Here We Go Again – Day 1 NaBloPoMo 2017

Hey everyone,

After so much frantic writing recently for uni and work, I’ve decided that I obviously don’t do enough *facepalm* so I’ve signed up for NaBloPoMo 2017.

For those of you who are new to the concept, NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is a US organised event that encourages us to post every day for the month of November. Living in the southern hemisphere, November is one of the busiest months of the year for me, especially from a gardening point of view, so it might seem a little ambitious to do this challenge but I’ve managed to complete it successfully every year I’ve been involved.  I think this is my fourth time and while it looks daunting (and every year immediately makes me feel tired), I always get so much out of it, and trust me, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

For instance, it’s helped me focus my blog writing and be disciplined about what I do. Some of you might dispute that – I haven’t posted anything for weeks and feel quite bad about that – but life really does get in the way sometimes! Perhaps the most rewarding thing about doing this challenge is how it puts me in contact with other bloggers and the sense of global community that follows. I think this aspect alone is a great reason to try the challenge.

In the meantime, I’m planning to write about my urban farm as it’s spring here in Tasmania, the hens have produced yet another egg glut and everything is booming – especially the weeds! I’ll also be including some posts about what I’m currently doing at university, the music and food gardening programs I’m teaching, the food I’ve been cooking and mix in a movie/book/music review or two, which helps with my degree course.

So hold on, the ride’s about to start!

We’ll Keep On Going – Remembering Tony Cohen

Back in the dim, dark reaches of the last millennium, I was making music with a great bunch of folks here in Hobart. Together with Michael Turner, Dan Tuffy and Mel Fazackerley we made up Wild Pumpkins at Midnight.

Through Michael and Jo Volta (Stevens back then), we managed to get in Tony Cohen’s ear and he agreed to work with us on our first recording. It was a frantic, funny, at times frustrating but overall, an incredibly rewarding experience. Tony was insane, shambolic, intense – but literally amazing to work with. And for a new band, we knew how lucky we were to have him for the project. Working with him also led to meeting Chris Thompson, his great friend and the other very prominent engineer/producer in my time with WPAM.

These first sessions with Tony though, became the self-titled, bright yellow EP, with the little dancing figures in the bottom corner. People still talk to me about that first recording and even after 30 or so years, I’m proud of it. Looking (and listening) back, I can see how good Tony made us sound, and for that fact alone I will always be grateful.

We worked with Tony again over the years, hung out, made some questionable choices but always ended up falling about laughing courtesy of that razor-sharp Cohen wit. But, like so many people from those days, I lost touch with Tone over the years as other relationships, kids, physical distance and different lives got in the way. Occasionally Jo Volta would let me know what he was up to and I was always thinking I must catch up next time I’m in Melbourne.

And of course, now it’s too late and that makes me very sad.

It was only a brief moment in Tony’s stellar career, but I’ll leave you with my favourite track from that first EP.

 

Vale Tony, and thank you ❤

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 ❤

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 ❤

Pleasure and Pride – 3-track Demo Release

Hey everyone,

I realised today I haven’t posted anything here for such a long time! My life is incredibly busy with study, teaching and creating, but today I really want to stop and share a moment to take a whole heap of pleasure – and a lot of pride – in Straddlepuss‘ latest achievement.

Sara (Drums) Kirsty (Guitar/Vocals) & me (Bass)

Sara (Drums) Kirsty (Guitar/Vocals) & me (Bass)

Today we lauched our three-track demo on SoundCloud and so far, people seem to like it 😀 We recorded it down at The Belfry Studio, with the amazing Malcolm Battersby and we’re so pleased with the results.

On a personal note, I have to share how proud I am of my fellow band members, Sara Stevens on drums and Kirsty Leaf on guitar and lead vocals. About a year ago, Kirsty came to me for some singing lessons and she was just about to give up. I don’t know if I’ve ever had anyone come to me who was so unsure of themselves. Then she played me this incredible song that she’d written and I was completely sold on her, her voice and above all, her songwriting. She is an truly unique talent in the making and I feel incredibly privileged to be on this mad ride with her and Sara ❤

Have a listen and see what you think, I’d love to hear your feedback!

Meanwhile, it’s back to study for me, stay well everyone!

Debra ❤

A Future of Love

Usually, my posts are centred around music, writing and urban farming, but today is an exception. Most of you won’t be aware that I studied Sociology and Political Science, and worked for a time as a policy analyst for a Tasmanian politician.
With all the things that are seriously wrong with my country at present – our horrific treatment of legal asylum-seekers, our federal government’s head-in-the-sand attitude to climate change, our appalling and disrespectful bullying towards our neighbour Indonesia – I am heartened and inspired by this news story.
In this lecture, our current (alas, soon to be past) Governor General, proposes an Australia that I want to live and participate in.  
The full article, from ABC’s Radio National, includes audio from the speech.
This week, a momentous piece of legislation was passed into law in Tasmania. It is no longer a criminal offence to have an abortion in this state. And further, anti-abortion activists will not be able to protest directly outside clinics.
In recent times, there have been attempts to pass other forward-thinking bills in Tasmania, enabling death with dignity and same sex marriage, but sadly,  these were defeated. And now, with parliament concluded for the year, we approach a state election in early 2014 that will likely see a return to conservative state government, similar to the Abbott-led federal picture.
But nevertheless, Bryce’s speech has given me hope. Yes, it’s idealistic to suppose that we as a nation will all willingly embrace a republic, or even same sex marriage but surely we are prepared now to acknowledge the right of women to be treated with equality in our workplaces and in the choices we make in our lives.
I long for the day when I can celebrate with my friends and family our status as a republic, our rights to choose for ourselves what we do with our bodies, aren’t institutionally or financially discriminated against because of our gender and can marry whoever we love if we want to.
That’s a future that I can live with.

Upcoming Gigs for the End of the 2013

Now that I’ve finished recording The Lucky Six, it’s time to spend a little attention on two live shows I’ve got in the immediate future.

Firstly, this Sunday 24th November, my partner in mayhem and music – Malcolm Battersby – is joining me for The Richmond Festival. We’re performing as The Fringe Dwellers at the Songwriters’ Concert and we’re both looking forward to it immensely! There’s some great Tasmanian songwriters on the bill with us, Marc Smith, Peter Hicks and the wonderful Wolf Arrow Rain.

If you’re in southern Tasmania, it’s worth the trip out to Richmond. It’s a lovely little hamlet and I have it on good authority that the weather should be fine after a damp morning…….

In December, it will be ten years since the Australian Songwriters Association (Tasmania) reignited at The Telegraph Hotel. Apart from making me feel really old, it’s fabulous to see how many performers from those days are still playing in venues here in Tasmania as well as interstate and overseas. In honour of the occasion, a very special ASA night is planned for Wednesday 11th December at The Night Owl Cafe in Liverpool Street, Hobart. The best part for me is that students of mine, Cassie O’Keefe, Kirsty Leaf and the fabulous Jax will all be performing, along with myself and Mal.

I couldn’t be prouder!

ASA 11th Dec poster

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