I Can’t See New York

Seventeen years ~
Feels like a lifetime,
And yesterday ~
We remember

In some ways it’s hard to believe that it’s been seventeen years since September 11. It seems like an age ago – it was more than half my lifetime ago now, in fact. The world has changed so much.

And yet in other ways it barely feels like much time has passed at all. I still remember seeing it so clearly on television; watching the second plane crash, the towers fall. The horror, the shock, the disbelief.

Perhaps that is the way of historic moments though. In searing themselves into our consciousness, they change us, change the world. And so when we think of them it’s almost like time continues to stand still, even after so long.

I wanted to do something to mark the day besides a short poem, so I thought I would share a song as well. Tori Amos is one of my favourite artists and it was actually through this song, I Can’t See New York, that I discovered a lot of her more modern music.

It’s from the 2002 album Scalet’s Walk, which is about a young woman’s journey from one side of America to the other, exploring Native American history and learning about political extremism and American culture, as well as a thousand other things.

The album is a masterpiece and as Amos’s protagonist approaches the end of her journey, she puts her on a plane above New York, circling above ash and dust, confused and terrified as a plane crashes and 9/11 unfolds.

It’s a hauntingly beautiful song and I’ve always thought one of the most powerful songs about that day. So many years later it still captures that awful sense of confusion and sadness so very well.

My thoughts to everyone in the US today.

Haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

Ripper Little Christmas (an Aussie Christmas Song)

I finished this year’s Aussie Christmas song earlier. This year I did an Aussie version of Holly Jolly Christmas called Ripper Little Christmas.

I chose it as it’s a fun, recognisable song and I think we could all use a bit of fun after this horrible year.

It’s more inspired by the original song than a true parody (I changed the rhyming and structure a bit as I didn’t want it to seem too cutesy) but I hope you enjoy it. And if you have any suggestions for next year’s song, let me know. 😀

Kangaroo Bauble

Ripper Little Christmas

Have a ripper little Christmas
It’s a beaut time of the year
We’ll have lots of fun in the sun
And a glass or two of beer

Have a ripper little Christmas
And when you go to the beach
Say hello to mates you know
And shout em a cold one each

Oh oh look at the lights glow
So pretty on the tree
Grandma’s baked a cake again
Save a slice just for me

Have a ripper little Christmas
Enjoy the fun and cheer
And make sure you have
A ripper little Christmas this year!

Oh oh look at Uncle Joe
He’s fallen asleep by the tree
The kids are playing in the yard
While we have a cup of tea

Have a ripper little Christmas
Hold your loved ones near
And make sure you have
A ripper little Christmas this year!

My other Aussie Christmas songs:
The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas (2008)
Aussie Jingle Bells (2009)
We Wish You An Aussie Christmas (2010)
Deck the Ute (an Aussie Christmas Song) (2011)
Have Yourself an Aussie Kind of Christmas (2012)
Santa Matey (an Aussie Christmas Song) (2014)

I’m Dreaming of an Aussie Christmas (2015)

I’m Dreaming of an Aussie Christmas

I finished my annual Aussie Christmas song tonight. This is my seventh song now and this year I thought I’d do an Aussie version of I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.

I chose it as it’s one of those songs everyone knows so hopefully it’ll be easy to follow, and also because I wanted to tell a bit more of a story this year. Christmas is a fun time but it can be very hard too, particularly if you’re missing people you love. I really wanted to try to capture that feeling in the song.

I hope you enjoy it and if you have any suggestions for next year’s song, let me know. 😉

Sydney Lego Santa

I’m Dreaming of an Aussie Christmas

The snow is falling, the wind is cold
The airport is crowded and grey
There’s never been a colder day
And I miss my family so far away
It’s December the twenty-fourth
And I’m still waiting here way up north…

I’m dreaming of an Aussie Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the summer sizzles
And it never drizzles
And there’s cricket on the radio

I’m dreaming of an Aussie Christmas
With friends on a warm December night
May your summer be warm and light
And may all your Christmases be bright

I’m dreaming of an Aussie Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the water shimmers
And the hot sand glimmers
And we play in the sun’s golden glow

I’m dreaming of an Aussie Christmas
With everyone I love holding me tight
May your days be filled with delight
And may all your Christmases be bright

And may all your Christmases
May all your Chrissie days be
May all your Christmases be bright

My other Aussie Christmas songs:
The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas (2008)
Aussie Jingle Bells (2009)
We Wish You An Aussie Christmas (2010)
Deck the Ute (an Aussie Christmas Song) (2011)
Have Yourself an Aussie Kind of Christmas (2012)
Santa Matey (an Aussie Christmas Song) (2014)

Santa Matey (an Aussie Christmas song)

I didn’t feel like doing my annual Aussie Christmas song last year but I decided to do it again this year. Santa Baby was one of the first songs that came to mind. It’s such a fun, cheeky song and I could immediately see how I could make it more Australian.

So this version is called Santa Matey. It was a lot of fun to write and definitely helped to make it feel like Christmas again. I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas 🙂

image

Santa matey, leave a beer under the tree
For me
Been a really good bloke
Santa matey
So hurry over Sydney tonight

Santa matey, maybe a gift voucher too
Or a few
I’ll stay up for you champ
Santa matey
So hurry over Sydney tonight

Think of all the work I’ve done
Think of all the times I could’ve been having fun
I’ve really been very good
So won’t you leave me an Xbox One

Santa matey, I wanna Ford
And maybe I won’t get so bored
Been fair dinkum all year
Santa matey
So hurry over Sydney tonight

Santa ripper, there’s something else I’d love to see
A TV
To watch the Swannies next year
Santa matey
So hurry over Sydney tonight

Santa beauty, and stuff my stocking with a new phone
And tones
I’ll text you every day
Santa beauty
So hurry over Sydney tonight

Come and try my Christmas cake
It’s just like my mum used to make
I saved a slice just for you
I hope you saved something for me too

Santa matey, there’s just one other little thing
Some bling
Like a gold barbeque
Santa matey
And hurry over Sydney tonight

Hurry over Sydney tonight
Oh hurry over Sydney tonight

Old Cairo

Red Sunrise

See the soldiers on the warpath
See the people fall like stones
See the leaders stand in silence
See the bodies and broken bones

Hear the daily call to prayer
Hear the crowds’ angry cries
Hear the bullets roar like thunder
Hear the stories and bloody lies

We read about it in the papers
We see it on our screens
We watch it from a distance
We turn away from the screams

They’re bleeding in the streets
They’re dying all alone
They’re calling out to God
But they’re all on their own

Now the streets are quiet
Now they mourn the dead
Now the world holds its breath
Now the flames are refed

Soon the bodies are falling
Soon there is only pain
Soon another child is orphaned
Soon it starts all over again

How long will it go on?
How long will the tears flow?
How long will we sit in silence?
How long will we watch the show?

America sits in judgment
Israel reaps what it sows
There’s no oil to plunder
Just death in Old Cairo


I wrote this after watching scenes of the violent crackdown in Egypt. I was becoming increasingly annoyed with the media coverage and the attitudes of the leaders around the world and felt like I needed to give voice to what I was feeling.

The photo is a shot I took last week of the sun rising over the ocean. I thought it suited this quite well.


Photo: Red Sunrise © CJ Levinson 2013
Text licenced under Creative Commons

Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas

Christmas Salad

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating in their part of the world today.

To celebrate Christmas I thought I’d post another of my Aussie Christmas songs. This year I settled on doing Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas, an Aussie version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

I’ve written five of these songs now and this was by far the hardest. It took me a long time to choose a song and I think I’m starting to run out of well-known songs as most of the best known ones don’t really suit an Australian translation (Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! for instance), so I’ll have to think carefully about which one to do next year.

In the end I chose Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas because it’s one of my favourite Christmas songs and also because I wanted to do something a little different this year and try to show how it might feel for an Australian overseas at Christmas, longing to be back home. Given the number of Australians working abroad and our soldiers currently deployed overseas, I thought it suited the rather melancholic feel of the song.

The two best-known versions are probably by Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra; Garland’s is personally my favourite as it’s more serious and sombre in tone (although nowhere near as depressing as the original lyrics written for Meet Me in St. Louis, which Garland had changed), but I like Sinatra’s version as well and so decided to combine the two to reflect both versions and make it a bit longer as well.

I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas. 😉

Aussie Santa Xmas Train

Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas

Summer sunshine is far away
This cold winter has set in to last
I’m dreaming of a place I loved but could not stay
And warm Christmases of the past…

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
May your winter days be bright
Some day soon this longing will be made right
And you’ll be home

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Tell Santa Claus g’day
One day you’ll see him fly over Sydney in his sleigh
Once again

Here we are in this new century
These happy years of promise and awe
I long to see my loved ones once again
And to hold them close once more

In my heart I know they won’t forget me
And one day I’ll be home, when funds allow
Until then I’ll just have to save up somehow
And try to have myself an Aussie kind of Christmas now

So have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Throw a shrimp on the barbeque
One day soon you won’t feel so blue
Anymore

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Grab a beer and watch the kids play
They’ll be all grown up one day
As life moves on

Here we are in happier times
These memories we cherish and adore
I find myself thinking of old friends
And wishing I was near them once more

Over the years good mates always stick together
So even when distance won’t allow
We’ll still find a way to celebrate somehow
And try to have ourselves an Aussie kind of Christmas now

Deck the Ute (an Aussie Christmas song)

Christmas Roast

Christmas Dinner

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today. I hope you’re having a wonderful day with family and friends, wherever you are in the world.

I thought I’d post another of my Aussie Christmas songs today to mark the day. This is the fourth song I’ve written now after The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas, Aussie Jingle Bells and We Wish You an Aussie Christmas!

This year I did an Aussie version of Deck the Halls. Originally I wanted to do Silver Bells but it was very hard to translate to Australia. I think Deck the Halls works better and it’s also easy to sing along to.

I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas. 😉

Deck the Ute

Deck the ute with lights and wattle
Fa la la la la la la la la
We’ll take it for a drive and go full throttle
Fa la la la la la la la la
Kids are singing in the back seat
Fa la la la la la la la la
Spreading Christmas cheer to all we meet
Fa la la la la la la la la

Soon we’re pulling up at the rellies
Fa la la la la la la la la
And getting ready to open the pressies
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hope it’s not more socks from Aunt May
Fa la la la la la la la la
Oh well guess I can sell them on eBay
Fa la la la la la la la la

Come one o’clock and we’re by the pool
Fa la la la la la la la la
Drinking beer and trying to stay cool
Fa la la la la la la la la
Jamie’s pulling on Susie’s hair
Fa la la la la la la la la
While Dad’s nodding off in his chair
Fa la la la la la la la la

We say g’day to the neighbours
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hear all about their yearly labours
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tom and Amy are getting married
Fa la la la la la la la la
No wonder they all look so harried
Fa la la la la la la la la

Everyone gathers around the table
Fa la la la la la la la la
Eats as much as they are able
Fa la la la la la la la la
Aunt May’s brought a giant fruit cake
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tastes just like Grandma used to make
Fa la la la la la la la la

Soon it’s time for everyone to go
Fa la la la la la la la la
We say our goodbyes and Ho Ho Hos
Fa la la la la la la la la
Pull out of the drive and speed away
Fa la la la la la la la la
Waving behind us to Aunt May
Fa la la la la la la la la

Back home and the kids are fast asleep
Fa la la la la la la la la
Carry them to their beds without a peep
Fa la la la la la la la la
Quietly we turn off all the lights
Fa la la la la la la la la
And sleep away another Aussie Christmas night
Fa la la la la la la la la

The I Am Blues

Just a quick note. Some of you may remember a poem I wrote a few years ago called I Am. Apparently it’s just been turned into a song.

I didn’t know anything about it and only recently stumbled across it via Google; I had licensed it under a creative commons licence and it looks like someone liked it enough to turn it into a kind of song/audio reading on ccMixter.

It’s actually two samples; an a cappella reading of the poem by Togora and then a remix with music added by Syenta. I think it’s excellent, particularly for what was probably just a quick project, and I really like the bluesy feel to it; suits the poem perfectly.

I’ve embedded it below if anyone wants to listen and the original poem is available here. My thanks to Togora and Syenta for their work; I’m honoured that they liked my poem enough to reinterpret it. Makes me want to write a proper song. 😉

We Wish You an Aussie Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today. Hope you’re having a wonderful day wherever you are in the world.

Christmas is a bit of a funny time for me. I’m not religious anymore but I still enjoy the feeling of the season, the spirit of goodwill and cheer in the air. For some reason I haven’t really felt it that much this year though. There’s been a distinct lack of atmosphere this year. There have been fewer lights and decorations around and the shopping centres have been all but deserted, even on Christmas eve. I guess it shows how much people are struggling this year… 2010’s been very hard on a lot of people.

I guess to me Christmas is mostly about spending time with family these days and we just had a simple, quiet day. I think I’m starting to value those kind of days more and more as I get older. I know that a lot of people feel lonely and isolated at Christmas, having lost someone or not being able to be with their children, and I found myself thinking about them a lot today, and our troops overseas.

In any case I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas wherever you are in the world. To celebrate I thought I’d post another of my Aussie Christmas songs. I did an Aussie take on Jingle Bells last year and The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas in 2008, so I guess it’s become something of a Christmas tradition on my blog now!

This year I thought I’d do We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Originally I wanted to do Frosty the Snowman but I couldn’t work out a way to make it sound very Australian – I mean, it’s not like we get much snow! We Wish You a Merry Christmas was a little easier and it’s also one of my favourite songs at this time of year. I’ll try to do Frosty next year if I can.

I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas. 😉

We Wish You an Aussie Christmas

We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

Good luck and good fate to you and your mates
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

Send the gifts through the post
Get the food for the roast
Sleep in on Christmas morning
And get ready to play host!

We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

May your kids make you smile
May your Christmas have style
May they get lots of pressies
To keep them busy for a while!

We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

Grab a sausage or two
Don’t forget the fondue
And we’ll gather in the backyard
To start the barbeque!

We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

Have fun with the rellies
Laugh and sing with full bellies
Take a few family photos
Then watch the cricket on the telly!

We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

Have a beer by the pool
While you try to stay cool
And we’ll sing songs and carols
To celebrate the yule!

We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

Try a slice of the cake
Just like mum used to make
A little dry and spongy
But at least it’s not fake!

We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

May your Christmas be bright
Filled with festive delight
And don’t forget to say g’day to Santa
If you see him tonight!

We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

Good luck and good fate to you and your mates
We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!

We wish you an Aussie Christmas and a ripper New Year!