Manchester


My daughter has been my companion to many concerts. Some operatic, some classical, some pop and some rock. The squeals of joy echo through my home when I inform her that we have tickets to a visiting performer. She carefully selects what she is going to wear, and we make plans to have dinner somewhere nice beforehand. Watching her dance and gaze at the performer in awe is all the reward I need. We went to Sport for Jove’s rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, shortly after I heard the dreadful, unfathomable news about the terrorist attack at Manchester Stadium. I looked around at all the young people laughing and delighting in the performance, and was struck cold by the thought that it could have been us. It could have been us at any performance we had attended. Afterward, my daughter chatted excitedly about the play, and how much she had enjoyed it, and we stopped at a shopping centre in the heart of Sydney for lunch. A policeman with an Irish brogue came up to us, and started chatting. It felt as though three humans were connecting, trying to make sense of the evil which had just occurred. He smiled at my daughter, and I knew that he was thanking his stars that it hadn’t been a Sydney concert. It could have been.

A friend posted a warning last night that a van had been spotted next to our local park, with a fellow lingering long enough to cause suspicion. I almost despaired. Should we now add concerts to the long list of things we need to be wary of? Are backpacks set to become suspicious, not just when left alone on public transport, but also when securely strapped to someone’s back? Parents could be rendered nervous wrecks, incapable of venturing out with their offspring, let alone allowing them to venture out by themselves. I must admit, my immediate desire was to bustle my daughter home, where she is safe. However, this is no way to live. Once upon a time, I was a hermit, a bad man stalking me. I barely left my room in three years as a teen. I remember feeling angry that my life had been reduced to an isolation cell, whilst he was roaming free.

I eventually stepped out by myself, and what a revelation it was! I determined never to close the door and put myself into solitary confinement again. I won’t do that to my daughter either. Did you know that amongst all the horror, several homeless men (who were sleeping rough near the arena), ran to help? They comforted children, stemmed blood loss and helped get people to safety. What I will say to my child, is always look for the helpers… There is always helpers. We will still attend concerts, but sadly our innocence has gone.

Newsies


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I didn’t quite know what to expect when I attended the preview of Newsies, a movie filmed on Broadway during a live performance. The sublime music and spectacular dancing entranced both my daughter and I, dropping us gently into New York circa 1899, and the beginning of an uprising. The whole audience cheered for the street-smart newsboys, and sneered when the villainous mogul slithered onto stage. It is heartwarming, especially knowing it is based on real events and real lads. It opened up a discussion with my daughter about trade unions, and how essential they have been in bringing workers decent conditions. I highly recommend taking the kids to see the movie this Sunday.

Here is an article from the illustrious Elissa Blake on Newsies.

Newsies is being screened for one day only, on Sunday 19th February at Event Cinemas. Book here.

 

 

Gnome Convention


On the 26th January, the Gnome Convention was held at Glenbrook Park. This annual event is put on by the Rotary Club of the lower Blue Mountains and we look forward to it all year!

 

 

It is whimsy at it’s best. We were entertained by the extraordinary bush poet, Greg North. If you haven’t experienced his act, you are missing out! Check him out here! img_0553

Brendan Kerin had us enthralled with not only his music, but stories. Did you know that the Didgeridoo’s actual name is Yidaki? It originated from the top half of Australia and was named the Didgeridoo later on as that is the sound it seemingly makes.

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We bought Gnome Hats, and had a grand time amongst the gnomes and fairies. It is my birthday today, and I bought this delightful Green Man incense burner (the smoke comes out of his head) for $15. We all need whimsy in our lives, and knowing that the money raised goes to charity is extra incentive to get your gnoming game on!

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Light it Red for Dyslexia


It’s that magical time of year again! This is what I wrote last year. The other day, my daughter read a whole lesson plan out by herself! It has taken eighteen months of frustration and tears to build her confidence, but she now believes that she can do it, in her own time and way. We have tools in which to help her, and her involvement in drama, the arts and singing have contributed greatly to her heightened self-esteem.

She joined the RSL Rural Commemorative Youth Choir, and it has given both her and I such joy. The choir had a camp at Cockatoo Island, and sang at Government House recently, Damien Leith and Mrs Hurley singing alongside them. My daughter was so buoyant after this experience, it was hard to recollect a time when her confidence was at rock-bottom.

When she has a dramatic performance, she learns her lines by singing them to a beat. When she learns songs, she tends to do so quickly. It has been fascinating, observing how she learns and also humbling. She walks with a skip in her step and her head held high, just as I dreamed she would.

For more information on Light it Red for Dyslexia, click here.

Simply Red


I love surprises of the pleasant kind! A dear friend texted me to ask if I wanted to go see Simply Red at the State Theatre. She had free tickets given to her by her DJ sister. Her sister lives in London, and had arranged it from there! Now my friend had a very bad car accident a few years ago, and had many injuries, including a broken back. She is in constant pain. My reaction to this lovely offer was the same as hers had been. We both thought of the practicalities of getting in there, and whether we would be able to stay awake until the set finished at 11pm. We worried about our pain levels escalating, and how we would feel the next day. We checked in with each other the day of the concert, and we resolved to go. To hell with the consequences! Now came a comedy of errors. We found parking under a popular city landmark, and I alighted the car with my trusty walking stick. My friend went to retrieve hers, only to find that the only aid she had was a hefty three-legger with a folding seat!

  
We went to the lift, only to find that we couldn’t go through the shopping centre. We saw security manning the business foyer, and we both burst into peals of laughter upon discovering that the escalators weren’t working and were cordoned off. We had no choice but to walk up the steep stairs alongside. We asked how on earth we could get out, and the security guy said that he would push a button to make the lift go up. Outside, we were completely discombobulated. We are city gals, and know our way around, but our pain-addled, weary minds couldn’t get it together. We punched ‘State Theatre’ into our smart phones. Well, the bloody things took us in the wrong direction, a fact that only dawned on us after a block or so! We put the phones away and relied on our wits. After a  stiff drink, we arrived!

  

 By the time we got to the theatre, we were late, and Simply Red were on. We were guided to the VIP area, which happened to be in the lowest section of the grand old theatre (which didn’t have a lift). We laughed some more as we negotiated our way down many steep stairs. I am sure Mick Hucknall looked straight at us as we hobbled along to our seats. Our tricky bladders were up to their usual mischief and we had to find a loo at differing times. I had forgotten just how pure and emotive Mick Hucknall’s voice was, and man, the band were in fine form. We moved in our seats, performing our unique interpretation of dance. We squeezed each others hands, thrilled that we had gotten here and were doing this. It was a celebration of having survived, for her and I. It was an act of defiance of the pain we will have forever. We were sneering in the face of exhaustion and depression. We were simply two women out on the town, listening to the sublime Simply Red.

I noted my friend’s jaw tightening toward the end, and I asked if she was ready to go. She nodded, knowing that I knew all-too-well, and she didn’t need to conceal her discomfort. We quietly left, walking through Pitt St Mall and to the carpark. We once again had to walk up to security, in order to operate the lift. We then had to negotiate our way around the cords and machines that the cleaners were using. We chatted all the way home, mostly about who we had been before our spines were broken, and then about our wonderful kids. We talked of the joy of sleeping for four hours straight, and what a rarity it was. It was a gift of grace, being in the company of a soul sister, one for whom no words are necessary. We laughed at the same time upon seeing more stairs and barriers. We knew when each other had reached our threshold. We grumbled about uneven paths and sticky-out objects blocking our way. Mick Hucknall, if you happened to look in our direction as we were leaving early, I can assure you that we had an extraordinary time in your company. Your music was the perfect accompaniment to a night of revelry for two ladies with damaged spines. We left on a sweet note, to your dulcet voice caressing our ears.

Memories Of 1969


This lady has quite a story to tell about 1969 in Sydney! Check it out!

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1969 was a year of big changes for me. You might say it was my first venture into adulthood – I became an Aunty for the first time; I left school at not quite 15; moved from Penrith to live with my Aunty at Rozelle; and went job hunting on my first Monday in the big smoke (Sydney).

My first job interview was at McDowell’s department store. The personnel officer was Mrs O’Donnell, a lovely lady. I asked her if I could have a job in the “button department”, as my brothers girlfriend use to work there. She smiled and asked me my age and why I wanted to leave school so young. I replied with “My Mum left my Dad, I’m living with my Aunty…”. In fact, the poor lady got my life history and family woes in just a few minutes, you know those days when you really…

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David Bowie


I think most of us were stunned when news broke of David Bowie’s death. We in Australia heard the breaking news last night. Mr Bowie’s music was the soundtrack to my youth, and his music was taken on every hospital visit. He was unique, and in turn, encouraged us to be. I applauded the way he reinvented himself over and over again. You were always a Starman, Mr Bowie, before we even knew your name.

I love this photo, taken at Newtown Fire Station.

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The artist Karen Hallion, has offered a beautiful free download of David Bowie as the Goblin King in Labyrinth today in tribute.

MvaKzQhIf you would like to download it, click here.

Vale, David Bowie.

30 Day Challenge-Day 20. Concerts you have attended.


 

Katy Perry's Prism Tour
Katy Perry’s Prism Tour

I have attended many concerts in my time. Some that come to mind are:

The Eurythmics. I was a child and they were extraordinary!

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Tim Finn and Paul Kelly at the Opera House. Incredible songwriters.

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Lolo Lovina. They pierce your soul.

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Pink, because she is wonderful and great fun!

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Katy Perry. My little girl adores her, and I must say, I do too.

The Old Married Couple.  Gorgeous humans I am proud to call friends.

I have been to many Indie concerts in small venues, as well as scores of festivals. Sydney has at least one festival each week! It’s a great way to uncover new talent. I always buy the cd’s. I haven’t even mentioned theatre and musicals, both of which I love.  In the years to come I hope to get to many more concerts!

Matilda and the 9th Birthday


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My daughter and I have been unwell with a respiratory virus. It was the sort that leaves you no option but to crawl into bed. We had five days at home in isolation, which is quite uncommon for us. Of course, daughter regained her strength before me, and when I shuffled out of bed for a drink of water, I encountered a paper-art shop and the creative use of food-stuff! 11895587_1012747128759132_687415514_o

The paper shop.

A friend made cupcakes the day before her birthday, and we went to a beautiful park. The sky was clear and blue and the weather was nudging toward spring temperatures. The day of her birthday, she woke at 4am, which was the time she was born. As she snuggled in my arms, I recalled being given a tiny bundle at that same time, nine years ago. She was a miracle from the outset. I paused to remember all I know who have battled their own private hells with infertility and pregnancy loss.

We walked to a local café, which is owned by a friend. She decorated the table, and gave my child a beautiful gift. How wonderful is it when a grown-up makes a child feel special and important?

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Afterward, we hopped on a train and went on an adventure! A traveller from Manchester had found a gig at a stationary store and when he discovered it was her birthday, not only did he dance, but he made a balloon animal for her. I hope Australia decides to keep this young man!  We strolled around, meeting many characters. Time got away from us, and I hurried us to the station. We had tickets to Matilda that evening!

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As soon as we entered the Lyric Theatre, we found the atmosphere joyous in anticipation. What can I say about Matilda? It was everything you desire in a stage production. It had spunk, it was irreverent, hilarious and heartbreaking. We were in fits of laughter one moment, and the next, had tears. It is a story for every person who has ever felt unsure of their place in the world. Anyone who has ever been subject to ridicule and contempt. It is a story of a daring little girl, who has the power to change the destiny of those around her. The sets, performers, music and lyrics were simply stunning. There are surprises aplenty. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the evening of my daughter’s ninth birthday. If it is playing anywhere near you- now or in the future- go see it! 11900866_1014784201888758_431005509_o11880991_1015125175187994_469633430_n

Our children need to be exposed to realistic heroes and heroines and to my mind, Matilda is an aspiration. She inspires young and old to listen to the nuances of their heart; to keep telling their stories and sharing their truth. We bought the soundtrack, so we can listen whilst I save up so we can see it again! Happy Birthday, to my daughter. You are one of the funniest, kindest and most creative people I have ever known. May the years ahead be full of wonder. If I had the power, I would create a musical score for your life. No sadness, just high notes, accompanied by harps and flutes. I wish I had that power. I will be accompanying you on your journey, doing all I can to buffer the low times so that there are no sharp edges.