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 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 ❤

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 ❤

The Green Album – Where All Things are ‘Pozible’

Hi everyone,

It’s been way too long since I posted anything, but life habitually gets in the way of blogging!

Meanwhile, a quick post to hopefully make you all think about supporting something really worthwhile…….

A musician friend and fellow singing teacher, Rachel Taylor has put up a Pozible crowd funing campaign for her project, The Green Album 

The incredibly talented Rachel Taylor

The incredibly talented Rachel Taylor

In itself, this is a pretty big deal, as Rachel is a performer and writer I’ve known and admired for many years and this is her first solo recording. But I think the really big deal here is that she wants to make a sustainable album. I’ve known Rachel since she was a young girl, I actually met her through her parents. Her father Alan is also a fabulous musician and gifted poet – in fact her whole family are pretty wonderful!

Rachel performing with her father Alan

Rachel performing with her father Alan

Wherever you are on the planet have a look at her proposal and if you like the idea as much as I do, please get behind it. There’s a Facebook event page ‘Make “The Green” Album Pozible‘ with news and updates.  Also, I highly recommend having a listen to her previous work on SoundCloud. She is a very talented performer worthy of notice – Tasmania has so many – and I’m so pleased she’s doing this!

Meanwhile, take care and I’ll be back soon!!

🙂

Back on the Line! Playing Catch-up with a Virtual Life

After six months with just my trusty mobile phone, I’m extremely happy to announce that I’ve got a home broadband connection again. Despite having the WordPress app on my phone, it’s just not the same as this interface on my laptop.

It’s good to be back – but now the big job of catching up begins! So much has been happening this southern summer, and as always, some of it’s been good and some of it’s been really bad.

On the “utterly brilliant” end of the spectrum, I’ve finished my first fully online unit through Griffith University. Despite only having my mobile for connection, I managed a surprising high distinction and I have to thank some beautiful friends in Hobart for letting me leach their net regularly to stay on top of things. Thank you Lauren and Patsi ❤ you two are wonderful! I’m well into my second unit now and starting to really enjoy the challenge of study again.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be finalising digital stuff for my most recent recording and playing catch up with getting cd’s out and about. And for those of you in southern Tasmania, I’m playing at the next ASA show on Wednesday, 9th April. Once again, we’re at The Night Owl in Liverpool Street, Hobart.

ASA 9th April poster

I’ll also have details to reveal soon about a new songwriting/recording/documentary project, plus a live, all-girl punk band I’m playing with called Straddlepuss.

And finally, being back online with a fibre connection means I can at long last offer Skype music lessons to you all. I can’t believe it was October last year when I first wrote about this and it’s taken until now to get it off the ground! If you’re interested, fill out the contact form – and the first lesson is free 😉

There’s been sadness too but I’m not dwelling on that today.

Today is a day for cheering!

Take care friends,

Debra ❤

Back to University and Beautiful Friends

Well, today is momentous. I am now officially back at University! I’m a little scared still but very excited about getting back into scan reading mountains of papers and books for references, making coherent arguments in essays and referencing it all correctly – oh dear, what have I done??!!! No, seriously – it’ll be fun once I get back into the swing 😉

Thanks to my beautiful friends Lauren and Patsi, I’ve been able to log on and join in the discussion board and download extra material that Griffith University didn’t post to me. Yes, I still don’t have a dedicated internet connection at home and sadly, I haven’t been able to keep up with my NaBloPoMo committments, but I’m doing my best.

Over the weekend, I also had some great times with other beautiful friends, namely Jax and Malcolm Battersby. Mal and I played a really nice gig at the Richmond Festival. It was the inaugural Songwriters Concert at the festival and we got to work with some great local artists and the organiser – champion of original music, Roger Joseph.

The other truly beautiful thing is I heard a new song Jax’s written (as yet untitled) and it’s just gorgeous. I understand she’s going to debut it live at the ASA December 11th gig and I can’t wait to hear it again! I heard a rough from Belfry Studio but once the mix is finalised, it’ll be up on Jax’s Triple J Unearthed page. It’s so satisfying to see someone with so much raw talent start to blossom into a confident and accomplished writer and recording artist – it’s really inspirational!

All in all, a very satisfying time in my life – despite the lack of home internet.

Take care everyone and have a wonderful day too, wherever you are

Debra 🙂

Mal & Jax 24 Nov 2013

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