The song Papagallo. By The Mountain Goats. It’s on the album Ghana, just in case you were wondering.

It’s totally amazing. Just so you know. You should find it, wherever you can, and listen to it immediately.

You were standing near the water, when the wind ripped through
Heard your throat open up like a champagne bottle
I heard the one perfect song pouring out of you
There was a darkening sky reflected on the river
There was no way of determining where we were

Low hills, colours gone crazy
You standing like a ghost with the water behind you
It’s hard to grab ahold of some things sometimes
Like you need me to remind you

You were standing near the water
And I was looking at the water
Then you went down in the water
And the river began to boil
There was a minute when I thought I knew what you were about
And then you opened up your eyes and the Lord came out

Low hills, colours gone crazy
You rising from the water like a bird
You had a pure song possessing you from shoulder to hip
And I recognized every single word

Fire fire fire

I used to be curious when my mobile or my phone rang. Actually, scratch that. I used to be excited about it. About wanting to know who it was, and what they wanted, and what crazy shenanigans the world was potentially throwing my way. I even used to do political phone surveys.

Now I have my own unique phone cringe. It’s the face I pull when my mobile or my home phone or my desk phone goes. Particularly my desk phone, and particularly my mobile phone when my boss is away but IN Australia. That woman is nuts about the instant communication.

I just don’t want to know anymore. Because 9 times out of 10, that person phoning wants something from me. My time or my knowledge or on bad days, my head on a plate. I feel right now like I’m perpetually putting out fires. And I can’t remember the last time I started one. All by myself at least. Maybe that’s the way shit goes – you work hard, you carve a career for yourself, people start respecting your work and your ability to do stuff, and then they start throwing fireballs at you.

Maybe I’m just being naïve about all this and should just be sucking it up.

C’mon Friday. I’m dying over here.

Random randomility

1. For some inexplicable reason I cannot stop listening to the cover of In Between Days by Ben Folds.
2. I have just eaten my last Easter egg.
3. That makes me sad.
4. But also a little relieved because really, I dona be needin’ alla that chocolate.
5. 11 hour days suck.
6. 4 day weeks are like a god damn double-edged sword – how I’m going to fit everything into this week is a little beyond me.
7. No more drama tomorrow please. Why does everything have to be so dramatic? Why can’t things just play nice?
8. I could do with a hug tonight. I will, however, just have to wait until Friday.
9. Friday’s are the Good Days.
10. When I have washing to do and ironing to do and baby shower food to cook (long story) the last thing I should be doing is looking at Gibson acoustic guitars. But LOOK HOW PRETTY.
11. Someone want to give me, I don’t know, $3000 to buy a guitar!?
12. I still want to learn to play the banjo.
13. Perhaps I should start with playing the guitar again. Walk first, then run. Or something.
14. Wow the rain is really pelting down outside.
15. I want to stop coughing. Really badly. ENOUGH of this chest/flu thing already. I GET IT.

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.

Also –

Filed under ‘parts of today I’d rather forget about’ –

Hi Mountain Goats ticket holder,

Please see note below that we have just received from the promoter of the Mountain Goats show regarding their cancellation;

“For personal medical reasons the Mountain Goats are unable to do the Australian tour as scheduled. The band wants Australia to know how much we regret this: coming to Oz is a big highlight of the year for us and we were really looking forward to playing these shows. We will make it up to you all!”


There goes the Mountain Goats birthday extravaganza weekend.

But oh well. Tomorrow is Thursday. The day before a FOUR DAY WEEKEND. And I am going to spend time talking to and/or curling up with the boy, seeing some wonderful live and local music, and eating fairy floss. I can’t hardly wait.

Things I learnt while watching Wilco @ the Enmore last night

• Rock and roll is not dead.
• Wilco = the greater good.
• Nels Cline is a guitar god.
• Jeff Tweedy is just, I don’t know. A genius? Definitely an amazing human being. And funny. And happy with himself and playing music with his band. And FUNNY. And and and.
• There is no such thing as too many guitar techs.
• Or too many guitars, seemingly.
• You don’t need fancy lighting for an amazing show. Just great lighting. From someone who knows their shizzat. And I don’t know who that lighting person was last night but they were great.
• Cat Power’s lighting person should be taking notes, dig?
• There is not an international touring artist who comes to Sydney and doesn’t leave fascinated with our flying foxes.
• Wilco has the power to restore a persons faith in humanity.

They opened with Sunken Treasure. They followed that up with MF RESERVATIONS. Queue fainting. It was the most subtly beautiful beginning to one of the most fun and downright great music nights I’ve had all year. Wilco is the most consistently great live band going right now – they’re all so tight, and rocking, and they looked like they were having so much fun. And isn’t what it’s about?

Much love to Wilco. Forever.

Much more eloquent review and set list here.

I want a good life with a nose for things

Mondays. There’s a reason people hate this day. Honestly, this week I was dreading it and it lived up to every nightmarish horror I thought it might be. I need to find a way to let it go tonight, because another night of fitful sleep is really not on.

I mean, c’mon. I’m seeing WILCO tomorrow night. Got to be all up on my game and alla that.

I’ve been trying to placate myself tonight with the idea that even if the weekend was Monday and Tuesday, we’d all hate Wednesdays. I’ve never really liked Wednesdays anyway. Tuesdays are worse, but Wednesdays are not a lot of fun either. I guess we’re better keeping Monday as the hateful day rather than tarring the rest of the week with the same brush. Or something.

Tonight all the work just seems a little insurmountable. I’m going to need those 2 hours at the Enmore tomorrow night to remind me of the beauty in the world.

Hear that Mr Tweedy? I’m relying on you.

All that is your beauty, oh, and all that brings you pleasure

Dear Will,

I feel a little like, as I make my way through this tiny life of mine, that I’m developing an internal anxiety about how quickly time is moving. I think it’s the Way Of Things that as you grow older you notice more – more of the subtle, smaller things at least. Like light and sound and tiny things between people. And as you become aware of all these things – the tiny things – you begin to realise how much there is in the world to be passionate about. It seems to me that while concentrating passionately on one thing, you might, completely without meaning to, miss something else completely worthy. There’s just not enough time to get around to it all.

So I spend my time alternately trying to realise my passion about everything that sparks it, and worrying about the limited time I might have to express it. That’s probably a bit morbid, right? Wait, who am I kidding. You wrote a (completely awesome) song about murdering someone. Not that YOU murdered someone. But I guess if it’s a question of morbidity you’re probably going to think I’m a ways off the mark.

Anyway. I feel like so many people put a rein on their passion. They’re worried about pushing it out into the world, almost like it’ll recoil somehow and slap them in the face. Day to day I come across just bare glimpses of unbridled passion in people. The moment when they let their guard down and forget there might be someone watching. But somewhere along the line someone decides aloof = cool and then everyone becomes inert. And then as a result the only passion they ever express relates to anger.

What I’m getting at here in a not terribly direct way is that it is very, very rare to find an example of pure, unadulterated passion that isn’t tinged by anger. I made the decision a little while ago that if I found anyone in the world who GOT it and wasn’t afraid to unleash their passion on the world then I would grab a hold of them with all my might. Because you can’t have too many people like that in your life, right? And so far that’s worked out pretty well.

And that’s sorta why I’m writing.

I came to your music late. Actually, really late. About 10 months ago, properly. Prior to that there was that little bit of curiosity that you can have about certain bands or musicians. I’d never acted on it though. And then a wonderful boy came into my life, bringing with him his very unbridled passion about many things musical – your sweet self included. So I was swept up in the wonder that is Okkervil River, and since then you could say I haven’t looked back.

Why was I swept up? It was the exact thing I’ve been writing about. That complete, all-consuming passion that comes from somewhere organic and beautiful. And a passion that is almost completely devoid of, or at least equally balanced with, anger. There is a passion in you that is palpable – you sing it and you write it and you speak it. And a girl gets the feeling you’d sing and play the same way if you were playing to one or one hundred thousand people. It’s an inspiring passion. It inspires people. It inspires me.

And while I’m on alla this, I also really want to thank you for your words. I love words and I love to write. I love poetry, and nothing is more beautiful to me than well-woven words. And you have some of the most beautifully woven words I’ve ever heard and/or read. The make my breath catch and my heart beat just that little bit faster. So thank you for that.

My experience with you and your wonderful band at the Manning Bar last month was one of THOSE very rare live experiences – the kind that might change your life. I made (and meant) the statement that night that is was the second best live musical experience of my life. And it was easily the best live musical experience of the year. And dude, have you SEEN the bands I’ve witnessed this year? It’s insane.

Also, welcome to Number 2 on the CFGHQ Of All Time band list. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I think it was some time in between that Manning Bar gig and Laneway. The last time a shift of that magnitude happened, it was when I saw The Mountain Goats at the Great Escape in 2006. So, you know. Feel good about that.

So don’t be stranger now, y’hear? Although, I have a feeling you’ll be back again soon. And I can’t hardly wait.

Much love,



I was going to write about my night with Cat Power at the Enmore last night. But then, Wayne and Sean pretty much summed up perfectly what I thought of the night. I’d never seen her before, but I walked out of the theatre thinking what I’d witnessed was a little… I don’t know. Odd? Flat, definitely. I hesitate to say ordinary, because she’s still Chan Marshall and she still has that voice. But yeah. Less then fabulous.

But I guess not every gig can be Okkervil River, right?

Also also, I WILL write about Laneway. I don’t have to do these things in order, do I? Never really have done, ever, so it seems a little pointless to start now.

Down by the river

On Friday night, when we were sitting safely (and dryly) in my lounge room in the Wilds of Windsor, watching the lightening brighten the sky and listening to the rain pounding down, we held grave concerns for our day at the Playground Weekender on Saturday. I could think of nothing worse than tramping through knee-deep mud, waiting, wet in queues for most everything, and standing for hours drenched to the core watching various bits and pieces of music. Hooray for music festivals in the pouring rain. But lucky for us, and everyone else who attended, the sun came out in full force for the Playground Weekender this most recent weekend at Wisemans Ferry.

Not only did we have the sun, we didn’t have the queues. For the one thing that stood out to me about the Playground Weekender this year (and at times last year) was the lack of crowd. And perhaps this is something the organizers count on? Perhaps they count on just that many showing up. And really, it’s not something I hated. I really kinda liked the fact that I could present myself for food and be served right away, or could wander to even the small, local stage and find somewhere not only to see perfectly, but to sit down. But when you’re standing in front of a massive stage, in the middle of a massive paddock, surrounded on one side by a mighty river and the other by a massive cliff face, it feels kind of odd to be one in a crowd of hundreds, not thousands of people.

Perhaps the crowd got thicker later. The line up to this years festival was very dance music heavy, and I’m certain the kids turned out in force for all that later on. I’m not a huge fan of this kind of music so I didn’t stick around for Kruder and Dorfmeister that evening, and I’m certain Maximo Park would have been the highlight for many people on Sunday.

I did, however, catch Dappled Cities. Do we still use the Fly? I’m confused about that. Anyway, I’ve never actually had a chance to catch a full set from this band. I’ve twice before seen part of a set, including at the Essential Festival last year. I really love the melodic quality these guys have to their music, and they are definitely worth the hype. I’m only really familiar with their songs that got radio play, but I’m here to tell you – their new stuff is all kinds of great. I’ll be paying close attention. They also seemed to make the most of the lack of crowd and they tried really hard to make a connection with the audience that was there.

Prior to Dappled Cities on the main stage I saw I Heart Hiroshima on one of the smaller stages. I’m not sure what I expected. A bit of pleasant pop maybe? I think perhaps that’s what we got. They were a little shouty though, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how they got the support for Cat Power in Brisbane. Not at all that they’re not good enough (I mean FFS, if that god damn crazy girl APPALOOSA got the support in Sydney then talent doesn’t seem to be an issue) but their sound is about a million years removed from Ms Marshall. Even with the band. Anyway, another post I guess.

I also caught the set from Mr Josh Pyke. I was pondering tonight to someone over IM if the reason I didn’t enjoy the set as much as I thought I might had anything to do with the stupid quality of the live music I’ve experienced so far this year. Possibly that’s the case. But whatever the reason, his set left me a little cold. It’s nice and all. The guitar and the singing. But sometimes a girl just wants a bit of passion.

Among the bands I was sorry to miss were Coco Rosie and the Wombats on Sunday. Tickets to Cat Power on Sunday night meant logistically it was just too hard.

I’ll be curious to see the line up next year. It’s a well run festival – security was good and seemed reasonable (i.e. not too over the top like last year) and the lay out this year was much better (the stalls along the fence between the main resort area and the main stage was a great idea). All the stages seemed to run on time, and the set up of the main stage was impressive to say the least. I just wonder, though, if the very market they’re targeting with a dance-heavy lineup like that (i.e. 18 to 25) are the kind of market that will struggle to make the effort to get to a venue like Del Rio Resort. Or to appreciate it for that matter. I wonder, if they tapped into that crazy, obsessed group of indie fans who would walk over glass to see their band of choice by getting a group of bands the likes of Menomena and Wolf Parade (and dare I say it, the Mountain Goats) together, would they get a more dedicated and perhaps larger set of punters? Maybe not. Perhaps that’s also not what they’re going for.

Anyway, it was really a lovely day. And I have the sunburn to prove it. Regardless of anything else it was a beautiful day spent in a beautiful part of the world. It’s a place worth visiting even sans a music festival. Just so you know.

P.S. I did not take the photo above. Wayne over yonder did. Because he took his camera like a good blogger and I did not.