Tiny Owl Forest

Boy has it been an eventful few days. I'm not one to seek out adventure, but when you're a musician adventure seems to seek you out, particularly if you're the type of musician who tends to play their fair share of festivals and go on their fair share of tours. 

Shoes.jpg
Skirt Spread .jpg

I've spent the time just between Christmas and now travelling to Byron Bay Falls festival to play gigs with the Button Collective, finding out my tiny dog noodle went missing and being unable to do anything about it because I was away (It's all good now, she was returned to us by a very kind couple), dropping my partner at the airport, sleeping in a backpackers in surfers paradise so I could do an enormous amount of washing following my tent/possessions getting drenched in a Byron Bay storm, and finally starting the Vanishing Shapes summer tour. 

To hte side.jpg

These past few weeks have been very up and down, and I miss home a lot (although a bit less now that I'm not on my own anymore) It's interesting seeing these photos so long after I took them, particularly after the home sickness I've been feeling. I remember stressing a lot about the concept of being away from home for a month while taking these, desperately trying to prepare all of the tech items/non tech items I would need to continue my various creative projects as normal. 

To the front.jpg

Like this time last year, I'm taking photos of every outfit I'm wearing whilst of tour. It helps me maintain a bit of a schedule, and normality, so stay tuned for that! :) 

Daisy Chains

If you're friends with me on facebook, you would have seen me sharing quite a bit of stuff about why the Sydney Lockout Laws are pretty darn terrible for the city. On the outside the laws say "We're making a safe space for the community" but the reality of the situation is much more complex. 

 If you don't already know, the laws stop bars/clubs/venues from letting people in after 1:30am, and stop bars/clubs/venues serving spirits after 12am and alcohol after 3am in the Sydney CBD area in an aim to curb "alcohol fueled violence". The laws were hastily thrown together after the 2012 murder of Thomas Kelly and the 2013 murder of Daniel Christie. These deaths were avoidable and tragic, but happened well before "Lockout" in their prospective years. 

Now, I would be lying if I said that the Lockout Laws haven't achieved their goal. Violence is down by about 40 percent in the CBD. But at what cost? Foot traffic is down 80 percent  (Now, I'm pretty terrible at math and can't do the equation, but that means proportionally violence has increased) Countless Bars, Pubs and Clubs are shutting down (Not even Kabab shops are safe), taking with it hundreds of jobs for both bar staff and musicians. More than this, the violence that was in the CBD has now spread to other areas in Sydney. As well as "getting rid of the violence" the lockout laws are killing the city. 

I personally am not really sure about the argument that Australians have a uniquely violent relationship with alcohol. I've read some very compelling well sourced articles either way, but lets say we do have a problem. There are other ways to fix rather than saying "no you've been bad, now nobody can have it". For instance, increased public transport with more police and more/better education at a high school level (I remember my classes about alcohol were "it's bad for you, so don't drink. Think the alcoholic equivalent of abstinence only education). The installation of a night mayor (like Amsterdam and Paris) to be responsible for making the nightlife vibrant AND safe. 

"Why are people complaining about not being able to get drunk at 4 in the morning when there are more important issues" you may ask. The answer to this very valid question is that it's not actually about getting drunk and partying. The lockout laws signalled the last straw between Gen x/y and the Baby Boomer generation. 

This article says it best, but here's a summary: the Baby Boomers who are in power have locked younger generations out of great educations, home ownership, pensions, fair welfare, and stability, but now on top of this, they have made it abundantly clear that we are not "mature" "responsible" and "moral" enough for recreation. The protests about lockout are more a reaction to our rights to being adults and using public space being chipped away until we're left with a conservative totalitarian government that rule every aspect of our lives in the name of "morality" and "safety". When we were growing up, they talked about us being "cotton wool kids". Now that we're adults, the generation is insisting of keeping this same "cotton wool attitude" for "our own good".  

As well as keeping us safe "for our own good" these laws are laced with political agenda. Did you know that in the whole "lockout area" there's a rather large space exempt from the laws. This space is in the location, and shape of the Star City Casino  as shown in that handy dandy map to your right. Other venues that have exemptions from lockout are only allowed to stay open as long as they stop selling alcohol and the only form of entertainment are poker machines. (I don't know about you, but this seems more than a little fishy, especially considering the Star City Casino has a reputation as one of the mostly violent venues

I'll finish by saying this: The politics behind lockout are extraordinarily complicated, and there's a lot of information and miss information to be had. Make sure you question your views and do your research, because the reality, and what the government wants you to think is reality are two very different kettles of fish. 

 

EDIT: If you want to join in the action to keep sydney from becoming the suburbs you can do so Here (Reclaim The Streets) and Here (Keep Sydney Open)

Periwinkle

When I was in Lismore, I stumbled across the cutest vintage clothing store called the Treasure Trade.

I purchased two pieces in that shop, neither of which I've been able to wear (the clothes are made for colder weather, which is rare in the Australian Summer) 

Yesterday it was chilly enough for me to wear one of the pieces! This is such a perfect and comfortable dress. It's made of chiffon, and has elasticised wrists and waist. It's a tiny bit see through, but that's nothing a slip can't fix. 

The colour is really unusual as well. Too purple to be considered blue, but too blue to be considered purple - basically a perfect periwinkle. 

The skirt of the dress has wonderful movement. I pretty much twirled in it all day. 

On a more serious note, it seems some people need to have a good talking to about personal space and body autonomy. 

I played a gig last night with my band. During the break I needed to use the loo, so I went into the stall area and waited for a stall to free up. The toilets at this venue were unisex. 

Now, normally when you're cuing for the loo, you let the other people in the room have all the space they need. This is the sort of basic respect I expect from people in the stall room. 

So this guy walks into the stall waiting area, and proceeds to put his arm around me in a very familiar way, whilst trying to pick me up at the same time. I'm ashamed to say, I only stiffened up and shifted away. I didn't use my words, but then again, I have a fairly good reason. This guy was twice my weight. I didn't know him. I didn't know if he was drunk, and I didn't know if he would get violent, so I politely and awkwardly sent out the "go away" signals.  

When I finally got into the stall I took my time so that I didn't have to run into him on the way out. He was washing his hands in the basin when I exited the loo. Again, he tried to make conversation. The creepiest bit was when he finished at the basins, he went to the door, turned back and stared at me for an uncomfortably long time, opened the door, then stared again before exiting the bathroom. 

I should have said something to the bar staff, but I was too shocked at the time, and unfortunately too used to this sort of behaviour from strange men. The more I think about the exchange, the angrier and more disturbed I feel as well, both at strange bathroom guy, and at me, although quite frankly I shouldn't have to say anything because it shouldn't have happened in the first place. (man, that's a run on sentence) 

Compared to many other instances of inappropriate touching, this is quite mild, but I don't care. The fact that someone thought this was appropriate is disgusting. It really shouldn't need to be said, but if you don't know the person you do not touch them. Ever.  

If you're non-male person and someone does something inappropriate, speak up. Let them, and everyone around you know that it's not ok, because if we don't, the people who behave this way will continue to be disgusting, and our tiny children will think it is ok. And that's not cool. 

No longer a Thesis Hermit

shoes Guess what!? My thesis is finally done and dusted. I actually have time to do stuff like get dressed (ie: Not just throw on a dress and be done with it), shoot photo's, paint, practice non recital stuff, see people (write on my neglected internet spaces...) SO YES! You can expect more content/more clothes of my own creation from now on (because time is a thing I have access to)

 

Hands on Hips

I've not really talked about my thesis very much online, but now it's finished I think I'm ready to type a TLDR. The subject was :Advocating Solo Piccolo through Composition and Performance. Basically, the piccolo (aka tiny high pitched wooden flute) is not taken seriously as a solo instrument. I prefer playing piccolo over flute, and would like to be able to do recitals, so I took the first step in making this a thing by 1) analysing composition textbooks/compositions to define what makes a good composition for piccolo 2) composed a 35 minuite program of 5 works for the instrument and 3) performed them in a recital. My Dad was kind enough to film the recital for me, and hopefully I'll upload it in the near future. I'm also going to take a scary first step to being a proper composer type person and construct a web site over the summer break :s. If you're interested in reading my thesis/want to know more about/ play my compositions shoot me an email: mooology@live.com

looking down

Speaking of music! During my absence I've played/found so much great music! I'll start with music from early November! My friend Louise released her first Ep: The anatomy of a wing. It's 6 tracks of folky/art music goodness, and was the sound track to many late night study sessions I had. Unfortunately She's not got it online for purchase yet, but if you send her a message through facebook, I'm sure you'll be able to get a copy :P I was lucky enough to be involved in her album launch, and had an absolute blast.

hand on hip details

The next super fun music type thing that happened was playing Mullumbimby Music Festival with The Button Collective. It was 3 crazy days of making music as a 6 piece (aka, the absolute best way to play with the button collective)/listening to music/ hanging out with the boys. I listened to so much great music over that weekend, but the standout band for me was Oh Pep! who are a folk - bluegrass band. Their composition style reminds me a ton of my favourite Math Rock band Maps and Atlases.

Midi crop

Finally, one of my favourite Sydney bands The Squeezebox Trio released their first album: And A Hotplate. They're a gypsy jazz band, with a core group of violin, guitar and piano accordion.  As well as being fabulous musicians, they're brilliant arrangers, and really bring new life to the jazz standards they play. The originals on the album are pretty darn brilliant as well (my personal favourite is the cider thief, and not just because of the story that goes along with it).

(Oh and I also Joined a Wind Quintet, because, you know, I don't play enough music :P You can check us out here if you're interested.)

deets

As I mentioned earlier, while I was being a thesis hermit, I kind of stopped dressing like me, because my brain was just so full of junk and tiredness. I think I've well and truly come out of my fashion funk with this outfit! My Mum bought me the skirt and shoes as a "well done for surviving uni" Present. I bought the bolero from Lady Petrova when shapes visited Melbourne, and I got the shirt from the op shop! I made the belt out of flowers purchased from the fake flower shop near my house (which is a super weird, but really cool place)

hand in hair

It's really nice to be back. I've not done anything completely creative since the end of Septmeber/beginning of October. I'm sure I'll be able to keep up a better routine with all of my new found free time :D

Kangaroo Valley 2015

ShoesI attended my first official folk festival (The 10th Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival) last weekend as part of The Button Collective (which is why I haven't posted in a number of days).  Kangaroo Valley was such a lovely introduction to the folk festival community, and I can honestly say, as a musician, it's one of the few places I've truly felt musically at home. looking down

We played as a 6 piece over the festival (with the button's usual festival musicians), which was a completely new experience for me.  There were two button's I'd never met -  Bobby (fiddle) and Ben (Banjo/harmonica) (they're the lovely chap's you hear on all the button's recordings). It was an absolute pleasure performing/hanging with the full band. Performing with them (as a 6 piece) felt natural (especially with Bobby. We had our own little melody party section going up on stage - twas fun yo)

headshot

Apart from performing with the Button's, I joined in as many sessions as I could. For those of you who've not heard this term before, a session is basically when a bunch of musicians get together and play a bunch of music (often from memory). I love playing folk music, but have not memorised many tunes, meaning if I wanted to play the melody I had to work it out either by listening, watching how/where the other musicians fingers moved, or a combination of both.

I'm not used to learning that quickly by using my ear, but by the end of the festival, I found my fingers co-operating to the pitches played by other musicians (which, for someone who is used to learning music visually, completely bizarre in the best possible way)

quinton and jen 2

I fell deeply in love with an instrument. There was one instrument maker selling transverse flutes. I tried all of his flutes, and connected with one (which I brought home - I'm currently mapping out the fingering so I can eventually play it properly as a part of Vanishing Shapes) It's made of Osage Orange, has a base tuning scale of E Phrygian Dominant, and speaks unlike any flute I've ever played (It's got a very round mellow tone, but doesn't cross into fuzzy sounding)

hand through hair

One of my favourite things about the festival was that pretty much everyone played an instrument, and that everyone who could play was peachy keen to play with everyone else. The music was the most important thing at the event, and it showed.

Quinton and Jen 1

Hopefully Kangaroo Valley will be the first of many folk festivals to come for me, as both part of the Button Collective and as Vanishing Shapes. (The Dream would be to play a festival as part of both bands!)

Finally, I'd love to say a big thankyou to all of the organisers of the event. Because of people like you I get to play the music I love with the people that I love, and that's the best thing ever. <3