Sunshine at Last! – Day 16 NaBloPoMo 2016

I’m really tired tonight.

Last night I went out and celebrated Meraki Management’s 1st birthday, had a drink (yes, only one!), listened to some wonderful local, original music and caught up with lots of friends – it was lovely! There’s a fabulous vibe in Hobart at the moment valuing live music, which in many ways is bucking against the global trend. Long may it prosper!

This morning I slogged away at more weeding and prepared another area for tomatoes. It was overcast but very muggy, and as the morning progressed, the cloud burned away and it ended up being a really lovely day. But tomorrow is forecast to be increasingly windy and 29 C (84 F), well above average for this time of year.

I hope all my baby beans survive but this is perfect for the raspberry bed, which is looking like a wonderful (and early) crop this season.

With overnight temperatures only predicted to go down to 11 C (52 F) and no rain likely until next Tuesday, I’ll probably be up early and out watering everything before it gets too hot. Although I live close to central Hobart and have mains water, I like to use rainwater out in the yard. I’ve plumbed a gravity feed line down the the back corner and the greenhouse and I have a small electric pump that provides mains pressure. It’s a good system but I’m continually tweaking it. Over the coming months, I’m planning to set out extra lines off the gravity feed with soaker hoses that I can turn on and off as needed. It’s a big job and quite fiddly, so I’m happy to take it one bed at a time.

Tonight I had the house to myself and being tired, I decided on a very simple dinner. A piece of fresh fish, a little butter and everything else from the garden. I cooked off chopped garlic in the butter, added a sliced mushroom (from the compost bags again!) and once that had softened, I pushed it aside and put the fish in. Once I turned it, I tossed in shredded silverbeet and sliced fresh snow peas. I covered the pan for a minute or two while I got a plate and cutlery ready, serves the veggies first and put the just cooked fish on top. It was delicious!

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Tomorrow after watering, I have to finish off my last assignment for my current unit. I decided to put myself way outside my comfort zone and prepare a draft for a children’s picture book. Maybe that’s what I’ll write about tomorrow for NaBloPoMo.

Sometimes I don’t know why I do this to myself!

Goodnight friends, be well and I’ll see you tomorrow ❤

A Star is Born! (And a Sunday Gig)

Back in August (before life got seriously weird) I told you all about my friend Callum, who I’ve had the privilege of working with the last few months. Well, I’m extremely proud to say that his debut was the most fun I’ve had in ages and a resounding success!

Meraki Management runs a beautiful gig each Thursday called UNLOCKED at a The Waratah Hotel here in Hobart. It’s designed to nurture new music and let emerging artists rub shoulders with more experienced performers. And it was the perfect forum for Callum to strut his stuff.

The lounge was packed with Callum’s wonderful family, most of the staff from OAK Tasmania and his extensive network of friends. And he didn’t disappoint! Sadly, I haven’t been able to get any good footage to share with you all – it was one of those “you had to be there” moments.

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At the end of his set, he thanked his family and friends, turned to me and said “oh yeah, thanks to my assistant”. In a true Wayne’s World moment, I bowed down – not worthy!

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It was a night to remember! After we played, Callum worked the room like a real pro, making sure he thanked and talked to everyone who came to support him. Something many performers neglect, but it gives an idea of the sort of person he is, polite, kind-hearted but with a wicked sense of humour. He even got hold of a marker pen and signed people’s wrists. Like most folks there, I was the proud bearer of an autograph. It was sad when I finally washed it off ❤

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In the meanwhile Callum’s back at rehearsal. We’re getting more songs together, looking for gigs and planning a recording in the near future. This is incredibly exciting news and I’m really proud to be involved in bringing this young man to a wider audience.

And for those of you in southern Tasmania, I’m playing at another Meraki Management show tomorrow, Noteworthy at Customs House Hotel, down on Hobart’s beautiful waterfront. Also on the bill are two friends, Matt Dean and Ian Murtagh and it’ll be great to catch up with them too. It’s the first time I’ve played a full set in quite a while and I’m looking forward to it. Playing music is like gardening for me – great therapy 😀

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Introducing Callum!

Hi everyone,

I’ve got some fabulous news! I’m proud to announce that one of my students is going to make his debut performance with me at Meraki Management‘s UNLOCKED gig Thursday 25th August at The Waratah Hotel in Hobart.

Callum is a really great guy who is working towards a Duke of Edinburgh award through OAK Tasmania. For those who aren’t familiar, the DofE is open to young people under 25 and comprises four areas the participant has to complete – service, physical recreation, skills and an adventurous journey. We identified that learning to play the guitar is a skill and performing in front of an audience in a public place would certainly be an adventurous journey. It takes a lot to get up in front of a group of strangers for the first time but this man loves music and is determined to do well. And it’s that level of passion and commitment that makes it all worthwhile from my perspective as a teacher.

Both Callum and I are indebted to the wonderful Amy Fogarty from Meraki Management who has been so supportive, everyone at OAK but especially Teena who has guided both of us through the process.

It’s been a lot of really hard work but Callum is a great student and a natural performer. I’m really looking forward to it 🙂 If you’re in Hobart Thursday 25th please come down and support us. We’re on at 7pm ❤

Rock star in the making!

Rock star in the making!

PS: The Superstars have been making a video! More about that next post 🙂

 

Introducing – The Superstars!

I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks but life got in the way as it tends to. Nevertheless, here it is!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends around the world,

Let me introduce you to The Superstars 😀

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The Superstars [photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

From left to right: Megan, Kelli-Lee, Kathryn, Sally, me, Jacqui, Brendon and Tim.

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to get a weekly gig, playing music every Monday at OAK Tasmania. OAK do a lot of things but where I work, they provide recreational services to people with disabilities. My job was basically to be a human jukebox for an hour and a half every week to a discerning and quite demanding audience!

As time progressed, I started to make some really strong friendships with some of the folks I was playing for and I eventually started doing a separate session, tutoring a group that performed at the in-house end of year parties.

Since the start of this year I’ve been working one morning a week with a smaller crew and we’re playing our first show later this month. I’m unbelievably proud of these people and how hard they work – and I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we have together!

We talked a lot about a name and Kathryn (our newest member) came up with The Superstars! We all agreed it was the best description of everyone in the group, who all bring something special to the songs we perform.

In particular, I’ve been working a lot with Jacqui, who was very uncertain about crowds, doesn’t like lots of noise and tends to be quite shy. Now, she joins in the general silliness, even dances sometimes and she sings – wow does she sing! We’ve become quite close and I treasure her kind, gentle, loving friendship.

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Jacqui and me [photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

I believe everyone has talents and abilities that you might not see at first glance and these wonderful people are no different. I’m privileged to work with them ❤

Hobart folks, The Superstars will be performing at the Ability to Create art exhibition opening at Waterside Pavilion Friday May 27th at 1 pm. Come down and celebrate with us 😀

More Goodbyes

Hello friends,

It’s been a rough month. In fact, it’s been a really rough year and it’s only April. I confess I’ve been putting off writing this even though I know the act of doing so will be therapeutic.

In late February, my friend Jeff Weston passed away after a long illness, then another elderly friend passed away in early March. Late last month, my friend Leon Turner passed away peacefully up in New South Wales. I met him in the early 1980s through his youngest son Michael, who is a truly gifted songwriter and still the best rhythm guitarist I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Leon was cheeky, irreverent and had a delightfully wicked sense of humour. I’m sad that I couldn’t make it up to his memorial service but he will not be forgotten by me and all who knew him.  Vale to The Cuddly Man ❤

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Leon Michael Turner 1930-2016

Then, last week my friend Kevin Gleeson passed away. Although he was a handy bass player, Kevin was best known in music circles across Tasmania and interstate for his fierce passion for live local music. There are very few musicians in the original scene statewide (and across all genres) who wouldn’t have come across Kevin as a sound engineer, gig promoter, or enthusiastic punter who just loved going to live gigs. He helped many of us any way he could and was always thinking of new gigs he could set up to showcase new acts as well as keep people like me with paid shows. He didn’t do it for any monetary gain, he did it because he loved the music and the people who made and performed it.

Last week, I went into 936 ABC Hobart with Katie Warren (another incredibly talented local muso) and we talked on air about Kevin and what he meant to us. It was undoubtedly one of the hardest gigs I’ve ever had to do. (Huge thanks to Jo Spargo for making this link available.)

Perhaps the most difficult thing about Kevin’s passing is how sudden it was, although he had been seriously ill for several years. And unlike the other folks I’ve been mourning, he was relatively young – a similar age to me. It hammers it home how precious and fleeting this life is. Vale my friend, may you rest easy ❤

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Kevin Gleeson 1960-2016 [Photo by Mark Young]

As I said recently on social media, I don’t place much store in concepts of any kind of afterlife, but I hope that Kev is having a great time at The Big Gig in the Sky, dancing forever with his beloved, who also left us way too soon a few years ago.

So, my mantra is live your life well, with honesty and integrity and love unreservedly.

Life is short.

The Joy of Books – Day 30 NaBloPoMo

I love writing, I love reading and I love books.

One of the joys of living in one place for an extended period means I’ve managed to collect some quite rare titles and (particularly since I’ve been back at university) amassed a pretty nice Film Studies library.

My favourite local bookshop is a wonderful place called Cracked and Spineless New & Used Books. It’s a fabulous place run by Richard and Mike. Over the years they have become my friends as well as my book sellers, even to the point of getting in obscure text books I need for study. They also have a great collection of used books and often post excellent deals on their Facebook page. It’s always crowded and I often bump into friends there but the thing I love most about Cracked and Spineless is that I feel welcome. In this age of bookstores that feel more like supermarkets, this place is much warmer and real. No matter where you live, support your local bookstore – they are important!

Cracked and Spineless

Today, apart from being the last day of the NaBloPoMo challenge is also the beginning of my birthday week, and this year I decided to really treat myself. Richard, who is also a music fan managed to get two copies of the Mick Rock mega photo book The Rise of David Bowie. I am now the proud owner of one 😀

I cannot begin to explain how gorgeous this thing is. From the box it came in (printed pink and black), the textured, vibrant teal foldout case, to the smell of the book, this is a thing of immense beauty. And that doesn’t even begin to describe the photographs by Mick Rock. They are disarming, charming and always lush.

As Richard said to me tonight, this is one of the coolest books on the planet. I feel very lucky to have been in a position to buy it.

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Thanks to all of you who’ve liked or followed my blog over the NaBloPoMo challenge, it’s been great fun and I’ve enjoyed reading lots of your blogs throughout the month.

Take care all, I’ll be back soon! ❤

A Lazy/Busy Day – Day 12 NaBloPoMo 2015

Well, I’ve managed to do not very much today apart from write, and (so far) I’m pretty okay with it.

There’s a big easterly rain front over Tasmania and there’ll be little gardening action until Saturday afternoon. Usually, I’m the kind of person who has a checklist of things that I want to achieve every day, even if they’re ongoing tasks like music rehearsal, feeding “Wee Beastie” my sourdough plant, or tending to the animals. Writing tends to be shunted aside for when there’s time, especially at the moment, which is the busiest season in the garden.

Instead today, I’ve been writing poetry pieces for a university assignment and scoping out my 500 word exegesis. The concept of an exegesis is interesting, it’s a lot like writing liner notes for a recording or an introduction to a book but digs a little deeper into what informed the creation of the piece. In fact, many writers have used introductions as a type of exegesis, and they make fascinating reading for students of writing like me.

I recently read Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, his latest collection of short fiction and I was really inspired by the introduction. Apart from the generalities, he offers a few notes about each story and it was really very instructive.

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Meanwhile, I imagine the water tanks are full again *happy dancing* so I’m going to find my raincoat and head down the yard soon to collect eggs, pick salad for tonight’s dinner, do the evening feed and check for any new mushrooms. I buy bags of supposedly spent compost and usually get quite a lot out of them this time of year – and today’s humid, wet weather is perfect. Hopefully, there’ll be mushrooms on toast tomorrow 😀

Mushrooms from the garden - note the pencil for size!

Mushrooms from the garden

What’s your favourite way to spend a rainy day? Leave a comment – I love to hear from you!

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