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Al-Anon

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Awakening to the ‘good’ in our lives and to the fulfilling sense of gratitude which follows often comes to us via the most simple and sometimes indirect means.  I’ve found myself catalysing these freeing thoughts and sensations by attending Al-Anon meetings, which is a worldwide support group for friends and relatives of alcoholics.  Al-Anon delivers a platform for attendees to listen and to speak with candour and honesty in a confidential setting with like-minded persons.
I’ve been to three Al-Anon meetings thus far over three consecutive weeknights.  There’s a church up at Randwick that hosts both AA (alcoholics anonymous) and Al-Anon meetings on Thursday nights.  My partner is in both AA and A-Anon.  We figured that I might give Al-Anon a go – given I’m a blue ribbon qualifier - while she can choose between attending either AA or Al-Anon depending on her own needs at the time.  She came with me to my first two Al-Anon meetings and went off to AA on her own at my third sitting.
Al-Ano…

Solitude standing

I graduated from high-school 30 years ago.  The boys are on for a major reunion, so out come the Facebook groups, comments, photo uploads.  Suddenly I'm drawn into this yesteryear world of peering over schoolboy headshots appearing on Facebook and attempting to recall all those long-forgotten faces.  My immersion into this group has been an odd experience, a surreal journey where I find myself flipping between 1987 and the present and sometimes capturing the essence again of being that exact person I was when I was 17 years old and left wondering if anything in my life has actually moved on since then.  Songs or feelings I had in 1987 suddenly flash in my memory and consciousness, vivid and alive.  Suzanne Vega's Solitude Standing album.  The innocence of living quietly and studying.  But that sense of life coming full-circle is somewhat unsettling.  I may have left school, though I haven't really left university.  I work there, and by January 1988 I will have been there …

Gav Fitzgerald: Another

The 2 Caesars

Malcolm Turnbull is the re-Constituted Andrew Peacock of our generation of asper-ant Aussies.  Malcolm's a hell of a lot smarter than Andrew.  He's quick-witted, illumined, and not at all unlikable.  But he shares that same insouciant smarmy Liberal-ness of Peacock, albeit in a Sydney Point Piper kind of way, compared with Andrew's Melbourne Toorak-ness.  Malcolm is also monumentally narcissistic.  His narcissism is better-contained than Andrew's because he's so much more intelligent and channels his emperor tendencies into work and occupational achievement.  Peacock was a fop by comparison who could never rise above the criticisms foisted on him by the Labor opposition and by his own party (including his biggest enemy, little johnny howard).

Turnbull the name is a somewhat imperious one.  Even his head is shaped like some post-AD Roman emperor.  His brand of narcissism is shared with Bob Hawke's, who Paul Keating compared himself to as a "shrinking violet&…

Huon Pine

I walked into a guitar shop today which stocked wall-to-wall specimens of a local brand of acoustic guitar.  It was almost as hot inside as out, and was dismayed to think that these guitars would have to live in the swanky heat and wondered of any damage caused to the delicate bracings and woods.

I played a lot of the guitars and conversed with the nice sales guy who brought them down for me.  I was too scared to handle all these thousand dollar plus guitars from their wall-hangings, fearing breakage and banging that often happens when taking a guitar from a wall in the shop.  I didn't want to let on I already knew a lot about the product and was happy anyway to try a few woods to see how they sounded.

Californian Redwood on Rosewood sounded quite magnificent.  This Californian Redwood is locally grown and apparently makes this particular model quite a drawcard in the US where Redwood is a prohibited wood for harvesting.  It looked amazing too, with a spectacular leaf-like pattern…

AA

I went to my first AA meeting the other night.  It was Christmas Eve.  I personally had no need to attend an AA meeting, other than being guided along into the melee of old and young alcos speaking of their pathos and determination to stay off the bottle for just one-more-day now.  Alcohol pervades my life.  It pervades the lives of those closest to me, particularly since 2008, and it pervaded my life most directly from birth up to the age of 22, when my father passed away.

All I could think about during the meeting was my dad.  I'd be listening to the speakers and couldn't cease to reflect off my own memories and experience with good old dad, comparing my experiences with the stories I was listening to, here, now.

'Alcoholic' never passed through anyone's lips when dad was alive.  After all, he worked hard, and kept his jobs all the way into his final terminal illness.  He 'only' drank beer, and that not what alkies drink, is it?  No, he didn't do wine o…