You know, that type of song…

Yesterday I was sitting on the train, minding my own business when I noticed that I had my eyes closed.

I wasn’t napping, although I could probably have done with a little kip after a long day at the office. Rather, I was listening to my ipod and had almost forgotten where I was (only a little bit embarrassing on a crowded train.)  I had my music on shuffle, and Joni Mitchell’s Case of You was in my ears.  Without even realising it, my mood had changed. All of a sudden I was feeling much happier, or perhaps more accurately, more content.

It got me to thinking, what is it about those special songs that make the heart hum a little, that make the mind slow, and that seem almost impossible to listen to without shutting your eyes?

So here’s a few tracks that have that particularly effect on me.  I’d love for you to let me know which songs do this for you…

Firstly, I’ve got to mention Case of You, by Joni Mitchell. Joni in general tends to make me feel very cruisey, but this song more than most.

The original Beatles track is pretty wonderful, but I think Sarah McLachlan’s cover of Blackbird is particularly lovely.

Next up I’ll include Fire and Rain, by James Taylor. A little daggy maybe, but this song always makes me think of a dear little River Phoenix.

And lastly is The Lighthouse Song, by Josh Pyke. I remember when I first heard this song, listening to the radio on the way to work. It hadn’t finished by the time I reached the office, so I walked around the block so that I could hear it through to the end. I was late for work.

So which songs make you hum a little, make the hairs standup on the back of your neck, give you goosebumps?

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Does this make me a grown up?

I’m posting this nice and early today, as I won’t have time to post anything tonight and I want to brag about what I’ve got coming up this evening. I’d also like to tempt you a little.

I’ve got a day in the office, putting a little time into the day job after a pretty long break away. It’ll be nice to catch up with the crew, and to have some uninterrupted time to get some web work done.

But that’s not the highlight.

Tonight, I’m going to my very first proper opera and I’m pretty sure that makes me a grown-up. At the very least I must be proper cultured, yeah?!

My friend @fionak and I are having a gals night out at the Malthouse Theatre, to see How to Kill Your Husband. The show is based on Kathy Lette’s novel of the same name and is presented by Victorian Opera. It is said to be full of wit and irreverence.


If you’re keen for a last minute night out, Rushcrowds has half-price tickets available here… This makes for a very affordable evening out, a chance to enjoy both culture and giggles.

An institution

If you’ve got a few spare minutes, can I suggest that you have a listen to Jon Faine’s radio show from a couple of days ago. Jon was lucky enough to be able to pick the brains of a great man, Alex Morton.

Brian Nankervis, Bjorn Richie Lob, Alex Morton (Samantha Stayner - ABC Local Radio)

Alex is my dear friend Hannah’s Dad, a guy who I’ve been in awe of since I was at High School.  Owner of The Last Record Store in Collingwood, Alex has been working hard to keep the dream alive. It’s fitting that he’d have a few things to say about Independent Record Store Day (Saturday last, 16 April).

You can listen to the show here…

I’m sad to say that The Last Record Store is actually closing it’s doors quite soon, but by the same token, I was happy to hear that this is NOT because of market pressure, economic changes, technology etc…It is just a change of pace for dear Alex and his lovely wife Helen. Good luck guys, and all the best for your next adventure (I hope you catch a big fish.)

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A different kind of twilight

Sometimes I get struck by just how nice life can be.  Friday night was one of those times, an evening when I was able to thoroughly enjoy watching the kids have a ball, pick up a few treats for myself, and have a couple of drinks with friends.

Hampton Primary School held their Twilight Carnival on Friday. Being the first time in many years that the school has run a fete, we were all waiting with bated breath to see how it would come together. In short, the result was spectacular. It was a fab event that’ll be talked about for a long time to come – plenty of fun for the kids, yummy food and shopping treats, and great entertainment. The dedicated group who organised all and sundry should be loudly congratulated and many thanks sent to the school for supporting it.

I got my hands on a few really lovely things worth bragging about.

Needless to say, I couldn’t stay away from the second-hand books. I found a few really lovely kids books which Oscar has already officially approved. I picked up  a couple of pulpy novels for myself too, but by far the highlight was this little find, a really great copy of The Misfits, by Arthur Miller, in Penguin orange no less. I’m quite smitten.

I was also quite taken with another little find, of all things, swap cards…

Swapstar have a really lovely new take on the classic swap card collections.  Locally and lovingly designed, I was particularly taken by this owl set and I couldn’t resist the silhouettes set as well. Now I just have to decide what I want to do with them. Swapstar sell albums, but I’m thinking the cards might be able to be up and out somewhere.  I’ll put my mind to it and let you know what I end up doing.

The constant crowd was well entertained throughout the evening.  The Ulumbra Stage was put to good use –  the school choir was a nice way to start the program, and the duo performances, jazz and otherwise set a lovely tone.  A school favourite, Clinton Bowditch and friends concluded the evening’s entertainment with a handful of tunes.  We were really lucky to have special guest, Clare Bowditch join Clinton and co. for a couple of songs…a really fine way to top off the event.

After a few tunes, I joined my friends in the beer garden…a very popular spot on a balmy Friday. In the end, I’m pretty sure the only reason that we went home was that the mosquitos started to bite.  That, and the fact that it got a bit harder to keep track of the kids in the dark…

So we packed up our books and our chutney, our swap cards and our cupcakes and we went home to look forward to the next carnival.  Well done to all, what a job well done.

A night at the opera

Just to mix it up a little, I asked my friend Fiona to put together a review of a recent night out at the opera (she’s much more civilised than I am)…and here it is. Thanks for your words Fi.

Thank-you to That Book You Love for inviting me to guest post today. Mandi noticed on Twitter that a number of us from RushCrowds had a big night out at the opera and suggested a bit of a review could be good.

Viva Verdi was the name of the first event that we could call a true RushCrowders event. Last Friday night I went to the opera for the first time in maybe eight years.

When Victorian Opera became the third company to test out our RushCrowds platform with a show that looked light-hearted and friendly on paper, I decided that this was the opportunity to wear a proper Victorian opera skirt that I’d purchased in a crazy moment  a couple of years ago from Vintage Rose.

Viva Verdi was dedicated to the Dame Joan Sutherland whose recently passing saddened many true fans of opera.

So back to the skirt –  the designers at Vintage Rose make beautiful garments, many influenced by the Victorian era and Empire line style. However there are very few opportunities to wear a full length opera skirt with bustle and lace-up bodice, so this romantic purchase had been consigned to the back of the cupboard.

On Friday night the skirt and bodice got an outing and it couldn’t have been a nicer way to come out. Viva Verdi was a snapshot of the opera of Verdi – 2 parts – the first from La Traviata and the second from Il Trovatore.

Forget the stitched shirt opinions you may have of opera. With the Victorian Orchestra conducted by the flamboyant Richard Gill, and the opera singers decked up like, well me, the show was one of high gaiety, cheeriness almost a bit bawdy really.

I’m glad there was a translation on our seats because now I know that Verdi had a pretty robust sense of passion, humour and didn’t mind telling folks to stop speaking if they weren’t making any sense!

And Melbourne Town Hall is such a gorgeous venue. The huge pipe organ as the backdrop was suitably impressive but cast your eye around and you could get soaked up into the huge wall frescos and transported by the duck egg blue and gold patterning on the ceiling. Really lovely all round!

On this RushCrowds adventure were several friends from Twitter @digitalkulcha @joidesign @pomegranate02 @pupsinmelb @kelllll and several folk from the Abbotsford Convent  who were curious to see what a night out at the opera might be like these days. Our RushCrowders were on the look out for @kelllll who was there with friends under the RushCrowds special offer but we missed each other’s tweets and I for one felt a tad naughty checking my iPhone during the performance.

Victorian Opera has more excellent shows that we hope to RushCrowd this year, the Magic Flute in March should be a ripper. If you haven’t stumbled across RushCrowds yet but love the notion of meeting up with a bunch of people who are going to the opera, theatre, a meal out, supper etc – then come join us at and let the RushCrowding begin!