Monday, May 21, 2012

City & Colour Live

City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green

Canadian singer/songwriter Dallas Green kindly bought his City & Colour project back to Sydney last week for another year of back to back sold out shows! Following a huge demand from us Australian fans, this was the second time Dallas has been out to tour his third full-length album Little Hell

I've been lucky enough to see City & Colour a handful of times now, and each time Dallas has delivered the collection of heartfelt songs we have all come to know and expect of this acoustic-folk luminary. But last week's show was something different entirely... Dallas was no longer the lone ranger, but instead stood prominently towards the left hand side of the stage and conveyed himself as equal to his four bandmates. This gave the entire show a sort of zealous energy, analogous to his recent departure from mainly acoustic beginnings to the fuller sounding tracks of the latest release. 

I should stop here and be completely honest with you guys... I did not receive the release of Little Hell with wide open arms last year. As a long time City & Colour fan, I was no stranger to those acoustic classics. For years they had become the soundtrack to my life. Certain tracks were applied to certain situations, and lyrics were interpreted to invoke way too much emotion in a way that most prepubescent teens so frequently do. And I think it was the raw, stripped back acoustic that facilitated this. So when City & Colour embarked on the bold new sound that is Little Hell, I was quick to give it a second place status.  

Now having heard Dallas's voice flow effortlessly over those warm guitars, simple keys and subtle percussion live, my opinion has completely changed. I stood in absolute awe from the moment they opened with We Found Each Other In The Dark, and my jaw remained gravitated towards the floor for the remainder of the evening. 

While Dallas is a quiet man, crowd interactions were aplenty. He proved he can still charm an audience with his did bit stories. He recruited us for backup vocals during What Makes A Man, and encouraged us to dance to Fragile Bird. For Body In A Box, Dallas did something no other artist has ever done and asked us to put away the phones and cameras, and just experience the show for what is was, to which we all respectfully obliged. 

The set was highlighted by a breathtaking performance of my favourite track The Girl. For that six minute period, I was whisked away to a world of wonder. While I sang along and sort of slow danced on the outside, I was pondering life's greatest questions on the inside. I was deep in thought for the first half, wondering about the lady the song was written for. What was she like? What happened in her life? Where is she now? Then the song song kicked over into its more upbeat second-half and I was  consumed with happiness, remembering how my very beautiful friends shared their first dance as a married couple to this song only two weekends ago. I've said that only my teenage self did this when listening to City & Colour songs, but in all reality, Dallas's voice just beams with so much honesty and heart-felt emotion that it's almost impossible to stand there and not be guided through some sort of self-evaluation. I'm sure I'm not alone in this... 

A two-track encore featuring crowd favourite Comin' Home saw the audience hang on every last chord as the evening drew to a close. Where I'd usually be a complete chatter-box on the way home, this time round I was so stumped on finding the right words to express what I'd just seen and heard. Each and every song were both lyrically and atmospherically alluring, and delivered in a way my now adult self could appreciate fully. 


Just a quick note on the photos... This was my very first attempt at indoor concert photography guys! I ended up taking over 120 photos (up until Dallas asked us to put the cameras away) and decided to salvage and show just these seven. While most were hindered by the drunk Peter Brady swaying to and fro in front of me, others were just plain awful (& blurry). But, in saying that I think I've managed to stay true to the mantra that editing the selection is more important than shooting it and come up with some goods! These haven't been altered with any editing software either. The colours you see are the colours I saw!! No rose-tinted Sierra or Nashville effects up in here. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gone to 'Where The Wild Things Are'

I woke up this morning and habitually checked my Twitter feed, only to be told by a very busy trend that Maurice Sendak had passed today at the age of 83. I was saddened, but I instantly remembered his many achievements and smiled. Both within the literary sphere and for me personally... 

Maurice Sendak is arguably the most important children's book author/artist of our time, and his famous story 'Where the Wild Things Are' can be recognised by many. Yes, we all loved how Max got up to mischief in his wolf suit, and created a wonderful world within his imagination. But there was something much more deeper at play here. With this tiny self-written, self-illustrated book came a genre-breaking tale set to change the nature of children's stories forever. There were fairytales... and then there were Sendak's hauntingly beautiful tales, dancing in the darkness of the human psyche. He was a fearlessly honest writer, who didn't intend to write stories for children but spoke to them in a way not many others could. And although he was widely criticised for this, Sendak always faced his difficulties with the utmost courage. He taught children to face it through his books. 

For me personally, 'Where the Wild Things Are' was always a go-to book. It was a comforter. I could confide in Max when the world was against me (who knows, maybe I got in trouble for something stupid), run away, rumble with some monsters, let loose with my emotions and be prepared to come back and face those troubles level headed. Max was there, and he could assure me that everything would be better this time round. Hell, I should probably revert back to this way of dealing with things!!? 

As the library leader of my primary school, Sendak's works were always displayed in the priority spots... and when it came time for the annual school performance, I played that tiny yellow flower in our stage rendition of the story with so much pride (nerdy book girls have no dance skills). It's so hard to put into words what his work meant to me. This is a sad day for library leaders. For children. 

Ever since I heard his interview with Terry Gross last year I realised just how much this man was in tune with himself and everything around him. He spoke so eloquently on life and love lost. And when prompted to face his own mortality, said "I have nothing but praise now, for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot, because I miss people. I cry a lot because they die, and I can't stop them. They leave me. And I love them more...And it's what I dread, more than anything, is the isolation.... Oh God, there are such beautiful things in the world, which I will have to leave when I die. But I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready". It was poignant then, but even more so now. I know that when Maurice Sendak gets back home, his supper will still be waiting and it will be hot. Just the way he likes it. 

And he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are.
R.I.P Maurice Sendak, literary legend.

For those who'd like to hear the story again...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Mr & The Mrs

Photo c/o Tink Simplicity (because we weren't there and who takes a camera to a housewarming!!?) Read on...
It's already Tuesday and I am still on some sort of love high from the completely surreal events of last weekend! If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen that at approximately 8pm on Saturday night, my dearest friend Tegan of Tink Simplicity announced that her and her then fiancĂ© Nathan had got married earlier that day!!! Who knows how long these birds have been keeping their plans a secret? But holy moley did it surprise us all. One minute we were just sitting in their backyard 'Housewarming', sipping ciders and catching up, and the next minute there was a giant projector on the wall, showing scenes of the two saying their vows and exchanging rings. I squealed when I saw the date and timestamp on the video, only to turn around and see them in the window behind me exchanging rings for real. They tied the knot in the most literal sense of the word, bequeathing upon each other special handmade rings of twine.  I'll tell you honestly, in that moment my heart turned into a puddle on the floor. Well, not really. But it did leak out of my right eye!

After I congratulated the happy couple, it began to sink in that this was now a wedding... I kicked myself for not bringing my DSLR along and felt embarrassed by my choice of incredibly casual clothing and messy bun, both showing a distinct lack of effort. But then I realised, if Tegan and Nathan really wanted the giant hype of a big fat fancy wedding, they would have had one!? What they wanted was simple and beautiful. And without all those fancy trimmings and such, the love these two have for one another was able to really shine through in such a raw way. 

They did keep with tradition and shared a very heartwarming first dance, to which all friends and family gladly joined in. I wish I had even iPhone photos of this magical evening, but I decided to pick up Tegan's camera and got a little snap happy with it instead. At the same time though, this was the kind of night that not even a photo could capture the feeling of. I will never need a photo or a video to remember it by, and I bet I can safely say the same for anyone that was there.

I've had the pleasure of calling these two my greatest friends since meeting them at the very young age of fifteen and their strength and love, both individually and as a couple, has been an inspiration ever since. They deserved every single ounce of the happiness they had back then, and now as the Mr & the Mrs. I don't even have to wish them luck for a long and prosperous or beautiful life, because they've already got all of that and more... 

Tegan has said that if you'd like to read her love story it will be up on her blog very soon. In the meantime, you can follow her all the way to New Zealand for a last minute honeymoon by checking out her Facebook page here

Friday, April 27, 2012

Splendour is a Sellout!

And not the bad kind of washed-up sellout either! Yes, thats right. Splendour In The Grass 2012 has officially sold out in less than 43 minutes (thats record time)! Which definitely proves that this year's lineup, ripe with an eclectic array of artists and sans big fat fancy headliners, is what we festival folk here in Australia want! I had a late night studying and only remembered at 9.09 that tickets went on sale at 9am this morning!! So as you can imagine, my Poptarts went flying and I swore a hell of a lot. By the time I got through the shit-fight online waiting room to purchase my tickets the allocation had exhausted. Luckily enough, one of my lady friends was already amidst the purchasing screen! So with a short text, I quickly secured my spot at Splendour. And possibly just gave some sort of text message interceptor the perfect deets for credit fraud and identity theft. I'm going to say it was all worth it but! 

So a giant congrats to the Splendour crew for their massive sell out, and to everyone who managed to claw their way to the top of Moshtix this morning. For those who's fate was not so kind, maybe try eBay!? Not all eBayers are peaky scalpers. I had a splendid time in the grass last year off a last minute reasonably priced eBay purchase... (Splendour have announced this morning that they may bring in the reissue option that they had last year). There is still hope! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Life Amongst Trees

It's early Monday morning and I'm sitting at my desk. I am supposed to be studying for an exam this coming Saturday, but instead I've found myself staring out my window and daydreaming about living in a tree. Ever dreamed of living in a tree house when you were a child? I know I did. I used to ponder with amazement how a little tiny house would sit perfectly perched between two branches without budging. I had a cubby house when I was younger, and while I know my Papa poured his heart into building it, it was definitely no treehouse. Come to think of it, I've never actually seen one in real life!?

All this dreaming as got me thinking that I could make it happen for real. I've researched a few places and taken down a couple of figures for a little treetop getaway. Could you imagine, waking up and having all the wonderful sights and smells of the Australian rainforest just outside your treehouse door. Wow...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Sounds: Gossling

I don't know whether its her alluring voice, or those sweet sweet melodies that have me in 'Wild Love' with Gossling!? Perhaps its both? If one thing is certain, its that Gossling has a definite winner with her new EP Intentional Living.

Following the success of Gossling's second EP Until Then, Intentional Living features much of the same lyrically sweet sounds we have come to expect and of course, the distinctively beautiful voice of leading lady Helen Croome. This track, 'Wild Love' was the first to be released back in February and has been capturing hearts ever since! My personal favourite has to be 'Heart Killer', because of its undeniable magnetism. But each of the four tracks are absolute gems!! 

I was a lucky duck and scored a pre-ordered signed copy of the EP earlier this week!! Intentional Living was just released on Friday and is available right now on iTunes or in record stores nationally! Definitely recommended for those of you who have fallen in love with Australia's other lovely ladies, Julia Stone or Lisa Mitchell. 

For tour dates throughout the end of April and early May, click here!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Splendour in the Grass Announced!

Well it was another exciting morning here in Aus, as the lineup for this years Splendour in the Grass festival was announced. I was banking on The Black Keys headlining after their massive launch of El Camino last year. But that hope was pounded to smithereens on Tuesday when they announced an Australian tour for October, which sold out instantly three hours later!!! Anyway, back to Splendour. It's interesting to see how many of the rumours for this years lineup turned out to be true. Yes folks, Jack White, Bloc Party and Miss Lana del Ray are coming to our shores this July! 

The full line up is as follows... 

Jack White
Bloc Party
Smashing Pumpkins
At The Drive-In
The Shins
Hilltop Hoods
The Kooks
Miike Snow
Dirty There
eLana Del Rey
Azealia Banks
Tame Impala
Explosions In The Sky
The Afghan Whigs
Missy Higgins
Band Of Skulls
Django Django
Gypsy & The Cat
San Cisco
Last Dinosaurs
Electric Guest
Angus Stone
DZ Deathrays
Lanie Lane
Big Scary
Michael Kiwanuka
Yacht Club Dj’s
Bertie Blackman
Jinja Safari
Blue King Brown
Youth Lagoon
The Beautiful Girls
Tijuana Cartel
Ball Park Music
The Rubens
Ben Howard
Bleeding Knees Club
Zulu Winter
The Medics
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Kate Miller-Heidke
Father John Misty
Emma Louise
Here We Go Magic Parachute Youth
Mosman Alder
The Cast Of Cheers
Wolf & Cub
BeniSampology (AV/DJ show)
Canyons (DJ Set)
Nina Las Vegas
Danny T
Alison Wonderland
Nice and Ego (AV/DJ show)
Luke Million
Harris Robotis
Alley Oop

Few people have expressed their disappointment with the lineup already, claiming how last year was "sooooo much better". But I think it is important to take each year as they come without too much comparison. This lineup is very reflective of what has happened in Australian music late last year and during the beginning of this year... So many of the artists included had just dropped new albums last year, some were just unearthed last year and some were just thrown in for good measure. 

I've had my ticket money saved since last week, because even if I don't enjoy a few of artists in the lineup, there is always a buttload for me to get silly to. Besides, who wouldn't want to go to a festival headlined by Edward Scissor Hands!!?? That and, with Smashing Pumpkins on the bill, my Splendour experience (ticket pending) is going to be exactly like The Simpsons Hullabalooza! 

Kaisha Gambell, smiling politely. 

Rest In Peace My Darling Mindy

It's been little over two weeks since I tragically lost my little lady and I think I am finally okay to write about it. On the afternoon of Tuesday the 3rd of April, I was sitting in my study when the weirdest feeling came over me. I felt a wrenching in my gut and a tickle in my throat. Not knowing what had caused it, I set aside my work and ventured out the front door. I was on my porch, still completely unaware of the reason I had gone outside when I decided to grab something from my car. In that moment, something somewhere forced me to look out onto the road. In that moment my entire world fell apart. My dear kitty Mindy had been hit by a car in some freak accident. I'm going to spare you the details that followed, because they were more than horrific. I was left completely numb for hours...

Now, I have lost loved ones before and experienced grief. But never had I experienced the bodily reaction to traumatic shock. That night was tiresome. Thinking led to sobbing, sobbing led to crying, crying led to choking, choking led to hyperventilating and so on, until I finally calmed down around 3am to actually sleep. The next few days were a roller coaster ride of emotions. I felt guilty and thought up so many "what if" situations. I experienced denial, and every so often I would hear her bells. I was so angry and depressed that I really just could not understand why this had happened!? 

By the end of the week I had started to be honest about these feelings. I began to accept the whirlwind of emotions for what they were. I began to understand the pain and the anger and the guilt, and with that understanding I started working through them. Despite what anyone thought, I knew I had a right to feel the way I was... my baby had been taken away from me and I was completely alone and bereaved. 

I think the turning point was when speaking to a fellow fur mamma, she said "it's so cruel that we fall so in love with these little souls only to outlive them", because this was exactly what I had been thinking!! When asked if I were going to get another Cat (Yes! Some people asked that!?) I would answer so negatively and say "No, they are such high risk pets and I cannot deal with that pain again". But this isn't how one should live their life, safeguarding the pain by foregoing all the pleasure they bring. 

I know now that although her life was cut incredibly short, my family and I gave Mindy the greatest possible chance at living her life. But more than that, she gave us the greatest possible happiness. Her quirky character was so infectious that she brightened every single one of my days. While the horrific details of that Tuesday afternoon still creep into my sleep, I'm slowly starting to replace them with all the wonderful ones. Each time I walk past her beautiful urn I think of the times we used to chase one another through the house, or how often she would terrorise the garden of lizards out the front. I can remember the really odd noise she used to make when you asked her if she wanted dinner, or how whenever the internet was down it was because she decided to take a nap on the modem. I still miss her so, but I know her beautiful spirit is still here with me somewhere.

Rest in Peace my darling Mindy. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Out With The Old...

And in with the new! Yes, this little blog of mine finally has a fresh new face! Part of the reason for my long winded blogger hiatus was because I was left feeling so uninspired by my last layout.  If you cast your eyes on the image above, you can see how my ex-layout was less than average! It was a quick fix /plain jane/no thought layout that I slapped together one day when I decided I was over its predecessor. The result was of negative consequnces... For the next few months I would cast each new idea or feature post aside, and instead think about how I so desperately needed to fix this face!  

Back in February I began frequenting a number design websites and downloading various fonts but nothing really came of it. By March I had drawn up a few complex plans and started tutoring myself in Dreamweaver... but still nothing. It wasn't until I had a spare few hours on Monday that I started playing around. I scraped everything existing and started anew with a blank blogger canvas. The plan was to just play around, and see what I could do to tweak the default templates (my Dreamweaver skills were not developing too fast). But after a while I began to like what I saw. The blank page was clean and crisp and white and I loved it! Of course it wouldn't be Far From The Mocking World without some floral up in there somewhere. Although it should be noted that I did try out some other things, including some aztec and chevron prints and even a hot air balloon theme!? In the end though I turned straight back to what I know and love. So here it is, in all its simplistic glory! 

This is my first time working with a right hand side bar, so its still a work in progress. But i'll iron out all the kinks and figure it all out shortly. What do you think so far? 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

KONY: My Two Cents

Riding on the wake of the video released by Invisible Children earlier this week, I woke up this morning and found myself immediately defending the 'KONY 2012' cause when confronted by an overwhelming amount of status updates on my Facebook newsfeed. While most were supportive, there was an increasing trend for people to comment that others showing support for the KONY 2012 campaign had become "sheeplike". I had people talking of "jumping on the bandwagon" when they posted their opinions, and others who were completely mocking the video all together. I've never been more disgusted in the people whom I'm associated with by way of a social networking site. So now it's time for my quick two cents... 

To the people who have shown disrespect for the video based on the fact that it is either; completely melodramatic, features more of the filmmakers son, a one-sided viewpoint, an issue that is two decades old, lacking in basic facts about the LRA, doesn't raise awareness about all the other rebel groups or war criminals or whatever other reason you've come up with... we get it! You're much smarter than the general public, and if pointing out every single flaw in one persons attempt at creating awareness around a particular issue is what you need to do to prove us that, then good for you. 

I am the first person to agree that no one view/video should ever be taken on face value. As with any form of reporting, there is often a need for a second, third and even a fourth thought. But nobody can sit back and deny that the video did not achieve its purpose. This video set out to appeal to the masses, specifically the social networking masses. It sought to make Kony a household name, because at the end of the day, awareness is the first step in any form of action. Even at the very start of the video it was explained that "this is an experiment", but for it to work you had to "pay attention". In my opinion, paying attention here referred not only to the information contained in the video, but paying attention to the bigger picture. It meant to recognise what was happening here. To appreciate how one video could resinate with so many people so as to form a voice to speak out against injustice. How did so many people miss that? 

Either way, in all my time of social networking I have never seen a campaign go as viral as this. In fact, I'd go so far as to say its unprecedented. By the end of the day, those who were genuinely affected by the 'KONY 2012' video will go on to do their own research relating to the UDPF and the involvement of the US Military. They will form their own opinions about whether or not to donate to Invisible Children and perhaps along the way they will learn a thing or two about the underlying problem that is at work here. But those of you who only took the time to comment negatively on what everyone else has been doing, or spent your 30 seconds to mock the campaign entirely, well you'll have done just that. By the end of the day, you'll be no wiser to the purpose of this campaign nor any closer to understanding the context of this conflict, or any others for that matter. But kudos to you, you big cool individual you. 

On another note, today is International Women's Day. This is another campaign that has been at work for over two decades, where people all over the world have stopped to recognise the role of women in society, and in particular raise awareness about the injustices specifically faced by women on a global scale (ranging from the inequality experienced in work and education, right up to issues of women's health and violence related matters). Today is about commemorating all of the achievements made to date, but more about continuing to mobilise people to strive towards a future where women's equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life. You FB haters gonna hate on that too? I dare you. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Roar & Snore

Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to camp out overnight at Sydney's Taronga Zoo for an event they call 'Roar and Snore'. For a self-confessed animal lover, a visit to the zoo doesn't get much better than this! 

It's been such horrible weather here in Sydney for the past month or so, so I had some reservations about actually attending the Roar and Snore on the specified date. In the end though,  I decided that the rain was only going to be a problem for me if I let it. That didn't stop me from stacking up on raincoats, hats, boots and umbrellas! 

I think these Asian Elephants were the only ones enjoying the rain!
Some of the others were clearly upset with the dismal weather!
I arrived at the Zoo at 5.30pm (wayyy too early) and waited with a few other campers for our hosts to greet us. Once we got to the communal tent, we were shown to our personal sleeping quarters - fully decked out tents with lights and electricity!! We were served beer and wine and fantastic welcome platters of carrot sticks and celery. It was here that we were introduced to our first lot of animal friends. Friends of the scaly kind. Each of the four keepers bought out a native Australian animal for us to meet. We felt the smooth skin of a Diamond Python and Shingleback Lizard (you know the one that looks as if its tail could be a second head), and got to see a little long neck Turtle poke his head out of his shell. Growing up having Lizards, Snakes and Turtles as pets, I was happy to take a step back and watch all the kids in the group ask fascinating questions. Besides, I was probably too busy enjoying my wine and gazing at the breath taking Harbour views anyway.  

Following this, we had a fantastic dinner and set off on our guided Night Safari tour of the zoo. Now this wasn't my first time to Taronga, but it was my first time walking around with a torch and playing hide & seek with the animals. It was interesting to see how some were definitely more active at dusk, while others were more than happy to find a warm dry spot to snuggle up for the night. I think this part of the experience would have been a thousand times better but for the rain. But it didn't matter, we still had the chance to hear some great stories about where each of the animals had come from, who they were breeding with, and where they were going to go next. As well as some tales of their individual personality quirks! Unfortunately we were unable to take any photos at this stage (we can't blind them!). 

We had an early start the next day. After a quick breakfast and three cups of coffee (because of my lack of sleep due to dreams of escapee bears) we headed out for our first behind the scenes tour. We trekked around the zoo until we reached the Giraffe exhibit. Here, we were greeted by a lovely keeper man who opened the gate and ushered us in. He taught us a lot about the Giraffes, including their prevalence in the wild, their breeding habits and their specific dietary needs. Then we were lucky enough to feed them!

Following this the group was led to a classroom where we were able to get up close and personal with some of Australia's furriest friends. We met a sleepy little Possum, a Quokka and a quirky Koala. The keepers gave a talk about the importance of preserving the environment for these guys, and it was so great to hear that the kids in the group had all the right answers when it came to being environmentally responsible.

Our next behind the scenes experience took us to the Seal Show arena. Here we were introduced to a lovely male New Zealand Fur Seal named Mav. He was such a charming young seal and was quick to show us just how smart he really is. Mav was treated to a tasty fish breakfast and let us all give him a pat! 

The entire experience was also a great way to learn about Conservation. I am already a pretty strong anti Palm Oil advocate, and have long since cut the horrid substance from my regular diet. But we learnt about other things we can do to play our small part, like recycling your mobile phone to relieve the pressure on Gorilla habitats by mining for Coltan, and buying only ethically sourced fish to avoid the mass killing of wildlife that get swept up in trawling nets.

At the end of the Roar and Snore we were free to spend the rest of the day at the Zoo and re-visit some of our favourites. It was so wonderful to be wandering around before the public opening time and seeing some of the animals at their most active. This was especially the case for the Sumatran Tiger and her three cubs. Overall it was an amazing experience I will never forget. Hell, I'll probably go again!

For anyone in Sydney or anywhere else really who is interested in finding out more about Taronga Zoo's Roar and Snore click HERE!

Also, this probably goes without saying, but all photos are Copyrighted to me and this blog 'Far From The Mocking World' and are not for commercial use. Feel free to use them personally, where credited! 
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