Sunday, September 25, 2011

Darkness and Light: 'Where I end and you begin' & 'Five scenes from the City'

"Where I end and You begin"

Sometimes it’s hard to know where you end and I begin.
The boundary line between
your idea’s and suggestions, and my own
is a hazy blur where I no longer feel real. I no longer feel
like a defined entity,
an individual. 
I am but an extension of you.

I love you but I do not want this.

I love you but I want my freedom and don’t know how to break away without hurting you in the process.

I am drowning in your love and over protectiveness.
I am drowning in your ‘help’ and ‘concern’.
I am drowning in you.
I am loosing who I am,
I feel lost and desperate.

In your desire to ‘help’ you have made me helpless and dependent.
I am suffocated.

(I am suffocated)

I don’t know where I begin. 
I don’t think I even do.
I am looking out  from inside of me
and all I can see
is you.

Radiohead: Where I end and you begin (the sky is falling in).

"Five scenes from the City"

Branching out above me:

Lights coming on- In preparation of evening:

Melbourne's bicycles waiting to be used:

Collins St, 5.45pm Friday:

Through the branches of the Elm- The Melbourne town hall clock tower:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Friends, the 'real' ones.

Recently I caught up with a couple of close friends for an evening of fish & chips, chat and trash T.V.  We shared funny stories, laughing at ourselves and each other. Then, quite naturally we were sharing some of the challenges that we were each facing. We listened, empathised and shared how we had coped in similar situations. As always I left feeling fortunate to have such good friends in my life. I was then reminded of something my local tailor, the wonderful Mr Chiodo had said to me- ‘Matthew, People don’t take the time to talk anymore’. He felt that a big factor as to why so many people have emotional and psychological problems, is that they don’t have anyone to have the kind of deep and honest conversations that matter most.

 Mr Chiodo was telling me how back in his day, in Italy, you would talk to your friends about anything. You would have long conversations. You were honest. You would laugh and you would cry.  You could do this because you were with friends. This meant that you could talk about anything, you would share, be supportive and most importantly, you would listen as well as be heard. Mr Chiodo felt that now days too many friendships are superficial. We seem to call call everyone we come into contact with- a friend, yet what does that mean? (I won't even go into how social media like Facebook/Myspace/Twitter etc, have warped what the term 'friend' means, or how they have corrupted the concept of what 'social contact' is).  A great point that Mr Chiodo makes is that we may not spend more than a few minutes at a time talking to these 'friends' and more importantly, so many of our conversations are held on a very superficial level. We claim that we don't have time to talk. The truth is that people seem less inclined to 'make' time for those important and deep conversations. As a ‘helping professional’ I have to agree with him. So many ‘clients’ I come into contact with are isolated and really just need some supportive friendships, those deep, trusting, open and honest friendships. They need, as we all do, someone to really talk to about what is going on. Sadly, building and maintaining these types of friendships seems to be a lost art form. Which may be good for drumming up business for the ‘helping professionals’, but is it good for us as a society?   We could theorise about how we got here, did it start with urbanisation? Were we doomed the moment we left our small towns and villages, thus often leaving our kinship groups behind as well. We moved to larger cities that seemed to cloak us in anonymity, and in doing so, isolated us. Suddenly we are no one and we know no one. Maybe we have become scared to reach out and to be open, perhaps through fear of rejection or judgement. Maybe we are scared to listen? fearing that if someone told us how they really felt, we wouldn’t know what to do to ‘fix’ it. The truth is we often only need to listen, to let that other person know that they have been heard and heard without judgement. I have no idea how we as a community re-connect to each other in a deeper way, I am just putting this 'out there'. Maybe in thinking the thought, change will manifest itself? Maybe not. Maybe we need to show others this skill? To teach it where it is not familiar and where it has become forgotten, perhaps we just need to a gently remind.

My thoughts return to Mr Chiodo, wonderful tailor and wise person. I realise that each time I go in to have something altered, we spend 30-60 mins chatting. I am grateful for his generosity as he shares his experiences as well as his wisdom. I am grateful as he reminds me of what honest communication looks like and that it is safe to do this outside of my close friendship group. We laugh, we talk seriously, we listen and in turn are heard.  I am left feeling like the luckiest person on earth for not only have great friends I can really talk to, but for also having met Mr Chiodo, tailor and teacher who reminds me and models for me, how to communicate honestly, deeply and in a healthy way that really matters.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New records- September 2011

OK, this should really read 'recent arrivals'. It has been sometime since I posted new LP's, so I will select only a few things and even then this posting will be overflowing with music!

Eilen Jewell - 'Queen of the Minor Key'

What a brilliant record. Americana/alt-country, with some rockin' moments. My mate Jody put me on the straight and narrow when she introduced me to Eilen a year or so back.  This is music!

Off the LP, here is a track called 'warning sign'. Unfortunately the clip is a bit crap, but try and ignore that as you enjoy the sounds of Eilen and Co. I dare your hips not to groove!

Eilen Jewell - Warning Signs

Yo La Tengo- 'And then nothing turned itself inside-out'.

Originally released in 2000, this LP has been re-released on vinyl Yay!!! It is such a lovely album from start to end. If you happen upon it, buy it and give it a few listens. Well worth it! The fact that I keep coming back to it over the years speaks volumes to me! My mate Dean introduced me to this LP. Bless friends with good taste in music! Sit back, close your eyes and listen to this-

Yo La Tengo- 'our way to fall'

The Radio Dept. - 'Passive Aggressive: singles 2002-2010'

This Swedish group have had a few line up changes and came to my attention via the soundtrack to Sophia Coppola's film 'Marie Antoinette', which had three of their songs on it! I think they are one of those bands whom you may prefer only a certain period or record as their sound has changed a little with the line up changes.

The radio dept.- 'Pulling our weight''

Recently someone made me a mix Cd! How very cool and it is full of good tunes! One song in particular that I now love playing loud in the car is this one by Metronomy. It is off their LP from this year called 'The English Riviera'.

Metronomy- 'The look'

Adele - '19'

While everyone is enjoying her newer Lp '21" (which I am as well). I am finally catching up on her earlier Lp '19'. Adele is amazing. I saw her on the Graham Norton show and she was hilarious and so down to earth.
I have been known to play 'Tired' loudly in my car whilst pretending that I am singing it to some good-for-nothing-loser-I-have-wasted-my-time-on, as you do.

Adele- 'Tired'

Whew.... now, lastly (I did tell you it was overflowing with musical quality!).

Antony and the Johnsons- 'I am a bird now'

This Lp was released back in 2005 and is one of those beautiful and haunting albums. I saw it on vinyl recently and snapped it up. I won't ramble on about it, but if you have the chance, give the Lp a few listens, It may bring out the maudlin in you, but don't let that put you off!

Antony and the Johnsons- 'Hope there's someone' (live on Jools Holland 2005)

I think that is it for now (at least), I won't bore you with the numerous Randy Newman Lp's I have found second hand online (well not today anyway!).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fathers day 2011

When we are young we often spend a lot of time and energy distancing ourselves from our parents. We can become really keen to highlight how different we are from them. This is all natural in our quest for individuality and independence (from the family unit). Then as we get older, the time can come when we begin again to see the similarities between our parents and ourselves as something special and validating.

I am finding that the more time I spend with my dad, the more I see and celebrate the similarities between us. This recognition and this bond fills me with a special kind of warmth. From once seeing dad as embarrassing, uncool and a pain, my adult experiences allow me to see him in a wider context, as; father, husband, grandfather, son, migrant, worker, gardener, creative spirit, comedian and person. I am now able to see him as a human, to see his tenderness and fragility, his genuineness, kindness and compassion. Yes he is still far from perfect (as am I). Being human implies imperfection. However, I am now able to see and understand that he tries to do what he feels is right, just as the rest of us do and we all know how hard that can be at times.

What was the turning point for me? I have no idea. But regardless of how it came to pass, it has and this fathers day I am reflecting on how proud I am of the similarities between my father and myself.

Happy fathers day dad!