Thursday, 30 October 2014

Daydreamer. . .

I've written a blog post about Adele before (check out "Make you feel my love" - song request for  +Rebbecca Sweeney).  One of the defining artists of her generation, her song writing and musicianship, particularly in the way she articulates her song lyrics make her stand out above the rest of her contemporaries in the pop music landscape.

Sitting on the sea
Soaking up the sun he is a 
Real lover of making up the past and feeling up his girl 
Like he's never felt a figure before

You've probably come across a character like this.  I've known a few in my time. They're good people to have around, there's never a dull moment, they're highly entertaining and if they're not the life of the party, they are definitely the ones to watch.  The daydreamer always has his head in the clouds and despite everyone else around him scrambling in the life that we know as the rat race, he is quite happy to amble along and walk to the beat of his own drum.  The daydreamer at his worst is also a bit of a storyteller.  You know the type - has elaborate ways of telling a simple story, can make an event out of nothing.

A jaw dropper
Looks good when he walks
Is the subject of their talk
He would be hard to chase
But good to catch and he could change the world with his hands behind his back oh

Does the daydreamer know that he is the subject of people's talk?  I think he knows that, and because of that, can manipulate situations to his advantage.  Often the daydreamer can't believe his luck and things turn out the way he likes by pure fluke.  Is that luck or what?  Why would you even want to chase after the daydreamer then?  It seems to me that if you wanted to pique the daydreamer's interest, that you would need to show no interest at all.  That effortless quality of nonchalance, casually striding, possibly pacing the room and making things happen in a casual manner would frustrate the hell out of you.  What may seem like something quite basic and simple, comes naturally to the daydreamer - will take you months of strategic planning.  The daydreamer just makes it happen without even raising a finger.

You can find him, sitting on your doorstep

Waiting for a surprise
And he will feel like he's been there for hours
And you can tell that he'll be there for life

Once you have piqued the daydreamer's interest, he starts to hunt you.
Wanting you to think about how you can continue to pique that interest by offering him a surprise.
Since when did you owe the daydreamer anything?
I think once the daydreamer is hooked on you, the type of person you are and what you share, he will wait for you, and possibly even a lifetime.  I wonder - will you tell him that it's not worth waiting for you?  Do you even want him to wait for you?

With eyes that make you melt
He'll lend his coat for shelter
Plus he's there for you when he shouldn't be
But he stays all the same and waits for you and sees you through

Why does the daydreamer hang around you anyway?
Does he see your vulnerability so vividly that he can hold up a mirror to convince you that you need to see it, even when you are trying to deny what is in plain sight, what is right in front of your face, because actually it's written on your face.  You do find comfort in letting the daydreamer wait, lending you his coat when you feel cold or you sense the temperature drop that he feels that he needs to lend you his coat.  You don't ask him to wait and sit with you, but because the words are unspoken now and this stretch of time has had many moments of unspoken words, that this now becomes the normal that exists between you both.  Is this odd comfort, albeit fleeting and sporadic, enough for you?

There's no way I could describe him
What I'll say is just what I'm hoping for

I don't understand why you feel that you can't describe him.
You've done a great job of doing it in the verses so why would things change at the end of the song?
Does this mean that you were just talking out loud during the verses, like you were speaking through your thought process?  I do that sometimes too.  But it seems that you're very cunning though.  Because you're not going to tell me how you feel, but rather, you're going to talk about the abstract and about your hopes - but you won't disclose what is.  Does the daydreamer know?  Does the daydreamer know your modus operandi?  I don't even think he can see that or sense that anyway,

But I will find him sitting on my doorstep
Waiting for a surprise
And he will feel like he's been there for hours
And I can tell that he'll be there for life
And I can tell that he'll be there for life. . . 

I hope that whenever you find the daydreamer sitting there on your doorstep, that you find comfort and enjoy spending time with him.  I hope that you have the courage to explain what is in your mind so that you at least if not let the daydreamer know, at least admit to yourself, what it is that you want for life. . .

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Welcome to the Black Parade. . .

When I was a young boy
My father took me to the city
To see a marching band. . .

I remember my father taking me to see a marching band in the city one year.  I was still quite young.  It was a regional marching band competition and we went to see the marching bands parade up Queen Street.  I remember this vividly because it was before I learned how to play the trumpet and I marvelled at the band members being able to play the music by reading the notation on little music stands that were attached to their instruments with such precision and still be able to maintain their perfect rows (they must've had seriously good peripheral vision to do that!).

He said. "Son when you grow up
would you be the saviour of the broken,
the beaten and the damned?"
He said, "Will you defeat them,
your demons and all the non-believers
the plans that they have made?"
"Because one day I'll leave you,
A phantom to lead in the summer,
To join the Black Parade."

My father has aspirations for me for my future.  Just like any parent.
I think to some extent he wants me to be the saviour of the broken, beaten and damned (starting with those nearest and dearest).  Besides, we all know it's no use trying to save the world when you can't save your own family!  I wouldn't presume either to try and be a saviour in that sense - but more to do with sharing all of the good stuff, the positive things I've learned, the gifts and talents that I know are worth sharing with others so that they can feel happy like I do; of course that's also dependent on whether they want it or have asked for it :-)

Sometimes I get the feeling like she's watching over me
And other times I feel like I should go
And through it all, the rise and fall, the bodies in the streets
And when you're gone we want you all to know

It is at this point in the song that the tempo changes and we feel a sense of urgency build.
Welcome to the Black Parade is an alternative rock song by My Chemical Romance, a band who have been hard to define.  They seem to be one of those bands who defy genres, as their sound is defined by each album.  I like that type of artistry in a performer or band - they make music that speaks to them rather than being pigeonholed into a specific genre that may not necessarily ring true.

We'll carry on, we'll carry on  
And though you're dead and gone, believe me
Your memory will carry on, will carry on
And in my heart, I can't contain it
The anthem won't explain it

The ability to carry on is absolutely critical - when the people who trust you to do well to represent them, whether it be family, people who look to you for inspiration and guidance, people who don't have the confidence to speak for themselves but find the strength in you - this is the legacy that your forefathers hope that you will carry on.  I fervently believe in the notion that each generation must improve on what the last generation has forged ahead, to continue the work that needs to be carried out and uphold the values that bind us all, despite our own unique experiences.  The willingness to hear differences of opinion are important - but most of all, what is the decent thing to do for our fellow human beings so that there is equity in an ever changing world that thrives on competition, greed and power.  How can we contain ourselves?  What can we do within our spheres of influence?

I hope that you are able to stand up and rise against the things or people that continually try to bring you down.  It is very hard to stay motivated and upbeat, but these are things that we need to do for ourselves and not rely on others to deliver for us.  What are your intrinsic motivators?  What are your extrinsic motivators?  We have to be prepared to live our best lives and if that means having to suffer (hopefully not for an extended period of time!) and feel that the "struggle is real" - this helps to give us perspective, appreciate what we have - but also fight for our human rights and be proud of who we are and what we contribute to the human race.

Do or die you'll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Though you try you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part . . . 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Don't go chasing waterfalls. . .

TLC were the girl group that you wanted to chill with and kick it with if you were a teenager into r'n'b and hip hop in the mid 90s.  They came to prominence in the House Party series as an emerging act.  T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli sing and rap about the follies of trying to live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse (if the illustrious words of James Dean are anything to go by).

We get a sense in the opening verses of the Waterfalls about two clear scenarios that are obviously extreme examples of people who take no precautions in life (who actually throw caution to the wind, let's be honest) and think nothing of the consequences of their actions and how what they do, impacts on others around them.

The mother's futile attempt to try to save her son from the underworld of drugs, places him at the wrong place at the wrong time.  The young man who seeks to live out his days of sexual promiscuity, only for those days to be cut short by an untimely death.

I seen a rainbow yesterday
But too many storms have come and gone
Leavin' a trace of not one God-given ray
Is it because my life is ten shades of gray
I pray all ten fades away
Seldom praise Him for the sunny days

Left Eye's rap is the thing that stands out to me in the entire song.  Often in times of trial that's when we seek help and we are never grateful for what we have in life, because we're so caught up in wanting more, craving things that we think will satisfy us - but in the end these are bad decisions and pit stops along the way to our greater purpose in life.

And like His promise is true
Only my faith can undo
The many chances I blew
To bring my life to anew
Clear blue and unconditional skies
Have dried the tears from my eyes
No more lonely cries

That feeling of futility, emptiness and hopelessness in your situation will soon pass once we reintroduce faith in our ourselves and believe in what we do.  It is too easy to feel bogged down with the negative decisions that you have made in the past, especially you continue to let them define you and dictate your future actions.

My only bleedin' hope
Is for the folk who can't cope
With such an endurin' pain
That it keeps 'em in the pourin' rain
Who's to blame
For tootin' 'caine into your own vein
What a shame 

When we think about people who choose to keep themselves in a rut, stuck in that self-destructive pattern of self-abuse, it can be hard to get yourself out because you're in too deep and can't see the wood for the trees.  Society is very quick to point the finger and relinquish responsibility - after all they aren't the ones who are perpetuating this life of crime or causing others to commit crimes - it's all self-inflicted, it all boils down to the choices that we make - good or bad.

You shoot and aim for someone else's brain
You claim the insane
And name this day in time
For fallin' prey to crime
I say the system got you victim to your own mind
Dreams are hopeless aspirations
In hopes of comin' true
Believe in yourself
The rest is up to me and you

It is too easy to blame the system for your lot in life.  Granted there are circumstances beyond your control that can tip you over the edge and push you to make decisions that could potentially take you further off your course - but we must stop and think.  Chasing waterfalls means that we're continually going for what seems to be the more exciting, easy quick-fix solution, but it could potentially unravel the situation in more ways than one.  We must consider carefully what our options are before rushing in to make decisions that are made in the heat of the moment or haven't had the fullness of time to consider all possible avenues.

I hope that if you do go chasing waterfalls, that it's a passing phase.
Sometimes we need to go through waterfalls, to stand in them and let the water course over us to feel the full impact of the weight of our decisions.  We need to experience these waterfalls to fully appreciate the calm of the rivers and lakes.

Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to
I know that you're gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you're moving too fast. . .

Monday, 27 October 2014

Journey to the past. . .

I've written about Aaliyah before (search for "Try Again" in a previous blog post).  This track Journey to the past was the promotional song for the Disney animated movie Anastasia.

Heart don't fail me now
Courage don't desert me
Don't turn back now that we're here
People always say
Life is full of choices
No one ever mentions fear
Or how the road can seem so long
How the world can seem so vast
Courage see me through
Heart I'm trusting you
On this journey to the past. . .

The storyline of the movie is an adaptation (and takes creative licence) with the story of the Romanov family as told through the eyes of Anastasia - one of the Czar's daughters who escaped the tragic fate that befell the rest of her family.  The movie focuses on her "journey to her past" to uncover who she is and to be reunited with her family.

Somewhere down this road
I know someone's waiting
Years of dreams just can't be wrong
Arms will open wide
I'll be safe and wanted
Finally home where I belong
Starting here my life begins
Starting now I'm learning fast
Courage see me through
Heart I'm trusting you
On this journey to the past

If you are searching for your family because you were adopted out, lost contact with them or things were beyond your control to stay in touch, you weren't allowed to see them - it is a very natural desire to want to be reunited with family members to seek answers to your personal story - to try to understand why things happened.  I think about how when choices are taken out of your hands - what can you possibly rely on?  Where do you begin to start your journey to the past?  Who can you ask to provide those missing answers?

Heart don't fail me now
Courage don't desert me
Home, love, family
There was once a time I must have had them too
Home, love, family
I will never be complete until I find you

If you can't find the family you've been searching for, you may come across the sad reality that the people you are seeking to provide answers, have since departed this world/  How will you be complete again if you can't find them?  Did they leave other family members behind?  Did they have friends who could provide some answers?  Are there any clues, books, mementos, personal items left behind that could have to piece together the mystery of your past?

One step at a time
One hope, then another
Who knows where this road may go
Back to who I was
On to find my future
Things my heart still needs to know

I hope that you won't lost hope.
Sometimes finding answers in our past won't necessarily answers the questions to our present or help to pave the way for the future.  Whatever answers (or more questions) that you come across, I hope that you will continue to hold onto hope.
It is important to hold onto the hope for yourself - that you are able to move forward even if there are gaps in your past.  I hope that the answers that you do find will suffice to enable you to move forward and create new hope for your future than you can control, because you weren't given that opportunity with your past.
I believe that the things that you heart still needs to know will reveal themselves in their own time when you need to learn those lessons most of all.
I hope you find your home. wherever it may be.

Yes, let this be a sign
Let this world be mine
Let it lead me to my past
Courage see me through
Heart I'm trusting you
To bring me home
At last . . .

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Win. . .

Brian McKnight is one of my favourite performers.  He is a singer-songwriter whom I admire as much for his poignant love songs as for his songs of praise.  When you get to know an artist through their music, you come to know the way they operate, the way they construct songs that make you think 'ah, signature moment there', you appreciate the way they sound, that unmistakeable tone and the types of chords that they use.  All of those elements combined, it keeps you coming back for more, it's what makes you love their music and makes you a fan.  Today's blog post focuses on Win which Brian co-wrote with Brandon K Hampton and recorded for the film Men of Honor starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

Dark is the night
I can weather the storm
Never say die
I've been down this road before
I'll never quit
I'll never lay down, mm,
See I promised myself that I'd never let me down

When everyone else fades into the background. when all other obstacles or distractions can fall away, it's at that time that you will feel the most alone on your quest.  It's those times that I believe you can thrive in the most - that solo journey that nobody else is willing to accompany you on, that you must complete on your own because it's your journey to take and nobody else's.  You'll notice that they will appear again to enjoy the celebrations once you have defeated your demons and emerged triumphant.  I think if you go through life depending on others for your happiness, you set yourself up to fail.  Don't give up on yourself and you can only be hard on yourself when you've let yourself down.  You can't control others - but you can control you.

No stopping now
There's still a ways to go, oh,
Someway, somehow
Whatever it takes, I know
I'll never quit, no, no
I'll never go down, mm, mm,
I'll make sure they remember my name
A hundred years from now

Everybody craves recognition to some extent, or at the very least, credit should be given where credit is due.  In my relatively short life thus far, I have experienced enough heartache and considerable amount of shafting to know what it feels like when people can take your intellectual property, your creations, your work and pass it off as theirs, or take the credit for it and claim it under the "team effort" umbrella - yet they are quite happy to stand at the helm and be recognised for it.  The other people around you who have worked on the same project know that it was in fact you who created it - but are not staunch enough to stand up for you.  I used to feel this way quite a lot in several different contexts that I was involved in - but, as painful as that was at those various times - I have learned to feel sorry for those types of people.  Think about it - if to get ahead, they needed to take credit for your stuff - then at least you know - your stuff is good. 

I'll never give up
Never give in
Never let a ray of doubt slip in
And if I fall
If I fail
I'll just get up and try again

Never lose hope
Never lose faith
There's too much at stake
Upon myself I must depend
I'm not looking for place or show
I'm gonna win

I hope that whatever you set your mind to in life, that you win.
I have learned that I don't really want to be famous or prove to people that I can win.
Understanding that I want to win in life because I want my life to be full of challenging moments that I have overcome - without being compared to others, without competing with others - but more to do with digging deep within myself to uncover the depths of my hidden potential and knowing who I truly am.  I'm gonna win. . . 

Friday, 24 October 2014

The way it is. . .

If you follow my blog, you know I'm a pianist.  This track has one of the most iconic piano introductions for any pop song from the 20th century.  Bruce Hornsby & The Range released The way it is in 1986.  Other rap artists have sampled the famous motif, my favourite version is by 2Pac. 

Standing in line marking time - 
Waiting for the welfare dime
'Cause they can't buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies' eyes
Just for fun he says, "Get a job"

Nothing irks me more than other people's smarmy comments that pass judgement on others.
That high level of arrogance, ignorance and just plain rudeness are sadly qualities that some people have in huge quantities - and actually see nothing wrong with that.  They relish the thought of being able to make people feel bad about themselves and their situations which they did not cause but independence and freedom fall beyond their control.

One solution I've had is to completely ignore these people who act in this manner.
Or argue on behalf of those who feel repressed and don't have a voice, because ignorant people choose to silence those with legitimate opinions and are able to articulate their positions - but choose not to listen.  Profit, power and greed are qualities that are highly sought after and prized by those who freely tout them.

They say hey little boy you can't go
Where the others go
'Cause you don't look like they do
Said hey old man how can you stand
To think that way
Did you really think about it
Before you made the rules
He said, Son 

My colour has never been an issue for me, until it was made an issue by others.
Projection and transference can go a long way, especially when it is to do with people's perception of you.  We need to remember that a collective perception of you can only occur if everyone is in agreement and there is evidence of that "out there" either in cyberspace or word of mouth.  Only if the sources are reliable would you think to believe that collective perception about you.
When different opinions about you, in fact a wide variety of opinions about you swirl and mix together, you might find that the most common things - positive or negative (once again that depends on who's stirring the mix and wants to find out things about you) may rise to the surface.

When I think about the all of the rules that I have ever had to learn - I think, it's enough to learn the rules so that you can play the game.  Once that happens, maybe you can think about changing the rules to benefit others so that more people can sit at that table.  I fully understand the need for people of expertise, skill and knowledge to sit at a table to make decisions - I'm just interested in that there is an equitable representation of everybody there.  Exclusive invites-only parties are ok on some occasions, but not all the time.

Well they passed a law in '64
To give those who ain't got a little more
But it only goes so far
There's a law that don't change another's mind
When it all comes to hiring time
Is the line on the color bar. . . 

I hope that one day we won't need to fixate so much on the color bar.
That a person's color will not bar them or deny them from reaching their potential, from achieving their aspirations and living their dreams.

That's just the way it is
Some things will never change
That's just the way it is
But don't you believe them. . . 

I don't know about you, but for me, rather than live in the world and think that's just the way it is - I will strive to live in my world and how I interact with others in positive ways because that's the way it should be. . .

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Immortality. . .

This blog post is a song request for Rita Seumanutafa from Melbourne, Australia.

The Bee Gees wrote Immortality specifically for Celine Dion, much like they wrote Barbra Streisand's Guilty and Woman in love and Dionne Warwick's Heartbreaker and All the love in the world.  I have always admired how they featured on these songs as background vocals, as their vocal tones blended quite nicely with these female divas as well as showcasing their songwriting abilities.

So this is who I am
And this is all I know
And I must choose to live
For all that I can give
The spark that makes the power grow

If all you are, and all you know is not accepted by others, that's their problem.
I wonder sometimes about the time we spend trying to convince others about who are we, where we've come from, we want to go.  For most part, I just think people can be rotten listeners and just wait for you to stop talking so they can resume talking about themselves haha.

I think about - who can help to keep that spark inside you growing.  Are you surrounded by people that try to snuff out your inner spark?  Stop hanging out with those fire extinguishers.  They tried to extinguish your spark because they can't ignite their own, and if that's the case - that sadly will be the immortality that they carry, the legacy that they will leave behind.

And I will stand for my dream if I can
Symbol of my faith in who I am
But you are my only
And I must follow the road that lies ahead
And I won't let my heart control my head
But you are my only
And we don't say goodbye
We don't say goodbye
And I know I've got to be

I wonder who the "you are my only" is in this verse.  Is it a person? Is it a supreme being? Is it a memory or even yourself?  If the person is you, it would totally make sense that you wouldn't be able to say goodbye, because you can't really say goodbye to yourself - you're with yourself all the time, even when you can't escape who are you and who people try to make you become.  Is this what it means to be immortal?  That idea of immortality of not being able to be separated from yourself is quite drastic.  You would need to come up with strategies for how to pass the time - because time for you would be irrelevant.  There would be no expectations for you to do anything because you would outlive everyone.

So I must follow a road that lies ahead, even if it means that it might be a road that I am reluctant to be on, because I am expected to go there or I have had to fix some mess that people are counting on me to fix.  The trick is not to fixate on it so much I guess.  You can vent for a little bit and find some way to release the pressure, the stress, even be a bit numb for a while, until you hit your inner reset button.  Just be sure to keep your reset button from other people who would love to locate that on you.  If you're going to have this immortality, you need to protect yourself from some preventable mishaps that could potentially lead to further strife.

I make my journey through eternity. . .

If I step back a little and take a long honest look at the bigger picture, that immortality could be your legacy that you leave behind in this life.  It could even be the immortality of your mortal beloved who has gone before you.  It could be so many things that will forever dwell in the immortal halls of your mind.  If these memories hung like pictures in your immortal halls, does this mean that when it comes time for you to leave this life, will you take those pictures with you?  Or will you leave them behind for other people to remember you by?  They can take a look at those pictures and create some new exhibit labels so that when people come to look, they can appreciate what your contributions were, and more importantly how you made this world just that little bit better before you left it.

Cos I have found a dream that must come true
Every ounce of me must see it through. . . 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A brand new life. . .

I grew up with so many American and British TV sitcoms.  One of my favourites was Who's the Boss? starring Tony Danza, Judith Light, Alyssa Milano, Danny Pintauro and the incomparable Katherine Helmond.  The show taught me a lot about when situations change in life, what you need to do when dreams don't come to fruition and how you can build a new life for yourself if you have the tenacity and sheer grit and determination to do so.

There's a time for love and a time for living
You take a chance and face the wind
An open road and a road that's hidden
A brand new life around the bend

I guess the challenge we face as humans (as opposed to aliens, but we'll save that for another post!) is how we can make the choices we need to make, sometimes even be forced to make because of situations that may be beyond our control.  Freak accidents. things that other people have done that have impacted on your life.  I think we can often struggle and agonise over the little things in life, you know, those minute to minute to decisions that can steal our focus away from the bigger picture of our lives.

I often think about how you can see your life as a movie trailer - where you can see all of the highlights and lowlights in your life in a 3 minute take.  I've taken to using iMovie trailers as part of my presentations for different conferences that I've presented at since last year - to students and educators in different sectors - and the response has been the same.  Everyone loves them.  It's not about the content that's within the movie trailers themselves -  but more to do with my willingness to share pieces of myself that I value to a wide audience.  I always make that little joke at the end of the trailer - "just so you know folks, you can'r rush out and buy tickets - it's not a real movie."

There were times, I lost a dream or two
Found the trail and at the end was you
There's a path you take and a path not taken
The choice is up to you my friend

I think it's important to understand that if things don't pan out the way you planned - that it happened for a reason.  I'm not a particularly old person, but I'm not a particularly old person either - so kind of in the middle of my life I think - with enough life experience to know the follies of my youth - but enough time (God willing) to know that I have some work yet to achieve in my 'brand new life.'
I honestly believe that every new discovery that you make about yourself contributes to new moments in your life - which may seem to you like you life actually is brand new.
I have been thinking a lot recently about paths I did not take and I'm content with the choices or situations that have lead me to exactly where I am right now - because it's exactly where I need to be.

Nights are long but you might awaken
To a brand new life, brand new life
A brand new life around the bend. . . 

I hope that when your nights are long, you awaken to the brand new life that you deserve.
The kind of life that makes you smile, keeps you inspired, keeps you invigorated and helps you to spread love and happiness to others.

Even though my nights are long, I understand that the weather during those nights will change from time to time, but I have the promise and hope of awakening to a new morning each time, with great expectations, with gratitude and a smile in my heart that I hope is mirrored in my eyes and my face :-)

Friday, 17 October 2014

I can go the distance. . .

I almost forgot that Michael Bolton sang this song.  I remember him for his tracks I said I loved you but I lied, How am I supposed to live without you and other power ballads that would assail my ears each evening on the "love songs till midnight" radio station.  (You know, when you go through that romantic phase of new love and every love song you hear, you think the singers knows your situation intimately).

I have often dreamed, of a far off place
Where a hero's welcome, would be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer, when they see my face
And a voice keeps saying, this is where I'm meant to be

The tension-building keyboard and triumphant trombone introduction of Go the Distance almost hails a reference to Mount Olympus, the residence of the Greek/Roman gods.  The song talks about the trials that Hercules/Heracles must face in order to prove himself the son of a god.  How often have we felt like we have had to constantly prove ourselves to others, to show that you have the necessary skills, knowledge, expertise to do work that is expected of you?  How often have we felt like we have had to change who we are in order to conform to everybody's expectations for how to socialise, for what is socially acceptable, to complement what everyone else is doing - even when you don't feel like it, but you are obligated to be there?

I'll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find the way, if I can be strong
I know every mile, will be worth my while
When I go the distance, I'll be right where I belong

There will be people that will try to ride on your coat tails and use you because they see that there is benefit from being associated with you.  There will be other people who will endeavour to stop you from reaching your goals and live your dreams.  You must remember that every mile in your journey in life will be fraught with challenges and obstacles that people and situations will place you in.

Down an unknown road, to embrace my fate
Thought that road may wander, it may lead me to you
And a thousand years, would be worth the wait
It might take lifetime, but somehow I'll see it through

There will be others who have gone before you, others who may have paved the way, who have inspired you on your current journey.  You must not forget these pioneers, these people who saw potential in you and fostered the desire for you to reach and realise your potential.  I hope that you will in turn be able to inspire others to live their own dreams and reach their own goals, because you had someone show you what going the distance means and how it feels when you will eventually be right where you belong.  Conversely, you might be inspired by the very people who blocked your pathway.  I truly believe that everyone has a purpose in their lives that they must complete.  That we are all entitled our own hero's welcome when the time comes.  Not because we want to be famous - but because we want our lives to have the kind of meaning where you achieved great things for mankind.

And I won't look back, I can go the distance
And I'll stay on track, no, I won't accept defeat
It's an uphill slope, but I won't lose hope
Till I go the distance, and my journey is complete

We must be prepared for failure on our quest of self-discovery, on our quest of fulfilment and purpose in this life.  I won't accept defeat, but if defeat arrives on my doorstep, banging on my door, you can bet that all avenues will be explored until defeat is nothing but a minor detail that has been resolved.  Staying focused, being resilient, keeping faith in yourself, never giving up are critically crucial - because once you give up on yourself - there is absolutely nothing that anything else can say to convince you otherwise.  I at least hope that if you have good people that surround you and can snap you out of whatever state of funkiness you find yourself, that they know to have an intervention of sorts with you soon.  We must not be afraid to ask for help when we need it :-)

I will search the world, I will face its harms
Until I find my hero's welcome, waiting in your arms. . . 

One more day. . .

This blog post is a song request for Upolu Pouono from Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa)

One more day is a track from an album of the same name by Diamond Rio, a Christian-country band.  Their career had a rocky start with a few of the band members having health problems that delayed their debut album release.  This single was quite popular upon its release and rose to further prominence as a tribute song for 9/11.

Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished for one more day with you

I've been missing you for a while now.  I try to suppress it most days because I don't see it as being constructive when other people are relying on me to deliver things that they need to make their world function.  But you already know this.  I have often wished for one more day with you.  That last time that we had together was too brief and not a private moment, well . . . not as private as I wanted it to be.

I think when I miss you most of all, that's when I have these crazy dreams and you come to visit me.  But most of the time you visit me through the songs that I hear all the time: the ones on the radio, in supermarkets, in department stores, the ones that people sing as they walk by, the ones that people blast on their car stereos as they speed past and even people humming on public transport as they listen to their iPods and smart phones.

The creative juices haven't flowed as much as I would like them to - especially in the songwriting department.  I think when I was teaching I could use the excuse that I wasn't writing much because all of the creative energy was being injected into the students.  I think now that's not the truth as I'm no longer in a music classroom, but I think from time to time, the music can definitely slow its pace enough that it grinds to a halt.

First thing I'd do is pray for time to crawl
Then I'd unplug the telephone and keep the TV off
I'd hold you every second, Say a million I love you's
That's what I'd do, with one more day with you

You always said don't tell me you love me, show me.
It was one of the greatest lessons you taught me.
Now I think about how I can share that lesson with others, showing how I care for them, showing how I connect with them.  A close friend said to me yesterday that when I'm listening to a live band, I don't socialise with people, I socialise with the music.  He talked about how, if I'm in the business of  connecting with people, shouldn't I be connecting with people in social situations.  I challenged him on that and said, are you asking why I'm not more like you, because you socialise more with people, rather than the music?  The conversation didn't get resolved.  But it made me think.
It made me think, you know what, if my job is about connecting with people, there comes a point when I want to disconnect from people.  Listening to music helps me to do that - to disconnect from the world and connect with myself, in relation to the music.

You always knew this about me.
When I am quiet because we argued, I would be quiet for a reason.
Just as I socialise with music, rather than people, when listening to a live band.
Being quiet means I am being still with myself, within myself, thinking about what you said, what I said, what we said.  How that talking transpires into action is the essence of moments.

People sometimes feel awkward with uncomfortable silences.  I like silences.  I can sit quietly in a car while someone is driving and I'm quite happy for the silence to stretch across the dashboard for the duration of the journey.

One more day, one more time
One more sunset maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again, I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still for one more day with you

So as much as I would wish for one more day with you, one more day will not cut it.
I will need to live on with the sage advice you gave me that continues to help to sustain me.
The funny things you said which help me to relax and not be so uptight about - because I can't control everything.

I think if I did have one more day with you - I wouldn't tell you a million "I love you's", I would ask you what heaven was like, thank you for loving me unconditionally and then show you how I love you - in a million ways :-)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Make it happen. . .

This blog post is a song request for Rita Seumanutafa from Melbourne, Australia.

Make it happen by Mariah Carey is one of her earliest hits.  I fell in love with her first single Vision of love. The fresh faced ingenue with the voice of an angel had arrived.  I much prefer this Mariah from her early years.  I know she was marketed with a real maturity that aged her, yet those songs did wonders for her voice.  Whitney Houston was marketed much in the same way with her Michael Masser hits, when she transitioned from singing gospel music in the church to singing power ballads in as many different situations about love as you could imagine.

I often cried myself to sleep
But still I had to keep on going
Never knowing if I could take it
If I would make it through the night
I held on to my faith
I struggled and I prayed
And now I've found my way

Unless you've been really down and out, I don't think you've really lived.
Unless you've had almost nothing and felt like you were at your wit's end, you haven't lived.
To me there is something poignant and beautiful when you are able to push through that pain and can rise above it.  When you are able to find your way through the many obstacles that are laid in your path - whether someone has laid them or you have inadvertently laid them yourself, we must remember to maintain the tenacity to survive.

I know life can be so tough
And you feel like giving up
But you must be strong. . .

You'll never find the answers
If you throw your life away

How can we stop ourselves from throwing our lives away?
How can we find the answers that we are searching for?
It will be hard to stay strong if you are continually battered from every angle, it will be hard to stay strong when others are counting on you to be weak - so if you have a choice - choose strong.
Your strongest advocate for yourself is you.

If you believe in yourself enough
And know what you want
You're gonna make it happen
Make it happen. . . 

I hope that you start to believe in yourself.
Because it's only when you start to believe in yourself - that things happen, because you've made them happen.

Go on - make it happen.  You know what you want.  And you know you want to :-)

Call the man. . . he's needed here. . .

This blog post is a song request for Rita Seumanutafa from Melbourne, Australia.

Celine Dion has been a huge presence in my lifetime in terms of longevity (I'm not saying I'm old - it's just that she's been around for a while during my lifetime with songs - both solo and collaborative).  I distinctly remember her cover version of Power of love.
Her other huge hit which smacked her right out of the ballpark and into the stratosphere was My heart will go on for the Titanic movie soundtrack.  Her power ballad Because you loved me for Up close and personal was also another favourite.  She's a consummate performer who has been performing for most of her life as a young child with her family, headlining in Las Vegas for a number of years, producing sell-out worldwide tours and numerous TV appearances, music award shows and charity events.

Call the man evokes for me images of when you come to that turning point in your life when you realise - you need to take action and face your nightmares head on - and start to reshape your reality.  As much as people express displeasure, dissatisfaction and general unhappiness all round with their lot in life, you need to find the strength to push past all of those distractions, excuses and disasters that are designed to drain you of anything positive.  So how can you even begin to heal again?
Especially when you have been mistreated, your heart is now broken and shattered in a million pieces on the floor?  How can you face the world again when all you know is that they will be talking about you behind your back the entire time (to be honest who really cares about those people?  Once you stop paying attention to what they think about you, they soon fixate on their next juicy topic of discussion).

Close the door
Shut the world away
All the fight's gone from this wounded heart

Quiet time on your own is sometimes the perfect solution for some people.
Being able to distance yourself from people - no matter how well-intentioned they may be, can bring clarity and as much as it hurts - it can start to filter and ease in that stage of acceptance - when you realise that even though your heart is wounded - it's ok to be wounded.  You need enough time to grieve and work through that pain so that your heart can heal again.  Everybody heals at a different pace, in different places and with different people.

Across the floor
Dreams and shadows play
Like wind blown refugees

The juxtaposition of dreams and shadows here means that you are in a state of confusion, as dreams are meant to depict love and light, joy and happiness - whereas shadows give rise to where doubts, darkness and uncertainty live and breathe.  For myself it feels like at times it can be ok to dwell amongst the shadows from time to time.  The trick is not to stay there too long or you let the shadows consume you.

Call the man 
Who deals in love beyond repair
He can heal the world 
Of hearts in need of care

Whoever you need to call upon to heal you, I hope that the healing comes in the time that you need it.
Sometimes we need to endure the pain at an excruciatingly slow pace so that we learn never to feel that again - and learn to appreciate the life we lead in a holistic sense.

Shine a light ahead when the next step is unclear
Call the man
He's needed here. . .

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Quando, quando, quando. . .

This blog post is a song request from Upolu Pouono from Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa).

Engelbert Humperdinck is one of those artists that I associate with Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but he's much more than that really.  He is one of the artists that my parents first introduced me to at an early age, along with Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Mark Williams (New Zealand artist who rose to prominence in the late 70s) and Jim Reeves.

I've chosen this particular YouTube clip of Quando quando quando to showcase the song, because to me it represents alot of what the song is about.  It's supposed to be a song about yearning and pressing the object of your affections to commit to the highly anticipated answer - that love will be returned - but the song is also playful in nature as shown by the dancing in the video.  It's probably something that every man dreams about - singing a song and hoping to be surrounded by beautiful women who are pleasing to the eye (unless of course, women aren't your thing).

Tell me when will you be mine?
Tell me quando quando quando
We can share a love divine
Please don't make me wait again

When will you say yes to me
Tell me quando quando quando
You mean happiness to me
Oh my love please tell me when

The first verse is interesting because it means that Engelbert has had to wait again.
Does this mean that she has been his love before - but now she's changed her mind?
But then he sings later about asking her, when will she be his?
Come on Engelbert, getting mixed messages here. . .

Every moment's a day
Every day seems a lifetime
Let me show you the way
To a joy beyond compare. . 

This is the only different part musically in the song.  For the most part, you have that constant bossanova beat with its distinctive accents of syncopation.  We know that this song was initially taken from an Italian song and then translated into English.  It has enjoyed cover versions by the likes of Michael Buble featuring Nelly Furtado and it has also been performed by Tom Jones (it's a nice partnering with It's not unusual which is quite similar).  To be honest it's the horn section in the background that play the 'answer' sequences with Engelbert that make me smile.  The flutes and strings also play their part to add more tonal flavour to the song - all playing their distinctive motifs.

I guess you can always pursue someone if you understand the rules of engagement - of your little game of cat and mouse.  Unless the other person genuinely wants nothing to do with you - then it doesn't become a game anymore, it's unrequited love, unwanted attention and at its worst - just plain ol' stalking.

I hope that if you are still waiting for the love of your lifetime, that you are equipped to handle the waiting - that you are patient.
I hope that if you are willing to pursue someone - that you make your intentions clear - because it's hard to pursue someone who doesn't know that you feel that way about them, that you are chasing their affections (might save you some time too).
I hope that if you are being pursued - that however you feel about your chaser - that you treat them kindly.  Let them down easy or be the love of their lives.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


This blog post is a song request for Tania Coutts in Whangarei, New Zealand (Aotearoa)

I recently read an article about a group of Swedish academics who have had a longstanding 17 year bet.  What does that have to do with Bob Dylan?  The bet was to include as many references to Bob Dylan songs as possible.

Standing in the water, casting your bread
While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
Distant ships sailing into the mist
You were born with a snake in both fists while a hurricane was blowing
Freedom just around the corner for you
But with truth so far off, what good will it do

This track was released in 1983 and it is reminiscent for me of the theme song from The Ellen Degeneres Show with the cast shot in the desert in the opening credits (it's some parts of the musical motifs that are similar to my ear, not what the music video looks like). I love the instrumentation.  I am particularly drawn to the bass guitar in this piece (which is strange as I'm not a bass player) but it definitely helps to drive the pace of the music forward.  The last line almost suggests that the truth is as far from us as anything welcome.

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird flying high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh . . . Jokerman

The lyrics in Jokerman have been widely connected to images of the AntiChrist as well as American president Ronald Reagan, particularly with the reference to America's intervention in Iran (the nightingale widely recognised as a symbol of Iran).

So swiftly the sun sets in the sky
You rise up and say goodbye to no one
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Both of their futures, so full of dread, you don't show one
Shedding off one more layer of skin
Keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within. . . 

You get to a certain point where you become super secretive and don't disclose information.
When you start trying to divide information or keep things, but especially people, on a "need to know" basis.  How many layers of skin will you shed before you show your true self?  Who will you choose to reveal yourself to anyway?  Who gets to see the real you?  

For me this song represents who we can be - we can be our own Jokerman.
Whether being the Jokerman allows us to put on different facades and not face up to reality is a good thing, we still need to proceed with caution.  We need to be mindful sometimes that we don't get too caught up in trying to identify those marks rather than living our best lives - right now.        

I hope that you dance to the beat of your own drum.
I hope that you sing the melody to your own soundtrack of your life.
I hope that you act in the greatest joy and sense of gratitude that you already know.

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird flying high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh . . . Jokerman

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Watching me . . .

First thing when I wake up
and right before I close my eyes at night
I think,
Feel man like 
I'm under some kind of microscope
satellites over my head
transmitters in my dollars
hawking, watching, scoping, jocking
scrutinizing me
checking to see what I'm doing
where I be
who I see
how and where and with whom I make my money
What is this??

I've been thinking about being under scrutiny since the whole GCSB monster arrived on the scene, in the most unstealth-like mode, like the Blob from the 1950s oozing out onto the cinema widescreen (who would pay to watch something like that anyway really?  ever wondered why there hasn't been a remake of the Blob in the last 10 years?

Today's headlines in New Zealand have now centred on Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager having his home raided today in an effort by police to flush out the hacker that has been supplying information about GCSB and the security breaches on ordinary New Zealanders, unaware, unknown and unnoticed, until enter stage right Kim Dot Com as easily as how Snagglepuss the Sabertooth Tiger exits stage left.

Look here at this watch of mine
Gotta open it up
Don't know who's been in it
Tracking where I go
Finding out all my business


Video cameras looked on me
In every dressing room
On every floor
In every store

Damn can I get to my democracy?

I guess we can't spend whatever 'x' amount of time trying to figure out how we combat this 'thing', being watched, being under surveillance, being the focus of attention in such an invasive and uninvited way.  Big Brother is definitely watching - anywhere, everywhere 24/7, even while you sleep.  I mean think about it - our smart phones are so smart, that pretty soon they will be smarter than us and we'll be living in that world described by the Terminator movie series or Extant where other-wordly beings take over our existence.

I don't really believe that - I'm just messing with you. . . .

But probably not as much as our privacy has been messed with. . . *cough cough*

Big yellow taxi. . .

My appreciation of Joni Mitchell came when I taught singing at a contemporary music studio in my early 20s.  The young girl who I was teaching at the time was a huge fan of folk singer/songwriters - Joan Baez, Judy Collins, including Joni Mitchell and groups like The Seekers and The Mama and the Papas.  The interesting thing to note for me at the time was that her parents didn't know where she got her taste in music as they didn't play folk music while she was growing up.

This brought home to me the exciting prospect of discovering things for yourself that is unique to you - not something that is taught to you, or influenced by others - but that when you hear music, experience something, taste something different - it awakens your ears in a way that you feel like you're only just starting to hear for the very first time and now understand why you have ears to hear.
New mental images are now forever ingrained in your memory and will play back to you when you take those private trips down memory lane and even when your tastebuds come alive for the very first time when you've tasted something that you instantly know will be one of your favourite foods for life and will become a source of comfort.

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

You can't help but think that Big Yellow Taxi highlights in an ever changing world that the  development of civilised societies has a way of ridding itself of the fundamentals of nature.  We forget to enjoy what we have because we're fixated on the future of what is to come, or think that we are onto something that will be of more value, more benefit or make even more profit.

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees

We forget to enjoy things in their natural setting.  In an effort to make things better or improve their current contexts or situations - we will take things away from their natural habitat and expect them to flourish - but what happens when it doesn't flourish?  Do we recognise our mistakes and immediately return things back to their original habitat or do we try to seek ways to force the transition to occur?

I like the reference to leaving the birds and the bees - it implies to me that Joni doesn't want the DDT to affect them, but that despite the face value nature connotation of the birds and the bees, the idea that the birds and the bees have become that awkward phrase.  You know the one.  When your parents pull you aside and discuss how relationships, reproduction and restraint work through your adolescence.

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man

I often wondered where her old man went.
It would have raised alarm bells with me if he had been taken away by a police car.
So the old man wasn't in trouble.
But if a big yellow taxi came, it tells me that he had planned to leave, because you have to hail a taxi or at least order one to come and pick you up to drive you to your destination.
I hope he didn't leave because he couldn't handle all of the development that was going on around him.

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot. . . 

I hope that whatever you have or who you have in your life that is about to gone (sometimes you can't predict these things - it just happens) that you cherish the moments with them as if they were your last.  They can often by replaced (by no design of your own) with other things, other people that seek to replace, but it is totally up to you how long it takes for you to be at peace with it being. . . gone. .

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Thank you for being a friend . . .

If you were a child growing up in the 80s, you would have been a huge fan of TV.
One of my favourite TV shows was The Golden Girls with Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and her mother Sophia.  The camaraderie amongst these girls was fun to watch.  Each character had their own distinct personality and I never tired of watching their adventures every week (even though it seems weird to me now as an adult that I had a fascination with a programme about girls doing it for themselves in their sunset years).

Thank you for being a friend
Travel down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a friend and a confidante

You can have many friends, but not many of them can be counted as confidantes.
This song reminds me about taking the necessary measures to secure friends that you can also count on as confidantes.  You might find these traits in different types of people.  Some of them you might not be able to live with, but work alongside, or may have lost touch with over the years - you know the friends for a reason or season.

Good friends are the definitely those people who tell you what it is that you need to know, rather than what you want to hear.  Sometimes when they tell you things and think that you are being quiet and not talking, that this is a deterrent for wanting to tell you things anyway.  So they would prefer not to be upfront with you about anything or beat around the bush long enough, until there are no leaves left on that bush, then they need to come clean.

I have learned some valuable lessons with friendships over the years.
I am still learning these lessons today.
You might have specific requirements for friends and will only stick to the types of people that you will always be comfortable with.  I find this a boring and meaningless way to live.  I say make friends with people who would never want to be friends with you.  You're probably thinking - that is a ridiculous idea.  But hey, think about it.  The most learning I have ever had with friendships has been to make friends with people that are out of my 'comfort zone'.

I recently watched an interview with Brooke Fraser where she talked about her new album,
She talked about her new music and how she wants her new album to reflect a desire to 'disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed.'  I believe that these are qualities of what a good, true friend possesses.

A funny line I remember from the 'Streetcar named Desire' episode of The Simpsons had one of the musical numbers "A stranger is a friend you haven't met".  I guess at the end of the day, we should be kind to each other and be caring towards one another, even if we rush about our daily lives in a fashion that doesn't allow us sufficient time (or inclination) to make friends - or thank the ones we have.

So this song is a reminder for me - to thank all of my friends - for being a friend.
To those who comfort me when I am disturbed and those who disturb me when I am comforted.

And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say,
'Thank you for being a friend'