Whitney

 

Oh Whitney!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of having lunch with childhood neighbours, the women responsible for introducing me to ‘ that voice’.

I recall with fondness said neighbours playing Ms Houston’s vinyl records at volume, the sound reverberating off the Illawarra Escarpment and into my childhood bedroom.

Decades have passed but the love for this songbird remains steadfast.

Yesterday I spent the morning at a Business Chicks breakfast with Australian Supermodel and serial Entrepreneur Elle McPherson, who disclosed she shared her first US modelling job with Whitney.

So perhaps the fact I dusted of Ms Houston’s greatest hits cd to accompany me as I drove from the east to west last night to collect a parcel from a friend was predestined?

Disc one of the two cd compilation – ‘ Saving All my Love for You’ and I’m transported back in time. I’m 10 years old, in my childhood bedroom, the yellow walls glowing in the afternoon sunshine. Whitney is playing on my tape deck and I’m singing along, with a toilet roll microphone. A private concert for my Cabbage Patch Kid, Care Bear and My Child.

But it’s  2019, the eve of another birthday. I’ve driving a silver Honda, careful of inner city speed limits, indulging in a car disco for one. And still, after all these years, Whitney’s songs define moments in time.

My birthday this year will be low key. Catch ups with  friends and family to herald in the occasion. A cake from an Italian patisserie,  dinner at an inner city hot spot, a massage, time with Jenny Brown the cat.

And Whitney will provide soundtrack. Three decades of devotion to an idol and her other worldly voice forever serenading the passing of time.

 

Ode to Michael Hutchence

I’ve returned from Paddington, having watched ‘Mystify’ the documentary about the late great INXS front-man Michael Hutchence.

In 1988 I recall getting a compilation cassette. It was not the one I wanted and I was bitterly disappointed. Despite my distain for ‘ 88 The Winners’ I was taken by one song in particular – ‘ New Sensation ‘ INXS. Side One, Track One.

It would play on high rotation for many, many years.

IMG_0371.jpg

Nine years pass at it’s 1997. Despite a splendid music catalogue, Michael Hutchence, in recent years, has been better known for his high profile romances. The Grunge movement having transformed the music scene in the  early 1990’s with the likes of Oasis and Blur competing for the Brit pop crown.

INXS are on the come back trail and are to play in Wollongong at Waves nightclub late November.

A phone conversation on the day of the gig with my friend Cameron who has tickets to the concert ‘ Michael Hutchence is dead’

I’m not sure I uttered this remark out loud upon hearing this news but I thought it  ‘ Its because he did not want to play in Wollongong’

Years pass, I learn to appreciate good music and quality front men / women who put it all on the line for their art. I fall in love again and again with INXS. With Michael.

He oozed sex appeal, body rocking good looks coupled with an insatiable lust and passion for life, love and pleasure.

I’ve often thought what I’d give for the chance to see the INXS live, in a stadium of thousands, Kirk Pengilly on saxophone, The Farriss brothers on lead guitar and drums, Garry Beers on bass. And Michael front and centre.

The stuff of mere fantasy.

Michael’s legacy, INXS’s music is his timeless gift.

He is never far from the airwaves.

New Sensation – INXS, 1987.

 

 

 

Ode to Alanis Morisette

23 years after I fell hard and fast from the music of Alanis Morrisette, I’ve downloaded her music to my iphone and am once more taking a trip down nostalgia lane.
I wrote the following post three years ago, when the album ‘ Jagged Little Pill’ turned 20 – music of my youth, forever to transport, transfix and stop time.

Catch Up With A Mate

‘ Jagged Little Pill ‘

I was listening to Classic FM Radio recently, and over the airways the broadcaster announced that 2016 was the 20th anniversary of the album ‘Jagged Little Pill’ by Canadian Artist – Alanis Morrisette.

20 years….It cannot be! Really?

After this announcement the song ‘You learn ‘ filled the airways and I sang– word for word.

I was 17 years old when the album was released and it changed my tiny world.

I played this cd on high rotation in my bedroom in Austinmer, expressing my repressed teenage angst – a mixture of joy, despair, anxiety and elation – through song form.

I was a complex teenager – a quiet girl, whose inner world was bleak but outwardly I shone bright, smiled and laughed often.

In Alanis I found respite – she was angry, she was despairing, bitter and twisted.

And oh was she was…

View original post 202 more words

Ode to Pulp

Musical Regrets – I have a few and they surface every now and then

I’ve been enjoying driving around the city of Sydney once again. After 2 years on public transport I am now the proud temporary owner of a Nissan Pulsar circa 2001.

Nothing beats driving around the city listening to my ‘retro’ cd collection.

On Saturday morning, as I prepared to go to an 8am gym session I closed my eyes and reached in the direction of my cd stack – my hand landed on something special and I made a quick dash to the car.

Pulp came to Sydney in 1998.  Reading up on the band prior to writing this post, the UK group were best known in the mid- 1990s, reluctant participants in the ‘Britpop’ movement that included bands such as Oasis and Blur.

I had an friend who was caught up in the Britpop movement, avid reader of ‘ The Face’ fashion and culture magazine and heavily invested in the pop feud that had engulfed Oasis and Blur. Despite living 17,000kms from the epicentre of this movement, this Aussie chick flew the Union Jack in Austinmer loud and proud.

I was a fair-weather fan, only on rare occasions did I find myself caught up in the fanfare. And then once day I was invited to see Pulp at the Enmore Theatre. Squeal!!

But I got sick. Sick with an illness that ‘normally’ befriends the elderly and the unlucky. Polyarteritis nodosa, inflammation of the blood vessels. And that was just the start, I was a mixed bag of ill-health and the Pulp concert came and went.

Whilst not a true fan, I was disappointed. Yet instead of wallowing I set aside my sadness and got on with life. Months passed and my health returned. I forgot about the concert and all that the year 1998 had come to represent.

I am unsure of when I ‘rediscovered’ Pulp. Yet when I did I was ready to listen.

And what a joy to listen to songs that made me smile as distant memories surfaced once more.

It’s 1994 and my Year 10 Art Teacher is proclaiming that in the year 2000 she will meet up with a long-lost love t ( a pact made whilst listening to the Pulp hit ‘ Disco 2000’) ‘ Sorted out for E’s and Whizz’ – the song perfectly capturing the music festival scene I immersed myself in with gusto in the Mid-1990’s:

‘Oh is this the way they say the futures meant to feel?

Or just 20,000 people standing in a field’

Jarvis Cocker, lead singer of Pulp, the epitome of cool.

Some 20 years later, I understand my Aussie friends investment in the Britpop movement.

Musical Regrets, I have a few.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Last night I attended a Middle East Food Festival in Waterloo, complete with camels, hookah pipes and hip hop music. It was out of this world, well, Waterloo anyway.

I returned home to indulge in an hour long Whitney Houston tribute evening on youtube. Self curated because the Middle East and Whitney go so well together,

I have declared August 2017 the month of the recycled post. I have written over 400 since  I started Catch Up with A Mate in 2011. Whitney is one of my favourite topics to right about, she is my childhood. I will always love her….

A post from 2013

One year ago, my childhood idol, Whitney Houston passed away.

In the year since her death, much has happened…from the big (a family wedding) to the small (I mastered the wheel pose in yoga). And while I got one with another year of life, one constant during those 365 days was Whitney’s music.

I confess that I did not listen her music every day… but for a good 6 weeks after her passing on Feb 11th, 2012, it was on high rotation…I indulged this guilty pleasure again in late September for my birthday and by pure chance, whilst preparing for my god daughter Mae’s birthday yesterday, she appeared on Video Hits in all her ‘ I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ glory!!

Mae, who was busy helping her Dad blow up balloons for her party stood still from the moment Whitney graced the screen. She was transfixed by her natural beauty, bubbly personality , 80’s hair-do, million dollar smile…and THAT voice.

The VOICE that commands attention: Ms Whitney Houston

The VOICE that commands attention: Ms Whitney Houston

We shared a special moment there and then, when a little girl all of 2 years of age and grown women (who will remain ageless) danced around a suburban lounge room to a timeless classic.

Ms Houston we did you proud, you gained a pint sized fan whilst transporting me back to a time when happiness depended upon one thing: a cassette tape titled ‘Whitney’

Related Posts: Death of My Childhood Idol 2012

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Older Entries

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

Join 120 other followers