2018 Soundtrack

A well overdue post. For those who mightn’t have seen my previous soundtracks, every year since 2015 I’ve been posting a soundtrack of the year that’s been. Previous soundtracks are pre-2015, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Let’s get started on the 2018 ones:

MIV2018 Songs. Ah, MIV. It was a great experience and I’m very proud to have been part of the organising committee. I enjoyed the songs we sang, and I had a few favourites.

  • I Was Glad (Parry) – the big entrance piece, with organ accompaniment. We sound really strong in this one.
  • Lamentations, Light and Hope (Winikoff) – I love this one not just because it’s the Sop & Alto piece, but also I’ve found myself humming it to myself during different events. It is a song of womanhood and power – crying out in anguish, lighting the way, and rising triumphant.
  • Light of Life (Elgar) (especially No. 6, “Light Out of Darkness“) – I enjoyed our major work. The reason No. 6 gets a special mention is it’s the first all-choral piece in the work, our entry is built up with a lot of orchestral lead-in, and we enter superbly. Glorious.

My Eurovision 2018 songlist of favourites were as follows (in no particular order) –

  • Higher Ground (Rasmussen)
  • La Forza (Elina Nechayeva)
  • Monsters (Saara Aalto)
  • Mercy (Madame Monsieur)
  • You Let Me Walk Alone (Michael Schulte)
  • Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente (Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro)
  • Nova Deca (Sanja Ilic & Balkania)
  • Hvala, ne! (Lea Sirk)
  • Tu Canción (Amaia & Alfred)
  • Storm (SuRie)

Then there were songs from local choir concerts I listened to or performed in. From a MonUCS concert, I have:

  • Affirmation (Savage Garden) – I love this song. I first heard it ages ago, but it didn’t fully catch me then. Thanks to MonUCS singing it, I heard it anew.
  • The Longest Time (Billy Joel) – the song with the tenors leading. ❤
  • Some Nights (fun.) – loved the performance of this.
  • Sing! (Pentatonix) – an ode to singing.

From LaTUCS concerts, there were:

  • Shosholoza (Ndebele folk song) – this song has a powerful history. It’s a call and response song, is very enjoyable and can be easily used for spontaneous singing.
  • Seal Lullaby (Eric Whitacre) – ❤ ❤ I love this song. It’s a lovely melody – apparently, it was written to be one of the songs in a potential Disney movie that was never made.
  • Sanctifez Vos Ames (Lorraine Manifold) – a lovely rhythmic song written in French, with nice harmonies; written by the LaTUCS conductor.
  • Fleeting Moment (Lorraine Manifold) – another one from our conductor, notable because it was a lovely flowing song with great harmonies and included a great high A for the sopranos (the sort that feels very nice to hit perfectly – gotta love that soprano rush!)
  • If I Were A Bell (from Guys and Dolls) – I sang a solo in the LaTUCS concert #2 and this was the song I sang. I pulled it off pretty well I think.

Other songs to note include:

  • How Far I’ll Go (Moana) – the live-action video clip of this is magic. It started playing when I was at the gym one day and I paused to listen, caught. A song of endings, beginnings and finding [my] own path.
  • Most Girls (Hailee Steinfield) – I heard this song in a similar way. I really like it. We, women, are awesome.

Also, a few “finishing” songs – 2018, the last few months of it, were a succession of endings and beginnings. These were some of the songs that played at those events (like, for example, the Accommodation Services Gala Awards):

  • I’m Coming Home (Vance Joy)
  • I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston)
  • Can’t Stop This Feeling (TROLLS)

ETA: I nearly forgot, but another set of songs were important to me this year: BodyPump’s release #106 soundtrack. This was my soundtrack as I learnt BodyPump and learnt that I love it! These songs take me back there (listen to a Spotify playlist of them).

  • Still the One (Hardwell & Kill The Buzz feat. Max Collins) – warm-up track, setting up, getting in position;
  • I Am Here (P!nk) – squats, wow, oof; this one is one of the big workouts of the set and the song is an unapologetic anthem to being seen (for me, anyway)
  • Little Thing Gone Wild (Wildcat Wonder Wall) – chest track
  • Say Less (Dillon Francis feat. G-Eazy) – the back track, “say yes to the clean and press”
  • Tell Me You Love Me (MeGalantis & Throttle); Walk On Water (Thirty Seconds To Mars); Coco’s Miracle (Club Mix) (Fedde Le Grand & Dannic vs Coco Star) – all of these have good beats to move to and cover the triceps, biceps and shoulder tracks; I can’t remember which covers which.
  • Tribes (Chase & Status) – lunge track, ugh; good song for a tough (for me) set.
  • Revenge (P!nk feat. Eminem) – abs/core, another tough workout aided by a good beat.
  • Stargazing Kygo feat. Justin Jesso – the cool down track

That’s a wrap of 2018 songs. I might think of others, but they’re more likely to go into the 2019 song-list, given the date.

Central Australia Trip report #5

Phew. Busy busy. I’ve got some fun stuff planned with food, and my placement only has three days to go – then it’s back to uni for another four weeks before a break. In the meantime….

Day 5

Panoramic shot of sunrise - yellow breaking over horizon, brownish-red dark dirt and scrub in the foreground in shadow

We woke up just before sunrise. Brr! The nights are cold in the outback at this time of year.

map of how to get to the spa

We explored the camp and discovered that the natural springs in the area meant the campsite had a spa of sorts! It was lukewarm, so we all changed into our swimmers and took turns to try it out. Nice – especially after a few days of limited facilities.

Tent as the backdrop to the breakfast things (camper stove with porridge in pot, table set up wit bowls & cups & cereal & water can), with my shadow in the middle

Back at our campsite, we set up and had breakfast – porridge cooked on the camp stove – before packing up the camper-trailer, ready to be on our way again.

After one last look around the campsite to take photos of course.

The next stop on our journey was at a railway siding called, “Beresford”. When the Old Ghan was still in operation, it was a place where trains would stop to take on fuel and water.

There was plenty of graffiti inside the old stationmaster’s house (or whatever the building was). My favourite piece was this one:

Graffitti reading: "Rick and Mycool back in 2014 Been here '92 '95 '96 '09 so glad no-one's wrecked it" in block capitals

The Oodnadatta Track is very dusty and quite rough in places.

View from the Nimbus Mitsubishi of the dusty Track with the Nissan Pathfinder driving up ahead.

We drove on, eventually arriving at William Creek, which sits on the edge of Anna Creek station (Australia’s largest pastoral lease, or something like that). Town population: 13.

Half-oval sign welcoming us to Williams Creek - indicates that petrol, camping, toilets and beds are nearby

There was an area next to the road which had a small graveyard, bits of rusting machinery and also commemorated the rocket tests that occurred in the 50s, including the original rocket. Womble had fun exploring.

(The graves were poignant and out of respect we didn’t take any photos of those. One was of an 18-yo German tourist and the others were a few outback mates.)

The town has one roadhouse which doubles as a pub/general store/petrol station. We went and had a drink there after filling up on fuel. The inside of the bar area had been covered with signatures and cards, each one marking that someone had been through William Creek.

The inner room, the lounge, had signs forbidding people from writing on the walls or ceiling because it is a heritage-listed room. It’s made out of Old Ghan railway sleepers! That’s novel – and different to the “usual” use of firewood….

Heading back to the cars, Womble found the railway cart information board about the Old Ghan and William Creek.

We drove on and eventually rolled into camp at Algebuckina Bridge. Another sunset, followed by another campfire, finished the day.

Reblog from this time last year: Ouch! We’re lucky to have a good health system…..

So, it’s been over a year since I dislocated my kneecap. Phew!

It was not the most significant personal event of the year, but it was significant enough. I still have to remember to try and do knee exercises (recommended by the physio) to keep the muscles strong. In the end we decided against operating as it wasn’t clear if it’d help more than harm in the long run.

It was an experience, that’s for certain, which gave me a new perspective. Thanks again health system, doctors, nurses and other staff.

In the weeks afterwards I had to rely on people differently for a while, which was a good thing. It’s also made me slightly more spatial aware than I was, because now I’m somewhat paranoid about my knees banging into things. It still happens occasionally though.

Source: Ouch! We’re lucky to have a good health system…..

Remembering the Mockingbird

Last week, Harper Lee died. The news of her passing made me think and remember.

It was in Year 10 that I was first introduced to her work – To Kill A Mockingbird. It was one of the year level texts at my school. I remember reading it, the summer before school started for the year, as I usually did with class texts.

I’m a fast reader, so it didn’t take me too long to read. Maybe a day? (It helped of course that it was summer, so I simply planted myself on my bed, with the fan in the bedroom and read the day away.)

I even know, thanks to my diary, what day it was (Thursday 23rd Dec) and how I felt after reading it. Here’s what I wrote about it:

I just finished reading ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. I can’t really describe what it’s about – there are lots of meanings and I wouldn’t be able to explain them properly here.

All I can say is it really is a classic.

A quote: ‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, but it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’

I cried at the end of the book, it was so touching.

As you can see, I was still processing the book’s contents when I wrote that, unable to properly articulate my feelings about it. All I knew was that it had touched me, deeply, in that indescribable way that books can. I knew that it was a book that would stay with me.

To Kill A Mockingbird‘s message did stay with me. It stuck, well and truly, like that other quote from it: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” and “Before before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” and a hundred other gems, little darts of wisdom going straight for the heart.

The characters, too….I remember how we discussed, in class, the roles of Atticus and Calpurnia (a surrogate mother for Jem and Scout, despite or perhaps because of her role as a maid) and other characters. We also discussed Tom Robinson and Boo Radley, racism and ignorance.

It occurred to me when I was writing this that, though my diary entries don’t show it, I have a clear memory of comparing the mockingbirds of the story with present-day mockingbirds. They are asylum seekers and Indigenous Australians and African-Americans and Muslims and other groups historically and currently disadvantaged because others fear and hate them. When I read the book in Year 10, I was beginning to think critically and politically about issues. Perhaps that’s why the book’s truths about injustice and people and power stuck with me and continue to do so. The problems outlined in the book haven’t gone away and the truths haven’t turned false.

Of course, we now have Go Set A Watchman adding meaning and detail. I confess, I haven’t read it yet (though I’ve heard about its contents) – a combination of wanting to wait out the hype, uneasiness over its discovery and just plain forgetting to borrow it out. I’ll have to get on to that, I suppose.

Have a read of this bookriot article here. It puts an American spin on things. The author of that piece, Ms. Schingler makes a good point. It’s up to us to be the change. She says,

“Set the idea of Atticus aside. We are our own watchpeople. We should be, should always be trying, to work to protect and defend Tom Robinson, in all his modern incarnations, ourselves.”

Like Ms Schingler, I, too, say: Goodbye, Boo (Harper Lee) – and thank you.

A Kind Of Magic

So, Chuck Wendig of terribleminds wants us to write a story from our own life for this week’s flash fiction challenge. I rarely do these challenges because what little writing time I have is usually for Lily’s story (!) rather than other things. But since it’s different I’ll give it a shot. It’s supposed to be around 1000 words. The title comes from the Queen song and it’s a very good fit.

It was a cool August day. … Oh, who am I kidding? It was bloody freezing. August usually is around here. At least it wasn’t raining. (I like rain – but not the sort we get around here which is just drizzle and nuisance. I prefer thunderstorms.) The wind was blowing strongly, gusting in off the lake. Meanwhile, the girls of Green House were inside, practicing a final time.

Today, after weeks of preparation, was the Senior House Choir Competition. I was looking forward to it, though nervous. Surely this year we might win? We’d come very close last year. I really hoped so, having a good feeling about our practices. The winners of House Choir go into the Arts Festival. The Arts Fest is my favourite of the three comps/ displays…after all, I’m not very good at Aths or Swimming. I’m not alone. While each house has its own collection of swimmers, aths girls and artists, Green House usually won the most points in the Arts Participation Cup. However, due to bad luck or whatever you’d like to call it, I hadn’t been a part of a winning House Choir yet (though other years our house had won) – and this would be my last chance to do so. There were thirty-four other girls in the same boat as me, though naturally there were different levels of caring about it.

I was quietly confident, though trying to keep expectations in check. We were third in a line-up of four, I think. When it was our turn, our Arts Captain, M, stood out the front as had been practiced. Then she introduced the song…with a surprise for both us and the audience. “We dedicate this song to Mrs A.” she said, “In the hope that she always has someone to lean on.”

My eyes widened as she spoke. Of course! That was a perfect reason. We’d all been aware, to some degree, of her stress this year due to things she couldn’t control. She was a popular House Group teacher. The song gained a sudden, sharp clarity. M cued the music and we were off.

“Hum, hum hum hum hum….”

All the hard work paid off, as we sang our hearts out. I remember feeling energised as I sang; everything was going well.
If this was a humorous anecdote about an embarrassing memory, this would be the point where something went wrong. But it didn’t.

No-one flubbed their lines or sang a wrong note or forgot their movements. Full credit to M, she’d spent the weeks of practice well. She shaped us into a choir that sang that song pitch-perfect, with pride and passion. (Even now, a few years after the event, I can still pick out the particular four-set of notes in the ‘hum hum hum hum’ – we spent a lot of time working on that bit to get it right 😛 .)

It was fun – but nervous – watching the other choirs. All the other choirs were good too. Especially Blue House. I know a few of us, when they came on, got the distinct feeling that they were our toughest competition. Their song choice, movements and singing were very well done – watching them, it showed what a good choir should be.

At the end we sat in the spots we’d been given and waited for the verdict. It was tense. I was still feeling good about it all, but again, nervous. I tried to remind myself that it was just a little thing – it shouldn’t matter if we came first or second (or another placing). I sat and hoped. The judge/ adjudicator then read out the placings. Heightening the tension, she unfortunately stuffed up the order of fourth and third. I think a few Green hearts skipped a beat when she realised that, because of course the way she phrased it made it sound like she’d read out ours in one of those spots!

But that wasn’t the case – we were in the top two. Now, the judge/adjudicator spent a bit of time talking about how each choir was good, that it was very hard to pick, that we’d all risen to the occasion well, etc. etc.
Then she finally said, “But in the end, I think I’m going to have to give second place to Bl-”

That was as much as I heard – the first syllable.
I ought to mention that I’d previously always wondered why when winners were announced, the winners always started cheering when the second-placers were announced. I always wondered if it wasn’t disrespectful to the second-placers?

You can tell from those statements that I hadn’t been in many winning things which I cared about much. After all, I’m not into playing competitive sports. When School Choir performed in the South Street Comps, due to circumstances we usually either found out the results later or got pipped at the post. Green House’s scant, occasional win(s) in the other school comps weren’t as important to me it seems, because I can’t remember them as easily. My memory tells me the last time I got that excited (rather than disappointed) over a group competition (and can still remember getting excited) might have been six years before this, when my house in primary school won the School Sports for the first time in ten years. Though I might just be forgetting other things.

Hmm. I’m beginning to see why I support the underdog so much. 😉

Anyway. The judge spoke the first syllable of Blue House for second place and I found why first-placers always start celebrating a place early: we couldn’t help it. I’d even said to myself beforehand, “Now, don’t make a fool of yourself by screaming and doing something that annoys you at other times” but did that matter? Not a whit. It’s the shock delight, I realised later. The split-second realisation that occurs when you hear that first syllable and process the fact that it’s not you, that you’ve finally made it to the top, you react. There’s no stopping it.

That feeling is why, despite what we tell ourselves about competitions – e.g. a sport’s match being “just a game” – we get so involved and keep coming back for more. We chase that elusive feeling. Another case in point: my support of the Richmond Tigers. We just can’t help ourselves!

As for Green House, we were through to the Arts Festival. Comparing the two performances, the one I can remember most is the first one. The Arts Festival was much more formal than the actual Competition itself and had less emotional attachments tied to it. Still enjoyable – just not quite as satisfying.

It’s a treasured memory from a school year full of “lasts”. This was a first.

Oh and the song? If you haven’t guessed already, it was Lean On Me. Yes, that’s why it’s on my Soundtrack that year.

Have you experienced the satisfying feeling of finally winning after a long wait? What in?

My Soundtrack

I love music. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a reasonably good singer, by ear especially but also by sight. I also know how to play the piano and clarinet, but I’m rather out of practice and find they require more work. (As an aside, this means my main protagonist of the current story – as well as others within that story – has musical talent too!)

Music, to me, is therapeutic – in songs I find a resonance to life. Music is good for the soul that way; especially church hymns that I know of, but also others. They’re so pure and strong. I also feel that music shows life – I’m the sort of person that has a soundtrack of sound in my head through the day. Music gives us a way to express ourselves.

Anyway. At the end of high school a few years ago, I realised that I can track with reasonable accuracy a set of songs which correspond to my school years. I’ve since expanded that to go beyond the school years, now I’m out in the “big wide world”. These songs were either songs that I sort of remember singing around that time; were a part of some form of performance I was involved in; or I found to have a resonance in some other way – usually because of events happening during that year, personally or otherwise.

I use songs as a representation of the year. I can give a roll-call of what was going on in my life then, just by looking at the song titles. For instance, the first three of last year’s songs all came on the radio shortly after we’d heard about MH17; given the tone of the rest of the year, they stuck, along with the fourth song. Also, every two years in primary school we had a school concert, with each class doing something – so that’s at least one from Prep, Two, Four & Six. Then in high school, I was involved in musical theatre productions in Seven, Nine and Eleven. Since then, last year (and now this year!) I’ve been involved with other performances. Can you guess what the productions were?

My favourite bands/ artists include The Beatles, Queen, Coldplay, Powderfinger, Green Day….Graeme Connors, Paul Kelly, Enya, Avril Lavigne, Yothu Yindi, Hunters and Collectors, Shane Howard, Archie Roach, The Yolngu trio and others. As I’ve grown older and grown to understand some things more my tastes have changed slightly – some songs I just don’t touch now and some songs I like playing more than I used to, simply because I understand the lyrics a bit better.

I have a few “music goals”, in seriousness and in fun:
* To be aware of what I’m listening to, most of the time – asking, what message is my ‘playlist’ sending?
* To listen to and eventually acquire more Australian music, especially songs from Indigenous artists. I’ve heard of some (including Graeme Connors, Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, Yothu Yindi, etc.) but I want more.
* To do the same with some “wrock”. That’s Wizard Rock, to the uninitiated – fan music. What can I say, I’m a geek. 😉 It comes in many flavours – a personal favourite is “The Bravest Man I Ever Knew”.
* To investigate some of the bands and songs on the list I’ve collected. Like my “To Read” list, I have a habit of adding a band or song to the “To Listen” list after hearing, say, one song or something. Then I don’t seem to actually get around to following them up. 😛 Once I do, some will probably be added to the “favourite artists” list above.

So, this is my soundtrack. What’s yours?

Prep: Thank You for the Music (re-imagined as, “…the Stories”), Who Put the Bop, You’re the Voice

Year OneChicken Dance, Hello World (Saddle Club!)

Year Two: The Bear Necessities, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (most songs from the musical), Go West

Year Three: Strawberry Kissin’, Macarena

Year Four: Monster Mash, Barbie Girl, I’m A Believer

Year Five: When You Believe, Wake Me Up When September Ends

Year Six: Help!, Stop Right Now, Time of Your Life

Year Seven: Bugsy Malone, Fat Sam’s Grand Slam, You Give A Little Love, Get Right Back

Year Eight: Trying to Get to Sleep (Poem, by me), I Believe

Year Nine: A Very Merry Unbirthday To You, Painting the Roses Red, Never Too Old To Be Loved

Year Ten: Disturbia, Quarter After One, Rhinestone CowboyChristmas Shoes

Year Eleven: FAME!, Bring On Tomorrow, I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker, I Am 16 Going On 17, Fix You, This is Africa, I Will Remember You, Landslide

Year Twelve: Keep Holding On, Let It Be, Lean On Me, If I Were A Bell, Time of Our Lives, Friends Forever, Lanterns

2014Stand By Me, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Lean On Me, What A Wonderful World, Leaps and Bounds, Anderson’s Coast, Solid Rock, etc.

2015Singing the Spirit Home (for a number of reasons), We’re Better Than This, dunno what else yet!


I’ll keep updating this as the years go on. 🙂

It’s That Time of Year Again

Image sourced from google.

“High on the hill, looking over the bridge to the M-C-G…”
(Paul Kelly, Leaps and Bounds, 1987)

It’s that time of year again. September: the time of year when the Aussie Rules footy finals have arrived and we’re edging our way towards that “one day in September”. This year, it’ll be in October, but who cares. On the telly we’ll hear that Hunters and Collectors song, Holy Grail (1992), which was not originally intended to be a footy song but has turned into a staple.

Sport is one of those things that bring us together, regardless of who we are. We unite to divide along team lines, of which there are eighteen now. It unites and divides family and friends, jokingly or seriously. But mention your team and there’s sure to be a reaction.

Some people take it very seriously, taking a strong interest. The footy becomes their community/ family/ etc. That’s okay and can be good – unless of course the person becomes too “one-eyed”. 😉

Personally, I’m a sort of peripheral supporter – still strong, but not exactly into all the depth and detail. I like the human sides better. After all, I don’t play (or watch) much of any sport myself. Reading the sports section doesn’t really interest me unless they’re doing a “player profile” or something. But given how strong footy’s presence is here, you can’t help but pick things up…and then be at least somewhat interested. 🙂

It helps that we’ve been a one-team family for ages, most of the extended family (on one side anyway) included. That particular team has had quite a few tough years and perhaps are seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll see. Maybe.

All I know is that tomorrow, this girl who goes to maybe one game a year will go down to the ‘G again to watch an elimination final with some of the rest of her family.

Good luck to all teams.

Yellow and Black! Go Tiges!

Where has our Compassion and Decency gone?

Australia, where have you gone? The fabled, glorified concept of “mateship” no longer seems to have value – though our “she’ll be right” attitudes and 1950s-era ideas of White Australia are stronger than we’d like to think. Our society no longer sees high value in the “fair go”, even if we still say we do. A questioning patriotism has morphed into bogan worship, too.

At least in some sections of the country.

Not to mention that in the current state of things, these days, the language around politics and ‘social commentary’ and the like has become very ugly. Julia Gillard’s treatment opened my eyes to that – and I reckon it’s only got worse since the moronic fighter* took the reins….

What can we do to change this?
Beyond simply noticing and checking our own words…
EDIT: Highlight “checking your own words” please – I need to do so, as I without irony used tame-but-still-demeaning language to describe Abbott (see the *). Probably because I’m getting so dratted sick of his…ridiculousness.

Inspired by the following – and in this case, reading the comments usually adds to understanding rather than making you wince at trolls: