Woke up, fell out of bed… #blogjune

 A David Bailey image of Lennon and McCartney- a souvenir from our first trip overseas- hangs in our music/spare/red room and its composition is something which I was pondering as I went about my morning routine in my normal headless chook fashion.
While Mr BG and I agree that Rubber Soul is better than Revolver, we are diametrically opposed as to who the better writer was. Bart is a John fan, while I have always had a soft spot for Paul (though recently, I think George was the underrated one).

John Lennon and Paul McCartney by David Bailey, 1965

John Lennon and Paul McCartney by David Bailey, 1965

In this image, John looms over Paul, his arms draped over Paul’s shoulders. Paul however looks to be oblivious to this dominance and faces the camera head on. It feels as if John is trying to dominate the space, but Paul is not giving in and holding his own.

 Their song A day in the life (from Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) popped into my head as a random stream of consciousness (much like this blog post). The song is discordant, and yet the dreamy genius of John’s parts, when merged with the pop sensibility of Paul’s contribution leads to a song greater than the sum of its parts.

Partnerships can often involve conflict, with different thoughts and approaches to a common goal. Yet when the stars align, magic can happen. Just like marriage.

And with that thought in my head, I kissed my husband goodbye and headed out the door to work.

San Francisco Popfest 2014

It had been a long time since I was asked for ID, and in the space of 5 minutes, I was asked 3 times. We were going to an over 21 venue to see The So ties, Boyracer, Rocketship and The Mantles as part of the San Francisco Popfest, and they were clearly taking no chances. As I had paid for a 4 day pass, I had to show who I was, as my name was on the door. I also had to go to the merchandise table to collect my limited edition mixed tape, and my glow in the dark badge and show my ID once again!

The popfests were the reason we were here and Mr BG fully intended to make the most of this chance to hear lots of music, play some music and catch up with as many people as possible.

Everyone in Mr BG’s band was there, and we caught up with what everyone had been up to since we had seen them last in Melbourne. One had been to the baseball (San Francisco Giants versus the Minnesota Twins), and others had headed to Sacramento to play a show. (There is an intimacy of the indie scene in Melbourne and I am sure in other places. Within the current lineup of Bart and Friends the members are part of at least 4 other bands, and at least a 6 bands previously. )

Just a brief review of the evening.

The Softies- girl duo whose music truly epitomised twee pop. Very heartfelt and soothing melodies that could lull you to sleep.
Boyracer- a completely different set, quite energetic, with a few of the tunes vaguely reminiscent of Morrissey.

Rocketship- a band who was playing for the first time in ages, and for whom everyone had turned out to see. There were a few songs by Rocketship on the first mixed tape Mr BG had made me when we first started going out together, and their performance was excellent, with voices having stood up to the ravages of time.

The Mantles- a local San Francisco band who were headlining, but sadly did not play to the big audience, as a lot of people left. It was good to hear new music from a new band.

Saturday saw Bart and Friends rehearsing in the apartment of a very nice lady called Alicia, who had a cool rehearsal space in her garage.

The show that night was at the Hemlock Tavern with Bart and Friends headlining. We arrived early and saw the first band Marine Life, which were a group from San Francisco. They had a sharp 60s style going for them as well as a fresh poppy sound. They were also incredibly nice for loaning Bart and Friends their drum kit.

We ducked out for dinner at a diner, but came back to catch the remaining acts.

And then they were on! It was polished, the songs were well received by the audience, and the onstage banter was good.

One down, three to go.

We returned to the Hemlock Tavern to catch The Zebras play in the last show of the Popfest. It was a great show with some very excited fans in the audience.
We said our goodbyes to 3/5ths of the band who were heading to Portland for a Zebras/Monnone Alone show, as well as saying to the lovely friends of Bart and Friends. I would have to say that everyone was very friendly and super nice to meet and chat to.

Verdict- the arrangement of the lineups of the shows were a bit uneven, and the whole thing of various lists for different ticket holders was a bit problematic. The talent of new bands is clear to see, and for that the Popfest wad successful in showcasing that.

For Auld Lang Syne

While Mr BG does not like bagpipes, hates The Proclaimers and prefers Irish whiskey to Scotch, he proudly declares himself to be of Scottish heritage.

In 1851 Alexander Finlayson emigrated from the Isle of Skye off the West coast of Scotland and settled in Ascot, just outside of Ballarat, near Clunes. He married Isabella McKay another emigre from Skye and went on to have scores of descendants, one of whom was my Mr BG.

Needless to say we will be going to the For Auld Lang Syne: Images of Scottish Australia from First Fleet to Federation, which starts at the Art Gallery of Ballarat this Friday 11 April.

 John Isaac Richardson, Ben Cruachan, Highland cattle

John Isaac Richardson, Ben Cruachan, Highland cattle

This is an exhibition which brings together art and objects to tell the story of the Scots and their influence upon the cultural, social and politician life of Australia. Australia’s first Catholic saint, Mother Mary McKillop, is herself of Scottish parentage and learnt to speak Gaelic in her Fitzroy home as a child.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Alison Inglis, Associate Professor, Art History Program, University of Melbourne and Patricia Tryon Macdonald, curator, Exiles and Emigrants, Epic Journeys to Australia in the Victorian Era, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2005-2006).

The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue that will include essays by leading scholars on aspects of the Scottish presence in Australia.

There will also be a schedule of public and education programs. I am hoping for learning how to play the bagpipes, if only to tick off my husband…

For Auld Lang Syne: Images of Scottish Australia from First Fleet to Federation runs from Friday 11 April to Sunday 27 July 2014 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat. The Gallery is open from 10am-5pm daily.

The cost for this exhibition is Adults $15, Concession $10, Children free.


#amonthinthelife- Days 26-28

Another omnibus edition, as my internet woes at home continue. And it would be good if my ISP would return my call…

Mr BG doesn’t really go in for music videos for his own music, and this is a screen grab of someone’s video of one of his songs that has been uploaded to YouTube. It’s intriguing to realise that many people discover new music through a visual online medium, such as Youtube, rather than radio or TV, but you gotta be where people are! MrBG is yet to embrace social media- he is quite happy with Last.FM and email, and checks out people on Facebook through my account, but that’s the extent of his foray. He still spends an inordinate amount of time (and bandwidth) online, it’s just doing other things than firing off pithy tweets or posting his latest BuzzFeed quiz results. He does like pictures of cats…

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Mine craft madness #amonthinthelife #emily

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It was funny overhearing the kids playing at Minecraft. Master BG is the older patient brother, trying to instil a love and passion and correct playing procedure in his little sister, but all she wants to do is play. The funny thing is, they were playing quite well, enjoying a common game, without the usual bickering. Miss BG adores her older brother, and was quite happy to hang out with him.

A new skirt, bought on sale from an ethical fashion website. It was a lovely splash of colour against the foggy autumnal day today, which became one of those glorious sunny days that make me love autumn so much. It looks great with black, so it should fit into my wardrobe quite well, thank you very much…

#amonthinthelife-Day 5

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Lineup #nycpopfest2014 #amonthinthelife

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This morning Mr BG dashed to the computer, as if he were a child on Christmas morning. He wanted to see the lineup for the New York Popfest, which was released at 6am AEDST. He has been hanging out for weeks for the announcement, and has been counting down the days.

Regular readers may be aware that about 4 months ago, he was asked to play at this festival, and that a poll I ran on this site asking you all if I should accompany him and leave the kids at home with my sister in law voted overwhelmingly YES! The official announcement means the information is no longer embargoed.

For those with good eyesight, Mr BG is performing as Bart and Friends, but will also be performing with a former bandmate from 20+ years ago, Pam.

So it’s now official. Flights and accommodation have been booked and paid for, visas secured, and leave requested. Rehearsals are beginning in earnest

We’re going!!!!!

The Genealogist strikes back- or a day at Ascot

I have spoken before about Mr BG’s passion for genealogy. I had a friend remark- oh, once you start, you never stop! Oh no, I thought confidently, this is just a flash in the pan obsession that Mr BG would have- right up there with sea monkeys, marbles (when he was boyfriend BG), and obsessive collecting of Jamaican ska, bubblegum pop, and lounge musical genres.

Sadly, it’s not a flash in the pan for him, it’s more like malaria- it lies dormant, then strikes when you least expect it.

Mr BG called me at work, an occurrence unusual enough for me to ask “What’s wrong?”.

“Oh nothing, just wanted to let you know I’m related to someone who was at Port Arthur,” he said breezily. This great-great grandfather, on his maternal grandmother’s side was yet another convict to add to his collection (I think we are up to about 8…).

We received an invitation to a family gathering/reunion, about a 20 minute drive from Ballarat in the Ascot locality. It was to commemorate the laying of a memorial stone at the Coghills Creek cemetery where 5 members of the McKay family were buried. This family emigrated to the area in 1859, whereupon a daughter married Mr BG’s great grandfather, begat a huge family, which then spread from south west Victoria to western New South Wales.

Fittingly, the reunion and cemetery were held on St Andrew’s Day, the patron saint of Scotland’s feast day, as the McKays hailed from Skye (as did Mr BG’s great grandfather). There was also a piper at the cemetery when they unveiled the memorial stone.

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McKay reunion #ballarat#ascot #standrewsday

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Mr BG met a second cousin, who had done extensive research and they compared notes, and travel stories of being in Skye. I made the mistake and left Mr BG to take the kids to another engagement while he stayed on, and further fanned the genealogy obsession smouldering away.

Special mention must of course be made to the ladies of Ascot who were engaged to provide catering. The date scones, sandwiches, handmade pasties and slices were amazing!

The tribe has spoken…

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The tribe has spoken. ..#tripnyc

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Thanks to everyone who has commented, on Twitter, on the blog and voted on my poll. A special mention to my niece who threatened not to speak to me until Christmas 2023 if I didn’t go :).

My leave from work will be without pay, and has been discussed with my boss. As there are a number of variables (band members, possible tour date in San Francisco) we can’t start booking, but visas need to be done and places to visit need to be planned. Any tips and suggestions will always be welcome!

Should I stay or should I go?

A few weeks ago, Mr BG was rehearsing for a show as part of Melbourne Music Week. His band members were mulling about playing overseas together. “Not just any festival, New York would be good,” declared one band member.

As fate would have it, a couple of days later, the organisers of the NYC Popfest contacted Mr BG inviting him to play! Everyone was incredibly excited, and Mr BG started sourcing accommodation and mulling over playing in San Francisco.

This was not going to be a family trip, and I was quite happy to stay at home while Mr BG went on tour- honestly.

Then my sister-in-law Kerry offered to come up to Ballarat to look after the kids while I went with Mr BG…My initial thoughts were “I have no leave! What if something happens? This is the furthest I will have been away from them!”

But I have never been to New York, and it would be a great chance to catch up with a friend who lives there, and visit the New York Public Library, and Central Park, and the Empire State Building and go shopping…

So I am asking the universe…should I stay or should I go?


There are times when life goes smoothly and like clockwork. Just like a clock, there are cogs and springs, all of which should work in tandem.  A lot of time and organisation goes into a clockwork life- lunches and school clothes are done the night before, work clothes are left in the bathroom, all school notes are signed and packed. Food is left in the fridge for dinner, and after dinner, dishes are done, and the kitchen is left ready for the next day. Children are constantly reminded to keep their rooms tidy and to pick up after themselves, and I am reminded by Mr BG to do the same :).

There are times though when the clock loses a spring or life simply throws you a spanner. In order to keep life ticking on you have to make a few adjustments.

An illness of a close family member has meant Mr BG has had to leave for Melbourne for a couple of days. That means priorities are shuffled around, lists are made of things to do and people to contact, and arrangements are made to look after little BGs and the cat.

It’s at times such as this that you realise that much of that intricate machinery that is your life is meaningless if you don’t have the big things that matter- family, health and love.

7 Things I have been doing other than blogging

I have written most of this post at a cafe while waiting for Miss BG to have her school assessment. It’s been a while since I have posted anything substantial, so I give you 7 reasons for my absence on this blog.

1. Working. My hours have increased with Miss BG starting school, and there has been a lot going on at work. I have moved desks, in fact to another floor and workspace, and it’s taken a while to get used to the new layout. My deskshifts though, allow me to ponder and check out the gold ceiling…

Looking up #2013pad #happy365

There’s also the travelling involved, which adds up to long days.

2. Crocheting. Mr BG’s scarf  is done and I am tackling another item on my unfinished business list.

3. Riding my bike. My Sunday mornings, which would have been taken up with writing and on the computer have been taken up with riding. My first ride went well, with a mature aged gentleman cyclist offering unsolicited advice on my gears, but I’m getting the hang of it :-). Honestly, who’d have thought riding a bike was so tricky?

Changing a tyre #2013pad #happy365
4. Hanging out with the little BGs. What time I have after school with them has mainly involved nagging for school clothes to get changed, rooms to be tidied and lunchboxes to be removed from bags. There have been visits to the swimming pool, driving kids to soccer and playdates and generally playing mum.

Going down the frog slide #happy365
5. Watching DVDs,  Dr. Blake, and Downton Abbey . I’m more of a DVD watcher, so I can do a marathon binge of a series, or watch a movie when I want, and not have to worry about ad breaks.  The highlights of this have been The Dark Knight Rises and American Horror Story (which creeped me out, but in a good way).

It has been odd tuning in to watch telly for a show at a certain time- as a result I sometimes miss the first ten minutes :). While it’s been great seeing these first run shows,  and not have to wait for the DVD, I am kinda over turning on the TV to find the broadcast has been delayed, and the never-ending ad breaks… It has also been a chance to spend some time with Mr BG, rather than sitting in front of the PC at night time.
6. Squeezing in gym time A couple of classes on Thursday, and one on Saturday is what I am managing at the moment. Any more and I’d go crazy!
7. Cleaning- bathrooms, tidying cupboards, and even dusting. Can’t say it’s been fun, more like character building 🙂

It’s hectic, but I am finding that less screen time has made me somewhat calmer, which is good for my year of Being Mindful 🙂