Saying Goodbye

Yesterday evening, while dinner was cooking on the BBQ – a wonderful Australian summer tradition – I came into the house to look at my phone, mostly to stop myself from checking the yummy things too often.

The Guardian was saying David Bowie had died. At first I thought (I hoped) it was a hoax. I walked outside and told my partner. I started to cry.

It was a surreal moment, one that I won’t forget. I’m certain there are many of you out there who will have similar memories of where you were and what you were doing when you heard that Bowie was dead.

For me and many of my generation, David Bowie was much, much more than an incredibly talented musician, a brilliant showman, a fabulous and insightful songwriter, a trend setter.

He was one of us – another misfit, a freak who didn’t fit into the mainstream, who kept kicking against what we were told was “right”. He gave us hope, and for many of us, gave us a reason to keep going on days when the world could look a very dark place.

I was in love with Bowie from the first time I heard Space Oddity in the very late 60’s when I was still in primary school in a small country town. By the time he released Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars in 1972, I was on that hideous roller coaster called puberty, and my mother was (perhaps with some cause) starting to worry about me. All my school friends were into Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. A few of us were listening to The Who, Clapton, The Plastic Ono Band and The Doors (particularly L.A. Woman) but we were a minority and considered pretty weird by our fellows.

I remember we were allowed in early high school to bring posters of our favourite pop stars to decorate the classroom. I took a poster of the cover of Hunky Dory, with Bowie doing his best Lauren Bacall impersonation and the teacher asked me who “she” was. When I told her it was David Bowie, I had to take the poster home with a concerned note for my parents. For a while I tried to fit in, but who was I kidding? And there was this amazing, skinny, obviously drug addled English guy who was telling me it was okay to be different and not be a sheep.

Throughout the years, I kept coming back to Bowie and his current works. Not just for entertainment, (though that was mostly mighty fine) but for inspiration and instruction for my personal arts practice. In particular, Bowie’s interpretations of Jacques Brel and Bertold Brecht were and remain profoundly important to me. Also, it was an ongoing reassurance that it was still okay to be different. Actively embracing change and personal reinvention is an important part of my life thanks to him.

All these years later, I still come back to Bowie’s music and continually find new lessons in my craft.

Although I never met the man and sadly, never had to opportunity to see him live on stage, I feel like I’ve lost a favourite, incredibly chic, slightly disreputable uncle. You know, the one who takes you out partying when you’re still under age with a “hush, don’t tell your parents we did this” conspiratorial wink.

And when my time comes, I hope I’ll have the strength of character to make something as beautiful and powerful as Blackstar and, in particular write a song as gloriously human as Lazarus. 

Along with the rest of the planet, my thoughts are with his family and friends in these incredibly sad days.

Vale David Bowie, and thank you from the bottom of my still fiercely independent heart ❤

The Last Gig of 2015

Hi everyone, it’s been lovely to have a break from blogging but I’m itching to write again – there’s been so much going on!

It’s the busiest time of year for me in the garden – I’m planting out heat-hardy salad vegetables like mad to take advantage of our brief but often vicious summer. There’s been several kilos of fruit off the raspberry canes already and several more to come, basil is being cropped, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchinis and chillies are starting to ripen. On top of all this, I’m making some small wicking boxes this week for the front balcony, which gets all the morning sun and is great for tender salad greens.

A couple of weeks ago, local musician and friend George Begbie won the Rudy Brandsma Award at the ASA national awards in Sydney. Many of us who knew George when he first started performing were thrilled but not really surprised – he’s always been that good!

And my wonderful singing group at Oak Tasmania are playing at the in-house end of year BBQ this Friday. Rehearsals are getting tighter and more intense, we’re all getting excited about showing off some new skills. I hope there’ll be some photos I can share with you all from that too.

But tonight is my last public gig for 2015.

I’m playing a short set at The Homestead in support of my dear friend Matt Sertori. I’ve known Matt for many years and despite his seemingly irreverent lyrics, he is one of the most thoughtful, intense and inspiring performers around.

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There is a misconception that Matt playing solo is just a comedy act but I think it’s important to understand there are two distinct sides to this demanding performer. Listen to his (often scathing) lyrics and look behind the laughter, there are some deep and incredibly serious subjects being dealt with. Here, there is a depth to the writing and an intensity in performance that can be downright confronting.

I am honoured to be playing support tonight for many reasons. Matt is also the man who drew me into the ASA over a decade ago and instigated the supportive, mentoring attitude that prevailed until quite recently. If you’re in or around Hobart I urge you to come and listen to this most fascinating and complex songwriter. And say hello – I love catching up with you all.

Take care wherever you are ❤

The Blog Challenge – NaBloPoMo 2015

Hi everyone,

It’s coming towards the end of the year (where did the last twelve months go?) and that means we’re getting close to National Blog Posting Month – NaBloPoMo.

The challenge is to write a blog post every day for the month of November and it’s really quite challenging to keep it fresh and interesting – from a writing perspective as much as for the audience. I’ve done it once before, two years ago. I had no home internet connection and did the whole thing from my mobile phone. If I can do that, this year is going to be easy 😉

If you’re inclined to challenge yourself writing-wise, click on the badge in the sidebar and get involved. It’s really a lot of fun and I personally found it a great learning experience.

Take care wherever you are ❤

The Busy-ness of Spring – Upcoming Shows

Chestnut Tree Spring Oct 2015

Hello friends,

I love spring. The cycle of the seasons visibly turns and every day brings new things in the garden, the chickens are laying more eggs than we can keep up with, and here in Hobart we’re coming out of the hibernation of winter and starting to go out again.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb Fool

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

Wee Beastie Sourdough

Wee Beastie Sourdough

 

And I’ve been busy! In the kitchen I’ve been making Vanilla Ice Cream and Baked Coffee Cheesecake with the excess eggs, brewing and bottling cider, making Rhubarb Fool from the mass of spring rhubarb and my weekly “Wee Beastie” Sourdough. It’s been absolutely wonderful to eat so well, with so much produce coming directly out of the garden.

The garden is always a work in progress but I’ve started planting out climbing beans this week, there’s basil in the Seeds and Basil Seedlings Oct 2015greenhouse and too many vegetable seedlings coming on to mention.

And there’s music happening too! I’m in the middle of a unit in Creative Writing for my second major through Griffith University. For my final assessment I’m planning to write a portfolio of new pieces that will become new songs. Depending how it goes, perhaps the core of another album.

Meanwhile, there’s gigs coming up too.

This Sunday at The Brunswick Hotel in Hobart, I’m playing a short set out in The Yard (the beer garden) with a bunch of other local musicians, including the incredibly talented Cassie O’Keefe and my friend Matt Dean. Very pleased also that this is a family friendly show, so feel free to bring your young music-lovers 🙂

Thursday 19th November, I’m sharing a night with Cassie at The Homestead in Elizabeth Street, one of my favourite places to go and hang out with friends. No idea what’s going to happen that one – we might even work out some songs to play together!

Friday 20th November, I’ll be doing the early spot at The Globe Hotel in Davey Street. If you haven’t caught this weekly event yet, I really recommend it. It’s organised by Kevin Gleeson who basically loves all kinds of music and is good friends with so many of us. It’s a great excuse to hang out and have a good time with mates.

And there’s more on the horizon! If you want to keep up to date with my shenanigans, hook up with me on Facebook here.

Yep, it’s spring and it’s busy – just how I like it.

Wherever you are, be well friends ❤

New Playlist

And because it’s Friday – the best reason for everything – I’ve updated the playlist in the sidebar.

For your listening pleasure, I’ve uploaded three tracks from the digital download version of my solo album, “The Woman on The Edge of The World”.

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

It’s recently been remastered for a limited, numbered and signed CD release. More news on that soon – including ordering directly from here.

Meanwhile, have a listen and let me know what you think. I always value your comments.

Debra ❤

Winter – Southern Style

March Snow 2015

Wow, it’s June already! Who stole my year and can I have it back please? I don’t know about the rest of you but life’s been a blur the past six months.

Yesterday was the first day of winter here in the southern hemisphere and it was a reminder that the year is marching on. Firstly, there was snow on the mountain, our second reasonable fall in a couple of weeks. Yes, we had heavy snow in March this year, very unusual for this part of the world (see the pic above, snow to approx. 200m/220 yards!) The garden is looking a little shabby as it always does this time of year, with fallen leaves that need raking and using as mulch, fruit trees that need attention and weeds competing with winter vegetables. Nevertheless, I love winter gardening in Hobart on those crisp, sunny days that we generally see so many of through June and July.

The chickens are looking equally tatty, all five of the old girls are in various stages of molting, and because of the shorter day length, no eggs at present. On the up side, the rabbits are thriving. They much prefer the cooler weather and all three have very luxurious winter coats, plenty of food, bedding straw and shelter.

Bunnies at Breakfast 2 June 2015

 

Out of view in this photo is a heavy duty enclosure that I’ve fitted with a tarp, where each of the bunnies gets a chance to run around, feast on grass and get plenty of exercise. I have been known to go and have a break in there with them, which usually means rabbit cuddles. Life’s hard ❤

And June heralds a new study period at online university, this time my first unit for a Creative Writing major. It’s really interesting as a much-lauded songwriter and lyricist that I’m going back to basics but my mantra throughout life is that you can never know it all – there’s always new things to learn.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m studying online through Griffith University and even a few days in, I’m really enjoying the course material, meeting new people on the discussion board who have a similar passion for words and the prospect of learning new things, new ways of doing what I love.

Hopefully, this will mean more regular blog posts!

Take care everyone and see you soon

Debra ❤

All at Sea

I’ve been busy this year.

I feel like I’ve lost a couple of months somewhere, it’s been so hectic and now I realise that spring is here and I haven’t done half the things I meant to this calendar year. But I have managed a few that I wasn’t expecting!

The university experience has been wonderful so far although I won’t pretend I’ve enjoyed every unit. At the moment, I’m preparing papers on two of my favourite things – Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and the personal still camera. And I’ve had to watch classic films such as Rear Window and Citizen Kane. Yes, I’m loving my units this semester!

But today I’ve been distracted from study. Tomorrow night I’m playing at a House Concert in Hobart with wonderful Queensland singer/songwriter Francesca de Valence and Hobart duo Butterscotch Pony in one of their all-too-rare live shows. However, instead of doing a solo set or playing with the wonderful girls in Straddlepuss (more on that next time!) I’m doing a special set with dear friend (and half of Butterscotch Pony), Matt Sertori.

We’ve been friends for a long time and decided early in the year that we wanted to do a music project together that included a documentary about our personal process and the creative world that we inhabit. We’ve done some filming already but will be adding to it at this gig. Meanwhile, our trusty doco guru, Josh Troy put this little gem together to promote this event. I hope it makes you laugh as much as it did all of us!

Please note, there’s some bad language at the end 😉

And we really did decide to call it ‘All at Sea’. The moral of the story is Matt has the attention span of a flea…………  ❤

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