Song lists, Uncategorized

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: top 10 songs of 2016…

 

 

 

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… for the Triple J Hottest 100. Don’t forget to vote!

 

Howdy, music lovers!

I haven’t written anything for quite some time, and for that I apologise. I was deeply involved in #nanowrimo, which devoured my entire November. Add onto that a hectic Christmas / trying to get my shit together before launching into 2017, and here we are!

2016 was a rough one, on many levels. But, I’m determined to not dwell on the past and instead look to the future and fully embrace the present. I encourage you all to do the same.

Moving on, to the reason I’m writing today: I’ve cast my votes for the Triple J Hottest 100! Woohoo, so excited.

hottest-100-2011
Me, January 26th, 2011

Hottest 100 Day is, quite honestly, my Christmas. I have listened to the countdown for the past 19 years running, and immensely enjoy every second of it.

Of course, not all songs in the countdown will be top notch. In fact, there have been numerous cases where I’ve seriously questioned the sobriety of the voters based on some of their choices! 😛

Regardless, I have a ball every year. House parties, comfort of home, beers, barbecues, sun, music, water, air con, friends, laughs, comradery… combinations of these features have been a constant theme over my almost-two decade listening history, and is my idea of a perfect day.

Anyway, enough with the schoolgirl excitement spiel! I will now list the ten songs I voted for, and exactly why & how they’re outstanding.

01) The XX – On Hold

This, right here, is my number one song of the year. Emotive, sexy, heart-wrenching, with a little mystery. Full of hope and possibility. It stays with me days later, every time I hear it. The infectious drumming machine, Romy Madley Croft’s innocent, pure, beautiful voice, contrasting Oliver Sim’s sultry, lulling vocals makes for a potent combination.

I float, whenever I listen to this. I simply float.

Where it takes me: a void, in the middle of the universe, allowing me all the time and space I need to reflect on the people – and the loves – that have entered and subsequently left my life. A vacuum where time and space do not exist, and I have enough clear-headedness to deal with the typhoon of emotions inside myself.

Favourite lyric: “The stars and the charts and the cards make sense, only when we want them to. When I lie awake staring into space, I see a different view.”

  

02) Hellions – Quality Of Life

I wasn’t taken much by this one, at first, but every word is a huge motivational kick in the arse. When you cut through all that screaming, it’s a tune about not succumbing to be society’s puppet, to fight against being a cog in the machine, and to do whatever the fuck you want with your life, and stop listening to the people who keep telling you something is pointless or impossible.

Where it takes me: I’m at a motivational speaker’s convention, like Tony Robbins, for example, but instead of him standing on stage speaking into a microphone, he’s doing multiple backflips, is putting on a huge pyrotechnics cirque de soleil style of theatrics, all while shooting endless fireworks into the air. Every word of this song does it. Every. Single. Word.

Favourite lyric: [Right. I couldn’t choose just one. So, I’m going against the rules and putting all lyrics right here, because it’s too amazing to let slide. You need to read this. In full. Trust me.]

[Verse 1]
So if I’ve got your contempt, then know you’ve got mine
Covet a home of trinkets, living supine
So tell me what is real and all that constitutes that
A collared man breathes on your neck, they’re on your back
In fact, fuck that: I pity you

[Chorus]
Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
But you know that you don’t

[Verse 2]
Don’t you pay no heed to those who take no liberties
The way of the sheep is not for me
(Behind your walls, you cannot see)
I’m glad you met the standard
So pleased you met your quota
It’s myopic
Hand in your pocket
Mind on your wallet
Fuck that I pity you
Live for you

[Chorus]
Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
But you know that you don’t

[Verse 3]
(Back) So bring it back to me
(True) So tell me honestly
(When) My friend, don’t lie to me
Did you ever really love everything that you did
And everywhere that you’ve been?
Are you just scared to live?
So don’t accuse me of living a life I’ll regret
I’m not a hypocrite – another marionette
So hold your hands high
You abide by your strings in the sky
Dancing to a preordained lie
You’re a marionette

[Chorus]
Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be

 

03) Amy Shark – Adore

So youthful, filled with tension and excitement, Amy Shark is a vocal powerhouse. This track is about having a gigantic crush on someone and doing whatever you can to spend time with this person. Shark sings of putting herself in uncomfortable situations and setting up ‘coincidences’ to be with this person.

I, pardon the pun, ADORE this song. You can’t help but smile lightly the entire way through.

Where it takes me: I’m walking along a darkened street, alone, in the middle of the night, wondering if an unrequited crush is worth all the heartache and physical exhaustion it’s causing. I’m fluctuating between uncertainty, letting it all go, and brainstorming how – and if – I’m going to handle things differently next time.

Favourite lyric: “I want the entire street out of town, just so I can be alone with you.”

 

04) Ayla – Like The Other Kids

This was a bit of an underdog and an unexpected late finisher for me. 

Funny story: I heard this and tagged it using Shazam several times throughout the year, then seemed to forget about it. Right before I compiled my top ten list, I looked back on my tagged songs in Shazam, and discovered I tagged this four times.

Even though I couldn’t remember it by name, I knew there was something special about it. So, I tracked it down and lo and behold, I’m obsessed with it.

It’s a story of woe, and growing up too fast, and trying to find your place in the world when you feel like an outcast. The chorus is hooky, the atmosphere is dreamy, and the drumming is second to none. I really can’t say enough about this sadly underrated masterpiece.

Where it takes me: sitting on a blanket, for an adult story time reading. Everyone is stretching out and listening to the story being told through the lyrics. I’m getting very sleepy, and hoping to drift off to some amazing dreams. I have an overwhelming sense of joy, and like the weight of the world has just been lifted from my shoulders.

Favourite lyric: “You got no heart, just a black mark, right where they took it out. But you found you did better without.”

  

05) The Temper Trap – Fall Together

Dougy Mandagi’s falsetto makes me weak, every time. This was definitely ‘love at first listen.’ Packed with fiery heartfelt passion, it’s about making a pact that no matter how hairy a situation gets, you’re in it together, come hell or high water.

It seems a little toxic, to be honest, and almost like the blind leading the blind, and yet: it instils a sense of courage in us, and the reassurance that Mandagi has a higher level of knowledge than anyone else about the situation in which he finds himself.

Where it takes me: the earth has just exploded into a million pieces, people are falling towards a massive black hole at an alarming rate, but then, I see that one person: everyone else disappears from my mind’s eye view. I work my way over to that person with a bit of rigorous mid air swimming, I then cling to that person and hold on for dear life as I plummet into the unknown.

Favourite lyric: “It’s the final call, it’s now or never.”

 

06) The Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra

After an impossibly long hiatus — 16 years, to be exact — The Avalanches exploded back onto the music scene with their album Wildflower. I must admit, I was a bit sceptical, but since ‘Frankie Sinatra’ was released, I haven’t been able to go past it.

The guest rap vocals by Danny Brown and MF Doom are a touch Rastafarian, and it’s a catchy head bopping beat. The song itself is about indulging in loads of drugs and alcohol, and towards the end is a little instrumental snippet from My Favourite Things, but those aren’t the only reasons I like it 😉

There are no profound moments, no messages, and no exercises in self discovery. It’s just a little bit of silliness and a little bit of shaking off the humdrum of the day to day, during what was an otherwise miserable, chaotic year.

Where it takes me: I’m on a nondescript dirt road, I can feel the heatstroke setting in, I can’t remember what happened the night before, and I’ve been trying to hitch a ride home but no one’s stopping. I feel like I haven’t got a friend in the world, though that’s not true. All I want in that moment is a gigantic drink of water and to sleep it off, for an entire week.

Favourite lyric: “Come with that headbanger boogie for that ass, Villain give a bully ten noogies for the cash.” [Disclaimer: no clue what this means; it’s just the catchiest part of the song] 😉

 

07) Peking Duk (Feat Elliphant) – Stranger

Fresh, summery, carefree, full of possibilities. When I first heard this, I became obsessed. But I was cursed. I could never remember the name of the song, and each time I tried to catch it, I missed it. But once I found it, there was no letting go. Added bonus: I’m a huge Elliphant fan.

Where it takes me: I’m on a grassy knoll, it’s a perfect evening, I’m surrounded by friends, we are waiting for a music festival to start. The grog is flowing, and we are all soaking up the amazing vibes from the evening, right through to the relief of arriving home safely and putting your head on your own pillow, exhausted but ecstatic. This song takes me through the entire evening from start to finish.

Favourite lyric: “Can you pull us through, to the other side of another world with you, where the night is key and the rebels sing, our battle cry: we never die, we win.”

 

08) Luca Brasi – Anything Near Conviction

I fell in love with these Tasmanian guys the second I heard this song. Hearing an interview they gave confirmed everything that shone through: they are good-natured and down to earth with fantastic senses of humour, and absolutely adore making music.

This is a song about trying to bring out the best in himself, and the one he loves. They sound so insecure and so vulnerable, which is how we’ve all felt at some stage.

I think that’s why I love it so much: it feels like they are speaking directly to my heart.

Where it takes me: I’m sitting alone in a busy pub, after some huge life event, trying to forget my troubles. This song is part of a live performance, and makes me think about all the times I’ve taken people, and myself, for granted. I exit the pub with a sense of excitement for the future, gratitude to be alive, and a steely resolve to start treating myself better. “You can’t pour from an empty cup” comes to mind.

Favourite lyric: “This isn’t the best that I’ll ever give to you.” [chokes me up, each time.]

 

09) Cub Sport – Come On, Mess Me Up

I’m in falsetto heaven, again. And these guys are so damn gorgeous. When I say ‘gorgeous,’ I mean in an “I want to ruffle your hair and pinch your cheeks!” kind of way. They can do no wrong, in my eyes.

This one had a hold of my attention right from the first listen. There’s a purity and naivety that’s plain addictive, as Tim Nelson sings about desperately wanting something even though he knows it’s toxic.

I just want to hug him and tell him everything will be okay.

Where it takes me: I’m riding a Ferris wheel, and I’m stuck at the top for hours. I’m taking in landscapes and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. Then, all of a sudden, I’m no longer on a Ferris wheel, but am now plunging towards earth in the front seat of an impossibly fast rollercoaster. All the while, I feel both unsettled and completely safe.

Favourite lyric: “I fell in love with avoiding problems, and that was the problem.”

 

10) Gang Of Youths – Native Tongue

I’ve always been a huge Gang Of Youths fan. David Le’aupepe’s melodies can make the world right again, and this particular song is loaded with passion and energy.

It’s a song about clashing with someone in a relationship, and neither is making any headway because they’re both too stubborn.

He puts his full heart and soul into everything he sings. Admittedly, this particular song was a grower for me. I wasn’t taken with it straight away, but the belting choruses and clever lyrics attached themselves to me, and now I can’t imagine life without this song.

Where it takes me: Despite the frustrating subject matter, I feel like I’m running and jumping into several different pools where I’m unsure of the depth but I’m so pumped, I feel invincible. The sun is burning my skin, and the pool water is a blessed temporary relief, before exiting and trying a new pool a few metres away.

Favourite lyric: “You are defiant, and I’m caustic for no credible reason.”

 

There you have it!

I still stand by what I say each year: music continues to evolve, new genres and collaborations are created every day. The Hottest 100 is the perfect example of the changing face of music, and I for one, can’t wait to see what the next 12 months hold!

Happy Hottest 100 Day!

Until next time…

 

hottest-100-2014
My friends, Hottest 100 Day, 2014

 

 

 

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Healing, Music as motivation, Song lists

We Gotta Get Outta This Place! – 5 tunes to inspire escapism

music-my-escape

“Music is my escape.” How often have we heard and seen this expression?

So simple, yet so loaded, and so true in many different ways.

The question is: why do we frequently feel the need to escape? Whether it’s being stuck at a dead end job, an unhappy relationship, overbearing family, stagnant routine, or generally lacking inspiration and direction, the theme remains the same:

We need to escape because we feel TRAPPED.

We need to escape because:

– we feel as though we can’t change our circumstances

– we’re afraid to step into the unknown

– we’re afraid to upset and disappoint other people

The list goes on.

So, instead of dealing with the feelings and working out the complex puzzle of our own fuzzy existence, we push the feelings down and chuck that crumpled mess in the internal “Not right now, damn it!!!” pile.

I don’t say this to criticise. We all do it.

This can only work for so long, though, and eventually the feelings of being trapped resurface, and are usually twice as strong as they were.

For these reasons, music is definitely my escape!

In fact, I see music as a pressure release valve. Whenever I’m feeling dissatisfied or overwhelmed, and I’ve been putting things off that should’ve been dealt with months ago, I rely on music to help ease the pain and release the intense pressure levels building inside.

Here are five of my favourite go-to tracks, in no particular order, for whenever I need to escape a while:

1) Jebediah – Leaving Home

I first heard this when I was 17, and the song still conjures images of the first time I moved out of home… the giddy thrill of not living by the rules, of making your own decisions and sleeping in as late as you like!

The perfect soundtrack to those weeks of bliss, before startling reality of bill-paying and responsibility, sets in.

2) Dogs Die In Hot Cars – Lounger

“Don’t have to eat my greens / or keep my bedroom extra tidy cause nobody is around to tell me off.”

I grew up in a pretty full household. In fact, I shared a bedroom with my two sisters til I was nearly 18 years old. Needless to say, when I eventually had my own space and was living with friends, it was a huge weight lifted.

Basically, this song reminds me of the joy of a moment’s peace, of having an entire house to yourself, and not having a care in the world.

 

3) Moloko – The Time Is Now

It’s all in the name – “THE TIME IS NOW!”

The cool calm collected bassy riff inspires a steely resolve, and helps you bravely listen to your inner voice; the only voice pointing you in the right direction and opening up a whole new world.

This song has always touched something deep inside. It drowns out the exterior voices and encourages you to fuckin’ go for it!

Just ignore the lovey dovey nature of the verses, and focus on the overall package.

 

4) The Getaway Plan – Where The City Meets The Sea

The absolute pure essence of escapism.

The fantasy of loading up a van or Winnebago with essentials, hitting the road with someone or flying solo, and never for one second looking back.

getaway-plan

 

5) Arcade Fire – No Cars Go

“Women and children / LET’S GO!”

I may seem  a little biased here, as Arcade Fire are my favourite band of all time.

But trust me: this is one of the most powerful, breathtaking tracks you will hear, with vast soundscapes placing you right there amidst the adrenaline-pumping uncertainty.

It embodies diving into the unknown and taking the road never travelled.

Well: there you have it!

As always, I do hope you find some of my suggestions helpful and may you find your own escape in the wonderful world of music!

What songs do you use for an escape? Please share below! 🙂 I’m always on the lookout for more music! There’s no such thing as too much, really! 😉

 

Creativity, Healing, Self discovery

Chakras and herbal tea: the day I popped my Red Tent cherry

me-zen
Me, being all Zen and shit. (my, what big nostrils I have!)

Until four years ago, I considered myself a very meat & potatoes kind of gal.

Not that meat and potatoes are necessarily a bad thing!

But I was always quite pragmatic, in that I rarely looked deep inside myself, instead focussing on what was immediately on the surface. My day in one sentence: “Right. Time for work! What will I be having for dinner tonight? My leg is itchy. Better scratch it. Home time! Shower time! Sleep time!”

Now that I look back, it is quite a dull way to live. Of course, it’s important to be grounded and present, but I had unknowingly reached a stage where I was no longer chasing my goals or exploring life.

I was merely existing.

I can remember when this all started to change for me, when I reignited my inner fire and started to recognise how much more of life was to be lived. But I’ll talk about that another time.

Red Tent!

Yes, yes.

Apologies for the tangent. I thought I’d give a quick background into who I used to be, so you can see how much has changed between now and then.

Four years ago, I would’ve rolled my eyes at the mere mention of a Red Tent event. “A bunch of oogedy boogedy mumbo jumbo” or something to that effect. I was such a granny! 😉

New ideas and new experiences terrified me, and I was quite happy to stay nestled in my comfort zone.

Well, let me tell you: that is no way to live. That is a way to exist, yes, but not to live!

Just quickly, I’ll give a brief history on the concept of Red Tent.

red-tent

The RED TENT was a place where women would traditionally gather each month to meditate, consult oracles, share their experiences and channel wisdom for themselves, each other, and the wider community. It was a place where women cherished, nurtured and supported one another, where they could rest and rejuvenate.

Click here, if you want a bit more indepth insight.

In early September 2016, I went to a Red Tent event hosted in NSW, Australia. I was originally to go with a dear friend of mine, but circumstances beyond her control meant she couldn’t make it.

So there I was, the most ginormous introvert, going into a strange building and having no idea what to expect. Oh I might add, it was one of the windiest days I had ever experienced. My impersonation of The Flying Nun was coming along nicely, walking from my car to the front door!

In I go, to be greeted by the event organiser, the absolutely lovely, convivial Belinda of Ocean Soul Sanctum.

The first thing I see, after laying down my yoga mat, is the altar adorned with candles, oracle cards, crystals, jewellery, singing bowls, figurines and fresh flowers.

alter
Altar loaded with goodies and divine intentions
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Handmade bath salts c/- Ocean Soul Sanctum, and a medley of little crystals and stones. Oh MY!

 

 

I was handed a little complimentary goody bag, as the only first timer of the little Red Tent circle, thanks again to the awesome and generous Belinda!

We are just about ready to convene, so I placed my items on the altar — a Saraswati necklace and a Citrine crystal I carry with me everywhere I go — and we were all called upon to light a candle whilst silently expressing our intentions / hopes / wishes for the coming month.

At first, I was very intimidated, as the other ladies were discussing crystals and dream recall, among other things outside my scope of knowledge. Early on, I felt like there was a flashing neon purple sign on my forehead saying: “You don’t belong here, you amateur! Why did you even bother leaving the house today??”

Don’t get me wrong: it was all relaxed and informal, with a bubbly and charismatic atmosphere, but I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, and part of me just wanted to run out the door and never come back.

But I pushed through the panic, and I’m ever so glad I did. Otherwise, I would have missed an amazing experience!

My Red Tent experience, in bullet point

Every Red Tent event is unique, depending on where and which month you go, but I will lay out what this particular day was like for me:

  • We had a guided meditation designed to fill our Red Tent circle with energy and love. It is still a bit blurry to me, and I can’t remember all the details because I was very relaxed and zoned out the entire time. All I remember is feeling completely safe and nurtured.
  • We introduced ourselves.
  • During some group discussion, I bit the bullet and admitted I didn’t know much about Mercury Retrograde. Belinda then patiently explained it to me, without making me feel like a dumb arse for not knowing 😉
  • I drank lemon and ginger tea. It really hit the spot.
  • We drew goddess oracle cards from the pack, and here’s where it gets weird. This is what I drew, and when I turned it over I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here’s what jumped out at me, and was the brightest card in the deck:

bast-play

  • We all went through and described our connection to the cards we’d drawn. I explained that “PLAY” is my word of the year: my theme for 2016! (Once again, it’s a long story as to why this is my word of the year. I’ll go into that some other time, too) I then placed my card on the altar, and learned of a meditation exercise where I could get in touch with the goddess Bast. I can’t wait to give it a try! 😀
  • We had another guided meditation with Belinda’s soothing voice, themed around Aphrodite. It was very descriptive and rejuvenating, and focussed on washing away negative self talk and seeing your beauty, internally and externally, and letting your gifts and your light shine.
aphrodite_9
Aphrodite: Greek Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation
  • Tea break. Home made bliss balls were the bomb!
  • Chakradance. At the time, this was where I felt the most vulnerable, and I had never heard of the concept, but I felt amazing when it was over! There was a guided track for each of the seven chakras. Here’s an example of the dialogue: “Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, you emerge a warrior: empowered, energised, unique. take up your rightful space in the world…”  You close your eyes and allow your body to move however it feels compelled to move. There are no rules. I let myself go, listened to the words, felt the beat and filled my soul. (Here are the Root Chakra and Sacral Chakra to give you an idea. I highly recommend listening to all seven of them. I’m even planning on buying a copy!)

 

Conclusion, take aways, and lessons learned

So, I finished the day with sore hips and feet but a renewed spirit!

There was a lot more in between, with various discussions and so on. I’m not really doing it justice in my bullet point descriptions, but that will give you a general idea of the kinds of things you can expect — or not expect — when you go to a Red Tent event.

Nearly four hours later, from when I first started the day, I felt like a new person! I was emotionally exhausted and rejuvenated at the same time. Work that one out! 😛

I realised I haven’t been taking care of myself nearly as much as I should be, and realised my own cup was bone dry.

I am, at the moment, slowly refilling my cup and I know now just how important it is to continue to do so. I have emptied my cup of the festering dregs of negativity, given it a rinse, then brimmed it with vibrant positivity.

unlock-all-the-chakras
Me, afterwards. LOL

 

I grabbed my now enchanted trinkets from the altar, pocketed them, said an emphatic thank you to Belinda, and bounded out the door with the feeling of walking on air and imbued with the flight of a phoenix. I can’t really describe it any other way. I was reborn, pure and simple.

My advice to all the ladies out there: go to a Red Tent event! Seriously, just do it. You really have nothing to lose, and shit tonnes to gain! I know the concept may be terrifying, to allow yourself to be so vulnerable and I don’t mean to sound like a walking cliché, but if I can do it, anyone can.

You will meet amazing women, discover something new about yourself, and remember things about yourself that make you the unique, beautiful woman that you are!

Until next time…

 

 

 

Album reviews

Montaigne – Glorious Heights (in name, and in reality) released today!!!

Jessica Cerro {Montaigne} — musician extraordinaire

After decades — pardon the massive hyperbole 😉 — of waiting, Glorious Heights has arrived!

The soaring textured vocals of Jess Cerro, the playful piano solos, the passion injected into everything she does…

I’m a bit speechless, as I’m currently recalling how moved I was when I first listened to Glorious Heights.

How to put it into words…

Did you ever see that TV commercial, something to do with the sensation of feeling like you’re standing on top of a mountain?
Well, when you listen to this — my pick for ALBUM OF THE YEAR, just quietly — brace yourself for the trek and for the feeling of liberation when you reach the peak.

I don’t mind admitting: I’ve been peeing myself in anticipation for this day, pretty much since I first heard Montaigne’s ‘I Am Not An End’ when she was Unearthed by Triple J two years ago.

My fandom doubled, tripled and quadrupled with every one of her single releases since then.
Not to mention her collaboration with Hilltop Hoods, her relentless touring, and her chipper, charismatic disposition during interviews and on stage…

I kinda want to be her best friend! 😛

Seriously though: I have closely followed Jess’s progress since she first hit the Triple J airwaves. As such, I am very very excited for the release of Glorious Heights and I invite you all to check her out! Her tunes are relatable, exhilarating, and cathartic.

Check out my review of Glorious Heights, including a couple of her clips for your listening pleasure.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time I researched tour dates… 

Uncategorized

The Butterfly Effect – how one small action can alter the entire fabric of your life

We’ve all seen the movies, all read the anecdotes.. The butterfly flapping its wings, the ‘Sliding Doors’ that can determine the outcome of the rest of your life…

But how often do we really, really think about the truth behind it?
I thought about it a few hours ago, when I was doing one of the most mundane, necessary acts known to mankind: buying groceries.

I was approaching an aisle in slow motion, and there was an elderly couple chatting about which gravy mix to buy, but everything slowed down — the din of the piped in music, the screaming kids begging their parents to buy them a lollipop or chocolate bar — it all faded away, and my trolley involuntarily started veering to the right.

Something higher than me was telling me to choose a different aisle.

But of course, I ignored it and headed straight down the soup & spice aisle.

Why? Because I just wanted to get home, and away from all of the people as soon as possible.

In short: I shunned my gut instinct and chose the easy way out.

Right this second, I’m thinking about what might have happened if I’d chosen a different aisle: would I have run into a friend I hadn’t seen in years? Would I have been in a position to help a mother or father at their wit’s end? Would I have overhead a conversation that reminded me to follow up on something very important I keep pushing on the back burner??

I guess I’ll never know.

But that’s the thing: those moments happen so frequently and within mere milliseconds, we often don’t realise what just played out right in front of our eyes.

Then, the questions flood your brain:

Do I change lanes to get past this heavy traffic flow?

Do I run to catch the train in time?

Do I call out to that person who looks so familiar in my mind’s eye?

Do I apply for that job?

Do I show up to that soccer tryout?

Do I buy that book / shirt / painted sea shell?

The list is endless, really.

But, the alternative to all of those scenarios is exactly the same:

OR: do I just keep doing what I’m currently doing, go with the flow and see what happens?

There are always pros and cons with both. But the big question you’ve gotta ask yourself is:

How much worse off will you be, if you take that chance? 

Playing it safe, and not going against what’s already deeply ingrained in you, won’t make you any worse off… But it certainly won’t move you forward in any way, shape or form.

Sometimes, the moments are a 50 / 50 split and you have absolutely no idea how it will turn out. Well, I believe intuition is a muscle unto itself — it needs repetition, and love, and care.

Like any other muscle, learn to test it, learn to push it to its limits, learn to develop it.

Go against the grain, because the grain is tired and boring. No matter how small and unimportant the factor may be, occasionally lean towards that which goes against the norm. You never know where that may lead you.

I’m not suggesting you sell up and start backpacking through Borneo right the fuck now: I’m just saying to start having some fun with the universe.

If you’ve got niggling thoughts, if the universe is showing you random little paths that make absolutely no sense to you right now, TRY IT!!! Plonk your toe in the water. At least you will have tested it, and if it still doesn’t feel right, remove it! Dry it off, and test it somewhere else!

Don’t stay on dehydrated, arid land; that’s not where the magic lies.

My challenge to you all:

In the next seven days, do one thing that pokes at the corners of your subconscious. Follow it, and see where it takes you.

You shan’t be disappointed, because the alternative is the norm! And, as I’ve already said: the norm blows! 

I think you know that, too 😉

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite binge shows. Ted Mosby sums it up right here.

Til next time, A-crew!!!

Uncategorized

It’s not all about the cubicle! – a quick message about finding your bliss in life

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A few words of wisdom, summing up the preceding paragraphs

It’s hard to switch off after a day of feeling like just another cog in a monstrous machine.

The numbers are crunched, the emails are sent, the spreadsheets are made, the food is served, and the tills repeatedly open and close.

It feels like Groundhog Day, and that’s on a good day!

Do you ever wish for more? Do you ever wonder how you can change your [spiritual] fortune and escape the daily mediocrity, where you don’t feel as though you are making any kind of difference, except to keep the cogs moving?

Before I proceed, you must know: I have full respect for anyone who gets up, shows up, and stays at work each day. Being a contributing member of society is admirable, and somewhere, somehow, you are making a difference for someone.

But, don’t you deserve more? Don’t you want to do something, anything, that gives you ‘soul goosebumps’?

You absolutely do, and should!!!

A few months ago, I decided that my magic word for 2016 is “PLAY”. Meaning, I still work part time — reducing my work hours was not an easy decision, but I’ll go into that journey another time — but I also want to be PLAYFUL with the universe.

I want to read, I want to write, I want to start mountain biking again! Wow, I haven’t done that for decades.

In short, I’m going to be doing the things that make me feel alive, the things that make me giddy with pleasure.

I encourage you, dear readers, to do the same.

Even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day, to start out. TRY NEW THINGS! RETRY OLD THINGS THAT USED TO IGNITE THE SPARK!

You know the spark I mean: the one that reminds you you deserve to live life to the fullest.

So, what is it for you?

Gardening?
Macramé?
The harp?
The harmonica?
Baking scones?
Mosaics?
Fan fiction?
Hockey?
Roller blading / skating?
Blacksmithing?

Whether it’s something you have always been curious about, or it’s something you used to be into but haven’t gone near for years; give it a try!

PLAY! Experiment!

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Be a mover! Be a shaker!

I’m not suggesting to quit your job tomorrow and throw yourself right into a new pursuit… Unless of course, you are in a position to do so! If you are, congratulations, and I am insanely jealous 😉

No; I’m talking about NOT idling away the valuable downtime you could spend finding what makes you tick.

Go outside.
Go to a café with a notepad and / or laptop.
Go to an empty field with a ball or Frisbee.
Take that cooking class you’ve always wanted to take.
Plant some aloe vera and coriander.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to find ‘your thing.’ Half the fun is in the journey, the discovery, the pursuit.

You never know where these things will lead, or what you will find along the way. But you certainly won’t be any worse off than you are now!

In fact, I’d wager the exact opposite to be true. You will feel enriched, you will feel stimulated, and you will learn many lessons about yourself and what you are destined to do.

Now, go! PLAY! til next time 🙂

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A beautiful quote from a very inspirational mentor.
Album reviews

River Becomes Ocean – “December EP” review

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Five piece Brighton, UK, alternative rockers, River Becomes Ocean, have offered up their second EP, December — five tidy tracks, packed with personality and passion.

River Becomes Ocean consists of Marvin McMahon on lead vocals and piano, Danny Snow on backing vocals and guitars, Ben Bartup on guitars, and Dorian Neidhardt on drums. They compliment each other perfectly, and use many surprising elemental snippets throughout their tracks culminating in imposing walls of sound in which to lose oneself.

Their sound has been compared to fellow British rockers Bring Me The Horizon. It is a fair comparison, but don’t be fooled: River Becomes Ocean have developed their own signature sound and one day, newer artists will be compared to them.

December tells the tale of a rocky, tumultuous relationship between two people wearing rose colored glasses; not so much about each other, but more about the world around them.

Opener ‘We Will’ begins with ethereal tones and harmonising, and launches into punishing vocals and thrashing drum beats. There is a sense of getting lost, and found again, with someone, while desperately avoiding reality: “Tonight, we make this world our own.”

It is all about going on a journey with someone, but being determined to come out at the other end with this person. The chanting of “No one can ever stop us now” enhances the sense of immortality the two lovers must be feeling. There is a light violin solo right before the end build, only adding to the multiple contrasts between soft and hard, dark and light, all crammed in under four minutes.

‘Lies’ begins with a synth soundscape, lulling us into a false sense of calm and order, as do the opening lines: “Come take a seat and have a drink with me / you can tell me how you really feel.” But this poor, tortured man has already made up his mind: he knows his relationship is a lost cause, he is done with hurting and heartache, and keeping his life on hold. Staccato drum and cymbal taps add to the turmoil he is feeling. You have to strain to hear the guitars on this track, as they have been pushed way into the background, seemingly to give an air of rationality to the decision to end the relationship.

‘Seven’ is loaded with catchy ripping guitar riffs and more ethereal chanting, which is suddenly overtaken by screaming, hoarse vocals: “This heartache is over / this weight’s off my shoulder.” Neidhardt’s rapid drumming is the hero of this track, never missing a beat. It tells of jaded emotions and a love gone sour. The addition of a child singing adds a strange paradox to the guttural instrumentals and dark subject matter, including the imagery of pulling multiple knives out of your back.

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(Read it in full right here)