Wednesday

February 28th, 2007
  1. My brain has room for nothing but point form tonight.
  2. There will, though, be Song 5 tomorrow night.
  3. Steve next door is having a party. This is intriguing, because in the whole 12 months he’s lived there he (to my knowledge) has never had another person over. Now there’s a whole plethora of people. Also, it’s Wednesday night. Good for him!
  4. Only, I hope they turn the Cold Chisel down before I go to bed. That shit’s likely to give a girl nightmares.
  5. I wish I was not addicted to caffeine.
  6. I’ve been reading Lateline interviews with Tony Jones online. Yes, I am aware of how ridiculously nerdy this makes me. My little bitty crush on him has flared into full blown celebrity crush, just so you know.
  7. Every time I see George W on the TV I get a feeling like I just stubbed my toe.
  8. Company would be nice tonight. Anyone want to come read me Leonard Cohen before I go to bed?
  9. Looks like Harvey Norman is going to buy Officeworks. I think in a few years one person/company is going to own the whole world.
  10. 1 more day.
  11. I got a very surprising email today. It’s one of those times where you hear the ‘DO do’ announcing new email, you look, and take a sharp breath in when you see who it’s from. You almost don’t want to click on it. In this case it wasn’t as bad as my head made it out to be.
  12. I JUST GOT THE MOST AMAZING NEWS EVER! Glenn Richards aka lead dude from Augie March is supporting Wilco in April. Wayne, by giving me this news, has completely made my night.
  13. Ditto the news of Rodriguez touring. That is just something I never, ever thought I’d hear in a million years.
  14. Really must go to bed now.

There’s a beautiful view from the top of the mountain

February 27th, 2007

I’m listening to the EP I picked up from The Basement on Sunday night by the support act, Whitley (MySpace warning).  They were very good.  At times it was like the lead singer was channeling Jeff Buckley, but I think that was his method of playing his electric guitar and genuinely soulful voice playing games with my head.  Listening to this EP tonight it’s a lot less Jeffeqsue, but it’s still very good.  He did a cover of Hyper-Ballad by Bjork which was beautiful.  You know, I think people lose how glorious that song is in amongst the quirk and synthed backbeats of the original.  I mean, lyrics like this –

We live on a mountain
Right at the top
There’s a beautiful view
From the top of the mountain
Every morning I walk towards the edge
And throw little things off
Like:
Car parts, bottles and cutlery
Or whatever I find lying around

It’s become a habit
A way
To start the day

I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you

It’s at the holy moly level of great in my book.  He did the song credit.

It’s the perfect thing for me to be listening to tonight – this boy with his acoustic guitar and beautiful voice, singing about and counting sheep and butterflies.

A note:

February 27th, 2007

To the person who found this website by Googling ‘I don’t understand grief. I don’t know how you can have an upbeat day and something like misplacing your keys can trigger a memory of the person you lost and everything just falls away.’,

I have some strange search queries, but this one has made me stop dead in my tracks.

I don’t understand grief either.  I once used to think it was saved for and isolated to only the people close to you that pass away.  Experience and a bit of age has taught me this is just not true – I grieve for my grandmother, sure, but I also grieve for friends I have let slip away and the mother I knew growing up and the little girl inside of me that reality is slowly chiseling away and that part of me that was willing to jump from a precipice without anything to hold on to.

And why is it that it can hit you heavy in the gut when you least expect it?  When you’re listening to a song or you smell onions cooking or you hear the sound of heels on concrete.  You’re humming along nicely in your day to day whatever and all of a sudden BAM – you’re on your knees.  And then you realise you’ve been clenching your fists so tightly the skin on your palms has torn and your breath is coming in short, sharp gasps.  The grief has taken you and left you reeling.

You’ll probably never read this but that’s okay because I’ve got no answers for you.  Just a whole lot more questions.  Still, knowing someone was sitting at a web browser one day/night making this statement to the great, wide, unknown world, all at once makes me feel marginally better and terribly sad.

I hope you find what you’re looking for.

Karen.

Prayed it would rain and rain

February 26th, 2007

Great weekend with great music and great company.  Here are the things making me happy tonight –

  • Being HOME.  It’s so much bliss to be home.
  • The rain.  It’s pouring outside, just the way I like it.
  • 4 more days until the boss leaves for 7 weeks.  Actually, this one’s a double edged sword.  My hours might cut from 12 a day to maybe 9 or 10, but the responsibility cranks up a notch.   Tonight, though, the idea of it is making me happy.
  • Gorgeous Geisha green tea from T2.
  • BROADBAND!  Sweet, sweet broadband.
  • Following that point, a new episode of The Office (downloading is naughty kids!).
  • The idea of at least 8 solid hours of sleep.
  • Weather cool enough for flannelette pyjama pants and bed socks.
  • I See A Darkness by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.  This music = soul food.

Calexico last night were something to behold.  Sometimes the best gigs are those where you have little to no expectation – I like the music, sure, and Feast Of Wire is a very good album, but I was completely unprepared for how amazing they are live.  They are all fantastic musicians, each one (bar the drummer, obviously) playing more than one instrument during the night, and ONE guy played the vibraphone, piano accordion AND the trumpet alternately throughout the whole set.  The trumpets were glorious – I’ve said before, based on only their albums, it’s the brass that gives the music its personality and I guess point of difference from other music.  In a live setting they take on a whole new life and give the music its soul.

Highlights for me were Sunken Waltz (which is no where near long enough when you consider its awesomeness) and Prison on Rt 41 (which I originally heard on the Calexico/Iron & Wine EP In The Reins).  The track Roka was also amazing – there was an almost sensual energy that came from the band.  There were a couple of riotous tracks with full trumpets and guitars and drums and it was music that made you itchy to dance.  This is where the venue fell down though – I felt for Andrew Bird that even though the tables felt a little odd, it didn’t take too much away from the performance.  Last night, though, I think the set up of the venue was a bit of a buzz kill.

Calexico please play the Annandale next time.  The people, they want to DANCE.

4 hours of sleep can wreak havoc on a girl’s thought processes.  Numb.

Sleep now.

Song 4 – I’m gonna do my best swan dive into shark infested waters

February 19th, 2007

Swan Dive – Ani DiFranco

Given the driving force behind why I started writing about these various songs, perhaps this one should have come first. It has easily been the song in recent years that has had the most significant effect on my life. It helped me find my place and gave me purchase. To this day it is a mantra for my life when I’m feeling everything is just a little too much.

It gives this little place on the web its name.

My once obsession and long term appreciation of the work of Ms DiFranco is no secret. I’d go so far as to say I advertise it, or I used to, with billboard force. It was something I could put out into the world in the hope of attracting like-minded people, without giving too much of myself away. I found her music at a time that I was desperately trying to find myself, and (this is quite a declaration, I know) had I not found her music at the time that I did, I would be a very different person right now and undoubtedly in a very different place. This is not to say it would be a bad place, per se. Just different.

Anyway, I’ve written already about how I came to her music and how I came to fall in love with it. I also touched on the fact that it was the impetus for my friendship with Hellen. Really, though, the impact of that one thing cannot be overstated.

It’s really something to come into contact with a like-minded soul. I’m not talking relationships here; I’m talking about someone you don’t know all that well, but upon meeting them find you’re automatically walking in step with them. You begin finishing one another’s sentences, thinking the same things at the same time, and sensing certain things that are unsaid. If you’re not prepared for it, or have never experienced it, it jolts you to your core.

We’d known each other for a long while but only as acquaintances. At the time we both realised the shared love of DiFranco and playing the guitar, and she enthusiastically extended her hand in friendship, it’s safe to say I was terrified of people. I had always been incredibly shy, and I went from living in Wagga surrounded by people I knew in and out, to moving to Sydney and living with Alan. He, and to a lesser extent his friends, were really all I knew of the city. I became numb in more ways than one.

Then there was Hellen. She was the only person who not only saw the potential in me, rather than the person I was at that time, but she acted on that and actively pursued it. She was persistent and gently pushed me past every barrier I had put in place. She introduced me to literally hundreds of people and looked past me being tongue tied and retarded in new company. I have conversely seen her through breakups and terrible moments of self doubt where she was questioning her right to be happy. She knows the worst of me and yet still sees the best in me, and this is something I am forever grateful for. It’s such a rare thing. And because of all this I have turned into an amplified, social, and at times I’m sure more painful version of my former self.

What about the SONG though. I’ve heard DiFranco talk about Swan Dive a few times, and she states it’s a ‘song about love’. I don’t doubt it – the imagery throughout the song makes it clear she’s singing about the ups and downs of a relationship and her fear of giving her heart away.

Cradling the softest, warmest part of you in my hands
Feels like a baby bird fallen from the nest
I think that your body is something I understand
I think that I’m happy, I think that I’m blessed

What it gives me though is something far more abstract. This is so much a song about strength. It’s about that one trigger in your life that makes you realise isn’t working the way it is right now, and there’s no one but yourself who can help you out.

I’ve got a lack of inhibition
I’ve got a loss of perspective
I’ve had a little bit to drink
and it’s making me think
That I can jump ship and swim
That the ocean will hold me
That there’s got to be more
than this boat I’m in

Who hasn’t been there?

It’s about taking risk and flying in the face of reason and backing yourself to such an extent that it doesn’t matter what the hell the rest of the world says – you’re moving ahead with such a velocity that you’ll knock them and their doubt flat. It’s about recognising that fear in yourself of not wanting to step out and achieve something new, but then steadfastly ignoring it for the greater good. It’s about plunging headfirst into the water every single time and knowing that sometimes it’s going to hurt like a bitch, but that’s just the way the cards fall. It’s about recognising past mistakes and coming to terms with them and not letting those things effect the hopeful glow on your horizon – that possibility of something new and wonderful. It’s about knowing, though, that even though you take the plunge it can all go horribly wrong, but then taking the risk anyway.

I just need a couple vaccinations for my far away vacation
I’m going to go ahead and go boldly, ‘cause a little bird told me
That jumping is easy, that falling is fun
Right up ‘til you hit the sidewalk, shivering and stunned

And this is the part I belt out with all my heart when no one is watching –

They can call me crazy if I fail
All the chance that I need
is one-in-a-million
and they can call me brilliant
if I succeed
Gravity is nothing to me
I’m moving at the speed of sound
I’m just gonna get my feet wet
until I drown

It’s time to get your feet wet Karen. Around 4 years ago my best friend said that to me, and I have tried not to look back since.

Ah, yeah

February 18th, 2007

I’m still alive.  A little sore and achy and what have you from a fairly full-on weekend, but still here.

A reminder to myself tomorrow -

  • THE GIG LIST.  C’mon.
  • National Pornographic.
  • Sisters.
  • Song 4.
  • Cupcakes.
  • Green tea.

Right now, though, this girl needs sleep.

Rhythm lingers on and on

February 15th, 2007

The gauntlet has been thrown.

After much pushing, I finally got a review at work.  I was getting a little frustrated about reviewing everyone else, when seemingly I was tripping along getting no feedback at all.  Difficult I guess when the only person in the position to review you is hardly ever in the country.  I’m not sure I got all that much feedback in the end to be honest – what it did give me, though, was a place to air the frustrations I’d been experiencing.  And goals I wanted for myself and my job.  Also, she told me I needed to be a lot more organized with my time.  This is not news to me, however, when you have maybe 15 hours of work to fit into 8, something’s gotta give.

Today the ante was officially upped.  Throw a trip to Adelaide in the mix of a fairly hectic few weeks and some crazy stuff at work and you end up with an interesting scenario.  I will manage, because I have to.  I swear though – I should probably just book the whole of May off, because by then I might be in a foetal position on the floor.

I will be AWOL over coming days due to the sister being in situ.  Also, I’m trying to find a way to hit 4 bands in two venues on Saturday night – at least both venues are around 3 blocks from one another.  That should make it logistically easier :)

This next week I need to listen to some Calexico.  It’s been a while and I’d like to give my ears some listening time before next Sunday.  Itellyouwhat though, that Calexico | Iron & Wine EP they released a little while ago??  Holy moly.  I have been a massive fan of those songs since I picked up the album and I was only listening to it again today and remembering how wonderful it is.  I’ve also found it’s perfect driving music – a long highway + He Lays In the Reins = bliss.

The song History of Lovers is misleadingly upbeat.  The lyrics are kinda dark though but also very beautiful –

Some they saw in me innocent poetry
Some, some they’ll never be certain
But still it’s been written, a history of lovers
Given and taken in ink

The opening of the song Red Dust makes me in voluntarily tap my feet, regardless of where I am.  It has an almost desolate and lonely feel to it though, even after the tempo picks up and the drums kick in.  The vocals are pretty quiet and unassuming throughout the whole thing (particularly on songs like Sixteen, Maybe Less and Dead Man’s Will), which is normally not at all what I go for at all, but for some reason with this music it works.  You get lulled into a sort of soundscape, with the whispering, harmonized voices, the meandering guitar riffs and the at times almost spooky brass.

Anyway – how did I get on to that?  Oh yes.  Calexico.  Next weekend.  Hooray! :)

My goodness

February 14th, 2007
  • January and most of February has already trumped the whole of 2006 for awesomeness. I have a feeling, too, things are only getting better.
  • Also, things are rarely as they seem.
  • How the hell did it get to be 11:45pm?
  • Making things for friends makes me happy.
  • Ditto The Decemberists. Why did it take me so long to get to this album? I’m giving it about another week and then I’ll listen to The Crane Wife.
  • There are so many things to do, but for once it all feels doable.
  • So much good live music coming up. And festivals! I am particularly excited about the Playground Weekender and WILCO!
  • Calls from best friends at Tim Finn concerts make me smile.
  • Bananas are good.
  • I’m excited about seeing Tara this weekend. Sisters + live music + baking + watching The Office till our eyes go square = roughly 45 shades of fun.
  • I’m actually really looking forward to staying in Newtown next weekend. Putting yourself out of context for a few days is always good, and I have some Good Stuff lined up.
  • This also undoubtedly includes spending too much money at Egg Records, Hum and So.
  • And probably Elizabeth’s Bookshop.
  • And probably that vegetarian Thai place.
  • Oh well!
  • Reminder to my future self: back yourself this much ALWAYS.
  • Good things come to those that haggle.
  • Where the hell is my street directory.
  • The dreams about mountains and cooking are strangely comforting.
  • I think my body is adjusting to running on 5 hours sleep a night. I’m not sure if this is a good thing.
  • Speaking of sleep…

Cabin fever

February 13th, 2007

I have been home now for a day and a half without any face to face people interaction of any kind. Initially, yesterday, it was bliss. I knuckled down and got an inhuman amount of work done. I surfaced at around 1pm for food and then again at around 6pm to realize the sun was going down and I hadn’t pegged my washing out yet. Last night I got quite a bit done too.

This morning I have been almost as productive, but I think I’m going mad. I’ve started talking to my furniture. I actually just called work on the pretense of having a question to make sure there were still people out there. I think Debbie saw through my ruse as she was having none of my nonsense.

Someone come talk to me!

Sunday

February 11th, 2007

I’d forgotten how much I love Sunday Arts on the ABC. Virginia Trioli is great on ABC 702 but as an interviewer she’s wonderful.

It’s nice to be home.

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