Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zombies

Z is for Zombie - not really but that’s a bit the way I feel at the end of the A-Z blogging challenge. It has been a fantastic exercise and experience and wonderful to visit other bloggers also doing the challenge and to marvel at how similar yet different we are. My head is filled with the possibilities of how to continue the blogging challenge because it has taken me to places and subjects that surprised me and certainly did much to stimulate my ... brains ... brains. There is much in this world that we don't pay enough (any?) attention to because we are so/too busy just going about our business like automatons or, dare I say it, Zombies! Here's to a period of zest and zeal in my personal zeitgeist - thanks to the A-Z!

(Thanks to the organizers and all who participated ... See you next year!)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Y is for Yellow

I have always thought of yellow as the colour of intelligence - but, it seems that it is so much more. According to the Australian Oxford Dictionary, it is the colour of buttercups, lemons and gold, of ripe wheat and jaundiced complexions, and of envy and suspicion. I didn't realise though that it could also refer to the press - where it means to be unscupulously sensational. We know that it can be used for describing fauna and flora, and has a use in sports where players can be given the yellow card when they're being cautioned; and there's the yellow flag - which indicates there's a crash ahead, although the yello flag can also be a flower or the flag displayed on a quarantined ship. To have the yellow jack is to be sick with yellow fever, and the yellow peril refers to "the political or military threat regarded as emanating from Asian peoples, especially the Chinese", and since we're in Asia, there's yellow rain which was reportedly a chemical warfare agent but which now appears to have been bee droppings (although it would have made more sense if it had been yellow and black). If you ran from that rain, people might have suggested you had a yellow streak - a trait of cowardice. But yellow is the colour of victory in cycling where the yellow jerseyshows you are a winner - but not necessarily the winner. Of course, some of us just like the colour because it's ... yellow.

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for X marks the spot

X marks the spot. Why do they say that? Is it because on the old treasure maps they would put an X to show where the treasure was buried rather than writing "here there be treasure". It was obviously something they didn't trust to memory or shipmates. Were there back-up treasure maps? Or furphies which put the X somewhere which wasn't the spot where the treasure was? And why was it an X and not a Y or even a number? Maybe it had to do with map references, the intersect of longitude and latitude lines. They wouldn't have had triangulation then - or maybe they did and knew how to use it - although it seems a little more difficult than specific map coordinates. Of course, it's hard to know if pirates really did bury their treasure - it probably wasn't something that was publicised. It definitely was the stuff of fiction though with the pirates of Treasure Island having buried treasure aplenty but research suggests it's usually the stuff of legends rather than real life.

But even if X didn't find a place on treasure maps, it did prove useful - and still does - how could you say 10 in Roman Numerals if X didn't mark the spot?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wish

Does wishy-washy just mean you can't decide what it is you (want to) wish for? If you were referring to a person's inability to make a decision or lack of strength, wouldn't you just use "washy" rather than ”wishy-washy”? But I'm more interested in the wishes. What would we wish for if someone offered us, say, three wishes. Would it be something for yourself, something for your nearest and dearest, or something to benefit the world in general? Would the difficulty in deciding depend on the wish-giver's sphere of influence? There's a world of difference between world peace and a pie for lunch. And what if you knew there would be not-incredibly-wonderful consequences from the wishes a la The Monkey's Paw. And if you were the one with the power to grant wishes - as long as you weren't constrained by having to grant the wishes to the person who released you from the magic lamp (and why were you in there in the first place, and if you have the power to grant wishes why can't you grant your own?) - how would you decide who to give them? Would you want to give them to someone pure of heart? With a social conscience? Sound business acumen? And what would you base the decision on? How can you tell what a person really thinks and feels just by watching/talking with them - and wouldn't it change if they knew you had the power to grant their (every) wish?

If you had one minute to decide what your three wishes will be - what would they be? Start now ... and no being wishy-washy ...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Victory

We were sitting listening to the radio this morning as we had our breakfast and the subject matter was A.N.Z.A.C. Day. One segment was about soldiers writing letters home saying that they had killed Germans, and their loved ones would write back saying don't tell me about that - so they would write about the landscape instead. That then led to the story of a friend of S's Dad who had served in World War I and who, at one point, came face to face with a German soldier - he looked just like me and I couldn't do it was the general gist of his remarks afterwards - and apparently neither could the German, because the friend was still around to talk about it. But it brought up the notion that perhaps there was a better way to fight wars - like scissors paper rock - and whoever lost went home! Then, because we all know that the same ideas are always floating out there in the universe, I saw this photo. V is for Victory, but it would be nice if it could be a Virtual Victory instead without loss of life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Undecided

We received the rates bill today and with it a survey asking if we would be prepared to support a new library (yes) by agreeing to a special rates increase over several years to fund it (undecided). But how could we say no ... because it would be good to have a new building to house the collection and there could be some purpose-built areas as well. To say yes would mean a certain rate increase but we would be investing in the infrastructure of the local area ... except that it's not our local area anymore but one day we may want to sell and the more infrastructure (read: libraries) in the area, the more inclined someone might be to want to buy. To support the library or not? Still undecided but leaning more towards yes. I think.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Too Late?

I had forgotten that S is for Sun - and now the A-Z Challenge has moved on to T. So Too Late? Ray Bradbury wrote a story about a young girl who is waiting for the rain to stop and for the sun to come out - she knows it will, but no-one else at her school has ever see sunshine. They lock her in a room and while she is there the rain does stop and the sun does come out - and while everyone else is entranced by this, all she sees of it (and the world stretching itself in the sunlight) is a ray of light across the floor of that room.

Most of us take the sun for granted - even though some of us do take every opportunity to let it seep into our very being. But what would happen if the sun went out? Not exploded as a supernova but just quietly went out. What would you do when, at 10am in the morning, the sunlight just stopped and the world plunged into darkness? How dark is pitch black? And while the lights would come on as though it was night, there wouldn't even be the reflected light of the moon to brighten the night sky! Would mankind be able to adapt? Would the resultant world be a place we would want to live in? And would we ever stop waiting for it to come back on?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

T is for Turn of Phrase

English is an amazing language and we are often given to the odd turn of phrase - albeit, sometimes unintentionally. This evening when I was making my way through a large public place (read: Casino), following some friends through to a different area of the gaming floor, I found myself delayed "waiting for some old people to pass". As I was telling them this, I realised how inappropriate it sounded - waiting for old people to pass. Well - sort of. And isn't "sort of" good too, as a friend posted on FaceBook earlier this week - as attributed to Demetri Martin: 'Sort of' is such a harmless thing to say. Sort of. It's just a filler. Sort of - it doesn't really mean anything. But after certain things, sort of means everything. Like after 'I love you' or 'You're going to live.'

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Sasquatch

We are not alone. Or are we? There is a field of study - Cryptozoology - which is said to be about mythical animals or, the way I like to think of it, of animals whose existence has not yet been proven - your Sasquatch aka Bigfoot, Yeti or Yowie (why did that just autocorrect to "townie"?). I don't know why but I have long wondered if we were the only sentient species here on Planet Earth - and from my teen years I have read magazines, books and now the Internet on whether they exist. Very early on I read of a park ranger here in Queensland who had had come face-to-face with a large foul-smelling red-eyed, standing on two legs and towering above him, hairy creature. It was definitely not a bear (they aren't native to here) or anything he recognised - and he never wanted to see one again. Another crackpot? I was inclined to think not when I saw the name and confirmed that it was a friend's father and yes, she knew the story, and the encounter had terrified him, and this was definitely something they didn't often talk about. Similarly, the sighting of a large man-like creature on the back roads of New South Wales some years ago also terrified my partner's brother. It shambled across the highway in front of him and went off int the bush. He didn't follow it. These sightings were both some years ago now ... and I often wonder if these creatures, and those like them, are still out there? And if so, how do they evade detection especially as man encroaches further and further into bush territory.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Research

There's no doubt that research has it's place, but you have to feel for the rats. I was listening to a How Stuff Works podcast today on how much sleep is enough sleep. The general consensus is that it's 6 to 8 hours a night for the average person (surprisingly they didn't mention how much a gifted person needs) - and they know this from ... research. It seems that a fair bit of the research involves rats, especially when it has to do with sleep deprivation - and we're not talking about the way it's used as a method of torture here. The University of Chicago has done research with people - 10 healthy men in their 20's - and after only 6 days of sleeping for only 4 hours a night the men developed signs of pre-diabetes. The report didn't say which of these studies was conducted first, but the other one they mentioned was with rats, where severe sleep deprivation effectively cut their life span from three years to three weeks! How incredible is that? Are lab rats especially bred for research purposes? And if they are, does this make it better? I can't help but imagine what the uproar would be if they did this with people.

Q is for Quiet

Why is it that when you're trying to be quiet, you can't? And it doesn't matter how hard you try - you'll knock something over, or crash against something - and once you've made the noise - it just gets worse - probably because you're trying even harder to be quiet! Is this a non-self-fulfilling prophecy?

Q is for Queues

Queues aren't what they used to be. This makes me a little mad (read: infuritates me) because lots of people seem to have forgotten how to wait their turn. I know sometimes people have a valid reason for being in a rush and wanting to push in, but it isn't a good look and it makes the rest of us a bit irritated. Only this afternoon, there was a woman intent on overtaking me on the motorway - or is that undertaking, because she wasn't on the road - she was driving on the shoulder, tailgating me because there wasn't enough room for her to go by safely unless I moved over. I couldn't see why I needed to - if the traffic was queued but still moving, why should she not have to wait her turn like the rest of us? By the time we reached the exit (the same one I was using) she was travelling beside my otherside back fender; and it was at that moment that I wondered if not moving over was such a good idea - was I in a "road rage in the making" situation? Would she be difficult about it and not let me use the exit? I needn't have worried because she did, but it does raise the question of this and other queues ... are we all in line on the subject?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Play

We don't do enough play these days ... I think some people have completely forgotten how. When we're little folk, our work is play - that's how we learn. We splash around in troughs of water and learn about displacement and that the wetter you get, the more fun it is. We paint all manner of things which aren't necessarily recognizable by anyone but us and we learn that yellow and blue make green and that rainbows have seven main colours - all of them beautiful. We learn to love cardboard boxes and as we get a little older we come to like the toys in those boxes, and we learn to share and we learn how to use our hands and hone our fine motor skills and our eye-hand coordination. And it's all fun. Until one day we forget about having fun and laughing and playing. Someone said recently that they don't call work "work" for nothing, and it's true. It's about productivity and profit (another P word ... oh wait, they both are) and politics (another one!). But why can't it be more about fun and play? Or are we just not playing the right games?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Onion

Whenever I see an onion my thoughts turn to the Toowoomba Range and the truck driver who chose to veer off the road rather than drive over cars to get to the safety ramp. Who knows if he thought he would be able to slow his onion-laden truck before it went over the side of the Range, with him somehow surviving the crash, or if he acted on instinct, and knowing he could not live with the knowledge that he had caused the death of others. Whatever the case, and we can never know, the decision cost him his life. We drove down the Range a couple of days afterwards and there were still onions strewn around the scene. It was a very real reminder.

No doubt lots of people who have heard the story about the "onion man" have forgotten what it means all these years later, and the sacrifice he made. This is why it's good to keep the memory of this act alive, showing how one man can truly make a difference. Onion anyone?

N is for News

You have to wonder what the world is coming to when there is a news* article saying Australia will be one of the safer places to be if we ever find ourselves in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse! Or was that "when"? Of course, it's always good to have the opportunity to be prepared - so we can start stockpiling provisions, working out how to turn our homes into zombie-proof fortresses and studying up on how to stop the zombies, despatching them before they make a meal out of our brains. Are there other ways to kill a zombie than with a chainsaw? Will even they work - and, if so, are there ones out there with longer handles?

I'm not sure that that's a world I would want to live in - just like I wouldn't want to live in Midsomer or Cabot Cove where murders are always in the news - and just as well or police and mystery writers would have little to do - except maybe watch televison where a nice juicy murder now suffices as entertainment. Is that it - do we live in a world where, to a certain extent, newsworthy events and entertainment have become somewhat interchangeable? Or is that old news?

* News: information about recent and important events.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

M is for Missive

Have you noticed that you seldom get missives through the mail anymore? Have those long letters you could languish over, absorbing your correspondent's news, gone the way of the dinosaur? Have they been replaced by an SMS, s Tweet, Facebook post or perhaps a group email? Do you miss them? I raised this issue a couple (few?) years ago on this blog and soon after was surprised by an actual letter in the mail - and even though it was from a friend who I saw regularly to catch up with over a coffee, the letters took on a life of their own. I have moved away since then and even though neither of us is as frequent a correspondent as either we or the other would like, for me it is still a thrill to get or send the letter. When I mention missives to other people, they say they miss them too and one friend has even asked me to write her one of those long letters like I used to (many years ago now ... before life became busier) - and you know what, I'm going to ... and, while I'm at it, I’m going to pen a missive to Deb as well! Anyone else?

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Love

L is for Love, or perhaps it's for Loss, because that is what invariably results from Love. What is it "they" say? "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all". I tend not to agree with them. Or perhaps I do. I am of two (at least) minds about this one - partly, I think, because my visual memory is not good - and certainly my powers of description (what did/do they look like?) are worse. When it comes time to recalling a loved one - even if we are parted only for a day - I can get the sense of them and vaguely try to describe them to myself - but it's definitely wanting. Photographs help but not enough. And when there are images - they are often ones I would rather not have. Although, writing that, I realise that the image I have of my father, after his death, at the viewing where he is in one of his favourite Thai shirts, and with the Superman tee placed in the coffin with him - even though it is a hard image, it is one I do hold on to because this is when I knew that he was finally "free" from the brain tumour that had stolen his life slowly over the more than two years between diagnosis and last breath. Of course, I can think of other instances of him if I look at photographs, or try to imagine him in a remembered setting, but I cannot recall the rich vibrance of the man he was. Hopefully other people are able to conjure up their loved ones better. But does that make it easier? Or harder? I truly am at a loss to know.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

K is for Karen

Karen: the language (spoken in the Thailand and Burmese Borderlands); the people (making up 7% of the total Burmese population); the first name (and surname) - as entered in a Google ”vanity search”! The only thing wrong with egosurfing (as looking for yourself on the web is also known) is that you do run the risk of finding out that your namesakes have more interesting lives than you do! But that doesn't stop people opening up a search engine and typing in their name - in fact, nearly half US adult internet users have done it - and at least one Australian (that would be me!). My favourite other me is an egg-blowing, shooting, wheelchair-bound person of mixed origin (Hawaiian/Japanese/Cherokee). I’m definitely intrigued by the me who is into artificial intelligence; and now not totally sure about the GP who seems wonderful (according to the reviews) but has a billing department which isn't. Alas, you do need some patience to find me - I’m so far down in the Google search results that I found my attention wandering off and I’m now thinking of doing that myself ...

J is for Justice ... or just Just?

Is there a natural justice in the world? A sense of fairness that pervades the universe as we know it? One where we can be assured things will work out in the end? I’d like to believe that as the alternative (one of them anyway) is a random kind of universe where anything can happen - and we chalk the results up to fate or, if preferred, destiny. It's interesting that the autocorrect on my computer replaced "fate” with ”care”. Are they the same thing? Do we shape our own fate based on what and who we are and what care we put into our lives - and how much we care about others ... and how fair we are in our dealings with them? Would it then be enough if we were just just? As in ... ”just” as in ”absolutely”, ”exactly as this moment”, ”free from favouritism or self-interest or bias or deception”, or, from its origin - ”righteous in the eyes of God, upright and impartial”. Could that be it then? Could natural justice be the effects of a person's actions that determine his/her destiny in this lifetime - rather than in their next incarnation because that would then be Karma ... and therefore a topic for another day!

Monday, April 09, 2012

I is for I Want ...

I was saddened today to read of a young Chinese man who had reportedly sold his kidney so he could buy an iPad and an iPhone. This makes a change to the stories (are they true?) of Chinese workers in Apple factories in that country being so unhappy that they choose to end their lives by throwing themselves off the factory at such a rate that nets have been erected around the buildings to try to save their lives. How could electronic devices turn into such masters of destiny? Don't get me wrong, I am an Apple-and-all-things-"i" fan but I want to see another model of capitalism which could see people in the land of manufacture able to afford what they're making without having to sell off body parts; see the company of manufacture still turn a healthy profit, and the rest of us able to use an iDevice without having to question its or our own morality. I don't think that's too much to want ...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

H is for Hard

There are some blogs which are harder to write than others - not because the subject matter is hard but because it is hard to decide on the subject matter. I hunted through the dictionary looking for an H word to be the focus for today's blog, took heart from asking other people what they thought a good H word would be (Hiatus Hernia anyone?) and finally picked something - and then realised that that topic wasn't working for me. Then someone suggested Hard. And it is - I had thought about writing about heart, and home, and heroes, and Homer (who was our wonderful cat who we named after Homer . . . Simpson the first time we saw him eat! ) and hope and happiness and Harold Holt and Houdoni and habits and hackers and Hell and hagiography and hair and halitosis and hallucinations and Harry Potter and horcruxes and horror and hotels (as in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and ... the list goes on. In retrospect, I realize that by settling on one, I had just settled - and I need to do more than than when deciding what to blog about - otherwise it ceases to be something I really want to do and, instead, just becomes ... hard!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

G is for Good

”Good.” How many times a day do we say ”good” without really having given much (or any) thought to what other word might be better. I often replace "good" with "excellent" but only if it's warranted. Come to think of it, it may not be that we don't consider other words, but that we don't consider the answers enough - possibly because we don't think that folk who ask questions where our best response is ”good” are interested in a "real" answer, as in: How are you today? Good. As opposed to - ”Don't ask, I have a horrible night, my partner just left me, I’m having trouble with the bank, and if I have to listen to one more session about being a team player I am going to lose it”. How was dinner? Mmmmm ... good - not to be confused with sublime, excellent, amazing, or, at the other end of the spectrum, words fail me. Which is where ”good” probably is (good), in light of Mr Rabbit’s advice to Thumper: if you can't say anything nice, don't say nothing at all. Good.

Friday, April 06, 2012

F is for Friday

Friday - the last day of the working week. Never was it is as welcome as the very first week I worked and even though it is a few years back now, I can remember the absolute elation I felt walking home from the train station through Tempe Park knowing there would be no work tomorrow! It was like being let out for the school holidays - and even though it was only two days stretching before me this time, rather than weeks, it was glorious! I've only had that feeling once since and it wasn't at a particularly onerous job, at the end of a long week, or for any special reason - except that it was Friday and not in that TGIF way - although goodness knows there have been enough of those over the years! I'm not sure if it would be a good thing or a bad thing if it happened at the end of every week - there's certainly nothing wrong with looking forward to weekends but you'd have to hate being it a job where that was the only highlight ie not being there!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

E is for Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuate: (often as extenuating adj.) lessen the seeming seriousness of (guilt or an offence) by reference to some mitigating factor.

It's a bit like that story about the man who kills his mother and his father and then pleads for clemency because he is now an orphan! The sentencing hearing of Sydney man Neal Richardson (convicted of murdering his lover before using a power saw to dismember her body) has heard that he suffers from traumatic recollections.

''He's off drugs now. He's sitting in jail with his life ahead of him,'' his barrister told the court, adding there was evidence Richardson felt ''contrition'' and ''remorse''.

After her death (which Richardson claimed happened when Ms Grant hit her head on a coffee table when they fell during an argument) at the house they shared in Malabar (a Sydney suburb), and believing that the police would think he had killed her (as she had been slated to give evidence against him on an assault charge) he disposed of her body on a NSW rural property.

Justice Lucy McCallum adjourned the matter for sentencing on May 11.

E is for Evidence

While I never saw Jerry Maguire (the movie) I can't help but think his "Show me the money!" was another way of saying "I'll believe you if you show me the evidence" ... but I have no proof of that - and there’s no-one immediately available that I can ask. Evidence makes up a huge part of our modern world - it's at the forefront in the cop show television genre - possibly too much so because people now have an unrealistic belief in forensic science and how well and quickly it can bring results! Or that evidence is best looked for by torch (a la CSI Miami) rather than turning on overhead lights. Evidence is there too in psychological research - although it's a little thin when studies are based on small, non-representative samples. This may be why they say hypotheses can never be proved - only supported. And what of religion - where people seek "evidence", proof, of the existence of their particular deity/God to bolster their faith. Would Jesus have been believed if he hadn't performed miracles such as bringing Lazarus back from the dead, curing the sick, feeding the hungry? Is there any way anyone would/could accept the existence of a being from another realm if they had no knowledge of it? Can folk believe in something for which we have no evidence? I guess the answer to that last one is Yes - especially since the property recovery of the 1990's seems to have resulted from people simply saying it was so!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

D is for Demons

We saw a program the other evening which featured a segment on three teenage exorcists. They specialised in casting out demons and while the whole notion of these young things doing this was far-fetched, the segment did raise an interesting point. One of the young women exorcised during the segment said that she felt her demons had been cast out - and then went on to talk about her teen pregnancy, her abusive parents and other things which had troubled her and were now "gone". Hmmmm - that made some sense - thinking about demons not as supernatural beings that had invaded someone's body but as negative talk, experiences and criticism that had invaded a soul, built a nest there and started to fester and eat it away from the inside. And this isn't a new thought - although people in the past may not have viewed it exactly in those terms - because it isn't that long ago that people with a mental illness were thought to be "possessed". So what demons are each of us harbouring? What skeletons are in our closets, what secrets do we keep, things of which we are ashamed, things we prefer we hadn't said or done that we can't let go of, forgive ourselves, forget and move on?

[The devil is in the detail: isn't it amazing that we have a language in which a demon can be either a "cruel wicked and inhuman person", "an evil supernatural being" or "someone extremely diligent or skillful"? Me, I'm going with the Ancient Greek origin - δαίμων (god, goddess, divine power).] (Thanks WordNet.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

C is also for Conversation

Most of us take conversation and social interaction for granted. We fall into an easy interchange with others - passing the time of day, talking about the weather, avoiding taboo subjects like politics - and don't give it a second thought. For others it's a much more difficult proposition. They lack the basic skills of and for social interaction and find it difficult to acquire them - and it isn't easy - and harder still to find places and opportunities to practice. Lean forward and smile - try to connect with people - show them you care - these are the stepping stones to acquiring social skills: not really like ... but not totally unlike ... fake it till you make it. Now that's something to talk about.

C is for Change

To be honest, change isn't one of my favourite things ... unless it's coins, in which case it's welcome in bucket-loads. Real Change though, well, that's an entirely different matter. I am resistant to change. I realise this is perverse, given the only thing constant is change because change doesn't. But what's the alternative? A world without change? A world where we didn't need to adapt to new circumstances and conditions? A world where we can rely on everything being the same from day to day? Day in ... day out? That already sounds like a less interesting place especially if the lack of change extended to subjects, gears, tunes, clothes, lanes, jobs. Hmmm, could be time for a change ... of heart!

Monday, April 02, 2012

B is also for Bring Back the Ballad

They don't do ballads like they used to - not just the poems, but the songs as well. Music today is not about the words - let's face it, it's pretty hard to work out what they are - it's about the beat, and lots of it! Once upon a time, it used to be about harmony and melody. It used to be that you could put together a mix tape to share with your special someone to let them know how you felt - and the songs, filled with lots of E-flats and even more of the love tone, would spread the warm fuzzy feelings which symbolised how deep was your love. Now it's more likely to be head-banging rhythms and high-volume which is perfectly acceptable for dancing, especially as a precursor to mating, but it's not necessarily something which when next you hear it will brighten your smile and make your heart sing. Ah, Ballads ... (with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning) how do I love thee? Let me count the ways ...

B is for Blog

It would be interesting to know how many blogs are alive and well out there on the internet and how many have slipped into disrepair through neglect or folk simply not having enough time to keep them current. Everyone (or is this a generalisation?) starts a blog with good intentions although no doubt for vastly different reasons. I'm not sure if blogging is about vanity or about people trying to find their voice - and then trying to have it heard ... although for some it may be enough that they have made the effort at all. These are probably not the folk who sign up to track their blog's statistics. Or is that something we all do - looking to see the number of hits on our sites, where they've come from and how folk have visited our blog instead of one of the other millions of blogs out there. Chance? Fate? Blog-hopping?

Sunday, April 01, 2012

A is for Artist

It could also be for Ageing Artist. Last weekend we went to see Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in concert at Jupiters Casino here on the Gold Coast. It was absolutely amazing - great staging, band, backing singers/dancers (that would be The Four Seasons) and, of course, Frankie Vallie himself - now in his late seventies. How amazing that someone would still be performing then - will we see Lady Gaga, Madonna and others of the current crop of artists performing when they're nearly 80? But back at the concert, within minutes - moments? - of the concert starting, the person I was with and I both had the same question - was Frankie Valli really singing or was he lip-syncing? Did it matter? As it turned out, we weren't the only ones who were wondering and during the course of the concert we came to believe that it was a mixture of both - for some he was actually performing with voice, and the rest of the time he was just performing - because unless you knew, except for a couple of small spots - you would never have picked it. Certainly, our being in the 5th row made it possible for us to watch his lips, and the screen, and to (we think, but were we wrong?) pick the difference. But it was a truly amazing performance - even if he wasn't actually singing, he was still "going through the motions" - and very well. Some singers use manual cues when they're trying to reach a certain note - it can be as subtle as a small movement of a finger - and he was doing all of that. But more than that he was taking us back to those "good old days" and it didn't really matter how he and The Four Seasons and the band were doing that ... as someone asked afterwards "Who said they haven't invented a time machine?". You just have to admire the dedication of someone who would be performing the same songs all these years later - because we know no-one really wants Frankie Valli to sing modern songs - he's there for the ballads - and even though he's sung them over and over again, he's still doing it and helping people tap into their memories! Bravo!