Sunday, December 18, 2011

Broke winter, happy happy joy.

Here's the situation: I am more broke than I have ever been before, my furniture (expensively shipped from Australia four months ago) has still not made it as far as my actual apartment, my winter wardrobe is showing its puniness in the face of negative temperatures, I have a pretty terrible cold, and I have a feeling that the quite awesome man I met recently may have decided he doesn't think I'm quite as awesome as he first thought. That last bit might be paranoia, but the other bits are decidedly real. However, by some miracle, I am feeling undeniably happy. While the money sitch is a bummer I definitely need to address, I have been managing to eek out a fun time anyway, doing relatively inexpensive things with some seriously cool-fun people. I have also really started to enjoy my colleagues at work, and even - shock, horror - the work itself. Mainly though, I have just been aware lately that if you have the basics in place, you're doing pretty well. If you have food, an apartment, a bed, a job to go to, a selection of wooly jumpers (sweaters if you're American), great family, fun friends to hang out with, and the odd glass of wine, you have the wherewithal for a happy life. So while I am definitely strapped for cash, and there is definitely a long, cold winter ahead, I am also definitely happy, thankful and lucky to be living this awesome life.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

3 months in the city.

Ah, another blue-sky Williamsburg Saturday. Rustically attired hipsters filter past my window, rugged up against the brisk air and carrying potted cactuses/secondhand danish designer chairs etc they've picked up from the local markets and junk shops. And what am I doing? Sorting out my life again. But all is well. As you may have guessed from previous posts, my first three months living proper in New York have been what one might call monumentally challenging. Every survival faculty of my body and brain has been called upon to negotiate the crazy-scape that is planet NYC - the swarming hives of jobland, the gassy mechanics of the city's ever-whirring operations, and the alien breeds that variously march, crawl, limp or float the streets. And there have definitely been moments when I have thought my delicate, oxygen-softened tubes may not be built to breathe whatever it is they call air around here. But as is my pattern, I have chaotically battled my way through the demon zone, and have come out the other end a somewhat new beast myself. A recent visit from my angel sister Anna has rejuvenated me, and restored my belief in my ability to achieve great things in this town. A positive 3-month Performance Review at work has confirmed I haven't been doing as terribly as I might have sometimes suspected - in fact I've actually been doing quite well. And all of it together has awakened a clear vision of my plan for the next little while. My next phase is a time for ordered hard work. With my head a little clearer on what I'm actually doing, I can better focus my energy in the right areas. With the temperatures plummeting, I can get more into my day-life indoor activities than my night-life rampaging-about ones. More sleep, more exercise time (in the brand new, very pleasant and handy gym down the hall from my apartment), more time spent on projects and productiveness. It all feels like a happy plan for my winter months. So today I'm cleaning up my house, re-blonding my hair, catching up on a little blogging, and doing a little work and a little exercise. And then I'm going out for a relaxed dinner with some Aussie pals. Nice. And so the next phase begins.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Over the last more than little while, my family, friends, and yes even you (are you still with me?), could have been forgiven for thinking I'd fallen off the planet. In fact, trying to think back, I'm not really 100 percent sure where it is exactly I have been. Well no, naturally I've been in New York - where else? But "being" in New York is quite a different thing to being anywhere else. I may have mentioned before that I think NYC is built on magic rocks. They're the rocks that give this city that crazy, heady gas cloud of wow energy that hangs in the air. But now I have an addition to the theory. I now have a hunch as to where those rocks get the energy from. It's from us. The fevered worker ants teeming the streets, jerking nervily from workplace to watering hole, saturating zizzy stress vibes with blurring wines and whiskeys, clambering home in some gangle-limbed fashion, then landing in bed to grasp at wispy tufts of sleep and elusive dreams before it all begins again. Those rocks fill us with excitement, spur us on with the promise of big things, then laughingly suck every gasp of useable energy back out of us in return. And if they're feeling a little nasty, they belch a puff of exhaust and pollution for us to gulp down as we clamour for air. So, if you were wondering, that's where I've been. Galloping wildly along some treadmill that doesn't make you thin or healthy, but instead drives you to drink, delirium, and various foods containing melted cheese. The melted cheese is awesome. The drink and crazy thoughts not so much. Now of course, it's not all bad. I've met and continue to meet some top-notch, interesting and hilarious characters. And I seem to have become almost complacent about the absolutely everything that is on offer here in terms of world class entertainment, art, events, minds etc - but my complacency doesn't make it any less totally cool. Only I have a sense at the moment that there is a crucial change I need to make to truly come alive here. I know I'm on the right track, but maybe I got off at the wrong station. The good thing with that of course, as one discovers here, is that a wrong station stop isn't too hard to fix. You just get on the next train and you'll soon be where you need to go. So I'll be working on that. And I may be wandering around in the wilderness for a small time. But that's okay. It may be wild and crazy and taxing as hell out here, but last time I checked, adventures were all pretty much built that way. And until I find out why I had to come on this one, you definitely won't catch me running away.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tough town.

There's a popular phrase down under: "Toughen the fuck up". I have had cause to think of this phrase often, living in this town. Moving countries isn't easy. Moving countries and changing jobs is even less so. Doing it all in New York Fuckin City takes the cake. Don't get me wrong, this city is one of the greatest. It's exhilarating to be here, right up against so many amazing possibilities and amazing actualities every day. But therein also lies the problem: you're up against it. New York has a way of showing you at extremely close range just how sensational things can indeed be, while simultaneously making sure you're aware just how hard it will be to get to a point where those sensations are your own. Even when you're not trying to reach the lofty heights, just trying to get your basic shit together takes a lot of hard work. Holding down a job, getting an apartment, getting from A to B (via the L if you're me), finding people you want to hang out with, finding time to hang out, finding time to sleep, exercise, take any care of yourself whatsoever. It's a struggle. And I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been stressing me the fuck out. That's probably one of the reasons my skin has been breaking out (city grime hasn't been helping), which has also been stressing me the fuck out. I routinely wonder if I may have made an enormous mistake, or if today might be the day I discover the joys of having my first panic attack. But I keep reminding myself this isn't meant to be easy, and I'm doing okay. Next week I will move into my own apartment - my first fixed abode in six months. That's progress sister. So toughen the fuck up.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Living the dream.

It occurred to me the other day as I hurtled across the Williamsburg Bridge in my yellow cab, that right now I am in fact living out my dreams. What’s interesting though, is what the dream actually feels like when it becomes real. It’s lucky I’m writing this today, because today I’m feeling pretty ace. If I’d written it on another day, it might have been a little less chipper, and a lot more agitated. Because while dreams tend to consist of a few well chosen frames shot through the flattering haze of a Vaseline smeared lens, reality is a little more gritty. It’s a little less smooth, a little more lumpy.  As Shakespeare told us, all’s well that ends that way. And because I’m writing this story today – a happy day – we can conclude all is well. But my, it’s been quite a ride. Now in my third week at my new place of work, I have only just started to really clue in to exactly what it is I’m meant to be doing around here. I have only just managed to use my desk phone with any degree of confidence, and I’m only just starting to feel any iota of comfortable in my new surrounds. On the way to this point I have swung violently between feeling like I have found my true work home – a house of awesome brain stimulation – to feeling so alien that a visit from the F.B.I.’s department for extraterrestrials wouldn’t surprise me. Because, as I’ve said before, over here for me, almost every single thing is new. From the way people behave in the work place, to the way they express themselves, to how they order a salad, it’s all new information I need to negotiate, process and interpret. Information overload is an understatement. My brain has been bursting, my dreams have been teeming, and from time to time I have felt the hurried approach of a major freak-out. However, so far, I have successfully managed to keep the freak-out at bay. How you ask? By using my yogi-powers of course. In the same way that I credit my Bikram yoga experience for giving me the skills and determination to get to New York City in the first place, I am indebted to yoga for enabling me to keep my head. I have simply approached every challenge with the same mindset you use to survive (and even enjoy) a hot yoga session: one thing at a time. No big picture wigging out, just an in-the-moment, how-long-can-this-really-last mentality. By focusing on the one thing I’ve been dealing with at the time, and not thinking about any future or larger thing I don’t need to, this entire monstrous undertaking has been rendered entirely manageable. Even uncomfortable experiences, when they’re looked at in isolation, don’t seem so big and bad. And awesome ones, when you’re really present, can be celebrated all the more. Not to say I haven’t had some serious moments of “what the effing frick have I got myself into??!”. Only, by some miracle I’ve managed to recognize what I’ve got control over, what I can change and what I can’t, drop the stuff I can’t do a thing about and move on. It’s been wicked. And let it not be forgotten, that while living the dream might be challenging as all hell, it’s also equal parts unbelievably fun, exciting and cool. So if you’ve been thinking of diving into the dream arena, go right ahead. It’s an experience I would thoroughly recommend. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time to get excited.

Here I am, yet again, at the airport, waiting to board another plane to the USA. But this time the adventure is really beginning. Yes, there will be big hurdles to leap over, big challenges to meet head-on and big things to prove, but at this point I can actually get excited. The job is waiting, the visa is approved, there is a bed to sleep in and friends to see when I arrive. I am heading to the Big Apple. Let's get this show on the road.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A beautiful place.

This morning I rose early, donned items from my pathetic excuse for a winter wardrobe, and walked the path from my good friend Kristie's house to the Rose Bay ferry stop. Ah, and what a sparkling Sydney scene was there to greet me. Lapping water on a pretty beach, winter trees in the park, and a rustic paved walking track along the waterfront of the Sydney Harbour. A nice change from the relentless bucketing rain and dark cloud of last week, and one of the many reminders one gets here, of being exceptionally lucky to be alive to appreciate the wonders of the world. Sydney really is quite paradisiacally beautiful. On the weekend, my brother and I jogged to Bondi beach, and its fresh crashing waves, and bright winter sunshine hitting that awesome curve of white sand was a quite miraculous sight to behold, especially after the clamoring grime of the streets of New York. But then of course, New York has its incredibly beautiful aspects too - and not just its visual ones. New York's beauty probably lies more in the infinite possibilities it offers, and in the magic mindset that permeates its population. That collective inspiration and energy makes it a truly beautiful place. But that, very fortunately, has been and continues to be my experience of late: beautiful people, beautiful places, inspiring experiences, amazing opportunities, friends and family and strangers too reaching out to help and facilitate and connect me with more magical things and people. I may be starting to sound like a tripper, but I really feel like since answering the call to get to New York, a new flow has begun. Where things start connecting miraculously, where needs are met, desires fulfilled, hard work rewarded, where the right things and people are coming together. It may not last forever, but while things are moving in the right direction, I am very thankful to find myself in such a beautiful place.

P.S. I will also very soon be apartment hunting in earnest, so if anyone knows of any "beautiful places" going spare in New York city, totally hit me up!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


That’s an obscure and not entirely relevant reference to the punch line of the joke told by Uma Thurman’s character in Pulp Fiction. Anyway. It’s been a while, so I thought a “ketchup” of somewhat enormous proportions was in order. I am writing this from Sydney, from my desk at my old advertising agency. But do not despair. While it might sound like I have slunk back to my old digs under a shadow of mission failure, this is decidedly not the case. Instead, during my recent hiatus from blogland, I have been hustling like a professional and actually kicking goals (which is more than I can say for my beloved Canterbury Crusaders rugby team in the Super 15, but the less said about that the better.). Am I sounding cocky? Well let’s not forget where I’ve been for the last two to three months: in the U. S. of A., land of self-promote or die. So yes, I have learned to project confidence and successfulness until proven otherwise, and I have achieved some good things. But I’m still not in any position to be hanging up my hustler’s hat. Specifically, since my last warblings, I interviewed again with my dream agency and talked next steps for further interviews and specific positions. Meanwhile, I was also interviewing extensively with another agency for a position that would stretch my brain in a different and satisfying direction. Six interviews deep I had a job offer. With my remaining time in the US swiftly diminishing, and delays at the dream agency meaning any kind of offer would still be weeks off, I accepted the offer I had, packed my bags, left my scuzzy yet endearing Hell’s Kitchen apartment and jumped on a plane home. Home? Where is it exactly that I live right now? Nowhere in fact, but home this time meant Christchurch, my original home, the home that will always be. Because in my final days in New York, while it was my time to be packing suitcases, it was also my grandfather Nod’s time to leave life as we know it and move on to whatever comes next. I received the news while on a jog in Central Park, and quickly became one of New York’s many public blubbers. At least I was in a beautiful environment, one that Nod, being a gentle, gardening man, would have appreciated. And so, I re-routed my trip to include a side-trip to New Zealand, then travelled a bewildering 30+ hours across the world in an attempt to make Noddy’s funeral. I missed it by an hour, but did manage to catch the after party, peopled by a childhood’s worth of friendly, familiar and comforting faces, many not seen since I was a year shy of my first pimple. It was quite a miraculous experience to step into a church hall pulsing with so much happy history, “fresh” from an epic journey, and about to embark on another – NYC round two. Anyway, where you find me, I am back in Sydney, earning dollars while having my visa stuff processed. And before I head back I have many things to arrange, like the small detail of a roof over my head, and how to transport my worldly possessions to my new home without emptying my bank accounts. This year, it seems, was meant to be a mind-boggling one, filled with many moves and many tiresome yet necessary tasks. Still, I am happy that I have achieved what I set out to from my first NY stint: a writing job in the big smoke, and a to be continued with my agency number one. Time then, to get down with my US spellings and local words – of which, come to think of it, “ketchup” is one.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Epic bike ride, magic day.

What? Two blog posts in one day? Yesssssss. Because I couldn't go on a bike ride like I just did, and not record it. As a tiny celebration of the achievement of one of my small stepping-stone goals, I decided to treat myself to a bike ride in Central Park. Managing to score myself a "today only, extra special price just for you" from the obliging bike man, on a truly awful dunga of a bike (it was a Jeep bike! A Jeep? My lovely sleek and sporty Specialized at home in Sydney would have squirmed in its storage unit if it had seen what I had stooped to riding.), I set off on what turned out to be an epic full circle of probably my favourite leafy park in the world. And it was SO beautiful. I still haven't found words to really properly convey the soft, layered green leafiness and sense of tranquility that Central Park possesses, but however you want to describe it, it's something pretty magical. Whether it was the utter prettiness of the Bethesda Fountain framed by a sunbathed lake with rowboats, happy couples and bobbing turtles, or the wide curving avenues cut amongst majestic trees, or the softball games, freewheeling cyclists, healthy joggers, or lounging hipsters in the Sheep's Meadow, every sight I saw was at once beautiful, exciting, calming, and the stuff of which deep happiness is made. New York I think I'm in love with you, all over again.

And they're cool guys too.

I suppose I should have seen this coming. I just went for lunch with The Dude (no, not the White Russian drinking, dirty dressing-gowned dude from the Big Lebowski) from The Agency I want to work at. He brought a couple of pals along too. And all of them were really cool, dude. What's more they were cool in the actual way - not wankers, properly smart, genuinely funny, fucking good at what they do. Naturally it made me want to work there even more. Ah what delicious torture! Because I think the lunch went well. The dude gave the green light for me to move on to the next stage, to be entered into the process that is having my book reviewed and interviewing with the next link in a long chain of powers that be, and he told me to come back and speak to their Head of Copy. Exciting yes? Yes! But excruciating too. I am one small step closer to doing the work I really, truly want to do, in the city that I love, but there are waysides aplenty yet into which I may fall. Well what can you do? Enjoy the moment, feel giddy all afternoon, pray to the heavens, and maybe go find a pool to splash in, because the weather today is sunny and fabulous. Oh yeah, and be happy. Lunching with three cool guys isn't the worst thing a gal could do.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Life is pretty amazing.

It's easy to forget, while hacking your way through the job search jungle, that you're leading quite an amazing life. As I have fallen into step with the basic ways of being a New Yorker, and gotten used to the unrelenting whir of a brain and body seeking paid employment, I have started to take certain factors for granted. Like the fact that every day when I step out my front door, I am stepping out into New York City, metropolis extravaganzus. And that when I want a nice calm space to reflect on things, I can put one foot in front of the other and find myself in Central Park, listening to the muted melody that is a game of softball - the soft thwack of a ball hitting a mitt, the high ting of a ball off a bat, and the lyrical patter of a friendly jibe fluttering from one New-York-accented team mate to another. But today I noticed these things again and remembered to recognise their coolness. The process of lifting oneself from one relatively smooth-running and established life and replanting on the other side of the world, is not always an easy one. In fact nothing about it is easy. But everything about it is invigorating. With every recognisable trapping of life made new and bewildering - from flavours, to transport, to language, to toothpaste, rubbish disposal, light switches and even flushing the loo - suddenly every assumed thought or fact or action turns from concrete to jelly; from something rock solid to something entirely more malleable. And while it's not always comfortable, it's fantastic for your brain. It kicks cylinders into action that could quite happily idle before. It revs up your curiosity and your agility - you start learning things anew. You start finding things out about yourself that you maybe only suspected before. And you encounter some pretty fricking cool, outstanding, special and amazing things. I'm making awesome new friends, frequenting numerous cool hangouts, finding myself miraculously in settings mainly meant for the rich and famous, encountering incredible art and inspired creativity, walking the same streets as total cool-arse legends from eras gone by. Oh, and I got two more requests to interview at good companies, and great job contacts continue to present themselves. It's been a good week, and life is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Birds have stopped pooing on me. And I've started finding pennies.

Early bird.

I have exciting news. This morning I got up early! Doesn't sound that exciting? Oh, but it is. When you travel, you expect a bit of body-clock weirdness - feeling hungry at crazy times, finding yourself undeniably awake at 4am etc. But after about four weeks in a place, you'd also expect your sleep/eat cycle to normalise. Mine hasn't - at least not until today. During my time in the states, I've found 11pm-12am is when I start to perk up, and I tend to stay impossibly chirpy until around 3am. Which is fine. I've always had a bit of a night owlish tendency, and you can get a lot done in those uninterrupted little hours. But early morning bedtimes don't make for early morning get-ups. No matter how hard I've tried, dragging my head off the pillow before 10am has been nigh on impossible. But today I did it. Today I got up at 7am and exercised for an hour. I've made myself an awesome breakfast, and done some writing, and it still hasn't hit 10am. Waahoo! Now I know 7am isn't the rising time of a true early bird. I have yet to work up to 5am exercise starts (which will most likely be necessary once I land a job). But it's a beginning, and another step towards getting that worm (the worm, in this case, not actually being a worm, but a job and some Jimmy Choo perfume, and some Isabel Marant sneaker boots, and maybe an apartment with at least one window that doesn't look out on a brick wall. Did I need to explain that? Probably not.).

Do what makes you happy.

Last night I went to a party in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at the apartment of a cool girl I know called Joy. It was a smallish crowd of cool, smart, hilarious and (as usual over here) very welcoming people. I didn't drink, because I've been doing way too much of that over here. Never having to get up for work in the morning isn't the best thing for your drink-o-meter, and a sky's the limit approach to drinking isn't the best for my general state of mind. Anyway, for part of the evening we played a game involving clapping and throwing lewd words around the room in some kind of only very slightly mind challenging fashion. Sounds stupid? It kind of was - and incredibly fuckin funny. Funny to the point that we were all doubled over with ab-working laughter just about all the time. In a very laid back way, it was a totally awesome night. And this morning I woke up feeling happy. Which was a welcome change from hung over or brain fogged or anxious about the general situation I have placed myself in by packing in my job and moving to the other side of the world. It got me thinking about which things actually make me happy, and which things definitely do not. And I realised, not for the first time, that really simple things are what do the trick. Having fun, relaxed times with friendly, interesting people. Exercising outdoors. Talking to my Dad, sister, brothers, family in general. Cooking nice, healthy food. Being productive. Having a job (who knew?). Loving and being loved. Encountering all the cool stuff going on in the world with a clear, appreciative head. And I also realised, definitely not for the first time, that drinking alcohol doesn't make me happy at all. I know not all people are affected by alcohol the way I am. It puts my brain in a bad place. It robs me of my confidence. It makes me very aware of my aloneness as a human being. Some people can drink a lot and just have a headache and be a bit off point the next day. But even that, right now, is something I don't want to be. Off point is not going to help me get my dream job in the USA. Neither is a lack of confidence. So I've decided to do what makes me happy, which is not drink, eat well, exercise plenty, socialise cleanly, and focus all my energy on getting the job I want at my number one agency of choice. Because if I achieve that, deliriously happy I will most certainly be.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A note on bird poo.

One of my girlfriends over here, Cambria, has been experiencing an interesting phenomenon lately. Both searching for our dream jobs in the big city, together we have been helping each other stay confident in our missions, keep our eyes on the prize, keep being productive etc. It's kind of a bond or a pact we've formed. And since we've formed it, Cambria has been finding pennies. It started out as one a day, just on the street or whatever, and has since moved up to two a day. It's kind of awesome - like a money trail leading towards the pot of gold. Interestingly enough, I've had a recurring theme too. Only mine is bird poo. It's only happened twice, but twice within a short space of time. Birds keep shitting on me. Wonderful. Now we all know the story about birds pooing on you being lucky. Personally, I've always thought that story was... how can I put this... total crap, just designed to make you feel slightly better about an otherwise completely appalling bummer of an experience. At least I did think that, until cool things started happening. The first time it happened, I was feeling particularly despondent about my job prospects, and the poo made me feel even worse (understandably). But then the day after, I found out I'd got The Passionistas job. The second time it happened (on the same day I found out about the Passionistas gig) I was wondering if I'd done the wrong thing by sending another email to one of the coolest dudes in advertising right now, and  the poo was a real humdinger - right in my hair - yuck! Then the next thing you know I've got a lunch date with the guy. So is the bird poo my lucky penny? I fucking hope not! While I am grateful for any lucky amazingness the bird poo may have bestowed on me, what I'm really hoping is it was just a (disgusting) coincidence. Because as much as I welcome a nice long run of good luck, a run of bird poo I most definitely do not.

No no no no no no no no YES.

Yesterday I was going to write a very depressing blog post, to the tune of "New York I love you, but I kind of hate you too". This was because yesterday I got stood up by a creative director for a meeting (he went to London instead), then walked about 20 blocks in cold and very wet misty rain, making several wrong turns due to disorientation (just when you think you've got your directions sussed, your inner dumb-dumb bares itself again in a disappointing and obvious display of fresh off the boat), then found out I couldn't make the bank transaction I had walked all those blocks to make, then got on a train home that turned out to be an express which, quite within its rights, zoomed straight past my stop (dumb-dumb was having a field day). Also, as happens when you're job hunting, I had reached a small dead-end of despair, having sent out many a message and resume and enthusiastic entreaty to please consider getting me in for at least maybe a small chat, and having received one large reply of fat silence. Lucky I didn't write that though, because today was different. Thanks to a rejuvenating pep talk from my guardian angel cousin Charlotte, I had gone to bed feeling at least ready to attack another day of job slog with energy and optimism in the morning. Thank you Charlotte! And so I woke, cranked open my gmail (my Pandora's box of potential wonder and damnation, and my first check-in point for every day), and there sitting in my inbox was a shining jewel. It was a reply from one of the many positions I had applied for - and not just any position either. While not a paid job, it was for a place on a style council of fashion, make-up, and skincare bloggers known as The Passionistas. In return for a swag of fashion and make-up perks, each Passionista was to review various products, services, brands and labels from her own, unique style perspective. They wanted girls with a strong sense of their own look and style, and demonstrated writing ability. And oh my gosh, it turns out they want me. In fact, they even said they might use my writing style as a guide for the other gals. Hurrah! So, buoyed up by this unexpected turn into success street, I decided to try calling the seriously cool Chief Creative Officer I have been email stalking for some months now. I got his assistant. I left a message. And I waited for a reply. Many hours passed, but in the meantime I decided to do a little research on the latest happenings at the agency he works for. In a curious swing of coincidence, they had just won a major chunk of some serious luxury make-up and fragrance brands. Me a newly appointed fashion and makeup Passionista blogger, and they the recently appointed agency for some of my favourite makeup and skincare brands? Wow! The serendipity of the whole thing whipped me into a weird state of excitement and I did an impulsive thing (we know how I like to be impulsive). I emailed said CCO again, asking him if we could talk makeup - today? Tomorrow? And then I had a tiny quiet freakout that I may have just blown my chances by exhibiting a perhaps alarming level of enthusiasm. And then I went out for tacos. When I returned home, there was another email waiting for me: "Come in and see me for lunch on Wednesday", followed by a meeting request from his assistant. Halle-effing-luljah! One minute you think you're getting nowhere, the next you're teeing up lunch dates with your advertising idols. Maybe alarming enthusiasm, in this crazy town, is the key to entering yes-land.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

And then I find heaven.

In the form of a $3 pork belly taco served in an underground surf bar in Hell's Kitchen (yes, an underground surf bar in Hell's Kitchen), paradise presents itself. In the short space of time it took me to squeeze lime juice over the small fold of deliciousness and sink my nashers into its heavenly depths, I had an epiphany. In a flash, I irrevocably knew two things: 1. That this taco was the best piece of food I had EVER eaten, and 2. That I had never actually had a food epiphany before. It was wild! Don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed good food - but not like this. This was a moment of actual magic in my mouth, where no other thing in the universe, past, present, or future mattered more. Holy crap. I think I may be one of the converted. Converted definitely anyway, to regular attendance at $3 Taco Tuesdays at Reunion, the unlikely surf bar in Hell's Kitchen. Because this place, for me, really does represent a slice of heaven. And it's not just the tacos. Blaring an immaculate selection of 50s and 60s rock 'n' roll and surf music, and with the bar propped up by an eye-pleasing array of the handsome, interesting and cooly tattooed, this little hidey-hole is the pocket of fun I've been searching for for a good chunk of my adult life. Slap a happy hour and some tongue-tingling tacos on top and you have Claire on cloud nine - even sitting as I was, two flights underground in the bowels of Hell.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Confidence rollercoaster.

My, this trying to make it on the other side of the world is a confronting experience. Most likely, my low state of mind today is in no small part due to last night's excessive activities. I have had little sleep, much alcohol, and have exhibited at least a little of the over the top behaviour I always live to abhor in myself. And all of it put together has robbed me of any strength or confidence in my ability to do anything or be anything attractive or useful to anyone. I find it miraculous that my relatively new friends in this city still see me as deserving of their support (in general I find the considerateness of the Americans I encounter fascinating and peculiar, peculiar only because my experience of so many other humans has rendered the trait so unfamiliar). Anyway, I am grateful for having humans close by that genuinely seem to care and who will accommodate my less attractive qualities with no apparent qualms. It is quite incredible though, how powerful a positive or negative thought can be. A positive one can see you go fearlessly forth and achieve unbelievable things. A negative one can debilitate you, ripping you off course, retarding or even undoing perfectly good progress. So, while I am in a foreign place, more vulnerable to attacks from the confidence robbers, it is more important than ever that I keep myself in a good frame of mind. Step one: lay off the booze. Step two: yoga in the morning.

Hustling is hard work.

Every day I try to make progress with my various missions. I try to contact people, follow up leads, write and do tiny things to advance my cause. But it's tough work. Mainly because I've heard some mildly sickening news - that this year's quota of H1B visas has run out. So behind every valiant gesture towards finding work is the damning thought that I'm dead on arrival. There may be other options - the O1 visa, the L1 intercompany visa, even the student visa if it comes to that. But each one has its mountain of conditions and restrictions and difficulties. Walking the New York streets as an unemployed outsider hoping to get in, is a decidedly different sensation to the delirious elation one feels as a tourist - playing at being a high roller, staying at the coolest hotel, eating at fabulous restaurants and shopping like you have Donald Trump's credit card. Today I saw Reese Witherspoon smiling from a magazine cover (was it VOGUE?), and viewed her as some vagabond might see a family sitting in a cosy living room; she was on the other side, in some smug, happy, secure and employed paradise that I didn't have the key to. This city makes you want to be someone, and when you're no one you feel it profoundly.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And then HBO wants to cast me as a hipster.

Yes, you read it correctly. HBO, the channel behind TV greats like Entourage and Sex and The City, wants to cast me as a "featured hipster" in their show How To Make It In America. Could there be a more appropriate show for me to be in right now? Is God fucking with me? Well apparently He is, because even though they want to cast me, they can't because I don't have a work permit.  I can't get a work permit until someone offers me a job, but I can't get the job until I have a work permit. Difficult no? Yes. Still, the flutter of emails surrounding this eventual non-event has given my morning a sprinkling of excitement. And it's definitely a pleasing meter-reading for how America is receiving me. My list of "signals" now includes a US customs official who thinks I look like a rock star, one random stretch-limo airport pick-up, and HBO thinking I should be on TV. Not the worst tally for an aspiring rock 'n' roller in her first two weeks in the states. It was also a welcome boost to my confidence, which had been pitifully drained by one evening stroll through the brutally hip and uncompromisingly cool Soho. How did the people lining these streets become so immaculate, so accomplished, so devastatingly sure of their purpose in life? Or maybe they just look that way. And maybe, if HBO wants to cast me as a hipster in their show, I look like I know what I'm doing too. I don't of course, but then in some ways I do. I know underneath it all, exactly where I want to be and what I want to be doing. It's just the getting there that's a bit of a hairy ride. Anyway, this almost brush with fame has inspired me to get moving on the music side of my New York mission. So today and tonight, instead of drinking and schmoozing with advertising folk as I have been doing of late, I'm going to hunker down in my Hell's Kitchen apartment, plug in my gadgets and start honing my art. How romantic. And how very hipster of me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My weird new life.

I just went for a jog in Central Park, bought, among other things, a truly terrible coffee from Whole Foods, and then had salad for breakfast. Why I  continue to persevere with New York coffee, I do not know. For some reason - the strong Italian presence here perhaps - I feel like there must be a good coffee somewhere in this town. I feel this, despite consistent, tongue-damaging evidence to the contrary. Onwards fearless coffee warrior! Or maybe I'll ditch coffee altogether. We'll see how I go. Why I had salad for breakfast, has basically one answer: I'm just a smidgen hung over today, and my weird body and mind said that the Whole Foods salad bar was the answer. At least it was healthy. But there's probably another answer too. My entire life is weird right now. Almost nothing about my life over here resembles the life I was living before. I eat weirdly, sleep weirdly, don't have a job, go out every single night, grab exercise where I can, spend inordinate amounts of time on facebook, the internet and tinkering with my new, quite stupid Android phone, and I hang out with an entirely new crew of people. Once upon a time I worked every day, had a slightly psycho routine of yoga and running, ate like clockwork, mostly ignored facebook... actually, you know what? Maybe the weirdest thing about my brand new life, is that it doesn't really feel that weird at all. Yes, I have stepped into a completely new environment, and many things are alien, and my behaviour is jumping to a new beat. But what really struck me this morning, six days in, as I headed out my front door and up to the park, was just how normal I felt. Normal and calm and quietly confident and happy and optimistic. Weird right? Weird, but good.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I have done a crazy thing!

Since arriving in New York this morning I have been stormed by rushes of different, rather unsettling, emotions. On first hitting Manhattan in the car I felt a warm happy feeling of being back in my "home-place" and like this was absolutely the best decision I could have made. This happiness continued when I saw my hotel room, which was unexpectedly large and pleasingly hip, but was then replaced by almost paralysing fear and panic, when I realised I'd neglected to transfer various funds from one account to the next (an oversight that could see me cashless for the weekend), and that I'd forgotten about a couple of large expenses that will take a nasty little bite out of my already limited funds. I am completely unaccustomed to having no foreseeable income, and the feeling is not a pretty one. It brought me to a standstill, heart beating, feverishly biting my nails while calculations and potential disasters/solutions/embarrassments whirled through my head, and the odd fleeting wonder of whether I could maybe just back out immediately, jump on a plane and go home? I'm not sure how long I actually stood still freaking out but it was a decent little while. But then I came to my senses. I snapped out of it, walked around the block, picked up a coffee and a bagel (when in Rome) and resolved to hustle my ass into a job in any way I knew how (or didn't know how!). I decided that if it came down to it, I would work tables or bars like many an aspiring New Yorker before me. And then I set to work emailing and facebooking my contacts, and internet researching the main company I would love to work for. Then again, in today's frame of mind, I'd be deliriously happy to work for any company. It's funny how you can go from complaining bitterly about your job while you're employed, to desperately wishing for that workplace security again when you're apparently living the free, unemployed dream. It would be a different thing if one had limitless cash. But the fact is I don't. So hustle I must. And I will be fine. So then, having spent quite enough time losing my shit indoors, I decided to go and embrace my new outside world - the very definitely magical streets of New York. And I headed for the same place I always go when I need a bit of calming in this big city: Central Park. Strolling along, feeling happily orientated with my easts, wests, norths and souths, past shops and people and iconic sights and finally into the soft, leafy park with its somehow caring and protective gaze, I felt exhilarated and like I couldn't possibly soak up all of the amazingness around me but that I still wanted to try and manage it. So yes, this is definitely a crazy thing to be doing, but I'm extremely lucky and very happy that I am.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Next stop New York.

It's 7.12am and I am sitting on our big deep balcony, surveying our magical Ko Olina ocean view for the last time on this trip anyway. It has been an amazing week in paradise, packed full of swimming, sunning, drinking and socialising madly with our extended wedding crew. I've had a delicious time, made some firm new friends, managed to have a tiny holiday romance (fling?) with a lad named Frank, and spent some truly quality time with my darling Aunty Chrissy, Uncle Ken and my legendary cousins and their awesome partners. I also discovered, along with every other female in our party, a new phenomenon known as the Guy Stanaway Effect (which in the most part seemed to be silly gurglings issuing involuntarily from one's throat when in the company of the aforesaid buffed, tanned and really quite dashing "Guy") and I even sang a Rogers and Hammerstein number at the wedding (! a duet with a charming opera-singing lady called Di and a request from my Uncle Roger. My first US gig? How could I refuse? I must admit though, "Climb Every Mountain" from the Sound Of Music probably wouldn't have been my natural first choice of song.). I have emerged only slightly battered with one nasty-ish graze to my left shin (I had to climb a rock wall on the night of the wedding. After six Champagnes it seemed like the right thing to do.). So it's been a blast. And now I am about to split this sandy, palm treed pocket of pleasantness, and head for the big smoke. Holy shit. Over the last two days, amongst the Mai Thais and Tradewind cocktails, I have definitely been feeling some freaky fears bubbling up. Now is the time when my independence and my personal strength will be tested. Will I be exposed as a weakling? Or will I punch above my weight? I'm happy to say though, today I'm feeling strong. It's all happening baby. New York, I am ready to rock and roll.

Aloha rock star.

I am in a A stretch something anyway. I have just cleared US customs where the first words the customs officer said to me were "You look like you should be a rock star". How right you are you clever lady. Combined with my blinging transportation, it seems the Hawaiian leg of my most excellent adventure has gotten off to a good start. The limo was a complete fluke of course. It was just the next cab off the rank. Could rock stardom be the next cab off the rank for me? Well I'm glad things are going a little better. Because in actual fact my trip started rather disastrously, with my having to cough a painful $750 in excess baggage fees. Damn you budget airlines, and damn my inability to travel light. I must work on that. Oh well. Aloha Hawaii. Let's get this party started.

Monday, April 18, 2011

And we're off.

It's 5.29am. I'm at the airport, puffy bug-eyed and croaky-voiced (early starts have never been my strong point). Despite definitely needing more sleep, I am excited and happy, a relief from the agitated freakout that has been my underlying and sometimes all-consuming mood for the last few days. Since officially leaving work last Friday (I am unemployed for the first time in my adult professional life) my life has been a mad scramble of packing and list ticking, punctuated by leaving parties, that while extremely fun, have made my daytime tasks all the harder for their residual hangovers. Yes, it seems storming, brain nullifying hangovers have tip-toed/gallumphed back into my life, but I'm not going to talk about that right now. Right now I am more concerned with the fact that I am about to board a plane to Christchurch, the hometown I have not seen since before bone-rattling earthquakes literally shook it to its foundations. I am excited to be seeing my family, and excited that this marks the beginning of my epic journey to who knows precisely where. But I am a little apprehensive as to what will greet me when I touch down. It's okay though. Surely it's better to know the reality of a situation rather than let your imagination run wild?
And so my time in Sydney is almost done for now, which feels a little crazy after 10 odd years. Ridiculously, and quite predictably, over the past few weeks I have suddenly begun appreciating Sydney's particular charms all over again. Pulling crisp, dazzling, blue-skied, golden-lighted Autumn days out of the bag consistently, this pretty city has done a good job of displaying her allure. The crowd of small, cool bars that now populate Sydney's social scene have also played excellent host to many a fun event. And my friends have come out in force, opening my eyes to the true beauty and quality of the people I know. I have been happily surprised and genuinely touched by just how many truly great people I can call my friends, and by the evidence that people such as these actually care for a gal called me. My whole recent experience leaves a very pleasant aftertaste, but does make me wonder why I am leaving at all. But I suppose it is because of the momentum brought by swinging into NYC action, and the fresh energy that has been flooding my brain as I contemplate complete newness, that much of the goodness has been coming together. And at this stage, even if I wanted to I couldn't turn back. So whatever with the what ifs. My adventure awaits. It is time to hit the road.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


After what feels like a lifetime of faffing around (not pissing around mind you), I now have the final mixed and mastered version of my track Take The Ride. So have a listen. I'm going to leave the demo version up here too, just for comparison's sake - it's kind of profound the difference all the stuff we've done has made. Def worth the time and money. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Inch, inch, inch. It seems to take monsters of time and effort to get even the tiniest bit of reportable progress in the bag. But here's where I am right now. My tickets to NYC are booked. My deposit on my sublet apartment is paid. I have sold various household items and the rest are sitting online trying to get noticed. I'm still not 100% sure where I'm staying in Hawaii, but I've got options. Oh and I have officially resigned from my job and put my notice in to my landlord. Very soon I will be a decidedly free-wheeling girl. Which actually, come to think of it, is an insanely exciting and liberating thought. I've been so frickin stressed and busy doing stuff, I hadn't actually stopped to appreciate that until this very second. So I guess that makes me feel better. The yoga challenge I'm still very much in the midst of, surprisingly or not, is doing my head in at the moment. It's been really humid in Sydney over the last week or so, and that's made the yoga room nothing short of infuriating to be in. Not the usual vibe you seek from your yoga practice. Or maybe it's just that I've hit the angry phase. I've had that before. Somewhere in the middle of being calm and dedicated and strong of mind, you hit a FUCK THIS IS ANNOYING AND I FRICKIN HATE MY TEACHER AND THAT STUPID BIRD TWEETING IN THE TREE patch. The anger at the teacher and the bird are completely unjustified, but from somewhere (your hamstrings? Your capacious gluteus maximus?) it gushes forth. I probably have to admit that I have a bit of a natural tendency towards anger and a bit of a lightening quick temper. And somewhere in between stretching out various joints and tendons in revoltingly wet heat, I've opened the floodgate to my reservoirs of pissed off. Oh poor world around me. Usually I'd say, when in a mood like the one I've been in today, that I just need to go to yoga and everything will be okay. Not so sure that'll be the case this time. Although I have a funny feeling, as I realised mid-class last night, that the only way out of this yoga puddle is to swim to the other side of the lake. Push through it, try and keep my mouth shut, and drag myself dripping and exhausted out the other side a lighter, happier human. Maybe? In other non-news, my now extremely boring Take The Ride song is STILL unmixed and unmastered. And I'm still waiting on a meeting with another music biz mate to actually eventuate. Things just keep getting pushed out. But I am having some good ideas about how to spend my first bit of time in New York on a musical front, which is something. My feeling at the moment is that the more I can do completely independently of anyone else, the better. Oh yeah, and no-one seems to be interested in publishing my blog as a book, not that I've been pushing that in the slightest. Whatever. Right now I just want to get my shit sold or packed up, move myself overseas and get into a nice little routine of some description. All this crazying around with a million stupid things to do is sending me spare.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Did I mention my home town got annihilated by an earthquake?

Amongst all my self-centred whatevers, I think I omitted the rather hulking fact that Christchurch, New Zealand, my birthplace, home and stomping ground since I first teeteringly managed to stomp at all, got shaken to its foundations by an enormous aftershock from the original September earthquake that happened there last year. The city has been reduced to rubble, and many people have died or been injured. Lots of people are homeless, and the ground continues to shake. Thanks to some incredibly positive force of the universe, none of my family or friends have died or been hurt. But they're living with the trauma that comes from experiencing a huge natural disaster and seeing the physical reality and history of your life drastically and abruptly altered forever. It's intense. I'm going back to Christchurch to see my family in April, before I head to Hawaii. I imagine it's going to be quite a confronting trip.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I've had a brainwave.

Me oh my I've been a patchy blogger of late. Dropping in once a month or so, delivering scattered messages that dart this way and that. If you're still reading, I'd imagine it's all gotten the tiniest bit boring? Annoying? Something like that. But don't think I haven't been thinking about you - believe me I have. And I've had a bit of a special Claire-thought (whatever that is). If we're all honest, the concept of this blog isn't the most engaging in the world. Progress updates on my personal projects? Quite good for me, maybe mildly interesting for you from a kind of human behaviour + what happens next standpoint. But "quite good" and "mildly" aren't adjectives I've ever particularly aspired to. Maybe my latest idea might be more "freakin awesome". Okay, now I'm going to have to sidetrack for a second. Bear with me. Three days ago, I started another 31-day yoga challenge. O-oh, we know what can happen when I do one of those. Last time, I went teetotal for a whole frickin' year. But don't worry. I don't think I'll be doing that this time. What I've realised (and actually realised the first time, but apparently promptly forgot again) is that yoga challenges do something to my brain. They make me focus. Last time I focused on staying off alcohol, and held that focus by writing a blog about staying off alcohol every single day. I kidded myself that the staying off alcohol was to help me focus on doing more music, but in actual fact, the staying off alcohol ended up taking centre stage. And that's fine. It was something I needed to do. But here's my new idea. If music is the aim (which it is and always has been), why not do a blog that focuses entirely on that? Not New York, not getting books published, just the tunes. And seeing as simple seemed to work best last time, why not make this one freakin' simple too? So my idea? I set myself the challenge of writing and demoing a song a week for an as yet undecided period of time. Every week I put that song up on a dedicated blog for whomever cares to listen to it or comment on it. What I like about this idea is that it's something I have the basic skills to achieve entirely on my own. (Not relying on anyone for anything, it seems, is a good way to get stuff done faster in the music world. I'm still waiting on my mix and mastering for Take the Ride. It's literally taken all summer because of one thing or another.). What I also like is that it will make me stick to the plan - because there'll actually be a plan. A simple one. I'm not going to start it this second, because work is insane and I have a life to pack up and move around the world. But maybe when I get to the big smoke, I'll start it then. I'll keep you posted. Pop back in sometime and I'll let you know where and when.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What the hell am I doing?

You could be forgiven for wondering. If, that is, you're still interested in the confused mutterings of moi. My head has been absolutely rammed with future possibilities and things to do of late, and I have not been keeping you lot in the loop nearly enough. Although that's probably for the best, because if I'd been keeping you up to date, you would have been party to a particularly irritating and dizzying bout of ping ponging between one resolution and the next. So here we are. And here's what I've been doing. First, I have decided to proceed with my mission to New York at the end of April, just after visiting Hawaii, as originally planned. That all happens approximately seven weeks from now. Holy crap. Second, the mixing and mastering of my track got delayed again, due to my engineer going on a trip to Texas. He'll be back next week though, so all should start moving again soon. I have also finally made contact with my favourite photographer, and we've been discussing concepts. All I really need to do there is set a date. So I'll do that. Third, I have sent my book proposal to an agent and another publisher, neither of which have acknowledged me in any way, shape or form. I followed up with my other publishing lead but haven't heard anything there either. Which might be a bummer, except that I've got far too much other stuff keeping me busy with my quite enormous New York City mission. And that's the beauty of being slightly scattered. If one lead goes a little limp for a time, there's a good chance another one will be sparking. Over the last maybe three weeks or so too, I've been a little free with my alcohol consumption, which I blame entirely (or at least a bit) for my extended attack of indecision. This week I've cut the silly stuff right out, and what do you know, everything suddenly seems clear, manageable and great. And so, on we go.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blame it on the weather.

There have been blizzards in Texas, a scary monster of a cyclone in Queensland (on top of monstrous flooding), and Sydney has been a steam pit of heat and sweat and zombie-anger stemming from sleepless mosquito-ridden nights. For the record, the Queenslanders do not deserve the horrific pummeling God has been giving their part of the world recently, as far as I know, and I sincerely hope and pray for their safety and well-being. But if we're talking causes and effects, maybe the weather can be blamed for my crazy mood swings and extreme changes of mind. For the first month of this year, I've got to be honest, I've been in one hell of a mood. I have been weirdly sensitive to the irritating behaviours of others, every dumbness or awkward nerdism cutting me like a grotesquely sharp knife. I know my sense of injury has been far greater than the "offences" have really warranted. What can I say? Sometimes I behave like an unutterable beast - or react like one. I have also, during this time, felt an unholy desire for change. It's a pattern with me. I get bored really easily. It's problematic on many fronts. Mainly it means my attention is rarely held by any one project/place/occupation/idea for long. And that makes finishing things difficult, or indeed making any progress. I think in truth I'd be happiest as a gypsy (one who carried a MacBook Pro, wore expensive designer clothes, and frequented beach resorts). Anyway, as you may have noticed, my brain has been all over the place. I just keep changing my mind on what I want to do next. And it seems I may have changed my mind again. Well not really. The whole time I've wanted to do music, go to New York, and get my blog published as a book. That remains the same. But very recently I decided that in order to commit to the music, I needed to give up my immediate plans to go to New York. Now I'm not so sure. What if I took three months off work, went to New York and, while job hunting, spent my time really focusing on songwriting and recording demos on my laptop? Dedicating my days to songwriting definitely constitutes a commitment to the music. And there's a good chance I may meet a new crew of people to actually play with over there too. Plus I get the New York adventure I desperately want to have. I can look for work, while honing my craft. If I don't find a job I can come back to Sydney with better recording skills and a swag of new material. Holy shit, would someone please come and get a hold on me? Do I have any idea what I'm doing? No not really. But man, I just feel like I need to be running things in a freer way. I need to get out there and let some stuff happen. So fuck it. New York, we are back frickin' on.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A sign.

And then I find out things have changed for my gal in NYC, and my sublet won't be available until June/July. A couple of weeks ago this news would have been a real bummer, but instead it's just right for all concerned. Funny how this weird old world works. Oh yeah, and my remix, which had been a little held up, will now be going ahead on Tuesday, thanks to my very accommodating engineer Mike. Wicked. Everything is cool. This I like.

Following my gut.

Oh God, here we go again. I've changed my plans. Over the last little bit, despite having sorted a sublet in New York, I've had a nagging feeling that I might be missing a trick by blindly going to New York without a plan. Or at least by blinkering my true desires and pretending it would be ace to go and further my advertising career in the big smoke. Advertising is a good job for a creative person. No doubt. But it is not my number one creative passion. For me to go to one of the biggest, toughest cities in the world in terms of career competitiveness, and to enter the advertising industry there, would require an unswerving commitment to excelling at that job. Which is fine. Except, what happens to the music? So maybe the plan is to go to New York and pursue music. But that's dumb too, because I have only just started to build a decent base of helpful contacts in Sydney. Anyway, having searched my soul, I have reached the conclusion that now is not the time to be packing up and leaving. It's the time to be committing to my real dream, putting some money into the music project and giving it a decent go. So where does that leave New York? Well, I see two possibilities: 1. If things go well with the first stage of my music plan, I can go there to work with one of the next tier of producers I have my eye on. 2. If things don't take off with the music, I can put the music to bed, and go to New York to work like a demon on being the best little copywriter I can be. Or something else entirely may happen, as it often does. I know there will be some disappointed people in NYC who I promised I was coming to see. And naturally I'm kind of disappointed too that in three months' time when I get on the plane to Hawaii, I'll be going on holiday rather than taking the first step in an enormous new adventure. But then again you never know. Right now I'm following my gut. There's just no telling where that may take me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I have a sublet and a website.

Now all I need is a job. Yes, you'll notice I have now banished all doubt as to going or not going to NYC. It's frickin' happening, and I have a place to live to prove it. Said sublet is in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and will be mine for the first month I'm in New York. Awesome. That gives me a base from which to work my shit out. I am significantly excited. In other news, my website is now up and running, although every time I go to look at the portfolio bit of it, and imagine a New York Creative Director sizing me up based on it, I freak out and see things I need to change. It's okay. I'm getting there. High fives to Niccola for doing the hard yards on that one. I have also been busy trying to finalise things with my track, and arrange a photographer to do some photos for me. So far my favourite guy isn't answering my emails, but there's every chance he's just out surfing. I will hit him up again. The track needs a little remixing and then mastering as planned. Everything always takes a little longer than you expect with these things, but that's all cool. You will also be pleased to hear I have kicked my Christmas chocolate habit, and have been doing all sorts of awesome exercise - including swimming lengths, running, biking and my beloved yoga. And did I mention my little brother became a father for the very first time about two weeks ago? Welcome to (the totally cool and cute) Alexander David Falloon. Do I sound scattered? I kind of am. In a good way. There's a lot to get done. So what next? Well, as I started perusing Hawaiian hotels, and totting up the next round of flights, computers, slick cabin luggage and wedding presents I will need to purchase, it occurred to me some more dollops of cash wouldn't go astray. So this weekend I will be looking at ways to liquify my possessions - starting by going through all the designer threads I have hanging around not getting worn, and prepping them for a nice little market stall. The small stuff happens first. The fridges and flat screens will happen later. Oh yeah, and if anyone needs any copy written, I'm your gal.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A change of plan?

This is vaguely unnerving. I was going to say I don't like it when this happens, but that's not strictly true. What am I talking about? Well, I have a feeling that the terrain might be changing around me, and I may need to alter my map. The thought of changing my course so early in the journey is making me feel a little uneasy. But sometimes it can be more fun to ride a magic carpet, than stick to the train tracks. Shall I start making sense? Okay. After spending a day recording earlier this week, I realised, as I always do when I get into the studio, that it's a place I need to spend a lot more time. If I'm truly serious about getting my music project happening (which I truly am), I need to put my money where my mouth is and do the necessary things involved. The trouble is, just about all of these things actually literally require significant chunks of cash. Not unattainable quantities, but cash nonetheless. Now, because I've been saving for my big overseas adventure for the last little while, I am actually starting to get some dollars together. So what's the problem? It's a question of funds allocation. I could spend the money, as planned, on traveling to the states. I have wanted to live in New York for ages now. It's something I need to do. But for New York, I don't really have a plan. In a way, that's all part of the appeal - flick my job, pack my bags and go and see where the adventure takes me. And that's still a great idea. But what if, let's just say, I took that money and put it into working with a producer on more of my songs, getting photos done and the like? The rock 'n' roll dream is one I've had my whole life. And I am starting to see quite clearly now how I might be able to make it happen. Would it be silly to uproot my whole life just when I can see the stepping stones to achieving my dream all starting to line up? Or can I do both? For some inexplicable reason I feel like I can. It may take a little manoeuvering, and maybe some schedule adjustment, but somehow I believe I will find a way (and find the money) to do the music and go to New York. So don't panic anyone. Things may still be as they were. Leave it with me for a bit. I'll work it out.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Recording at 301.

Good afternoon listeners. Today's broadcast comes to you direct from Studios 301, where I am recording the vocals for Take the Ride and getting the track mixed and mastered. At the moment I am on the sofa, having spent the morning laying down the vocal tracks, listening to our talented engineer do magical things to the sounds we've recorded. It's a radical and very satisfying process. It's also kind of confronting. U2 was in this studio just the other day. Lady Gaga popped in to do some stuff recently too, as did Kanye West and an extensive list of notable others. As you hear your vocal takes getting cut up and pasted together, you can't help but wonder whether the more famous musical folks who have graced these mics with their warblings, have required quite the same level of engineering that you do. The voice too, as an instrument, leaves you exposed, because it is an entirely personal expression of you. If it sounds shit, or weak, or wobbly or out of tune, it's because you are being a bit shit or weak, or wobbly or out of tune. You can't blame it on the guitar. And you can't just switch your voice on to the settings you were using when you practiced. The way it sounds is dependent on what you've eaten or had to drink, the air you've been in, the sleep you've had, the energy you've expended that day. You just have to warm it up, try and relax and hope that what you want to come out will come out. Well maybe that's not the way it is for Gaga, but at this stage that's how it is for me. Anyway enough blah blah about la la. Time to get back to the action.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Workin' USA.

Today I applied for a writing job at VH1 (the MTV affiliated music channel) in NYC. It was one of those apply by  uploading your resume to this website set-ups, and as such is probably a long shot. But long shots have been known to hit their targets, and I'm all for a bit of energetic arrow flinging. What a job too - rock 'n' roll and writing all in my favourite place on the planet. Wicked. So cross your fingers for me kiddos. The job hunt has begun.

This is not a confession.

Confessions are for guilty people. And all I'm guilty of is changing my mind. Again. And being relentlessly human. Happy New Year by the way. (Look at me getting all wrapped up in myself straight away - where on earth are my manners?). Anyway, as you may have guessed, I drank some alcohol over the holiday break. And I don't feel guilty. But the fact that I'm telling you about it probably means I'm feeling a little bit guilty... this is ridiculous. Here's what happened, and how I feel. We all know how much I love an absolute - not a vodka, but a rule to follow, a guiding light of complete certainty. I've talked about this before. But true to my own contradictory form, as much as I love absolutes, I hate absolutes. The very same thing that keeps me feeling safe and secure, also makes me feel suffocated and restricted. Yes, it's tough being me. So when Christmas day rolled around, and the usual stressful family situations presented themselves (some of my family love Christmas, others not so much. This often causes conflict, and some kind of meltdown or tantrum can usually be expected anywhere in between the peas, pud or presents.) I decided I was in no mood for being a martyr. When my little brother hopefully offered me a glass of Veuve, I said yes. And boy it tasted good. And on the spot I decided that as I was officially on holiday, and was officially taking a very short break from my relentless pursuit of progress, that I could bloody well have a drink if I happened to be feeling in the mood. And from that point on, for the rest of the week I allowed myself to drink if I felt like it, and I didn't go ape, and I didn't get any hangovers, and I really felt fine. I know what a turncoat I sound like, and for that I apologise.  I know it was only a few weeks ago I was saying no more alcohol ever. But it's a new year, and I've been thinking about the way I tend to do things, and I've come to this conclusion: trying to be perfect is dumb. It's a pointless pursuit that only sets you up for failure. This year I want to try and relax on the perfection front, enjoy a more real and less manicured experience, and embrace the fact that the odd fall from grace is a necessary part of living. But don't think I'm talking going jungle here. I still require order. I still have some very specific plans to carry out and precision manoeuvres to execute. But instead of pretending it would be fun and entirely awesome to be a perfect teetotaler forever and ever amen, I am going to factor in some opportunities for controlled abandon. Yes, I did just say "controlled abandon". I get it. I'm a walking comedy. But here's how it works. When I'm working, I'm not drinking. When I have important stuff to get done, I'm not drinking. When I'm trying to stay in shape, I'm not drinking. In fact, as a general rule, I'm really not drinking much of the time at all. However, when it comes time to take a well-earned holiday, I'm free to drink if I feel like it. Or when I get something really cool across the line, I'm free to celebrate with a drink if I feel like it. Or, on the very odd occasion when I just really feel like a relaxing glass of red with dinner, I'm free to have one. It's controlled freedom, a beautiful contradiction in terms. Oh yeah, and if you were wondering, my Christmas break is now officially over. So I'm back in action-land, back off the piss, and back to eating like the health nutcase I am. For the next little while at least.