On Giving Up

2020 has become the year where I gave things up. It started back in March, with COVID and giving up on normalcy. In quick succession I gave up gigs, my music career, spending time with friends. It carried on with giving up special occasions: friends birthdays, overseas travel, eating out, my June school holidays.

Over time it became more ascetic: I gave up meat for six months. I gave up booze for June and July. I gave up on days, Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday disappearing mysteriously into a muddled block of nothing. Without gigs and pubs and friends, the days that framed my work week became less ‘days with hours’ and more ‘formless vacuous space’.

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On Mum

If I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Dad, I need to dedicate equal thought to Mum and the impact she’s had on my life. There is no Dad without Mum. There is no me without Dad and Mum. This is the yin and yang, the cosmic duality that created me and I can’t fathom seeing either of them without the other.

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On Dad

Last week was Dad’s birthday. It neatly lines up with Father’s Day (Australian) every year, landing in the same week. I feel like my Dad has always been the same age. Always slightly bald, tufts of white hair and a white beard, a little Bernie Sanders-esque. Always present, the person in the other room tapping away at his laptop, piles of papers strewn across the desk.

He’s been the constant presence in my life since birth. Crazy to imagine it. The three people who have been with me the longest still exist, still maintain spaces in this physical world. We swell from a cell into a conglomerate of matter, sucking parts of the universe into our own being for such an insignificant amount of time, days or months or years and then the time ends and we slowly expel all of these atoms back out into the universe.

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On Belonging

I’ve spent the last week watching Wild Wild Country, the Netflix documentary about Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I got there via a fairly odd route, hearing this song from one of my favourite artists Sufjan Stevens. A little digging into the lyrics reveals line such as:

I’m on a path of love, I’m on a parrot
Possess me with prayer on the bluff
I’m on a task for God
Entheogen, you lift me within Upanishad

Pretty par for the course when you consider Sufjan’s back catalogue, but intriguing enough that I felt I should dig a little deeper. Googling Rajneesh brought me to Wikipedia and then on to Wild Wild Country, although I’m still not entirely sure what the connection is and why Sufjan is borrowing imagery from a 1980s Indian guru to spur his 2020 pop music. Anything can be a jumping off point for creativity I guess.

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On the Disposable Nature of Music

I’ve talked before about how I read voraciously, deep-diving into all-consuming worlds that supplant my reality for days and weeks and months at a time.

As a child I spent most of the years between eight and fourteen in bed, books wedged against pillows to hold them in a comfortable reading position. My parents supported my reading addiction by carting around boxes and boxes of books from house to house, country to country, every time we moved. Each summer I’d read through everything on my shelves, then immediately read through them again. I’d borrow a book from a friend and read through it that night, then call them the next day asking for something new. On camping trips our family would cart around bags of books, mainly for me and Mum and Dad. My brother would be out fishing. So from an early age reading has been an addiction of sorts, and I know that when I start a good book, everything else in my life will suffer until its finished. That’s how I read all seven Harry Potter books in one seven day spell, shuffling around various positions in a one bedroom apartment to find comfort. This is not meant as a point of bravado but merely a demonstration of how poor my ability is to multi-task when I have a book in hand.

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On Waking

I remember waking. Fresh faced from a solid slumber, kick up up up to free my legs from the blanket, roll off the top bunk with a bang that reverberates through the floor boards and stirs my bunkmate down below.

Morning time. I’m good in the morning, if I choose to be. I’m simultaneously a morning person and an evening person, or I possibly just lack self-awareness, for I know when the tiredness hits of an evening I tend to doze off wherever I am: living room couch, kitchen table, in the car at the traffic lights. It’s a switch, instantaneous grogginess and a stumble to bed to catch the sleep wave. I also know that I’m grumpy in the morning, for the fifteen groggy minutes between rolling out of bed and leaving the house, and then with a click I revert to my normal staid self. So maybe I’m neither a morning or an evening person. Maybe I’m just a person in these hours between when my eyes open and close, and something else entirely in those other hours.

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On The Hopeful Clutter (Lyrics)

For posterity’s sake I figured it’s worth including the lyrics to this year’s EP The Hopeful Clutter as a blog post. Not because anyone seems particularly interested, but just cause.

If you’re interested in listening along, you can stream it here (I still have at least 50 physical CDs, so if you want to support me you can buy a copy too! No pressure).

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On My Favourite Time of Year

It’s my favourite time of year. The time when all the local households take things they no longer need and put them out on the street. It’s a strange aspect of Australia culture, officially known as ‘hard rubbish’, but every council area I’ve lived in for the last twelve years has embraced it wholeheartedly. My current council is Darebin, and my current house is in a steadfastly upper middle class area, so the quality of the goods people discard is second to none.

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On Mess

The backyard is a mess, all pot plants lined up in rows with good intentions, lovingly planted and then abandoned at the first sight of some other distraction. I garden like I do everything else in life: in short sprints, tackled over a week of high motivation and high spirits. Then a day off in bed, or a day where someone asks me to do something else and every project is abandoned to wilt and wither on its own. I have a period where I’m remarkably good at growing mint. I know, it’s a weed that will literally grow anywhere and take over any garden, but I check it obsessively everyday, noting its growth and the little spidery leaf patterns feathering out across the clay pot I found in hard rubbish last year. Then I forget about the mint too and the next time I glance at it as I shuffle past, it has been devoured by a family of snails that hug plumply to the inside rim of the pot, sleeping throughout the day and sliding in ecstasy upon my minty leaves at night. I prise each snail off the pot individually with a slight sucking sound and throw them over the neighbour’s fence.

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