Posts Tagged ‘John Waters’

Tug of war. 40Th Anniversary.

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

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Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the release of Paul McCartney’s Tug of war album.

The album is filled with nostalgia for me, I was seventeen, and on my first tropical holiday
when I purchased it at Tolmies record store in Burleigh Heads.

As with any music discussion, it’s enjoyment, understanding and appreciation is all subjective.

One mans ‘Hey Jude’ is another mans ‘Hey Hey’ (I’d actually like to see both those guys in the same
room, at the same time).

Paul hadn’t released a studio album in just under two years at that point, a timeframe mostly unheard of for
Paul and most artists of the time.

Like every Paul album I played it repeatedly. It was lush, it was beautifully produced, and it had a hit.

So, what are my thoughts now with forty years of hindsight?

It’s kind of of more Tug, than War, if you know what I mean.

The two albums previously, Back to the egg, and McCartney II delivered mixed, if not challenging
results and levels of success.

By the time Wings came to record Back to the egg, the constraints and novelty of being in a band
for Paul had set in, and definitely a sense of ‘Been there, done that’ must have been clouding him.

Tho a fan favorite, to these ears, a level of tiredness had set
in. Band members were wearing clogs on stage, some were almost vulnerable to a jacket with
elbow patches. This version of Wings (and there were many) appeared more roll than rock, granted, Back to the egg
had an edge missing from the folksy and overly long ‘London town’ album, but I’ve never bought into the adage that this
incarnation of Wings were the most rocking. Have a listen to Soily on Wings over America, then we can talk. Personally, I
had the feeling Pauls heart just wasn’t in it anymore, and that he was starting to feel a little lost.

The pre album single ‘Goodnight tonight’ was a reasonable success, but the singles that followed from the album
were moderate successes at best. A tour followed, again, a fan favorite due to the somewhat quirky set list,
to me, in hindsight, it kind of fell short compared to what was going on in concerts by other artists at the time.

Paul had set the standard with Rockshow in 1976, now in 1979 he was reduced to kicking a toy robot on stage for a laugh.
The setlist was was vastly shorter than the last time Paul had played British theatres, and nothing rocked and smoked
like the last tour, the closest they got was Spin it on, even that didn’t sound totally convincing in a live setting.

Paul wasn’t happy with the final show of the 1979 tour, or others during the run of shows, he knew they were under rehearsed
for the upcoming Japanese tour (which was going to add Another day, Live and let die and Let em in to the set list). We all know what happened in
Japan. It must have been a nightmare for Paul, but in hindsight, it was probably fortuitous. Try as I might I can’t really
imagine Wings limping along any further. A tour of Japan, then what, back to America? Nope, historically, I’m glad Paul got the
jolt. He needed to think about where he was going, what he was doing, and with whom. Wings continued on through 1980, but only on
minor projects, and overdubs on things like Kold Kuts. Tapes of rehearsals from late that year show they were a spent force.

Paul threw a curve ball in May 1980 when he released ‘McCartney II’, his second all solo album. This album featured the
monster hit ‘Coming up’, even earning a thumbs aloft from John Lennon. This single built up Paul’s stocks again, but, as the casual record
buying public found, after the first single, and then Waterfalls, the rest of the album proved to be a little quirky and challenging.
Tho a hit album on the back of Coming up and Paul’s loyal fan base, this album quickly became one of Paul less popular and
appreciated.

In time, this albums fortunes and standing would shift dramatically (Humble brag, I adored ‘Check my machine’ from the
first time I heard it).

1980 wasn’t finished with us yet. Nothing further needs to be written about the horror, emotional chaos and questioning
that enveloped not only the Beatle fan world, but suddenly, after December, the whole world was focusing on, and judging the former Beatles
(tho, were they ever, are they ever, really ‘former’?).

1981 was a pretty quiet year for Paul. News had filtered out that he was working with George Martin. Personally I was happy to hear this,
because even with a small period of time passing, I knew the reception that had greeted Paul’s two previous albums needed to change
for his next album, he was losing traction, and I knew it, and I’m betting Paul did as well. I sensed, and hoped, that George would get Paul into a studio that wasn’t a barn
or a castle, that the arrangements would be well thought out, and all those marvelous, what I call ‘little brush strokes’ would be back,
embellishing those always incredible melodies.

When Tug of war was released in April 1982, it was welcomed with open arms. Hit singles, beautifully recorded, lush, complex backing vocals that
wrapped their arms around the songs, and either comforted or exhilarated all who heard them. Paul has a habit of doing a One, Two, Three punch to open
many of his albums, Band on the run, Jet and Bluebird for example. Then you hold your breath to see if track four can continue the quality. In cases of
albums like Ram, Band on the run and Chaos and creation in the backyard, those punches continue to the very last note.

I need to switch tack now and look back with forty years of hindsight. In 1982 people were just SO happy to have ‘A’ Beatle release a solo album
that critical evaluation was difficult, especially from fans such as myself. I’d hazard a guess the high praise from the Rolling Stone reviewer may have
been tinged with relief and gratitude that we at least still had Paul here, and also, the fact that Tug of war really did shine sonically and arrangement wise
when compared to Pauls two previous album releases.

Side one.

The opening track ‘Tug of war’ is a masterpiece, played, sung and arranged beautifully. The sentiment and lyrics are pure McCartney, and the purest McCartney is
always perfection.

In years to come they may discover
What the air we breathe and the life we lead
Are all about
But it won’t be soon enough
Soon enough for me
No it won’t be soon enough
Soon enough for me.

Track two is ‘Take it away’. A slice of perfect Macca pop. Slathered with glorious 10cc-esque backing vocals with Eric Stewart stepping into the role
of backing vocalist after Denny Laines departure. Eric slotted in perfectly, and his vocal blend with Paul, and especially Linda, was a highlight and would
feature on all Pauls albums up to, and including, Press to play (that album won’t be afforded such a wordy review, in fact, I could get it down to
five succinct words).

Track three ‘Somebody who cares’. The punches keep coming. Top shelf Macca, this song highlights the fidelity of this album. The recording of Pauls
acoustic guitar solo brings out even more emotion on top of Pauls vocals.

Track four ‘What’s that you’re doing’. What indeed Paul. Just because you record a jam with Stevie Wonder, isn’t a guarantee that it’s a good idea
to release it. Strangely, the remix/mash of this song on Pauls side project ‘Twin freaks’ in 2005, is one of the highlights of that album, and deserves
to be sought out.

Track five ‘Here today’. No words.

Side two.

Track one ‘Ballroom dancing’. A fun look back to old times, all the essential elements are there, production, arrangement, vocal arrangement . . but.

Track two ‘The pound is sinking’. Paul doing his old trick of making a song by adding sections of different songs he’s written, and putting them together.
Works a treat, this song is SO Paul.

Track three ‘Wanderlust’. The most ‘Wings’ sounding song on the album for me. Only Paul could write a song about the threat of being busted for
drugs sound so lovely, so regal.

Track four ‘Get it’. It’s at this point what I call a ‘Macca malaise’ starts to creep in. It happens on many of his albums, on side two, he starts to run
out of steam. It happens on Pipes of peace, the album after this (which could have been repaired easily, with spectacular results, stay tuned), it happens on Flowers
in the dirt as well. Here we have a fun little song, a duet with the incredible Carl Perkins. Like I said, it’s fun. End of.

Track five ‘Be what you see (Link)’ A link track to the next. Basically vocals with a vocoder. I think any album with vocoder vocals on them should be crushed with
an industrial pulverizer, but hey, that’s just me. Did I mention I find this album runs out of steam on side two?

Track six ‘Dress me up as a robber’. Inoffensive yacht rock, but yacht rock none the less. Tho, it does have all the essential ingredients present that stops me from
ever being close to disliking a Macca song.

Track seven ‘Ebony and ivory’. I have never understood the dislike of this song. Perhaps overfamiliarity fatigue from hearing it endlessly on the radio, but
it’s a great song, wonderful, simplistic but perfect sentiment, well recorded, full of hooks. Like ‘Through our love’ on Pipes of peace, Ebony and Ivory
redeems the ending of this album (alas, the same can’t be said for ‘Motor of love’ on Flowers in the dirt).

Before Tug of war, Paul was fast running out of ‘Fab Free Pass Credits’ and laurels to rest on. Tug of war gave him a shot in the arm, his fan base now had hopes for good time coming (sorry, not sorry), the critics were brought to heel . .

. . and then, Paul decided to make a movie.

In a short period of time, Paul lost a lot of those gains and good will. He was absent from the concert stage (I don’t blame him) and the general public had moved on from vanity projects. In 1984-88 Paul would find out just how depleted those stocks of goodwill were. A whacky thumbs aloft just wasn’t going to cut it.

When Paul gets cornered, and suffers a critical, and especially commercial smack down, that’s when he comes out fighting, and that’s when he delivers some of his best work.

Happy birthday Tug of war, you’re fantastic, you’re still better than most anything ever written and recorded by anyone (as is most everything Paul has released), but, don’t get too big for your britches. You’re the first born of what I call the ‘Paul Era’, which is post Wings, but unbeknownst to us, better, much better was to come.

Whippy spinout.

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

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Hey the camera loves you.

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

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Linda McCartney, a remembrance on what would have been her eightieth birthday.

Friday, September 24th, 2021

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Today on what would have been Linda McCartneys 80th birthday.

They say beware meeting your heroes, lest they disappoint. I’m here to tell you, sometimes that concern is unwarranted.

I’m one of those strange breed, a Paul/Linda/Wings fan as much, maybe more, as I am a Beatle fan. From my first days of falling in love with The Beatles, I was always drawn to Linda. She was the unfashionable, the unliked, the picked on, the easy target, the marginalized. I felt a kinship I guess.

I’d be watching Countdown, and there would be Linda, a maternity frock, knee high rainbow striped toe socks, and open toe platform heels, and above that, her unshaved legs. My mum would walk through the lounge room with a smile and say, ‘Oh Linda, she loves being a plain Jane’.

From the get go I recognized Linda as a fashion terrorist, and I’m pretty sure I recognized her ‘So what’ attitude.
I’d happily make an argument that Linda was one of, if not the first female punk, or, ‘rock chick’ in a band.
People swoon over Courtney Love, Chrissy Hynde etc, they’re lauded, they’re respected (rightfully so), but, what about Linda?

Here she was, no musical experience.

In 1972, Paul said, ‘Do you fancy being in a band?’. She was shown the chord of C, and that was it, sink or swim. She was not a natural musician, she was not a natural singer, but, in an attitude that truly was punk, she just went for it and didn’t care, or didn’t seem to care.

Years later talking about the relentless bile, scorn and judgement that was constantly thrown her way, she commented, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will break your heart”.

So there Linda was, on stage, only been learning the piano about four weeks. Bare feet, hairy legs, mix matched clothing, sometimes Paul’s (as he too would wear Linda’s clothes), and unflattering glam make up . . if she wore make up at all.

Touring the world, being, and learning onstage, and the not so small matter of raising three children at the same time, with no real nanny’s or help.

All the while being pilloried for doing nothing more than falling in love, marrying, having a laugh, and daring to have a go.

Imagine having pretty much the worlds press universally disliking and judging, and your husbands fan base, which again, numbered in the many millions, actively, physically and vocally disliking you. But Linda maintained a ‘Get on with it’ and ‘Who cares what other people think’ attitude.

What’s not to admire about a person like that.

By 1976 Linda was a member of what was arguably the biggest band in the world. She’d flipped a finger to her detractors, and she was holding her own in front of crowds and critics of up to seventy six thousand people a night.

On songs like Silly Love Songs she was carrying complex harmony vocal lines, and replicating difficult string section parts on her keyboards. On other songs like Maybe I’m Amazed and especially Medicine Jar, her playing of the Hammond B3 rocked.

The important thing however to remember is, Linda never sold herself as anything other than a punk. She never, ever sold herself as something she wasn’t.

When asked about her skills, Linda laughed and said, “Are you kidding! most kids in high school can play the tambourine better than me, but I’m there for support, I’m the rough edge”.

I think a lot of female musicians owe Linda a debt of gratitude.

Fast forward to 1993, Paul and Linda are back in Australia and touring. There is a whole book I could write about that month, but for now I’ll mention just a few observations.

As far as meeting your heroes and having concerns of feeling let down, that could not have been further from the truth with Paul, and especially Linda.

The Australian tour wasn’t like America or Europe, the security was ever present, but very relaxed.

Before the tour commenced I wrote a letter. I kept it on me at all times in case I ever had the opportunity to hand it to someone, anyone, who might be able to get it to Paul and Linda. In this letter I explained how much it meant for myself and other fans in Australia to finally see them. I explained how I had become vegetarian, and the story behind it.

The first night they played in Sydney I had a ticket that got me into the soundcheck, and access to dinner in the VIP area.

At the conclusion of the soundcheck Linda walked up towards us, to talk to a technician. I took the opportunity to ask Linda if she would autograph our albums. She explained that she had to race out to do an interview, but if we gave our items to her assistant, she would see if she could sign them later.

Before handing over my album, I slid my letter inside it.

Later that night at the concert I was front row centre (natch).

At the encore when Linda came down front to take a bow, she walked over to me, leant forward and said, ‘I read your letter’. I didn’t quite catch what she said, she repeated, ‘I read your letter’. She put her hand over her heart and pointed to me. For anyone that would be acknowledgment enough, more than anything I could ever have hoped to ask for.

After the show I walked back to the VIP area. Back at my table, there, before me at my place were all my albums and items, beautifully signed with the most lovely and personal inscriptions from both Linda, AND Paul.

Incredible.

But, my letter was missing.

The next day, waiting at the stage door for Paul and Linda to arrive, she drove up first. Linda walked over to me and again said, ‘We read your letter’. Amazingly, Linda stood there and quoted whole tracts of it back to me, discussing different points, how moved they were, and how much it meant to them. She then said if it was okay she and Paul were going to keep it, and they would love to publish some of it. I wasn’t about to say no to Paul and Linda.

I asked Linda if she would pose for a photograph for me. For the first time in our by now many interactions, I was actually nervous trying to focus my camera. Linda walked over and explained you rock your finger over the shutter, never push the camera down. The photo came out great, but if you want to see it, you’ll have to come to mine, as it’s too personal to share around. Free photography lessons from one of ‘thee’ greatest female photographers of all time?, yes please.

A few days later it was old friends week as Linda arrived at the stage door and came to say hello. Standing next to us with his mum and dad was this little boy Dylan, about ten.
Linda knelt down to say hello.

Dylan was chatting away and said he was vegetarian. His parents confirmed he was, it was all his idea. Linda stayed at his eye level speaking so lovingly, kindly, compassionately and enthusiastically to him.

Linda said her goodbyes.

About half an hour later a roadie came out with his arms piled high with t shirts, records, CDs, and beautiful photography books. He called out, ‘Is there a little boy here called Dylan?’, we pointed to the lad, and the roadie walked over and said, ‘This is all for you, it’s from Paul and Linda’.

Upon inspection, everything was inscribed by them both with messages of love and encouragement, ‘For Dylan’.

In Auckland I arrived at the airport just before Paul and Linda walked out. They were so excited to see me, thankfully a friend captured that moment on camera.

The last time I saw Linda was at the concert the next night. Again, I was front row.

As she was leaving the stage for the final time she walked over to me, pointed, put her hand over her heart and mouthed, ‘Thank you’, then bowed.

I’m ‘so’ glad I got to tell Linda I loved her and how much she meant to me, she deserved that love.

L.I.L.Y

Pandemic pondering.

Friday, September 24th, 2021

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Brilliant!

The Dunning-Kruger effect explained in the link below.

This also ties up my thoughts on the current state of play. Basically, large tracts of the population have no experience or concept of ‘Sacrifice’. They/we, by and large, for the past fifty years or so have lived a very sheltered and privileged life.

I don’t think it’s any accident that the lowest vaccination rates are in the 20-26 year old age group. That’s not because they’re more aware, worldly or educated, they’re not.

I’m old enough (and proud, and unbelievably thankful) that I’ve lived long enough that I have ‘literally’ lost first uncles to the last pandemic, the Spanish flu, no vaccines back then, people had to band together and look out for each other.

I can remember walking in my neighborhood as a small child and seeing kids in their iron lungs, placed in their garages so they could see the other kids and the world passing by. I also remember standing in line in Corrimal memorial park to get my polio vaccine, so I wouldn’t end up in an iron lung.

I remember being on holiday in Queensland with my family in April 1982. I bought the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, and I also remember my brother and I discussing an article about a cancer that was only killing gay men. There was no vaccine for HIV, we had to band together as a community, we had to think of others, if not for ourselves.

We modified our behavior, we longed for science to save our friends from dying before our eyes. We sacrificed, we thought of others, and with that came the joy and power of community and even learned compassion for some.

The absolute truth is, I/we, aren’t that important. We get on a plane and think, ‘What if it crashes!’ Well, what if it does, you’ll be in the news cycle for a week at most, maybe a little longer if a reality tv star is on board with you, but, it won’t stop the world, your demise won’t stop the sun rising the next day. In the scheme of things, we’re just a spec of dust, a blip. In a hundred years there won’t be anyone who remembers us.

We’re all vulnerable to the mundane, and we are all mortal.

How many times in a disaster do you hear someone say, ‘I didn’t think it would happen to me, I thought these things happened to other people’. That’s ego, that’s people thinking they’re above the mundane.

It’s far easier for people’s egos to accept and process the fanciful and inexplicable, a conspiracy. It conveniently takes away the need to process and accept that something as invisible to the human eye as germs and viruses can make them sick, and can lead to their death.

Life is random, we ‘cannot’ control it.

‘Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream’.

If Einstein is correct, and also the cosmic law of equal and opposite, then for all the greed and selfishness in the world, there is also generosity and selflessness . . we just need to find that again and nurture it.

It’s really simple, shit happens. We can rail and scream against it, we can clutter our minds with ‘What ifs’, and endless ruminating and distractions of cause and source, or, we can work together, helping each other, but . . as my long life experience shows me, that involves sacrifice, learning to be selfless, and caring for each other as a community.

Can your ego handle that?

Dunning-Kruger effect.

Herr hair.

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

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For beauty.

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

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Dreams.

Monday, July 19th, 2021

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I think sometimes in moments of stress and anxiety, our bodies and minds need a little breather from reality. At times, these moments can be found in dreams.

I just woke from one such dream.

A few friends and I were walking through ‘town’ (if you’re from the Illawarra, you know where I mean). Finding a little community hall in the park we pushed the door open and found a small group of elderly people. Some slow dancing, some jiving to the music coming from a small dancette record player on the floor.

Michael Parkinson was there dancing with a lady. ‘Oh no, this is some swingers thing’, but no, Michael was dancing with his wife. I thought, ‘Oh, this is pleasant!’.

An old dear walked up, hands soft and gentle from frequent dabs of Ponds, and asked if I would like a cup of tea. ‘Oh yes please!’, and it was served to me in fine bone China (In this dream I was spared the hideous sight of people scarfing coffee down from plastic lidded cardboard cups, VUL-GAR!).

As I looked around I could see the walls and tables covered with all sorts of things. I asked a lady who was wearing white snap on kid gloves what all this was. She explained that everyone brought in things to sell they no longer wanted, to pay for their craft items and lessons. Can I have look? Certainly, would you like another cup of tea? Yes please!.
All around me people were talking softly with perfect, impeccable manners.

All the ladies are wearing white gloves, how civilized!

Venturing over to the tables, my eyes widened to the size of the fine bone China saucer in my hand. Before me was every issue of TV Week and TV Times magazines from the 1970’s I’d ever dreamed of owning. Mint copies, all the Number 96 covers, and all only a dollar each.

‘Would I like another cup of tea?’, yes please!. I looked up at the wall, and there I saw a Tammie Fraser Halloween mask with real hair, for only ten dollars. I was squealing inside like Dr Smith. ‘Can you believe this! only ten bucks!’ I mouthed politely, and quietly, to my friends.

All around me were flagrant displays of gentleness and manners. ‘Would you like another cuppa?’ Yes, thank you.
Looking down I could see crates of records. Multiple copies of Bernard Kings ‘Kitchen man’ album (that’s not a dream, I do now own multiple copies of that album, different pressings and labels). There, staring up before me, was a mint copy of Miss Marilyn reading ‘Peter and the wolf’. I sunk to my knees, it too was only a dollar. I clutched it to my bosom and let out a heaving sob.

With my swag in my arms I asked a perfectly coiffed and groomed lady, where should I pay. With her Persil white gloved hand she pointed out it was an honor system, and to simply drop some money in a tin. She then showed me how later they would teach me in craft classes how to fold and wrap paper. We all turned as someone opened the door, and we could see the sky outside was lovely and blue.

Then I woke up.

If anyone doesn’t think that is THE perfect day, then I absolutely don’t know how we’re related, or friends.

We’ll meet again.

Monday, July 19th, 2021

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We’ll meat again.

Monday, July 19th, 2021

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Is ‘Quash’ a less invasive ’Squash’?

Monday, July 19th, 2021

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Britannia waives the rules.

Monday, July 19th, 2021

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Who knew Britannia delivered The Queen, Prince Phillip and Princess Anne to Wollongong in 1970, well, Port Kembla harbor to be exact. I was five years old, and I have a vivid memory of standing on the north eastern side of Gladstone Avenue and Crown Street with my family to greet them. I remember seeing The Queen and Princess Anne, probably because their clothes stood out. The photos are courtesy of the Lost Wollongong Facebook Page.

Beryl gone wild!

Monday, May 24th, 2021

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PTSD, Complex Trauma, Anxiety, and the problem of celebrity endorsement.

Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

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A Saturday morning musing.

Me being me, I’m loving all the Royal chaos and drama, but also, I must admit, I’m feeling ‘VERY’ uncomfortable with Harry and Oprah etc discussing trauma, PTSD, anxiety etc. Is part of it me being worried because it (here comes that word) triggers me? yep, probably a ‘bit’, but it’s more than that. Genuinely, I know it’s good to talk about such things.
Hear me out (or not), I’m ‘really’ worried, because, I know celebrities and royals are people too, but it’s bullshit to think that they don’t have greater support that their (here comes another shudder word for me) privilege affords them. They have the safety nets, they have the fundamentals like shelter etc.

When an issue, both social or medical becomes cause célèbre, yes, the public and Gov’ts become aware, but with that, often soon after, comes a perception of, ‘Okay, we know about that now, isn’t it all fixed, get on with it, we don’t need to keep hearing about it’.
No more evident has this been seen post marriage equality. In my experience many now think, and assume, ‘Well, now it’s out in the open, just get married, find a boyfriend, be openly gay, what have you got to worry about’.

There is no instant magic wand, one piece of legislation, one allowance by the public does not instantly erase thousands of years of distrust, homophobia, damage, violence, pain and dysfunction. But, people think it has. It’s the same with the addressing of mental illnesses and disorders.

I see this with OCD, depression, and chronic anxiety. When something IS discussed, and becomes a (I’ve gone to the trouble of copying and pasting this term, so I’m going to overuse it) cause célèbre, the seriousness of the situation, for the average Joe struggling with these disorders and illnesses, can be trivialized.
These decimating situations can be co-opted, sometimes in well meaning empathy, ‘Well, it’s not so bad, I have OCD, I like to hang my washing strait with the same coloured pegs’ . . ummm, no, that’s not OCD, that’s a quirk.

The same with Complex trauma/PTSD, everyone can say they’ve been impacted by trauma. The risk I fear is people may come to think, ‘Well, I’ve had trauma, I got over it, you just need to get on with it’. Never quite grasping the multilayered and truly disabling depths Complex trauma can be.
Once you add in Oprah and Hollywood, and yes, for the first time in my life, I’m going to use the word, ‘privilege’, I worry this will come back to cause great trouble and heartache to the truly marginalized.

The gov’t will probably throw some money at the problem, but in many cases, that could work against the marginalized, because the Govt’s perception is, ‘We gave money, you should be fixed now, what are you complaining about’.

No more has this phenomenon been better manifested than in ‘RU Okay’ day. Where Govt’s and work places think that if they hand out some balloons and Donuts one day a year, that somehow negates the still appalling and damaging behavior by them towards people for the other 364 days a year.

I get what Harry is saying needs to be talked about, but I’ve seen good intention backfire and work against people. The reality is, there IS a vast difference in circumstance between a Harry and an Oprah, and a suburban shit kicker man or woman sexual abuse and/or violence survivor, sitting at best, in a housing commission flat. Crippled by nightmares, addictions, decimating physical manifestations, trying to get on, or stay on, a pension as they’re demeaned at every step by govt departments trying to save a dollar and reduce percentages.

The conversation needs to be far more nuanced and forward thinking for the impact on the most vulnerable and desperate than what I’m seeing.
The news cycle is fickle, soon Harry and Oprah will be last weeks news, and the general public will be left thinking, ‘Haven’t we talked about that? Isn’t that all sorted for you?’ This can, and I’m almost certain will, come back to bite the most vulnerable people on the arse.

If the balloons, t shirts, donuts and ribbons come out, we’re in trouble. It’s far too big, far too delicate to be ‘Oprah-ized’, for want of a better word. Just my thoughts, your mileage may vary.

Black and white Museum Station.

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

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My favorite hair hoppers.

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

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Red.

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

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Tentative.

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

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Manly.

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

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Hair hopper.

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

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Jerri Blank.

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

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Moonlight on the water, Fairy Meadow beach.

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

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With friends like these, who needs enemas.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Ugly Dave Gray.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Masking.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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My first prolonged period of ‘masking’ today, medical face masks I mean. Things I learned:

1) Eating a wonderfully aromatic cheese and garlic gnocchi for lunch is nice, however, reliving the aroma for five hours, it kinda loses its allure.

2) Falling asleep on the train is good. Dribbling whilst asleep with a mask, bad.

Number 96.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Crocs.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Surfers paradise by night.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Hair durrie.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Mellow.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Lippy.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Melbourne walls.

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

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Clouds.

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Slice.

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FAB.

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Surfing the dial.

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b

Hey.

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Ruddy.

Monday, January 18th, 2021

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‘Scuse I, is this Engadine McDonalds?

Friday, January 1st, 2021

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Tuesday December 9th 1980.

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

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An addendum.

The below was originally written in December 2005,
not long after I had visited New York. It was then
twenty five years since Johns passing, now, here we
are, forty years since the nightmare of 1980. Very
little has changed about how I feel, and my perspective
on what happened. I’m still no closer to resolving, or
coming to terms with that loss.

Tho I have suffered many awful losses in the years since 1980,
somehow John’s loss hurts greater than most others. It truly
took the shine off the world, showed us that something as joyous,
enriching and challenging as an artist, performer and poet, can be
silenced by violence. Violence that could be minimized if not for
humanities greed and arrogance. It was a dirty, senseless act, and it
tarnished the hopes, and innocence, of countless millions of people.
I think it struck me as especially cruel, as it was Johns music, along
with the other Beatles, that kept me afloat, gave me an escape, from a
very troubled childhood.

That is why, John’s is the one death I cannot reconcile, because it
was so senseless.

With time comes a greater sense of poignancy. The Annie
Leibovitz photos from that day illustrate this most
powerfully. Gazing at the photo of John sitting in the
window, I was recently struck that the sun had set, it
was now dusk. John would never see daylight again, that
hit me like a punch to the stomach.

What an unimaginable loss. I’m forever thankful for the
time John was with us.

Today, in Australia . .

December the 9th at 2.50pm marks
the twenty fifth anniversary of John Lennon being
taken from us.

So far most of what I have read has been from fans in
the U.S and the U.K, but with the time differences, it
was 2.50pm on the afternoon of December 9 that the
horror unfolded down here in Australia. We had a
different perspective here than many others around the
world, as we didn’t wake to the news, we watched it
unfold.

Today has really stopped me in my tracks, 25 years
have passed, I was only fifteen, I didn’t know death,
I didn’t know shock, I was still pretty much innocent
.. in the blink of an eye all that was to change.

By August of 1980 I had been a Beatle fan for five
years, in 1975 I was fan-ish enough to beg my brother
to take me to see Wings in concert, he didn’t, and I
sobbed like a .. well, ten year old.

During the years 1975 through to mid 1980, John had
pretty much retired. I didn’t ‘know’ him whilst he was
active and recording, I remember seeing the photo of
Yoko and he in our local paper that was taken in
February 1980 in Palm beach, wow, a John sighting! A few
weeks later Rolling Stone ran another photo of John in
Palm beach, this time he was standing alone on the
boardwalk (must find that picture some day) by this
stage I was collecting, and clipping everything about
the Beatles.

In August came the news that John was recording again,
I was SO excited!, I had a new Beatle to follow! Again
our local paper the Illawarra Mercury ran a photo of
John and Yoko arriving at the studio, it was real, it
was true, it was happening! John really was going to
be recording again, and by fifteen, I was old enough to
appreciate this.

Sydney Sunday Telegraph August 31 1980

I started collecting every bit of
news that filtered down to us, mainly from our Aussie
music magazine ‘Juke’, which I bought without fail
each week. Another magazine which I can’t recall the
name of, also had regular updates on John’s return, I
do remember Gil Tucker from ‘Cop Shop’ was on the
cover of this newspaper like magazine. This was all pre
Internet, so one had to hunt down news, scour papers and
magazines for the smallest bit of news. Each new find would
be read over and over, then cut out, and added to scrap books.

Nov 80

Tv Week ran a one page story in November, it had
a cool photo of Yoko and he standing outside the Hit
Factory studio in New York.

TV Week Nov 1980

One night in November I was lying on my bed listening
to my prized National radio cassette player, when the
announcer said, “Coming up next we premiere John
Lennon’s new single ‘(Just like) Starting Over’” gulp!! The
excitement!, my first time ever hearing a new John
Lennon song on the radio. The DJ played the song, and I
don’t remember what I thought of it on first listen,
but I remember singing it over and over all night, just
trying to remember it. Of course it turned into a
completely different song.

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A week or so later I got Double Fantasy on cassette, I
can’t remember exactly, but I probably brought it from
the ‘Rock pit’ in Corrimal court, this was our local
record shop, and they knew I was a Beatle fan, they
always put my name on Beatle posters when they were
advertising a new album. Needless to say, my name went
on the giant Double Fantasy poster that the store had.
I remember holding the cassette in my hands as I sat
in the back seat of my parents purple Escort car while
dad filled up with petrol, I was just waiting to get
home to play it.

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Above: My original cassette of Double Fantasy.

By the second week of December the year was winding
down, in February I would be turning sixteen. I felt
so old and mature, at school we were in the second
week of ‘End of year activities’. This was a cool thing
where for the last two weeks of school, you got to pick
fun subjects and activities, like skating and
photography.

On December the 9th the world was good, the weather
was warm, and for once school was fun. I spent the day
with my friend Jeff in the darkroom developing a heap
of photo’s we had taken in our photography course (I
still have one of these photos in my collection). We
had such a fun day, we had gone on an excursion into
town to David Jones to take some photos the previous
day. During lunch, as we walked north past the
industrial arts building, I vividly recall Jeff asking
me what I was doing later that day, I told him
excitedly that I was going to dinner at my brothers
place, and his girlfriend Sue was making apricot
chicken.

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Above photo: Taken in my photography class on December 8th.

When I got home from school at about 3.10pm, my sister
Rhonda was visiting mum, they were talking in the
kitchen, dad had just left for afternoon shift and I
went to my room and picked up my National radio
cassette player. I walked up to dads ‘shed’ (garage)
this is where my guitar and drums were kept. Every
afternoon I would grab my cassette player, and head
strait for the shed, I would put on a tape, or the
radio, and I would play along with whatever was on and
practice the drums.

This afternoon was no different, I
settled in, turned on the radio and started playing, I
flicked around the dial to find another song .. wow,
cool! A Beatle song, ‘Love me do’ so I played along to
that. I swept across the dial again, ANOTHER
Beatle song ‘Strawberry fields’.

When the song ended, so
did my childhood, so did my innocence.

‘In case you haven’t heard already, former Beatle John
Lennon was shot and killed just a short time ago in
New York city’.

The words of the DJ, I think it was Triple J radio.

What happened next I can’t explain, I guess it was
shock.

(I have since come to understand, in trauma, it’s
referred to, and known as, ‘Disassociation’).


Above: The radio announcement as I heard it.

Everything seemed to be in slow motion. I picked up
the radio and walked down to the house, but I don’t
remember walking, during the short time it took to
get to the house, I felt disconnected from my body. I
walked into the kitchen where my sister and mum were
talking, I didn’t say anything, I literally could not
speak. They saw something was terribly wrong, my sister
kept saying over and over, ‘What is it!?’. All I could
say was, ‘Just listen’.

I put the radio on the kitchen bench, and soon enough,
at the end of another Beatle song, the announcer came
back and repeated the words I had heard only minutes
before, ‘John Lennon has been shot and killed in New York’.
My sister and mum gasped, then my sister said, ‘I feel
like a part of me has died’.

In those few short seconds my childhood, innocence,
sense of safety, and hope, was snatched away from me.

I sunk down into a kitchen chair, the airwaves were
flooded with news and John songs. I gathered myself up,
and went in my room and found some cassettes. I
started taping the radio. I guess I thought If I put John
on tape, then he wasn’t really gone, he was still here. It’s
a phenomenon I’ve seen repeatedly since, with Princess Diana and
other high profile losses and disasters.

People seem to need something to cling on to, to not let go of.
I went and lay down on the lounge room floor, listening, trying
to take this in. The phone rang, and it was my sister Dianne, she
asked me if I had heard the news about John. In the
background I could hear my niece Kylie crying, who I
knew was crying as much for me, as she was for John.

Soon enough we had to go to my brothers for dinner. I
didn’t feel like seeing anyone let alone eating. I
remember arriving and being in shock, my brother
and his girlfriend Sue were really understanding, Sue in
particular I could sense felt horrible for me,

I didn’t eat that night, and I don’t know that I ever
ate apricot chicken again. I went and lay down on
Glenn and Sue’s bed, and listened to my radio, the
same one that brought me my first hearing of ‘Starting
Over’. I wouldn’t let go of the radio, I clung to it,
even when I went to the bathroom. I sat on the toilet
just to get away from everyone, and it was in
there that I heard ‘Working class hero’ for the first time.

Outside in the lounge I overheard my brother say to my
sister, ‘This will be one of the biggest news stories ever’.
When we got home, I was watching Roger Climpson read
the late news on channel 7. At the end they played the
video of John singing ‘Imagine’. At that moment dad
walked in from afternoon shift and said to me, ‘I see
your mate died’.

‘My mate’, oh how I wish. John was a person who sang
and wrote songs, songs that touch my very soul, I
‘feel’ his music, not everyone can, but I’m one of the
lucky ones, every one of his songs sound as fresh
to me today, as the first time I heard them. I don’t
know too many other artist who’s music you can say
that about, for me, The Beatles, solo Lennon and McCartney
and Brian Wilson.

One of my main joys in life is collecting everything
connected with John in 1980, the ‘Double Fantasy’
period. I love when I find a new photo from this time,
the reason being is the last six months of 1980 was
the only time I ‘had’ John. He wasn’t working as an
artist when I first became a fan. I cling to 1980, the
few memories I have of him whilst he was still alive,
because I miss him, I miss his music, I miss his
words, I miss the world I had when John was still here,
and so was my innocence, and sense of safety.

I miss the ‘man’ .. this is something that has only
very recently been made real to me. Only a couple of
weeks ago I got to visit New York for the first time,
within a day I understood why John fought for years to
be allowed to live there. I took a deep breath and got
on the subway and headed uptown to 72nd street, the
address of the Dakota.

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After all these years of being a fan, John was an image
in a magazine, an image in a movie, when I ascended
the subway staircase and found myself standing next to
the Dakota, John became a ‘person’. Until you stand
and walk around where John called home, it’s hard to
get a real sense of him. When I walked
around to the entrance way to the building, and stood
in the spot where John had passed by a thousand times, I
really could imagine John in his
cool black cowboy boots, I could picture him walking
with pride with his wife and son in tow, across to
Central Park, scooting around the corner to Cafe La Fortuna
for his coffee, his gangly stride walking
around to the west side pharmacy to get his ‘bits and
pieces’ on Columbus Avenue. In a word I got a sense of
the ‘man’.

That’s when the real tragedy of that day in 1980 hit
me, he was just a man, a husband, a father and he was
taken from us all so easily and senselessly.

At 2.50pm today I’m going to be playing Double
Fantasy, and I’m going to be remembering that short
time I had with John.

Greg xoxo