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Showing posts from January, 2010

Kate McGarrigle (1946-2010)

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(for submission to the 'Songsmith')

"...life is short, life is sweet, this much I know..." - kate
It was with much sadness to have discovered this week that one of my musical heroes had just passed away, Canadian singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, aged 63. Kate was half of esteemed folk-duo Kate & Anna McGarrigle, forged with her older sibling, Anna. From the early seventies, the duo were plugging hit songs to artists such as Maria Muldaur and Linda Ronstadt. In 1975, Kate & Anna McGarrigle released their eponymously-titled, Grammy award-winning, debut LP to much critical and commercial acclaim. Since that year, the McGarrigles have released a stream of albums that have won consistent critical favour and devotion from music-lovers worldwide. I discovered the McGarrigles in 1998. My sister showed me a glowing review in the Sydney Morning Herald of the remastered sisters’ first album, by Bruce Elder. I was impressed enough by my own sister’s enthusiasm – sh…

something for kate...

There i was, blankly trawling through myspace, to find a Wainwright bulletin, "Kate McGarrigle dies".
I knew that the Church were supporting Rufus Wainwright (or was it the other way around??) and that Rufus had to cancel because a family member was 'critically ill'. I was wondering who that may have been, but I didn't give it too much thought.
It turned out to be Kate McGarrigle, the mother of Rufus, who died of a rare form of cancer. Kate had the folk duo 'Kate and Anna McGarrigle' along with her older sister Anna, and they released award-winning albums spanning over two decades, from the eponymously titled award-winning debut album of 1975, right through to Matapedia and the McGarrigle family album of the late '90s. They released a Christmas album in 2005, though I never listened to that.
I feel terribly saddened for this loss. Of the duo it was Kate who particularly piqued my interest. I preferred her voice, I loved her musicality - her touch o…

jagged clifftops

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(Twilight, Sunday evening, 10 Jan, Sydney University)

Had a lovely weekend. It was packed full of summer activites. On Saturday I drove Sarah down to north Wollongong to spend the day at the beach. The beach we went to was 'dog friendly' and it was amazing because there were dogs everywhere leaping and running about, splashing in the sea and body surfing. They were so happy, so alive, so full of joy and in the moment, and to be in all this happy canine presence was most gladdening to us.

The north Wollongong strip is only about an hour's drive south of Sydney and it's an astoundingly beautiful place. There are rows of pristine beaches that are backed up by lush mountains. Up until 25 years ago it was very cheap to buy there as those suburbs were coal-mining villages, full of fibro cottages. Now it is extremely expensive to buy into that area, and why not? It is paradise.


On Sunday I went to a family do in the southern Sydney suburb of Kirrawee. It was a glorious …

the big one

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This holiday period hasn't turned out as well for me as I would've liked. Sure, there were some fine moments. I went to Tasmania, I drove up to the Central Coast, I did walks and worked in the garden, and spent time learning Bach cello suites on my bass guitar. But I've also felt distracted, and pained. I'm disappointed to admit that I've relapsed into the emotional backpack I'd once been some 15 years ago. I blame the weather, partly. Most of the time the weather has been unpredictable and murky; cloudy, coolish, still days that do not sit comfortably in the high summer of late-Dec/early-Jan, instead reflecting and refracting from the ghoulish pain that sits in the stomach and has been set free to vapourise throughout my body since putting my feet up from work for a lengthy five weeks.

It all started on Christmas day. I decided to open a bottle of vodka that I won at our fab Christmas party at the Doncaster just up the road from drama school. I'd du…