Friday, December 3, 2010

Love the Skin you're in!

Now some of you may have guessed from the photo's on my various sites that I'm not, taut, and terrific.....well actually I AM terrific .... but the trim 'n taut bit,'s true!  I'm not!


And if I listened to the media, I'd get real sad about that .... depressed .... morose ....self-conscious.....uhm, embarrassed.....hmmmn.   Well reader, if you've ever seen me in live performance, you'll know that none of those descriptions apply.  I'm larger than life - and loving it!

But I'm fed up to here [pointing to the top of my wee short head] with the bombardment of 'lose weight' messages .....get the right shape, the right size, the right clothes, the right pigeonhole.  Well Bugger it - I won't!  I refuse to be shaped by popular tastes and stereotypes.

And I'm REAL ticked off with a society that tells our young people that they can't be loved, accepted, worthy, unless they fit that bloody pigeonhole!  Because that's nothing more than marketing hype to fuel a weight loss industry which is making millions ....currently $750million per annum in Australia....and a marketing machine that wants to sell squillions of beauty-based products.

Well you know what.....I like to know who somebody is under the skin ...and I'm surrounded and loved by beautiful people who love me for who I am ....and who I am has nothing to do with how I look.  In my mirror I'm beautiful.  [my mirror's not for sale by the way!]  I'm respected, admired, appreciated by people who matter [including me]....and that's ALL that matters.

so endeth the lesson.........

but the reason I've shared that with you is so that you'll know what's behind the song A Little Fresh Air 'n Exercise.   It's a send-up song.  Written during the time of my last relationship with a dear man who couldn't handle any more than 9 years with a wacky muso!  [and we are still friends]   He used to say "gawd, I love a woman with a big bum - y've got something to snuggle in to"

I think you'll enjoy the song .....and if you haven't heard it, it's now loaded up on my reverbnation site.  You can have a listen.  And you can buy the track if you like it.  Even make it your ring tone!

Oh, and its on the Many Shades of Blue Album - which won the national Trad&Now magazine award for best CD in Blues and Roots.  You can order that direct and we'll post it out.

Enjoy the listen ....and love yourself.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Heart and Soul of a Community

I read a great article recently about how valuable Community Musicians are - that they go beyond simply making their music, to bring inspiration and encouragement into the community in which they are active. Music is a universal language that can overcome so many barriers. Did you know it can also make a significant contribution to the general mental and emotional health of a community?

In a world where we are increasingly isolated within our own micro environment, where we are slaves to our home media, where it takes a mammoth effort sometimes to get us out and mixing with the rest of the world, where extended family is no longer involved in our lives, where our immediate family is so busy there is little time for connection.....we are gradually losing our sense of community. In times gone past when people were in need, in trouble, or just needed to feel as if they belonged - somewhere, the local community stepped in to support individuals. Nowadays, most people wouldn't know their next door neighbor if they bumped into them in the local supermarket!

So when community musicians and artists are able to reach out and share their music, recognise that they are doing a most valuable job. In the corporate world, artists and musicians are often dismissed as of little to no value - after all, there aren't too many who loll about on their yachts or arrive at their gig in a mercedes! In fact, they are doing a far more important job than the global wheeler dealers - they're actually paying attention, and caring for, the individuals in their community....warming them with their music and art, speaking to them on an individual level through their music, their art, touching the inner person through their music, their art.

And at the end of the day.....our world is made up of individuals, all connected in the common bond of HUMANity.......and nothing connects us better than music.

Just think about it....

Monday, November 8, 2010

what a year!

Gosh readers,
I can't begin to tell you what an extraordinary year its been musically!

From directing 2 festivals and an annual community concert.....3 tours.....writing/directing/producing my first musical.....organising local music initiatives.....supporting various fundraisers ...writing new songs.....and various commercial gigs locally.....forming a new comedy duo and writing material for it wonder I'm feeling exhausted!

There's been a couple of low points but mostly some great memories made this year. I've just come back from the Folk in Broke Music Festival and am, once again, blown away by the enormous wealth of talent this country has .....largely undiscovered. And its so sad that so many of our creative souls have to go overseas to get the recognition that they so richly deserve.

My last initiative is this coming Saturday night - its Comedy Night at the RX Theatre in Newcastle - and then I'll be ready to kick back and catch up on all the social that I've missed out on this year. [can't fit it all in, can you? or can you??]

I hope you've managed to get out there and support some live music/performance a few times this year - remember that if it's not supported it will not survive...and what sort of a legacy is THAT to leave the next generation?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Tour and Live

Just when you think you've got it all nailed in place...along comes a quirky event and all the nails pop out! And I guess that's the not-so-good, the bad, and the ugly about planning a tour. Today I learned the REAL reason why I haven't been able to secure a gig at a venue I've been wanting to play during a southern tour for some years. For years, they've fobbed me off with one reason or another instead of just coming clean and giving the real reason - which is actually a very valid rationale that I fully understand. If they'd been upfront at the start, I could simply have wiped them off my list and saved myself a lot of effort over a long time.

Many of the musicians I play with on and off will say "I don't know why you do it ..." or "I couldn't be bothered". But the reality IS when you are an independent muso with no agent or corporate support, the world doesn't beat a path to your door to hear your music! You've got to get out of the loungeroom and take the music to new audiences.

The internet certainly opens up new scope for getting your music out there - but my typical audience do not spend their lives online trawling for new music. And online listeners might listen to bits of songs but they're not likely to pay attention for the length of a live set - too many other distractions. For a lyricist like myself, you want your listener to hear the words, you want the words to make a difference to your listener.

There's nothing like bringing new music to a live audience - it's the best way for a songwriter to give a new song the taste test. A live performance allows you to actually see what sort of response the song is getting and enables you to identify how/where the lyrics or melody need tweaking. And of course, if your material isn't engaging enough to hold an audience for a full set, then you're not getting it right!

I wish there was a better way than the tremendous effort that goes into putting a tour together.....but so far, I haven't found it.

ah well, the joys of a creative life! [and I wouldn't have it any different]

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Project Complete

I'm just coming up for air and have spent the last couple of weeks recouping energies!

For readers who want to know what happened.....Between the Lines....played to good houses on both nights. Audience feedback was fantastic with so many people stopping on the night to express their pleasure and appreciation - followed by many emails the following week. The city's leading theatre critic was in attendance on the Saturday night and the paper displayed a great half-page review on the Wednesday after the show.

The cast did a great job on the Saturday night although - typical of amateur theatre - made numerous errors on the Sunday night including missed cues and lines. However, they recovered admirably and the audience was for the most part none the wiser.

So where to from here?
Well there has been some discussion about taking the show to other areas however my feelings are;
  • [a] there's too much work involved! and the current cast is so busy that the same problem of not being able to commit to a regular rehearsal schedule will limit the ability to bring it up to a higher standard
  • [b] performing in front of a home crowd is very different to performing in front of an unknown audience who are likely to be less forgiving
  • [c] I'd want to do some re-writing which I just don't have time to do yet ... and
  • [d]because the music is an important part of the project, I'd really like to have more singers in the cast to do it justice
so all in's been an amazing and wonderful experience to see the characters I've created on paper be given a life of their own through these gorgeous, enthusiastic women. But from a writers perspective, not as satisfying as I'd hoped it would be. And also, having to write it, edit it, produce it, direct it, and stage manage it....was just too big a job for this little black duck!

I'm gonna stick to writing for people to read!

Hmm, might turn Between the Lines into a book next year.

thanks for travelling this journey with me! My next post will focus on the new project -

stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Well its been a busy enough week as I'm now working on the songs/music for the show. It's a different process writing songs to fit a story than it is writing from inspiration which is given free rein. I'ts hard to say which one is my favourite - I'm really happy with all of them. [mind you, I haven't finished the finale number yet!]

We'll be blocking at the theatre tomorrow night and the cast will meet the newest member - the young lass who is playing Gemma. [nope, still not letting you know who the cast is yet ....its under wraps until the end of this week when the promotional stuff starts] I'm delighted with the lineup tho'! There's a rich mixture of skills, talents, energy, enthusiasm.....I feel very blessed.

With just @ 5 weeks left to go, it's going to be a race against the clock but we're going to get there, I'm confident.

A very talent artist friend is coming on Friday to help me get the backdrop started and hopefully I'll have the musicians lineup completed by the end of the week. Do you like the illustration above?

The drawing was created by my very artistic and musically gifted buddy - David Baker. He took the 'between the lines' a step further and shows the woman behind the mask.

Between the Lines opens Sat 12th and Sun 13th at the Royal Exchange Theatre, 34-36 Bolton Street, Newcastle. Tickets are just $14pp and you can book on
4929 4969

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"BETWEEN THE LINES" - Episode 22

Ooh, Helen's piece fitted rather nicely into Gemma's opening soliloquy - with minimal adjustment - and easier than I anticipated. Sweet!

Tonight I've been doing some editing in the last 3 Acts - and of course, I recognise that as simply a rather clumsy avoidance tactic! can't fool me! Because I'm scrambling for inspiration to complete the last 3 scenes. Guess it's gonna be a mad dash to the finish! maybe a decent nights kip will stimulate the creative juices?

I have to admit, that I'm not absolutely confident now that I've hit the right plot line for Dorian and her tale beneath the story. Whether that's just self-doubt creeping in or whether its instinct sending me a warning shot across the bow - I've yet to decide. Perhaps its a case of seeing such a clear and strong direction for the other characters, that Dorian's isn't cutting it as sharply as it could? Hmm, wish I had a writing partner sometimes to bounce things off!

Oh well, I haven't so I'm gonna have to sort it out myself for now. Fingers crossed that tomorrow will be more productive.

Tune in tomorrow......same nest, same hen house .... this is a daily blog to help me maintain focus and momentum - the script for this show needs to completed before the 3rd May. Constructive ideas and comments are welcome

Between the Lines opens on 12/13 June at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Newcastle

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"BETWEEN THE LINES" - Episode 21

Back again after a badly needed but dreadfully misused break...and sad to say I have come back with nothing to contribute to the script! Fortunately, my friend Helen - also a writer, and a darn clever one too - had some ideas for Gemma that she has passed along for me to consider. THANKS HELEN! Although I suspect that you, too, enjoyed a somewhat misspent weekend? huummm?

Because Gemma's character has changed a bit, the piece won't fit neatly into the dialogue as it is ....but I really like what you've put together. So I'll edit the copy - minimally to fit the re-shaped Gemma - and shoot it back to you for approval ...hope that's ok with you?

But time is - not ticking, not marching - absolutely bolting away and I realise I have just 6 days left to complete the script ready for the first cast meeting. Uh Oh, gotta get cracking. When last I looked, Sheri was the final character to reveal the underlying aspect which demonstrates the link that connects them all. So now the task is to bring it together, fit the final pieces in place, and bring it to the conclusion I want.

should be easy enough, yes? [huh, what do they say about best laid plans 'n all?] I'll let you know tomorrow! oh, and there's a casting call out for the role of Gemma so if you know anyone in the Newcastle area who'd like to jump on board and give it a go, let me know

Tune in tomorrow
......same dot on the dial.... this is a daily blog to help me maintain focus and momentum - the script for this show needs to completed before the 3rd May. Constructive ideas and comments are welcome

Between the Lines opens on 12/13 June at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Newcastle

Monday, March 15, 2010

Listen - Breathe - Feel

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I got back to my blog....and how easy it is for time to slip away. So thought it was a good time to share a little Peppermint Tea with my readers [if I've got any left!]

Sometimes life gets so busy doesn't it? Last weekend I slipped up to the Central West of NSW to play at Coolah - for the lovely locals and their 'Rockin' the Racecourse' festival - and at Barraba - in their stunning Playhouse Hotel. The Playhouse is a tribute to one man's dream....Andrew Sharp has converted an old run-down hotel into an oasis, a refuge for the weary soul, a space to let time slip by, re-connect with the inner you, and let the pace of life pass on by. At least for a little while. We played in the lovely courtyard instead of the purpose built theatre [yep! its true! actually IN the hotel] because it was such a beautiful day - too good to be inside! You can check it out for yourself at

Peppermint Tea was written during a tour of SE Queensland - an area I tour frequently because it loves and supports my music. The song brings back fond memories of chilling out on the steps of our accommodation by the river in Brisbane, with a dearly-loved friend, as we shared a morning herbal tea and listened to the harmony of nature and friendship. So it was appropriate to give it a run at The Playhouse as we listened to the sounds of the country amongst new friends. [I definitely felt rejuvenated after our visit]

Here's one of my favourite lines from the song:
....... feeling nothing's better than being alive
breathin' in and out as time's slippin' by
haven't any need to be wondering why.....

You can hear a sound sample at

and to get a free copy of the track via MP3...simply send me a message from the website telling me what the song brings to YOUR mind