Whoa, baby

Sitting here tonight, listening to (and loving) the new Black Keys album, my head feels more than a little messed up. Let’s recap the last 3 and a bit days, shall we?

Work (potentially one of the worst work days ever), car trip, ferry ride to Luna Park, Modest Mouse at the Big Top (AWESOME BTW), home to the boys house with intention of sleep that didn’t really pan out, phone call at 2 in the AM, mad race to the hospital, helped deliver a baby, drove straight to work from the hospital mid morning, another truly CRAPTASTIC day at work, takeaway and TV (and not the Baseball gig, which I was okay with at the time given the level of wrecked I was feeling, but since reading this review regret missing more than a bit), SLEEP blissful sleep (including falling asleep and drooling on the boy in front of said TV) a play, visit to the hospital, dinner at Forbes & Burton, SLEEP, North Carolina VS Kansas.

And then home.

Wait, what? A baby you say? YES, that’s right. It seems to me, when trying to get my head around it, that Hellen has been pregnant forever. I know it’s only been (a little less then) 9 months, but in my head it has felt like a really long time. And then before we knew it it was all up on us. And it WASN’T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN while Tony was in Townsville. But the little dude IS the son of his mother and as a result had to be as contrary has he possibly could be.

When I said to her last week at the baby shower that I was concerned about her being on her own that one night her Mum couldn’t stay, and that she was to CALL ME if she needed ANYTHING, most of me truly hoped she wouldn’t need to make that call. Because he was supposed to wait until Mum and Dad were in the same state. Deakin had other plans.

I got the call, like I said, just after 2. I broke land speed records between Potts Point and Sydenham and we got to the hospital at some time that I can’t remember because most of it is a real blur. Thereafter came a lot of hours of sitting in a room listening to his heartbeat over a monitor that she had strapped to her belly. It was really hypnotic, and in a way really comforting, to hear his little heartbeat filling the room. A steady stream of doctors and nurses and midwives kept us both awake, and before we knew it we were in the operating theatre. Because the contrary little bugger was breach and wouldn’t turn.

And it was AMAZING. They say that to witness the birth of a child, even one that isn’t your own, will change your life. And I’m here to testify to that truth. It didn’t make me maternal, or clucky, or anything else that other women have told me. I’m not sure I’m that kind of girl. What it DID do was completely change the way I see life and our general place in the world. To see a little person take his first breaths in the world, and open his eyes and focus on his mother for the first time, was the most humbling experience. And to see my best friend achieve what she did, without the support of the most important person in the world to her, and be so strong about it, was truly phenomenal. She is amazing. All women are amazing. Fact.

A few things really stand out to me about the night. The conversation Hell and I had in the early hours of the morning before the birth, for one. We’re both really busy, and both in relationships, and because of the pregnancy have had less chance to catch up over drinks like we used to. It felt a little like borrowed time in a way – it was so good to just sit and talk and catch up with her, but part of me knew that the second we went into that operating room the whole world would change, and it was unlikely I would get her to myself again. At least for a very long time.

Secondly, it was the way the whole night panned out with some sort of crazy karmic foreseeness. For mid week gigs I’ll rarely stay with the boy. I usually hike back out to Windsor, liking to get the drive out of the way and an extra hour’s sleep in the morning. So I was in the city where normally I wouldn’t have been. Secondly, I texted Hellen from the gig. I never do this, but it was Modest Mouse and the last time I saw them I was with her. So I texted her saying I was thinking of her and hoped she was okay. She texted me back telling me to float on enough for her as well and that she’d see me soon. Hah. And because I’d sent that text she was pretty sure I’d still be in the city, so felt okay making the call. Also, I have never before parked right outside the boy’s house. I usually, if I’m parking near his place, drive up to the Cross and park at the parking station there because parking in Potts Point is diabolical to say the least. But on Thursday night I fluked a park barely 20 metres from his front door, so when I got the call the car was right there. I don’t really believe in fate and what not, but there’s a general feeling that the universe was looking after things that night.

I think something like this kinda shifts everything a little off centre. It’s not just the gravity of the experience – it kinda moves everything around it, too. Work feels different, and home feels different. And the future feels different too. Everything has a different energy about it – I guess it’s all energy and life force and vibrations and what have you, and you need to just move with it lest you’re mown over by it.

It was hard, going into work on Friday morning, concentrating on clients, paper work, and the somewhat petty concerns of what is going on there right now. It all seems mighty trivial, and on some level I really hope that I don’t lose that feeling. The feeling that there is a greater sense of things and that really, in the grand scheme of everything, most stuff doesn’t matter.

So this week I am going to concentrate on the Good Things. Like the new Black Keys album. And thoughts of my birthday on Thursday, and of the boy (because he is just plain wonderful and I don’t care if I’m gushing again because he is), and Bowie, and a day off on Friday, and the future in general really. Because from this point in my life I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. And it’s a pretty great feeling.

You remind me of home

The rain is falling. In Windsor at least. It’s the end of a pretty damn wonderful long weekend and I am sitting here at the ol’ lap top with my cat on the desk to my right. Where he should be. He had a sleepover this weekend, with his friends Crackers and Briscoe, so when I got home this afternoon he wasn’t here. It really didn’t feel right – I kept looking for his little face around corners or through doorways. I’m so looking forward to a time when I have everything and everyone I love under the same roof.

Today I said goodbye to Angela. UK Angela, not Wagga Angela. Just in case you were wondering. She’s heading back to the UK after an insane bout of homesickness that really at points during the last 12 months in particular had me worried for her mental health. The thing is, regardless of how independent you are, you really can’t do things completely on your own. You can’t make your way without some form of support, whether it’s family or friends or a partner or whatever.

Also, often the thing you think you want turns out to be something else altogether. A physical place, a geographical location, a house – all these things are not a home. It’s the people that make home. Home for me, for a long time, was Wagga. Even living in Epping, if people asked where I was from, I’d say Wagga. Then home was a combination of Wilberforce and Newtown. There were times when that little, beaten up old house in Newtown, with Hell and Tony, was more ‘home’ than any other place I’d ever been. Home for me right now is a combination of Potts Point and Windsor. Wagga is more a place of origin for me now, rather then somewhere I call home.

And the idea of home for me is becoming a bit more abstract. It’s not a physical location – it’s perhaps the idea of walls and a roof, but it’s much more than that. It’s a conversation about religion or a joke about the Portland Trailblazers or a Bon Iver CD. It’s a space in between a head and a shoulder where my head fits just so. It’s take away Thai food and sitting on a bus sharing headphones. It’s sharing that moment at a gig right as the lights go down, before one of your favourite bands in the world come out on stage. I mean, I’m sure it’ll come to mean other things, and ultimately it’ll shift back to being equally about the physical space, but right now these things are part of what ‘home’ means to me.

It’s a new kind of normal.

Home for Angela is the United Kingdom. I’ve accepted that now. For a long time it was a combination of the UK and at various times Camden, Campbelltown and Rose Meadow. Part of me really believed, though, that she’d be here forever. She was just always THERE – reliable as Teflon, and always good for venting about whatever was on your mind. She understood my boss and my job. There are few people in the world I can say this about, and it’s more comforting than I can put in words. I feel like I spend far too much time in this life explaining my job. Also, she was the one who told me, maybe 3 years ago, that I was in a rut. This was at a time when I was (rather masterfully I thought at the time) telling myself I was doing so well in moving on and getting on with things. Not so much. And she called me on it. And at the time I was suitably indignant, but it took me roughly a week to get over myself and figure she was right. And in way she was part of the impetus of a lot of things.

I don’t like saying goodbye. I’m the sort of girl who chooses friends very carefully rather then collects acquaintances. I chose her and held on to her for a reason, and it sucks to be letting her go. I guess the real test of a friendship is the feeling you get when it either ends or completely changes course (like this one just has). Tonight, as well as feeling a genuine sadness, I feel thankful. Thankful that our paths did cross, that my lunatic boss did bring us together back in 1998, and thankful for what our friendship gave me.

I not a believer in fate, but I think you hang on to people for a reason. Tomorrow both she and her two ponies will be in an aeroplane over the sea. I hope, with all my heart, she finds what she is looking for.

Because I am a joyful girl

I’m a domestic disaster area tonight. When I got home I decided to do the housework type things – well and truly get them out of the way – before the week starts. Things like washing and ironing (bleh) and changing the towels. Only tonight I succeed (in this order) to flood the kitchen, break a drawer, burn a finger and knock myself out on a cupboard door.

I think the universe is telling me I’m not some sort of domestic goddess. Note to universe: this is not news to me.

Last week had a very weird mojo about it. It could have been due to having two 3 day weekends sandwiching a 3 day working week. You’d think this would help the good mojo though, right? But last week everyone and everything was a little left of normal. The insane were relatively sane, and some people I rely on to be sane felt like they were a little out beyond it all, just outside of my reach.

It’s like that with people sometimes. It’s one of the most intensely frustrating things there is – particularly with people very close to you. You feel like you’re reaching and grasping and chasing all the time and all you’re getting is fistfuls of thin air. And it’s a truly vulnerable place to be in – particularly when the person is one of your people and so as a result there is a lot at stake. You wonder what you might have done or said or not done or not said, and you start to think that perhaps this person being outside of your inner circle has come to be the Way Of Things. And sometimes that’s just what happens. People stay outside of your grasp, or move into someone else’s. And sometimes you gotta let them slip away.

And then there are the people who are just there. Every time you reach out to them, metaphorically, or via email, or literally in the night, there they are. And not only are they there, but they come back at you and envelop you and reciprocate in a way that on one hand is a completely new experience and on the other feels like it was there all along.

Is there a better word in the world than joy? I was thinking this tonight, driving around the city. I was driving around the city because I got lost. I got lost because I decided in my infinite (well, Sunday afternoon) wisdom to head home via Castle Hill rather than the M5. Because I needed wool. And well, that’s a whole other story, but while I was driving I got to thinking about joy and all its forms and the word generally. I’m not sure it’s a tangible thing. Like, something you can put your finger on or point to or illustrate. I think it’s just an overall inner sunshine – something that bursts from within you that you can’t contain. Joy should be the kind of emotion that bursts, don’t you think?

I got joy joy joy in my soul tonight.

Just enough sweetness

So about 3 years ago Angela and I were in a discount store (I’m not sure which one, I guess it’s not important) in Campbelltown. She was looking for salad servers or something equally boring, and I (as I’m kinda prone to do) started ambling on my own up and down isles; picking things up, putting them down and randomly boggling at some of the stuff people will lay money down for. We’d been going all morning and I had a hankering for something sweet, so I picked up some jelly beans before we left. They were called ‘Smart Beans’, and on the pack was the tagline ‘They actually help you think!’ I was highly dubious but I’ll try anything once.

I get the jelly beans out of the store and bust them open as we’re walking back to the car. After a couple I stop in my tracks and declare to Angela and probably everyone else on the street at the time ‘these may be the best jelly beans I have ever tasted’. They were really, truly awesome. Anyway, after this day I was on a constant search for Smart Beans. Every discount store I went past was checked, and I know Angela was on the trail too. Gradually, as these things go, I gave up looking and so did she I thought.

This Christmas I open my gift from her and there they were – Smart Beans. I’m not sure how the hell she found them, but the fact that she was still looking, and the fact that she remembered, means more than words can say. They’ve come in little packets this time, rather than one big one, but they’re still the same jelly beans on the inside. And the orange ones are still the best.

Mmm, smart...

Time may change me, but I can’t trace time

Change is a funny thing. I grew up surrounded by people who were not only repelled by it, but steadfastly pulled against it or anything resembling it. I lived in one house from when I was born, till I was 6. I lived in a second house from 6 until I left home (properly) at 20. I pretty much left home directly into my first serious (in the true meaning of serious) relationship.

It’s no wonder I reacted badly to the demise of that relationship – at the time it was the one stable, steady, unchanging thing I had in my life.


At the end of my relationship with Alan there were a lot of changes in quick succession. I moved around 6 times in 12 months. I pared my belongings down to 3 pieces of furniture and a car load. I decided I was going to be very good at my job and so worked very hard in that direction. At the same time, though, I was subconsciously placing myself in a rut so I was back where it was comfortable and stable.

Anyway, whole other story for a whole other night, and the reason I got onto this was because of the wedding this weekend. It’s nice, sometimes, to know some things never change. Brett in a lot of ways through uni was my mental savoir. I’ve always found it easier to be friends with guys rather than girls, and he and I pretty much hit it off from orientation. He was always so dorky and awkward, but on the other hand had a wicked sense of humor and was the life of the party, particularly when he was pissed. I have memories of he and I standing in a very long queue of very quiet people waiting for a bus, and him dropping suddenly onto the ground into a commando roll going ‘PEW PEW PEW’ with his fingers up as guns. And then there was the time I refused to come out with him and his buddies from south campus, so he bullied them all into coming around to my house dressed as gangsters and they literally kidnapped me. Physically turned up to the house at around 10PM and dragged me into the car. Only in Wagga could you get into a night club in pyjamas without ID. And then there was the time he showed up to my birthday party dressed in a 1970’s suit, having written a poem using the letters of my name, and recited it using props (like a cauliflower and cheezels for some reason) and without doctoring the colourful language in front of my grandparents. So. Many. Stories.

The whole time I knew him through uni he was never in a relationship. He always had plenty of women in his life (room, tent, whatever) but was never in anything more than a few weeks or months at a time. This is not through lack of trying on his part though. I have never, ever known a person with the capacity like he has to fall in love with a girl. And he would fall for seemingly anyone without warning – he didn’t have a type – each girl was remarkably different. Once he decided he was in love with someone that was IT – forsaking all others yada yada. It made things interesting at times, particularly when he fell pretty hard for Angela for a period of about 10 months when she was still with Matt. Anyway.

Every time he fell he went in full tilt. He bought them flowers and rings in the first couple of weeks, he started planning their lives together pretty much after the first date (or hook up, whatever came first). For reasons that I completely understand this scared most of them off – to have a guy that visibly besotted with you is a little off-putting.

Case in point – in the final year of uni I came up to Sydney during break for 2 weeks (I had just started seeing Alan). I get back to Wagga, having not seen him for only 2 weeks, and the first time I see him I’m on the bus and he’s on the street. As the bus is pulling in he’s looking at me grinning like an idiot and pointing at his finger. He gets on the bus and points again, without saying anything.

‘A ring!’
‘Oh! Right. What sort of ring?’
‘It’s an engagement ring! I’m engaged!’

Queue a big fat WTF look from me at this point. ??I mean, the girl gets the ring, right? Also –

‘To WHO?’

I had never met Renee. Neither had he until 2 weeks before. Thereafter came some crazy nights of he and his new fianc?? coming out to the pub with us and us getting to know the finer points of Renee. There were only a few so we got that out of the way pretty quickly.

Anyway, in full Brett fashion he decided that they should both go to New Zealand to meet his family. At this point he decides, being the old fashioned gentleman he is, that he would go to NZ and shear sheep for a few months to save enough money to take them both over there. He scrapes his pennies together, gets on a plane, and finds himself a job. During the time he’s away I hear hide nor hair of Renee, but to be honest I was all good with that.

Anyway, Brett gets back to find Renee isn’t answering his calls. She’s not phoning him and will have none of his nonsense. He finds out through the grapevine that she’s now with someone else and didn’t want to be with him anymore.

It was heartbreaking to watch.

There are a lot of stories like that. Like the time he actually moved in with one after a couple of weeks (again engaged) and headed back to NZ, only to return and find she’d not only kicked him out and changed the locks, but had shacked up with a guy from the RAAF. Poor bastard.

So I was more than a bit curious to meet this girl who he’s not only been together with for 2 years, but he’s actually making it to the alter with. I’ve kept in touch enough with him over the years to know he hadn’t changed a terrible amount, but then when Rebecca (his wife now) made her speech, it became clear just how much he hasn’t. Apparently they met at the Coogee Bay Hotel on her last night in town (before flying out to NZ). They met and hit it off completely, and had a really amazing night together. Brett at the time was working in a pretty decent job. So what does he do when she leaves? Chucks his job in and follows her. Just like that. Decides that she’s the one for him, and to hell with everything.

I guess it just goes to show; if you stick with one method of anything long enough eventually you’ll find success. Brett landed his woman in the end, and she seems like a great girl. They were so genuinely into one another – it restores a girl’s faith that it can happen. People can co inhabit and enjoy it. It makes me a little less scared when it comes to certain things.

Also, even with all the cheese and craptastic music, it was great night. And you know why? Because everyone there was so happy – to just be there, to start off with, but also because Brett and Rebecca were. It was a small wedding in the local town hall, but it was great. I’m really glad I went.

Congrats Bwetty – you’ve come a long way baby. Way to get the girl.


Easily the funniest thing I came across tonight – a letter from Brett when he was in Young (around late 1997 I think, it’s not dated) –

From the mind of Brett
Currently seeking asylum in China
With his liver and kidneys

Dearest Karen,

Moo, baa, baa, whinee, eeaw eeaw eeaw, bark bark bark, miow, oink oink, swim swim swim (fishies), roar, growl, bite bite (ouchie).

I have been taken by Botswanan terrorists and I am bald. Please send food in small unmarked bills (hello Bill!).

How am I. Good I hope. You are well and have just got rid of a cold but ewe are feeling well. I am not a well man, and I damn well resent having to go down the well each day!

I am writing this letter due to me being able to for many years now. I onli haff two emprove mi speling. Maybe, also; my! punctuation?; But any way who how many what HOW are you. I died of Ebola, but it happens this time every year.

I have some questions.

1. Can I have a monkey?
ii. Why won’t you marry me?
C) Why do baboons have purple bottoms?
IV) Is it wrong to bake a casserole containing all the letters from Scrabble?
5. Why is Santa so jolly?
vi) All of the above.

Now let me tell you what happened on the last Wednesday night. Me, Bubba, Kerry (rad student) and a donkey went back to my place and Bubba produced cream.

At this point a lot of the page is cut out, but there are little pieces you can still read like ‘a plank of wood’, ”not there’ said the donkey’, ‘fell down exhausted’ and also ‘but Kerry pulled out a’???

???with a butter knife and stopped. And that’s a true story.

I have a horsie, his name is Major. He goes ‘buck, buck, get off you lard bucket’. (Very strange picture at this point of I’m guessing is a moose, with the caption ‘This is a picshure of a moose. He goes ‘moose”.)

Are Italian vampires afraid of garlic? Karen I would like to thank you for the dinner mints, but they get stuck in my ear. Why do kettles always get the best seats at the bar? I have a horsie, his name is Major. I have a moose. His name is moose.

Beware of evil spirits!!! Rum is one such spirit and can cause illness. I have a moose. His name is Major.

EXCUSE ME! Can I have some service! Nobodies ordered MILK before!!! Shut up you damned gold fish. I must write quickly because I have a hoose. His name his hojer.

More to follow (attack the fort at dawn).

Luv Venkattapattie Bob Major Brett.

There’s also, in the margins, various computer jokes (RUN DOS RUN) and some suspect German?! ‘Halt halt Maria, eist ein der Liederhosen’ schprecken Hienrich. ‘Nein’ schprecken Maria, ‘eist ein der Wiener Schnitzel’. ‘Ha ha ha’ schprecken Maria and Hienrich.

There was also a letter there from him welcoming me to join the Chicken Liberation Organisation (CLO). He’s a special boy. No way would I have got through uni without him.

We all held hands and jumped into the sky

Wow; what a weekend.

Last night was just the outlet I needed. After a week of crazy stuff at work, and then a day of training Ukrainians and Bulgarians, I really, really needed a drink. I got to Hell’s place just after 6PM and Luke arrived not long after. It was an evening of too much drinking, really good music, and surprising conversation. Some nights are just the nights for confessions and baring your soul.

We had had a lot to drink, but I was feeling pretty good just before Augie March hit the stage. Then Luke bought me one more drunk and WHAM, I was on the floor. Completely, overwhelmingly drunk. I’m not sure if it was something particular in that one (double) vodka, or whether it was just the straw that broke the camels back, but it pushed me over the edge. It turned me from a sane person able to hold a conversation to one of those annoying drunk people who sing to every word at a gig and sway back and forth with a drink in their hand.

No one I went to the gig with was familiar with any of Augie March’s albums. Good thing is, though, I met a guy who WAS and who was just as excited as me to be there. He and I sang and swung back and forth together. And we did the clich?? drunken thing of declaring ‘OMG WE ARE SO SOULMATES’ when we found out we both love the album August and Everything After.

Today was really busy. I spent a lot of time in the car, to spend not very much time with Angela, who is flying to the UK for a month on Tuesday. Even though I don’t see her so much, I’m going to miss her. She’s as reliable as Teflon when it comes to just being there.

This morning in Newtown I bought a copy of the Carnegie Hall bootleg just released by Ani DiFranco. New Ani is always exciting for me, but the release of this one sorta crept up on me and I didn’t know it was actually going to be in stores (unlike the rest of her bootlegs that are only available online). Driving from Newtown to Campbelltown today I put it on, and listened to it all the way through. I laughed at her anecdotes about her songs, I grinned like a fool all the way through Angry Anymore, and the version of Not So Soft on this album is, I think, the best version I have heard. What got me though was her performance of Self Evident. I’ve heard it a lot before (live once, in Sydney), but this was the first time she ever performed it live (in 2002). The emotion in her voice is so evident all the way through the track. I had to pull over the car to listen to it, because I was getting a little choked up.

On the album she recites a poem by Judy Grahn called ‘Detroit Annie, Hitchhiking’. I was absolutely floored, and now I really must find more of her stuff.

Her words pour out as if her throat were a broken
artery and her mind were cut-glass, carelessly handled.
You imagine her in a huge velvet hat with great
dangling black feathers,
but she shaves her head instead
and goes for three-day midnight walks.
Sometimes she goes down to the dock and dances
off the end of it, simply to prove her belief
that people who cannot walk on water
are phonies, or dead.
When she is cruel, she is very, very
cruel and when she is kind she is lavish.
Fisherman think perhaps she’s a fish, but they’re all
fools. She figured out that the only way
to keep from being frozen was to
stay in motion, and long ago converted
most of her flesh into liquid. Now when she
smells danger, she spills herself all over,
like gasoline, and lights it.
She leaves the taste of salt and iron
under your tongue, but you don’t mind
The common woman is as common
as the reddest wine

Part of me thinks I’m already that girl, and part of me desperately wants to be her. I like control, and when it comes to my emotions particularly I fight to keep things under wraps. Still, a lot of me wants to be dancing on that dock. I am frightened of a lot of things, but what scares me more than anything else is the fear of being mediocre. I think my whole life I have been fighting against that, and it’s a lot of the reason why, in the past, I’ve been hesitant to try new things.

What I’ve found, though, is people who stand up and routinely say ‘look how different I am!’ are usually annoyingly banal. The people who attract others are those that have the quiet confidence that comes from knowing your own mind and not giving a rats what other people think. People are attracted to genuine confidence.

But confidence does not come from saying ‘the world will see me as confident’. It comes from looking internally to yourself and learning to read what’s around you. And also acceptance. Acceptance that things don’t always go to plan, and that some people are inherently asholes, and that you can’t control everything.

I don’t know. I’m still figuring it all out. Still, it’s coming clear in my head. The fog is lifting from the mirror and what I’m seeing is a very blurry reflection of myself. A little more cool, moving air and I’ll be there, clear as a bell.

I got joy joy joy

I should really go to bed, but I can’t because my mind is buzzing with the last three days.
So to summarise today –

Tummy butterflies.
Claire Bowditch and the Feeding Set.
Talking – the first real face to face conversation in days.
Whoa – different crowd today. Those really aren’t good shoes/clothes for a festival – you’re gonna regret wearing that later. Bernard Fanning has a lot to answer for.
Lior. Lucky Laura.
Walking, talking, walking, talking.
‘Whoa, you’re just this person who attracts completely random people.’ Ah, yeah, seemingly. Which is all good so long as their tongue stays in their mouth and out of my ear.
Fucking mobile phones.
This Josh Pike T-shirt isn’t for me, really.
Xavier Rudd – holy holy holy crap. The things he can do with a kick drum, a slide guitar and a didgeridoo.
‘I’m not sure if it’s Xavier, but there’s a whole lotta love here.’
The biggest Augie March fans are to be found in queues for toilets.
Ash Grumwald. Interesting.
ME – ‘Is your friend okay?’ HER – ‘Yeah, he’s okay. He just took a pill and he had an operation to put pins in his knees like 2 months ago and right now he can’t use his legs. It’s okay, someone is gonna come get him and take him back to the tent.’ ME – ‘Uh, okay.’
King Tide sound check – is there another band in the world that takes as long to set up?!
ME – ‘If I lean against the front rail, will I look like a groupie?’ HIM – ‘Yes.’ ME – ‘Oh well, I’m okay with that.’
I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.
The Mountain Goats (HAIL!@&^%!@).
Donovan Frankenreiter. Man’s got soul.

It’s funny you know. I was reading Ben’s blog this morning before heading back into the festival, and I felt yearning. He had written about how quiet the first 2 days of his weekend had been, and how nice it was. I think the yearning came from just wanting that downtime so badly. I want the feeling of a day stretching out with no plans, and no one to please but myself. This week I have Tweedledum and Tweedledee staying with me until Friday, and then I’m driving to Wagga for the weekend (because I honestly think that’s the only way I’m going to get them back there). Work also promises to be great gobs of fun this week.

Tonight, though, I feel different. The yearning has gone. I think it has a lot to do with spending time with new people – there’s something so validating about making new friends. It’s nice to know that other people find you even remotely interesting, and genuinely want your company. Even if it’s a temporary, fleeting thing, it can be enormous in the grand scheme of things. It helps me realise that the world indeed works in mysterious ways, and that you never know what’s around the corner. You shouldn’t make your mind up about things and write people off generally.

Also, 3 days music festivals are no good for my resolve to spend less money on music. There are a lot of CDs I want now, and a lot more bands I want to see live. It’s exciting and kinda annoying all at once.

Tomorrow night I will do a ‘best of’ for future posterity. It’s good to get all this stuff out I reckon, while it’s fresh in your mind. Right now though I really need sleep.

Dear John Darnielle,

Thank you. Your 60 minutes of music tonight rocked my world, and it also made the last month okay. To appreciate the gravity of that you’d have to know how fucked my month (no, year) has been, but I will save you the agony. Really, the Mountain Goats were one of the main reasons I bought tickets to this festival, so you had a lot of expectation to live up to.

And you opened with This Year. It all welled up inside me so much that I wasn’t sure what to do with it – in the end I just danced and sang along with everyone else and grinned like a fool. I was surprised that you opened with such a crowd pleaser, but it was just perfect. To hear the whole crowd screaming ‘I am gonna make it, through this year, if it kills me!*@^!’ at the top of their lungs made my heart soar. That’s my song.

You know, all weekend I did not come across one other Mountain Goats fan. And I talked to a lot of people. I was beginning to think everyone was there for Bernie or Xavier and I was worried the tent would be a bit empty and the vibe would be weird. You were playing at 8:20PM, and I made my new friends come with me to the Big Top at 7:45, just as the act before you was finishing, so I could get right up front. Pretty much for the first 15 minutes there was hardly anyone there – but then, they started coming. Mountain Goats fans. We were up the front and talking, so I didn’t see how big the crowd got, but I turned around and there were so many people there!

Then you both came out and the cheering was riotous. You played the first few chords of This Year and the crowd went mad. Then, as you went into Dance Music, the cheering got louder. Every person in that tent was singing along and it looked like you loved it. My favourite parts were when the crowd sang, almost to the point of drowning you out, ‘There will be feasting, and dancing, IN JERUSALEM NEXT YEAR@!&^!’ and also when you said ‘sing it!’ and everyone screamed out ‘I DON’T WANNA DIE ALONE’ in Dance music. And I will love you forever for playing that acoustic version of Dilaudid. Thanks also for your stories about your songs, particularly the one for Ox Baker Triumphant.

I hope you had as much fun as I did. Your set tonight was the perfect way to end a great 3 days.

See you at the Annandale on Wednesday – I will be the girl with the ‘I wish I could speak to you as much as your lyrics speak to me’ look in her eyes.

You rock more than words can say,


It’s resonating

This daylight savings shizzat has thrown me out some. It didn’t help that when I got home all the clocks were (of course) still at the old time. It also didn’t help that I had a reasonably (!) busy weekend and as a result I am wrecked.

It WAS a big weekend. And really, it was a long weekend because of the two days I had off. On one hand it doesn’t feel like I had much of a break, but on the other hand it feels like a long time since I have been at work. And I guess that’s the whole idea of taking time off. I will pay for it tomorrow though – I’m sure there will be piles and piles of stuff to wade through. And I will need to spend some time deflecting the passive aggressive shit from the boss lady that always happens when she gives me time off. Once was a time I used to feel guilty about that. Not any more.

A random list of weekend stuffs –

  • Cog. Awesome live, great musicians and a band I’d love to see again. And I’m thinking I’ll get the album.

  • Art always feeds my mind. When I give my brain 15 minutes to wind down I know it will be full of cast iron statues bought alive by light sources, translucent white fabric and curry powder made to look like viscous goo, photographs of old couples that bring me genuine happiness and Robert Downey Jr. It makes me want to make art again.

  • Friendship travels. That’s probably really the only word I have for it. It’s like a trip you take, with all the crazy travel metaphors you can think of. The path is there, and because there is more than one factor (read: person) involved you can’t steer it. Invariably, though, it ends up in the right place. And the journey continues.

  • Don’t. Touch. My. Knees.

  • The place to be on a Sunny Sydney Sunday is a cemetery in Newtown. No, really.

The air smelt so good tonight when I got home and got out of the car. It’s autumn that I smell, and the dark, but it’s more than that. I love Newtown, and I feel more and more at home there every time. I really do like living out here though, peg thieving neighbours and all.

Tomorrow Nan is laid to rest. She was cremated, and tomorrow her ashes are buried. Why the hell they’d put it on a Monday I don’t know – I would have really liked to have been there. It frees my mind a little though, knowing that when I go down there I will have somewhere to go and sit where I can feel like I’m spending time with her. It’s a relief to have this step over.

Sleep now though.

Ain’t that the truth

So mature! 😉

From: Karen
To: Hellen
Subject: URGENT
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 14:22:43 +1100


From: Hellen
Sent: Tuesday, 14 March 2006 14:34
To: Karen
Subject: RE: URGENT

MWAH MWAH TO YOU@#$^%@$^%@#$^%@#$^%@#$^@%#$^%@#$^

God today sucks!!!


From: Karen
To: Hellen
Subject: RE: URGENT
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 14:34:11 +1100

NO YOU ROCK MORE!&@%!&^@%!

Hang in there babe 🙂

From: Hellen
Sent: Tuesday, 14 March 2006 14:40
To: Karen
Subject: RE: URGENT

YOU ROCK THE MOSTEST%^#$%@#$^%@#$%@#$%^@#$%@#$^%@#$^


From: Karen
To: Hellen
Subject: RE: URGENT
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 14:41:00 +1100

YOU ROCK 100 TIMES INFINITY!@%!*^$@!%^@!

And there’s nothing more than that 😉

From: Hellen
Sent: Tuesday, 14 March 2006 14:52
To: Karen
Subject: RE: URGENT


To the power of BONO and ANI combined!


From: Karen
To: Hellen
Subject: RE: URGENT
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 14:56:01 +1100

GOD DAMN nothing beats the combined powArz of BONO AND ANI!*&@^!