The Wandering Id

A Blog by Jimmy Sky – featuring reviews, interviews, stories, music, poetry, politics, art, travel notes, journal scraps and pieces of Jimmy's soul,

Semantic Romantic

I was sitting here reminiscing about some of the good times I’ve been through, some of the wonderful people I’ve known and I thought of one friend in particular, a person who has been a great pal to me over the years. A lovely woman indeed. Ironically, I think the worst of advice I ever listened to in my life came from that same almost-lifelong friend, when she said, (quite emphatically and passionately I might add) “please, please don’t become a priest” .

To explain, I was considering a monastic existence at the age of 17, being rather obsessed with all things esoteric and faith-based at the time. Terrible advice. Absolutely shocking given where I was headed, compared with the future events of the rest of my life. Now that I’m finally free to pursue something in that vein, after having lived far too much of life in probably too short a time, I’ve become disinterested in attending to a place of idealism and purity the way I would have at 17. I’m now far more interested in material things.

 I mean, I could blame myself and take accountability for my own actions and decisions. I could admit that she was basically just agreeing with my deeper self at the time. I could even go as far as to say, had I ignored her it would have come crashing down and I’d be right here where I am anyway – but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I decided to take a look at how far I’ve come in terms of romantic idealism, because once I decided not to follow the monastic principle, I turned instead to a far deeper, much earlier drive that had lived within me, possibly since birth.

Romance.

I find it kind of sad that since I was a child, one of the things I wanted most was that loving feeling, the one Elvis talked about losing in his song ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’. I didn’t really get that song as a child, instead,  ‘Love Me Tender’ was an instant favourite, it touched me deeply when perhaps I should have been too young for it to do so. Regardless, that search for romance, for the slightly wild, slightly crazy out-of-the-blue thing I hadn’t yet discovered on TV, burned within, very early on.

I met this little girl when I was three years old at kindergarten. I told my grandma it would be nice to marry a girl like her. I was into ideas like marriage at the age of three. She thought it was adorable, and told me later on I was involved unwittingly in a love triangle, as a second little girl had expressed similar feelings for me.

Quite the drama for a three year old.

At age five I was painting my ‘dream girl’ and my ‘dream ghost girl’, the dual image of what I then viewed as the potential loves of my life. That was the time I’ve described previously when a long-winded argument with my father over choosing one (which I refused to do) resulted in my bursting into tears at the thought. Such was again, my early passion for the ideal of romantic love.

 Around the age of six,  we were travelling, staying at a caravan park. I met another little girl in the common room, and all I wanted to do was share my bag of lollies, watch a movie with her, and hold her hand while we watched TV. She was very happy with that idea, so that is exactly what we did. We were both really, really sad when we parted ways.

 Apparently it was the sweetest thing anyone had seen in forever.

 By this point of course I had discovered television, and books, and was enthralled with fantasy, science fiction, and in particular, the romances that went with them. When I was 11, I told my father an incredibly detailed description of my future wife, complete with her name, the names of our children, our occupations, and what we enjoyed doing together. When he asked how I knew this was going to happen, I told him it was fate. The emergent theme destined for continuous flowering: that these things must occur by virtue of their own predestined nature. I romanticised people, relationships, and life.

 I’ve been the Ted Mosby style dreamer for a long while, a believer in ‘the magic’. Further to that, I’ve also been a great believer that romance grows from passion, a spark, something intangible that drags you together. It happens for a reason.

 However, now as a grown man, after a few relationships and many romances, some lovely, some terrible, all ended – and now that I’ve had the time to watch human interaction over and over again – more and more I begin to conclude that a great romance may actually be quite a premeditated activity. It seems to have little if anything to do with magic, and everything to do with goal setting, building, motivation and people manipulating each other’s wants and needs to create a given outcome.

Finding a compatible mate in the first place is played like a game, a strategy used by both sides to capture their intended quarry.  Coming together in romance appears to be rooted in an assessment of congruent values, likes and dislikes. You could just as well have it all arranged for you by a third party – like an app, or your parents. Further on, that those people both have their togetherness at heart seems the only effective thing keeping them together. Certainly not a deep and lasting concept of infinite love for one another, that seems certain. Rather, and again, strategy, be it compromise or otherwise.

 It seems that romance in terms of success, is a matter of semantics. As a result, anyone who is not geared that way, might be at best, adrift at sea, unless they’re extremely lucky. For a person who has been compared to a ‘combination of Ted, Gomez and Sartre’ the notion of premeditation in terms of seeking out meaningful romantic love feels something like poison ivy. I have begun to conclude therefore, that romance is better off without me, and perhaps the monastic life would have been a better choice.

To the romantics out there, myself included, I trust that I am romanticising negativity, and therefore, I am wrong, and a new sun shall dawn on the dew of love once more in some far-flung but not-so-distant future.

The Singular Rose

As a babe in lost years of sweet yearning yore
Crawling and walking on tiled and carpet floor
Like bright sunshine my smile glistened as morning
Like coal into diamond sweet sleep adjourning
I dreamed of two lovers carved from spirit mesh
One queen serene one through adventure made flesh
I argued and cried with my father at night
Never inclined to constriction or the right
Plied with his books and comic strips like a crutch
Running rivers and stories almost too much
Without fail my soul built me an archetype
Not one love but two repetitive in hype
By adolescence I'd learned to tow a line
Lest outright rejection be forever mine
So slowly like dreaming a new lover came
Shining with sunlight she was one and the same
My family and friends more accepting of this
A blonde blue-eyed maiden four children and bliss
Nevertheless to reality I plunged
All previous wishes by humans expunged
With every kiss and bright earthly delight
I swam through an ocean of morning and night
Believing each maiden's perfection for me
Through struggle and blind shame our values might see
No ritual could save nor blood promise keep
We'd both surely vanish if lucky in sleep
Thorny those roses though gifted with great love
Sombre the sapphires of wise words from above
No matter the effort no matter the pain
Only loathsome liars could master and gain
Differing ideals and discussions like wine
Compromised goals like romance in decline
Again and again we'd break up with goodbye
Kaleidoscope opal the question of why
Philosophers old along with some thinkers anew 
Obsessing I withered and curtains I drew
Seeking some answer like white gold into dust
Slowly but surely slipping out of God's trust
Faithless and foolish and drunk like a rock
The better man silenced with bitterest shock
Pushing green thumbs painfully into red thorns
Perhaps oddly thankful for skirting the horns
I dusted my boots and I tightened my belt
Deciding to keep to myself how I felt
For following lovers both faithful and few
Monogamous givers or free love like new
Like a singular rose by an old telephone
I finally realised I was better alone





 

Many Shows, Many Stories

For those who answered my ‘bands I’ve seen’ post on Facebook with some very interesting guesses as to who I’d not seen, this blog post is for you. I was nonplussed but nonetheless humoured by a majority vote that I have probably never seen Coldplay perform, and some of the other comments were fun too. The post generated a little bit of interest, so I decided to not only put up the answers, but also to reward ya’ll for putting forward the effort, with a little story behind each of the live shows I’ve been lucky enough to attend. Without further ado, here are the promised tales.

Black Sabbath
Several years ago when Black Sabbath reformed, the lineup included three of four original members, one of them being Ozzy Osbourne. This was historic as many years before there were statements made that Sabbath and Ozzy would not work together again. Adding Tommy Clufetos in place of Bill Ward seemed sad, until I witnessed the performance. He was incredible, raising the energy of the gig to a whole new level. For me, the Sabbath gig was a landmark as well, as I grew up with my father blasting Black Sabbath into my young ears, alongside other greats like Deep Purple, The Doors, The Who and of course, Led Zeppelin. I never thought I’d see them live with Ozzy at the helm at all, let alone in the company of my father, little sister and a singularly excellent cousin, within my lifetime. Although we were all suspicious that Ozzy took more than a few glances at a teleprompter hidden behind his foldback, the show remained very impressive, and a special moment on a personal level.

PJ Harvey
Although I knew of her for a long time, I first became aware of PJ Harvey sensually weaving her way across a TV screen back in the early naughties, thanks to the virtues of music video channel RAGE, at about 3am in the morning . My girlfriend was asleep next to my drummer in the next room and I was wide awake following a long night of drinking, music and other forms of party favour. From the moment I laid eyes on that pale English face, I was transfixed with her unique, sultry musical charm. Years later my good friend Liz Wallace force-purchased a ticket for me to see PJ Harvey – she knew how much I love PJ, and that I wasn’t likely to get there under my own steam. That was the first (and probably only) time I’ve referred to a performer as “The Goddess”. Absolutely mind-blowing energy emanating from an outwardly calm performance, on top of wonderful music and lyrics. Liz, you’re a truly wonderful friend and you brought into my reality an enigmatic and powerful musician. For this I am forever grateful.

Brisbane Philharmonia Orchestra
Thanks to Bernie Sunderhauf, who is just a fantastic person, I was gifted with a ticket to see the very last performance of this Orchestra as they gave their rendition of a variety of classics. The highlights for me were Wagner’s ‘Flight of the Valkyrie’ and ‘La Boheme’. With guest singers and a delightfully Dad-joke laden MC, this was an evening I won’t soon forget. I do love my classical and the Philharmonia certainly filled the room with the beauty and passion of period pieces.

PINK
Many years ago, I learned a lesson in music snobbery and the omnipresence of irony. My girlfriend at the time insisted we see Pink as she was a huge fan. Initially, I vehemently opposed the idea as I felt Pink was typical of modern pop music, a manufactured piece of computer-generated auto-tuned rubbish with no substance. I didn’t have any interest in seeing that. Eventually she convinced me, and along we went to a venue called ‘Twin Towns.’ Halfway through the concert, after having witnessed a full band performance, stellar vocals, great sass and an intimate chat with the audience, I was hooked and my girlfriend wanted to go home because the show she desperately wanted to see was ‘boring and giving me a headache’. I discovered some great music and learned never to judge pop musicians based on their marketing.

Birds of Tokyo
I’ve seen Birds of Tokyo twice. The first time, my then-fiance and I somehow convinced ourselves we were purchasing Silversun Pickups tickets, only to find out they were the support act. Naturally the mood created for Silversun fans is very different to Birds of Tokyo, and I’m not sure if they were having a bad day at the time, but after being so enthralled by Silversun Pickups, something about the Birds of Tokyo performance just seemed, well, awful. It is the only ticketed performance I’ve ever walked out of halfway through. Years later however, I saw Birds of Tokyo headlining once again with the rather awesome Aerials, (who rocked, incidentally), and their impact was the exact opposite. Full of aural beauty, catchy melody, emotive lyrics and a generally infectious vibe, Birds of Tokyo, the second time around, were brilliant. The moral of that story is, occasionally you have to try something twice, because you might just be a donkey.

The Dandy Warhols
I’d heard the Dandy Warhols long before I knew who they were, so I have no real date to place on my first listen. My first recollected viewing of them on the other hand was on TV, (on RAGE, as usual). I was really into The Mavis’ and Waikiki at the time, so when the Dandy Warhols slid onto the screen with their pretty faces and sexy rock and roll, I was very happy to welcome them inside. Even as they began to age, The Dandy Warhols were always a ‘sex with instruments’ group for me, both sonically and as attractive humans. Seeing them at Harvest Festival a number of years later was a slightly out-of-this-world experience. A little drunk and in the middle of a sunshower, we danced as the Dandies pushed out a number of favourites and even a couple I didn’t recognise, blowing us all away. I left the field that day, very very satisfied.

HELMET
Helmet, Helmet, Helmet. What a band. What a sound. Fate gifted me the absolute privilege of spending several years in a band with one of Helmet’s founding members (guitarist Peter Mengede, the man is an absolute champ). Before that unique musical blessing however, I’d been a fan of Helmet for some time. Meantime and Unsung in particular made their way onto my playlist, pretty regularly. Skipping forward to the day Helmet came to town, vocalist Page Hamilton managed to wrangle Peter Mengede back on stage for the Brisbane leg of their performance, so for a fan like me who had since begun playing in Peter’s band, this was pretty historic stuff. Meanwhile, I was still passing through the throes of a major breakup, and with some bizarre quirk of fate, my ex-wife had somehow made friends with Page. On the night of the concert, she demanded that I forego attending, because it might be a bit awkward (we hadn’t yet found our way into friendship – that happened later). Thankfully when my friends came to pick me up and I told them I couldn’t go – and why – their response was to call me a moron and drag me into the car. After all the drama, I never even saw my ex at the show, as she was backstage and I was busy down in the crowd. What I did see however was an incredible reunion show that blew my math-rock living mind.

You Am I
The first concert I ever attended (aside from the pub gigs I sang at with my old man in the depths of Queensland) was headlined by You Am I. My then-drummer Nick insisted we drive to the Great Northern Hotel to see them (where I would also see the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Mexico City and the John Spencer Blues Explosion). As a fan, I was only too happy to agree. Pretty soon we were drunk, staring dumbfounded at a group of brilliant rockers and the awesome stage persona of Tim Rogers. Of course, we also had to fend off even drunker fools, a particular Akubra-clad, arm swinging, fisticuffs-obsessed wanker chief among my memory of that crowd. A more prominent memory however comes with the knowledge my old drummer was a bit straight, and a bit of a stick in the mud. As a result I will never forget giggling at Nick’s adoring eyes when we saw Tim walk past later on, and the two of them shared a smile. I told Nick he had a big crush, and asked jokingly how he was going to deal with that considering he was so very, very straight. Nick’s reply? “There are many bisexual moments Jimmy. We will never speak of this again.” So I didn’t. I did however, speak about Tim Rogers and You Am I, very, very often, and with great praise.

Green Day
If you answered that I have never seen GREEN DAY in concert, you answered correctly! Well done. As much as I used to enjoy them in my youth, by the time they made it to Australia (and I was aware of it) I felt the ticket price was a bit much. Plus I was poor, so I didn’t go. I still have a soft spot for Slappy Hours and Dookie though.

MUSE
To say I’ve seen MUSE twice is an unfair statement regarding perception. To say I have witnessed MUSE, would be closer to the mark. Once at a Big Day Out festival, just before TOOL, and once at a Brisbane Entertainment Centre concert of their own, supported by Dead Letter Circus. On both occasions, the lighting and operatic nature of the live MUSE experience was, for want of a less platitudinous term, mind-blowing. The Big Day Out remains an essential favourite of the two, due to my then-wife and I holding each other at the front of an oceanic crowd, eyes blasted by spectacular visuals, ears assaulted by thunderous and otherworldly rock and roll, while our lungs struggled with the heat and the tide of the crowd. It was, essentially, a spiritual experience.

Yellowcard
I was lucky enough to see Yellowcard as part of a review I was working on with AAA Backstage (thanks guys, you rock.) This was a typical moment where someone who was never that big a fan, largely due to non-attention, suddenly becomes one. Punk pop with a violin accompaniment should be seen more often. More on that show in my review on the AAA Backstage website here.

Sticky Fingers
Another group I hadn’t paid too much attention to, until AAA Backstage sent me along to review the show. I find more often than not, heading along to a live show with an open mind is the best way to discover music. I’d heard people talk about Sticky Fingers in a positive light before, but I wasn’t too fussed about a 21st century reggae band. I left with the biggest smile on my face, having come to an agreement with the rest of the Sticky Fingers fanbase. Also, more thoughts on that show, right here.

Little Birdy
Katy Steele is a wonderful talent, with a unique, soulful voice and a range that surprises and excites. I saw Katy as, and with, Little Birdy at the Coolangatta Hotel, a venue where I also witnessed Unwritten Law and Evermore, all of whom were just brilliant in that live setting. The interesting part about Little Birdy was the crowd. Before the lights went out, the room was a bit sparesly populated, and as a fan I was disappointed by the turnout. The place went dark for about a minute, silence descending on a mostly empty room, yet when the lights were switched on, the room was full. I’m still unsure how that happened, and can only put it down to Little Birdy having an effect on the space-time continuum. Regardless, the show was awesome, and I was crushing heavily.

HIM
Live at the Tivoli, His Infernal Majesty, headed by goth-rock heart throb Ville Valo, blew my black and purple-loving mind. I discovered HIM through the very welcome machinations of my ex-wife, in that she just about had an altar set up in her flat for Ville and HIM when I first got to know her. This would be the second time we met, when my friends and I visited her and her boyfriend for a get-together. We were introduced for the first time, and she, like me, was a hugger. The moment of touch was electric, but it would be some time and a few life changes before we got together. Years later on the night of the show, we drove from the bottom of the Gold Coast to Brisbane in the hopes that with many years having passed since the group appeared (circa 1996) they would be every bit as amazing as they appeared on her posters, DVDs, CDs and….’other’ media. We were not disappointed: HIM rocked like crazy. For those who have also followed the long history of HIM, yes, this was before the release of Screamworks. Don’t go there, nobody wants to remember that.

Nine Inch Nails
Despite having experienced them twice, and both times when they shared a stage with Queens of the Stone Age, I cannot devote only one entry to both groups. First of all, a big thank you to Greg Jard, who managed our admissions and made life super fun on more than one occasion. Another simply excellent person I’ve been lucky enough to meet throughout my travels. Nine Inch Nails were a very different experience for me as a comparison to QOTSA. The difference being, I was never really a fan. I enjoyed ‘Hurt’, it hurt to listen to and I liked that, but I preferred the Cash cover. The other big one about sex (wait…isn’t that most of them I hear you asking…come on, you know the one) never really appealed to me because I felt it was crass and obvious. Further, I never really gelled in my youth with Trent Reznor’s approach to sonic dissonance. Most of it was either too dissonant, or not dissonant enough. Layering a throaty male voice over that sound seemed the aural equivalent of compressing food into bar form and calling it erotica. The singular exception for me was ‘Something I Can Never Have’, a hard-hitting piece that spoke to me on multiple levels. In short, and in hindsight, I just didn’t get Nine Inch Nails at all. I went to the show of course, in part because of QOTSA, and in part because every single person I knew to be a music lover, consistently shouted me down when I raised these opinions about the group. I’m not one to go with the crowd, but if the consensus is 100% it’s usually a case of mass hysteria/hypnosis or there is something you’ve missed and you should give what they’re pushing a go. Turns out the latter was definitely true in this case. Nine Inch Nails blew me out of my proverbial personal waters: twice. The second time around I felt a little sad that Trent seemed to consistently lose the backstage coin toss that decided who would headline. Regardless, their show was unique, impacting, and entirely unique in sonic terms. Returning to the recorded material after, I finally ‘got’ Nine Inch Nails, and never looked back.

AFI
I first discovered A Fire Inside through a friend, and solidified my love of the group with a young man (the legendary Lindsay Berry) who was first my employee, and later, my friend. AFI kept us all sane during a time when our lives revolved around fisting chicken carcasses and stuffing them full of…well…stuffing, while doing our best to resolve the often bizarre requests of mostly rude fast-food customers. I saw AFI perform at Brisbane Convention Centre and aside from being a tight, well-oiled musical machine who delivered everything I was hoping for in terms of sound, they were incredibly energetic, running and jumping about across the stage with a level of excitement that I as a musician could simply not have equalled without destroying the quality of my performance. Exceptionally impressive. I saw them again at Soundwave years later, and the difference was palpable. Still great musicians, but the effect of losing long, luscious locks of hair had taken its toll. I never believed in the Samson effect until that moment. Regardless, AFI remain a vastly talented group.

30 Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds to Mars were without doubt one of the greater shocks, and a tad disappointing. I don’t often say that about groups I spent a few years enjoying, but when I saw them at the Riverstage it took a while for me to adjust. I had lost touch with a couple of the group’s most recent releases, so my memory of 30 Seconds to Mars came with songs like ‘The Kill’ and ‘From Yesterday’. What I saw by comparison was a light hearted pop group with a singer urging a crowd to jump around to electronica and a whole lot of confetti. It took a while for me to realise they were actually rather good at what they were doing.

Queens of the Stone Age
I first came across Queens of the Stone Age when the music video for ‘Go With The Flow’ passed across the TV screen during my ritual viewing of RAGE every Saturday morning. I was enthralled, not only by the interestingly lo-fi sounding tone in what seemed to be a relatively high-end recording, but also by the unique animation style. I was a fan from that moment. Skipping forward to the NIN/QOTSA double bill that Greg Jard made sure we (Ariana Pelser and I) were present for, in Brisbane and Melbourne as well (you’re a legend Greg) I was more than ready to be impressed. I was not disappointed. What a band.

The Dresden Dolls
My ex-wife introduced me to The Dresden Dolls. Amanda Palmer’s abrasive vocal/piano mix laid over Brian Viglione’s (still underrated to this day) unique, bombastic and highly skilled drumming took me over immediately, and we bonded over the pair’s interpretation of ‘punk cabaret’ and clear resonance with old school imagery. While I was still flatting with one of my friends and his family, she would visit and when they were absent, the place would fill with The Dresden Dolls. The first time I saw The Dresden Dolls was from a balcony space at The Arena, hand in hand with my wife (we’d also be present at the Arena for Death Cab for Cutie as well, a wonderful group I’ve seen twice and would love to see again). This was the time where Zen Zen Zo went dancing through the crowd, white-clad, body-based performance art across the venue. Fantastic.

Metallica
If you answered that I have not seen Metallica live, you’d be right! I have friends who broke bones in the Metallica mosh, but I myself never got around to seeing them on stage. Besides, after the release of St Anger I was worried they’d perform it live if I attended a show. Also, as much as I respect them as a world-class touring metal group, their particular brand and sound ceased to excite me after they wrote a sequel to Unforgiven and my fourteen-year-old self found ways to work out without ‘Of Wolf and Man’ as a backing track.

Sigur Ros
Sigur Ros were part of a double-headliner at Harvest Festival, and they took on the Riverstage as their venue (where I’ve also seen Beck and The National – so – damn – good!) Essentially, everything you’ve ever heard about Sigur Ros is true. The vocals are ethereal, and in some moments, the notes are so perfect they feel inhuman. The music is otherworldly, the effect, nothing less than life-affirming, emotional and spiritual. An incredible hour spent a-dreaming with Icelandic sounds on a grassy hillside.

Coldplay
Coldplay are an interesting experience. For many music lovers (at least, the ones that I know) they’re the group folks love to hate. Chris Martin is publicly lauded as a prat, and over the years they have gravitated closer and closer to the pointless end of pop. However, there was a time when their music was at different moments touching, sweet, romantic, cute, and indeed poignant. Songs like ‘Fix You’ and ‘The Scientist’ are inarguably beautiful pieces – provided you enjoy that style of melancholic music to begin with. So with that in mind I moseyed along to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre to see what they had to offer as an international touring act. Some of the reviews certainly rang true; a stunning light show, power added to pop in an unexpected and entertaining manner, and a very tight product were all in attendance. However something happened that nobody wanted to mention. A simple event, but for me, a very important stunt pulled off during this particular concert. Without much warning, the band left the main stage and appeared on a very small area within the seated crowd. They’d doffed their electric instruments, and instead took up acoustic items. Chris Martin explained that throughout all their successes, he (apparently in agreement with many of my musical friends) was  continually surprised at the ongoing success of Coldplay. He mentioned how humbling it was to be part of that crowd, and wanted to play us a particular song, as a thank you, and a reminder that Coldplay at its heart, was little more than a very lucky British pub band. Now I have seen a lot of shows, from Alice Cooper to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s to The Naked and Famous to Alice in Chains (see, I started and finished that with an Alice, yay for me) – I’ve witnessed the little acts, the famous ones and some all out massive stuff. Sure I’ve certainly not seen it all, and yes I’ve seen some gratitude and goodwill expressed. But the simple, humble manner that Chris and Coldplay presented their thanks that night, quite frankly, floored me. I’ve never seen its equal before or since. So for me, Coldplay as a live act, represent something extremely special in music. Who knows, maybe it’s just the Australian air and our tall poppy syndrome – brings them down to earth.

Nightwish
Last but definitely not least: Nightwish. Before they kicked Tarja out of the group and went in a slightly different direction, Nightwish occupied my stereo as listening staples. Songs like ‘Passion and the Opera’, ‘The Kinslayer’, ‘Nemo’ and ‘I Wish I Had An Angel’ had blasted regularly from my Torana ever since I first saw them on – yes, yet again – RAGE. Skip forward to the night of a Nightwish concert. They’d come to Australia, and were headed for Brisbane. I caught a lift with a friend of mine, and quite unexpectedly on the way to the concert, we ran into a few friends, two of whom I knew from previous social visits and parties – a boyfriend and girlfriend. The boyfriend got chatting to a couple of other people, and I got chatting with the girlfriend. The girfriend was in reality, a woman I would eventually propose marriage to. We’d already met twice before, and on this night, she was gothed-up as always, with a vast array of black rubber rings sitting loosely around her wrists. Despite the rubber look they were still pretty, due to the contrast of her pale skin and the quiet but enormous crush I had on her.
I couldn’t act on it of course, as she was with someone else in monogamy, and that knowledge crushed me. When you hug someone and it’s almost an electric shock, and every conversation you have feels like the stoking of an intimate, connective flame, it is difficult not to feel romantically inclined. I remained silent about my feelings, but happily told her I liked her bracelets. She told me I could have one if I wanted, all I had to do was break it off. I replied that I didn’t want to break her things. She laughed and told me that’s what they were for. I was lost, and mumbled that I just thought they looked nice. She took off with her boyfriend and the group, leaving me with a smile and a pang of sadness. My other friend laughed out loud, and enlightened me as to the function of ‘f**k me bands’. I couldn’t have been more perplexed at the simple complexity of the situation.

Nightwish were supported by a super-talented but somewhat confusing metal act called ‘Dungeon’. I say confusing because I’d never seen a power metal group smile so consistently throughout a performance. It was like watching the Carnivale but with a hairy, bearded heavy metal band smashing their way through scorching dual guitar solos. Between acts, I was accosted in the men’s bathroom by a prostitute soliciting for money among other things. Without exaggeration, the poor woman resembled a less-green goblin from the Ridley Scott movie ‘Legend’. I tried to give her a little money just so I could escape, but she seemed intent on giving me her services and thereby obtaining more money. I locked myself in a public bathroom (for the second time in my life, although, to be fair, the circumstances were very different) and eventually she went away. You should have heard my concert-going group of friends when I told them. They laughed and laughed and laughed at my expense, until the same woman spotted me and started flashing her breasts, and abuse, at all of us. It wasn’t pretty. Eventually she was escorted out of the venue. In hindsight, she may have needed mental help. I hope she ended up okay, but regrettably, it’s doubtful.

Finally, after a night of tribulation, I witnessed Nightwish in all their glory. Tarja’s classically trained opera, layered over brilliant metal guitar riffage and complemented by gutsy male backup, was something else to behold. They shook the floor and skulled vodka between songs. The crowd roared, and I took away another unforgettable musical experience. I said farewell to my friends, and to the future wife I was so very sure I’d never have the opportunity to be with. With the beginnings of a soon-to-be-written song called ‘Eighteen Love’ forming in my subconscious, I ventured into the evening. More uncommon events occurred that night, but that is another story for another time.

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In Place of Grace – From Script to Screen – Part 1: Writing and Gathering

The process of making a film is something I am new to. Despite having been involved with film since my teens as an actor, it is a completely different experience and an entirely alien process when creating a film from day dot. This experience is something I’m going to share, from the writer’s perspective.

As you all know, I’m a writer of sorts. A while ago, during a period of intense introspection I wrote a short film script, a rambling angry piece that initially did not reflect the simple idea I wanted it to; that life can be full of meaning and hope, and faith can be found in the most unlikely places, regardless of circumstance. The original could almost be described as a devised piece about alcoholism, so it didn’t really fit the message, nor the story I had intended to write.

I soon realised that my purpose wasn’t appearing on the page. A male character wasn’t going to work, my story simply wasn’t about some guy. That thing actors do where they write themselves into a script, well it’s a bit dodgy in terms of storytelling unless they already have something they want to say and they just happen to fit into that story. I decided it was time for some honesty, so I drew out my personal experiences with death and illness, using those forms to bring a strong female lead to the script. Immediately it blossomed, lengthened, gained a heart, and spoke its message. I was pretty happy with where it was at, so it was time to begin the process of filming.

Initially the plan was to keep it lo-fi: shoot on a home handycam, use grainy footage and bumpy shots. Give the real, rustic feel some edge and push the point home. With that in mind, while travelling north around Monto,  I shot a home-made promotional clip with actor Sophie Jordan in the picturesque surrounds of Cania Gorge. Little did I know the process was about to begin in earnest.

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A still from home-production style shooting at Cania Gorge

First on board to assess the script was  Roma Film Festival finalist Chris LeRoy, who was instrumental in early formatting with a core group of readers. To Chris, and also to Yanxia Dang, Eden Mae, Tim Appleton, Michelle Egan, Dillone Cheye, and Sarah Stephenson, all of whom deserve a thank-you for their work that day. The script was performed, pulled apart and discussed in terms of narrative and style. I left the space with a lot of work to do, but work at it I most certainly did.

During the pre-production process, the script and the story went through eight major versions and a number of amendments within each version. Characters were added and deleted, scenes moved, language changed. The result was a piece influenced by many, written by one, and fast becoming a shared experience.

From that point, everyone who came into contact with the script found something touching and wanted to help in some way. For this reason, Producer/Director Jordan Buck took on the mammoth task of organising the crew and budget of a feature film, while I started auditioning a professional cast with little more proverbial carrots to draw in talent, than the script itself. Although I was fortunate to know at least one seasoned professional who had already sat through the first round table process and still wanted to get involved, what came next was a testament to a touching storyline and a film worth making, as a number of professional actors stepped in to take on key roles and bring the film to life.

The next instalment of this short series about film-making from the writer’s perspective will deal with the process of casting.
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For more information about the film ‘In Place of Grace’, click this link.
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Being Prolific – My 2016 Part 2

In Part 1 we talked about the crazy world of politics and the unusual number of celebrity deaths going around. 2016 was an intense time for many, so much so that we missed many of the good things going on around us. With such unrest and so much loss reverberating around the world, what are we all to do? As far as I was concerned, it was time to reach down, dig my heels in and create art, prolifically. Here’s what my personal, artistic and social life looked like in 2016.

HOME

Oh, home! A place to rest, to lay your head. The house I was living in, sadly, came to an end. Some of my favourite housemates, and friends of all time went on to new adventure and I  went on a journey to find a new share house. After a time, or a few times anyway as Monty Python used to say, I settled into a nice home rather close to my old place, with a new housemate who is, to be honest, kind of awesome. Not long after, we received notice to leave in the new year, so my adventures in 2017 will include finding a new place to live.

Hurrah for dynamic living?

In the meantime though, in fact, throughout the majority of 2016, I passed through the excruciating motions of working hard and obtaining a bank loan. My purpose, to purchase a cottage in a country town for my father and younger sister to live in. After something of a debacle with the bank, the loan was eventually approved. I learned a lot about financing a loan, how to set yourself up to appear positive to a financial institution, and also how big banks are setup to discriminate against the ‘little guy’, in particular, real estate purchases in regional areas. They wonder why local economies continue to fail when investment in small towns is actively pushed out via company policies specifically designed to discourage small lending for home ownership in regional positions. I learned that had I applied for an amount of money I could not mathematically pay off, in a well-populated area, my loan potential would have greatly improved. The attitude I encountered was literally insane in terms of fairness and fiscal sensibility. Nonetheless, I managed to wring a loan from them anyway after much difficulty, tenacity and shifting of numbers. I’ve been somewhat poor since then, to say the least, as it took a while for my family to be able to move in and help with the repayments a little – they had their own transitional troubles on the way through. Ultimately though, the journey came to a satisfactory end and my family have somewhere to live without molestation from consistently bizarre landlord issues.

On the way through, I sold a bunch of my old music gear, difficult but necessary for moving forward, especially considering the associated memories. Thankfully the buyer was a friend and intended to put the pieces to good use. That made me happy.

 

MUSIC

I turned inward musically this year. I wasn’t in the mood to discover new talent nor enjoy tomorrow’s artistic powerhouses. I had my own work to do. Starting in  January and ending on Boxing Day in December, I put out some music. Actually, a lot of music.  Old sounds, songs I realised that people should hear, songs that deserved better. All told I put out nine online EP/LP releases, solo, totalling over sixty tracks. Rock, punk, metal, acoustic, indie, pop, it was all there. The story of my musical life in glorious lo-fi, crackly, error-filled digital stereo. If my songs could shine in that kind of recording environment, they must be worth something, at least in an artistic sense. I finally created my canon, in a manner of speaking.

The ‘C Side’ Series, ‘Grey Meadows’ and most recently, ‘Something Old’, and a host of singles from those releases are all on the Jimmy Sky Bandcamp site.

The Music Video for ‘Of Sunlight and Pale Skin’ lives on YouTube.

I also came out as part of the  Sun Lander project, creating the artwork and overseeing  the online release of a couple of humble singles, ‘Home Run’ and ‘Das Bum Smoke’.

Meanwhile my band Love Hate Rebellion featured in a film clip by another group called Hey Geronimo. We also released and re-released our single ‘Wake Up Now’, and played for the first time at the Surfers Paradise Beer Garden for Mojo Burning, while somewhat regularly attending Brisbane’s Ear Candy festival as well.

Outside of my own work , I enjoyed the last ever performance by Queensland Philharmonia Orchestra, performed in Brisbane’s Old Museum. From Wagner to La bohème, it was a feast for the classical senses. Featuring some incredible operatic vocal talent and of course, the skill of every orchestral performer, I was moved and filled with wonder at the capacity of classical to fill a room and take the audience on such an amazing journey.

 

FILM

2016 was an interesting year in film, wasn’t it? Some of my highlights around film and media in general:

  • Some of us realised that Deadpool might be the greatest love story of the decade.
  • Marvel movies did not disappoint, in particular, Doctor Strange.
  • Rogue One outclassed Episode VII in a big way, despite lacking light saber duels.
  • The internet rediscovered Indian Superman.
  • I discovered Kung Fury for the first time.
  • Nathan Fillion was at Supanova and I missed him- also missed Band of Skulls.
  • Bondi Hipsters and their creators just kept getting more awesome.
  • So did JP Sears.
  • Pokemon Go brought the world together socially, and got them fit too. People didn’t like that and decided they needed to get hit by cars and ram each other while playing the Darwin Awards at the same time as Pokemon Go.
  • South Park took it to a whole new level with the ‘Member Berries.
  • Riphagen was a cinematic and historical tour de force.
  • Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead continued to inspire and shock.
  • Westworld appeared and quickly took hold.
  • I watched Seeking a Friend For the End of the World and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind back to back and my tear ducts almost exploded.
  • I discovered a beautiful little short called “The Life of Death”.
  • There were other things, but these were big highlights.

I personally racked up a total of  11 film credits in 2016. Here’s a list:

  • Feature Film – ‘Honeysuckle Way’  as the drug dealer ‘Marky’
  • Short  – ‘Group Therapy’  as ‘Captain CBT’
  • Short  – ‘Nightfall’ : as ‘Albie (The Mechanic)’
  • Student Film  – ‘Happy Evelyn After’  as security guard ‘Gunther’
  • Short  – Chris LeRoy’s ‘The Undeniable Truth’ as a disturbing creeper ‘Stephen’; this one currently making the rounds at a few overseas film festivals

I was fairly proud to have been able to take part in so many artistic endeavours across the year.

 

WHAT ELSE?

Aside from rediscovering the pure joy of The Velvet Underground and spending my birthday at the Abbey Medieval Festival for the first time? Drinking mead, watching the jousting and dancing and enjoying wonderful and peaceful times? Well, I did reinvent a little music label-come-film production business I started with friends and family (called Incan Mayan Media ). It is now additionally a free creative and service sharing platform on Facebook. I took a number of rather pretty photographs, and posted them online for the enjoyment of many. Eventually I might even sell a couple – I haven’t done much with my photoart site  across the year, come think of it. Perhaps next year.

I became heavily interested in puns, despite still having no progeny to embarrass. In fact, if there’s one great thing I took away from 2016, it was a pun: “Love is not like pie, to be divided and rationed. Love is like pi, infinite and irrational.” Happy to say I loved the love pun about love being about pi instead of pie.

And that, my friends, is what I will take into 2017. Happy New Year.

Death, Politics, and Good Things Too! My 2016 Part 1

I think it’s safe to say that 2016 has been a long, tough year for many people. We’ve lost a number of eminent and influential people, and sometimes it has seemed as if it just won’t stop. Politics, war, you name it, things have been going on. For me, 2016 was about action, in a big way. Never stopping for too long, in case terrible 2016 brought me down too far.

With that in mind, a few things happened in my world, and everyone else’s as well. Ahead is a short rundown of one writer’s personal view of local and round-the-world events. Suffice to say it is not a comprehensive list, but here goes.

LOSS

If social media is anything to go by, 2016 was characterised by loss, argument, rivalry and disappointment. For me personally, 2016 was a year spent living with my grandmother’s passing. She was a mother and a friend to me, a matriarch in our family, and one of the closest people ever to my heart. Living a year without her voice and her presence was difficult and strange. Now at last I’ve come to realise her only want was for her children and grandchildren to be happy, and to prosper. For her, I will continue to raise that beacon as I move forward in life. Still, around the world, an unusual number of famous faces have passed. Here is a list of some (I’m told there are many more) that passed away in 2016:

  • Fidel Castro
  • Bhumibol Adulyadej (King of Thailand)
  • Muhammad Ali
  • David Bowie
  • Dr Donald Henderson (you know, got rid of smallpox)
  • Vera Rubin (astrophycisist, found dark matter, small things)
  • PRINCE
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Carrie Fisher
  • George Michael
  • Alan Rickman
  • Glen Frey of the Eagles
  • Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane
  • Maurice White, founder of Earth Wind and Fire
  • Harper Lee (author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’)
  • Keith Emerson
  • Ron Glass  (Firefly)
  • Anton Yelchin (the young Star Trek ‘Chekhov’)
  • Kenny Baker (R2-D2)
  • Matt Roberts (Three Doors Down)
  • Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch)
  • Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • Debbie Reynolds

POLITICS AND WORLD EVENTS

During the course of 2016, and as the year wore on, the apparent theme was an inescapable tide of crazy. A continuous barrage of events at home and abroad kept us busy away from our own lives on a consistent basis. There were laughs, tears, serious and simply bizarre works at hand. Here’s a by-no-means-exhaustive summary:

  • As foretold by a great prophet (The Simpsons) Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. The world didn’t end…yet. But the Biden memes were strong.
  • According to many, the world entered an era of ‘post-truth’.
  • Lockout laws were passed in QLD, and the gentrification of a previously thriving music district began in earnest.
  • Lee Lin Chin was nominated for a Gold Logie and Australia rightfully decided she should be Prime Minister. Sadly it wasn’t ratified by parliament.
  • Australia also accepted that the Great Barrier Reef was dying. Senator Pauline Hanson set out to a still-living part of the reef to prove global science wrong with a quick scuba dive.
  • Despite her ongoing foolishness, Hanson appeared as the last true democrat in that she represented the (utterly misguided) wants and needs of her constituents instead of just ignoring them and shoving another tax down their throats. This bizarre piece of information disturbed anyone with a shred of common sense.
  • We also realised that fifty percent of Australians no longer honour ANZAC day, often for anti-war reasons, but remain so culturally violent that campaigns against bullying, violence against women, coward punches and male suicide continued in earnest, both officially and socially. We have a long way to go.
  • The Fake Tradie came into being.
  • Legislation was introduced into Australian Parliament that would allow Police to detain and question individuals, without charge, for up to 14 days if they are suspected of committing or planning terrorist acts. The laws would apply to anyone over 14 years of age. A sign of the times and of things to come. 
  • We caught Daniel Morcombe’s killer and while decrying the horrific nature of his crime, simultaneously and collectively devolved into a bloodthirsty mass.
  • We came to understand the Schroedinger’s Immigrant.
  • A man was discovered floating down the Noosa river in a bin. Drinking.
  • An attempt was made by the corporation Tobie Mining to sue the Colombian government for shutting down a mine that threatened the Amazon rainforest.
  • We had Standing Rock, a small but great victory for people, while everyone ignored Syria because, well..it was the USA and Russia and nobody wants to die.
  • Britain had Brexit, potentially in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. Nobody is sure what they’re up to or why anymore.
  • Arnold Scharzenegger, Peter Dinklage and Leonardo DiCaprio all presented themselves as champions for the environment or animal cruelty and continued to be shot down by the public on social media. Well, Peter Dinklage was mostly given great support, people love him dearly.  Gina Rinehart, the Melbourne Cup she enjoyed and the Victorian government she tried to sue…not such a champion.
  • We were beset by a plague of creepy clowns. Yes, clowns. Followed by a spate of violent clowns. Yes, again, clowns. In multiple cities, mostly in the USA but also in a few other places as well. Again, there were some great memes and a good many Simpsons references, in particular, Krusty’s version of ‘Send in the Clowns’
  • Bombs went off all over the place, missiles were fired, people died and died and died and died some more.

John Cleese made my top quote for 2016, around personal attitudes on a broader level when he tweeted “I would like 2016 to be the year when people remembered that science is a method of investigation, and NOT a belief system”.

With that in mind, here’s a list of sites and events dedicated to GOOD things that happened in 2016, because, despite our year-long obsession with unhappiness, pessimism, self-doubt, global doubt, death, destruction, negativity and general selfishness, a lot of good stuff happened in 2016. So if we look beyond our own personal cesspit for a moment, here’s what went on:

  • The Ozone Layer started fixing itself! Scientists think it will now be fully healed by 2050. Sydney Morning Herald
  • The notorious EM-DRIVE (you know, the thing that breaks physics as we know it and could propel us into the stars) was given credence by NASA and they started channelling money into researching it further
  • Mumbai conducted the largest beach clean-up in human history, removing more than 4,000 tonnes of rubbish.
  • It was a great year for movies (come on, you’re mourning all those stars, don’t pretend you don’t watch films – and the still living Leonardo won an Oscar)
  • Norway became the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation.
  • The Chinese government, one of the biggest populations and powers in the world, placed a ban on new coal mines and doubled its renewables targets for 2020.
  • Global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all in 2016.  Scientific American
  • I was unsurprised but still happy when a woman won the International Longsword Invitationals.
  • India had a load of good things going on for them (click here to find out what)
  • Peru and Bolivia signed a $500 million deal to preserve Lake Titicaca.
  • More than 20 countries pledged more than $5.3 billion for ocean conservation and created 40 new marine sanctuaries covering an area of 3.4 million square km. Reuters
  • The World Health Organisation released a report showing that, since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60%. Our World In Data
  • Thailand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. World Health Organisation
  • In the USA, the Obama administration banned offshore exploration and drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic until 2022.
  • IKEA introduced biodegradable packaging made from mushrooms.
  • Liberia was officially cleared of Ebola, meaning there are now no known cases left in West Africa. Vanguard
  • The World Health Organisation announced that measles was eradicated from the Americas, from Canada to Chile.
  • In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, this fell to 3.5%. Vox
  • The Pan African Parliament endorsed a continent-wide ban on female genital mutilation in Africa.
  • The memes were strong (did I mention this?)!
  • Costa Rica ran entirely on renewable energy for over 100 days. Next it is aiming for an entire year with no fossil fuels. The Independent
  • Get this: across 2016, Mexico ,Argentina and Scotland all made huge investments in renewables, and solar energy generated more power than coal in the United Kingdom.
  •  India unveiled the world’s largest solar power plant. They are now on track to be the world’s third biggest solar market in 2017. Al Jazeera

  • Scientists decided they may have found a parallel universe, a fifth force of nature, a warm blooded fish, and that we should all be permanently naked
  • It was announced that the global manatee population is no longer endangered
  • Humpback whales were removed from the endangered species list
  • Giant Pandas were taken off the endangered list
  • Warren Buffett (you know, the corporate leader who invented ‘above the line’ and was the only company head back in the days of 9/11 to take verbal, personal responsibility during times of great tragedy even though he didn’t have to) gave $2.9 billion to charity, again. Not to mention his son, a farmer and environmentalist, quietly continued to spend his billion dollar inheritance on sustainable agriculture and hunger eradication.
  • German government and Canadian families took on a bucket load of refugees, despite public backlash.

  • Elon Musk and his company Tesla proved they could power an entire island with solar, and continued to the dream of servicing space stations while building a colonisation transport to Mars.
  • We started 3D printing limbs in earnest!
  • Science and engineering leaped forward incredibly – click here for more

Guess it wasn’t all bad in 2016! Here’s to 2017 being less focused on death and disruption.

 

I’m a Creep – And It’s a Good Thing

As a younger man I was often greeted by ostracism from some social tribe or another. Being a little introverted and a lot more concerned with conversations of interest than small talk alongside an unpredictable penchant for swinging between wallflower and flamboyant, my social introductions averaged five minutes before someone pronounced me ‘weird’ or ‘creepy’. Add to this a powerful shyness and nervousness in terms of romance, and the recipe for social pariah was complete; following on to gossip, simple ignorance of my presence, both, or a feeble attempt at social grace, poorly masking a lingering judgement and disgust of my general ‘vibe’. Incredibly I am referring to adulthood rather than high school, or childhood – in those days I was surprisingly confident, but, attending to the world at large will beat it out of you, that’s for sure. In hindsight however, it was a fair call, and they did me a favour.

After all, having to prove myself to groups and individuals who never had to prove anything to anyone said a lot more about them than it did about me. The kind of people who in barely knowing you (hearing broad dismissive stories about your life from someone else who barely knows you) judge your current relationship issues and make comments such as “well he’s had some breakups in the past, he obviously can’t hold down a relationship – clearly something is wrong with him”. In hindsight, these aren’t friends, in fact, they’re not even people worth knowing if that is their go-to point. Had I been gifted with better foresight, I’d have predicted what eventually happened: those people went on to engage in a string of failed relations, before and after knowing me. Described as such, it all sounds very dramatic, but in reality their crimes amounted to little more than a self-projection of internal social and existential illness onto an overly receptive personality.  Hardly their fault, and I wasn’t aware at the time, but the truth of it remains, and for a long time, it affected me deeply.

For a time I was pushed by people close to me, exhorted toward becoming part of such groups, and so I would do my best to join the tribe. As a commonality of acceptance by such shining monuments to social brilliance, I was often caught up by interactions so banal that drinking vast quantities of alcohol seemed the only remedy to add interest to the proceedings. Today, that alone would be a huge warning sign that I should quickly walk away, but back then, I was more trusting, more apt to seek the flaw in myself and attempt to correct it for the good of myself and others.

Ultimately surrounding yourself with people who want you to either change who you are to become acceptable to their social standards, or leave, is extremely unhealthy, and downright abusive, but also a strange gift. In the first instance, it is mostly an abuse of the self, as the people in question tend to be spineless and lack the general capacity to function in what generations of yesteryear would term a decent manner. Following various painful events associated with such associations, it dawned on me that my shallow acquaintances had taught me a great deal about my own lack of self-esteem; that is, once I ran into some people who recognised my hurt, my talents, and the interesting aspects of who I really was, they accepted me forthwith, effortlessly.

Accepting the monikers of ‘creep’ and ‘weirdo’ is no easy task. After all, I spent my early life in pockets of solitude, ranged against interaction with adult groups mature enough to discuss, understand, debate, philosophise and accept. As an adult, conversely, that environment vanished in favour of enduring shallow tribalism. As a result, adulthood came fraught with hurt, with lack of insight, with pain. Eventually, however, the realisation dawned that if I’m a ‘creep’ or a ‘weirdo’ to such people, well, that is the best possible outcome, because in reality I’m a pretty fantastic person with a lot to offer, and one-dimensional, judgemental douchebags always creeped me out anyway. The difference today, is that I am okay with knowing not everyone will accept me, and I am under no obligation to entertain or accept them.

The most incredible part of building up self-confidence, in taking on labels tossed artlessly and hurtfully in one’s direction, is what comes next. When you show up, confident in who you are, creep or otherwise, you magnetise people. Folks are either repelled, or unbelievably, will begin speaking positively about you. This happened to me too. Today I get people saying “hey you’re the creepy guy” as if it’s cool. So for all of you out there feeling like your surrounding social circle despises you, heck they probably do. If who you are is what they despise, take it on, become it, regardless. People are drawn to confidence, even if you’re a confident creep.

Besides, if Radiohead are alright with being creepy, then how can we not be?

Existential Arrhythmia

Eyes upward toward a pearl coloured ceiling floor
Closed to charisma like a timid bedroom door
With minor success and major trial we laugh
Our days drained away like dregs of a tasty draught

To curious bulbs this blossom hastily grows
Accolades and charades our champagne liquid flows
We smile we giggle we chortle and kiss and grin
We’re more than aware of our thinning stretch of skin

In the back of our pupils the rear of our lives
Seated grinning like slander a monster of knives
Malicious with memory she leaks what we’re missing
Delicious he suckles tormented and hissing

Reminders of everything loved lonely and lost
Swallowing pity and pride regardless of cost
Lovers they leave us guilty, devoted we die
Emeralds and almonds and long stained winter chai

Caricatures of childhood we grasp at our straws
Painfully pretending we’ve accepted our flaws
Agony gnashing we wake from broken tooth dreams
Building our boundaries as brains unravel their seams

We wander and wonder while clutching at moments
Excusing blunder with internalised torments
Gone are green daydreamers shaded simple and few
Remains are like ashes on some ship torn askew

So where do we go when we’re down under the roof
To the pure or depraved, painful karma for proof
Since feelings remain fleeting don’t chug from the cup
And your gold doesn’t glimmer so never give up

Song Stories

After a long day of posting snippets of stories regarding various songs I’ve written over the years, I felt it worth collecting them all in a single blog post.

Each track discussed here can be heard over on BandCamp

So here, without further ado, are the stories, pictures and lyrics for a few of my songs.

 

IN THE DARK

Lucky last. ‘In the Dark’ really is a cute, cheeky sex song. Probably worth explaining the origin and some of the lyrics.

I feel that sex, sexuality, and how we feel about and discuss aspects of our sex lives, remain taboo in conversation as a matter of politeness. I’m not sure if that’s actually a positive, as I’ve always done my best to speak openly about topics of sensuality, at least, with the best attempt not to offend taken into account. In short, open sensuality and sexuality has its merits.

As the quote says, it’s in the tradition of Marc Bolan and something of a tribute, a somewhat erotic lyric laid over a pop song. Naturally the references to kissing someone like a baby are not literal, rather, an expression of a pure mindset (like a baby) that in the context of two adults becomes erotic. The reference to ‘come and be my daughter’ is in an homage to The Pretenders, which again if taken in terms of the Maiden the Mother and the Crone, (rather than literally – the same way Bolan’s lyric ‘Twentieth Century Boy’ still refers to him as a man) – well I always felt that song held an incredibly sensual aspect to it, to the point that I questioned the meaning of the Pretenders song as a child. It’s also a ‘bigs and littles’ reference, and for those engaged in the practice you’ll know exactly what that means. Furthering the cheeky, sensual and taboo aspect of the song. Another lyrical homage is the ‘lo lo lo lo lo la’ aspect, being close in sound to the chorus of the song ‘Lola’. This extension of homage is intentional, in order to extend and free the sexual aspects of the song from specificity.

Most of the descriptive and action references are entirely literal and at the time, were very personal but in context of today remain simple expressions of romantic erotica; the things our consenting romantic loving adults say and do together behind closed doors…or not. This song often makes me feel like I was making love in the sixties, mostly on account of the reference to sweaters and the fact I’m a huge fan of The Boat That Rocked, which has nothing to do with the song.

“Written specifically and explicitly for an ex-lover as part of an ongoing shared infatuation with sensuality and Marc Bolan, ‘In the Dark’ explores the dualistic themes of love, sexual discovery and innocence. A pop lyric and wide eyed abandon overlay erotic themes as all the best and simplest love stories should. The song was written and recorded in 2007. ”

I will kiss you like a baby
If you’ll be my baby
And I will only
I will only touch you in the dark

You will come and be my daughter
If you really wanna
And I will only
I will only touch you in the dark
You tell me that you love me
I will let you love me
And I will make you wetter than the rain outside my door

Lalololololololalololololololalolololololo
I will only touch you in the dark
Lalololololololalolololololo
I will only
I will only touch you in the dark

And when everything is over
If you are still my lover
I will only
I will only touch you in the dark

Tell me that you think I’m crazy
When we’re high and hazy
And I will love you like you’ve never held onto a man
You wanna make it better
When I’m in your sweater
And I will only
I will only touch you in the dark

Lalololololololalololololololalolololololo
I will only touch you in the dark
Lalololololololalolololololo
I will only
I will only touch you in the dark

In The Dark

 

DISAPPOINTMENT

Depression lends itself to self-fulfilling, inevitably negative prophecy. I put this song down in the middle of dragging myself out of a depressive state. I’m one of the lucky ones, the ones who found a way to fight, to stand up, to channel, to inspire the self deep inside, light that fire in the middle of the suffocating darkness and cling almost rabidly to some sliver of maddening hope that there is just as much reason to continue, in fact more reason, than there is not, even if that reason is a positive spin on the nihilistic notion that everything is chaotic and pointless. We are not all so lucky, and of this fact I am excruciatingly aware. So that’s where this song comes from, and what it’s about.

I chose the cover photo purposefully. It’s a shot taken on my 25th birthday.

“‘Kill my disappointment, murder all these thorns around my eyes’. A desperate, almost violent plea for release from the day to day agony of depression, exacerbated by loss and the dissolution of dreams. ‘Disappointment’ is a hymn to the quiet lies we, the depressed and bleak, tell ourselves to get through each day; the consistent, silent begging we for absolution from what we unfairly tell ourselves we deserve. Written in 2009 and released on the web in 2011.”

Play it out
The fire inside
Weigh me down
The crying eyes

Tomorrow isn’t brighter
The morning didn’t bring
A shining light

Pray in doubt
Kneel and die
Shivered out
The quiet lie

Come and be my saviour
Show this borrowed soul
A burning heart

Kill my disappointment
Murder all these thorns
Around my eyes

I’ll be here
When you’re gone
Love

Disappointment

 

FORTY CENTS

‘Forty Cents’, a single from ‘C Side Volume 4: Drowning Silver’. Why forty cents? At the time the song was written, forty cents got you a phone call, or an ice cream cone with ten cents to spare from Micky D’s. I have often felt very strongly, in an emotional sense, about, well, everything.

To the point however, the first verse is very personal, and one day, I’ll talk in great and elaborate detail about the events that inspired this verse. However, more recent events spurred the writing, and those included one of the (sadly, many) times domestic violence seemed to be peaking, at least publicly. The second verse is about all of the people it could be describing, they tried, they needed a hand, and they failed because there wasn’t one. Who are we to judge? The final verse, I think explains itself. All it takes is a very small helping hand to get someone on their feet. Not always, some people just can’t be helped, but our social assumption that’s always the case is vile, and the world must change how it acts. I because we, not I because I.

“Created in 2007, ‘Forty Cents’ made the rounds with A Name Will Come and Flowers For Lily but was ultimately scrapped. Written for victims of abuse, the homeless and those without love, the song stands as an indictment on those who could, but refuse to lift a finger, spare some change for someone, or take some small action that might change a person’s life for the better.”

Drowning in the silver water
Where the lion never sleeps

And the world must know

Why do you sit
Take every hit
Like a canvas
For the violence of his childhood
It would be
So damn easy baby
Just to run
And never look back
Like it’s nothing

You’re drowning in the silver water
Where the lion never sleeps

And the world must know

He tried so hard
To beat the odds
But now he sleeps in a treehouse
Built by children years ago
Too much grog
Not enough love and tenderness
And no-one cares if he’s dying now
He is nothing

He’s drowning in the silver water
Where the lion never sleeps

And the world must know

Forty cents
Is all it takes to help them
But no-one gives a damn or a dime
Cause they might lose too much time
In this world
We’re all cursed
Until we find our sinking hearts
We are nothing

He’s drowning in the silver water
Where the lion never sleeps

And the world must know

Forty Cents

 

 

MIRRORS

Oh yes, ‘Mirrors’.

The closest I got to an honest description of the mindset of someone riddled with despite, self-deprecation as a life habit. There is a bizarre narcissism inherent to people stuck in self-hate. I often wonder if it isn’t nothing more than survival instinct, or perhaps more accurately, the deepest, best hidden but intrinsic knowledge that they are better than they think they are, worthy more than they tell themselves – perhaps it is that that keeps them focused on the self. Ultimately that self-focus can be the saviour, a way to twist the proverbial knife out and start healing so many, many wounds.

All I know is I’ve come close to being that person, and I’ve dealt with a few in very close circumstances. It’s awful for all concerned. Thankfully there is, usually, a way out.

“Dealing explicitly with the internal effects of depression, narcissism and self-loathing, Mirrors first appeared in 2007 as a written offering to ‘A Name Will Come’, and again in 2009 as a proposed track to ‘Flowers For Lily’ but didn’t make the cut for either group.”

What’s this fascination
With your face
It’s an oscillation
In eternal space
The seed aborting
Spilling grace
There is no escaping
Anyway

As I’m breaking into shards
Pick me up and cut yourself
In this way we can be one
In the blood and pieces
Use me like a broken doll
Our romantic rock and roll
Through the vein and up the arm
I will leave you with a

Let it out
For the feeling
Isn’t mutual
Like a mirror
I am no reflection
Of anything
Or anyone
But what you choose
To see

As I’m breaking into shards
Pick me up and cut yourself
Through the vein and up the arm
In the blood and pieces
Use me like a broken doll
Shattered acid rock and roll
In this way we can be one
I will leave you with a scar

Mirrors

 

 

GAMES OF HIDE AND SEEK

The quote below is, in retrospect, not entirely complete. I completed the song in that adorable little flat, but I actually started writing it a couple years before that, sitting in a grassy spot with my guitar in the middle of a graveyard. I was down and contemplating the nature of life after the events depicted in the song (minus the chapel – that’s a metaphor). The bones of the song (truly no pun or disrespect intended there, but somebody will say something I’m sure) were conceived in the dark surrounded by the dead.

“‘Games of Hide & Seek’ is a down-beat, trip-hop inspired piece of dark, soft rock with a lot of history inside. First penned in the study of a seaside flat in 2005 and originally titled ‘SS Eternity’, the track explores in minute, metaphoric detail the experience of love mixed with anxious, depressive, nihilistic expectation. As much an emotional parody of ‘the little death’ as an autobiographical piece, the song represents a further pivotal change in songwriting and style.”

In this chapel
Blackened charred and spent
Lies a body aching
Metaphoric
For the way I feel
Taken by another

I cry again
I die again
Why this lie
Is it just a game
I don’t want to play
I cry again
And my soul darkens

In this graveyard
There’s a parthenon
There we’re lying talking
Doesn’t matter
All the feelings gone
Severed heart remaining

I cry again
I die again
Why this lie
Is it just a game
I don’t want to play
I cry again
And my soul darkens

Games of Hide and Seek

 

JUVENESCENCE

When I embarked on the ‘re-release’ journey (see BandCamp), I made a decision around the cover art, to follow in the steps of Bowie. My head only. I enjoy creating cover art and it allowed me the guise of narcissism with which to undertake some really interesting shots. The story I’m about to tell, and the layers it holds, is essentially true of everything I create. If you’re interested in my work, keep that in mind whenever you look at anything I create. Thankfully I’m not as paranoid as I could be, for the same reasoning could easily have ended me as a conspiracy nutjob with spit-covered papers on my wall. Anyway, here we go.

The cover for this picture is a very close second to a photograph taken by a local reporter when I was a child for a magazine (I was a pretty girl-boy-boy way back when – don’t know what happened 😛 ). I returned to this place to recreate the photo, or something close, both for myself as an adult, to take a measure of control of my past (more stories there for another time) and as an art piece I was completing with my then-fiance. My then-fiance took the shot that was so important to me in that moment. On the same trip, I took a once-only shot of her walking into the same, and once produced and edited it looked like something straight out of the 1920s, grain and all. That photo was the original intended photograph for the cover of this song, which is about childhood, the pain of youth, the pain of life, and pain experienced in that relationship. However, with the decision to only use my own Narcissus shots for any and all of my solo covers, I chose this one, the closest picture to the one I wanted to use, in theme, undertone and meaning. Makes sense right?

“Penned during an intense closed-door, closed-house writing period, ‘Juvenescence’ is by definition about the act or process of growing from childhood to youth, and on a deeper level, emotional growing pains. Many of us struggle with the dualistic notion that even as everything falls apart, things will be alright in the end. Nothing will be the same, change is inevitable, and more often than we like to admit, it hurts. Wading into the ocean of life and learning, we are beset by the lies of our loved ones, well-intentioned but ultimately damaging. Eventually, we have no choice but to accept it and move on. ‘Juvenescence’ was written in 2009 and released on the web in 2011.”

After all is said and done
It was already over
After all pretense
You forget
The war is over

You wade out there
You wade out there
So light
It’ll be alright
Yes
It’ll be alright

Blind and bringing in the truth
A wire enclosure
Save it for the youth
Black and blue
The war is over

You wade out there
You wade out there
So light
It’ll be alright
Yes
It’ll be alright

So they said
You’d be the same
They all lied
So they said
You’d be the same
They all lied

Juvenescence

 

KLAATU

There’s a little more to the inspiration for this song than the quote below, referring to ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’. Long before I saw that film, I was often engrossed by the touching and brilliant narratives in early NES and particularly Super NES RPG video games. Two in particular were Illusion of Gaia and its sort-of sequel Terranigma. Both featured simply told storylines with intricate subtext, dealing with spirits, spirituality, the human struggle, history, and the end of the world. These narratives heavily influenced the creation of this song and if like me you enjoy a good story and have the imagination to build subtext from apparently simple plots, (as all good readers do) I’d suggest looking up those games. They were incredible, with many more like them during the time of their creation.

“Inspired by the end of the world and the teardrop beauty of the human spirit, Klaatu was penned in 2009. Untitled for a time, the song underwent multiple name changes until it was eventually named after a character in the film ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.

My love
Come down from your high place
Tomorrow
Won’t come again my friend

No sun

So hold your hands up to the dark
Show them how you mean more than you are
If your story’s almost over
Take my hands in yours and go
Make it seem like it’s not really over
If a kiss will last forever

Our home
Is going away
This sorrow
Well heaven knows the end is here

No sun

So hold a candle to the dark
Show the world that you mean more than you are
And if your story’s almost over
Take my hand in yours and go
Make it seem like it’s not really over
As if our love could last forever

In my heart
My heart

I can’t see the end
I can’t see the end
Cause we’ll be here for forever

Hold your hands up to the stars
Show them how we mean more than we are
If our story’s almost over
Take my hands in yours and go
Make it seem like it will never be over
Because our love will last forever

In my heart
In my heart

Klaatu

 

RAMBLING & IGNORANT

Rambling & Ignorant’ is one of the singles from ‘C Side Volume 2: Sinking Ships’. I don’t often say this of my own work, but there is some beauty in the construction of this piece. Much like suffocation, there’s a sense of slow motion throughout a large section of the song, before the sudden surge of air snaps the world back into focus – much like the sudden change in the music. The other beauty lies in the lyrics, in that it is about multiple people and real events, however for one person, the descriptions are metaphoric, whereas for another they are literal. I love that because then the listener has no idea who the hell the story is about, but they still get what it’s about.

“A pained, downbeat track that staggers forward before finally opening into a bouncing rhythm, this song is reflective of its meaning. In the style of a drunk, obsessive trauma victim, the story told is one of personal betrayal from a young age, metaphoric and literal drowning, and eventually, explosive emotional release. Much like life, the track is long, but it’s worth it if you go the distance.”

Lies you won’t remember
Lies you won’t recall

You never hold me up
You’d never be my crutch
You pushed me down
Held me under

Fire fire fire fire
It’s burning down your life
It’s burning us alive

Lies
Your still refusal
Hold me down
Suffocate my numbers

You never help me up
You always break my trust
Your push me down
Hold me under

Fire fire fire fire
Fire fire fire fire
It’s burning down your life
It’s burning us alive
It’s burning down your life
It’s burning us alive

Rambling and Ignorant

 

MY LOVER WENT TO JAPAN

Occasionally the creation of music is inspired, necessary, emotional and urgent all at once. Similarly to ‘Vampires’, ‘My Lover Went To Japan’ was a piece that very nearly broke me. I am certain that if the concept of a Horcrux was real, my songs would be my Horcruxes. If you can put a piece of your soul in a song, I’ve definitely done so. Returning from Japan was surreal, painful, demoralising. I’ve said many times the time I spent in Japan a few years ago, two short weeks, was the best time of my life, before and after. We cried on the plane, coming home. The rude awakening of Australia after such an experience was nothing short of traumatic. The upside of that, was an emotive force galvanising the creation of a song. Once again, locked immediately in a basement, a compulsion to give musical tribute to an experience. And here it is.

“Composed after a long flight, no sleep and the sudden realisation that amorous feelings for a country are possible. ‘My Lover Went To Japan’ is a simple homage and love affair with the beautiful nation of Japan, a recollection of two golden weeks that will never be repeated nor exceeded. ‘My Lover Went to Japan’ is for Nobuo Uematsu, Hayao Miyazaki, the art of Tenshin Shoden Katori Ryu, for Kyoto, Osaka, for shared experiences, for love, and a thousand more incredible pieces of Japanese culture and landscape that words cannot express. The track was composed in 2010 and features an introduction piece performed on Shokubo from Japan.”

Oh the city’s never been this dead
Can you tell me what you meant what you said
That you would never go to Japan

Well the word is out and no one can stand
From Morocco to the shores of Siam
There’s a hole inside my heart and my hands
And I appreciate the lack of a stare

All the promises you made on the steps
Can you tell me what you meant when you said
That you would never go to Japan

My Lover Went To Japan

 

QUIETLY

‘Quietly’ was written alongside several other pieces all on the same night in the early naughties. Drunk, existentially distressed and full of music, I decided, among other topics, to write about the experience of silent love. Not necessarily unrequited love, but definitely the kind of admiration you have for another where you are unable to express.

“A sweet-sounding pop-rock ballad with distant hooks and unexpected harmonies. The lyric imagery depicts a lover considering themselves inadequate in the company of the object of their affection. Incapable of confidence, the individual instead turns inward, hoping that by the simple act of being present, the one they adore will notice them. What follows is an implosion of emotion and longing.”

Don’t mind me
I’m quietly
Falling apart
With you

Don’t mind me
I am silently dying
With love
For you

Shadows underneath your fingertips
Tracing out your lips
Fears circling down your cheeks
In lines of murky darkness
A feather mark of blusher
And a muddy coloured rose
But it’s all okay
If you think of it that way

Don’t mind me
I’m quietly
Falling apart
With you

Don’t mind me
I am silently dying
With love
For you

No shutting it in
Hair aflame with your sin
You only begin
To maybe frame a little smile

Don’t mind me
Silently
Falling apart
With you

Don’t mind me
I am quietly dying
With love
For you

Quietly

 

SNOW SONG

Here is ‘Snow Song’, a single taken from ‘C Side Volume 4: Drowning Silver’.
Everyone’s musical perspective is different, we all hear different things, and one’s opinion on one’s own work maybe the most inaccurate of all. Regardless, I consider this probably my best song, or if not, close enough. There may be one or two more truly touching pieces to come out of me yet, but I’m uncertain if I’ll ever get past this. I feel that way not just because the song is special to me, nor because I chose a cover photo taken in Japan – which to date remains the golden fortnight of my life – rather, because it has touched others, because people have cried listening to it, and because the subject matter is pure, unadulterated true love. Having said that, a song is a song is a song is a song. I just like this one.

Touching back to the cover shot, you can’t see it but I’m standing outside Osaka Castle, a terrific medieval monument, at the end of Cherry Blossom season. It was a fitting photo.

“An extremely personal and simple heartsong that bloomed like a rose from the frost-bitten soil of 2006. Despite being characteristically laced with metaphor, ‘Snow Song’ is at its core a tactless poem of adoration, expressing the writer’s idealistic and single-minded view of perfect love. The object and time of the writer’s eye is a part of heaven, and against all odds, even death, the lover will remain by her side. Poorly received by every band it was offered to, ‘Snow Song’ is a portrait of eternal love.”

If I saw you standing on a precipice
About to fall into the arms of darkness
Then I would come and take your hand together stand
And wait with you to walk away or step into the cold

I know
You will be the door to heaven
When you go
Lying in the snow forever
I’ll stay with you

Until we fall into the halls of ever after
I’ll become your evergreen and alabaster
All above the winter stars are raining on
The light of love is shining on your face and in your heart

I know
You will be the door to heaven
When you go
Lying in the snow forever
I’ll stay with you

Snow Song

 

TO FOREVER

Do the words ‘Epic Garage Demo’ mean something to you? I hear that phrase and I laugh, mostly because to create something ‘epic’ you generally need a solid production…which is kind of impossible to achieve when working with cheap digital equipment and the direct intent to create something that sounds good, but still a bit dodgy, like it could have come out of somebody’s basement in Seattle in the mid to late 90s or something – adding to that some very questionable production skills and ‘Epic Garage Demo’ could well be the musical equivalent of ‘Freddy Got Fingered’.

‘To Forever’ was a very heartfelt piece originally intended as a piano track – given the subject matter is love and redemption – but once the idea to make it ‘epic’ took hold, that was the end of it. And well… you can hear the result for yourself.

“To Forever’ is an admission of admiration for a lost lover. The romantic notion that our paramours are angelic is of great value, and when they prove themselves against our darkness, remaining regardless of the odds, that is a treasure beyond worth. At the moment of breakup, the grief can be incredible, and the end of promised eternities can feel insurmountable. If we loved them so much, they were always better than ourselves, for they made us better than who we were alone. ‘To Forever’ was written in 2010. ”

Come down
Save my soul
From cold hands
Light my way out
By smiling fate

You were always the better one
My love

Brave my winter
Show me fire
Smoke me out
Before your light dies
Breathe love inside me

You were always the better one
My love

Let’s drink to forever
My dear
Let’s drink to forever
You promised forever
My love

You were always the better one
My love

To Forever

 

 

SONG FOR US

‘Song For Us’. Far out. What an incredibly unhappy thing to write.
Half love-song half tears-to-my-eyes diary piece, I think the lyrics somewhat speak for themselves. I’ve always liked this track because it’s so hopeful, and I was so damn hopeless when I first wrote it down. Playing this one with The Smash Universal boys, taking it out of my damn bedroom, turned it into a thing of joy.

Also, the cover art is another storm photo. Seems I had a penchant for risking a lightning strike to grab an artistic self-portrait moment for a little while there. Water droplets make for good cover art though.

“What do you do when the greatest love of your life falls apart in front of your eyes and every effort to keep it together appears to fail? You can see in your heart of hearts the beginning, when it was seemed perfect, and all you want, desperately, is to return to that time? Well maybe, just maybe, if we break each other’s hearts enough, we might break through and fall back to the beginning. That’s what ‘Song For Us’ is about. An upbeat, brittle track written in 2010, it was performed briefly with Smash Universal until the group split.”

Do you remember we were young
So highly strung
Songs that were sung

When the stars were shining bright
Saying goodnight
Always a goodnight

Did I hold you just like now
And say I love you
I’ll always love you

Now you say we’ve fallen down
Our love is over
It’ll never be over

I just want to break your heart
I just want to break my heart
I just want to break your heart
I just want to break my heart

So we can go
So we can go
So we can go
So we can go back

So you tell me love is gone
It’s cold and you cry
Tell me an old lie

Oh it’s always just like you
To say it’s over
It’ll never be over

I just want to break your heart
I just want to break my heart
I just want to break your heart
I just want to break my heart

So we can go
So we can go
So we can go
So we can go back

Song For Us

 

VAMPIRES

To say that ‘Vampires’ was inspired is an understatement. This song was a tour de force of relentless emotion until it was written. I had read ‘Let the Right One In’ and it had touched me, equal parts romance and horror. Something about the film however, gripped my heart and refused to let go. My then-fiance was confused and worried that we’d just finished talking about how wonderful a film it was, and I had immediately after become distressed, inconsolable. Compelled to my basement recording room, I holed up there for hours until the song was not only written, but recorded entirely. Later on it was fantastic to play the song with the boys from Smash Universal, to be able to finally enjoy performing a piece that has always been such a consistently intense experience. Even today when I listen back, ‘Vampires’ recalls an incredible rush of connection, romantic idealism, and grief that the song was a clumsy attempt to express. The accompanying cover art comes from a photo taken in Japan, the original colour version quite different to the black and white. The photo was intended for another cover, but when messing about with filters, it struck me that if anyone looked like a vampire from another time trying to live in a modern setting, it was this guy.

“Inspired by Lindquvist’s ‘Let the Right One In’ and a movie of the same name, ‘Vampires’ was a rare track that happened without thought or premeditation. Following a reading of the novel and viewing of the film, the song was composed in a matter of minutes and recorded quickly after. ‘Vampires’ was briefly performed with Smash Universal until they disbanded, but ultimately remained a private song until being released online.”

Also available on ‘C Side Volume 3: Sad Shallows’
lyrics
Die
In my arms love
Die
Beneath the starlight
I
Will always kiss you better

Cry
A little blood lost
Cry
A world of hard frost
Shy
The winter loves me better

While we’re dancing
They’ll be sleeping light

Cry
For never changing
Cry
For seasons leaving
Shy
Of living here forever

Fly
The world is dawning
Fly
An evening morning
I
Will hold us here together

While we’re dreaming
They will slowly die

Vampires

 

 

ANYTHING AND ANYONE

The quote is self-explanatory as to the meaning of the song, but the cover photo is something I’m quite happy with. If you look back at antique photos of coal miners and similar, the grain, consistency, and indeed even the rheumy eyes aren’t too far off. I feel like the picture has a lot to say, although in honesty I’m not sure what that might be. The great part about this photo is the original colour shot is just a selfie, taken on a lunch break at a corporate job with a decent camera. Perhaps the combination of drudgery, suiting up and decent filtering made for such an interesting shot. Also a strange resemblance to Brienne of Tarth. Anyhow, enjoy the song.

“If self-deprecation and poor self-esteem manifest in a relationship, they sometimes appear as an attempt to escape, expressed through self-destructive statements. Underneath however, is a desperate plea for the other person to remain, to see through it all and understand; to be there in the morning. Anything and Anyone touches on the difficult choices we have to make when romantically entangled with a beautifully difficult self-hater. Written in 2008, the song was offered to Flowers For Lily and Love Hate Rebellion respectively but never made it onstage.”

Don’t take me out and don’t take me home
I’m no good without nor with anyone at all
I’m sure to let you down I’m sure to break your heart
For I am here in doubt of everyone

Sure I see the light shining on your face
And no I can’t deny that it’s anything but grace
But here is why I won’t and here I cannot stay
Pure and devout is someone I will never be

Wake up to you and no, I’ll be there
Wake up to you and no, I’ll be there

Tell me that your wrong is anywhere but right
Let me see the wound, the scar behind your eyes
Hold me in your arms break on down and cry
I’ll be your broken bones and love you one more time

Wake up to you and know, that I’ll be there
Wake up to you and know, that I’ll be there

Anything and Anyone

 

ARMAGEDDON LOVERS

‘Armageddon Lovers’ has its roots on a beach in 1999. Having been indoctrinated by books, the wrong people, the media, just about every source imaginable around the end of the world, I sat on a beach with my then best friend. I had something of a crush on him, but he was a conservative boy from an even more conservative South African family, so instead we waited for planes to fall out of the sky, for the comet to hit, for everything to come to an end. Given the state of the world as people talked about it, such an outcome seemed worth waiting for. Skip ahead nearly around 16 years and we’re all still here, and my my, isn’t perspective a funny thing. Again the world is considered an awful place to be, somewhere you’d never want to raise children, somewhere that’s going to be hit by an apocalypse sometime soon. This song was written partially for the people of Earth, partially for the heavily Christian boy I waited with for the apocalypse in 1999, and partially for God.

“In the year 1999 and again in 2012, the end of the world was a popular concept. Using upbeat music to underscore a world-ending theme, ‘Armageddon Lovers’ is a sarcastic retelling of times when apocalyptic thinking was, at least for some, a romantic notion. The song pretends to shake its fist at the divine for not bringing about Armageddon. Simultaneously, a different and more personal story is told through apocalyptic metaphor. Presented to Flowers For Lily in 2009 but ultimately unused, ‘Armageddon Lovers’ was first released online as a C Side.”

So there we waited
Heads stuck in sand
Singing only sweetness
Faith held in hand

So much for the end
All your promises
Where’s your final call
Where’s my tidal wave
Here we’re slowly dying
Here we make our grave
Armageddon lovers
Now we’ll never be

So disappointed
Lost and betrayed
Like lonesome orphans
Faith fallen dead

So much for the end
All your promises
Where’s your final call
Where’s my tidal wave
Here we’re slowly dying
Here we make our grave
Armageddon lovers
Now we’ll never be

You gambled out
Never came back down
Mother is long gone
Like father lost to war

So much for the end
All your promises
Where’s your final call
Where’s my tidal wave
Here we’re slowly dying
Here we make our grave
Armageddon lovers
Now we’ll never be

Armageddon Lovers

 

FAIRYTALE ENDINGS

This single is off ‘C Side Volume 5: Little Blue Secrets’. In today’s context it could easily be about watching the movie Stardust with a Tinder date. Makes sense. Thankfully it’s not about that. It does however, stem from a period when I was heavily depressed about the state of romance in general in modern life, particular for dreamers and romantics. Reality was never my strong point.

“There are no happy ever-afters. This is the core theme of ‘Fairytale Endings’, a song that takes the fall of perfect romance from heavenly suburban harmony to all out heart-war on a cosmic level. Even the stars we once wished upon shoot it out, before dropping from the sky in a spectacular display of destruction.”

True love
It’s so hard
To find her
In suburbia

When our stars
Our stars
Are shooting it out
They fall to the ground
In silver

Dreamers
We all pretend
To mean it
An all surrender

When our stars
Our stars
Are shooting it out
They fall to the ground
In silver

Our star
Our star
Is shooting it out
Falls to the ground
An explosion

Our star
Our star
Is shooting it out
Falls to the ground
And it’s over

Fairytale Endings

 

I AM ONE

‘What is mind? What is matter?’
‘Never mind, it doesn’t matter’.
Pretty sure that’s Matt Groening, or at least paraphrasing an early Simpsons quote.

‘I Am One’ is the closest I’ve come in about fifteen years to writing an anthem for spiritual life, for the fleeting euphoric threshold I stepped through, just for a moment, when I was heavily into meditation and purist living a long time ago. Based on my experience, there truly is a lot to be said for pursuing a genuine spiritual life. It’s extremely difficult though. All of the above, are the themes of this song.

“Guitar and drum driven rock track ‘I Am One’ was a bedroom tune before its first online release. The music was composed to complement and back a short lyric poetry piece. The poem itself is an homage to the concept of universal oneness, spiritual enlightenment, and the sacrifices necessary to indulge in such a life.”

I am one
With all the trees and stars and demons
The hallowed sun
His great embrace for all we’ve given
And you know love

You know what must be done
You know what must be done
Silence on your soul

I have won
Through all your fears and scars and visions
Come undone
A great embrace is all I’m given
To bring you all

You know what must be done
You know what must be done
Silence on your soul

I am One

 

FAREWELL MAMA

Composed and recorded in 2010, the year of her passing. My mother was afflicted with schizophrenia from the year of my birth, and until I learned a lot more about the nature of it, the knowledge of onset at my birth was enough to mess up my already powerful guilt complexes. My mother was barely in my life, in part due to her illness, in part due to a then horrendous welfare system, and in part because my father travelled. Cut through much life and many dramas, as a grown man I got a message from my estranged sister – Mum was dying.

So I went to her. I said my farewells. I flew home, and she passed away. And it very nearly broke me. I’m certain that event and the tidal wave of history that it brought down in my soul did irrevocable external damage to all my relationships at the time – professional, romantic, artistic, and family. I wasn’t doing so well. Hell, I was doing very badly. One of my lowest moments. But hey, I got a song out of it, another Horcrux with a piece of my spirit inside.

As to the photo, yes, you guessed it, another storm shot.

“The title of the song is self explanatory. It is a goodbye lament written for Jimmy’s mother. It is about saying farewell too many times in one life. The song came into being when she finally passed away and remains an unworthy tribute to a beautiful person who never knew her impact on an absent son. ‘Farewell Mama’ was composed and recorded in 2010”

So I faced up to the truth
You were never there
And I could tell you true
I didn’t really care
Now it’s all over
Well it hurts like hell
Here I broke up all my promises
And I said farewell

Wah wah wah wah wah wah mama
Wah wah wah wah wah wah well well
Wah wah wah wah wah wah mama
Wah wah wah wah wah wah farewell

I don’t lay no blame
You did the best you can
You’re still the only one
But now the lord has taken you to him

Wah wah wah wah wah wah mama
Wah wah wah wah wah wah well well
Wah wah wah wah wah wah mama
Wah wah wah wah wah wah farewell

I won’t come to say goodbye
I won’t come to say goodbye

Wah wah wah wah wah wah mama
Wah wah wah wah wah wah well well
Wah wah wah wah wah wah mama
Wah wah wah wah wah wah farewell

Farewell Mama

 

 

MOONSHINE

Another single from the C Side collection on BandCamp. This one is autobiographical. Barring a few uncanny (and for me at least, courageous) exceptions, I’ve always been incredibly shy when attracted to someone. When I was very young the best I could do was sit dumbfounded and stare (apparently with my mouth just slightly ajar, as if in shock) at someone I had a crush on. Eventually she approached me and asked me what my problem was, and things went from there. That isn’t the story of ‘Moonshine’ though. This track was written for a time in my youth, drunk in a park, when lovers knew what they knew and all concerned were too shy to act. A strange, treasured and beautiful scene.

I was also listening to a lot of softer Pumpkins when I wrote this, and the influence, I feel, is pretty audible. As to the cover art, being caught in a storm is an easy price to pay for an interesting photo!

“A thinly-disguised true story of lovers-to-be, drunk in a park, the title subject resides in the sky above and the bottle being shared around. When the wine runs low, nobody has the courage to finish what they came together to begin. ‘Moonshine’ was a bedroom song until its first online release in 2011.”

I can’t say it
Rather wine
Your lips won’t ring it
One last time
Love you sip it
Are you mine

Would you go
All the way
Would you go
All the way
Tonight

It’s hazy on
A lunar pride
It brings together
Wonder whys
Love forever
But are you mine

Would you go
All the way
Would you go
All the way
Tonight

Moonshine

 

RIGHTEOUS SELF DESTRUCTION

‘Righteous Self Destruction’ was one of the tougher ones to write. Oddly it wasn’t difficult to pen. One of my typical outpourings, smashed out on the guitar without premeditation or preproduction. Just an immediate story, instant rhymes (well…sort of rhymes) and suddenly a song.
What made it so difficult was the subject matter. I wasn’t tearing my life apart per se, but out and about with friends, with my relationship backdrop slowly deteriorating, I often wondered, half-drunk, how I was (a) not being thrown out of any given establishment for my behaviour and (b) how long it would be before everything really did fall apart. So from that material came this song.

“‘Righteous Self-Destruction’ tells the tale of a lover trapped in an unhappy circumstance. Sometimes, when beset with existential crises and a hurtful partner, a decision must be made, to continue waiting for a miracle, or to pull down the white picket fence, tear your life apart and start again. This track was a bedroom song written in 2010.”

Tearing my life
Tearing my life
Apart on purpose

Tearing my life
Tearing my life
Apart on purpose

I know
I know
All of my life
All of my life
A lying circus

Kill myself
With kindness
I’ll be
Tolerant
Of what you become
Of what you’ve done

Fight out
I’m out
Word is I’ll be going out
In sparks and flames
More than insane

Tearing my life
Tearing my life
Apart on purpose

Tearing my life
Tearing my life
Apart on purpose

Tearing my life
Tearing my life
Apart on purpose

I know
I know
All of my life
All of my life
It’s gone to circus

All of my life
All of my life
A darkened circle

Waiting
For a
Silent miracle
Astronomical
Into disgrace
A mouthful of grace
Welcome home

Come out
Bring down
I’ll be
Starry eyed glitter bound
There’s no one to blame
It’s all just a game

Tearing my life
Tearing my life
Apart on purpose

Tearing my life
Tearing my life
Apart on purpose

I know
I know
All of my life
All of my life
A darkened circus

All of my life
All of my life is done

Righteous Self Destruction

 

THE LONG DECLINE

Another pretty, if mournful single from the C Side BandCamp collections. The story underlying ‘The Long Decline’ is too convoluted to tell without the accompaniment of many cocktails and much flailing of arms, but suffice to say it is less inspired by others than a lateral narrative projected from very real and somewhat unhappy times. I sometimes enjoy listening back to this one. Mostly I just like the piano and the vinyl-like scratchy sound.

“Written in 2008 while living in a seaside duplex, passing through the emotional turmoil of a temporary breakup. The song is about the pointless act of keeping secrets throughout our lives, when at the end they will be there for all to see. Up in lights, our good, our bad, our everything. Most of all, ‘The Long Decline’ is a love song for our innermost heart, a serenade sung to the face we show nobody but the divine.”

Lord I take a powder
The very one you offer
Should I waste the time
With giving up a world of lies
When I
I know you’ll come by
To say goodnight

They say when we die
We all come down in lights
And I know
Our little secrets
Will shine

I’ve given up the water
The wine and tears and laughter
I’ve giving up the right
To ticking fears and long decline
When I
I know you’ll come by
To say goodnight

They say when we die
We all come down in lights
And I know
Our little secrets
Will shine

The Long Decline

 

EAVES AND BOUGHS

This one was pretty. I enjoyed writing it and I enjoyed making it. The photo in the cover art was taken at a location that inspired the song, at a cafe near Tamborine Mountain. Romance has always been dear to my heart and the romance of trees and mountains is among the most lovely of all.

“‘Eaves and Boughs’ is a simple musical picture depicting deeper themes. On the surface, pretty pop rock overlays a lyrical backdrop of mountain romance. Underneath, a to-and-fro story of melancholy and softly breaking hearts comes to life amid long notes of recessed reverb. Written in 2013 as a wistful tribute to the gentle ease that love can bring, as well as an homage to the mixture of strange, ferocious beauty a great lover often represents to their paramour. “

Hey come and stay
Lie here with me

The misty mountains
Not your lover today

Hopelessly
Stare into me

In this doorway
We are never afraid

I won’t be the one who ran away
We will never speak of it again
Hold me like you mean the things you say
Ferocious beautiful and ever strange

Gone tragedy
Love is our key

Never see
Another tear again
Never again

I won’t be the one who ran away
We will never speak of it again
Hold me like you mean the things you say
Ferocious beautiful and ever strange

Eaves and Boughs

 

EVERY RAINBOW

Not every rainbow is grey now – nor will it ever be. Here is ‘Every Rainbow’, another single from my BandCamp collections. I have more coming, I promise you that, but in the meantime, enjoy the mini-story, the lyrics, the artwork, and the song. Also the rather sexy figure I cut when I was a little younger. I’d do me. Well, not now, but back then, whew! 😉
I had to chuckle at myself with this, for a couple of reasons – one, I rarely even take a shirt off, it’s just not something I do. And second, because despite the very serious tone of the song, I put ‘feels’ in the lyrics. And in today’s context that’s pretty funny.

“When you tried your best and it wasn’t enough. When a long-standing internal enemy starts up a negative dialogue almost impossible to ignore, rainbows become incredibly important. During such times, every day becomes an ongoing struggle just to smile, to step forward and keep moving. The song also doubles as a sly tribute to a beautiful place called Rainbow Beach. ‘Every Rainbow’ was written in 2015.”

Clap your hands as the story is ending
Come on out come on out tell me what I missed
Will the fires in the night show me where to go
And the streetlights as I walk overload
There’s a mountain in my distance
I’m never gonna scale it I’m too chicken
Tell me now was my heart too wholesome
Did I give it too much to the wrong one

Is every rainbow
Grey now grey now
Hey now hey now hey now hey now
And every rainbow
Is grey now grey now
Hey now hey now hey now hey now
All my love died out in tomorrow
Tomorrow tomorrow

Hear the voice on the end of the line click
Quiet now quiet now got to hear this
We deny for the future there’s another way
Got you back over now but you won’t stay
In the vines and roses waiting
Cage of clay sits slowly ageing
Almost killed myself to be the one worthy
Now I’m the mountain and you’re the journey

Not every rainbow
Is grey now grey now
Hey now hey now hey now hey now
Not every rainbow
Is grey now grey now
Hey now hey now hey now hey now
All my love died out in tomorrow

Feels tomorrow
Feels tomorrow
Fields of tomorrow
Fields of tomorrow

Not every rainbow
Is grey now grey now
Hey now hey now hey now hey now
And every rainbow
Is grey now grey now
Hey now hey now hey now hey now
Your love don’t have to die out in tomorrow

Every Rainbow

 

HELL

As you probably know, I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan, and if you know me closely, you’ll be aware I have a minor flair for the dramatic. So because I’m utterly in love with Sandman series and sometimes put myself in the emotional driver’s seat of the key character, one day it all became a bit much and I sat down to write. “Hell” was the result.

“A personal story about living with personal issues and broken self-esteem; concurrently, the people who come into your life and change everything irrevocably, forcing growth but finally leaving you to wallow in a wasteland of unprocessed misery. Created in 2012, the images and poetry for this song were inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Dream King and the Sandman graphic novels. “

I loved my big throne
To sit on all alone
I was lord of hell

Then you flew on in
A fairy on the wind
LIt up all my hallways

This angel in my home
This angel at my door
Made me lose my loneliness

My lovers left me
Godless and ghostly
Heaven descended

But I’m glad you’re leaving darling
These demons couldn’t handle you here
We’re glad you’re leaving darling
My demons die but don’t disappear
They’re glad you’re leaving darling
Cause no one wants to see my disease
We’re glad you’re leaving darling
Cause heaven makes me die on my knees

And angels made me bleed

Your tears were so bright
A child of pure light
Scattered all my people

Part of a big scene
Delivered my dreams
Full of future promises

There on the bed sheets
How well you did bleed
Shocked me out of plain sight

Under my black wing
Softened a mad king
And left me there to suffer

I’m glad you’re leaving darling
These demons couldn’t handle you here
We’re glad you’re leaving darling
My demons die but don’t disappear
They’re glad you’re leaving darling
Cause no one wants to see my disease
We’re glad you’re leaving darling
Cause heaven makes me die on my knees

And angels made me bleed

Hell

 

 

MISS MY MISS

It’s a nice ambient shoegaze kind of thing, sweet to listen to, but man I suffered while writing it. Pouring emotions directly into your work, whether they are yours or someone else’s, is a strange, difficult and hurtful task.

“The music of ‘Miss My Miss’ was inspired by, and is a garage tribute to the great shoegaze bands. The track is a personal recollection of the words people say behind your back. The sides taken during breakups. The use of popular culture to shame people who aren’t doing so well ranged against the reality of a person’s personality, compared to the perception of others.”

You said you loved me
Then stuck the knife in
Maybe I deserved that
I said I loved you
Then went on right through
Behind your back
You said you missed me
Then spent our anniversary
With another man
I would have loved you
But my brain was missing a screw
Never got that helping hand

Will you think of me
When everybody
Says it’s for the best
Well I miss my Miss
Will you think of me
Will everybody
Smile and follow fate
Say I can’t manipulate you
Anymore

You cry for recall
Say nobody should know
But everyone hears my sin
I’m confrontational
Emotional unreasonable
A big mouth to stick my foot in
So it’s pretty fucking easy
To make me feel uneasy
To blame and shame me quietly
Will all your friends and family

Think of me
When everybody
Says it’s for the best
Well I miss my Miss
Will you think of me
When everybody
Smile and follows fate
Says he can’t manipulate you
Anymore

No one is to blame my dear
No one is to blame my dear
No one is to blame my dear
Why the fuck is simple pain
So hard for people to explain

Will you think of me
When everybody
Says it’s for the best
Well I miss my Miss
Will you think of me
When everybody
Smile and follows fate
Says he can’t manipulate you
Anymore

Miss My Miss

 

SHELTER

Another single release on the BandCamp bandwagon, along with a mini-story, lyrics and its own artwork. This was one of my favourites, mostly because I played the drums on this instead of sampling, splicing or and arranging them.

“Recorded in a lonely basement, Shelter’ is a memoir encased in poetic device, telling of two lovers who short for perfection but missed the romantic mark. Placing melancholy and affection as a physical backdrop, the story describes a belief in exponential and absolute love ranged against material dreams. The question lingers, can we love each other equally? Are our desires more important than self-sacrifice for those we claim to love? When we act selfishly in the face of love, will our dreams bring us comfort? ‘Shelter’ features performance on an antique Hofner acoustic no longer in existence. Written for a lover in 2010, the track remained a bedroom song due to various band rejections until its first online release in 2012.”

There’s a crimson cloud in the sky
And it ‘s waiting for somewhere else to cry
Does it surprise we’re one with the sky
Does it shock you it’s one with our lives

Did your dreams
Bring you shelter
Did your dreams
Give you shelter

Will you sigh
Will you cry
As I place my heart and hands
Inside
Will you sigh
As we die
Say we’re crazy
Tonight
Into your fire
Into this pyre
I will place my soul
Entire
You won’t cry
You won’t sigh
Just say I’m crazy
Say goodbye

Did your dreams
Bring you shelter
Did your dreams
Give you shelter

There’s a rainstorm a cliche brace
For we who stand here to wash and stain the face
Could we confide in water’s falling grace
Could we decide in fire there’s no trace

Did your dreams
Bring you shelter
Did your dreams
Give you shelter

Will you sigh
Will you cry
As I place my heart and hands
Inside
Will you sigh
As we die
Say we’re crazy
Tonight
Into your fire
Into this pyre
I will place my soul
Entire
You won’t cry
You won’t sigh
Just say I’m crazy
Say goodbye

Will you sigh
Will you cry
As I place my heart and hands
Inside
Will you smile
As we cry
Say I’m crazy
Say goodbye

 

SMOKE

Also worth a mention, aside from it’s own mini-bio, each of these songs has a complementary piece of photoart created by yours truly as a cover. No small amount of work goes into putting these garage noises out into the world.

“So many songs are written for breakups, for romance, for lost love. Few discuss what happens after in a positive light. Society remains divided on the notion of remaining friends following the death of a romance. However, if we love another person so deeply, how can we claim to have loved them if we so easily say goodbye? ‘Smoke’ is an old time ballad about keeping your loved ones in your life, even after they’re gone.”

Dawn gave me grieving
A blizzard ablaze
Bombshells a’burning
Too little too late
For yonder my lover
Already round the bend

So I begged her
Would you remain my friend

For our smoke seems to linger
On houses and trains
Diamonds are duller
When the fire blows away
And no two shone dearer
Than we two engaged

So I beg you
Remain my friend

And if you never loved me
Would you be my friend
And if you’ll never love me
Would you be friend
And if you’d never love me
Would you be my friend
And you never love me
Would you be my friend

 

THE WEAKER SEX

So I have more stuff coming up on BandCamp quite soon. Releasing old stuff again, but it’s good stuff. In the meantime I’m going on a little journey, posting a bunch of the songs that are already up, along with the stories and lyrics that went with those songs.

It’s the weekend. Come on the journey with me, listen to the songs, and read the mini-tales.

Here’s the first one: ‘The Weaker Sex’.

There is no such thing as a ‘weaker sex’. We all have the capacity to destroy each other. There are few experiences comparable to living day to day on the whims of a lover incapable of deciding the importance of their paramour. Such a person appears weak, indecisive, but the person bearing the brunt of such lackluster love might see their coldness as incredibly strong. Sometimes we just long to be held, for the games to end, and for contentment to appear. Penned in 2013 and unreleased until 2015.

I won’t fight for you
I’m not that type
I don’t stand a chance
Against the meaner ones in life
Tell my lies
Pretend I’m careless
Fearless darkness
My coward light
Scared to death of everyone

I wish I had your strength
I wish I had your strength

Tell my sight
To see a better day at night
While you decide directions
With your secret heart fight
I’m not alright
Despite contrary affirmations
When you sigh
Another’s name
It just might break me

I wish I had your strength
I wish I had your strength
I wish I had your strength
I wish I had your strength
I wish I had your strength
I wish I had your strength

Baby put your pistols away
Hold my shadow pieces of me
Anger and despair are just a phase
And they fade
And they fade
And they fade

 

WINGS

Funny story, I wrote this song twice. With my shockingly inconsistent memory, sometimes whip-sharp and other times utterly vague, I sat in my bedroom circa 2014 writing down pieces of a song I was certain was something new, something rather sad and somewhat confusing given I wasn’t feeling that way at the time. A couple days later, I was updating my online services, and there it was. Not embarrassing in the slightest :O

“… an acoustic track dealing with relationship breakdown. A bedroom track about the painful emotions and occasional denial associated with realising a relationship has come to its end, ‘Wings’ was written in 2011 and released online in 2012. “

Love love love
Why are you out here on your own
I was already on my way
Love love love
Tell me who and what you’ve done
All I ever asked was honesty

I look into your eyes
I stare inside your face
And I know you’ll break my heart
I know what you will say

There was a moment where I thought you were an angel
There was a moment where I thought you were with me
For a minute there it seemed you weren’t a stranger
But now all I want to do every minute is spread my wings

Darling darling honey pie
Won’t you quit this path you’re on
I can give you almost anything
Oh sugar lover razor burn
Can’t you kill me kinder
Can’t you hold me like you promised that day

I look into your eyes
I stare inside your face
And I know you’ll break my heart
I know what you will say

There was a moment where I thought you were an angel
There was a moment where I thought you were with me
For a minute there it seemed you weren’t a stranger
But now all I want to do every minute is spread my wings

Oh darling don’t you tell me
This ain’t ecstasy
Oh baby come on give me
Something real

There was a moment where I thought you were an angel
There was a moment where I thought you were with me
For a minute there it seemed you weren’t a stranger
But now all I want to do every minute is spread my wings

 

 

 

 

NORTH OF NOWHERE

I wrote this one when I was in a band called KUNST, before the group turned decidedly heavy. It occurs to me now, years later, how strangely ironic it was, living beside one of the most beautiful beaches in the world but experiencing so much internal havoc. Regardless, at least I was gifted the blessing of channelling my particular perceptions into song.

“A song from 2009, ‘North of Nowhere’ is a pop-rock piece featuring the distorted sounds of an antique Hofner acoustic guitar no longer in existence. Lyrically, the story focuses on a lover looking back at better times before deciding to continue making a fist of a difficult relationship. Originally written for the band KUNST, the track was never used and was kept as a C Side.”

So it’s over
We’ve come back down
From pleasant dreams
And I hope
I have your attention
And I hope
I could draw you away
So it’s come down
To a place where we
Could never be
And I would always be
The saviour
And I hoped
I could draw you away

Never wanted to
Wannabe
Halfway home
With nowhere to go
And I remember
Promising
To never hope
That no-one was home

Well I hope
I have your attention
That I could
Draw you away
And I hope
That I could
Lend you an ear
That I could
Show you the way

Never wanted to
Wannabe
Halfway home
With nowhere to go
And I remember
Promising
To never hope
That no-one was home

Wiping

Over the last few years, despite experiencing trauma, abuse and loss, my heart remains on my sleeve. Optimism won’t budge either, and I sometimes wonder if in spite of depressive states and bleak realities, the capacity for hope is simply hardwired into my sternum. However, a less positive outcome has been a slowly growing ability for ‘wiping’. A habit previously unknown, the all too familiar internal mantra rings true more often than ever before: “you’re dead to me”.

Worse, the complementary habit of smiling to such people and continuing to exchange pleasantries has also entered my skill set. I feel no pride in this, such hypocrisy and two- faced pretentiousness has long been a sore spot for me. Yet here in my middle years, I find myself following the crowd more often, mentally slamming the door on some distasteful fool. Ensuring my pearls are not cast before swine, I offer the pretence of well-wisher.

Such habits might be positive if they were sincere. If I truly did wish every such person well, then I might give myself a pat on the back. Regrettably the reverse is true. The soothing words slide off my tongue, but in social confrontation with such individuals I remain seated in negative thoughts. Listening to those around me, daily, watching and hearing various conversations, I realise I am not alone. This is not comforting, as there is no honour in wiping someone and pretending to still have interest in their good fortune.

While I concede such thoughts and actions may be the result of a difficult series of hurtful events, a self-defence mechanism kicking in later than expected, still I am aware these habits are something of a sickness. Bitterness comes in many forms, and the capacity to no longer feel compassion for another human being is detrimental to the spirit. It occurs to me this condition is very far removed the spiritual goal of material detachment, instead residing in the realms of unresolved internal pain and attachment to past painful experience.

It remains to be seen if the condition will morph again, if forgiveness will once more attach to future compassion. When the individual concerned has no positive consequence in ones life, and in the lives of others, such views are difficult if not impossible to maintain. Regardless, the alternative ability to falsely ‘wipe’ people without complication, remains a blot I’d rather bleach out of my system. Hopefully the future holds only kindness, inside and out.