As the hot and bothersome summer months approach us in the southern hemisphere, I find my friends in the northern speak of the joys of their upcoming winter and their already-falling snow. How I long for the winter to return; how I long to once more bask in the romance of the whitened streets and the puff of those pearly petals precipitating from the heavens above.

My first experience with snow-filled landscapes was here in my own home country, on our grade 12 camp to the Snowy Mountains in the year 2001. A group of about 25 of us ventured 2,500 km down to the township of Jindabyne at the base of Kosciuszko National Park, where we stayed for just under a week, commuting to and from the Perisher ski resort every day. For many of us, including myself, our first journey along the winding, mountainous road between Jindabyne and Perisher gave us our first taste of that cold, white fluff we’d all been dreaming of, beginning in little pockets by the side of the road, and by the end of the commute, culminating in entire mountain ranges blanketed in it.

I have very fond memories of having to properly rug up here for the first time in my life. We were told one morning that it reached minus 11 degrees the night before. After living for so long in the tropical climate of North Queensland, it was surreal for me to even imagine that Mother Nature had the ability to drop the thermostat down to that level. But I loved it!

My favourite memory from this holiday was the day a small group of us caught the chairlift up to the top of Back Perisher Mountain. We could see the snow-capped peak of Mt Kosciuszko in the distance, and we were most likely the highest ground-baring people in Australia at the time. It was an incredible feeling:

At the peak of Back Perisher Mountain in 2001

We never actually got the chance to see snow fall from the sky during our time at the Snowy Mountains, as the flurry of the flakes only ever occurred throughout the night. My curiosity was left in limbo, and it wasn’t for another eight years that I would finally experience what it was like to witness snow falling from the sky.

I was in the Belgian capital of Brussels during the first few days of 2009, and I had just finished wandering through the Atomium, a popular tourist attraction built in 1958 that resembles the cell of an iron crystal (albeit 165 billion times bigger than the real thing). I’d walked past a chemist earlier in the day whose digital thermometer told me it was 1.5 degrees, so I’d made sure I was well-layered, with two t-shirts, a jacket, and gloves. The sky was overcast as well, so I had an umbrella handy in case it decided to rain.

Departing the warm comfort of the Atomium’s enclosures, I made my way to Mini Europe, another nearby attraction, featuring downsized scale models of famous landmarks from all around Europe. Within 5 minutes of me entering the premises it started to drizzle, so I took my umbrella out of my bag, ready in case I was to be attacked by a downpour. Strangely, however, I quickly noticed that the falling droplets were not like normal raindrops at all. Instead of being sponged up by the surface of my jacket upon landing, the droplets stayed as they were, gradually melting their way into absorption.  This was not rain at all, I realised – this was snow, falling from the sky!

Oh, what a joyous occasion it was. To the average Belgian citizen, the flakes were so few and far between that they would have been fobbed off as a feeble and unnoteworthy. But to me, it was magic. Here I was, with a scale model of the Eiffel Tower in front of me and an enormous monument dedicated to the iron crystal behind it, and I was witnessing my first ever snowfall. I will never forget the day.


The Eiffel Tower model at Mini Europe with the Atomium in the background


Tiny snowflakes falling onto the frozen model lake at Mini Europe


Less than a month later I found myself in the English portside town of Dover. I’d spent much of the very chilly morning exploring Dover Castle, before hopping on a ferry across the English Channel to Calais in France. I returned to Dover later in the evening and it was during the walk between the ferry port and the train station that it began snowing. Unlike in Brussels, this was proper, thick snow that poured from the sky by the bucketload. I stood by the side of the road underneath a tree in hibernation for the winter, with my arms outstretched, basking in the glory of these beautiful falling white flakes catching the light of the passing cars and dancing their way toward the ground. On arrival at the train station, it had been snowing for long enough that the platform bound for London was covered in a thin film of wintry white. I had never seen anything like this before and I loved it.


Watching the Dover snow fall from the sky by the hibernating tree


The platform bound for London covered in a thin film of wintry white

I spent the entire train ride home to London in silence, staring in awe out the window as it became clear that the whole south-east of England had been blessed with a blizzard. It was still snowing heavily by the time I reached London, and I was lucky to catch one of the final trains home to the southern suburbs before they got cancelled for the night due to the adverse weather. On arriving home, my housemates and I played in the half-foot of snow that had now accumulated on the road, and this made us all very, very happy 😀

London Victoria Station under snow


Snowfall outside home in Thornton Heath


Snow on the hedge at home

I went to sleep that night, my mind still trying to comprehend this amazing new experience called “Snow” that I had just encountered. But nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen the following day!


Our house the next morning


I rode my bike to work that day because the snow had shut down the entire public transport system


We made a snowcat in the carpark at work


Very eerie... but also amazing to see an entire cemetery under snow

Snow Day in London on the 2nd of February, 2009, remains one of the all time happiest and memorable days I’ve ever lived in my life. Words cannot express how much this country boy from tropical North Queensland came to fully appreciate London and its incredible weather patterns on this day, so different to anything I’d experienced before.

Only a month later, I went on a road trip through the Scottish highlands, which further cemented my fondness for the cold months. I got to experience the most incredible snowcapped mountain ranges, a hundred times more impressive than what I’d ever seen in the past. I got the chance to drive through a blizzard trying to reach the western side of the Isle of Skye – one of the scariest, yet most exhilarating drives I’ve ever had the pleasure of undertaking. I stopped by crystal clear waterways with tufts of white powder gracing the shoreline, I made friends with sheep on the snow-covered fields surrounding ancient castles, I ran near-naked through frozen vanilla valleys, I saw some of the best fucking scenery ever imaginable, amplified by the crisp, frosty atmosphere and the sensational, shivering SNOW!

Parked by the side of the road leading through the incredible Scottish highlands

One of the many snow-capped Scottish mountain ranges

Feel that cool, fluffy snow!

Parked by a small loch during some mild snowfall

A sheep friend by the ruined Ardvreck Castle

The pristine village of Ullapool, overlooked by gorgeous snow-capped mountains

Having grown up in such a hot and tropical climate where the closest thing to winter I ever experienced was a few days in June where it got down to 14 degrees during the day, my time spent in Europe over winter was a godsend. This was “me” – this was the climate that I felt most suited towards. The warmth and sunniness of the Australian summer simply doesn’t interest me, and I yearn to be back where the clouds are grey and the mercury struggles to reach anywhere above 7.

This, my friends, is why I cannot help but ADORE the winter. Bring it back, please!



“Would you like to go for a walk?” he dotingly asks on her return home from her late summer afternoon shift at work.

“Not tonight,” she replies. “I’ve got too much to do.”

He sets off without her. Perhaps tomorrow she will join him.

Through the field he wanders, graciously using this time without her by his side to set out a potential path for their future afternoon rendezvous.

He runs his hand through the dry, brown wheat as he progresses down the farmyard track. Ever so slightly sharp, he snaps up a scattering of stalks, pulling at the furry spikelets one by one and watching them blow off into the breeze. He dreams of the upcoming day where he lovingly offers a head of wheat to her, its beautiful homegrown authenticity possessing much more meaning than that of a manufactured gift purchased from a florist.

Nearing the end of the field, he opts for a southerly venture along the fen, stopping briefly to admire the family of swans wading through the wetlands. He is all too aware of the bond between the mother, father and three cygnets trailing closely behind, and one day wishes for a similar scene to grace his own human life. He sends his love to the swans and telepathically requests that they meet him there again tomorrow, in the hope that both he and his girl can spend time together treasuring their beauty.

He cautiously makes his way over the rickety wooden bridge, picking wild blackberries on his descent to the eastern side of the waterway. The sweetness fills the entirety of his mouth as the glory of tomorrow’s blackberry kiss permeates his imagination, now working in a similar vagabond fashion to his roving legs.

Keeping with him a handful of those dark, delightful delicacies, he returns back the way he came, across the rickety bridge, past the family of swans and through the endless wheat fields before arriving back home again, content with today’s discovery and yearning for her to follow in his shadow tomorrow.

“Would you like to go for a walk?” he dotingly asked on her return home from her late summer afternoon shift at work.

“Not tonight,” she replied. “I’m too tired.”

“But honey, I found an incredible path yesterday that I would really like to show you!”

“Sorry. I’m really not in a walking mood.”

Slightly taken aback, he sets off without her. Perhaps tomorrow she will join him.

This time his intuition leads him on an alternate adventure. He ventures down the village street, turning left at the small residential intersection and continuing on until just past the bridge over the moor. Here he finds an intriguing southbound country footpath, leading through a grassy paddock and on into the bushland.

Following the path, he again gauges the suitability of the walk as potential for a lover’s promenade. He notices the dotterels dancing and singing in the trees lining the canal. Inspired by their migration from such a faraway land and their ability to settle into an unfamiliar habitat, he is reminded of his own journey, and he can feel in his bones that she will soon agree to join him on one of his local adventures where he will proudly display this same sense of ease to her.

His shoes leave imprints in the dampness of the ground below, and he realises by the sudden appearance of hoof marks that a small herd of cows have recently paraded along this country trail. He spots them ahead in the distance and slowly creeps toward the three chocolate brown bovines so as not to frighten them, picking a bunch of fresh green grass from the ground along his way. He is aware that she feels unsettled around such animals, and clenches her tightly in his imagination as they draw nearer, comforting her anxiety and promising that they really are gentle creatures. He envisages passing her the grass while she nervously extends her hand towards the three hungry mouths, excitedly giggling as the first of the three curious cows cajoles the fodder from her grasp. She lets out a shriek and pulls back as the scratchy tongue makes contact with her tightly clenched fist, but he is there to catch her and lend a supportive embrace at the conquering of her fear.

Keeping with him the natural scent of the grass-fed heifer, he returns back the way he came, along the hoof-marked trail, past the dancing dotterels and across the moor bridge before arriving back home again, content with today’s discovery and yearning for her to follow in his shadow tomorrow.

“Would you like to go for a walk?” he dotingly asked on her return home from her late summer afternoon shift at work.

“Not tonight,” she replied. “I’m going out with friends.”

“Surely you can find some time before you go out to enjoy some fresh air with me? I’ve found two gorgeous countryside paths that I would really like to show you!”

“Will you please stop pressuring me to walk with you? I just don’t want to, ok? Honestly, I can’t stand this town. I can’t wait to get the hell out of here, I’m sick of seeing the same thing every day, I have no interest in exploring the neighbourhood with you, and if you don’t mind, I’m going to get ready to spend the night with people who I actually want to be with.”

Wide-eyed and distressed, he withdraws and sets off without her.

This time he doesn’t know where he is going. He walks aimlessly and randomly. For miles he continues along a monochrome corridor, only seeing in tunnel-vision, no longer noticing the lush green of the season’s freshly grown leaves, the dominant blue sky making a change from its normally overcast state, the radiant hues of the slowly flowing fen and the intricately crafted crimson archways dotting the canal at regular intervals.

Eventually he stops and sits at the shores of the waterway, resting underneath an apple tree.

How can she not appreciate the beauty of this place? he ponders. What must I do to allow her to see the countryside through my eyes? Why does she not wish to spend time with me in the great outdoors – the one place where you easily feel more free, open and energized than anywhere else? Why does she not wish to spend time with me in general? Does she understand how much it hurts to not have her by my side? Where could she be going tonight that is more enjoyable and serene than this beautiful location by the side of the fen? Why does she not love me anymore?

Amid a thousand thoughts, an apple drops into the water, joining a large number of apples that have already fallen from the tree into the canal.

He studies the rippling effect created by the apple’s sudden penetration of the water. He imagines what it would feel like for the apple to become separated from its mother stalk, breaking away from its source of love, growth and inspiration. He wonders if there is any point to its now-meaningless existence, bobbing lifelessly along with its meaningless siblings. Without its grounding stalk it can no longer walk the journey of life. It has no further purpose to serve.

He realises that without his grounding stalk, he can no longer walk the journey of life either. He has no further purpose to serve.

He rises from his position and ventures into the chilly waters of the fen. Resting alongside the fallen apple, he lowers his head beneath the surface. Under the judgemental eye of the nearby swan, and in one final reflection of his lover’s failure to walk with him, he breathes in deeply.

He will never walk again

Hello my friends,

Well I do hope you’ve all had an exceptional 2009! As I reflect on the past year, I realise that it has been the most incredible one so far, and I look forward to an even better 2010. One of my resolutions for next year is simply to be more creative and to put a further emphasis on writing songs, poems and stories. I do seem to have lacked quite a lot of motivation since I got back to Australia, which is disappointing considering creative expression is something that makes me feel complete.

Only last week, however, I was fortunate enough to stumble across a blog entitled “Hearts unbroken & Words untold.” It’s written by a Belgian girl who goes by the name of Froebby, and I was left incredibly inspired by her enchanting prose and her open, honest heart. Please do yourself a favour and give her blog posts a read; I’m sure you will see what I mean! Her heartfelt writing style encouraged me to write this little story (mostly in between phone calls at work, I might add) about the joy of what we think to be true love, followed by the insane amount of confusion that awaits when we realise that it’s not. Admittedly it does have a sombre ending, but it is based ever so slightly on the truth, and I see it as a lesson that we should always strive to remain true to ourselves and those around us in order to achieve happiness.

So thanks Froe, for motivating me to achieve my resolution before the new year even begins, and I wish everyone a very happy 2010 🙂


She Must Have Been Sleeptalking

A busy day exploring a faraway city draws near an end, and the two touring sweethearts make their way through the havoc of the inner-northern suburbs to the location where they will retire for the evening. Putting the general chaos of their day behind them, the couple display an ambience of nervous anticipation for the hours ahead, as this coming night is due to be their first spent together. Alone. At one. At last.

Entering the room they reflect on the day’s precedings before making preparations for their inaugural twilit companionship. Nearby, the dull roar of the subterranean carriages shake the walls ever so slightly, in precise harmony with the rumbling of their hungry hearts. She rests her head gently upon his shoulder as he grasps her slightly trembling hands in his, providing a much-needed quietude prior to the forecast storm. A sense of peace washes over as they take in the space before them which they will shortly occupy, their inhibitions gradually fading as the late summer sun merges with the darkening urban horizon. Their surrounding air becomes lighter than light itself; an aura of magnificence emanating from these two perfectly entwined souls.

Sublime to the eye, sweet to the smell and pure to the touch, she remained every inch the beauty he recalled from his yearnful, endless memory. This was a memory that delved back a multitude of epochs, beyond the fruit, beyond the flower, beyond even the fateful event seemingly millennia ago where the seed was first sowed, paving the way for their impending and everlasting reunion. To her, he was the brick, the support, the solid rock she had grasped onto so tightly in the dawning months leading up to and including this moment.

It was a journey of unimaginable proportions and enigmatic synchronicities that finally culminated in this extraordinary state of communion. From every corner of the universe, all entities involved throughout the duration of this amorous journey wept ethereal tears of togetherness, filling the small but intimate room with their unconditional love. Finally, here they were. Alone. At one. At last.

The overhead iridescence dims, yet the radiance within the room increases infinitely. The silken sheets glide effortlessly over their joy, her arms linking onto his, skin to skin, breast to breast. Their lips draw near, held apart briefly by the warmth of their devoted respiration, before plummeting into divine union, the richness of their embrace sending waves of violet flame shimmering unanimously down their spines. His electric hands saturate her surface, the exponential spark of a thousand strokes permeating deeply into her psyche. Her hair shimmers a vibrant shade of gold as his kiss intensifies, both parties joyously giving, receiving, and eventually succumbing to all that is and all that ever will be.

Time ceases. Love abounds.

She gazes into his closing eyes, savouring every breath he draws and inhaling the luminous energy of which he expels. Whispering softer than that of her velvet skin, she opens a direct line to the centre of his being. Scarcely a moment before he drifts into his most heavenly of slumbers, he becomes engulfed by those
three ………… I
ambrosial ….. LOVE
words …..…….YOU

She must have been sleeptalking.

She awakens at the crack of dawn, and with delicate hesitation, establishes her day by means of a lukewarm shower. Her situation puzzles her whilst the falling water indifferently washes away the thrill of the foregoing evening. Tightening the hot water valve with marginal force, a complication becomes apparent, understandable only to her, as the now-icy stream infiltrates her heart. Unbeknownst to him, her tears of sorrow painfully seep into the drain on that sombre morning.

Tolerating the kiss welcoming her to his glorious day, she is eager to leave the room and get on with exploring the sights of the metropolis. With last night’s adoration far from mind, a hardening bubble appears between his confused advances and her aloof responses. He appreciates her change of gesture, yet his mind cannot cease its stirring, constantly wondering what it was that he has done wrong.

As their second day nears an end, he offers comfort lying closely beside her, gently stroking her cheek with the back of his fingers. He questions her as to why she has appeared so detached. Returning to a similar state of quietude experienced the previous night, albeit a more solemn ambience this time around, she remains unwilling to ignite his confusion any further. She rolls to her side and assumes an artificial state of sleep, careful not to reveal her struggling, silent sobs.

For what seems like countless hours, he lies on his back and stares at the ceiling, his eyes running repeatedly along every nail, contour, crack and defect that he can make out on the dimly lit timber boards above him. Even the spider is aware of his intent glance, his eyes like laser beams, slowing the arachnid to a painful crawl. Wary of making contact but yearning more than ever to lie within her tender hold, he rests his arm by hers and attempts to calm his shattered identity.

On the brink of his drifting off, he becomes subconsciously aware of her shifting arm, and involuntarily adjusts his own to keep his source of chaotic comfort nearby. In an instant and unprovoked fit of rage she snaps her arm away from his touch, and straight down that direct line to the centre of his being she furiously yells
three …….. DON’T
acerbic ….. TOUCH
words ……. ME

He snaps awake. He studies her over. Her eyes: closed. Her muscles: relaxed. Her breathing: heavy and defined. He recoils to the far side of the mattress, feeling every inch the predator that she falsely made him out to be. Despite burning into his endless memory, he will never again mention the horror caused by her sudden nightmarish outburst.

She must have been sleeptalking.

* Coleman’s mustard
* Lincolnshire sausage
* The slow food market by the Embankment… mmm spit roast hog, garlic hummus and pigeon!
* Eating organically
* Rachel’s organic Greek style yoghurt with honey, and the Coconut yoghurt as well
* Puccino’s hot chocolate
* Jaffa cakes
* Chocolate that tastes ever so slightly different to Australian chocolate
* Digestives
* (The innocence of originally thinking that Digestives were tablets to help relieve indigestion)
* Yorkshire puddings
* Toad in the hole
* Fish & chips on the Brighton pier on cold winter days
* Mushy peas
* Proper steak & ale pies
* Authentic cave-matured Cheddar cheese
* Breakfast fry-ups
* Ploughman’s lunch
* Walkers Builders Breakfast crisps
* The word “crisps”
* Proper cups of tea (without sugar)
* Tea cosies
* Going out to folk music nights
* Countless amounts of gigs by well-known acts every night in London
* Australian acts who tour Britain and who are greeted with the rapturous support and applause of us expats
* The incredible assortment of theatre, comedy and musicals on nightly display throughout the city
* Locally-owned pubs built on atmosphere
* Historic and unique pubs
* The Tooting Tram & Social
* The Selkirk
* The fact that hardly any pubs have pokies
* Supermarkets that sell alcohol
* Off licences
* Guinness that actually tastes like Guinness should
* Real ale
* PINTS of beer as opposed to those pathetic little “pots” that us Aussies drink!
* Being able to fly to Europe for 20 quid
* Collecting stamps in my passport
* The red circle with the blue line
* Tube station advertisements
* Studying the tube map trying to work out which route will get me home the quickest
* Choosing random stops to get off at and explore, ie. Maida Vale and Ealing Broadway
* Oyster cards
* Night buses home from Brixton
* Cycling through Thornton Heath, Norbury, Streatham, Tooting & Colliers Wood on the way to work
* The massively long escalators at Angel
* Northern Line train carriages
* Coal miners with erections (you had to be there to understand!)
* Double decker buses
* Tube station buskers
* People slagging off Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson in the newspapers
* The Metro, The London Paper and The Evening Standard
* (but not the London Lite, that’s just shite!)
* Page Three girls
* Inquisitive dogs on trains
* Squirrels
* Urban foxes
* Mole hills
* Friendly Wandle Path street cats
* Wild blackberries
* Playing pool, table tennis and guitar on lunch breaks
* Hanging out with Team Six Nations and the rest of the A&C folk every day
* Staff bags
* Team snacks
* Cold, drizzly, overcast weather
* Snow
* Conservatories
* Regional accents
* People telling me that I’m losing my Australian accent
* People mistaking me for a Kiwi or South African
* Making fun of the Welsh just like we make fun of the Kiwi’s 🙂
* The M25
* The fact that motorways are referred to by number rather than name
* Rows of terraced houses
* Independently owned boutique high street stores
* Robbie Williams
* Take That
* Top Gear
* QI
* Cash In The Attic
* The Apprentice
* Jeremy Kyle
* Simon Amstell
* Dara O’Briain
* Susan Boyle
* Dave
* The BBC
* Castles
* Cathedrals
* Actually wanting to walk into a church to marvel at its history and architecture
* Church cemeteries
* Being nine hours behind
* Dyson air blades in airport bathrooms
* Heated towel racks
* The lady who reads the O2 voicemail message
* The lushness of the Wimbledon Common
* The deer within Richmond Park
* Microchipped bank cards
* Not having to select Cheque, Savings or Credit every time I make a transaction with my bank card
* Not being charged for every transaction you make at a cashpoint that is not owned by your specific bank
* The word “cashpoint”
* The word “innit”
* “You alright?”
* The museum quarters at South Kensington
* Hearing about people’s suggestions for places to visit
* Heading out to random towns and villages on the weekend
* The hilarity of Brighton “beach” that doesn’t actually possess any sand
* Boston & Stickney
* Edinburgh… my favourite place in the entire world
* Hanging out with Jess 🙂
* The British postcode system
* Toilets with levers instead of buttons
* The homeless girl in Thornton Heath who keeps asking me for 36p
* The fact that the school year begins in September
* Electric showers
* The bulky but cute three-pronged electrical plugs/sockets
* Camden and Portobello Markets
* Rough Trade Records on Talbot St nearby Portobello Market… the best record store ever
* The music shops on Denmark St
* Incredible, historical architecture
* Red telephone boxes and post boxes
* Bobbies
* Big Ben
* Leicester Square
* The Thames
* The endless fascination with the Royal Family
* British people in general
* The Union Jack
* God Save The Queen

* 1p and 2p coins
* Living in Thornton Heath

The end!

 The other day I stopped by the cashpoint at Thornton Heath, to withdraw a bit of spending money to see through the weekend. I put my card in, keyed in my PIN, pressed the button that said “£30”, took my card out of the machine… and walked off without the bloody cash! I didn’t even realise until about half an hour later when I went to pay for something and my wallet was empty. I felt like such an idiot!

Skip forward to today. I decided to go for a walk to Croydon to get out of the house, and before too long my thoughts progressed to my absent-mindedness at the cashpoint the other day. 30 quid was a fair amount of money to let go of, but hey, it did teach me a lesson, and I did find comfort in knowing I would have made the day of the next person to use the cashpoint.

Whilst deliberating the hidden meaning behind my lost money experience, as one does when one is alone and has nothing better to do or think about, I noticed two girls walking towards me. As they drew near, I saw what looked like a folded brochure slip out of one of the girls hands, unnoticed, and onto the ground. We walked past each other without acknowledgement, and I inquisitively approached the dropped article to see what it was. It was £15.

Yes, I did give it back, and the girl was very thankful and surprised that she ever saw the money again, given that we were in an area like Croydon! But what are the chances of that? To have lost money, then to be thinking about the experience a few days later, and at exactly the same time to witness someone else lose money?

I feel I’m becoming Synchronicity Central. Stay tuned for more as they happen. And go put an entry into the lotto too 😉

Last Wednesday night I went out to IndigO2 (a venue inside the Millennium dome at Greenwich, London) because O2 had kindly put on a free gig headlined by Australia’s very own singer/songwriter extraordinaire, Ben Lee. Who can’t say no to a free gig?

I’ve always been a fan of Ben, not a die-hard fan or anything, but enough to appreciate his sentiment and follow his career over the years. I’d seen him perform once before in Brisbane back in 2005, not long after he released Awake Is The New Sleep, and I left the gig quite impressed with his showmanship and his ability to work the crowd. He was most definitely a born entertainer.

His gig the other night was no exception to this – from the moment he walked on stage he had the audience in the palm of his hand. He quipped about the set list he’d scribbled on the back of a packet of Sainsbury’s hummous, before taking us on a philosophical journey of his beloved pop music. He brought us back to his breakthrough song of 1998 where he wished we were all wrong, then he regrouped by inviting us all to take part in this together. By the end of his performance the crowd had clearly caught his disease, and we all walked off into the dark with a sense of coming so close to a ripe, numbing sensation of no guilt and all pleasure.

Song-lyric puns aside, there was one tune in particular that Ben sang which really, really intrigued me. I’d never heard it before, and at the time I was under the impression that he had written it himself. I found out later that it was written by a guy called Kristopher Roe and originally recorded by the band he fronts, the Ataris, who I remembered from a few years ago when they did that version of Don Henley’s Boys Of Summer. The song by the Ataris that I’m referring to here, though, is aptly entitled Ben Lee, and the lyrics are as follows:

I never met someone so jaded
Your music’s really over rated
Nothing but a lot of pretentious noise
I know that Claire Danes was your chick
To me you’re just some ugly prick
Who got lucky cause he knew the Beastie Boys
And I can’t stand it

A lot goes on but nothing happens
But this time that’s not true
I wrote this song for you
To tell you that your 15 minutes of fame are almost up
Yeah one more thing, Ben Lee you suck

Bob Dylan must be kinda pissed
Cause you’ve been writing all his hits
Packaged and reprocessed for the world
I’d love to kick you in the face
Break your legs and throw you from a train
Cause you’re such a fucking girl
And I can’t stand it

I guess this song’s come to an end
I’ll say good bye until we meet again
You better stay out of my town
Cause if I had my way
I’d call up Snoop, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre
We’d come and beat you down

You can hear it here:

As you can tell, it’s a hate song – a feeble, pathetic pot-shot. Now when it comes to art and artists, I’m all one for constructive criticism, and I completely understand that everybody is entitled to an opinion, but there comes a point, doesn’t there? Do you really need to go all out and write this kind of blatant negative rubbish about somebody who couldn’t be less deserving of it? Apparently this Kristopher Roe bloke was simply jealous of Ben because he was with Claire Danes at the time, but come on, “I’d love to kick you in the face, break your legs and throw you from a train” is going a bit to extremes isn’t it?

Anyway, the point I want to make here is that at the end of the day, I think Ben himself is the righteous victor of the situation. He had the courage to get up there and sing the words of his very own hate song in front of 1,500 people, and I believe that really says something about his character. His ability to confront his own musical taunts face-to-face and essentially turn a negative around into a positive has ended up being one of the most inspirational three minutes I’ve ever been lucky enough to witness.

He even recorded the song as a bonus track for his latest album, The Rebirth Of Venus. You can hear it here:

Much respect to you, Ben Lee. Much respect to you.

Well I’ve been in this lovely country now for about four days and as much as I miss Australia it’s so amazing to be on the other side of the world experiencing a different culture! So I’ve sat and compiled quite a list of random observations and things I’ve learnt that make this place what it is 🙂

* 99% of houses are built out of either stone or brick
* If the streets aren’t narrow enough, the footpaths are even narrower
* Massive traffic lights. And they go yellow agan before they turn green
* Big white-on-blue arrows to remind you which way you turn around a roundabout (presumably so Americans know what to do?)
* If you ask for a large cappucino, they give it to you in a soup mug. Don’t ask for a muggucino cause they don’t know what that is
* Strawberry picking is a very popular pasttime for locals on a Thursday afternoon
* They sell alcohol in grocery stores!
* They don’t seem to check for ID outside pubs & clubs
* The weather is nowhere near as cold / windy / rainy / cloudy as I thought it would be (yet!)
* Church grounds contain public cemetaries.
* Marmite (lol… eww)
* Tea, tea, and more tea
* Conservatories are a novel and popular way to trap the sun’s heat
* Toilets here flush with handles, not with buttons
* The postie delivers mail direct to your front door
* You hardly see any old lemon cars on the road
* Phone numbers have 11 digits in them which makes them so hard to remember 😛
* Baked beans and mushy peas come as side dishes with pub meals
* No such thing as pots or schooners – they’re all pint glasses
* We complain about the price of fuel in Australia, yet it’s another 40 or 50 cents per litre more expensive here
* Electrical sockets and plugs look funny!
* Rabbits run out onto the road in front of you
* The price of food and household products are nowhere near as expensive as people put them out to be. Quite on par with Australia I think
* The local car boot sale is about the same size as a small city
* Customs don’t check your bags at Manchester airport
* You need to pay licence fees for free-to-air TV
* Phone boxes really do look like the ones out of Doctor Who
* Never, ever say the “S” word. (you know, the one that rhymes with “knocker” and means “football”)
* Sausage buns are called “baps”
* A nap is a “kip”
* Computer keyboards are all manky! The ” is where the @ is supposed to be!
* Home & Away is about two months behind 🙁
* Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, Radio 5……. etc etc
* People think Sydney is the capital (and only!) city in Australia
* Bedrooms often come with the obligatory wash basin
* Apparently, “Bruce” is a very popular Australian name
* Locals are not willing to admit that the skills of the Australian cricket team don’t quite match up to theirs
* Every town or village has at least one massive church in it
* There are no designated parking bays on roads. People just park in the lane itself and others have to manoeuvre their way around
* Chavs
* Double-decker buses
* Shops & pubs are often built out in the middle of nowhere in the countryside. And people do come to them
* After you send a text message or make a phone call, your phone automatically shows you your remaining credit. (well we might have that in Australia for all I know but I’ve never seen it before and I think it’s pretty cool!)
* Distance is measured in imperial (miles), yet volume is measured in metric (litres)
* Pigeons actually live in people’s backyards, not just in McDonalds carparks where they scavenge chips and burgers

I shall speak to all you chaps again very soon. May God save the Queen,