23 July 2014

You'll go to hell by Nina Simone



I love this song so much. I picture Nina Simone singing this in the highly religious environment the USA is; and would have been even more so back then. It would have been so out of place, singing about heaven and hell based on how we live our lives:

If your mind lies in the devil's workshop and evil-doings your thrill... and trouble and mischief is all that you live for then you know damn well... 

that you'll go to hell.

Oh and keep your children from doin wrong because you know damn well they'll go to hell. 

And then just when we think it's a preachy song about doing right to stay in good with the lord we get:

Some say that hell is below us, but I say it's right by my side. I see evil in the morning, evil in the evening and you know damn well... that we all must be in hell. 


We all sin, none of us are perfect... we all must be in hell? Let's make sure we all enjoy it here.


16 July 2014

My People - Robbie


I remember when I was 11 years old, I used to ride my bike on the weekends from our house the 5km into town to visit my school friends. Looking back, there's something really generational about that. I'd tell my parents I was going to a friends house, ride my bike all the way in there... and sometimes I'd arrive to find my friend wasn't home. And I'd ride my bike the 5km home again.

One Saturday I was riding my bike to a friend's place down what was called Old Southern Road; a steep dirt-road our school-bus used to drive up each day. Unbeknownst to me, my shoe-laces had became untied and tangled in my bike-pedals. The bike went down, I went down and I literally bit the dust. I slid down Old Southern Road with my hands out in front of me for what seemed like an eternity. I can still picture the road, the small rocks in the dirt and my hands against them like a cheese-grater. Needless to say I didn't make it to my friends house that day. I rode my bike home with my wrists over the handlebars and my bloodied palms facing up. I still remember how much it hurt, I was crying in pain the whole way home. When I got there my oldest brother Robbie (who would have been 15 at the time) was the only one there. He sat me up on the kitchen bench, treated my wounds with Dettol and bandaged me up. That f*cking Dettol stung like hell and I cried the whole time. But the main thing I remember now was how calm and composed Robbie was. That's Robbie, absolutely gold in a crisis.

We are really close, Robbie and I. Childhood memories are vague, funny things. I don't recall being that close with my brothers when we were little. And with Robbie not until we were 16 and 20 years old as I started to grow into a young man. But talking to my Mum, she said he was always looking out for me. Apparently we were close as little kids and Robbie in fact asked for me for Christmas... I turned up 6 months later. I've talked on here about how amazing my Dad was when I went through a divorce some years ago. Robbie was right there too, looking after me once again.

Robbie is hilarious; easily one of the funniest people in my life. He's pretty full-on, has tonnes of energy, a big loud laugh which is infectious and you can't help but smile... Robbie is great value. All my closest friends meet Robbie and instantly love the guy. Some have even told me, 'I love you, BDB... but I think I love Robbie more'. Can't blame them I guess.

Robbie.

My brother.

One of my people.

22 June 2014

My People - Emily


Emily and I first met through our employment in the same industry back in 2008. We would have the occasional dealing with work then one day I saw her at the basketball stadium playing on the court opposite. Same industry, same sport, she must be ok. Turns out she's better than ok.

I call her ERC.

Her initials, pronounced 'errrk'. Say it with me... ERC (errrk).

In 2010, my good friend Pierre and his guys at the Big Bang Ballers were doing a day camp with some kids from St Vincent De Paul at a school camp just outside of Canberra. I was lucky enough to be able to join in for the day and work with the kids. The Big Bangs guys asked me if I knew any girls who could play basketball and would be interested in coming to help. Seeing I'd been slowly building a friendship with ERC and knew she played ball I asked her. ERC jumped at the chance, came along for the day and was fantastic with the kids. We've spoken about it since and that's where our friendship really began.

ERC plays basketball, netball, volleyball and does some part-time modelling. She's great at her job as a workers compensation underwriter, is overly-competitive, has a really close group of girlfriends, a great man in her life and a cute Bulldog called Dolly. ERC also loves food... girl can eat! She once told me, 'I don't just love food, I'm in love with food'. ERC has a great love of people and the human mind. She takes real pride in her ability to read and understand people.

ERC thinks way too much. The phrase 'paralysis by analysis' comes to mind. I once told her 'when we have lunch next, can we have a strict agenda? Because our conversation strays easily and it doesn't feel like we've really covered off anything properly'. ERC's mind is all over the place. I think it's because she's always working on herself, always trying to think of ways she can improve, to do better, be better. ERC almost has a fear of stagnation, of NOT developing and progressing as a person. Isn't that a wonderful insecurity to have? Being scared of NOT being brilliant to the point where it makes you work hard and hold yourself to a high standard. ERC still hasn't quite figured out how to harness that and make it work for her, but when she does she'll be unstoppable.

I'm not just saying that as a throw-away compliment either, I mean it. Unstoppable.

ERC is a great person. She's someone I trust, someone I love spending time with.

ERC is one of my people.

9 June 2014

Sadness, a positive mans time-out


Sometimes I find I am filled with what was always an unexplainable emptiness. It's like a subconscious emotive state, a prevailing predisposition to emptiness. To a natural sadness that's imposing influence but not taking control.

I've often analysed myself for this. For a long time I thought nothing of it, I ignored it. I avoided interacting with anyone, shook it off and got to the next day. Then for a time I thought this emptiness, loneliness and inherent sadness was the required state for my creativity. For a time I could have been right too. I'd play guitar, write music and photograph the darkness and sepia of the world around me.

Now I wonder if it's a way of the brain and body telling me it's ok. I'm always happy, positive, giving, living, caring, understanding and supportive. Apparently I'm that guy who has it together; is successful, achieving. I like being that guy and it's generally how I want to live and present myself to the world.

But do you know how f*cking tiring that all is?

So I wonder if... because I'm that guy, this is my body, brain and spirit telling me that it's ok. It's ok to let my guard down for a moment, an hour, a day, whatever. My self-scrutiny tells me the rest of my life I'm spewing positivity with my actions and words... and that I get a bit of balance back in these times of emptiness; of sadness. And I'm at a point in life now where I get right into it too. I embrace how that sadness and emptiness makes me feel. It's almost a weakness... and a relief that I don't have to be strong. Even if it's just for an hour I don't have to be strong. I don't have to be the positive guy, I can be someone else who's figuring it out. Who sometimes is sad for no reason and just as lost and f*cked up as others around me.

Empty but for me and my mind. Take the time-out, gather myself... and onto the next one. 

5 May 2014

Collector Pumpkin Festival

The lovely Larry and I decided Sunday we'd venture out to the Collector Pumpkin Festival. Yeah, it's about 8 degrees outside, overcast, a little rainy but considering Larry had spent her entire Saturday in her pyjamas we had to get out of the house Sunday and do something.

So it was the drive from Canberra to Collector, past Hall where we met some puppies for sale then into the Collector Pumpkin Festival for hot coffee, hot pumpkin soup, pulled pork rolls and yes it was absolutely freezing.






 


 
  
 
 






23 April 2014

The Bundah


An impromptu walk around my neighbourhood in Narrabundah last night. Was restless so took the dogs for a walk... I love these older street-lights with their golden creepiness.

21 April 2014

My People - RG

Got to this guy finally... THIS guy.

RG is Robert George Jesson. We met when we were nine years old, Shoalhaven Basketball under 10s representative team. We played on the same rep and high-school teams for years but it wasn't until we were eighteen years old finishing high school that we started to hang out more as friends. Which I've always liked that we became real friends as we became adults; post-school, when real life begins. It was like some romantic movie where the one who was perfect for you was in front of you the whole time and you never saw it. Hahaha, sorry brother... but it was. We went from guys who played high school basketball together to best mates almost instantly. 

RG was quite a wound-up teenager always with a lot on his mind. Whilst he usually had a calm exterior, there was plenty happening in RG's head. In our late teens and early twenties he was regularly just that little bit stressed, managing to put pressure on himself at every opportunity. Over the years RG has relaxed in his own skin more to be quite a genuinely chilled out and comfortable guy. He has killer music taste listening to all sorts of different genres. It's not uncommon to get into his car one day to find he's listening to 70s funk like The Meters, then the next day it's Tool. He is also super-fit, can rock-climb like a beast, has a major chair-fetish (he recently bought an Eames chair) and is quite a handy point guard on the basketball court. RG is also allergic to eggs which still weirds me out. Freak.

RG is the most inoffensive person I know. No, really... he is. RG has to be one of the easiest people to be around. I've never met anyone who knows him that doesn't say, 'what a good bloke that guy is'. He's an intelligent thinking person, has a great sense of humour, is a very caring guy and he loves his family and friends. He has an impressive and unique ability to analyse and respond to emotional situations in a sensitive, intelligent and measured way. Did I mention he's an easy guy to be around? But don't mistake his quiet demeanor and gentle way for thinking he's some kind of pushover either. He's a proud guy with strong values... and when push comes to shove he won't stand down. And if it's his friends then he's right there next to you.

We've known each other for 25 years, been close friends for over 15 of those years... and we've never had a crossed word; never had an argument. I've not met too many people who have friendships like this. I love this guy.

All of the above... that's why RG is my guy, my brother and one of my people.

15 April 2014

Take me back to Sth Island, NZ


My People - Michaela

I love this gal.

Michaela (Mick) and I grew up down/up the road from each other in Worrigee, NSW. We both went to Nowra Technology High School (Mick in the year below me) and we caught the same bus to school. As I got older I started to notice this cute girl on the bus. I'll be honest, I had no idea she lived four houses down the road from me. See, Mick didn't catch the bus in the mornings... only in the afternoons and my house was before hers. So I'd get off at my house and she would still be on the bus. I could only assume she lived further out of town.

By the time I was sixteen, I'd grown quite fond of this cute little blonde girl on the school bus and throughout a series of awkward teenagerisms her and I ended up 'boyfriend and girlfriend' for a short time. Mick and I ended up together a few times over the next couple of years. Somehow we would be together, it would end and we'd manage to reconnect as friends afterwards. We've spoken about it since and each in our own way we struggled 'fitting in' as teenagers. She was this odd, quirky, yet intelligent kid who was very artistic. She spent her weekends riding horses and playing with chickens and other animals her family had on their property. I was older than my years, a little dorky, a basketball, film and music nerd and spent most of my weekends building cars with my brothers and my Dad... so each in our own way we were outsiders to the teenage norm of the time. And in hindsight it made sense that we spent so much time together.

By the time I was eighteen in 1998, I'd ended up in a serious relationship post-school as Mick and I drifted apart. My girlfriend at the time and I moved to Canberra in 2000 to start the next phase of life. Then in 2002 I was moving house and I found an old box of memories I'd kept. In that box was a letter written to me by Michaela from a few years earlier and she'd given me her email address. I thought finding that was a sign so I emailed her from my work computer on the chance that she was using the same email address. It turns out she was. And not only was Mick really happy to hear from me, but she also lived in Canberra in the same suburb as me. She'd moved to Canberra in 2000 as well to start University and we were living walking distance from each other again... what are the odds? We caught up sparingly after that, seeing each other every few months and it was great for our relationship to kick off again and grow into an adult friendship.

As we get older, we're further removed from those two teenagers who 'didn't fit in' but what we have now is closer than ever. We've talked about that a fair bit as we both love the nostalgia attached to growing up where we did and the time we spent together as teenagers. But whilst we love that part of it, our friendship is very much about how we are now. We've been at each others weddings and have seen each other through the good, bad, high and low that comes with adult life. All from a friendship that started on the school bus.

Mick still has that quirky, odd little girl inside her but she's also grown into a mature, smart, loving, understanding, accomplished, adventurous person who I am proud of and love so much.

Michaela.

Mick.

One of my people.






26 March 2014

I'm happy

Oh G'Day All...



I know... I've been a little absent. I've had a lot going on. I've been stressed. Me? Yeah, me. I'm usually such a cool customer but I've been stressed. I've been planning out life in excel spreadsheets to figure out just how long this tunnel is and if the light at the end is for me & mine... or is it for someone else? Metaphors, motherf*cker!

It's not been easy times and what does that mean for me? It made me want to be private. Not a Facebook status update for 6 months, no blog entries, no sharing my life with the world. I had a full plate and there wasn't enough to go round to share with y'all. I had to look after my Brown Life as a number 1 priority.

Don't read too much into this, just the world didn't give me anything easy for a little while there. Felt like a trying time set out to take my measure as a man and I got the better of it in the end. It's been all very adult. Working hard for positive stuff and the phrase that comes to mind is that 'nothing worthwhile is easy'.

It wasn't.

It's still not.

But I'm happy and I'm back. 

Yes.

I'm happy.



Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.