I don’t say this much, and I definitely don’t say this at all often in Winter, but I actually like where I work.
I like Docklands.
Sure, stuff is hard to come by on weekends. Like good coffee. Convenient food. People. Life forms of any kind. Just kidding (kind of).
Sure, the weather is a shit-hole come Winter. The wind blows me to smithereens as I try my damn hardest to force my body through the rotating doors in the mornings, the insanity turning my body at 90 degrees it is that intense.
The wet and shiny concrete is a real hazard too, and don’t make me tell you about that, and any kind of heel.
But, the positives. Like the fact that we are so close to the city, the grind of it, and yet far enough to escape the crazy and have a little peace, while being a stone’s throw away from it all.
What about traffic being somewhat not really acceptable, while in the city DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.
What about Summer evenings?
What about the water?
I took this photo this evening while walking back from getting some noodles for dinner. I had to walk a bit, and other places were far-closed by 6:30pm…
But when I saw those rolling and broken clouds atop the glistening water… oh man.
I actually, kind of LOVE IT.
(Just don’t ask me to repeat this in 6 months time…)
Do I need to say anymore? I caught these beauties right from the comfort of my home, before I jumped in the shower earlier this evening. I notice it has been a spectacular night, since many people have posted on social media just how extraordinarily beautiful the Melbourne sunset was tonight after such a muggy and hot day.
After a late start to Summer, our fair city is starting to show off. If you’ve got it, flaunt it I say.
Particularly big, expansive-branch, strong-trunk, I’ve-seen-way-more-than-you-can-imagine type trees.
A few of this kind can be found in our fair city. I couldn’t help taking some shots today after Dad was finished with his appointment. My parents headed over to the car as I snapped this quickie on St Kilda road:
and then as I was driving, I just had to capture this:
Can you see that ray of light just bursting through the pic onto the centre of the road? The silver car on the side is underneath a tree that has very little leaves, but the few it does have are a brilliant yellow, the colour threatening to pop at any moment as Melbourne’s ferocious winds head into town.
And in this next pic, the trees here are more indicative of what I particularly like, what was missing a bit in the previous pic. The leaves in these trees are slightly more in abundance, meaning their branches can stretch out and touch each other in the middle of the street.
I LOVE THAT.
Again, the Sun’s rays are beaming through… I love how unrelenting it is, forcing itself down despite the difficult weather. I love how the Sun just never gives up on us. It always tries it’s damn hardest to get through, no matter what the conditions.
As much as the weather leaves little to be desired at this time of year, I am grateful for these moments, where beauty and mother nature at her finest can be spotted in simple everyday activities.
I am happy that I can find and appreciate these pockets of beauty, despite freezing my ass off.
How awesome was it, this morning when I was driving into work just after 6am, all rainy and dark and cold, that I got a major, surprising, musical flashbop?
I mean back. Flashback.
Listening to my current fave morning crew, Matt and Meshel (or you can call them SHATT) their first segment of the day starting at 6am begins with each of them having an old, usually forgotten but awesome song, and each day a listener is able to pick, which of the two songs should be played in full.
First option from Matt – Because I got high – Afroman.
Oooh, I thought. This is an goodie! Memories of my late teens, and oddly enough, being in a Macca’s car park (I didn’t really frequent them that much) appeared in the forefront of my mind.
Surely that song is gonna win.
Then Meshel’s pick started, and my eyes widened in shock.
Mmm bop – Hanson.
WOW. What a blast from the past. I had been obsessed, to put it super-lightly, with this 3 group band of brothers, since they had burst onto the music scene at the tender ages of 11, 13 and 16. (I really do know these things).
I loved Taylor (the middle one).
I knew all the words to their songs.
At one point my Mum threatened me, in a particularly moody phase of mine, that she would rip down the Hanson posters I had plastered all over my wall where not one bit of white wall was visible, while I was at school so I couldn’t stop her. This put me into a state of unbelievable panic.
I cried when I learnt they would be making a shopping appearance in Melbourne at the height of their popularity, and I would be missing it because I was overseas on holiday. First world problems, I know. But this is the life of a hyperactive, overdramatic, super-sensitive teen.
I was so into them, that it actually became a surprise when not even 2 years later, I found myself slowly fading out of them. It happened as they were having a musical break, and also as another boy band entered the scene to grab my musical and lustful attentions: 5ive.
I allowed myself to fall slowly out of love with them, quite maturely actually. However, I have never forgotten them, their songs or my clear dedication (putting it nicely) to them.
Which is why this morning, I was able to sing loudly along to their first number one hit, as the words are so definitely engraved into my brain.
“So hold on to the ones who really care
In the end they’ll be the only ones there,
When you get old and start losing your hair
Can you tell me who will still care?”
and then some more:
“Mmm bop, ba doobee da
Ba doo bop
Doo wee bop bop do wop
Ba doo be dop ba doo…
Said oh yeah
In an mmm bop they’re gone… yeah yeah, yeah yeah.”
Despite my bopping around the car, swaying my head crazily from side to side, singing at the top of my lungs to the music blasting through the car, smiling like a stupid teen again, those latter lyrics really struck me. I’d always known them. But suddenly, I was looking at them from the perspective of someone who knew what death was about.
In an mmm bop they’re gone.
Back in the day, I would sing the song, I would understand the lyrics, but I didn’t really feel them. I didn’t really know what it was about.
I was really surprised at this sudden realisation. It’s the feeling you get when you go back to an old movie, or an old book you haven’t read in years, and suddenly the meaning is all different. You get something more, something deeper out of your old fave, and begin to appreciate it in a brand new and much more profound way. It may be that a line resonates with you now, or a scene that plays out is so like something you know in your life, that you are dumbfounded. Spell bound. In awe at this medium portraying your life, your experiences, as you know it.
In an mmm bop they’re gone.
How could 3 teenage boys sing words of such meaning, camouflaged in such a boppy song? How ahead were they, at that time, to know what that meant? What horrible experience made them pen that sad, but true line.
In an mmm bop they’re gone.
I continued mmm bopping along, yelling loudly in my car, as the words sunk in again, but this time on a deeper level.
I was happy my grateful moment came so early today. It’s a good day when that happens.
I give Hanson so much more credit now. Maybe I wasn’t just a silly, moody teen… Maybe I actually had some clue.
This will be a quick one, because I’m writing from my hubbie’s 4 year old mobile with out of date browser. Word Press isn’t a fan. Onwards.
Having the opportunity to get away is a true privilege, and a real great reason to be grateful. We live in a city where you are within driving distance (sometimes hours by car, but still) to mountains, sea, hills, wineries and bush retreats. We drove an hour 20 today, and we’re on the other side of the city, near spectacular ocean views.
Sometimes a quick trip is all you need. Sometimes you come back to life reinvigorated, ready to go full steam. Other times you ask yourself “why don’t we actually do this?” (as we asked ourselves a few months ago).
I’m grateful for the ability to do this. Trips like this can sometimes, change your life forever.
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby
‘Cuz in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You’re on your own
And if the elevator tries to break you down – GO CRAZY!
(Punch a higher floor!)…”
This is one of my many, many favourite passages from one of my many, many favourite Prince songs. In particular the parts above about “electric word life” and ‘going crazy’ if the elevator tries to break you down, speak to me on a personal level.
Prince was, is and forever will be a musical genius: I don’t think many could argue that. He was a risk-taker and a rule-breaker, transforming stereotypes and ideals and turning the whole music genre upside down as he self-taught himself to play instruments, played the guitar with electricity and made sex of rnb and blues.
I feel awfully lucky to have grown up in the Prince era. It actually blows my mind that I am one of the lucky ones to have lived in the time of his living, too. I was influenced by him by first listening to my sister listen to him in her teenage years, and then grew to appreciate him on my own terms. Despite attending high school in the tail end of the 90s, his songs were a background to those uncertain and hormone-fuelled days. So many of his songs are number 1s in the soundtrack of my life. Bestie and I had an ongoing joke that we still refer to this day, which included his “Purple Rain,” while his other hits like “When Doves Cry,” “Kiss,” “Erotic City” and “Cream” all provided plenty of ammunition in that era of teen-angst and lust. I actually danced to “1999” at midnight with my cousins as we brought that year in! How many people can say they did that?! I feel honoured.
To this day, the background wallpaper on my phone contains the words ‘Electric,’ ‘Dance’ and ‘Rhythm of ur soul,’ images I took on my phone from the program I bought from his 2012 concert in Melbourne. When I think of how back then I toyed with the idea of going to his concert or not, I feel like slapping myself. And it was only because of money. The only seats we could get were at the very back row, and I wondered whether it was worth paying such coin when we would be so far from the action.
Best decision ever. It was a hazy photo from where we were and also from my half-decent camera back then, but you can see the man himself on his signature stage on the bottom. This ended up being one of the best concerts I’ve been to. He played at Rod Laver Arena, and anyone who has been there knows that you get a pretty good view there, no matter where you are, even at the back.
I learnt that very big lesson that night.
He played classics. He tore up the guitar, as he always does, but to see him in action like that… oh man. He was a true musician on stage, and I got emotional as he sang songs that held so much meaning to me, songs that I had grown up with and that each held a story in the journey of my life: “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy;” he gave nods to songs he wrote for other artists “Love, Thy Will be Done;” and he experimented with other artists by doing some Beyonce, with “Single Ladies.” I remember the crowd roared with insanity when he chose to cover that. He didn’t play one of my all time faves, the song titled in this post, yet it was still one incredible night, where the realisation dawned on me early on that something unusual, something magical, something out of this world was happening in that room. It was medley after medley, one huge dance party, and I remembered walking away like “Phew, thank God I got tickets!”
I’m usually reinvigorated by an artist and respect them that much more after seeing a live show of theirs. After seeing Prince, he was the biggest 180 degree-shifter for me, as he changed my perception of him, of things in general, of creativity and dreams, of life, and in particular his music, after that extraordinary May day in 2012. His musical genius and creative flair, his quirkiness and quiet confidence to live life his own way impacted me greatly. I would listen to his Purple Rain album, again and again. I fell in love with songs like ‘The Beautiful Ones,’ ‘Darling Nikki’ and ‘I Would Die For You.’ I heard the grunt and strain as he screamed the words, wanting to go as high and low as he did. I wanted to feel how he did, and when he sang, I really did. I felt the passion. I felt the dedication to the song, the music, the experience. It was transformative. Prince did things his way, and he did it with loyalty to the music. He was a success because he forged his own path, and he didn’t give two fucks about anyone who didn’t like him. THAT, is what everyone would like to do, only too many are scared to follow through. THAT, is one of the reasons why he was so revered.
This morning I was in the kitchen getting things ready for brekkie before baby girl got up. I had the TV on in the background, and as I went to get milk out of the fridge, I glanced at the TV in the other room. I saw an image of Prince as I turned to walk away, but a combination of curiosity and trepidation had me turn around and go back to the TV, where I gasped in horror as I saw the damn dash. That fucking dash.
1958 – 2016.
“No!” I stayed glued to the TV for the next 15 minutes, coming to terms with the fact that a man, a genius of 57 years (so, so young) was now dead. Gone. It just couldn’t be.
I’m still in shock, but the information has started to slowly sink in. With it too, that the world will never see another like him. That is simply, devastating. I know there are incredible artists out there, but to have the flair and style and flamboyancy, creativity and sex appeal and ability to get away with it all while producing creating acting singing dancing and playing guitar better than anyone EVER… will there ever be another Prince? No. And there shouldn’t be.
R.I.P Prince. Baby, You’re a Star.
“…Take Me Away!”
(An unbelievable introduction to this performer is found in this article following his 2012 concert in Melbourne)
I had to write about Prince today, and him being the Star that he is, I don’t think anyone can argue my crafty ‘S’ for that reason. I am so grateful to this Star, this genius, this musical prodigy, for the joy he has given me with his music and the inspiration he has fuelled me with in my own creative endeavours.
I have been listening to Prince all night now, and though I have shed tears, reading the metaphorical content between his words and finding they sting all the more now that he’s gone (“I may not know where I’m going babe” in The Beautiful Ones) it has been a dance party in this house as we have torn up the kitchen floor yet again. I’ll make sure his music lives on through baby girl. In fact, I think it will live on, regardless. Music offers that, in that it crosses barriers of gender, class, politics, and time. There’s a kind of beauty in that. Through his music, he will live forever.
And that just gives me hope, and another reason to be so utterly grateful.
Saturday is always the hardest day for me to blog. I’ll get home at whatever hour, look at the time and realise “crap! Post not done!” But as of my writing this it is still 11:39pm on the 2nd of April, Melbourne Eastern Standard Time. So yeah, take that challenge.
And being in Melbourne, in the land down under, one of the greatest things this great wide and partly-dry country of ours has to offer, which starts with the letter B, and is a revered tradition as much as any holy day, even though it is performed much more than one, is the great Australian Barbie. Mate.
No, not barbie, as in the Mattel doll. I’m talking barbie, as in “throw a shrimp on one” kind, even though we don’t do shrimp, we do prawns. For any non-Australians taking notes. True story.
Today we actually went to my cousin’s place, as a belated birthday visit, and were very fortunate to be received with this custom. There is nothing more social, more satisfying, more serene, than to be standing around a barbeque on a late, slightly warm Saturday afternoon, watching the smoke rising from the slabs of gargantuan meat sizzling on the grill, filling the air with delicious aroma, and then having the luxury of ‘pecking’ at this meat as it comes off the grill, like as we would say in our native tongue “mezze,” or as the Spaniards would say “tapas.”
Aussie custom, common as the cold, never grows old.