Saturday, August 30, 2008

Paul Weller live @ Enmore Theatre, 18 August 2008

[to be published in the Songsmith]


We couldn’t believe it!! Paul Weller was returning to Australia, his second visit since he toured the Style Council here in ‘85. He did 3 shows at the Enmore theatre in Sydney, 19-21 August, touring most other states as well. I never did see the Council concert back in ’85 and was determined not to miss this! And unlike, say, the Council concert where all songs performed were strictly ‘Council’ tunes, this concert opened up Weller’s backlog all the way back to his early days with the Jam. The crowd roared ceaselessly, and it was easily one of the best concerts I’d ever attended. The only catch was, it felt like it had gone on for 5-minutes (he played for at least 2 and a half hours), I really need to be there for at least a good 72 hours to take in the passion, the heavenly performance and songs, all of which are incredibly dear to me.

The lion’s share of the concert was dedicated to performing songs from Weller’s new release 22 Dreams. This may have disappointed some fans I happened to love that, 22 Dreams being in my opinion Weller’s finest release since Wildwood (1993) and the seminal Stanley Road (1995). 22 Dreams – a vinyl double-album (single CD) - is touted as a “concept” album by members of the music press though in Weller’s words he believes it to be more of a journey, a total listening experience, and a pertinent one when juxtaposed to the current day trends & tendencies of quick downloads. To me 22 Dreams harks back to mid-period Beach Boys albums such as Friends & Sunflower where all kinds of different songs and instrumentals were included in the package to make up the “whole”, giving the album a somewhat early 70’s feel. No doubt the songs off 22 Dreams are looser in feel and intent compared to other recent offerings of Weller yet organically they’re stronger, more vibrant. 22 Dreams is one of a string of Weller masterpieces, the first of which being All Mod Cons of 1978, released when Paul Weller was all of 20 years old.

The line-up of Paul’s band differed to what audiences in the UK have been used to over the past 8 or so years. Most noticeably Steve White on drums was absent; this was almost a pity as his musicianship & showmanship is every bit the equal of Paul’s. White has been behind Paul on drums since 1983. Damon the bass-player (originally from Ocean Colour Scene) was absent too though his guitar-playing cohort, Steve Craddock, remained on lead/2nd guitar. Nonetheless, Weller’s new musicians were excellent, providing the perfect backdrop to Weller’s onstage passion.

And so we received from Paul and his band song after excellent fucking song after another… Paul took to the stage, receiving an almighty roar in return, and apologised for taking so long to “come back”! They commenced with ‘Blink and you’ll miss it’, the rip-roaring starter to the As is Now album of 2005, and proceeded to play many songs off the new album plus many past masters. I miss a couple songs I was hoping he’d play but didn’t, ‘Sunflower’ off Wildwood and ‘In the Crowd’ off All Mod Cons. There are so many songs in Weller’s catalogue he couldn’t possibly play nearly a-tenth of them!!

Only Style Council number was featured in the set; ‘Shout to the top’ was performed with gusto and verve, overtly more guitar-orientated from the 1985 original. Songs from the Stanley Road album proved a particular highlight, ‘Broken Stones’ featuring Weller on Wurlitzer organ was truly orgasmic, this being classic toe-tapping soul. ‘Whirpool’s end’ performed near the end rocked out tremendously, ‘Changing man’ was fantastic and the beautiful love ballad, ‘You do something to me’ – featuring Weller on piano - was just breathtaking to be involved with. ‘Invisible’ from 22 Dreams being another piano song that featured flavours of Franco-Canadian balladry ala Kate McGarrigle. These were a magnificent bunch of songs. I was in musical heaven, shaking my head and dancing relentlessly, sometimes waking to the people around me to realise how stiff they were in comparison. It was just great music. I intuited the energy & spirit of the Beatles and Motown that night, of which this boy from Woking, Surrey, who would have been 8 & 9 when Revolver and Sgt Pepper came out, was inspired by so utterly to his innermost core. It was that core inspiration that I heard coming through in song after song, and through the passionately & desperately musical aura the man exuded. Yet the man was relaxed and lively, enjoying himself immensely, offering the odd joke and consistent cigarette toking as happy off-the-cuff offerings to his audience.

While there are too many songs to examine and mention it is worth noting Weller performed three Jam songs that I can recall. During the days of the Style Council, the performance Jam songs was an anathema to Weller and he only returned to the idea & practice after the break-up of the Council and the dawn of his solo career, in the early 1990s. ‘That’s Entertainment’ spurred a dedicated, rousing crowd singalong that continued way after the band put down their instruments. Yet the big surprise, the *gasp* moment, the rabbit out the warren moment, was when toward the end of the concert, the band charged into ‘The Eton Rifles’, a Jam song dating all the way back to 1979. The gasp and roar of the audience was palpable, with the dramatic introduction of the song featuring instantaneous drum rolls, feedback Aminor chord slashes set against the trademark rumbling bass-line motif set around the Am7 chord (AA-CC-GG-EE), resolving into the verses and the classic chant-like chorus. Weller’s lyrics mean everything today as they did back in 1979 with those words from the middle-eight spat back at the audience with scathing incredulity, “…what a catalyst you turned out to be, light the guns and you run off home for your tea, left me standing like a naughty schoolboy…”. These were three of the most magnificent minutes I’ve experience in the world of live concerts.

The last song performed was the Jam’s ‘Town Called Malice’, inarguably one of Weller’s greatest masterpieces. Paul wrote this at Air Studios, London, in October 1981 in preparation for the Jam’s final studio LP, The Gift of 1982. Propelled along by an urgency of tone, magnificently poetic lyrics, and an incredibly catchy Motown-inspired beat and chorus, ‘A Town Called Malice’ was hailed by one contemporary reviewer as “a magnificent howl of outrage at Thatcherite Britain. Yet ‘A Town Called Malice’ has endured the test of time to stand as a song that identifies itself universally with the human condition, that a sense of true freedom and happiness is unattainable within the confines and systems that are covertly cemented in place in our so-called “free” society. The universality of the song was represented by the audience’s utter devotion to its performance, the lyrics were yelled back to Weller in volumes, almost as a protest to unnamed powers-that-be. For three minutes, the Enmore theatre rocked more physically (and energetically) than ever before, the ground was shaking beneath all of us.

Paul Weller – you are a master of song. You have loved your music and learned it the proper way, by absorbing it in front of your record player & transistor radio and performing it live since the age of 14. You are, in colloquial terms, a working-class boy done good. We thank you for your great concert, and your incredible body of work that has delved into so many musical styles, commencing with the In the City album of 1977, recorded when you were merely 18 years of age!!

After the concert I was hoping to hang around the back of the Enmore theatre. Security had blocked the entrance so I abruptly about-healed and just walked up King Street Newtown in a semi-trance, intoxicated by the songs performed, and by the underlying energy of the music representing decades of popular music at its most joyous and inspired.

Here are just a few highlights from Paul Weller’s catalogue, for every song mentioned, I've left out probably 10 other possibilities:

Albums: All Mod Cons (1978) – Snap: Jam compilation (1983) – Our Favourite shop (1985) – Wildwood (1993) – Stanley Road (1995) – 22 Dreams (2008).

Songs: In the city (1977) – In the crowd – Down in the Tube Station at Midnight (1978) – The Eton Rifles (1979) – Going Underground (1980) – Tales from a Riverbank (1981) – A Town called Malice (1982) – Headstart for happiness (1983) – Shout to the Top – Big Boss Groove (1985) – Changing of the guard (1988) – Sunflower – Wildwood (1993) – You do something to me – Broken Stones (1995).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

sad day for drama school

today's been a sad day for drama school
one of our acting graduates from 1999 suicided yesterday
he hired a room in a downtown hotel
the newswires said he 'self-harmed'
and jumped out the window
he was found dead during Wednesday afternoon
slumped on a Myer department store awning
in central Sydney
he was 32 years of age

we were shocked & upset
and those of us who knew mp
couldn't believe how such a thing could come to pass
for such a brilliant boy
mp was one of the best actors we've had
he an was innately gifted performer
with a keen theatrical intelligence
he was the sort of actor who just fit into any role so easily
so comfortable did he appear on stage
he could be commanding or silly where the role required
and he was no "actor"
he was always fully the part
and irony of ironies
he displayed brilliant comic talent and timing
he's been working as an actor ever since he graduated
in theatre & tv
recently in a popular and highly regarded tv show
the most recent episode to screen
just this week
had him married off
.....
who knows what made him do what he did
i recall mp was highly-strung
but paradoxically he was also very straight-up & poised
very Very smart
alert and articulate
a big smile
just a brilliant artist and craftsman
one of the best
apparently he'd been battling depression
and as is often the case
he was purportedly battling the bottle
the demon fucking sauce
another of our graduates, from 1998,
went the same way 2 years ago
...this is shocking

there was a full-school meeting today
the ceo announced the news
we were addressed by two other staff members that worked closely with mp
back in 1997-99
it was a distressing day
such brilliance
such sensitivity
such artfulness
and such givingness too
an open, giving, generous, and luminous man
gone of his own doing
i can't grasp the irony of all of this
it is such wicked circumstance

lunchbreak
chomping on salad
reading the newspaper
here we go...#*%$ headline...
ANOTHER priest makes the front page
yet ANOTHER case of child abuse & sexual molestation
by a catholic priest at an exclusive country boarding school
this sort of thing is a disgraceful regularity in these ere parts
the photo of this priest's face adorns the daily ragg
it's what you'd expect
that puffy poise...
that slightly dazed, sanctimonious look
of "no-one can harm me"
it's the most disgraceful circumstance
when a man in a position of trust
who ceremoniously invokes the names of higher energies and powers
indulges himself in sexual depravities with boys as young as 9 or 10
...sickening.
and then there's mp...
a brilliant young man of high artistry
and great sensitivity
snuffed of his own hand
...these priests fill me with contempt
if they were at least honest and declared themselves....
but no, they hide their despicableness in their pastoral robes
and their cottonwool lives

...i dunno...
I am reacting to what I read in the paper
I just think sometimes it's just not fair
but I do know there is an overall justice to everything
Sometimes, like today,
that is very hard to see
i wish mp's family all the best too
and to the class of '99
who are all distressed and grieving
God bless
and bye for now

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

75 *sweet* dreams

Friday, 22 August, my mum's 75th birthday.

She was born in the town of Plati in Calabria, Southern Italy, in 1933.

I hopped over to her house that night for a mum-son birthday celebration, the present?? A Steve Kilbey art print!!! 'Peacock' (thanks for the prompt delivery eekie!!)

I brought over a miniature pavlova for us to share; pavlova being a cake originating from Australia made from egg-white. On top is cream and fruit. I'm not really into cakey and neither is my mum, for health reasons. We both shared a couple of bitefuls and disposed of the remainder in the garden where hopefully it will compost naturally, but then surely the possums will have come late in the night to feast on this sweet delicacy.

One birthday candle = 75. I sang my mum a happy birthday and she blew out the candle. In making a wish she appeared pensive, my mum has always been that way inclined, somewhat god-fearing, a bit afraid of the future.

We pondered the age of 75, and what's to come. 'Oh my God' was mum's reaction to the words '75 years', in her sweet, cutely-clipped Calabrese accent, 'where have the years gone'. Tears welled up in mum's eyes as she quietly muttered the words 'como volar dio', which of course means "it's in the hands of God".

All of this Life is in the hands of ..., mum, that's why all of us, whether we're 7, 27, 57 or 75, must remain thankful to be alive and to have life, and in the time we have, to share it with love, dignity and grace with those we love and care for.

I wish you many more happy, healthy moons mum,

God bless.

name change

Well here we go, i race in the door at midnight and hit the blog knowing i have not had a decent night's sleep for 2 long weeks!! I'm changing the title of my blog. I had the idea of doing so for the past week or so but after tonight's events I've decided with certainty that what I had before was way too negative, and not at all where I'm at as a human being on this planet at this moment in time. I have a song called 'E of a C' that is posted on myspace and it's a bit of a rant, musically mixing early church (verses) with Cold Chisel's 'Conversations' (chorus). But I'll leave it at that, as a mere song, with that title.

There's a lot going on. I've been with a good friend. I've had to offer light & love. I do not want any shadow of prescience dragged along the trail of that former title. This is fresh start offering new hope and new dawning for those who I love and care for in my living life, in the wake of recent conversations & discussions that have tapped deeply into the dark wellspring of the human psyche, and the current state of humanity. This is all I can say about that. All is well.

Focus on love, light, universality, godliness. Don't stay up u tubing and go playing with the negatives.

God bless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

22 dreams


last night
at the Enmore Theatre
amid the beery inebriation
the intoxicating pungency of music
the glorious sonic fury
i saw
as clear as night’s day
trees
woodlands
woodlands of woking, surrey
mist
cool, cold
somewhere sometime in the homely 60s
a boy of 8
places a vinyl disc on his parent’s record player
the boy is dazzled by the sounds of revolver
the magic porous through the speakers
he is marvelled utterly by the small 45’er
of penny lane strawberry fields
forever
the boy turns 9
and lands sergeant pepper
the boy is charged, moved beyond belief
and with the steady backdrop of transistor radio
the transatlantic pop of tamla motown
the boy knows his mission
the boy that will be a man will make this music
that is stirring him utterly from his innermost being
I saw that boy last night
he is a man of 50
Paul Weller
the boy to be a man
will have listened to much more music since
small faces kinks who stax northern soul 60s/70s psychedelia
then to classical folk nick drake tim hardin neil young
crosby stills and fucking nash
yet i saw the original spark
as psychic vision
the original inspiration
of beatles and motown
all the sound produced by this man in concert
atomised from that core inspiration
struck by the boy
back in the sleepy backdrop of a woking town
of surrey England
in the mid-1960s

after the concert
in biding my friends farewell
i hung around abit
i wanted to meet paul and have a chat
and why not??
there’s plenny to talk about…an’ discuss…
how’s yer dad??
paul’s dad was a brickie
so was mine
paul’s dad had a big personality and big bouffant hair
so did mine
paul’s mum was a cleaner
so was mine
(though me mum scored a job in a department store p/t selling confectionary)
paul lived in a terrace house on a main road
Stanley Road
so did I
Carrington Road
paul is a shy withdrawn person passionately driven to communicate
so am I
so I’s just thought I’d hang outside the back o’ the enmore
but the lane was actually blocked
with security guards posted at each end
fare enough methought
so I walks back to my car
two suburbs away
all the way up past king street newtown

the concert was just incredible
I was utterly shaken and grooved
it was a totally shagadelic xperience
I knew all the songs
and all the words
(I always know all the words)
everyone around me seemed so prim & proper
well you can’t be prim & proper at a Paul Weller concert
fucken get into it ladies & gents!!!
I’ve been impregnated with the soul and passion
great singing and performance
of these great songs
that marry so many influences
stretching all the way back to the beatles & tamla motown
one song off the new album 22 dreams
had me reeling
it’s a piano/vocal performance called ‘invisible’
the majestic golden tones of the piano
reminded me of one of my favourite songwriters
the Canadian Kate McGarrigle
so for that moment I was transported back to Quebec
Montreal, mid-60’s
where kate & her pals hunched together at cafes
creating this music that merged english & franco folk
with American soul folk & blues…

walking back to my car
through the windy hip king street
was a thoroughly inconsonant experience
I felt each step to be universes apart
my right side heeled firmly to king street newtown
my left side
hobbling in ethers of parallel uni-verses
and energies once lived and experienced
yet now bygone
and after a night of dreams
22 or 33 or 44
I’m more convinced than ever
that I lived through the sixties
and had myself a great fucking time
not in a human body mind u
my empiric memory informs me
I did not want to land in a body again
I wanted to cruise and enjoy the planet
and for a while I did
symbolically and representatively
this is seen in me being born a generation apart from my sweet siblings
they born in the fifties
me, 1970
being a being
as I am
of raised consciousness, or awareness
the same way self-raising flour *puffs*
('powder-puff' as they used to say..)
i possessed enough consciousness or ‘mass’
to withstand falling into another body
where for the majority of the earth’s population
that could be taken as given
i shoulda been here in body, by ‘63
instead i cruised
i waved around the americas when jfk was slain
feelin’ the vibes but not drawing in
i heard the beatles
attended every concert
I flew the skies with the energy of dylan’s mr tambourine man
I was called over to a west hollywood studio
to hear brian wilson create and produce god only knows
I was on set when the sound of music was being filmed
I was on stage with the von trapps singing edelweiss
I swam around the old traps of my beloved italy
where I’d livin’ mostly over the past couple o’ thousand years
enjoying the swiss & northern Italian alps
spent some time in quebec during their wintertime
toasting in the warmth of the folky cafes & song françois
I saw england win the ‘66 world cup
I witnessed the arab-israeli war
but recoiled
instead rejoicing to the beatles all you need is love
live tv satellite beamed throughout the planet
…that was the moment it all moved…
those satellite dishes unnerved me
caught me out
I felt unmasked and vulnerable
suddenly weighted
gravity pulling
was it time to come back into another living body???
I resisted
by ’68
gravity prevailed
I had something to do on earth, i sensed
i knew i had to come back and be of service to people
by 1969 I felt coarser, almost grainier
tired of resisting
knowing that my time to get landed was arriving fast now
July 1969
brian jones died in his swimming pool
head submerged by a pack of bullies
i’m startled
shocked
and my beetles
writin’ & recordin’ abbey road
songs that coarsed through my being
maxwell’s silver hammer ringing alarm bells
knowing my time travelling this ether was up
I struggled with heaving emotions
the tears of eternity’s pain
the almost endless sorrow of worldly beings
and joy
that brought us to this point
July/Aug 1969
the pressure screamed at me
my soul was crumbling
the noise was unbearable
filtered through come together something I want you
and the medley, on side two
of abbey road
the beatles swan song
and that was that
over
finished
silence
in I fell
back to womb
to be born
march 1970
into another human body
the beatles broke up officially
in april
1970

an alien land
utterly unbeknownst to me
never lived here or ether-travelled here either
upside down seasons
but a good place, nonetheless
I was clean of past attachments
i’d left behind in europe, mainly italy
god hath said to me
you’ll be looked after
you’ll have enough – just
live and do your best
but serve
do service to others
I was born to underlyingly great love
love that on the surface
represented a war zone
incommunicado

Paul Weller in concert was astounding
and i was there in that bedroom in surrey
in ‘66
with the spirit of revolver
and strawberry fields
tapping into the universal saucepan
of unlimited & unfettered creativity and passion
love and freedom
we All represent
and dearly wish to share in
eternally
and forever

postlude
gav
if you're reading this
i'll write you up a proper review soon
with a few more facts
a few more songs
& less esoterics

Saturday, August 16, 2008

froth 4 free

One thing I’ve learned over this past week, and that is there ain’t no such thing as a free coffee!

Or to be more precise, that should be qualified as a ‘decent’ free coffee.

On Monday, bustling into the campus during my mid-afternoon lunch break I noticed three portable signboards, each figuring attractive orange posters with white & black interspersed text, century gothic font…

enjoy rich velvety FREE FROTHY café coffee

I peered to my left, across the walkway leading to the Squarehouse courtyard, and there it was, an attractive looking orange stall the size of a large open tent, with a queue of eager persons lining up for their free frothy.
‘Hmph’ I silently ventured to myself, and led on straight ahead.

By Tuesday, my curiosity was piqued enough. Against my better judgement, I decided to forgo my daily regal ritual of an afternoon expresso, allowing myself to be lured by a ‘freebie’ in the form of the aforementioned free frothy café coffee.

The queue was long, comprising mostly of students. In front of me were two men in their fifties, likely lecturers, engaged in vibrant conversation. A couple walking past the line flashed their matching tight, sardonic grimaces in our general direction. A blue mist of paranoia swept silently around me. I almost felt a little grubby to be standing in this queue; similar to the feeling I’ve had of those few occasions I’ve stood in line waiting to purchase lottery tickets for some supersized windfall. At those times I couldn’t help but turn around to gaze at people’s expressions waiting in line. Everyone had that same subtle tightness of expression, with a faint look that some unpleasant odour had been cast under their noses. I wondered if this expression masked some kind of quiet desperation, how desperately did these people – myself included – desired or needed 10 million bucks. I’ve decided since, in answer to my own question, not really…maybe a little bit, but no, not really, not 10 million. Needless to say I rarely purchase lottery tickets these days.

I suppose the obsenity lies, no matter how apparently insignificant, in the whole thing of wanting to get something for free, and giving nothing in return. My karma does not allow for such liberties, I have discovered through the course of my living lifetime.

I tightened my scarf and bowed my attention to my sudoku puzzle, pen whistling in all directions amidst the afternoon wind as I attempted to deduce the missing numbers, twisting a few brain cells in the process.

Three young, attractive, friendly people were servicing the free coffee, each standing behind small boiling-water bowsers. As I advanced in the queue I realised the coffee was actually a major brand promoting ‘boutique’ instant coffee. There were many flavours and ‘styles of coffee’ to choose from. I decided on ‘skinny latte’. Everyone was asked the same question, ‘how’s your day been?’

Finally, standing in the stall to order my free frothy. The bubbly young woman behind my section of the counter asked me ‘how’s your day been?’

‘Good thank you, and yours?’

‘Great thanks!’

‘Do you work for N?’

‘No, we’re a public relations team!’

‘And you’re promoting N coffee for the week?’

‘Yes!’ – maintaining her gladness.

‘right’ – I nod solemnly.

After spending a short moment finding the correct box for my preferred flavour the nurse prepared my coffee with almost surgical precision; pouring the contents of the cylindrical sachet into a disposable cup, taking up a plastic stirrer, stirring up the contents in newly poured boiling water, finally disposing of the stirrer within the used sachet and into the correct bin. I felt I was an outpatient visiting a hospital tent. I was handed the coffee.

‘Thank you very much and have a great day’.

The stuff was revolting, tasting like bicarbonate soda with flavoured hints of imitation coffee and notes of curdled milk for good measure. I don’t mind straight-ahead instant coffee occasionally but this stuff was appalling. Fucking lame actually. Made me feel queasy all afternoon. The ‘froth’ was merely a dozen bubbles that hung around on the surface of the beverage for way too long.

My afternoon coffee is my prize for working. It is a personal pact I’ve made with myself, my own daily personal reward for being at the job, my work-a-day indulgence, my treat. I’m leo the lion when it comes to my afternoon coffee. I feel my mane glow and softly shine in the afternoon light as the expresso sates my taste buds, mood, and quite simply, my chronic caffeine addiction. I do wonder if a lot of other people feel the same way. Perhaps that’s why people seem noticeably impatient when standing in line for their coffee.

This ‘free frothy’ was actually not free at all. Its value was such that we should have been paid to drink this stuff! And handsomely too. Standing in line to purchase a lottery ticket potentially gives vaster rewards than standing in line for a free quease. Never again. There ain’t no such thing as a decent, free coffee!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

broadbean

i've decided, this is ridiculous!!

I'm upgrading to broadbean, quick smart!

Attempting to myspace, blog, youtube, check out photos or upload vids, let alone organising any of these, takes an eternity of time on dial-up, and I don't have an eternity of time. I'm on duty to sit at a library for 35h per week!!

I'm finding myself doing the high MB stuff at work, but I'm not too keen on hanging around the building after hours. Too much groovy stuff is slipping by me such as you tube, downloading music & other's people's websites. My organising & designing capabilities as well are severley hampered, particularly on myspace, I can't keep up with this archaic form of interneting. I simply don't have the thyme!!

Ok....shall begin investigations, deadline... late-October!

and f* it, why not a new computer :-0
that'll be next year's present, as was my original intention! ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

' Tex is beautiful ! '

video

Hey, my first video upload!!

(This video was taken with my Fujifilm SLR camera, it's an AVI file, 23 MB.)

Meet Tex the Whippet!!! Tex is licking his lips each time I tell him he's beautiful!

Tex is now about 2 years old, he's a typical whippet, timid, shy, loves affection, is utterly adorable.

He's owned by my friend Brigette. We were at her parent's place in the Southern Highlands, October 2007. Tex was being naughty, he wasn't actually allowed on the sofa, so pleased and comfortable he appears to be!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

the art of busyness

A phobia seems to have crept up over and in me throughout the past year, perhaps a subtle fear moreso than phobia, and that is the fear or phobia of being "too busy".

If I have too much on I feel anxious and I get that projective, crabby feeling of wishing I had more time to myself.

This weekend was a busy weekend and quick-as-a-wink, it's over, finished. Within an hour or so I'll be staring down the black hole of sleep to wake up to work-a-day world Monday. But I can't really complain, I don't start work until 11am, so that affords me a sleep-in of sorts.

I wasn't looking forward to today, there were too many things to do. I really should relax in my way of thinking as today turned out to be a fine Sunday. Getting up late and groggy from too much sleep, cleaning up bits of this and that. And out the door to a Bavarian Bier Cafe where you realise that whoever said that 'beer is the nectar of the gods' was certainly not being flippant! Freshly brewed German-style lager...my only regret is that I was driving so I had to keep the fuel intake low...otherwise I would have had me a right oktoberfest. In hindsight, a good thing that I was driving, hmm!

My hearts yearnings and cravings were sated as I relaxed into a mid-afternoon drive, taking immense delight in the afternoon ambience. It was a clear day with fresh dry ice-cold wind. The leaves were shimmering their bright luscious green amidst the light as they swayed & moved in the afternoon breeze. The clouds were distinct and dramatic, each of them lined with cobalt-blue coloured edges. I felt at home, I always do on a beautiful day. I was reminded of what I read last night in Bob Dylan's chronicles, relating to narrator Bob visiting writer Archie McLeish for the second time, sometime in the late sixties...

"I was escorted in across the wooden bridge - up the path - in the distance a long dead tree, branches shooting off from the main trunk - all very serene, very picturesque. I crossed over the eroded gully full of rotting leaves with distilled beams of light coming off of rock fragments, walked up the dry, rocky ridge that led to his door..."

I remember thinking in bed, I need this, a dismayed sense of yearning for some true, vibrant life.

The time I was most happiest this year was in Tasmania, in January. Such a pristine, relatively unspoilt island!! I thought to move there and live there, and be happy, free from the trappings of the mainland, far from the big city. But it's such a hard call. Where I am is where it's at, as far as connections and opportunities go, to make music, to meet people, and the rest of it. I know deep down, essentially, I'm not interested in where it's at, I just want sanctuary. And with it plenty of greenery, sunlight and a river and coastline for good measure. The problem with Tasmania is that it's too cold, the warmth flickers with uncertain irregularity during the summer months. Perhaps needling closer to the equator is the way to go. But then there's the humidity to consider and the summers that never seem to end. I do appreciate autumn, in all its aspects, its colours, reflections, its symbolic value.

At Forestville this afternoon, instead of waiting by the doorway of my friend who wasn't as yet home I wandered off nearby to the opening of a national park walkway. I only knew it existed because I recently noticed it in the street directory. I only walked a short distance, onto a pathway that led down a gully onto a creek-bed that the walkway followed through. Nothing existed except for the walkway, the immense greenery surrounding it, and the creek beside me. That, and sunlight filtering through. I felt so, deliciously, happy. I looked around, up and around at this sun-motted greenfest, and thanked God for my life. And I reversed and climbed my way back to Forestville, back to leafy civilisation. Forestville is a leafy suburb, which is a plus in my way of perception.

After a fine little sing-a-long with Brigette we all drove down to North Sydney and enjoyed some tasty, life-affirming vegetarian food at the Hare Krishnas. And I drove off to my final destination feeling pretty good. Finally, by 10pm, I was back home.

Perhaps I shouldn't concern myself with having too much on. I know on weeknights I need two, ideally 3 nights per week where I'm not doing anything at all. I need to rest, and recharge my psyche after the ravages and psychological scars that work inflicts. I'm exaggerating of course, work is pretty good and for the most part I enjoy it. The problem is there are so many things I'd love to be doing outside of work, including this(!), that it is now putting pressure on my time factor. The next relationship I fall into will perhaps spell the culling of one or more of my activities that have built up over the past few years where I've remained for the most part single. Part of me would like to stay single to simply have time to myself and to do lots of creative little things, but that's not the way to approach life. Needless to say I'm not lonely and I'm not unhappy.

I've been invited tomorrow night to go to 505 to see/hear some jazz. I don't think I'll go. I need to rest.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Eastern Suburbs beach walk : 2 - Clovelly Bronte Tamarama

The closest clifftop is the northern tip of Coogee. Southern aspect.
Gordons Bay. A very small bay separating Coogee & Clovelly beaches.

Dogs prohibited eh...racism!!

Gordons Bay.

Lush lush life in the form of ruby red shrubs.

Taken purely for photographic aesthetic (...! ?)
Jagged clifftops and breathtaking view. Southern aspect.

Clovelly beach. Really more a 'bay' than a beach.

Pleasant walkway at Clovelly. I used to walk my doggie around here!

Up until not too long ago real estate in this area was not too expensive. In fact, prior to the mid-eighties but especially the late-70s it was bargainsville. In hindsight, of course!

This is Bronte beach from the northern end. Southern aspect.


The promenade at Bronte. It's a workday and winter so not very well patronised. Between Christmas and New Year, very different story!!

You are here.

To the right is Bronte park & beach. It's very hilly in the eastern suburbs.
From Tamarama, the next beach north of Bronte. It's smaller than Bronte. Bronte and Coogee are roughly the same size and are the largest of the beaches visited here.

Incredible vista looking southward.

I found that to be an interesting cliff-top.
Average price for a house in Tamarama in 1978. $50,000. Now? Don't ask.
Someone turn that dial back to November 1977, I would've had a chance!! lol

Tamarama surf life saving club.

Here we're at a clifftop overlooking the panaromic vista of the Bronte, Coogee, and lower headlands that stretch to the bottom of the Eastern suburbs, around La Perouse.

As I turn facing northward I find the jewel in the eastern suburbs crown. The alluring queen of bays...
tbc

Eastern Suburbs beach walk : finale - Bondi


The sun had clouded over the minute I turned from gazing at the southern panoramic vista, to stare at Bondi, jewel of the eastern crown. It matched my mood. I suddenly went into a downer. Bondi depresses me a little, particularly during the day (not so much at night)...

Close up of the headlands of North Bondi.

Bondi is in my bones. Living here as a toddler, but visiting weekly to play with my cousins (cousins' children actually, almost my age, makes 'em 2nd cousins). Bittersweet, saccharin memories.





View of Bondi baths. Looks inviting but I bet it was bloody cold!!

The sea & surf looks particularly fresh and invigorating today.

Bondi baths from a distance.

Bondi Coliseum?? I've forgotten what this is called. The sign used to display. It's a lovely building on the beach promenade.

I've had some good summer daze baking and swimming. It does get very crowded from Christmas onward.


Terrific graffiti along the walls, very artistic and sharp!


That tuscan thing has been renovated many times. In the 70s it used to be a pub with much violence that was par for the course. Murders, fights, etc. Bondi has changed so much, for the better really, it's a lot safer. When I used to play with my cousins the kids along the streets were rough. Bondi has performed an amazing gentrification. Up to the early 90s property was still relatively cheap. But real estate in this area has shot up in astronomical amounts since. Many new restaurants and eateries now.


I had shots of Campbell Parade that runs along the beach but for some reason didn't upload them. Oh well, too late now. Dialup is a timekiller particularly when it comes to photography, audio & video files !Upward from Bondi Beach & Campbell Parade we have Bondi Road, western aspect. This road takes us to Bondi Junction and from there, a bypass to Centennial Park, Paddington, Darlinghurst, and downtown Sydney.

All up, as always, a revivifying walk.

Next, food shopping. No photos, however!!

Eastern Suburbs beach walk : 1 - Coogee

Wednesday 30 July. A bright, cool, crisp day. Having had some time off from work with a rotten, nasty little cold/virus-thingy as my token leave loading, I decided to do a seaboard walk. I walked from my place in north Maroubra to Coogee Beach that took some 2o minutes, finding myself on the sealine track north to Bondi Beach.
Here's a nice apartment block on Arden Street, looks like it's circa 1930's, tastefully decorated and painted. I was walking downhill towards Coogee Beach.
Apparently in the early 80's Mel Gibson knocked on the door of someone's house in this area begging to buy it, and apparently a deal was struck! He was well-doshed up, no doubt.
Coogee Beach from the south end, northern aspect.
By the cool, cool water.Wedding Cake Island. To the right, on shore, are the Coogee baths with seapool below.It photographs better than I remember it...The Coogee promenade. Shot taken from the northern end, southern aspect.Coogee rapidly gentrified from the early 1980's onward.From the park at the northern end of the beach, southern aspect.Sand, water, and curvature.Coogee Bay Road. Arden Street parallels the beach. To the left is the Coogee Bay Hotel where I've done a lot of work. It's a rough pub though. It used to be Very rough.. At the back of it used to be Selinas, a major band hotspot in the 70s and 80s. Someone I went to school with - he was a little older than me - was shot during a drive-by shoot-in in 1985. I only found out later when I met him, at which I cast my mind back to all those headlines that happened around that time, 'drinker shot'.
Last Saturday night there was a terrible mugging on Coogee Bay road, up the road a bit. I don't know what it is about beach suburbs but they do attract an aggressive, loutish element.
Leaving Coogee, walking northward. The longer, further headland is Maroubra.Wedding Cake Island. I don't know why it's so named. Whale Island would have been more suggestive. It's a lonely piece of rock. Container ship in the distance there.
tbc

Al-Anon

enjoying a bevvy Awakening to the ‘good’ in our lives and to the fulfilling sense of gratitude which follows often comes to us via ...