The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas

Hi! If you like this song, you may also like my version of Aussie Jingle Bells.

This is my Aussie take on a Christmas classic. Hope you enjoy it! 😉

Surfing Santa

On the first day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
A kookaburra in a gum tree

On the second day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the third day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the fourth day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the fifth day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Five Russell Crowes
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the sixth day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Six kangaroos a-hopping
Five Russell Crowes
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the seventh day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Seven koalas a-sleeping
Six kangaroos a-hopping
Five Russell Crowes
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the eighth day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Eight emus a-running
Seven koalas a-sleeping
Six kangaroos a-hopping
Five Russell Crowes
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the ninth day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Nine sharks a-biting
Eight emus a-running
Seven koalas a-sleeping
Six kangaroos a-hopping
Five Russell Crowes
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the tenth day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Ten echidnas a-digging
Nine sharks a-biting
Eight emus a-running
Seven koalas a-sleeping
Six kangaroos a-hopping
Five Russell Crowes
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Eleven possums a-playing
Ten echidnas a-digging
Nine sharks a-biting
Eight emus a-running
Seven koalas a-sleeping
Six kangaroos a-hopping
Five Russell Crowes
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My good mate sent to me
Twelve wombats a-wambling
Eleven possums a-playing
Ten echidnas a-digging
Nine sharks a-biting
Eight emus a-running
Seven koalas a-sleeping
Six kangaroos a-hopping
Five Russell Crowes
Four cockatoos
Three black swans
Two platypuses
And a kookaburra in a gum tree!

A Piece of History

Barack & Michelle Obama

I was five years old when the Berlin Wall fell. I have few memories of it happening but I do remember some of the scenes; the crowds flooding the checkpoints, the sections finally coming down. I’ve often wondered what it must have felt like at the time, to watch history unfold.

Now I think I know.

Seeing Barack Obama win yesterday is something I will always remember. If you had asked me a year ago if I thought Obama could be elected President of the United States, I would have said no. There were too many divisions; too many obstacles to overcome. And then it happened; Obama won.

I know the election of one man changes little; there is still racism and bigotry in the world and perhaps there always will be. But it’s a step forward and what it means for African Americans and minorities around the world is something words cannot truly describe… it’s the culmination of a dream and just like the Berlin Wall, it’s a moment that will live forever.

For Australia it brings the promise that perhaps things can change here as well. I have long hoped that one day we will have come far enough to have an Aboriginal Prime Minister, that immigrants and minorities will be more readily accepted and the divisions that caused the Cronulla Riots will be healed.

Today that hope doesn’t seem as far away.

I don’t know what kind of president Obama will be but I know this moment is one I will always remember; the scenes in Chicago, the tears at rallies and on the streets. It’s a piece of history. I feel privileged to have watched it unfold.

Quotes for the Weekend

swans

Don’t you love a good quote? I know I do. I have several books of quotations and I’m always reading them. I use quotes with my writing and whenever I need inspiration, there’s always a gem waiting to be found.

With the US election and the state of the economy, I thought it seemed like a good time to post some of my favourite quotes. Somehow I think we’ll learn more by looking at history than by listening to Joe the Plumber.

Hope you enjoy them. Do you have a favourite quote to share? 😉

* * * * * *

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.
~ Isaac Asimov

I have no romantic feelings about age. Either you are interesting at any age or you are not. There is nothing particularly interesting about being old — or being young, for that matter.
~ Katharine Hepburn

Economic growth without social progress lets the great majority of people remain in poverty, while a privileged few reap the benefits of rising abundance.
~ John F. Kennedy

You know what I like best about looking at the stars? Not the stars themselves, but all those empty spaces between the stars… that’s where I can imagine infinity.
~ T.A. Barron

The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.
~ Anaïs Nin

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life.
~ Henry Ford

The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.
~ Carl Rowan

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow; Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead; Walk beside me, and just be my friend.
~ Albert Camus

Where they make a desert, they call it peace.
~ Tacitus

An Update and a Quiz

music quiz

What Does Your Taste in Music Say About You?

This is just a quick update as it’s been a while since my last post. I’m still here but I haven’t felt up to blogging recently; I’ve been ill for several weeks and I’m still finding my routine again. I’m looking forward to posting again, though; should have a few new posts finished next week.

On the plus side I’ve had some time to think about my writing. I’ve reached a stalemate with several works and I’ve decided to set them aside for now to explore other ideas. I’ve been working on an early draft of a novel and I want to give that more attention. It’s a social thriller and very different to my other works. Hopefully it will turn out well.

I’m also planning several short stories to finish before the end of the year. I enjoy short fiction; there’s a real art to writing it. Some of my ideas are a little ambitious but I’m looking forward to the challenge… if you don’t want to push yourself, what’s the point of being a writer?

Anyway, I’ll get back to blogging more next week, but in the meantime who’s up for a quiz? I found this one earlier and thought it was fun. My result’s not bad; I enjoy a wide range of music, although I drift toward indie and alternative bands. Not sure about the financially well-off bit, though; I always thought I’d live in poverty, die at 38, and be published after my death. 🙂

I thought I’d post one of my favourite songs as well, to go with the quiz. This is Henry Lee by Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, a retelling of Young Hunting. Their relationship ended after this as well, which makes it very haunting.

The Next Day (September 12)

010914-N-1350W-005

Images from Wikimedia Commons

The next day of life:
Sorrow rising with the sun
A broken heart mourns

Memories of you:
A kiss under candlelight
Our daughter’s first smile

Clothes in the closet
Sleeping in an empty bed:
An intense longing

Faces on billboards
Flags unmoving in the breeze:
Two towers, falling

One among thousands
Lying in a smoky grave:
Irreplaceable

A river of dreams:
Thoughts of a different life
I shall not forget

Our children playing:
Moments of laughter and joy
Love lasts forever

Rain striking windows
Sunset on the horizon:
Life begins again

Licenced under a Creative Commons Licence


 

I almost can’t believe it has been seven years since 9/11. It’s gone so quickly; the memories and emotions are still so raw. And yet so much has happened in the seven years. It feels like a different world now; less innocent and sure of itself. That one moment changed so much.

I still remember it so clearly. My parents told me there had been an explosion at the World Trade Center; I came through to watch just as the second plane struck. For hours we just sat there, feeling helpless and numb. My thoughts went to my friends in America and while they were okay, it seemed like everyone knew someone who had been affected by the attacks.

What I remember most about 9/11 is actually the following day, September 12. As it happened during our night there wasn’t much information available until the 12th our time. All during that day, wherever you went, people were stunned. That an attack like 9/11 might happen somewhere had always been a grim possibility but the extent was beyond anyone’s worst fears.

As time passed we heard about the signs people missed but I try not to think about them too much. I don’t think anything could have stopped 9/11; contained the damage, perhaps, but not stopped it. While knowing where the agencies and bureaucracy went wrong is important, it’s easy to focus on that so much that we forget the human impact as well.

Almost 3000 people died on 9/11 but it means so much more than that… the husbands and wives who never went home, the fire fighters and police officers who gave their lives. I can’t imagine what it must be like, to live with the grief the families must still feel… to watch your child grow up without their mother or father. It must be heart-breaking.

I started to write this poem for last year’s anniversary but it was never quite what I wanted it to be. I’m happier with it now; I decided to post it on the 12th instead as it’s about the day after the attacks and learning to live with the grief. I hope it is a respectful tribute to the people who died and their families. May we never forget them.

The Books That Changed My Life (part two)

I’m happy to announce I’ve just passed a small milestone. This post marks my 200th post! About time, eh? 🙂 While I know it’s not that many posts, considering I wasn’t sure if I would continue blogging that long ago reaching 200 posts is something I’m quite pleased with.

I’ve known the 200 was coming for some time and it seemed like a good time to change my blog as well. I’m now self-hosted. After several experiences on WordPress, I felt it was time for a change; I have less time for blogging and this way I can enjoy writing at my own pace. I’m looking at it as a chance to explore some new ideas, so I hope you enjoy the journey with me.

I wanted to do a special post for my 200th and decided to save the second part of my books project for the occasion. I’m quite happy with how it’s turned out so far. It’s been fun revisiting these books again.

This second part is more about the books that have shaped my philosophy. There’ll be one last part to end the series next week, a profile of the three books that have had the biggest impact on my life. Let me know if you’ve read any of them. I wonder which books have changed your life?  😉

American Pastoral by Philip Roth
American Pastoral is one of those novels that leaves you reeling. On the surface it’s about two parents whose idyllic life is destroyed when their daughter sets off a bomb to protest the Vietnam War. But beneath that Roth examines the morality of objectivism (Merry becomes a Jain, concerned about murdering germs while oblivious to the deaths she caused) and the bond between fathers and daughters. Swede’s world falls apart and Pastoral left me wondering how far we’ve really come in 40 years. Which is Roth’s point.

The Speaking Land by Ronald and Catherine Berndt
I’ve been interested in Aboriginal mythology since I was young, particularly the stories of The Dreaming and the Rainbow Serpent. Aboriginal culture dates back over 50,000 years and The Speaking Land is the best collection I’ve read; it gives a real sense of the beliefs behind the myths, the reverence Aboriginal people have for the land and the spirit. It showed me an Australia I didn’t know, one I wish more people could see.

God Said, Ha! by Julia Sweeney
God Said, Ha! is remarkable in that it deals with big issues like cancer and death in an honest way and never feels depressing. In the mid 90s Julia Sweeney had just begun to look forward to a new life, but then her brother was diagnosed with cancer. As she started to care for him her parents moved in – and then Sweeney was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It’s a sad memoir and yet incredibly funny and insightful. It shows how laughter can get us through even the most difficult of times.

Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
I first read Nietzsche in high school but didn’t try again until a few years ago. As a critique of society Beyond Good and Evil is still relevant but it’s Nietzsche’s development of the “will to power” I find interesting. It’s often interpreted as violent (or fascistic) but that wasn’t what Nietzsche meant; rather it’s about overcoming individual weakness, explaining the motivations of individuals and societies and their actions. It’s one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read and has influenced my writing many times.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
I first read Kafka at about the same time as Nietzsche and I loved the absurdity of Metamorphosis. The idea of waking up one day as a giant insect makes the story so surreal but also very human. Kafka is less interested in the science of the transformation than in how Gregor tries to adjust to his new life. In the end it’s a very sad, tragic story, and yet darkly funny. Which makes its critique of society and our loss of humanity all the more poignant.

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
Childhood’s End was one of the first SF books I read. It’s about an alien race that suddenly appears on Earth, promising to help humans reach their full potential; and yet reaching that potential means losing everything that makes us who we are. Clarke uses the story to explore the idea of utopia and what the loss of inspiration means for society. The depth of ideas in the novel is staggering and it leaves you both a little wiser and sadder for having read it.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I didn’t like The Handmaid’s Tale the first time I read it; I was too young but I was stunned when I reread it. It’s a moral fable, a warning against the dangers of totalitarianism, and it has a feel of history to it that makes it all the more troubling. Set in an America where women are property and the Handmaids’ only role is to have children, Handmaid is eerie when you think about the role of women in some countries. Atwood’s other novel Oryx & Crake is almost as powerful.

Animal Farm by George Orwell
It’s hard to decide which is the better novel between Animal Farm and1984 but Animal Farm, with its complete disdain of power and those who abuse it, has always left more of an impact on me. As a novel critiquing social and political power it’s unparalleled, but also in the way it continues to raise concerns about the way we exploit animals and their conditions. In the end it’s a pessimistic novel but it’s ironic as well that by turning Stalin and Trotsky into animals, Orwell actually succeeds in making them more human.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Of all of Hemingway’s works it’s The Old Man and the Sea that I’ve always related to the most. It’s exquisitely written and such a simple idea, a battle of wills between an old man and a marlin… yet it’s so much more than that. It represents the maturity of Hemingway and his writing; how rather than have Sargasso return victorious as a young Hemingway might have written, instead he returns with no more than a skeleton. It’s a lesson about life and courage and I’ve learned more about writing from Hemingway than any writer.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Like Childhood, The Left Hand of Darkness was one of the first SF books I read. The story revolves around Genly as he tries to convince the inhabitants of Winter to join the Ekumen, but it’s really about gender and friendship. The Gethenians are hermaphroditic and the friendship between Genly and Estraven forms the heart of the novel. Darkness was one of the first SF novels to create a world convincingly, with believable characters. It influenced much of my early writing and still does today.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger had a huge impact in the 1960s, introducing “grok” to the English language. It follows Mike Smith, who is raised by Martians after a failed mission to Mars. When he returns to Earth and learns about humans, Mike begins to spread his Martian philosophy, forming his own church, causing others to begin to see him as dangerous. Stranger is a brilliant idea-driven novel and one of the few SF novels that’s genuinely literate; reading it is like getting a high of ideas and the scope of the novel is breathtaking. It’s the kind of novel I’d love to write one day.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White
I’ve always enjoyed old myths and my favourite myth is the legend of King Arthur. When I first read White’s version what struck me about it was the tone; it starts playfully but by the end it’s mirthless. Yet that’s what makes it so strong. White uses the legend as an allegory for World War II, filling it with the realities of war and an examination of communism and socialism. It’s as much about human nature as chivalry, Arthur struggling to find a philosophy that fits his (and our) world. It’s a sad, beautiful novel, one I reread regularly.

Do we rely too heavily on technology?

GPS Locator Device

Technology is a wonderful thing. In many ways it’s why we enjoy a high level of comfort in our lives, improving our working and living conditions. But do you think our reliance on technology goes too far? Or is technology merely a tool for social development?

As a writer I’ve explored the moral and ethical use of technology quite heavily in my work but I’ve always had a favourable view of technology. However a recent experience has made me question that. I was shopping the other day, getting a couple of DVDs, and I was thrilled when I saw they were on sale; buy two and get 20% off the second. Perfect! So I grabbed both and queued up.

The woman who served me took the DVDs; the first one was fine but the second scanned up at full price. She didn’t know it was on sale, so I told her it was 20% off and she scanned it again but it was still the same price. She started to do it manually but said she didn’t have a calculator, so she didn’t know the price.

I was stunned. First, how can you work there and not know what’s on sale? But even worse – didn’t have a calculator? It was 20% off $30, hardly rocket science. Do we rely on calculators that much? Finally she fixed it and I paid for them and left.

I know it’s just a small thing but I can’t help but think that it’s symbolic of a larger problem. Just because technology is there and makes something easier doesn’t mean we should rely on it so much that we can’t think for ourselves. What happens when the technology fails? In April this year the London Stock Exchange was closed for 8 hours when a glitch shut down its system. They lost millions of pounds and all they could do was sit and watch. Should any piece of technology be so important that we can’t function without it for 8 hours?

It’s not just the way we use technology, though, but the way people obsess over it. Have you noticed how people can’t live without their mobile phones? If they’re not talking then they’re checking for a message that wasn’t there two minutes ago. Can’t we be out of touch for even a few minutes? And that’s not even mentioning the hype surrounding the iPhone. Or the Kindle. I don’t understand the fuss about the Kindle. I like ebooks but I can’t justify the price of a reader and I’m sure long-term I’d miss the touch and feel of real paper.

My point is that technology seems to have become more of a convenience than a tool. Let me ask you this. If civilisation were to fall tomorrow, could you survive without technology? How would you cook without electricity? How would you get clean water and travel without working transport? How would you stay warm? How would you protect your family and teach your children?

I’m not sure I could survive in that world; I doubt most people could. The civilisation that survived would be very different… but isn’t that the same argument pessimists have used against change since the beginning of time? Weren’t there doubts that other inventions would destroy society and take away our humanity just as people talk about computers and the net now?

I guess I’m conflicted. While I do feel that we’re starting to lose ourselves, I am also a big fan of the potential of technology. I have an extreme sensitivity to noise and being outside is like torture when I’m not feeling well. But a few years ago I found a pair of earphones that use sound isolating technology to block noise and they’ve been a godsend. So I know firsthand what technology can do for someone’s life.

If you think about it, the advances in technology (particularly recently) have been astonishing. Technology has brought us DVDs and iPods, microwaves and cameras. It’s taken us to the Moon, brought us images from Mars. And then there’s medicine. It’s not just the instruments and techniques but the way medical science has advanced. We’ve cured diseases, mapped the human genome; our quality of life is better than any generation’s and we live longer than ever before. And people who never believed they could have children now can. Looking at technology that way, how can anyone deny its impact?

And that’s not even touching on cyberspace. There are a lot of bad things about the net – porn, viruses, spam – but its benefits are far greater. While the net is primarily an information resource, its true power lies in that it connects people in ways we’ve never seen before. Previous inventions have brought us closer together (trains linked cities, planes linked nations) but the internet is the world’s first global community. The net is the future and that’s the real power of technology, to show the way forward.

But even in moving forward it’s still important to hold on to our values. Some advancements make me feel uncomfortable: gene therapy makes my skin crawl and I find the developments in artificial intelligence, while impressive, ethically troubling. Are we ready to create life? Like many people I’m also worried that our social skills are deteriorating. I’ve heard of people texting each other when they’re in the same room instead of speaking – and then there’s the Euricase, which allows you to propose to your partner without even being in the room.

So I guess when people say that we’re losing ourselves to technology, I agree to some extent. But I see the benefits as well and I don’t see why there can’t be a balance. If we can respect our past but embrace the future at the same time, I don’t see why we should ever lose who we are.

That’s what I try to do. I think I’ve found a balance and I’m not afraid of an iPod or an ebook; I just try to buy a CD and go to the library as well. I send emails and texts, but I don’t forget to say hi to my neighbours and turn off my phone. If we can do that then I don’t think we have anything to worry about.

The future will take care of itself.

When Sydney Ruled the World

I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympic coverage from Beijing this week. To be honest I’m not sure what to make of it all. So far the Games themselves have been good; the events have been much closer than in recent years and Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have been outstanding. It’s a moment of great national pride for China and seeing their citizens happy and excited before the opening ceremony is something I’ll remember, even if some of it felt forced.

Yet I still feel uncomfortable about it. I was opposed to China hosting the Games when it was announced; I felt awarding the Games to China with its human rights record sent the wrong message. 7 years on I still feel the same way and there have been few signs of change, despite China’s assurances. What surprises me, though, is that many of the stadiums seem half-empty. Perhaps that’s the ticket prices or the security, I’m not sure, but with such excitement about the Games empty seats are the last thing I expected.

The security in particular bothers me and it just doesn’t feel like the Olympic Games… but perhaps I’m being unfair. I still remember the Sydney Games so well and it’s not a fair comparison. Sydney’s were the last innocent Games, before 9/11. The security in China is harsh but it’s a different world now. With the exception of allowing protests I’m not sure Sydney would be all that different if we were hosting the Games in 2008, not after APEC.

But the Games themselves have been excellent and they’ve brought back a lot of memories from Sydney. What I remember best about the Sydney Games is the feeling that surrounded them. The Games felt like our moment to shine, to show what hosting a truly global event meant to us. The torch relay was an example of that. It passed through many small countries first and when it finally reached Sydney, it was amazing! It passed right outside our street; the roads were five deep with people cheering and waving flags. It was an amazing moment and something I’ll always cherish.

When I think back to the Sydney Games it’s really a few moments I remember best; they went by so quickly that everything else is something of a blur. Like the opening ceremony. I remember a lot of dancing and horses and Cathy Freeman lit the cauldron at the end, which was spectacular, but if you asked me what it was about, I couldn’t say. I remember it was quite a strange feeling, though, watching the Games begin. We’d spent seven years waiting for them and watching them begin felt more like a dream than reality.

The Games were wonderful and I had my sixteenth birthday during them. We had pavlova and watched Susie O’Neill win a silver medal. Not a bad day at all! The moment we all remember is when Cathy Freeman won gold in the 400 m. Everyone was cheering for her and when she won, it was like a moment of healing. After all our history with indigenous Australians, Cathy helped to bring us together and when she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal flags, it was a wonderful moment. Earlier this year our PM gave the first apology to indigenous Australians; it would not have happened without Cathy Freeman.

There are other moments I remember fondly too but what really sticks in my mind is Eric Moussambani’s race. Eric came from Equatorial Guinea; he had never even seen an Olympic-sized pool before and could barely swim. But just as the race was about to begin, his competitors were disqualified and Eric was left to swim the whole race by himself! He was cheered on by 17,000 people and was given a bigger cheer at the end than any of the medallists. If that’s not what the Olympics are all about, what is?

Seeing Michael Johnson defend the 400 m and watching Kieren Perkins in his last race were also highlights. But finally the Games came to an end and it was a bittersweet feeling. We felt very proud but we had spent so long preparing for the Games and they had become such an industry (creating jobs, stimulating the economy) that it was strange to think they were over. But it was a great celebration as well. When Samaranch said that the Games were the “best ever”, it felt like this huge validation; like it had all been worth it in the end.

Looking back now I think we had this idea that the Olympics were going to change how we were perceived overseas, that they’d show the “real” Australia people never saw. But hosting the Games actually changed very little; they didn’t even make a profit, they were so expensive to run. What they did instead was to give us a new confidence. For two weeks the world had seen how proud we were of our country and the legacy of the Games is not that they were successful but that they helped to pave the way for the Australia we want to become. That’s something you can’t put a price on.

So I think I understand what the Chinese people must be feeling right now. The Games are almost over and it must be a proud moment for them, but also a sad one as it’s coming to an end. So far the Games have been good and they should be proud of that… but I still can’t help but feel that it’s come at a cost. I mean, just yesterday I read about a story where two women in their late 70s were sentenced to “re-education through labor” for seeking permission to protest in the zones China had set up for the Games. How are two elderly women a threat to the Chinese authorities?

While I don’t believe the Games are the right place to make a protest and that should be respected, I think the IOC’s silence on this is remarkable and that’s what I’m getting at. It awarded the Games to China with assurances from the authorities that they would improve human rights and that simply has not happened. The IOC’s silence is emboldening them. If the IOC goes on to name these the best games ever as is customary, it’ll be a farce.

Maybe I’m in the minority; maybe the Olympics are sacrosanct. But I think some things are more important than sport. What I want to take away from these Games are memories of a stunning opening ceremony; of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, Rafael Nadal and Leisel Jones; of the best athletes coming together in unity… instead what I will remember is an Olympics overshadowed by issues far greater than sport. I find that very sad.

I wonder what you think about all this? I’d be interested to find out.

Update: Just saw the closing ceremony. Jacques Rogge called the Games “truly exceptional”. I suppose they were. But they’ll still be remembered for different reasons than the athletes on display, whether the IOC admits it or not. At least seeing Jimmy Page was fun.

Old Favourites

I didn’t realise it had been a week since I’d posted. Ever since I wrote my letter to Clare I’ve been a little distracted but I’m feeling better now; the emotion that it brought up is starting to settle down and I’m feeling more like myself again.

I’m working on a couple of new posts but for now I thought I’d post some of my favourite songs… some old gems a few people might have forgotten about. I enjoy new music (love Coldplay) but I’ve found myself listening to a lot of old favourites recently. I love the period leading up to the late 70s, particularly for the songwriting… it shows that a good song is timeless.

I stumbled across these videos earlier and hadn’t seen most of them before. What’s amazing is they’re still good quality; most are well over 30 years old and the audio quality in particular is very good. They’re also a wonderful throwback to their time; the hair, the clothes… it’s like looking at a piece of history.

By far my favourite is this video of Jimi Hendrix performing Purple Haze in Atlanta. The video is incredible but not as good quality as the others, so if you don’t mind that, click over to have a look. I hope you enjoy the others. I wonder what some of your old favourites are?

My favourite Fleetwood Mac song is Rhiannon and this is a great version; Stevie Nicks is almost possessed. I also found a live performance of I’m So Afraid; the video quality isn’t as good but it’s well worth watching if you’re a Mac fan.

I think this is from 1970 although I’m not sure which concert. Both Sides Now is a lovely song; it has such beautiful, simple lyrics.

Layla would make any list of my favourite songs. This version is from the ARMS Charity Concert in 1983 and has Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck with Clapton.

I blame MQ for Stairway to Heaven; she’s been a Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page fan for years, I inherited it. I love the song and this is a great live version.

And just to confirm, yes, I am 23. But I feel much older. 🙂