A Charmed Life


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i wonder

Sometimes I look at my smart phone and wonder at its smartness; it allows people to talk to me, to see me, it plays music, takes me through my yoga routine, checks me in when I fly, lets me catch up on Eastenders and… well actually it might be easier listing what it doesn’t do, it really is the little gadget that could. 

I do that a lot though – wonder. I often allude in this blog to changes that I made in the last few years, and even though there were specific events that transpired to make me have to change, in hindsight all I really did was pare down my life significantly. I have tried to let go of anything that which did not serve me, be it people, possessions or vibes. The effect has been quite surprising, where I assumed paring down would make my world smaller, it has had the opposite effect in that my life feels bigger. I best describe myself as one who was drowning and who then – by letting go – was able to float to the top to breathe and breathe possibly for the first time in my adult life. This left me lighter, grateful and gift of gifts – in a state of wonder. I mean this in a wondrous wonder way, not the kind of wonder most of us have as we consider how long we must put up with tiny hands oops agent orange oops lord voldemort oops hair force one oops predator in chief oops well you know he who must not be named.

The kind of wonder children do so naturally, the kind of wonder we forget when we become adults bogged down by the minutiae of life and yet, the universe never gives up on us it keeps giving us plenty to wonder about, every single moment of every single day. So happily I give myself over to wonder; be it in the joy on the faces of young orphans as they see themselves reflected back to them on my smart phone or looking up at a magenta sky or in knowing the crossword answer to 2d fifteenth Greek letter when I couldn’t possibly know (it is omicron in case you are wondering) or in an email from a mentoree informing me they got the long sought after job that we worked hard to prepare for or – and I kid you not – as I write this post about wonder hearing ‘I wonder’ by Rodriguez on the radio. 
And just like that the dance of the universe continues.

Sat Nam

And… I have a hot/cold relationship with social media, it starts off as a good idea but at some point I come to question the worthiness of it. Why do we post what we post? It is of course about connection and some about showing off. I know I use it to either be heard or because I feel the need to share something I see but does anyone actually care! I suppose that answer lies in the amount of likes I get. However where I believe social media has triumphed is that it no longer feels like there is six degrees of separation with the folk who are more known than you or I; recently on Twitter I have been followed by Scott Maslen and over on Instagram discussed the plight of Haiti with Caroline Stanbury, Karyn Hay’s new book with Danielle Cormack (to the kiwis old enough to remember yes as in Radio with Pictures’ Karyn Hay), and the fruitlessness in Samuel L. Jackson’s comments about British black actors taking roles off African American actors with Thandie Newton. Through social media the mystery to these famous folk has gone and I think this is good, they are humans like us after all albeit humans with really shiny hair and killer wardrobes but humans all the same.

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a love story

For those old enough – do you remember playing elastics at interval when you were at school? Do you remember the ditty that went along with it? ‘England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, inside, outside, puppy dogs tails.’ This is what went through my mind as I learned of the EU referendum result.

The possibility of this foursome splitting up saddens me.
The chaos that has ensued since the vote was counted saddens me.
Brexit saddens me.

I am a faux Brit. I am a kiwi but I am also a faux Brit, to know me is to know I love all things British. For tis the land where Charlotte Bronte wrote my favourite book, the land where two magnificent queens called Elizabeth have reigned, the land where buildings and bridges tell stories, the land where great plays were written, a land where history is made over and over and over again, the land where all the great Banks congregate to do big business, a land from whence came the likes of Shakespeare, Judi Dench, Malcolm McLaren, Captain James Cook, Alan Turing, David Attenborough, Christopher Hitchens, John Lennon, Margaret Thatcher and my beloved David Bowie, it is a land that likes to tea, it is the land where for a time I got to live in the same city as Madonna, a land of many accents none of which I can do faithfully and it is the land where I found the love of my life.

My sadness for the current discombobulation that has taken over my adopted country is about the themness of the Brits, this is what I fell in love with when I was a youngin in New Zealand singing ‘god save the Queen’ at school assembly or while watching Coronation Street with my grandma or when pouring over Mothercare catalogues my mother would have sent to her. That pulsating heartbeat that beats throughout the land. What I fear most with Brexit is the loss of this feeling – economies adapt, politicians come and go, Europe will survive – but this feeling once altered or lost can never be got back. The Brits must never lose the themness of them, take it from this faux Brit who knows she will never be able to capture it no matter how much she will keep on trying.

Sat Nam

Also… I don’t understand the brouhaha about the new Top Gear, I thought this was a show about cars, why then does it matter who is driving them! If you had the misfortune of interacting with Jeremy Clarkson like I did when we were stuck together receiving treatment by the same specialist you would find him an odious man who thinks a bit too much of himself, he is not a man to be admired #Joey TribbianiCanActuallyDrive ♥ 2016 the year of loss continues. Elie Wiesel has been described by President Obama as “the conscience of the world” which is apt as he helped to develop mine. I read his book Night when I was a teen, in all honestly it is an awful read, gut wrenching in the way a book about life in a concentration camp could only be but reading this seminal work planted the activist seed in me and it continues to burn bright. If you don’t know who Elie Wiesel is please take the time to give this Holocaust survivor the respect of reading his work or at least one of the many obituaries that have been written in recent days. This man mattered. Elie Wiesel you mattered to me. I will end with his words that seem very appropriate for this world we live in today ‘We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’


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this kiwi girl muses about… decision making

I suffer from anxiety.
Its newish.
The residual from some shit that went down a few years ago.
I have gotten used to it.
Maybe too much.

For the most part its manageable. Except when it’s not. I find there is a very fine line between me controlling it and it controlling me. Like when it comes to making decisions. I used to be someone who would just DO, jump right in and think later. It might not sound like the smartest way to be but for the most part it was. Now life has become this myriad of thought processes. I fret about the what ifs. I wrestle with the whys. I ponder the hows. And I hate it. Its crippling and it gets in the way of the DO-ing.

In the last few months my life has been in a state of flux and I have found myself overwhelmed by the decisions that have to be made. I hear you saying ‘but sometimes decisions can be overwhelming for everyone…’ and I feel ya but I’ll raise ya, for my kind of overwhelming manifests into acute chest pain, shortness of breath and nausea and these are symptoms I am okay admitting to, there are others… I can’t be doing with it anymore. I want to get back to being a DOer with this mind here’s what is working for me right now:

Just Dance. When I was a teen my number one stress buster was to dance. I don’t mean ballet or any other professional dance although I did do that, I mean I would close my room door, crank up some tunes and dance my little butt off. As an adult, dancing has been limited to clubs or gigs but I have reintroduced dancing into my life and it just feels so damn good sometimes it’s hard to stop. So once dancing has got me all calm and happy…
I’m starting with the man girl in the mirror. Taking a long hard look at myself, with my objective hat on, I visualise the situation, my role and desired outcome. I hold this vision until I can feel it and then…
It’s the things we didn’t do that we regret later in life. I ask myself will this matter in one week, one month, one year? Will this take me closer or further away from the future I envision. This litmus test always gives me the dose of perspective I need to make the best call but ultimately…
Go with your gut. Before anxiety became my bag, I was very well acquainted with my gut. It’s why I was able to do all the DO-ing. And it is when I stopped listening to it I got myself into all kinds of trouble which resulted in my anxiety. Oh what a tangle web we weave!
Being in an anxious state makes it difficult to see the decision with clarity, so you procrastinate, deflect or ignore making a decision. The gut is the collection of all your subconscious experiences, and it always has your back so if I wanted to get back to being a DOer I had to get reacquainted with my gut. We are still getting to know each other again at this point but when I question why I have been questioning a situation at all… my gut ultimately makes the final decision for me.

Moral of my story – become besties with your gut, listen to it, trust it and follow it.

Sat Nam

Also… Prince. Marvel. Legend. Visionary. Funkmiester. Gone too soon. Another light switched off, I say another with such a heavy heart, this year has been an awful year of loss and its only May. Please stop… my heart can’t take much more. Seeing him perform at Madison Square Garden is one of my favourite gigs – the acoustics, the musicality, the vibe – he had it all going on which is why it royally pisses me off that it looks like he died a drugs related death. This was a man who was vegan, athletic, devout in his faith, principled – that a man who fought so vehemently for creative control over his work should succumb to something so friggin basic! No its not how it should have been, he wasn’t of the same pathetic ilk as Michael or Whitney. It’s all wrong. And yet it’s all true, he is gone, the man named Prince Rogers Nelson. Gone. Be still my heart. Long May He Reign. Nothing Compares.


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this kiwi girl muses about… travelling

laters

I am currently sat amongst a pile of clothes preparing for my next trip wishing vehemently for a packing genie. Even though I have travelled a lot I have still not managed to learn the knack of packing and as such I find it the most laborious task. I do love to travel though, I risk sounding like a cliché but travelling – whether it be alone or with company, for work or pleasure – has bettered my experience of life and I have gained many valuable life skills while traipsing around the globe.

I am fortunate in that I have travelled practically from the moment I was born, that is par for the course when you are Indian with a South African mother and New Zealander for a father and a load of relatives and family friends scattered around the world. I learnt from an early age the need to be flexible and to adapt quickly when travelling; in my time I have endured an unplanned military enforced 48 hour layover (Addis Ababa), had snow cancelling flights (London to Toronto thrice), landed at the wrong airport due to an incorrect booking (Sandefjord instead of Oslo), been abandoned after missing the last train to my hotel after a Madonna concert and ended up spending the night in a railway station which locked its toilet doors through the night (Osaka), missed a flight due to the check in desk having the incorrect ESTA information (London to New York), ended up at the wrong wedding venue (Montreux) and in some very questionable situations (too many cities to mention). Its the nature of the beast with travel and all you can do is trust your gut and hopefully have a laugh about it.

One aspect I love about travelling is immersing myself in the local culture; from a young age my father instilled in me an interest in countries around the world. I could recite the states of America and all the English counties by age 6 as well as being able to state cities and their location on a map of New Zealand. Still today I can list the provinces of Canada, the five great lakes, every country and most of their capitals and political regimes around the world – all remnants from my younger years so I am inherently curious to see how other cultures exist. I have learnt a smile goes a long way as does communication – often there is a lot of hand gesturing, sometimes broken local tongue and sometimes like in the US – you be like ‘I can see your mouth moving, I think you’re speaking English but I have no clue what you are saying,’ but it is always appreciated.

Travelling with the right companion can be a lot of fun but sometimes good friends can turn out to be the worst travel partners as I learnt when I once travelled with a friend to Borneo. Although we did have some fab moments the trip was marred for me by her lack of an opinion – her general attitude was ‘whatever you want to do,’ lack of cultural sensitivity and at times lack of common sense, one time she left our hotel room while I was in the shower taking the room key – the key which only powered the room – leaving me to continue my shower in the dark with cold water. Then there was the first time I went to Bali with uni friends, a trip my girlfriends and I spent months planning each of us looking forward to a relaxing time after an exhausting uni year. Turns out their idea of relaxing was not quite the same as mine for they proceeded to spend our entire holiday pursuing men leaving me to beach, eat, sightsee pretty much on my own.

It wasn’t the girls’ trip we had planned but it turned out to be alright actually for I have realised as much as I love people, I do love my own company and as such travelling alone can be quite fun. I have the freedom to do exactly what I want especially as I tend to not love what everyone else does; take the Mona Lisa for example it was only on my fifth maybe sixth trip to Paris that I ventured to the Louvre. Seeing the da Vinci painting has never been of interest to me, not when there is so much else to do in the City of Light… rambling through Père Lachaise, sitting in cafes people watching, taking in exhibits at the Pompidou Centre, or the street art everywhere or… oh I could go on and on, I mean come on its Paris! I also quite enjoy the confronting situations travelling solo can present as it puts me in the way of new adventures and meeting new people. One of my most memorable nights came about on a work trip to Toronto when I found myself at a sports bar on the night of the Super Bowl (the year the Saints won), by the end of said night – which may or may not have been aided by a lot of beer – I had eaten my first chilli dog, hit a bullseye, danced a top the bar Coyote Ugly-style, learnt how to change a keg, and befriended many patrons and we still keep in touch today. That is the other plus with travelling the best moments happen when you least expect them.

Although… having fallen ill in Moscow, Zanzibar and Toronto, I can faithfully say being sick when travelling is the absolute worst.

Whatever the experience travelling is always an adventure and yet I think the most important lesson I have learnt from my travels is that it doesn’t matter where I travel to or where I call home, I come from a pretty cool corner of the world. This girl may be an abysmal packer but she is most definitely a very proud kiwi.

Sat Nam

Also…   still on the travel theme, one part of the world I have never been interested in exploring is the Middle Eastern region. As beautiful and rich in history it is, as a woman I have only held contempt for that oppressive part of the world but the refugee crisis has opened my mind and my heart to these people. You may have noticed through my previous blog posts that I have no respect for the Saudi Arabian regime. Their treatment of Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nim is abominable. For the life of me it does not compute why the powers that be continue to have so much freedom from western and neighbouring countries when freedom is so little afforded to their own people. Okay I’m not a complete eejit I know there is money, oil, arms deals, sales of other defence equipment, education and prison reform contracts and such like ilk that comes into play at least I am assuming that is why the world has turned a blind eye to the situation the Saudi-lead airstrikes has created in Yemen for the past year. But here’s the bit I do not understand, if you wouldn’t sell arms to Assad in Syria, why is it okay to sell arms to the Saudis? Is Yemen to suffer like Syria has? When does it end? #DutyOfCare #GlobalCitizen #TheyCouldBeUS #WeCouldBeThem ♥ So another Bridget Jones movie is about to be released. One question ‘WHY?’ The second one has the dubious distinction of being the first and so far only movie I have ever walked out of. So I’ll ask again ‘WHY?’ #WantonSexGoddess – pleeeaaassse, excuse me while I puck ♥ In the last few months I have been following The Anonymous Revolutionary a blog by remarkable sixteen year old Max Edwards. In his blog Max wrote on the themes of Marxism, communism, their significance and their relevance today and at times, all of the time actually it was hard to believe it was written by someone so young such was his incite. To think of all this gifted lad could have achieved is heartbreaking for Max died on 26 March of the cancer that had been eating away at him. Though he be gone, his words remain, and you can read them here #MaxEdwardsWasHere #FuckYouCancer ♥ When I heard of The People vs O.J. Simpson I thought ‘WTF!’ Everyone knows the story, we saw it play out for real back in the day. The evidence was clear – he absolutely did it. I even made a bet with a fellow uni friend that he would get convicted, that is how sure I was. Well as history tells us I was wrong. I hadn’t banked on factors like racism nor the manipulation of the law that the defence team were clearly masterful at. It was a sore bet to lose because it was so bittersweet. Two people were murdered. The killer walked free. Yet like a voyeur I did watch the serial and I particularly enjoyed all the wig action STILL it blows that there has been no justice for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman and their loved ones. While I am talking about television I want to give a big up to Black Sails, having just binge-watched all three seasons over Easter. I have always been a bit partial to a pirate tale but this show with its strong plotlines, epic battles, steamy sex scenes and hot pirates (Toby Stephens still yummy after all these years) well it had me at Ahoy, there matey.


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this kiwi girl muses about… being the other woman

I was having lunch with some girlfriends over the weekend talking about my current favourite topic the US presidential campaign and how stranger than fiction it has become. You know what I am saying right? Who would have thought, four months out from selecting a presidential nominee that that xenophobic arse trump would be the leading candidate for the GOP. It is better than any television show out there today, don’t you think?

Anyway there I was having yummy duck pancakes and glass of vino when the conversation moved onto Hillary/Bill and Monica and that milieu. While I stayed silent, for the next ten minutes or so the others proceeded to deride Monica, praise Hillary and ignore the guy that was involved. Then they turned to me, I suppose surprised that someone as opinionated as me had not had my two pence worth. I decided to not say what I really thought, I didn’t think that these smug marrieds would appreciate it.

BUT it has given me pause to think for… I once was the other woman. I am neither proud or ashamed of this. I say this now because it happened and it is a part of my story like Bill is a part of Monica Lewinsky’s. I have absolutely no regret that it happened, it changed my life forever and for that I will be eternally grateful.

My situation was similar to Monica’s in that I was in my 20s,  he was considerably older, essentially my boss (indirectly), and it started as a meeting of minds. It was through our conversations I fell for him (its all true, intelligence and power are complete turn ons). You don’t choose who you fall in love with, maybe initially but the actual act of falling in love has the ability to render one completely useless to logic and judgement. Certainly for me, I remember some perfunctory guilt in the beginning especially as there were partners (on both sides) and children (on his). I would keep repeating to myself (and to him) ‘there are kids’ ‘what the hell are we doing’ ‘is this wrong’ but once lust and wanting took over there was no turning back.

For what it was, during what it was I was happy and it never felt wrong but it wasn’t all rosy, when you get caught up in an affair there is a lot of subterfuge involved; the continuous lying not just with partners even with friends, plans being cancelled at the last minute, meeting up in hotel rooms is saucy for the first few times then its just not, and it also never felt long term. I knew it was an affair and I knew it would end. When it did end, it hurt by god did it hurt, I had fallen really hard and it took me a long long time to get over him but I am so happy I went there in the first place.

I believe in life if we are lucky we will meet people who will change our lives forever in a good way and this man – my lover (I love saying that) – was one such person. Our time together served its purpose in that it felt like I grew from being girl to a woman; it left me sexually empowered, confidant of my body and helped me to get clear on what kind of man I wanted to end up with. And I did care for him deeply. We are no longer in touch but I still wonder every now and then how he is. So definitely no regrets just fond memories.

Monica doesn’t get the luxury of this. She said once ‘I fell in love with my boss’ I wonder if she can still recall that love when she thinks back to that time. When TED published her talk ‘The Price of Shame’ last year the comments they received were the most negative they had ever got; Monica was called a slut, a whore, her character attacked as well as her appearance, her choices, her right to live even, people made crude jokes about sucking dick and wrote that she deserved the shaming. This to me is very telling of what the last nearly twenty years of Monica’s life has been like. She has been a bum note every time someone mentions Bill Clinton. He has gone on to live his exemplary life, she has struggled and I think it sad and wrong. I don’t appreciate my girlfriends judging her nor Hillary completely writing her off by calling her ‘a narcissistic loony.’ I would have more respect for Hillary if she were to show some kindness towards Monica and apologise for those comments – women knocking other women is just ugly. Coincidentally as this goes to be published it has occurred to me that it is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievement of women; we have enough to fight for don’t we? We need to be lifting each other up – supporting the sisterhood not turning on each other.

I am not excusing what Monica and Bill did. I recognise cheating, having an affair is wrong in principle but having been in that situation all I absolutely know for certain is nothing is black and white and you cannot judge someone until you walk in their shoes. To my smug married girlfriends who read this, this is just my two pence worth that’s all.

Sat Nam

Also in the news: I want to riff on the US elections a little bit more to say even though I am a socialist at heart and commend the Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyns of this world for raising very important issues, in this very confusing time I am also a realist, that is why Hillary is my girl. Jane Fonda said of Hillary ‘She has always cared. She has always tried to make her life better.’ I like this sentiment. The world needs this sentiment. Not the dysfunction the Republicans bring. The rise of trump was funny at first, then – because I am a liberal – it was strategic now it’s just fucking scary. This guy doesn’t care about the white blue collar worker who votes for him, he doesn’t care about the people in Flint, Michigan having access to clean water, he doesn’t care about planned parenthood initiatives and he certainly doesn’t care about faraway wars. He doesn’t care, his ego is through the roof right now, all he wants to be able to say is he won, he is the President of the United States but then what? We would all be fucked that’s what. Well luckily we have Hillary to prove her version of LOVE can and will beat trump’s version of hate #LoveAlwaysWins #Hillary16 #ImWithHer ♥ Nine long years I have longed to be able to say this – I am going back to Stars Hollow, thank you thank you thank you dear Netflix gods. My favourite show ever ever ever Gilmore Girls is coming back for four more episodes this year. First it was Twin Peaks, now this I’m about fit to bursting and to return the same year Hillary is running for President is just precious. I won’t be surprised if Rory has some hard core White House credentials by now and it makes sense she would want to be involved in Hillary’s campaign. Any which way they come I am so ready to consume the quick snappy banter of my favourite mother and daughter duo all over again #GilmoreGirls #NetflixAndChill ♥ In my volunteer work as a mentor I meet refugees, under my remit I don’t always get to know their stories but occasionally where appropriate some have opened up about their ordeal. Their opinions seem to matter so little as the bureaucrats of this world tug the problem out, but they have an incite which should be considered. I have long been concerned about the children caught up in this, especially the unaccompanied – they need clothing, education, guidance and love and they need it now before they become prey to traffickers and before the psychological damage they have already suffered gets worse  and what angers me is that there is a solution as told to me by one of my mentorees – many of these children have families they can go live with. For example in the migrant camp in Calais approximately 150 children in the camp have a legal right to reunite with their families in the UK. Why aren’t governments approving their passage and making this possible! With the crisis being as enormous as it is – surely it makes sense to fix the fixable immediately #RefugeeCrisis #WeAreAllRefugees ♥ There have been such loving tributes to David since he passed: Iggy Pop at Carnegie Hall, Gary Oldman and Ewan McGregor at The Roxy in LA, Madonna in Houston, Bruce Springsteen in Pittsburgh, Sinéad O’Connor in Chicago and the BRITs. All reverent in their own way, all a poignant reminder of how extraordinary he was; two months and he is everywhere still, the universal lovefest is nirvana for my soul. I hope you know you are so absolutely loved #DavidFuckingBowie I think you know.

 


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good bones, needs work

I consider myself a fixer upper – good bones, needs work but potential to make magnificent if done right and that is why I am happily on my spiritual journey and as such very much a student, open to anything and everything but lately I’ve become deeply disappointed with my teacher (my spiritual guide), the one who in the past few years I’ve relied on to help me change my life. She’s introduced me to Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga and guided me through A Course in Miracles, so you can see then how this about face would have me in a state of bother.

The self help market is saturated with well intentional spiritual teachers, life coaches, gurus whatever they call themselves and I recognise they have a right to earn a living so I am comfortable with their message parlaying into a sell – book, course, talk, app, tarot cards, t-shirts and the ilk but what happens when the scale begins to tip more and more in favour of the person than their ideology – when that monster called fame takes over?

We live in a world where we adulate nobodies who seek fame by sharing their sex tapes online, we give them ‘celebrity’ status and they go on to have television shows created for them heightening their fame into the stratosphere. This idea of celebrity comes about because of our perception and embrace of an individual and as much as I might loathe everything about it, I understand it is not on the vapid person who released their sex tape but on their following that has elevated them from a lay person to a celebrity and it’s everywhere not just the domain of Hollywood folk and rockstars. I once spent a weekend with my guru and I saw how fanatical people got, practically elevating him into god status; hell I myself have been preaching at the altar of Madonna for the last 32 years and yes fanatical is a word I’ve had bandied about when it comes to me and her but in both examples it is on me or others not on the person being emulated.

That anyone can be a celebrity I get, here’s my problem with my teacher, that’s not who she was about and it’s not what I bought into. When I first discovered her, it was soon after she had written her first book which highlighted her journey from addiction (drugs, work and codependency) to self help book author, her message was authentic because it was from the heart. She was committed to guiding people through their spiritual bottom back to the light and magnificence within because she had been there herself. Fast forward to now – do I need to know what she is wearing out on date night with her husband? Or what paint colours she is debating on for her living room walls? How many selfies with Oprah does one need to share? And enough of the holiday pics already, I get bored looking at holiday snaps of people I actually know – why on earth would I want to see yet another shot of you in a bikini – how is that contributing to my spiritual journey? It reeks of narcissism and haven’t you been teaching me to transcend the ego.

Enough already. I’ve reached the tipping point. Drastic action required – I have blanked her. I have shelved her books (they usually sat on my bedside table), unfollowed her on social media, unsubscribed her emails, deleted her app and I decided against attending her workshop this year. It’s sad to me that someone in the role of a teacher should have turned out to be such a disappointment, reminds me of my school teachers – the ones that weren’t any good – I have always wondered why they bothered to become teachers if they weren’t interested in teaching. It’s such an important job. I wonder if she even realises how she be might be perceived now. Would she even care! Is her fifteen minutes worth it? You will have noticed I haven’t mentioned her name, it was intentional for whilst it feels right to do this detox right now, I still believe in her message and she has a way of communicating that makes me listen and motivates me to action so I hold high hopes to reconnect with her again someday and anyway as she taught me to name and shame would be the ego speaking and that’s just not what I am about.

Sat Nam

Also this week: It’s no surprise that the refugee crisis is a very contentious issue, people I have spoken to tend to get very animated when discussing whether they think their country is doing too much or too little, or even whether it is their problem to deal with and everyone is entitled to their opinions BUT this crisis is not something you will hear in the news for a while and then will just magically go away. I don’t know the right solution but I think it just plain wrong this has become a problem for democratic nations to fix whilst neighbouring countries stay stum, and while they do nothing – someone has to do something. A lot of someones. #DoSomething #RefugeeCrisis #YouDon’tHaveToLiveLikeARefugee • Speaking of neighbouring countries, as I write in Saudi the execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is imminent. Ali was arrested in 2012 for his participation in Arab Spring protests when he was just a child. I live in a country where I have free will to express myself; the Arab Spring protests were pro-democracy, people expressing their wish to have that same free will I enjoy everyday. Ali is to be killed by beheading and crucifixion. In this day and age forget about how no one has a right to take the life of another human being NO ONE forget that for second – beheaded and crucified – how fucked up is that! And these barbarians who make these decisions are the same people that litter the hotel foyers in Beverly Hills, the same people whose fancy cars are seen outside Harrods but I guess that’s okay because oil is more important than the life of a human being #ThisIsNotRight #EveryLifeMatters • On a much more happier note loving having Kathy back on the Square on Eastenders, best comeback of the year #IanGotHisMammaBack • And that Dem debate – or as I like to call it the Sanders/Clinton show – now that’s how you debate with clarity, substance and grace – GOP hope you were taking notes. Hillary proved yet again why she is the right person for the job, I just love hearing that woman talk. Intelligence is sexy #EnoughAboutThoseBloodyEmails #Hillary16 • And last but not least, how about that game on Saturday! My first game of this tournament and what a game to witness. This kiwi girl was screaming, crying and just so so so proud. I’ve started to dream about the doable. Bring on the saffas – sorry to my SA family I love you long time but we are gonna kick your arse and it’s going to be so lekker #RWC15 #AllBlackEverything


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flamingoes

flamingo

I’m a sucker for a questionnaire, not the EDF Energy/Vodafone ‘how may we improve our service’ variety, I’m more about the ‘let’s talk about you’ ones. I love them so much that a few years back a good friend who lives in LA sent me one for my birthday, with a message that read ‘You’re a such a fussy bitch to shop for, I have no idea what to get you for your birthday, but I know you will get a kick out of this,’ and she was right; and now come every November it has become tradition for her to send me a questionnaire. What can I say; for some it’s a Hermès bangle for me its a questionnaire… actually on second thoughts I’ll take the bangle as well as the questionnaire 😉

I don’t really know what it is about them I love exactly, maybe the self evaluate element or the distraction they provide or just that they are a bit of a laugh; what I do know for sure is it that ever since I found out the flamingo is my spirit animal I see them everywhere. Like everywhere – street art, posters, on a cocktail glass, social media, clothing, on Eastenders and I’m not one for coincidences!

Anyways I’ll ponder over the significance of these sightings another time. The following came into my inbox recently and it took me right back, to years ago when I used to watch a show called Inside the Actors Studio during which these questions were asked by host James Lipton to the guest towards the end of the show and without fail every time I watched an episode I would rattle off my own answers as if I was being interviewed, kind of not surprising seeing as I love a questionnaire but kind of reductive seeing as my answers pretty much stayed the same every time. So ten years later these are my answers to the Pivot Questionnaire today:

  1. What is your favourite word? Grace, it is what I seek in others and it is what I expect of myself.
  2. What is your least favourite word? Nice, when there are so many beautiful words available in the English language why would you ever settle for the most unimaginative of them all.
  3. What turns you on? Rambunctious laughter. 
  4. What turns you off? Meanness.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of someone I love breathing.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of my own voice when I’m on a rant.
  7. What is your favourite curse word? It would have to be fuck, I say fuck me a lot. Fuck is a great word. Versatile. To the point.  
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Musician – either the piano or saxophone.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything in the military and anything that knowingly makes it okay to kill another person.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? ‘You done good, you’re my favourite’

Now over to you, have a go at answering them yourself and enjoy the distraction (feel free to share in comments).

Sat Nam


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club tropicana

clubtropicana
A few posts back I mentioned Desert Island Discs and since then I’ve been asked either one of two questions; what did I mean by Desert Island Discs or what would my selection be, so…

Desert Island Discs is a radio programme that is on air on BBC Radio 4, on which the featured guest is asked to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that they would take if they were to be cast away on a desert island.
Now you know what it is, onto my selection but first you need to know it will be a cold day in hell before this could ever be a reality. Club tropicana it definitely would not be and I’m not someone who would survive that kind of situation on account of –
*MOSQUITOS and creepy crawlies in general and
*I do not like being out in the sun (sensitive skin) and
*I have no survivor skills; I was never a girl guide, never managed to stay motivated enough to finish the Duke of Edinburgh award, and have never been able to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together (and actually if your name is not Bear Grylls is that even really possible?)

But in a parallel universe where anything is possible these would be my choices.
eight pieces of music
In choosing these songs I thought about the best case scenario of being on a desert island (like there is one!) and I figure if I was to try survive it I would need to stay positive and motivated so I chose these songs for the happy vibe they give me; and then because my shortlist came to over 50 songs, to help narrow them down further I opted for their theatricality, because if I’m going to be alone on a desert island you can be sure I will be channelling my inner rock goddess, singing to my heart’s content with no fear of anyone telling me to shut up or threatening to kill me (thanks bro, still haunted by what you did to my favourite Madonna poster all those years ago!)
♣Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. I couldn’t survive without bringing a little Mac with me, and I imagine I’ll be doing a lot of dreaming on this island so this song seems appropriate.
♣Cruisin by Smokey Robinson. Every time I hear this I find myself in a duet with Smokey.
♣Sound and Vision by David Bowie. Click here to read why.
♣Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot by Puccini sang by Luciano Pavarotti. Have to have some opera on the island to keep things a bit civilised; although this isn’t my absolute favourite opera, it’s the one I feel I can do the best impression of.
♣Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush. Such a sexy song. I like the idea of prancing around to this.
♣Because the Night by Patti Smith. If I could go back in time my era of choice would be New York in the late 70s/early 80s – the years before AIDS; I’d dance at Studio 54, be photographed nude by Robert Mapplethorpe, hangout with Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and a not yet known Madonna and watch legends like Blondie, Talking Heads and Patti Smith perform at CBGB. This song is all about dirty sex for me, so if I’m not getting laid I might as well have something with me to remind me how good it feels.
♣Happy by Pharrell Williams. The title says it all plus one and half years on and I’m not the slightest bit over it.
♣Into the Groove by Madonna. What? Did you really think I would get myself deserted on some island without her? She’s been with me since I was ten years old, I’m not about to be without her now. Click here to read why this song still does it for me.
Castaway favourite: If all my music were to be stolen by a monkey and I could only save one disc it would be Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. The Mac are always my go to when I’m feeling happy or when I’m feeling blue or just cos.

a book (you are automatically given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and depending on your preference an appropriate religious or philosophical work).
It’s a tossup between
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Pros: It’s my favourite book, and who knows how long I am being cast away for so it has to be something I never tire of and I already read this at least once a year so it’s got staying power. And what a great role model for someone trying to survive on a desert island; Jane survived an unkind aunt, Lowood Institution, the Moors and a crazy woman. Cons: None. It’s my favourite book.
The Oxford English Dictionary. Pros: Firstly being cast away is no reason to be a dunce and secondly I’m a word geek and take great pleasure in reading the dictionary. Currently I’m working my way through words beginning tri (yes I’m ace at Scrabble, if anyone wants to Words with Friends with me my handle is Ree2311).
Cons: I maybe a word geek but it is a bit geeky to take a dictionary.
and the winner is… neither I’m not stupid, I’ll take a How to Survive on a Desert Island for Dummies guide along with my Shakespeare and Bible.

luxury item (it can’t be a living thing or be of use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside)
I did consider notebooks and pencils so I could continue with my musings but I have chosen a more practical item -> a bath with a supply of fresh water for it has multiple uses. It can be used for shelter, to sleep in, to store water and of course to bathe in.

Alrighty that’s me ready to cast away, now over to you.

Sat Nam


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i’ll be a rock & rollin’ b*tch for you

magic

After a recent conversation with a relative about her wee ones going to their first concert (1D who else!) I got to thinking about the younger me; the me who compiled the above list on the back page of her address book when she was 17 (got to love the ‘before I die,‘ I was so made for reality tv). I’ve been thinking about the passion that girl had for music, how she would lay in bed imaging being in the crowd watching Bruce Springsteen perform on the back of the Born in the U.S.A. album and being at the final Wham concert at Wembley. How although she had had only little concert experience, she knew she would get through that list and then some.

‘Without music life would be a mistake.’~Friedrich Nietzsche

I am fortunate my dreams came true and I have seen a great many artists in my time, including those on the aforementioned list save for T. Rex (on account of Marc Bolan no longer being with us) and David Bowie. Yet when I think of those artists on the list I’m thinking of them in their heyday and that’s really who the 17 year old me wanted to see. Some rockers stand the test of time, take the Rolling Stones still touring every few years, still selling out stadiums around the world to pretty much the same setlist; their formula works for them and their fans alike. Subsequently there are those acts who seldom tour like Barbra Streisand and George Michael but when they do, still give their fans the experience they want; both examples proving time doesn’t matter.

Until it does… I’ve seen Madonna many many times and I will be seeing her again later this year on her new tour but I never saw her on her Blond Ambition tour (1990) and that to me remains her best NOR did I get to see Spandau Ballet with all five original members, ditto Duran Duran AND I have loved seeing Stevie Nicks perform many times both on her own and with the Mac but I still have a hankering to hear her sing before the drugs made it impossible for her to hit the high notes. Then there is David Bowie…

‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.’~David Bowie

I’ve written about my love for Mr David Jones before, he’s one of my dream dinner party guests. I find him sexy as hell, I like the movie choices he has made (I used to have Labyrinth on dvd until I lent it out to a friend and by lent I mean she totally stole it!) l thought his appearance in Twin Peaks made perfect sense BUT mostly I love the conceptual artist he is and so to see him live has always been an ambition of mine; but it is as my favourite incarnations of him that I truly want to see – Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, Pierrot and even Jareth the Goblin King – not as an ageing rocker. Although let me be clear if he ever does plan to perform I will ensure I am present, front and centre wherever in the world it may be.

But I’m not holding my breath, as the years get on it is looking increasingly likely that I need to be content with my memories – a weekend way back when in pajamas with one of my closest friends watching some of his movies back to back then dancing to our favourite songs… bumping into Iman in the ladies at the Dorchester and the beautiful lady smiling at me (seriously she is so so beautiful, her skin is luminous)… coming second in Mastermind (work function for charity) specialised subject David Bowie (and may it be known I only lost by one point)… seeing the David Bowie retrospective at the V&A – AND his music, and what music! When I think of his body of work I think it might just be okay to not see him perform live for he has gifted me (and you) so much already.

‘I had to resign myself, many years ago, that I’m not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does.’~David Bowie

Some of the favourites:
Modern Love/Lets Dance This was my intro to DB – in the 80s and these tracks are so of the 80s and I happen to love 80s music. It wasn’t until years later I would learn that these were produced by Nile Rogers in doing so making total sense to why I found them infectious and ‘makes me party.’ Nile Rogers has a distinct sound that is to my styling I could never be disappointed by Nile.

Sound and Vision What I love about this song is the lengthy guitar and synthesizer instrumental at the beginning, and how his dulcet voice blends with the music. This one would be one of my desert island discs.

The Man who sold the World I first heard the Nirvana version which in itself is bizarre for I am not a fan (I think it must have been on MTV or VH1) and it was out of a conversation about how this one song might be their one redeeming factor that I learnt that it was a cover of a DB track. The DB version is much much better (but then again I would say that). The instrumental is brooding and if not a little strange but I love it.

Heroes The perfect anthem song. Inspirational in both the English and the German versions.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars I had to include the entire album not because I love every track but because the album is a story and to understand the character of Ziggy and lyrics of the songs like Moonage Daydream you need to hear it intact. There so many standout songs; the already mentioned Moonage Daydream with it’s fabulous first line ‘I’m an alligator,’ Starman, Suffragette City, Five Years and eponymous Ziggy Stardust. I’m not surprised that DB originally entertained thoughts of this album being a soundtrack to a musical or movie, the theatricality is evident throughout. Great album.

I think I will end there as what started out as a bit of fun has turned a bit Sophie’s Choice for me. I keep thinking what about what about… what about what a true genius he is! It really does warm my heart knowing I live in the same world as David Bowie.  #Bowiesuperfan

Sat Nam

 

 


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this kiwi girl muses about… being a kiwi girl

thiskiwigirl
I became a kiwi girl abroad when I left New Zealand at 23 years of age. I can still remember the smile across my face as I made myself comfortable in my window seat on the Air New Zealand flight bound for Sydney, that smile said everything my heart felt; looking back I liken it to the same feeling I’m assuming one gets when they are released from jail.

For as long as I can remember I did not want to be in New Zealand, not because I was unhappy because that definitely was not the case. Its just I never felt like a New Zealander in my heart. It was born out of the idea that I saw myself as a citizen of a global community and being in the arse end of the world left me feeling isolated. As a result I grew up cringing all things kiwi; the accent, kiwi-isms, music, rugby in fact I was so unpatriotic that I would root for any country that played New Zealand in any sport even if that other country was Australia (mea culpa!)

It wasn’t until I had had a lot of distance, experienced some of what the world has to offer and heard how highly New Zealand is regarded on the global stage that I started to feel a stirring in my heart for my home country. That stirring that turned to pride was first felt when I went to my first All Blacks game and started blubbering when I heard the national anthem, so much so I couldn’t even sing it. Now it’s just part of what makes me ME, as is unfortunately the on cue crying that happens every time I hear ‘God Defend New Zealand.’

So I am a kiwi and that’s not easy to define to the unversed as I found last year when I was on a course in Singapore. I had befriended a young lady and during the time we spent together I think I must have been throwing the word ‘kiwi’ into the conversation quite a bit because she eventually asked ‘what makes a kiwi different?’ We were already acquainted with each other at this point, I knew she grew up in rural China and she knew I was from New Zealand so her question wasn’t about origin it was quite literally ‘what makes a kiwi different?’ I was stumped, I couldn’t articulate how being a kiwi was different from being from another part of the world other than the obvious geographical distinction. The only thing I knew in that moment was that after spending the first thirty or so years of my life slating the country, I felt it my duty to say something profound so after some quick thinking this was my answer…

“It’s not that we are different, we are all human after all, it is about the feeling one gets when one enters kiwi soil. Say you were to go around the world and take all the best bits of the people you meet… that’s a kiwi… they have generosity of spirit, laid-back no nonsense attitude, warm friendliness, great sense of humour which includes the ability to laugh at themselves, they are loyal to the core, creative, adventurous  and they are very natural people and you see this everywhere from the kia ora you get from the customs officer at the airport to the smiles you get from strangers you meet, strangers who more often than not become new friends.”

I know not exactly profound but definitely heartfelt and I must have done an alright sell because she recently told me she is booked to holiday in New Zealand later this year. Tourism New Zealand has got nothing on me. It’s true you know that old adage… you can take the girl out of the country New Zealand, but you can’t take the country New Zealand out of the girl and although I do still feel I am a global citizen, I do love my little corner of the world (barring the accent, I will NEVER love that) #veryproudkiwi

“Men love their country, not because it is great, but because it is their own.”~ Seneca the Younger

 

Sat Nam