Ep14 – Caoirne Ward

Caorine Ward

Ep14.

Caoirne Ward in an emerging musician who knows what he wants.

When it comes to his music, he knows how he wants it to sound and he doesn’t compromise when it comes to his compostions. He’s not apologetic for who he is, his opinions and the success he’s working hard to achieve.

He started off wearing his influences very obviously on his sleeves in YouTube videos, yet now, after writing more than 100 songs, releasing 2 albums and a number of singles his own voice and style is coming through.

Now his music has over tens of thousands of plays on Spotify and his latest song Trying has made it all the way to Triple J.

In our conversation today we get beyond surface impressions. The longer the conversation goes the more of Caoirne comes to the fore. He’s learning his music is genuinely connecting with people and it’s firing him up to do more.

Before we begin today’s chat Caoirne’s kindly allowed me to drop one of his latest tracks, Honest. It’s a perfect post-summer tune filled with chilled out positive vibes. Great minimal composition. Heart on sleave stuff!

Enjoy the track. Hang around for the conversation.

You can check out Caorine’s music and stay up to date with him here:

Thanks to:

Podcast homepage – https://widtaabbqs.home.blog/

Ep13 – Nigel Featherstone Pt2

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Ep13…Pt2

Nigel Featherstone is an Australian writer whose, powerful new novel, Bodies of Men is to be published by Hachette Australia on the 23rd April – it’s the story of two Australian soldiers who find love on the fringes the Egyptian desert while World War 2 rages around them.

This book is significant. This story is important. It’s beautifully written. Nigel is the right person to be telling this story at this time.

Great literature and art can sometimes be ahead of its time, yet it acts as the beacon so we can all fix on a common point in the direction we need to go. This book may well be that beacon of how we can further understand each other and learn to live along side others no matter the differences.

When I set out to do this podcast I put sitting down with Nigel to record as one of the big goals for myself. Nigel has been very important to my own creative development since we met in 2014 @ the ACT Writer’s Centre Hardcopy manuscript development program where Nigel was the facilitator and coordinator.

For a couple of years following the program Nigel was a mentor to me, helping me to find ways to create no matter what. Without his involvement, I may not have had the courage to embark on something as crazy as doing this podcast.

In this part of the conversation get spend time on the journey leading up to the writing of Bodies of Men. In Part 2, which is coming out on the 23rd April to coincide with the release of Nigel’s novel, we get deep into the story behind of the story and so much more.

Nigel is a rare character and has a generous artistic soul.

I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

You can stay up to date with all that’s happening in Nigel’s world here:

BODIES OF MEN, a novel to be published by Hachette Australia on 23 April 2019
– launching in Canberra at 6pm on Thursday 16 May at The Street Theatre

Thanks to:

Podcast homepage – https://widtaabbqs.home.blog/

Ep13 – Nigel Featherstone Pt1

Nigel Featherstone
Photo: Andrew Sikorski

Ep13…Pt1

That’s right, folks, this is Part 1, of 2.

Nigel Featherstone is an Australian writer whose, powerful new novel, Bodies of Men is to be published by Hachette Australia on the 23rd April – it’s the story of two Australian soldiers who find love on the fringes of the Egyptian desert while World War 2 rages around them.

This book is significant. This story is important. It’s beautifully written. Nigel is the right person to be telling this story at this time.

Great literature and art can sometimes be ahead of its time, yet it acts as the beacon so we can all fix on a common point in the direction we need to go. This book may well be that beacon of how we can further understand each other and learn to live along side others no matter the differences.

When I set out to do this podcast I put sitting down with Nigel to record as one of the big goals for myself. Nigel has been very important to my own creative development since we met in 2014 @ the ACT Writer’s Centre Hardcopy manuscript development program where Nigel was the facilitator and coordinator.

For a couple of years following the program Nigel was a mentor to me, helping me to find ways to create no matter what. Without his involvement, I may not have had the courage to embark on something as crazy as doing this podcast.

In this part of the conversation get spend time on the journey leading up to the writing of Bodies of Men. In Part 2, which is coming out on the 23rd April to coincide with the release of Nigel’s novel, we get deep into the story behind of the story and so much more.

Nigel is a rare character and has a generous artistic soul.

I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

You can stay up to date with all that’s happening in Nigel’s world here:

BODIES OF MEN, a novel to be published by Hachette Australia on 23 April 2019
– launching in Canberra at 6pm on Thursday 16 May at The Street Theatre

Thanks to:

Podcast homepage – https://widtaabbqs.home.blog/

Going, Going…Not Gone

going going

How do we notice that change has begun?

Is it a feeling?

A sign?

An announcement?

And once we’re attuned to change occurring what happens to us when we realise there’s no going back?

That your future has now unutterably been altered.

When you’ve arrived at such a moment in your life, how have you responded?

Was there immediate fall out or did the impact bit you like delayed aftershocks?

For me, there was this one time in my life it happened, I knew right away everything would be different about my life, about me, from this moment forward.

My knees wobbled.

I got that punched-in-the-stomach feeling so intense I thought I might vomit.

At the very least I felt like I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry and never stop.

This tectonic shift occurred when I was eighteen.

It was a Friday evening – I know this like I know my name.

It was late April or very early May 1995

I was in the bathroom staring at my reflection in the mirror whilst getting ready to go out.

I had a dance lesson to attend.

My good friend from school, Christine, was having, as the centre piece to her 18th birthday party in June at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Sydney, a choreographed dance sequence that about twelve of her friends, six guys, six gals, would be involved in.

In pairs, we’d tackle the waltz across the parquetted floor like we were part of the Viennese aristocracy from the 18th century. This meant each Friday for a couple of months leading up to The Event we had to practice – sometimes at St Clair Rec Centre, other times at Christine’s house. Our instructor was the wonderfully young-at-heart Miss Shirley, who, at a grand old age, was still footloose, fancy free and loved nothing more than to kick up her heels and have a good time. Don’t get sloppy or loose though – Miss Shirley got frustrated quickly when weren’t taking it seriously enough.

So, there I am, in the bathroom, getting ready ahead of the very first lesson.

Getting ready for me back then was a tightly controlled routine especially when I came to doing my hair.

I would spend endless minutes trying to align each hair in exactly the right place. I was seeking a perfection with my hair, a control of the process I couldn’t find or master anywhere else in my life.

If I tell you that my favourite story from The Bible is Samson and Delilah that might put you in the picture to understand how important my hair and my hairstyle was to me. I believed that Samson, got his extraordinary strength from his hair, but not literally from his hair – from the confidence his thick and full head of hair gave him.

His hair was his identity and in his identity lay his power.

I get now that this is a classically employed screenwriters device whereby a character, losing something of immense importance to them, must struggling desperately to get it back, only to learn along the way the thing means something different to them when they get it back. And thus, the dawning of a new revelation.

Samson learned his strength came from within him, not his hair.

Back to 1995 I hadn’t come to this deeper understanding of Samson’s story yet – I was still caught up with the importance of identity and image.

My hair process was repetitive, and I NEVER went so much as a step outside the door to my house without going through this:

  • Wetting my hair (I’ve often varied between cold tap water, sticking my head under the shower or hot tap water, splashed over my hands)
  • Running my hands through my hair to smooth it out
  • I would then, with a brush, slick my hair back and being so wet, it was practically stuck to my crown.
  • Then dry my hair – in my teenage years I was a devotee of the hairdryer, my hair style resembling an Aldi version of Hugh-Grantish foppish mop.
  • I’d get a nice side part going – a clearly defined line, left-aligned and then I’d try and tease out a fringe that would overhang my forehead.

And god, the amount of hairspray I would use only to see, within minutes, all my efforts collapse in vain as from the right edge of my forehead, the fringe wilt and sag and the holding powers of hairspray give up the ghost of strong hold.

I knew it then, yet would never allow the thought to fully form:

I am vain.

I get the whole Narcissus thing, amazed at himself as he stared into the lake at his own reflection. What is more fascinating that the self?

Except, I don’t think I was in love with myself. I was angry at myself. Angry because I didn’t look the way I wanted to look.

And, for better or worse, I was obsessed with my hair.

This particular Friday, as I was doing the routine, getting my hair as good as I could get it, something struck me as odd. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it. Just this queasy sense that something was off.

Then, as I was using the hairbrush to flick up my fringe, I noticed what appeared to be a weird angularity around my right temple.

Where once there’d been a clean and correct ninety-degree angle of hairline, there was now maybe a seventy-five or eighty-degree recession towards my ear.

My body knew before my mind did and it tightened, my breathing shallowing.

This lump of dread formed at the base of my throat and I couldn’t swallow, which was momentarily fine because my mouth had gone bone dry.

Surely not? I was thinking. No. Way.

And then something became known to me that could not become unknown – my hairline was receding.

I was going bald. I was going to be bald.

Why me, huh, why me? I thought to myself as my face drooped in the mirror, my skin turning a weaker shade of grey as the blood drained from my head to my toes.

I went to my bedroom and sat on the edge of my bed going through my personal checklist of why I was such a loser, which included all of my greatest hits. My life did flash before my eyes, and it didn’t feel like it amounted to much.

And now this.

Really? I get to go bald?

I felt like crying. I really did.

There it was – at either side of my temples, where there was once hair, there was now a recession, like British forces retreating from Dunkirk, leaving more forehead, skin that hadn’t seen daylight since I was an infant.

FUCK

ME

I will NEVER get laid now, was the next thought that began banging around in there.

I was doomed.

Sometime soon, I guessed, my hair would start falling out in clumps, just like the guys in those Ashley Martin commercials who seem who find great tufts of hair in their sink plughole.

Devastated wasn’t strong enough a word.

I felt my life had ended. Any hope, any sense of potential future happiness and success, just vanished.

What a thing to realise. What a thing to know about one’s self.

I had apocalyptic visions of what I would look like without hair and how my image would dictate the quality of life I would live.

To this day, I don’t know how I pulled myself away from that mirror and actually left the house. I can only assume it was a Herculean effort. I must’ve found a resilience deep down from somewhere.

Since that moment this realisation has lived with me in my head – I would one day be bald. There would be NO HAIR on my head.

Going into University in 1996, I didn’t think I’d make it through.

When I moved to Ireland, I imagined myself soon after the Millenium looking like Mr Sheen.

I couldn’t imagine myself older than thirty with more than a couple of patches of hair over my ears and to the back of my head.

And here I am, twenty-four years later, still with a thick crop of hair on my head.

Sure, there’s obvious receding on both sides but I still get to brush my hair every day and take more than an obsessive sense of pride in it.

What A LOT of worry I experienced because of this realisation. It near-crippled me emotionally for years. A real anchor keeping me at the bottom of the ocean.

A lot of worry for nothing. What a thing worrying is.

We can never truly know how the future will play out and yet, at least for my part, I can get submerged in catastrophising things that may never come to pass.

This is one case where I am happy to report my worry has been mostly, for naught.

Going, going, not quite gone yet.

Ep12 – Naomi Mourra

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Ep12.

Naomi Mourra is a comedian, improvisor and co-producer of a regular comedy night on the Sydney scene.

There’s a well developed sense of irreverance to her comedy – she’s not afraid to speak comedy truth to power. In her upcoming show for the Sydney Comedy Festival she tackles a little book called The Bible.

Naomi’s performing her show, An Open Book @ The Enmore Theatre on 26, 27 & 28 April. Get your tickets here: https://www.facebook.com/events/237656840454622/ or here http://www.sydneycomedyfest.com.au/single-event?show_id=2200

The release of this podcast also coincides with the 1-year anniversary of What She Said Comedy, Sydney’s only all-female comedy night. Congratulations to co-producers Naomi, Sophie Long and Alex Potter for pioneering this weekly night @ the Chippo Hotel – you can find them plus some of Australia’s best and up&coming women of comedy on the stage each Sunday from 6.30pm.

Stay up to date with Naomi and the What She Said Comedy crew’s goings on here:

 

Thanks to:

Podcast homepage – https://widtaabbqs.home.blog/

Just Enough

just enough
https://unsplash.com/@helloimnik

Will that be my epitaph?

Have I lived my life thus far doing just enough?

It feels like that at times.

When have I gone out on a limb? When have I really tried to turn the odds in my favour, taken a risk, or a series of risks to make more possible something I want?

Fence-sitter.

Hedge-better.

Diplomat.

Player of both sides.

Tight holder to the middle of the road.

I want to say these ring true when I say them about myself, but am I forcing it?

There was once this little mantra I used to repeat:

I have enough

I do enough

I am enough

I’m not sure where it came from. I’m not sure if that’s the right order of phrases. I’m not sure any of that matters.

Anyway, it’s a mantra and as they go it was helpful for a time because I spent so much of my time feeling quite the opposite

I’m lacking

I’m wasting

I’m falling short

I’m the horse who’s been brought to water but doesn’t drink.

There is no Granter-of-Wishes Fairy about to appear to bestow upon me all it is I want, or even think I want.

The direction I walk in has to be set by me. I have to generate the forces for that big burst of combustion energy.

But just enough doesn’t fuel a great fire. I should be a bonfire. An ever-burning inferno of flame and fire and heat and energy.

Instead I’m by the camp fire with two pieces of flint in my hand and I’m afraid I might burn or scratch my fingers.

I’m afraid.

Of change.

Of risk.

Of failure.

Of looking foolish.

Of trying and not succeeding.

Of doing something irrevocable, something I can’t come back from.

It is my eternal struggle.

I want to know what more there is to this, to me, yet I’m terrified of what may happen if I try some that scares me to the very core of my existence.

And so I’m left with the just enough to get by refrain coming and going whenever I feel opportunity, will, is or has passed me by.

Wrong Way. Go Back.

wrong way
https://unsplash.com/@alexiby

Most people who know or have known me have never seen me angry. Have never seen me lose the rag, curse at someone with real venom or thump my fist against the desk in uncontrollable fury.

They’ve seen me roll my eyes, blow out a big exasperated breath or make a face that’s expressing a can you believe this? look.

My wife’s about the only person who’s seen me lose it.

My son will get nipped by my anger after eight or eight-thirty in the evening if he’s dragging his heels about going to or staying in bed.

I don’t or haven’t yelled or screamed at extended family, at friends, at people in work or clients or guests.

To some, I may seem a study in patience, temperance and composure.

It may seem like I have this Zen Buddhist cloak that keeps me even-keel.

The truth is not so evolved.

I just don’t know how to be angry. I don’t know how to express frustration.

And because I don’t have any non-threatening or socially acceptable ways to manifest my inner turmoil at unfolding events, I bury it.

I’m afraid of getting angry in a place I’ve never been angry before. It’s like there are these fragile glass walls around me that keep up the image of who I believe myself to be in certain places and to get angry would create a sonic boom effect and shattered the whole shebang.

Imagine if this persona I’d built up over all these years – my reputation, my brand, all that I do to show through my words and actions what I stand for – was blown apart in a moment of unedited rage?

Pain, anger, disappointment, dismay are things I am often incapable or expressing.

I ask myself in moments of constrained rationalism, What’s the purpose of getting angry here and now? What will it achieve? And mostly, What might I do or say that will be impossible to take back?

If you don’t know already, I have an issue around irrevocability.

To do something I can’t take back, that changes everything, forever.

I’m a fence sitter. A diplomat. I need to leave enough of me on the table so that I can come back and face up tomorrow to do this all again.

Anger.

Getting angry.

Being angry.

Having people around me see me angry and the uncertainty that would produce in them about what I will do and or say.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

So, in it all goes, all inside, burying it down with a prayer hoping it never surfaces.

Maybe it’s Bill Bixby’s fault – he played Bruce Banner in the TV series, The Hulk. Maybe there’s a Hulk in all of us. I’ve never come to terms with mine and so down it does, despite the signs directing to avoid oncoming danger.

Maybe I should start saying that line when I feel the anger build: Don’t make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.

Thanks, Bill.