I was hiding from the world, I felt so afraid I felt so unsure. Now I am invincible , I’m the perfect storm.  

The students recounting the challenges they had faced in the workplace and how they had overcome them. How the highs and lows had shaped them and provided moments of clarity.

Cause it’s being weak then strong. And the truth I’ve found, I have courage now, gonna shout it out. 

Teacher I feel the dots connecting

The mentors who had guided them for 12 weeks, the connections they had built and the skills honed. Many students told me of job offers, remote work projects they would continue upon returning home. I wanted to hug one student whose entire career path has shifted gears, who detailed plans to keep the momentum going upon returning home.

Yesterday was a most rewarding day. As with my imagination, I have glossed over the prickly bits of the 12 week program…. of course they were there. 

But I focused on the ‘ perfect storms’ I helped to shape –  future disruptors of industry, innovators and change agents. Students whose self belief has been injected with invincibility magic dust.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 114 other followers