I'm not some amazing visionary, poet or creative mind. But I have my moments within my own days circle and one of them recently was worth sharing.
Contrary to my passions and how I project myself to the world, I have a day-job like all of us. It ain't all food, wine, whiskey, photography, day-trips, landscapes, music, sunshine and happiness. I have that thing called work where Monday to Friday I'm someone else for 40 hours a week; gotta pay them bills.
Here's where I get to my visionary moment.... my job entails talking to people most of whom are great to deal with but some are not. So I've developed a way of dealing with the latter that brings me great joy. When I get a person on the phone I don't want to talk to, I picture that they are a talking animal in human clothes sitting behind a desk. It. Is. The. Best. You must try it and I challenge you to do so without smiling. I found myself almost laughing on the phone the other day and on the positive I was much more engaging than I normally would be.
How could I not be happy and engaging on the phone when I'm talking to a Raccoon? Look at this guy!
How can you not get along with a talking Raccoon in a vest and tie?!
Since then I've told a few friends who have implemented this technique themselves with great success and shared with me their animals they spoke with.
So next time you have a phone call with someone you don't want to speak with (could be at work, an old friend you're avoiding, an ex, a family member, anyone) picture an animal in clothes and you'll understand what I'm on about.
So BDB, how do you deal with the world? I picture people as talking animals in clothes, what of it?
When I put this together about a year ago, I was doing DJ work at Playground in the city of Canberra. So a fair bit of funky grooves and stomping soul, mixed in with a few more modern tracks. For the design, I did an online crash-course in how to create my own Sheperd Fairey 'Obey' style of thing in photoshop.
My favourite track from this is a tough call... Chet Faker's cover of No Diggity is mind-blowing but I really dig Say you love me by the Monophonics. They are a little-known funk band from San Francisco with a killer sound.
Yesterday I took some time out of the world for me.
Me... this guy.
Just me, the book I'm currently reading, my moleskin and a pen. I set up at the pub and had some hours so myself. The below is what I wrote yesterday.
This song makes sense later so feel free to play this as you read cause it was stuck in my head at the time....
I jump between writing thoughts to various lists and back again. Writing lists makes me feel like my Dad. Regardless of the technology advances in the world I think my old man will forever carry a pen in his shirt pocket. You never know when you'll need to write a list!
Whilst I enjoy putting my life and thoughts into a blog to
share with whomever takes the time to read it, writing in my moleskin
is different. There's something really honest about putting pen to
paper. It's more emotive, you actually think about what you write
because there's no editing. It's here.
As I write there is some gold on the television in the pub. Foo Fighters, Beck and The Black Keys to name a few. But in my head for some reason is 'At that moment' by Nadeah. There's a group of people not far from me doing a casual beer, talking about holidays, people at work who annoy them and the lives of other mutual friends. It's interesting how in social settings we speak about other people when we should be speaking about ourselves or the ones we're with. And the strange thing about Canberra is that everything is so accessible, so general that I'm surprised of these ten people... I know none of them. And I realise just how much we both adapt to and limit ourselves to our surroundings. I've made my city a small place to live but it's in my mind more than in person. Does that make sense?
Looking back to these people and seeing how they interact is really interesting. It's suddenly obvious to me the dynamics of this team of friends. Certain phrasing and reactions can tell you a lot about a person if you pay the time to notice. But even as someone who takes pride in listening, observing and understanding people, I accept that knowing someone entirely isn't actually possible. There's always parts that people keep just for themselves and the size of those parts vary person to person. In many cases you can fill an ocean with what we don't understand about each other. People are more complex that we want to admit and there's so much below the surface for all of us. I'll come back to that another time.... I just got to the bottom of my beer and all of a sudden I'm very tired.
A generous combination of warm acoustic guitars, blues, romantic lyrics and a few covers thrown in.
The lyrics to Melody Gardot's 'If the stars were mine' are just so blatantly romantic I love it....
If the world was mine I tell you what I'd do
I'd wrap the world in ribbons and give it all to you
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make them sing for you
I'd put those stars right in a jar and give them all to you.
But my favourite track of all these is definitely a cover of Bob Marley's 'Is this love?' by Allen Stone.
Those who know me and/or read my blog will know that I'm a music person. From the influence that came from my Nan and her record store, to both my parents who love their music, to my brothers who heavily influenced my music taste as a teenager. Then onto my picking up the guitar at age 16 and learning by ear. I've never learned to read music so as a kid I'd be listening to Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Eagles, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and playing along where I could, learning chords and patterns; generally falling in love with guitar. Then onto the few musos and songwriters I was able to jam with, writing and playing music; I've been lucky to experience music like this.
Much of my creativity, my emotional state and especially the influence on my writing... comes from music. I own a record player which I love the scratchy sound of and up until two years ago I was still only buying music in CD and vinyl... no online purchasing. But even a musical relic like me has to come around to the convenience of electronic music delivery.
Even though I've come into 2014 as far as technology goes, I still make mixtapes. Yeah I do! Good ol' fashioned mixtapes. I put together a CD of music I dig at the time, make an album cover, give them to friends. Kickin' it old school with my CD mixtapes.
My favourite track off this is the Beatles track, Come Together performed by Rai Thistlthwayte (Thirsty Merc front-man). Love it.
So yeah, Brown Life music. Be nice to me and I might give you a copy, motherlickers.
A few years ago, Ant turned up to basketball playing for a young, developing team with a lot of raw athleticism but lacking direction and maturity. There were some interesting characters on that team whom often clashed aggressively with other teams, referees and so on. I was told that Ant was a very talented player who thought he could be a good influence on these guys. However, after only a few games those personalities wore thin for Ant and understandably he left the team. At the time, I needed a player. I didn't know Ant but he seemed like a good bloke so I called him up and asked him to have a run with my team.
That was three years ago and we were team-mates up until I finished up playing at that level. We're now close friends and business partners. It's interesting to me that on the basketball court the first impression people get of Ant is usually a negative one primarily because he's a very competitive dude which is easy to take the wrong way if you're on the other side of it. So very often it's undeserved but people's perceptions are a strange thing. Off the court in business and normal life, the competitive mongrel disappears (somewhat)... and I find Ant is brilliant with people and has many close friends. He's a confident guy. I'd go so far to say he's almost the poster-child for confidence coming across as arrogance. He's not an arrogant person at all... but when you're a talented, confident person at a level the majority of people you meet are not; then people's insecurities kick in and there can be the assumption 'this guy is a jerk'. Nope, not at all.
Ant has an interesting makeup as a human being. He's a creative mind, a generous person and a spiritual thinker. One of the things I really like about Ant is that he trusts in the world. What I mean by that is he won't overanalyse something that doesn't need it. He still makes smart, calculated decisions but sometimes if it's 50/50, it's like Ant will roll the dice and trust that it will work out. Nearly all the time it does. And there's something really refreshing in today's overly analytical times to see a guy putting positive, trusting energy out into the world and things work out for him as a result. We should all be so bold as to trust the world like Ant.
Ant gives a lot to life, to people and asks for little in return. He is also the king of dorky puns and when he gets on a roll it's quite hilarious. I like to think I'm pretty good with puns and Dad-jokes but I really can't compete with this guy. What I really dig about our relationship is the reliance on each other when we're faced with something tough. It can be a business issue, some other life problem or maybe just having a rubbish day... Ant is a guy I can rely on and there's nothing I wouldn't do for him.
My favourite movie as a kid was the Blues Brothers. I loved the car-chases and the music. When I hear John Lee Hooker singing 'Boom Boom'... I'm taken back to being that 6 year old watching the Blues Brothers.
The product of my musical upbringing is a man with a real love of blues. I've got a pretty versatile music taste but blues is something I always come back to. Especially my favourite of all the Kings, Freddie King. BB King and Albert King were both amazing too, but I'm really drawn to Freddie.
Freddie King was raw power. He had a huge voice, great touch and brilliant energy onstage. He died young (around late-30s or 40 from memory), basically from a life lived too hard. Life on the road took it's toll but not before we were left with some seriously cool gear like this below. Dig it.
Goals, yep Goals. Gotta have 'em, just for short term stuff. I don't really believe in long-term goals because life changes so much; having a predetermined path means we'll miss out on opportunities the world presents us with if we're too focused on a predefined 'end goal'.
So each year I set myself smaller, more achievable goals to knock over 'this year'. Gotta keep challenging myself to do different and new things, be creative, grow and learn. Progress, motherlickers! Why float along with the pack when I could be out the front leading the charge?
So here's my 34 goals to knock over in the year I turn 34!
1. Complete a large home renovation project (eg - kitchen, ensuite)
2. Do the Yarra Valley with Leela and Danny.
3. Bench-press, deadlift and single-leg leg-press my bodyweight.
4. Cook a Terducken.
5. Build or rebuild/refurbish a piece of furniture.
6. Do a weekend trip with wifey to another city in Australia.
7. Donate $1000 to charity.
8. Buy a new big fancy Xmas tree.
9. Get my teeth cleaned at the dentist.
10. Buy a king size bed.
11. Go a month without buying my lunch at work.
12. Buy a piece of furniture from Matt Blatt.
13. Get a tattoo (still borderline on this one).
14. Read a book about Louis Armstrong.
15. Learn how to make sausages.
16. Kiss my wife in the rain.
17. Watch the sunrise over the ocean.
18. Photograph a series of portraits of my friends. I'm calling it, 'A Day Out With ....' and we'll hang out for a day, do fun stuff and I'll take a bunch of photos of friend in the process. Sounds fun hey?
19. Write a love letter to my wife. 20. Get in a magazine/publication for something (not a criminal activity or something stupid).
21. Attend a winemakers dinner.
22. Drink Absinthe.
23. Bake my own bread (that's not a euphemism, I really want to bake a loaf of bread and try to perfect it!). 24. Smoke a cigar.
25. Try Yoga.
26. Do a day-trip with my Mum.
27. Get a pair of custom made jeans.
28. Lose 5kg.
29. Install a rainwater tank at home.
30. Play blackjack at a casino.
31. Spend a night on a boat/yacht/ship.
32. Go for a massage.
33. Host a vintage dinner party with my mate Natie.
34. Go to the Greyhounds in Narrabundah.