Monday, 30 January 2012

I ♥ Stephen Cummings

Reliving my groupie days I went and saw Stephen Cummings playing locally recently.  If you're not an Aussie you've probably never heard of him. If you are an Aussie, from Melbourne, 20 years ago you might have heard of him. He never made it huge commercially but he still releases albums.

Some of his hits were with The Sports- 'Strangers on a Train', or 'Don't throw stones' and their biggie, 'Who listens to the radio'. (Geez he looks young here, and no grey hair. Every album I actually have he has grey hair. Then Stephen went solo.  Aw,  'When love comes back to haunt you', this is one of those sweet sentimental ones. He sounds excellent here - exactly like he did live.  And finally (I know, I know I'll stop now.) here's one of my fav oldies Backstabbers, below.

Anyway, back to what I was saying: My how times change. In my younger youth there’d be a huge crowd there; especially up the front right in front of the band having a big dance. There’d be a cover charge, and there’d be a back up band. Or if not a back up band at least another band playing.

It was always Stephen Cummings, and then Joe Joe Zep and the Falcons. Or maybe Joe Joe Zep were the headliners and Stephen was supporting them. I don’t know. Joe Joe Zep slowly became Joe Camilleri with Vicka and Linda Bull.

Either way it was always an awesome night.

So it was very nostalgic when I went and saw him recently. There was no cover charge, no one danced- though I was tempted- and the crowd was sparse.

But as soon as he started singing he sounded exactly like he did 20 years ago. Such a fabulous voice. I started to feel a little sad that we’re not all 20 years old again but then soon settled in to enjoy the really old songs and feel mellow about the new ones.

Unlike my forays of late with on-line social groups where I think I fit in but wonder if I really should be hanging out with people 10 years older, I was clearly the youngest person in the room! Makes a nice change.

Sorry, please indulge me. This is the last one: this is what he looks like now. (He sounded better than this the other day. . . ) But this is another favourite: She set fire to the house.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Australia Day Celebrations

Yesterday was Australia Day when we (OK white Australians) celebrate the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 although some indigenous Australians see it as less than a day of celebration. It has morphed into a celebration of Australia culture and community with lots of people taking up Australian citizenship on the day etc.  

Anyway, being a public holiday people often get out and about and celebrate Australian "culture" or just get very drunk and sunburnt. I went out with people to a bar down at the beach, had a couple of drinks, chatted, checked out men and later had dinner. 

This was all good except for my advanced age. Most people there appeared to be in their 30s. I don't hold that against them but as I peered around for men to leer at, discreetly of course, I couldn't find any older ones. This was most disappointing. Maybe they were all at home having barbeques?

At one point I went to the Ladies. I managed to locate it by the long tell-tale queue of women lined up outside it. The men would approach us, pause, then walk past to the Mens. Then they would reappear and leave while we were still lined up! 

I spent this time realizing that the dress code for the 30 somethings was mainly very short sundresses or shorts. I had not put on my very short shorts. Actually, I did have shorts on previously and then changed my mind thinking I'd be cold. See? Sometimes it doesn't pay to be too pragmatic. Also, I thought they might be a bit short. (Snort.) Sometimes a housemate would be very handy who could then reassure me that the shorts were fine. 

As I queued I ended up feeling old(er) and not too glam, so used my time in the loos to apply more make-up. Not sure that it helped. Did not regret the lack of shorts, however, as I sat on the air conditioned train on the way home and shivered. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Time. . .

Saw an ad on TV last night for Homeland, I was watching something I'd taped. Last week.

It claimed that Homeland was on Obama's Must See List.

He has time to watch TV? You're kidding me.

I barely have time to watch TV (except yesterday obviously) and I've been on holiday for the last 6 weeks! Just saying. . .

Monday, 23 January 2012

Damn. Still not athletically gifted

The rowing adventure continues. I must be improving but sometimes the progress looks very slow. I have had 4 or 5 lessons now.

The critic in me wants to classify me as Completely Crap. The other part of me that knows I shouldn’t be so hard on myself reminds me that several things happen successfully every lesson:
  • I get in and out of the boat without falling in.
  • I move the boat from A to B, if not smoothly, well, I do move it.
  • I mainly stay on the correct side of the river.
  • I keep my oars in the water, mainly.
  • After last Sunday, everyone on the Yarra now knows my name.
I will explain.

Several of us had a lesson. Three more advanced people went on ahead, they were much faster than "Pete" and I. One of the coaches cycled along the path beside the river keeping them company, Sue cycled along the path keeping "Pete" and I company.

And yelling instructions. Through a megaphone. Frequently.

“Stella, straighten your legs before you bend your arms!”

I try to concentrate on this while wondering why I am not going in a straight line. Looking back behind I notice a bridge. Crap, now I  have to avoid the bridge.
Above is one on the bridges I need to negotiate. There are different "rules" about which arch you can pass through according to which side of the river you are on. 

“Stella, go through the first arch of that bridge!” 

I get through the first arch and don't crash into the pylon. Sue telling me to line up my stern with the arch doesn't help because I am not going in a straight line.

“Stella, you are now in the wrong lane!”

I know this and spend a lot of time rowing with just my right oar to correct myself.

“Stella, square your right blade in the water!"

I try, no idea why I can't do this uniformly, as I try to concentrate on my arms and legs and look back behind me so I don't run  into the bank.

“Stella, now I want you to concentrate on straightening your legs first!”

Still trying.

“Stella, you don’t row a boat with your arms!”

Adding to the tension:
“Stella, avoid the rubbish catcher up along there!”

Still not rowing in a straight line.

“Stella, now you’re over-squaring your blade!”

Now I just wanna stop.

“Stella, don’t move your arms until your legs are straight. Doesn’t that feel better?”

Almost home and the river turns a corner.

“Stella, don’t row into the bank!”

Technically I know what I should be doing, just not quite doing it yet. Yes, that would be bending my arms before my legs are fully straight.

A less loud conversation where we chatted from the bank and the boat went like this:

“I think your right wrist if more flexible than your left, so you over-square. That’s special, I don’t know how to teach that.” Sue observed, explaining why I am incapable of rowing in a straight line.

“Fabulous, thanks Sue. Perhaps you can mention how special I am on the megaphone too? I’m just going to wear a name tag next Sunday in case anyone misses who I am.”

Friday, 13 January 2012

Getting old?

I went dancing last night at the Salsa Foundation and think I became old.

The two young, petite, female instructors were wearing very short shorts. One of these tiny Asian women had her shorts so short the pockets peeked out at the bottom and her top covered the shorts at the back. To complete the ensemble she had some funky high-heeled dance shoes on. (These women were tiny, I looked like a giant in comparison.)

The other lass had on what looked like black underpants! Seriously. She also had on a top that covered her shorts and some sort of sports bra/crop top situation. I know this as when she was practicing for one of the classes with the male instructor she straddled his leg then did a backwards dip, then some groovy gyrating with her hips and her top flared up. She was also wearing high heeled boots.

I looked around at the class and decided that I didn't want to straddle any of the men's legs. So I didn't do that class. 

I hadn't realized the dress code for this place or I might have got my Bikram yoga shorts and crop top out and teamed them with my high heel dance shoes. Actually, no one else was dressed like the instructors, they were the funkiest of the lot. 

Anyway, it occurred  I might be getting older when on seeing the instructors' outfits I was a wee bit shocked. Did their mothers know they had gone out in those shorts? Maybe they were off to work at one of the "Gentleman's Clubs" down in King St later? 

The male instructor on the other hand was one of the most beautiful men I've ever seen. I had previously not thought it possible for a man to be masculine and beautiful at the same time.

So while the dance class was fun I don't think I want to learn to gyrate that much; I'll try somewhere else next week.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Row 2, 3 . . .

I’ve been having some rowing lessons. These have turned out to be fun but it is far, far more complex than I had realized. And, rowing with two oars - sculling – is an entirely different prospect to rowing with one oar - sweeping. (Unless of course I have that wrong and they are not the correct terms, but either way they’re still different and still tricky.)

FYI - you can scull by yourself, but you can’t sweep by yourself. (Again, unless of course I have that wrong.)
This is not me. I believe her hands are in much closer, horizontally, than mine. 

Anyway, I have long known I’m not a gifted athlete. Hell, I’m not even very coordinated. Yes, I know my way around a yoga mat but that doesn’t involve any eye/hand coordination. P.E. was never my thing at school, in fact I didn’t even like the P.E. teachers. (Back then they were a little bitchy and looked down on those of us who were always chosen last for any team. I’m sure it’s different now.)

When I was having dancing lessons that was always fun- you should’ve seen my dance teacher. Hot, hot, hot. I don’t know why men don’t think dancing is sexy. Hell, if you can Argentine tango with someone . . . er, but I digress. Dancing - fun, but when I had to stand in front of my instructor and then mirror him it’d never work. I had to stand behind him to copy his footsteps. Of course I have improved now. The key is to not think about it too much; now I can follow a lead. If the man can dance, then generally I can too. 

Oh, and do you remember my attempts at Step class? Once the choreography got too complicated I’d invariably be leaping over the step in the opposite direction to everyone else.

So I had few hopes that I’d turn out to be a natural at rowing but I figured I could eventually learn how to do it. I mean, I can exercise in a room heated to 40+ degrees . . . and enjoy it, surely I can learn to row?

Today wasn’t one of my stellar performances. My lovely rowing instructor, Sue, has everlasting patience. Thank goodness because today I couldn’t tell my left hand from my right.

I had been rowing but ended up coming back in too close to the landing and couldn’t get myself away from it. I was probably attempting to cross the river.

“Row with your right oar,” yelled Sue, helpfully. I obeyed her instructions, mysteriously not getting any further away from the landing.

“That’s your left oar,” Sue continued.

“Oh, so it is,” I muttered feeling foolish, as you do.

There was also a close call when I almost went into the river. Previously I had thought it was rather difficult to fall out of the boat or capsize it, but I almost managed it today.

“Keep your hands together, Stella, they’re poles apart,” instructed Sue as I tilted the boat dangerously from side to side. Saved, she continued, “How’s your adrenaline?”

My adrenaline was fine, it’s fun, and fortunately Sue’s patience is never ending so I will persevere.