Saturday, January 27, 2018

2018: I'm in no hurry

Every year I sit down and write up my intentions for the year, usually with lists of things to achieve and so forth. So it is late January and all I have are brief notes I made on New Years Eve afternoon in Hawaii.

  • Be tougher/tighter with money so I have more money to do stuff like this (Hawaii) with. Cause you can't take it with you!
  • More musical performance - see and do
  • Be still more
  • Flaneur More
  • Swim More
  • Say goodbye to aneamia
Sounds good to me!!!
So 2018 is actually going to be a very busy year for me, at least in the first 6 -7 months for work.

I will continue to work with SEEN@Swansea, the exhibition space on top of my regular library work, which is a lot of work in itself, but I am getting better used to juggling the two now, so that won't be an issue.

On top of that council and indeed the library the undergo a restructure, and I will be part of the change group assisting with all of that. AND I am part of the team rolling out our new Library Management System (LMS: Computers). Plus attempting two small TAFE courses, on curation, and with my fellow managers, Building a Professional Culture. So I am going to be all systems go at work.

To get through this without falling over, I need to really look after myself and get my work/life balance, well balanced!

And so my Hawaiian thoughts are really going to help out. 

I love good zen, feeling zen, and being calm. In Hawaii, I found a level of zen and calm, I have never achieved in my entire life. Unless you have been to Hawaii, you won't know what I mean, but let's say, it is perfection.

I can't say I have kept it up, cause I'm not in Hawaii, but it is in my soul, and easily plucked out.

And in Hawaii, no one seems to be rushed or in a hurry, hence my theme for the year, 2018: I'm in no hurry.

This will apply to all my work commitments, I will be as swift as I can completing what I need to do, but I will not rush, no point.

And I certainly will not rush my non-work time. 

To achieve a balance, I will need more down time than I had in 2017, more couch time, more sitting under trees and daydreaming, more doing nothing.

This will help me achieve most of my little list and help me with my work/life balance and to keep that nasty black dog, and it's friend anxiety, at bay.

And by doing less, I will save more money. I had a very spendy year last year, and at times felt stressed about lack of enough money. Mostly to do more stuff, so my point of saving more, is to fit in more of the types of adventures I like to do, travel, concerts etc.

More musical performance, is to see more live music and to continue with my lovely choir and use my own musical instruments more, guitar, uke, flute. This will help my zen, as I find all of this relaxing.

Be still more is self explanatory. Flaneuring is to explore neighbourhoods with no real purpose, just wander and see what you can find and learn, I love to do this, I find it very relaxing, plus good exercise. Swim more is also relaxing. So all of these work nicely together.

Say goodbye to aneamia shouldn't be too difficult, just keep up with the steak and tabs, should be there by mid year!

And you know that is enough, sometimes, it is nice to just be and let things happen as they are meant to. Leave it up to the universe, not to plan out your entire life, but to just enjoy things as they happen.

As John Lennon said, Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. So this year I won't be planning too much, just the odd weekend away, or concert to go to, other than that, I just plan to be still.

And I think that's enough.

Monday, January 22, 2018

2017: the year that was

2017 was a huge year for me. Mostly good too. It had it's moments, but you know, that is life. But it also held some of the most amazing moments I have had in my life. Seeing Paul McCartney was definitely THE highlight of the year. But I also joined my beloved choir, saw Patti Smith twice, holidayed in Sydney and Hawaii, met Jimmy Barnes, and knocked it out of the park at work.

Work was quite amazing this year, finally a fully formed and functioning team. We really have worked hard and I am so proud of the fabulous people I work with. I was part of a few great projects, still working on the interior design of our many libraries and we are starting to look a little bit sexy! I finished my project with Carol Duncan while she went off to wow us politically. But not before one of our most wonderful interviews, Doug, our 100 year old local. Not a dry eye in the room on that day, from laughing and crying and crying laughing. I started work with a small team on a new library management system, which is quite enormous and will really heat up the first half of this year. And I was selected to work on change management while we undergo on our restructure this year.

And then there were Dinosaurs. Oh my goodness, I have never worked so hard in my entire working life and whilst there were odd times of frustrations (that is project work) is was easily one of the most exciting and fabulous things I have ever worked on during my almost 30 years in Libraries. So we had this spare space next to the library that we used for the odd event etc, but I always wanted it to be a gallery to showcase local art. This never happened until a great new manager with an arts background stepped in. She saw the space, thought it would make a great exhibition space and within a couple of months it was. A huge collaborative effort, and what a pleasure to work with all these fabulous people. My team stepped up to assist or pick up while I was absent doing gallery stuff or at meetings etc. So thrilled with them! I wrangled volunteers, which was a huge learning curve, and worked on events to match the exhibits. Dinosaurs has been successful beyond our wildest expectations with roughly 5000 people visiting the space as I write and we still have a month to go. Library stats have also gone up, and it has been so much fun.

As most of you will know, one of the downsides of my library work is the heat and lack of air-conditioning in the large glass west facing building! However, after years of campaigning, we finally have had some small air-conditioning units installed. Whilst not a proper fix (this is also in the works), they have made a difference which is great.

Maybe it was because I was so busy, but the black dog didn't raise his head too much this year. He was there - he always is, sigh - and I had some moments of lows, but for the most part he was absent and that is freaking fabulous! Anxiety on the other hand, was higher than I can remember. Unsure why, probably, as an introvert, I had a lot of extrovert things going on, which can raise the anxiety. Only 2 major health issues this year, first new meds which brought some other health issues back in control but unfortunately cause weight gain. Come on Doctors, you can do better surely! So I am just doing my best, but it's a bit of a shit fight. And then I was diagnosed with Anemia, which wasn't so bad, it just left me extremely tired. I would fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I went to a specialist to find out why, despite my gut telling me it's probably just me (which is fairly normal for some people). I underwent a huge array of tests, operations, procedures etc and found out I was really healthy internally lol, but no reason for my anemia. So I am back on tablets (which are a little challenging in terms of side effects) and hopefully will be back on track by Easter. It took a few months last year to get back on track but the specialist took me off the tabs to do all the tests...sigh. So I wasted a lot of time and money to find out I am healthy - anemia withstanding - so I am looking at that positively...sort of! 

Now on to the fun stuff, I am a firm believer of living life large, despite being an introvert. So I just try to balance it out with PJs days on the couch with a book, and all the comforts of Club Cathy. Having said that, I did have a far busier social year than usual, possibly where my anxiety hyped up from.

As always, I had fun times out and about with my gal pals, oh these gals, what I would do without them I do not know. You all know who you are and you all make such a difference to my life. We lunch, chat, talk on the phone, text, message, facebook, tweet, and insta each other. We head to the movies, see great art, music, theatre, and just hang out. Without you all I am nothing! And a few of them had horrific years, and for once I was there to hopefully help them rather than the other way around. And how it hurt me to see them hurting.

We had lots of family fun, as always. My niece, 10, and nephew, 15, are the loves of the life. They are so joyous and funny to be around, and real decent humans too, a credit to their parents. Of course, meeting them all in Hawaii was loads of fun, and a lovely way to ring in the new year.

And my love life was as topsy turvy as ever, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am sure it feels like I share a lot of my life online, but I do try to keep personal stuff personal. I'm still dating and there are some lovely boys out there that just make me smile. Of course, for every lovely boy there are at least 6 fuckwits, but that's the nature of the beast and I am getting far better at spotting them and tossing them to side. I know a lot of people are vested in my romantic happiness, but honestly I am so busy I don't have much time for anything too serious right now. I am a-ok and what's meant to be is meant to be! Being a single gal has loads of benefits! And the dating is fun!

As always there was plenty of fun things to partake of here in The Hunter and elsewhere.

Kate Bush Day was a delight again, despite my red stockings nearly dropping to my feet!

I met a few authors, Caroline Baum and Jimmy Barnes, Heather Rose and Chris Krause. I attended the always wonderful Newcastle AND Sydney Writer's Festival and heard the most amazing authors talk, Richard Roxburgh, Roxane Gay, Paul Beatty, Michael Leunig, to name a few.

Our Twitter group had a few Karaoke nights, where I managed to suitably embarrass myself. And then I joined a choir, something I have been wanting to do for ages, but finding a suitable one was easier said than done. I have a whole lot of lovely new friends, and I am finding my Soprano voice again after years have passed since my Opera singing days. It is the most joyous thing, and so good for my soul. And within the group we join in the One Song Sing at The Edwards, where 100s gather to sing a song they learn in an hour - stupendous!!!

I saw lots of great art, attended loads of concerts, I went to the movies, theatre and markets. I explored suburbs in my home area and honed my photography. I bought a new Uke. You can read all about my highlights or best ofs here.

I had a lovely mini holiday in Sydney earlier in the year, caught up with family there, some great art, and of course saw Patti Smith perform her Horses (and then some) album live.

And was back later in the year to see my musical hero, Paul McCartney. I am still thinking about how perfect that evening was.

Of course, ending and commencing the year in Hawaii, was something else! What a lovely place to visit, how laid back it was, the food and people divine, I have never felt so relaxed in my life and a perfect way to commence 2018!

Life is pretty darn good you know. looking back I cannot really remember the lows, just the highs, and that's a really good place to be.

Stay tuned for my hopes and aspirations for 2018!

Monday, January 15, 2018

THE BEST OF 2017: reviews

This is my usual fave list for the previous year.
It was a great year for reading and television and live music.

I do need to see more films at the movies and listen to more new music.
Enjoy, and please let me know your faves!

Top 20 Books
Hunger by Roxane Gay
Without a word of a doubt, this is easily my book of the year, read about why here.

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner
A lovely compendium of Helen's greatest Non Fiction/essay writing. A perfect showcase for Australia's best writer bar none. Spare, funny, dramatic, real.

Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

Brilliant novel of art and love and crossroads and New York. Includes Marina Abramovic. I loved this novel so much and cannot talk it up enough.

Devotion by Patti Smith
A Teeny little book about why Patti writes, so brilliant, and leaving you wanting so much more.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Stunning Autobiography of his life, music and most surprising of all, his struggle with mental illness.

East West by Mohsin Hamid
Superb, modern novel about two young lovers trying to find their way in the backdrop of war. Terrorism, Refugees, The World.

Reckoning by Magda Szubanski
Magnificent Autobiography of National Treasure Magda. Growing up Aussie, Travel, War, Sexuality, Feminism, Comedy.

View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
Collection of Non Fiction and essays from the master, divine!

Only by Caroline Baum
Remarkable autobiography growing up an only child to European parents.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer
Amazing novel of WWII, romance, holocaust, science, stones, history.

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Short stories from one of my favourite writers, all about how men cope (or do not) without women in their lives.

Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler
Great history/travel/memoir about the Byzantium Period of history.

The Flaneur by Edmund White
Edmund describes being a Flaneur in Paris.

Juliet's Answer by Glenn Dixon
Verona, travel, romance, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, perfection.

Museum of Words by Georgia Blain
A dying woman's last book, about words, their importance and what is feels like to begin to lose your words. Heartbreakingly brilliant!

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Small novel about love and sex later in life, wonderful!

Stories I Tell Myself: Growing up with Hunter S Thompson by Juan F Thompson
Outstanding memoir about growing up with Hunter as your Dad!

Cheech is Not My Real Name by Cheech Marin
Hilarious and Intelligent memoir from the original stoner, Cheech!

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Incredible novel about the death of Lincoln's son.

The Dry by Jane Harper
Australian novel of the year, family murder/suicide in the outback...or is it!?

Top 20 Television
Twin Peaks
I have never seen anything like this on TV. Lynch is a Genius, and MacLachlan was outstanding. Mind genuinely blown.

The Leftovers
The third and final season of this unusual show may have well made up for the extreme disappointment of the Lost finale. Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon knocked it out the park throughout and then some in the final episode. Utter genius.

Game of Thrones
Continues to build and build and the Dragons finally came of ages. Also women kicked arse!!!

Fragile and honest, not just about Tambor's Trans character, but about a family, who you just want to embrace.

Handmaid's Tale
Heartbreaking, scary, freaky dystopian adaptation of the classic feminist novel.

This is Us
Brilliant family drama told over various timelines. Unique, unusual, real.

Great modern romance with a twist, darkly funny and incredibly real.

Search Party
Hard to describe without spoilers, but 4 friends look for a lost acquaintance without realising the repercussions.

The fabulous story of Joan Crawford and Better Davis.

Orange is the New Black
Game Changer is Season 5, outstanding.

OJ, Made in America
Great retelling of this story.

Jessica Jones
Kick arse female superhero storytelling

Better Call Saul
Spin off from Breaking Bad showcases Saul and his previous life, brilliant.

Doco series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and friends talking about Science.

Final season with our dysfunctional friends, great writing.

Big Little Lies
Intriguing storytelling about domestic abuse.

A Place Called Home
Australian period drama, totally sucked in!

Travel Man
Cute 48 hours in a big city travel series with Richard Ayoade and fellow comedians.

The Tunnel
Compelling French/English crime drama.

Outrageous story of a billionaire who made his money on the back of 9/11 and the prosecutor trying to catch him out. Plot twist, the prosecutor's wife is the billionarie's therapist.

Top 5 Movies
La La Land
Should have won best picture, absolutely perfect!

Should have also won best picture, outstanding sci-fi film about peace and loving and understanding all cultures.

Wonder Woman
Kick arse feminist super hero, my childhood hero made good in film.

Trip to Spain
Hilarious third film from Steve Coogan and Rob Drydan. Food, humour, impersonations, Spain.

Star Wars
The new films continue to knock it out of the park.

NB/ I didn't see a lot of movies this year.

Top 10 DVDs
Bright Lights
Brilliant documentary about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, released not long after their untimely deaths.

Get Out
Unbelievable horror film about racism.

A Bigger Splash
Great, luxurious, sexy film set in the South of Italy.

Very quiet, still film about Paterson, a poet and bus driver.

One More Time With Feeling
Documentary about Nick Cave, not long after the death of his son. Haunting.

Punk Singer
Great doco about Kathleen Hanna, feminist icon.

Midnight Special
Intriguing science fiction film with a twist.

Rosalie Blum
Lovely French film about an older woman with a past.

Embrace the Serpent
Black and white epic set in the Amazon in the early 1900s.

Fun, musical animation.

Top 10 Albums
Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave
Great, compelling, dark.

Young as the Water, Old as the Sea - Passenger
Lovely melodies, light, easy.

Christine McVie/Lindsey Buckingham
Wow, they still have it!

Keep Me Singing by Van Morrison
Classic Van.

Heartworms by The Shins
Light pop, easy to listen to.

Masseducation by St Vincent
Compelling, wild, Pop, Punk.

Turn up the Quiet by Diana Krall
Typical Diana, classy jazz.

Secular Hymns by Madeleine Peyroux
That voice, smooth and stunning.

Silvereye by Goldfrapp
Return to form after all these years.

Love and Blood by Shane Nicholson
Solid alt country.

Top 10 Concerts
Paul McCartney
Best concert I have ever seen.

Patti Smith and band
Outstanding unlike I could ever imagine.

Patti Smith Spoken Word
Second row, and in the belly of my hero.

Nick Cave
First time seeing Sir Nick and he didn't disappoint.

Martha Wainwright
Absolutely divine and I got to meet her.

Tim Rogers
Tim solo, heart wrenching and rock n roll.

Sarah Blasko
Tender, special, like a feather on the wind.

Marcia Hines - Velvet
Woah, Marcia kicks arse!

Colin Hay - APIA
Funny and eloquent and then that singing voice!

Daniel Champagne
New, young, upcomer, guitar/singer.

Special Mention: Sydney Symphony, Haydn and Mozart and Velvet

Top 5 Art
Nudes - Sydney Art Gallery
Jaw dropping pieces of art, amazing.

John Olsen - Newcastle Art Gallery
Smaller version of what I saw in Melbourne the year previous with added bonus of listening to and being in John's presence.

Ad Man, Andy Warhol - Sydney Art Gallery
Fabulous early work of Andy Warhol.

Phantom - Newcastle Art Gallery
Quirky exhibit featuring The Phantom.

Diane Arbus - Lake Macquarie Art Gallery
Huge coup of her amazing photography.

Top 5 Theatre
Jasper Jones
Remarkable adaptation of a modern Australian classic.

Blue Love
Sexy, funny, outrageous.

7 Stages of Grieving
Ground breaking Indigenous play, that still holds up today...sadly.

Piano Lessons
Great adaptation of a classic Australian Autobiography featuring the author as herself.

Merchant of Venice
Wonderful telling of classic Shakespeare.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


To say December was huge, is a, well, huge understatement!

Well, I guess everyone's December is huge, with Christmas and New Years Eve and prep for both. So my December is a tad huger normally, with both my Dad and myself celebrating birthdays (mine being the fabulous - she says sarcastically - Boxing Day!).

And this year for fun I added in an overseas holiday and a mini trip to Sydney to see Paul McCartney!

And most of my family headed off overseas early December, so that meant two Christmas Days this year!

And work just did not settle down like it normally does in December!

But I have to say....what joy!!!!

Ok it had it's moments, but mostly it was joy!

Work usually settles in Dec/Jan, you get to catch up, do some extra planning, and just chill and catch your breath a bit. Which is extraordinarily important I think when you work as hard as my team does. Plus it is usually hot and we have no air conditioning. There were some plain awful days during December temperature wise, but it helped to know that in early December we will get some air conditioning units along our western side of the building (where we work and take the worst hits). This is going to be marvelous, but is not a 100% fix, having said that the building is being looked at for proper air con, which will be freaking heaven, but in the meantime these units will be a godsend!

With the addition of the gallery space to the library this year, we have worked so much harder, but oh my, it has been a blast. I love it, but with the big Dinosaur exhibit, we just have not settled like we normally do. It is so wonderful to see the community embrace the space and the exhibit as they have. I have been juggling a lot this year, I feel like I have worked the best year I have ever worked. I have worked on our new Library Management (Computer) System, the Furniture Group (organising what each of our libraries need to modernise their space), looked after Carol Duncan's Share the Story program (Before she headed off to be a politician), on top of regular work and of course the gallery.

And then we decided to open a couple of libraries between Christmas and New Year (we usually close), Swansea being one of them. I felt so bad I would be sunning it up in Hawaii, but some wonderful staff took on the hours which I am ever grateful for.

So yeah, work was insane, but hey, we survived!

I started the month catching up with my lovely friend Jayne, who had returned from her own adventures in Boston and New York. I love love love hearing people's travel stories, so we hit the pub, then dined at our fave, Saigon Feast, before indulging in gelato. What a great night, what great stories!

We had an early family Christmas, as my sister and her family and my other sister were flying out to the US and Canada. I would be meeting them in Hawaii. My sister and brother-in-law always put on the most amazing feed, a very traditional Christmas, and it was great.

I enjoyed more Christmas celebrations with my friends, Vince, Nole, and Kathy.

Then a week later, Dad's birthday, at our local pub.

We had a special adults wine and cheese evening at work to listen to the owner of the Dinosaurs talk about his collection.

Cathy and I had an early birthday celebration with lunch, shopping, Star Wars (sooo good) and dinner. We always have great fun out and about, chatting and laughing, always laughing. What joy!

Our lovely work team had a Christmas dinner at Belmont Yacht Club.

Cathy and I had a simple Christmas lunch of Fish and chips before I headed overseas.

And of course actual Christmas was different this year, with just me and Mum and Dad, and we had a lovely day and skyped the family enjoying a white Christmas in Canada.

My birthday was very low key here, as I was flying out that night to Hawaii.
More about that in another blog. But my year ended so beautifully, the best I have ever had!!

Of course, the highlight of my month, year, quite possibly life, was seeing my musical hero, Paul McCartney. I am still thinking and smiling about that night, what brilliance, what genius, what joy. You can read all about it here.

This is what I have been reading, watching, listening to.

And the usual pics.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


What I’ve Been Reading 
What I Loved – Siri Hustvedt - remarkable story of two men and their lives as friends. Both married with a young son the same age and living in the same apartment complex in New York. Their lives take a sliding doors turn when one of the sons dies young. The story follows the men over many decades and their intertwined lives in the New York Art World. Beautifully written.

Faberge’s Eggs: the extraordinary story of the masterpieces that outlived an empire by Tony Faber - this was a great historical piece about the Faberge Egg, which of course intertwined the history of the Romanovs. Fascinating.

Going Once: 250 years of Culture, Taste, and Collecting at Christie’s.  A great coffee table book full of pics and stories of the interesting pieces that have made their way through Christie's. To own one piece...sigh...

The Meaning of Michelle - small essays by writers and people of note, eg Roxane Gay, about why Michelle Obama is important. A great little read.

Workshy by Dave Graney - I loved Dave's 1001 Australian Nights about his life on the road early on in his career. This is the 'follow up' and it goes back to his childhood in Mount Gambier and then more recent touring. Dave is a storyteller, a great one in fact, as can be told by his lyrics. He is a voracious reader and loves noir, and this shows in his work. So many stories, dramatic and funny, he is definitely a duel writer. If you love Dave (I do) or are a musician, I am sure you will just love this!

Becoming Her: Meryl Streep - ok biography about Meryl's early career.

Martin Sharp: his life and times by Joyce Morgan -  I didn't think I knew much about Martin Sharp when I began this great biography and I realised I knew much about him, as he was very intertwined in many other things I knew. Sharp was a great artist in the 60s and 70s and is well known for his album covers and pics of Clapton and Dylan. He lived in London and knew many of the top musicians at that time. When he was back in Melbourne, he was under the wing of Mirka Mora and her family. He reinvented Arthur Stace's Eternity for Remo and designed pics and shirts (both of which I own without even realising he was behind it). He was a tortured soul, like many great artists, but lived the most remarkable life, dabbling in all sorts of art.  The intricacies of this story, which is as much of a history of Sydney and Melbourne and their art scene as much as Martin's life. This is a must read. Loved it.

The long and winding way to the top – Andrew P. Street – 50 aussie songs - Andrew had selected a range of various Austalian songs, some obvious, some not so much, from over the years and has written short essays about them. Was a good read.

Scratch: writers, money, and the art of making a living edited by Manjula Martin – Cheryl Strayed, Susan Orlean, Roxane Gay, NIck Hornby - great tales, from some of our favourite writers on when they started to make it (or not) and how to make a living (or not) being a writer. This is an honest and amusing take on writing as an occupation.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: the lessons we learned from eighties movies by Hadley Freeman - this was a lot of fun, each chapter about a section of 80s movies and what we learnt from them. Tongue-in-cheek but a fab read, the writer really knows these great films and it is a fun, nostalgic read.

The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith - great debut novel by Smith about a fictional Dutch painter, Sara De Vos and the seminal pieces that are many centuries later copied by an Australian painter in New York in her 20s and some decades later when she is asked by Sydney Art Gallery to curate an exhibition by De Vos, will her copy come back to haunt her. SO cleverly writtem, I stopped multiple time to google De Vos, each time to realise she doesn't exist. Written in easy to follow, interwoven three time periods, this is a fabulous read, especially for art lovers.

The Museum of Words by Georgia Blain - oh my, this was Georgia's last book before passing of brain disease way too young. The story is about words, her love of them, and what happens when (due to illness) you start to lose your words. Stunningly written, poignant, upsetting and yet also uplifting. I didn't want this book to end.

An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire - this has been getting a lot of applause in Australian awards etc, and is an unusual take on murder. Not really a murder novel, but more a novel about what happens to those left behind after a murder, especially within the media of a high profile murder. Fascinating and well written.

Birds Art Life Death by Kyo Maclear - Maclear was going through a lot of change, and had illness around her, and needed some clarity. She randomly met a young bird watcher, became friendly and started to join him on his watching. This is a book about her life at that time and how bird watching helped her unwind, and slow down. It emptied her full head and she found she could commence creating artisically again. This was a wonderful little gem, a lot of bird information, but that is ok, just an interesting take on slowing down.

The Thing about Prague by Rachael Weiss - I loved her first book about spending a year in Prague, this time she goes back to live. It's a great story about her time there, catching up with old friends, making new ones, trying to find a job and an apartment to buy and fitting in to the Prague way of things.

What I’ve Been Watching 
The Walking Dead S8.1 - I am starting to have a love/hate relationship with The Walking Dead, it is slowing up and getting a tad annoying, but I have stuck in so far, I will keep going.

Riviera - this was a good crime/thriller set in the French Riviera with Julia Stiles as the second and widowed wife of a man, who may have been up to no good crime wise. With the assistance of an old friend, his first wife (the always fantastic Lena Olin) and his kids, she is determined to get to the bottom of his death and what was going on. Written by Neil Jordan, this was a great ride, and beautiful to watch!

Mr Robot S3 - I am still not sure I can explain 100% what is going on in this show, but it's got me sucked in!

Once Upon a Time S6  - this is a guilty pleasure, loads of soap operay fairy tales intertwined in numerous worlds, but I felt it was starting to jump the shark this season, too much repetition. 

The Tunnel S2 - the second season of this French/UK drama sees our odd couple reunited to investigate a range of terrorist acts. Excellent storytelling and acting.

Silicon Valley S4 this show gets better and better, as always everytime they look likely to hit the big time, one of them accidentally (or not) sabotages their efforts.

Moone Boy S2/3 - finally caught up on the final 2 seasons of this delightful series. Set in the 80s and about Chris O'Dowd's childhood with his crazy family and imaginary friend (played by O'Dowd himself). This is laugh out loud funny, clever, in terms of jokes about the future and great soundtrack.

Catastophe S3 - this is one of my favourite shows starring the brilliant Sharon Horgan and the swoony Rob Delaney. The first two seasons showcases their backward romance, after falling pregnant over a week on one night stands they decide that in their late 30s maybe they should make a go of it and get married. It's  very dry, black comedy about relationships, this season shows them trying to get things back on track after a few issues and dealing with their ageing parents. Carrie Fisher plays Rob's mother, and she is wondrous, it was the final thing she shot. SO worth it for that, but ultimately it is one of the best shows on tele.

Search Party S2 - wow, this is one of the other best shows on tele, a little underrated gem. Season 1 was about a group of 4 friends looking for a girl they knew from college who has gone missing. Dory, the main character (Maebe from Arrested Development) is obssessed with finding her, but the obsession may change the course of all their lives. The series changes mid final act Season 1, and it is a gobsmacking change in direction. Season 2 follows this change, it is a dark comedy, but S2 even darker, but also even funnier. It ends up in the air, so I am guessing there is a third. I haven't disclosed the subject matter because it is so astonishing, you need to see it to believe it!

Travel Man - I love this little half hour travel show with the delightful Richard Ayoade. He takes a fellow comedian on a 48 hour trip to a city. He has had great guests, Jo Brand, Lena Dunham, Rebel Wilson, Adam Hills etc.

Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton - a sprightly 91, this series only has a handful of episodes now, but Lipton still delivers. It was a short but great season with Ted Danson, Scarlett Johannson, The cast of Girls, Cuba Gooding Jnr, Viola Davis, and Jessica Chastain.

Loving -I missed this Oscar run earlier in the year. Great acting, and storytelling, but ultimately left me a little cold.

Sense of an Ending -  the movie adaptation of one of my favourite books, and it was not great, They tried, I can tell, but not hard enough.

Get Out - Oh my Goodness, I am STILL thinking about this movie. It was utterly brilliant, unexpected, clever, freaky and everything you can think of. A young man goes home to meet his girlfriend's family, but something is not quite right, and he cannot put his finger on it. He chats to his mate back home and they come up with some outrageous explanations, that may not be far from the truth. I cannot say any more, this is a movie about race, and a clever one. It is called a horror film and that it is, but not in the traditional sense of the word/film, more horrific but really a must see movie! Go now, before you find out what happens.

Jasper Jones  -  a sweet adaptation of the modern classic Australian novel. I read the book (shamefully) for the first time earlier in the year and saw the play not long after, the film is great, but after the book and play it pales. But worth checking out.

Biutiful -  I cannot believe I never saw Javier Bardem's Oscar winning peformance in this amazing film. Devastating and astonishing, about a man on the wrong side of tracks, dealing with a junkie wife and young kids, barely making it and he finds out he has cancer. He will do everything possible to ensure these kids are going to be ok. Tissues, you will need tissues, but such a powerhouse performance.

Brand New Testament -  a really interesting take on god and jesus, and a retelling of the testament through the eyes of God's daughter who isn't happy with how her Dad is doing the job. She escapes their house and sets off to make changes and find her brother, Jesus! Funny and strange, this is an odd one, but I quite enjoyed it.

The Hunger - another old film I cannot believe I have never seen. Bowie and Sarandon and Deneuve in a almost mild porn vampire film. Not a lot happens, but geez it looks good and is pretty sexy!

Julia - oh this is such a complex tale of the holocaust, writing, the US, and great acting by Redgrave, Fonda, Robards, Streep, Schell, and Halbrook. A classic for sure, and a huge Oscar winner.

What I’ve Been Listening To
Songs of Bob Dylan – Joan Osbourne - this was good, Joan has a great voice.

Melodrama by Lorde – this was ok, I get her and appreciate her, but ultimately she is  not for me.

Low Blows by Meg Mac - loved this

Paul McCartney -  no surprises it has been McCartney all the time this month!

Friday, December 15, 2017


The Beatles are my favourite band and Paul McCartney, my favourite Beatle.

It started with my Dad, a huge Beatles fan who imported their records from overseas along with pretty much every other seminal 60s rock when he was a youngster.

He saw them in Sydney when they toured, he says there was a lot of screaming but it was great. I have his ticket, in mint condition, as my most prized possession.

I grew up with The Beatles (and The Stones etc) like other kids grew up with nursery rhymes.

For a band that broke up when I was a week old they sure have influenced me.

After that Wings and all the solo albums were played with voracity in my home. Lennon was murdered when I was 9, on my Dad's birthday.  It was the next day we found out. Dad was quiet and sombre, I just didn't understand why someone would want to kill that nice man who wanted to give peace a chance.

And as a teen I idolised Lennon, but as I grew older it was McCartney I kept going back to.

In 1993, I was lucky enough to see him in Sydney, it was a great experience but at times he didn't sound so good. The set was mixed and I guess looking back he had only just started to embrace his legacy. Nonetheless I was thrilled and felt privileged to see him.

As the song sort of goes, that was (almost) 25 years ago...

... and in that time the bond deepens, the knowledge grows, the understanding of their musicality, the love of their heritage...

Hey Jude is not only my favourite Beatles song, but my favourite song of all time. I toggle between The White Album and Abbey Road as faves. I own the entire Beatles collection in spiffy vinyl. I'm getting back into Wings and I enjoy his new albums. I hate fanatical fans, I am not that, but I am a solid fan and Paul is my main man.

And then he announces his tour.

Tickets are much harder to come by in the digital age, I'm bereft and anxious in the week leading up to purchase day.

What if I miss out?

Well, I guess I have seen him before I console myself. But this time it's different. The feelings I have cannot be described. I HAVE to see him!

I'm going solo, no one wants to come with me and I refuse to miss out.

But I still need my ticket.

And so it passes I'm lucky enough to secure one. I can't stop crying...with joy, and the enormity of it.

And life goes on, gets hectic, and concert day sneaks up on me.

I'm staying in Olympic Park and catching multiple trains to get there.  Issues at Strathfield and my anxiety is skyhigh. We really have no idea how to do public transport in Australia. But I get there, have a late lunch, a nap, then get ready and head out.

I'm anxious, nervous, excited, and just a teeny bit sad I have no one to share this with. But I realise he is my hero, and this is my adventure, and goddamn it I was going to have the night of my life.

The merch lines were long so I moved on hoping I could have a go after the concert. I was seated around 6.45. The show started at 7ish. A great selection of video clips and stills on cylindrical screens that spun around while a DJ played a range of Beatles/McCartney etc related songs.

I love this pre-concert buzz, watching people come in and take their seats, the range of ages and facial expressions. Such fun!

Then a little after the lights went down, the stage lights went up, and there he was stage centre.

And with a twang of that distinctive chord that opens only one song...A Hard Day's Night...the crowd went wild and the show began.

A Hard Day's Night was followed by Junior's Farm and then Can't Buy Me Love.
Great opening, by Can't Buy Me Love I was gone, the tears started to form, the bottom lip started to quiver, which normally indicates loud blubbery crying, lol, but I held it together. 

He sounded great, he looked happy, he laughed and spoke to the crowd. I think we're gonna have a good time tonight. Oh yeah! Someone called out, "I love you Paul." He replied, "I love you too." 

The band were tight, they've been touring with him for a long while now, so that should be no surprise. The set design well thought out and spectacular. Great lighting, amazing visuals, silent clips and stills of his long and vast career.

I was glad I was facing the stage, even though that meant I was further away than say the same tickets on the side who might be closer to the stage, but to see the whole spectacular front on was something else.

I'm not going to go through every song, but oh boy, every song was a gem!

A few more songs in they played Let Me Roll it, with that distinctive riff, I love this song and they knocked it out the park. He sounded great, the band kicked arse, and then straight into a Hendrix riff, Foxy Lady, they killed that too. This led Paul into one of the many, many stories of the evening. About Jimi opening with Sgt Pepper, two days after the album was released, they were all impressed.

I am going to include a cool video a friend found on youtube below and it is little snippets of the concert, not everything but key parts of some songs and some of the stories!

He was so happy to tell his tales, and have a laugh or be a bit serious. You could tell he was loving every single minute of it and that was so very heart warming.

Some of the lovelier moments were dedicating the new and stunning My Valentine to his wife who was in the audience and a few songs later dedicating Maybe I'm Amazed to Linda. In fact, he messed up the beginning, not that you'd notice, and stopped everyone, explained what he did, said well you think to yourself can I keep going and fix it or should I stop. I decided to start again and do it properly. Everyone applauded and cheered. He then said, at least you know we're live! As if there was any doubt, lol!

He also sung another Wings fave, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five. So good!

Of the Beatles stuff, and there was a lot, there was the songs you expect, Love Me Do, And I Love Her and so forth, but also classics like I Just Saw A Face, and You Won't See me...two gems I was thrilled to hear.

He also tossed in a Quarrymen song, In Spite of all the Danger, and told the story of how that was the first record they ever made, five of them (no Ringo as yet) and 5 pounds to make, 1 pound each and a week at each of their houses, except the keyboard player who kept it for 20 years then sold it back to Paul and made a profit.

Before moving into a newer section, he played a stunning version of one of my faves, Blackbird...more tears...and it was followed by his ode to John Lennon, Here Today, even more tears. His sentiment - and let's face it he can be a little overly sentimental - was en pointe and just right. The man can write a song unlike no other.

And he keeps going and BOOM, Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite - now I never thought I'd hear that and it was divine, the psychedelic graphics and lighting across the stage very fitting and pepperesque. It got loads of cheers, the unexpected is always the best at a concert. This was song 24 and only a little over halfway there and whilst that first halfish was superb, he then took it up a notch.

From thereon in it was mind blowing after mind blowing stuff.

He comes out with a uke and talks about George Harrison, cue more tears from moi, and then begins a truly sweet version of Something, before changing to a guitar and adding the band for a very beautiful end to the love song.

A Day in the life...morphing into Give Peace a Chance.

Upbeat and sassy, Ob La Di, Ob La Da!!!

And the distinctive opening of my favourite Wings song, Band on the Run, sweet perfection!!!

They rocked Back in the USSR before hitting the piano and slowing down with Let it Be and a lovely singalong.

Then back up many notches to blow the stadium apart with a theatrical and pyramaniacal Live and Let Die. WOW!!!!

Ending with my beautiful Hey Jude, that was a truly amazing performance. If there was one song I wanted to be perfect (and believe me pretty much all of them were anyways) it was this one, and it was. I have never felt so happy singing and crying (cringing if you will) along to this special song.

And off they went...for all of 2 knew there was going to be more.

Out they came, holding four flags, the Australian flag, the UK flag, the Aboriginal flag, and the Rainbow flag....huge cheers!

Yesterday, such a stunning song, written so many years ago when he was so very young, but oh boy, he nailed that sentiment and it holds up beautifully today. All of his material does.

Followed by a rousing rendition of birthday.

And then he started Mull of Kintyre. Now If you had said to me a day prior that I would called this my highlight I would have laughed at you and thought you mad. Firstly, to my knowledge, he doesn't sing that much and secondly I am soooo not a fan of it. Mostly as it was always Number 1, and for so very long, beating my favourite bands, it made me cranky as a kid and then when I started music classes at school that was a key band number...oh vey. You hear a song too many times, and no matter how good it is, it can be disturbing.

But then, a good song is a good song and it will always come back to you. And that night it did just that. By the end of the first verse I was weeping, it truly is a great song and that was BEFORE the freaking Pipe Band joined them on stage. And so, right at the Bagpipe section of the song, on walk the Governor Macquarie Memorial Pipe Band, bagpipes, drums, marching, twirling. I was gone, crying like a baby, everyone around was close to tears or in tears, it was one of the most electric, memorable, spine-tingling things I have ever seen on stage. Just perfection.

Here is a link to it from the same night!

After that it was straight into Sgt Peppers before tearing up Helter Skelter, and I mean they fucking killed that, how he could continue I have no idea, they ripped it up big time. It was sheer rock and roll.

And he moved gently to the piano and sang us all a lullaby.

They ended with the Abbey Road Trilogy, Golden Slumbers, The Weight, and The End. They only way to end a show really. This piece (it is one piece with three movements) is something that the more I listen to, the more I adore, possibly a Number 2 Beatles song.

As faux fireworks filled the stadium, he sung those immortal words from The End, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

The band bow, wave goodbye and are hidden in a cloud of smoke and glitter.

I sat down, having been on my feet for a bit, and just breathed in, wiped the tears from my face, smiled, and headed to buy some merch. 

It was a little after 11, exactly 3 hours since the concert began, and what an amazing 3 hours it had been, remember the man is 75 years old!!!!!

I still cannot believe I was lucky enough to witness this event. It has easily wiped out many amazing concerts to reach Number One/all-time concerts and that is saying something. I never thought anyone would knock Prince off Number One. But this was a mix of history, adoration, genius, fabulous musicianship, great performance, amazing lighting and staging, and just love and fun and sentiment. This is a man who has captured my heart for almost all of my life, and whilst I had the privilege of seeing him before, this was something altogether different. It was more than a concert.

I knew this would be a long post/blog. I thank you for hanging in there. My pictures are not great, but I hope they give you an idea.

After the clip is the full Setlist, it's pretty amazing and history indeed.

This is a highlights reel from Youtube, it's pretty good.


1. A Hard Day's Night (A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles)
2. Junior's Farm (non-album single, Wings)
3. Can't Buy Me Love (A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles)
4. Letting Go (Venus and Mars, Wings)
5. All My Loving (With The Beatles, The Beatles)
6. Let Me Roll It (with Foxy Lady on the end, Hendrix) (Band on the Run, Wings)
7. I've Got A Feeling (Let It Be, The Beatles)
8. My Valentine (Kisses on the Bottom, McCartney)
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (Band on the Run, Wings)
10. Maybe I'm Amazed (McCartney, McCartney)
11. I've Just Seen A Face (Help, The Beatles)
12. In Spite of all the Danger (Quarrymen first single)
13. You Won't See Me (Rubber Soul, The Beatles)
14. Love Me Do (non-album single, The Beatles)
15. And I Love Her (A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles)
16. Blackbird (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
17. Here Today (Tug of War, McCartney)
18. Queenie Eye (New, McCartney)
19. New (New, McCartney)
20. Lady Madonna (non-album single, The Beatles)
21. FourFiveSeconds (non-album single, McCartney/Rhianna/West)
22. Eleanor Rigby (Yellow Submarine, The Beatles)
23. I wanna Be Your Man (With The Beatles, The Beatles)
24. For the Benefit of Mr Kite (Sgt Peppers, The Beatles)
25. Something (Abbey Road, The Beatles)
26. A Day in the Life (Sgt Peppers, The Beatles)
27. Ob La Di, Ob La Da (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
28. Band on the Run (Band on the Run, Wings)
29. Back in the USSR (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
30. Let It Be (Let It Be, The Beatles)
31. Live and Let Die (non-album single, Wings)
32. Hey Jude (non-album single, The Beatles)
33. Yesterday (Help, The Beatles)
34. Birthday (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
35. Mull of Kintyre (non-album single, Wings)
36. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) (Sgt Peppers, The Beatles)
37. Helter Skelter (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
38. Golden Slumbers (Abbey Road, The Beatles)
39. The Weight (Abbey Road, The Beatles)
40. The End (Abbey Road, he Beatles)