Amazing people and the privilage of never having felt the feeling of I Can't

Did you know that for many people "I can't" is a physical feeling? It feels like panic, it feels like tension, it feels like despair, and procrastination, and not living up to your "potential". it feels like letting your goals and dreams slip away because you just can't. Can is too much. Can takes too much energy, so instead you sit there in your "I can't-ness" and let it swollow you. 

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For some people I can't is just a small feeling. It's feeling like they're not smart - rich - childless - good enough to do *insert thing here*. This feeling is valid and just as important to recognise. It's not the same as I won't either. I won't implies defiance. I won't implies choice. 

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I can't is not a choice. There are many amazing people in this world. They do so many things, and lead extraordinary lives. Many will do interviews talking about how they just believed, and worked towards a goal. "It's easy, anyone can do it" they say. "you just have to save more, work more, chase your dreams, your goals and your desires." they say, like it's easy, like it's something everyone can do. These people don't understand. They've had the privelage of not experiencing "I can't" 

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That's not to say these amazing people haven't had to work hard, or experience hardship or make sacrifices, but they've stumbled upon a particular set of arbitrary circumstances that set them apart from other people. These include: Country of origin, race, gender, mental and physical health, supportive family/teachers/peers, knowing the right people, being in the right place at the right time. And because they're wonderful, but imperfect humans that have only ever lived as themselves, they mistake their success as not giving into "I can't" when it's usually not having experienced "I can't" in the first place. 

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I sit in a weird space when it comes to this. I lead a jam packed life full of "chasing my art and living the dream", but I also experience the overwhelming feeling of I can't all the time. Let me tell you, I wouldn't be able to get past this if I didn't have such a lovely and supportive network. I would curl in a ball and cry all day. I would take a normal job I hated and stagnate. I wouldn't travel, I wouldn't see people. I would completely and utterly give into I can't. 

But I don't, because I'm supported and privileged. I think more people who say no to "I can't" need to be introspective and examine their privilege, especially before they preach the word of "everyone can do it", because not everyone can do it. It's not ideal, but it's one of the truest truths in our weird society. 

I suppose the conclusion is, if you give into your feelings of I can't, don't feel bad. Don't feel worthless, because you're not. Breaking out of I can't is hard. And if you're one of these wonderful amazing people preaching the word of "everyone can do it" stop and think about all of the help, support and circumstances you've experienced to get you there, and consider how different the experiences and resources other people have are different. 

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A little off topic, but relevant none the less: I recorded a new video today (technically yesterday now) It's a cute little song about tea, with a rather sad ending. Coincidently, I'm wearing the same outfit in the video, but It was not produced the same day! 

Old Granny Chair

I have a blister. 

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Now, ordinarily this wouldn't be a big deal. I'd ignore the pain and get on with my day, feeling a little grouchy that walking hurts, but, this blister isn't in the usual spot (the back of my heal). It,s on my left hand index finger, right at the very tip.  

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You're probably (not) wondering how one gets a blister in such an unusual place (unless you play a string instrument, then you'll know instantly). 

I may have played too much ukulele. I definately played too much ukulele. 

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You would never think that ukulele's would be blister causing houses of pain, but they are. My fingertip is proof. 

It came as a surprise that one could receive such an injury. Sure, my string friends have complained of blisters, but they play "proper" instruments with steel strings. This was just a tiny cute innocent ukulele. 

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Don't get me wrong, you can injure yourself playing flute too (I have some first hand experience there) but I can't think of a single instance a flautist has played themselves into a blister. (Thinking of it, if you know someone who has, let me know! I'm genuinely interested to know how that would happen!) 

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Anyway, lets use that as a semi awkward segway: I recorded a new video today. A sweet little ditty called Avalon. I did some singing, and some tute-ing on all three of my bohem system flutes, as well as some sub par (but fun for me) ukulele. 

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To sound like  a bit of an artistic wanker for a small moment, I've really been enjoying diversifying my skill set. When I did the recording/video editing process today I understood a little bit more about the process/software off the bat AND I learned a bunch of new things! I'm in no way brilliant, but I'm getting better yo! 

 

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Hamburgers

I took these photos in early Feb. There was a whole proper photo set, but I lost them due to an unfortunate computer crash... (pro tip, don't leave your unedited photos unsaved in photoshop after clearing the SD card) 

I sewed this suspender skirt out of super cute hamburger knit material I got from spotlight. I don't really know what else to say apart from it's hard to be motivated to type things when you're missing half your photos. :p.  

January Tour catchup Part Two

Here are the next 5 outfits of the summer tour I did with Vanishing Shapes. It's interesting how quickly one ceases to remember fine details when you're removed from an event/series of events for a period of time. Basically I can't remember the finer details of what happened on our tour the days these photos were taken because so much has happened since returning. 

Over the last few days I've also had  a ton of stuff to talk about, but now I've forgotten, so I'm just going to post the photos and let it be. 

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Let the January catch up begin

Somehow I managed to photograph every outfit bar one (the very last one) on this tour. Some of the photo's aren't great, but w/e, it's the outfit that counts right? I'm going to post these a few at a time so I don't overwhelm you all, and then maybe in the last post I'll talk about what makes a tour dress so great. 

Day 1: Bellengin

We played at a place called 5 Church street the evening these photos were taken. It's this cute little restaurant/cafe type place, and always great to play. We also get to see band parents when we play here, as our guitarist and bassist parents live close. 

Day 2/3 Mullumbimby/Byron

So, I completely failed at focusing this shot :S oh well, it happens. The rest are better I promise. I wore this dress for two days. The first day we drove from Bello to Mullum and camped along the side of the river. The second day I wore this was spent trying to find a more "permanent" campsite. (We ended up camping in the backyard of one of our house concert hosts)

Day 4: Byron 

This was a big busking day for us. We spent a majority of the day, then part of the evening playing music on the streets of byron. It was super fun, but knocked the socks off us.  My scalp also got burnt :( 

Day 5: 

After the burning of my scalp the first byron day, I ended up nicking Jake's hat on this day. It actually looked super cute with this dress. For the band, this was a day off. From memory I ended up painting and beading on this day.

Day 6: Byron Bay

This was another big busking day for us. We loitered around Byron until about 4:00, then hit the streets with our instruments and sound gear. Surprisingly we managed to attract a decent crowd, so it was basically a gig but without the venue! 

Stay tuned for the rest of the outfits! 

My Little Tour

These are not tour photos (Although, you'll be glad to know I've managed to take outfit photos everyday of the tour dresses I've been wearing!) I took these in December last year. 

I'm currently on tour with Vanishing Shapes. We're currently in Brisbane chilling out before this evening's gig. We've been away from home for about a week, most of which has been spent at, or North of Byron Bay.  

It's crazy just how different the climate is up here, mostly the strength of the sun. I've been slathering myself in sunscreen everyday, and have still managed to get a tiny bit burnt. 

Real talk: I know that it's very necessary, especially during summer (and I make sure to wear it when I'll be out in the sun) but I really do not like wearing sunscreen. Even the "non greasy" stuff leaves a greasy, almost dirty film on my skin. Still way better than a sunburn though. 

I've also not had a hot shower since being up here out of choice. I've not been in a place that's too hot for a hot shower before. I've actually really enjoyed the refreshing cool feeling that comes from a cold shower. 

Apart from the weather, tour has been a really creative time. I've done so much painting (which you can see on my instagram) I've also made some jewellery (which you'll get to see in my next post) 

Most importantly, we've had some absolutely killer gigs! We've hit up the temperance society in Sydney, 5 Church Street in Bellingen, and played two ripper house concerts: Byron fine house music concerts, which was an intimate chill out time, and one for the Porch Project in Yandina Creek with a ripper new band called the score (As soon as they have any kind of social media presence I'll be posting about them! They're rad!) We've also spent time on the streets of Byron Bay busking our little hearts out. 

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I've done a lot of busking in a lot of different places, and I think Byron Bay has been my favourite so far. People actually stop and listen, and chat to you, unlike most other places where everyones in such a rush to be somewhere, and don't have time/patience/cares to have a gander. 

Anyway, I'll be sure to post another update when I can! 

So, it's a new year or whatever.

Is it weird that I don't really care about it being a New Year? With the lifestyle I'm currently leading, time is a somewhat arbitrary and anxiety inducing concept, and this "magical phenomenon" known as "New Year" is just a small, inconvenient blip on my radar. 

Despite my pessimistic philosophising, I actually had a pretty great new years eve. I spent it in Gulgong with the Button Collective playing Brodie's songs and Irish music. This is the second new year in a row that I've been with the Buttons playing Irish music as the clock ticks over, and I think it's definitely my favourite way to celebrate this arbitrary occasion.  

Like the last time I disappeared from this blog space, these photos were not taken recently. I took these back in October when life was slightly less hectic. I overcommitted myself through November and December, and although I probably had the time to to bloggy internety things, I just didn't have the mental or emotional energy. 

I'm not one for setting "New Year Resolutions" but this "personal growth goal type thing" just happened to coincide with the thing. Last year, particularly towards the end, I felt as if I was drowning beneath a huge pile of "to do's" and anxiety. This made doing "arty things" like working on this blog, and sewing, and making art pretty difficult. 

I'm determined to not let that happen as often to the extent that it did. I've broken my work schedule down into a really basic bare minimum work style. (basically, I've got a very small set amount of regular work I have to achieve on a weekly basis. If I'm up to it, I'm going to do more, if I'm not, well, I'm slowing chipping away at the work pile, which will keep me from metaphorically drowning) 

One last thing, I feel the need to apologise for my absence and for talking about my mental health all the time. I know intellectually that I don't need to. It's more of an apology to myself more than whoever happens to read this blog. I suppose I feel a personal guilt, because I've been neglecting this space, and miss it so much. 

OK, actual last thing. I'm going on tour with Vanishing Shapes. We'll be going up to Brisbane! If you happen to live between Sydney and there, and have some free time on your hands, here are our tour dates

I think thats enough word vomit. Enjoy your day! 

Emerald Elegance

Would it be weird for me to talk about a dress I sewed the other day but am not wearing at all in this blog post? I feel like it would be, but I'm going to do it anyway. After I photographed this outfit I did a bad and went to spotlight (pro tip, I should never be allowed in spotlight). I intended to by 1 meter of cool fabric, but ended up walking out with many fabrics. Whoops? 

Anyway, with this rare burst of energy and creativity I'm feeling I ended up impulse buying this super soft fleece knit with puppies and flowers, then in the 4 hours before I had to be on a train to Sydney for Jazz I sewed a "tour dress" 

I'm not sure If I've ever talked about tour dresses on this blog, but basically a tour dress is a super comfy loose fitting dress which can 1) be folded/rolled up into a super small ball/ not crease 2) is comfortable enough to be worn to bed as pyjamas. Once paired with opaque tights one is unstoppable in a tour dress. I've only ever bought my tour dresses from op shops (as up until recently I wasn't game to sew with any sort of knit material. It's a strange fabric/sewing technique to get used to. I also rarely sew dresses, because I like to draft my own patterns/ can't work out how to drape a fitted cotton dress.) LONG STORY SHORT I sewed my first tour dress using a selfdrafted/improvised pattern. 

Legit, this dress is the softest, comfiest thing I own. It's also super warm. Hopefully I'll have photos soon (but who knows. My tour dresses rarely make it onto this blog... maybe I'll do a tour dress roundup/ talk about clothing/packing as a fashion conscious musician for a tour where you can't fit much in your car)  

Now that I've told you all about his awesome dress that you cannot see, I might talk about the skirt I'm wearing a little! I really really like this skirt. The fabric is a soft texture, it fits super well, it's the perfect shade of green, it's a great length, and I really like the way it's pleated. The only problem with this skirt is that it's nearly impossible to get the creases ironed out. 

I've tried almost everything. I've steamed it with steamer/ in the bathroom. I've ironed it damp, I've ironed it dry. I've ironed it on the hottest setting, and still those creases will not move. It's stopped me from reaching for/wearing this skirt many a time (I dislike wearing clothes that need an iron. It makes me feel a bit messy) It's such a great skirt though! So when I put this outfit together I decided "creases be damned" and wore it anyway. I'm sure no one noticed, and if they did, they probably didn't care, but after my mum drilling the importance of properly ironed clothing into me it felt a little rebellious. 

And that my friends is how I get my thrills: wearing ironed, but creased clothes out in "polite society" :P 

Till next time <3 

Get on ya Bike

There's so much pop culture mythology surrounding receiving the perfect bicycle. I can remember being younger, and watching several television shows where the tiny, yet double digit child/ren covet the "perfect bike", but it's way too expensive, and then they either win it in a competition, mow all the lawns for those $$ or get it as a surprise for "being a good child or whatever". 

Although the details of these shows/plots have long since left me, I still remember the excitement of the perfect bike written into the show. After maturing into what some would call an adult, I thought I would never get to experience "new bike excitement" ever again (because as great as bikes are, "stuff" doesn't make me excited/bring fulfilment like it did when I was a wee lass) 

Long story short, my parents bought me the perfect bike for my birthday, and I was able to experience that child like wonder/excitement. Legit, I felt 10 years old again. My birthdays in July, we picked out the bike in May (complete with basket and bag rack) and I basically thought about how cool it was going to be/how fun it would be to ride/how great having a basket was going to be for 3 months. 

Like many children in these shows, the first few days after bringing the bike home I found myself wondering if I was responsible enough to handle having such a nice bike (pro tip: Totally am responsible enough).

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that with this nice weather I've basically been riding my bike as much as I can, and (finally) took photos of her. I've also named her Beatrice because 1) I'm weird and like to name inanimate objects 2) Beatrice is a great name.  

Bikes yo! So much fun!! 

It's really not winter anymore Feat: Jazz fusion you should probably listen to because it's amazing.

So it's really not winter anymore. Like one and a half months, we're back on daylight savings sort of not winter. I barely posted over winter, and although I missed this little online space a whole bunch, I'm very glad I took a break. In fact, my sporadic posting may even continue past this post depending on if I can get some of my offline stuff sorted and return so some semblance of a "regular" routine. 

This is going to sound all sorts of silly, but there's been a little part of me that's 1) been terrified of writing on/getting back into the swing of this blog and 2) terrified of tackling this blog post (there are a lot of photos, and if you've been reading for a while, I like to alternate between photos and paragraph of words. Lots of photos means lots of words). Neither of these things make sense, but it's how I've been feeling (maybe it's got something to do with the fact I've let my social media slip. It's kind of like starting again in a way) 

So many things have happened since I took these photos back in August. I can remember several occasions where I thought "I'll have to blog about that" but every "really important" blog post Idea I've had has gone by the wayside. I've also stopped keeping up with the fashionblogosphere and my personal public social media. It's been a really interesting priority shift. I'm not sure if I'm completely on board with it, but it's happened, and whilst more important music things are happening I suppose I'll let this shift continue.   

This suspender skirt is a "newish" piece of mine. The day I took these photos was the day after I sewed it. It's definitely my most beautifully sewn piece, despite my sewing practice being almost non existent. 

Something I have done a lot of whilst not blogging is listening to/watching live music, specifically Jazz fusion type stuff (It's also something positive I can share/write about, and totally not about blog/feeling related meta garbage like the rest of this post).

I'll start by talking about a band which I have talked about before . They're called Quantum Milkshake. After playing a gig with them two years ago, listening to their only recording approximately a zillion times, and frothing over the single they released, they FINALLY completed their album, and released it to the world ( I actually briefly mentioned this release back in June when I had yet to properly listen to it/purchase it. I have now done both of those things, and golly gosh it's everything I thought it would be and more ). 

There is so much going on in this meticulously constructed album. There are grooves, there are throw backs to other composition era's, there's jazz, there are cross rhythms and time signature changes, there are complexly composed and intricate layering, there's flow from track to track, and brilliant performances from musicians across the board. I simply do not have the words to describe just how great this release is. You'll just have to give it a listen. 

Now the reason I started this small list of jazz fusion type music you should probably listen to with Quantum Milkshake is because there's this other equally brilliant band that shares musicians with Quantum Milkshake (Namely their flautist (who founded the band with their drummer) and trumpeter). 

Bella Wolf takes influences from all over the place (but more specifically Latin, Pop, Rock and Groove Based Jazz). I was absolutely stoked when Erica contacted me with a copy of the album. Flute, specifically flute played by flautists is not the most represented in Jazz, and Erica plays some of the best Jazz flute I've ever heard. Again, this album is meticulously crafted with intricate rhythms, grooves, and layers. I particularly love the (what I presume to be) improvised solos throughout the album. (in conclusion, this album IS SO GOOD. Unfortunately I don't think it's been released on bandcamp (You can get it on itunes tho.), BUT here's a teaser for the album, and their youtube page

The last band I have to mention this evening is a band called Mr Ott. I saw them at 505 last month and have basically been vamping their album ever since. They're just about the funkiest band ever, and manage to sit right on a fine line I like to call "completely serious music that completely takes the piss at the same time". The bass lines are funky, the performance is tight, the mix is lush, and the compositions are tight, and intricate with crazy solos interspersed. Seriously, JUST GO LISTEN TO IT YO!

Time's a flying

I blinked at the end of June, and now it's August. Somehow a little over a month has felt like a week, and during this time I have been neglecting my sewing and my blog. I don't really every talk about trying to grow my blog, but up until March this year I was quite focused on trying to make it grow. Right now though, with all of the offline stuff I've got going on I'm just content to keep it alive and kicking. 

Lets take a moment to appreciate how perfectly this doggo photobombed my outfit shoot. 

Lets take a moment to appreciate how perfectly this doggo photobombed my outfit shoot. 

So, you may (or may not) be wondering what's been up for the past month. I went on tour with Vanishing Shapes. We played Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Bello, the Blue mountains and Newcastle. It was a crazy fun journey of making music, driving long distances and being silly. I recorded with Bread and Seaweed at Turtle Rock Studios, which was a 10/10 good time. We did half an ep (3 songs) in two days, (which if you've ever recorded before is absolute madness. Also been gigging a little with The Button Collective

When I'm not makin the musics I'm either painting or watching netflix. The stuff I've been painting has recently taken a deeper turn down the surrealism path, mixing spacey planets with other things, such as heads and ships etc. 

I also turned 23, which isn't a particularly unusual thing, but feels quite strange. Somehow, not unlike the last month, I blinked and a bunch of time disappeared, leaving me feeling like I've done everything and nothing, and simultaneously changed a whole bunch and not at all. It's a weird place to be in, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it, but everythings holding itself together, so I'm fine. 

Speaking of real life shenanigans, if you're in the Newcastle area tomorrow, Shapes have a gig! It starts at like 7:30 ish at the Wesley Hall (downstairs from the commons). It should be pretty chill, and we have enough time to play pretty much our whole program, so yeah! Fun fun Shapes Times.   

Wooly Vintage

After yesterdays depressing post, lets talk about something a little bit cheerier: Music I've been digging recently. A bunch of friends recommending stuff to me, my own google-fu and the festival I attended recently have stocked up my ipod with a bunch of cool new rad tunes which need to be shared with the world (It's been a while since I've done one of these post, so there are a lot of artists to get through!) 

Potato Potato: At the start of the year I met a very lovely lady called Merryn Jeann. She's a beautiful singer/guitarist and songwriter (and was also kind enough to put on a house show with Shapes during our EP launch tour). I was recently stalking her artist page on facebook because she uploaded some demo's of her solo stuff, and came across some posts about her old band, potato potato. With their silky, flowing guitar parts and 4 part vocal harmonies, their sound is the musical equivalent of dripping complementary ink colours into water and watching the clouds of pigment swirl.

Eros: Now, after massaging my ears with the lovely sound of Potato Potato, I stalked their facebook page and came across Eros. This is a stunning one off duet release from a couple of peeps who used to be based up in Byron Bay. This folk duo have created a 6 track ep of intricate guitar lines and stunning vocal harmonies. 

The Bean Project: Now this quirky duo actually found me. They contacted shapes earlier in the year for a gig, and after looking up their links I fell for their classic folk songs with whimsical french horn detailing. 

Catriona McKay: Is a scottish harpist and composer who writes beautiful intricate folk songs. The album I've been listening to, Starfish, is kind of like the Goat Rodeo sessions, but with a harp as well. 

Colour: Remember how I went through a little bit of a math rock binge? Well, this is yet another band to add to my growing mathrock audio collection. This band contained tangled hair before they were tangled hair. Their music has everything I used to love about brit pop as a teen, with none of the stuff I hate about brit pop. 

Greshka: I love me some good old weird ass gypsy/klezmer/fusion music, and that's exactly what Greskha deliver. It's really fun, a little silly, and contains the best (and only) dulcimer I've ever heard. What could be better? :D 

Kalidad: Describe themselves as Mexican heavy metal, and whilst I don't necessarily agree that they're "heavy" I can hear the metallic influences in their delicious folk-fusion writing. I'm a bit of a sucker for spanish oriented classical/flamenco guitar lines, and Kalidad certainly offer that and more. 

Quantum Milkshake: There are very few bands which I would describe as "genera defying", but Quantum Milkshake fits the "genera defying" bill. They're a jazz/everything fusion band with shifting time signatures, complex harmonic structures and detailed use of texture mixed with a little bit of genius and a little bit of madness. They also have a flute in their band (everyone knows that bands with flutes are the best types of bands) To top it all off they recently released their first album, which is a bunch of fun!

Space Cabonara: These dudes are best summed up as dreamy psychedelic trip rock. Their music is clever and beautiful, and so very very lush. I can't help but crave pasta every time I look at their name. 

Tinpan Orange: I was lucky enough to see this stunning folk trio at Perisher Peak festival (which I played with the Button Collective a few weeks ago). As much as I dig their recorded sound, this is a band which is best heard live. The atmosphere they make together is like nothing else I've seen, and when their leading lady lets the fiddle loose, goodness, there are no words. Great band yo. 

So that's some of the new stuff I've been listening to recently! Enjoy :D 

Emeralds on Mustard.

I'm going through a tough mental period at the moment which is resulting in a loss of motivation, and most worryingly for me, a loss of motivation to get dressed. It's not that I have nothing to wear (because that's absolutely not how I feel) it's more that I'm struggling with the combination of early mornings that my school bands require, the late nights that my performances and rehearsal require and the bitter cold that is the Australian winter. I basically want to spend 24/7 rugged up in multiple comfy layers of knit and blankets. 

All of those things put together mean that I'm basically throwing on a pair of thick tights, a plain, but nice enough dress and my favourite coat, which there's absolutely nothing wrong with, but it leaves me feeling "not put together" and dowdy. I miss colour, unexpected details and the motivation to have those things, but I don't currently have the energy or control over my exhaustion levels to change my mindset or patterns. 

I'm going to get real for a sec here. The way I'm feeling is not normal. I've been in this place many times before and usually I've had the luxury of time to get help so I can dig myself out of this hole. I've not got that luxury this time around. All of my time (During clinical hours) is taken up with immovable work, and I'm holding it together "well enough" that on good days I can convince myself that there's nothing wrong and I'm being an idiot. 

The day I put this outfit together was one of these aforementioned good days. I had energy the night before, and got up before I had to (which is a rarity these days). I really dig the combination of mustard and emerald (and I have no idea why I haven't combined these colour before!). I'm not really sure where this post was going, but a jumble of words is all I can manage at the moment. 

Minnie Polka's

So a weird (kind of shit) thing happened to the original version of this post. My internet cut out, and because Squarespace kind of sucks in some aspects, I lost all the words I wrote. The bad news is that I'm too tired to write it all out again. The Good news is that I can TLDR the whole post super easily - Been gone because my brains been taken up by a bunch of music stuff, and there's an election on, so do your research yo. 

Although I've been slacking on the blog front, I've still been shoot (a teeny tiny bit) so I have two more outfits to share from the past month before Shapes leaves for tour! The words will be better then as well.  Later Gator!