Sunday, December 13, 2009

I need some mistletoe in my hallway

Season's Greetings to you!

Lucy has put up a great tree. The lights on the tree are sparkling and colourful. I have Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra -- all the classics -- playing on the stereo. I've wrapped so many presents this weekend and they're all under the tree! Most of them are for my students.

It's always such a busy time of year. I always seem to be moving house. In the past seven years, there was only ONE year that I didn't move at Christmas-time; that was the year that I spent with Liz in a house for two years, instead of one year, which seems to be my norm. I thought it was normal for uni students to move every year but I've since discovered that no, people think it's a bit weird for you to pack up and move every year. Do you know, though, I would've thought that the amount of junk and crap that I own would be kept to a MINIMUM with all this moving! But no!

Today, I was facing with the "Do I keep this, or do I throw this out?" question for the following items (as an example of my Sunday):

  • Romeo's Heart, an album by John Farnham on cassette tape (which, for the record - GREAT PUN - I absolutely loved and adored; it was the first "album" I owned)
  • Years of cassette tapes of my singing lessons
  • Cassette tapes of albums I now own on CD (so, okay, I went through my cassette tapes today)
  • CDs of software for computery things that I don't even own anymore (eg. installation CD for my first Canoscan scanner, which I got rid of years ago)
  • Old birthday cards
  • Writing compendiums upon writing compendiums upon shiny used but unmarked and therefore usable envelopes upon notepads upon mini notepads... you get my drift...
  • Hundreds of postcards (all blank, waiting to be sent out)
  • Newspaper articles/notices about things that happened to my friends years ago (eg. a wedding announcement about a partnership that has since resulted in divorce; a birth announcement for a partnership that has dissolved completely - I don't think they even speak to each other anymore...)
  • An entire bookshelf of books (I've already done one bookshelf; did this one today; two more to go)

And so on.

Just in case you were wondering, I couldn't find it within myself to throw out Romeo's Heart. I was looking over the tracklist and remembered all these gorgeous songs that I used to know as a child and just... couldn't... bear the thought of the loss. It would be deliciously easy to plug my laptop into my tape deck and record the songs to mp3 but I think I like the vintage cassette tape thing. Until it wears out.

Anyway, so I'm packing up my life to move it to Sydney. Whether or not I will be joining the thousand or so bright-eyed students at the Conservatorium there remains to be seen (apparently, one has to wait until January for a letter in the mail to advise one on whether or not they've been accepted to study interstate commencing the following month). Even if I haven't made it past the hallowed doors of the castle, at least I'll be in the zone. I can try again in 2010. I can try every year until I wear them down and they let me in simply to get rid of me at the end of the three years!

Sydney is such a unique place. I had a lovely time with my Momma there last week. I had the audition, then got a migraine as per usual (I always get one when I'm travelling interstate... so lame) and then we went shopping and saw some sights and went to see Paranormal Activity in a massive cinema on George St in Central Sydney. Mum felt sick with all the handheld camera action so she had to leave the theatre not even halfway through! I stuck it out. I was frightened stiff! I can't believe they got out of bed and explored the house to try and find this menacing thing each time it appeared! Holy crap. I would cowering under the sheets in my bed! (Though apparently that would not have helped.) Maybe I would've packed up and slept in a church. Or at least in a sacred circle of salt. SOMETHING. The only really wacky thing about that movie is the lack of proactive research and help that they got to get rid of the demonic presence. *shakes head*

So yeah, just wanted to update and say that things are happening. I'm spring-cleaning my life. I'm de-cluttering. I'm getting ready to start my life anew in a fantastic new city and I am determined that it will be amazing. Look out, Sydney; I'm nearly there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Raise the terror alert to RAINBOW; there are Gays and Lesbians everywhere!

I'm really quite impressed what Tasmania has done for Gays and Lesbians in our society this year. It's forward thinking at its best. I'm proud to be a Tasmanian.


Media Release
Tuesday November 17th 2009
Tasmanian gay activists have welcomed today's announcement by the Tasmanian Government that couples entering State Deeds of Relationship can now have officially-recognised ceremonies involving celebrants and witnesses.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said the new ceremonies will allow same-sex couples to declare their love and commitment in front of friends and family members in a way which is dignified, solemn and has official recognition.
"Until now, registering a Deed of Relationship has been a dry, administrative process, but the Government's initiative allows it to be linked to, and marked by, an officially-recognised declaration of love and commitment overseen by a celebrant and witnessed by loved ones", Mr Croome said.
"This will allow same-sex couples to have that special day on which their friends and family members gather to officially and publicly celebrate a couple's union."
"Our hope is that this will increase the numbers of couples who take advantage of the greater legal security and social recognition that comes with registering a Deed of Relationship."
"The Tasmanian Relationships Act is a world-class body of law, and now that body has a heart."
From today, changes to official regulations mean parters entering Tasmanian Deeds of Relationship are able to nominate the date they conduct their relationship ceremony as the date their Deed of Relationship is to be registered with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. As part of the ceremony an official certificate of relationship is signed by the partners, their celebrant and witnesses to mark the commencement of the Deed of Relationship.
Under the Relationships Act, passed in 2003, couples in Deeds of Relationship have the same rights in state law as married couples. Following the passage of last year's national same-sex entitlements law, state registered partners are also recognised in federal law.
Mr Croome said the new Deed of Relationship ceremonies should not be confused with marriage.
"The recognition of personal relationships in state law was never intended as a substitute for equality in marriage, something which same-sex couples still do not have."
Last week the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly amended the Territory's Civil Partnership Act to allow for same-sex partnership ceremonies.
A legislative amendment was not required in Tasmania because the Relationships Act has allowed for the possibility of official ceremonies from its inception.
Mr Croome said the new Tasmanian ceremonies puts pressure on the Rudd Government to allow the ACT to also have official ceremonies.
"With officially-recognised ceremonies allowed in Tasmania, the Federal Government has no grounds upon which to ban them in the A.C.T.", Mr Croome said.

Ceremonies will not begin to occur until December, due to the 28 day period it takes to process applications for Deeds of Relationship.


As at September 30th this year 145 couples had entered a Deed of Relationship with 9 revocations. Of the remaining 136 recognised couples 52 are male couples, 51 female couples, 31 opposite-sex couples and 2 caring couples.
These figures are exactly proportional to the number of partners who have entered civil unions in New Zealand since 2004.
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668. For comment from a registered marriage celebrant who conducts same-sex commitment ceremonies, contact Peter Power on 0417 017 105.


Media Statement
Tuesday November 17th 2009


A Tasmanian Government law giving legal parental status to the same- 
sex partner of a woman who has a child through fertility treatment  
has passed its final hurdle and will now become law.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome,  
said the move will bring legal peace-of-mind to many Tasmanian  

Womens' Legal Service Managing Solicitor, Susan Fahey, said her  
service will now begin the process of educating same-sex couples,  
their families and the broader community about the impact of reform.

This afternoon the Tasmanian Lower House accepted Upper House  
amendments making the legal recognition of co-mothers  
retrospectively effective from the passage of the Relationships Act  
in 2003 when same-sex relationships were recognised in other  
Tasmanian laws.

The retrospectivity amendment was proposed by Windermere  
(Launceston) Upper House member, Ivan Dean, to compensate for the  
failure of the Upper House to support co-mother recognition when it  
was first proposed by the State Government as part of the  
Relationships Act six years ago.

Tasmanian Attorney-General, Lara Giddings, who this morning  
announced the commencement of officially-recognised relationship  
ceremonies in Tasmania, said the Government was "pleased and  
surprised" that the traditionally-conservative Upper House had made  
good its previous failure to recognise co-mothers by not only  
supporting the new law but making it retrospective.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668 or Susan  
Fahey on 0418 434 226.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Hi everybody, 

I have decided to support Movember this year by signing up as an official Mo Sista.   

During Movember (once known as November), men put down their razors for 30 days and grow a moustache with the aim of raising funds and awareness for men’s health – specifically prostate cancer and depression in men. The role of a Mo Sista is to support the Mo Bros in their life – brothers, boyfriends, Dads, uncles, cousins, husbands – and help them to raise funds. 

What many people don’t appreciate is that close to 3,000 men die of prostate cancer each year in Australia and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime - many of whom don’t seek help. Facts like these have convinced me I should get involved this year and I am hoping you will support me as I try and raise funds. 

To support me and the Mos in my life, you can either: 

•    Click this link and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account 
•    Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation’, referencing my Registration Number 123243 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 292, Prahran, VIC, 3181.

Remember, all donations over $2 are tax deductible. 

Movember is now in its sixth year and, to date, has achieved some pretty amazing results by working alongside men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCFA) and beyondblue: the national depression initiative. Check out further details at:

To find out more information on Movember, check out

Thank you in advance for supporting my on my Movember journey as a Mo Sista. 

Pamela Andrews

Monday, September 28, 2009


Please take ten minutes out of your day to go to the NAPCAN: PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE website and complete a survey about raising awareness of child abuse in Australia. This is a really important issue that we can all help raise awareness about. They're hoping to get 50,000 survey participants (especially men) but so far, they haven't quite reached 13,000. Help them out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Far, far away, in an enchanted castle, music is calling for me...

So, after a fantastic and fun week in Melbourne and Sydney with the Broadway to Australia: An Evening with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty show, I got to visit the Sydney Conservatorium of Music for the first time, meet a couple of the vocal staff members and figure out my plans for next year. After seeing that the Sydney Con is actually a castle, my heart became set on studying there. And it is next to (practically in) the Royal Botanical Gardens. HELLOOOOO! Sounds like a no-brainer. Had a chat to the lovely ladies who would be in charge of me, and found out that everybody thinks I should do the undergraduate advanced diploma of opera. Then I found out that my current singing teacher thought that I should do that course all along. Have since worked out that I'm an eejit who somehow missed the part about the opera diploma being a three-year undergraduate degree. I hadn't really envisioned myself doing ANOTHER undergraduate music degree, but I've gotten used to the idea remarkably quickly. I wouldn't have to do all the theory and history again (probably would be good for me to do it all again but thankfully it's not in the course outline; I don't know how much more of history I could take anyway -- it stabs me in the throat -- MUCH prefer music theory -- and that is weird, I thought I'd LOVE history -- but turns out I think it's boring!), as the entire degree is dance classes, acting classes, singing lessons, vocal coachings, and four opera productions per year. Again - a no-brainer! I've done all the yard-work and gotten myself up to scratch, musically. I'm at a point where I'm intelligent enough (I think) to be molded into a good performer (I hope). And this course, being FULL of stage work and pesky things like dancing and acting that I don't have much experience in, will surely do the trick!

The only problem is money. Money, money, money. Why is it ALWAYS about the money? Sydney is widely renowned across Australia as being the most expensive city to live in, and that's because it is. Absolutely. Rents in Sydney are sky-high and everything costs more. I was astonished at the parking fees my lovely friend B was paying while she was driving me around everywhere! Flat rates of $20 and up! $20! In Hobart, your first hour in a car-park is FREE, then it's 60c for the second hour, $1.50 for the next... SCANDALOUS. Anyway, so the money angle is going to be my big hurdle. I'm going to have to tighten my belt and get rid of all of my possessions on eBay (something which I'm looking forward to).

I can just imagine the conversation that I'm going to have with my Mother (a.k.a. The Voice of my Conscience). Disclaimer: I have not HAD this conversation with my Mother. My Mother is actually a very nice and very reasonable lady.

ME: "Sooooo, I'd like to move to Sydney next year, Mam!"
MUM: "What for?"
ME: "Undergraduate Advanced Diploma of Opera."
MUM: "Undergraduate? Don't you already have a degree? What have you been doing for the past seven years in Hobart?"
ME: "Yes, I did a Diploma of Music, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music with Honours. Now I would like to do an Advanced Diploma of Opera."
MUM: "Why? Isn't the Bachelor of Music good enough to get into Opera?"
ME: "Frankly... no."
MUM: "Why did you do it, then?"
ME: "Because I wasn't very good and needed all the musical experience and knowledge. Now I am ready to move on to something bigger and better. And that just happens to be the opera degree in Sydney."
MUM: "Is that covered by HECS?"
ME: "Don't know. Have already used lots of HECS."
MUM: "Why Sydney? Can't you do it in Launceston?"
ME: "... No. It has to be Sydney."
MUM: "How are you going to afford to live in Sydney? You don't have any savings."
ME: "I know. Shit, ay. Ummm... prostitute myself on the streets?"
MUM: "Har har har."
ME: "Get a part-time job and wing it?"
MUM: "What about Centrelink?"
ME: "They hate me."
MUM: "Whose fault is that?"
ME: "Mine."
MUM: "How will you afford rent?"
ME: "Don't know."
MUM: "How will you afford to run your car?"
ME: "Don't know."
MUM: "How will you afford to eat?"
ME: "Don't know."
MUM: "And you really want to go?"
ME: "Yes."

I will have to figure something out. Because this course is what I want to do!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mid-week news

I spent yesterday evening catching up on emails and taking quizzes on the BBC Science website. FANTASTIC. I've learned that I have a 25% female brain, I'm attracted to masculine faces, I actully have quite a good memory for patterns and numbers, and this just in -

Your score is: 19

You're in the top group - score 17 - 25
You've got top-dollar millionaire potential. You're careful with your money and have a healthy attitude to it. You're hard-working and determined to be successful.

Yes, that's right. I am going to be a millionaire because I am so wonderful with money. *snort* My mother is going to read this and be in helpless tears and fits of laughter. Funny. Having said that, though, I've taken a lot of interest in The Barefoot Investor lately, so who knows? Maybe I will eventually become money-savvy! A lot of the problems I've faced in the past is that I haven't actually HAD any money to save/invest... That's problematic... Uni student budgets... Boring to me...

Tomorrow, I set off with the BROADWAY TO AUSTRALIA show. I only wish that it were a full-scale production playing all around Australia for six months! We're playing in Melbourne tomorrow night, Sydney on Monday night and Hobart on Wednesday night. GET YOUR TIX!!! It's going to be so fabulous. Seriously. Three nights of singing numbers with Ahrens/Flaherty and their fabulous soloists? Whatever! Get out. So fantastic. So excited.

I'm also taking the opportunity to meet 'n' greet with the vocal staff at the Sydney Conservatorium while I'm there --- very, very interested in their Graduate Diploma in Music (Opera)...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sara Jane

My gorgeous friend Sara Jane, fresh from winning an AMPLIFIED award (Tasmania) this year, is now ripping up the Blues & Roots charts on TRIPLE J UNEARTHED. Please, if you've got a minute, take the time to listen to and rate her tracks. I think she's got a lot of talent, and she's such a sincere, dedicated person that I would love to see her get all the support that I'm able to drum up for her. Clicky clicky! Sara Jane - Triple J Unearthed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A memento


Iiiiiii am rather excited.

I was in Launceston the other day, and went up to Holyman House to visit the Photobat office while they celebrated Cupcake Day (all proceeds to the RSPCA) and showcased their stuff.

I've been musing for ages over the idea of signing up with Photobat to do a portrait session. I don't have anything in mind... at all... but I've been a long-time fan of Alan Moyle's work. Check out his website. Seriously. Love his style. (And check out the blog.)

I want to capture who I am now. Somebody on the verge of enormous change! Somebody a little bit nervous and plenty of bits excited and mostly just looking forward to an exciting unknown future!

I'm busy making plans... Lots of plans... I can't reveal anything yet, because nothing has happened (drat) but the plans are underway.

I'm going to be so sad to leave this lovely city and especially sad to leave the gems of people I have come across here ... but it's onward and upward for me, and it starts today.

I'll keep you updated on the Photobat thing! Totally pumped for it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 11

Midnights in Winter
The glowing fire
Lights up your face in orange and gold.
I see your sweet smile
Shine through the darkness
It's line is etched in my memory.

So I'd know you by heart.

Mornings in April
Sharing our secrets
We'd walk until the morning was gone.
We were like children
Laughing for hours
The joy you gave me lives on and on.

‘Cause I know you by heart.

I still hear your voice
On warm Summer nights
Whispering like the wind.

You left in Autumn
The leaves were turning
I walked down roads of orange and gold.
I saw your sweet smile
I heard your laughter
You're still here beside me every day.

‘Cause I know you by heart,

‘Cause I know you by heart.

Eva Cassidy :: I Know You By Heart

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An eventful week

Last week, I flew to Melbourne to compete in the first round of the Australian Singing Competition (also known as the Marianne Mathy award, as the first prize of $30,000.00 toward overseas study is sponsored by the estate of the late Marianne Mathy). Naturally, I got sick. Healthy as a really healthy horse for months upon months, and then as soon as I start preparing for my first national singing competition, I get a horrendous headcold. HONESTLY. WHO DOES MY BODY THINK IT IS?!

In my defence, I did actually catch the cold from a bunch of ill singers at the Festival of Voices gospel workshops that I did the previous weekend. Now THEY were cool. We got to work with Myron Butler and his lovely wife Timberlyn. What a great experience. Worth the illness!

Anyway, so I went to Melbs to compete in the competition. I thought, considering how snuffly and drippy and coughy I was, that I sang quite well! I didn't forget any of the words, which I had of course panicked about due to leaving the memorisation 'til the last minute, and thought I projected nicely and sang OK. I mean, I didn't sing spectacularly but... anyway. I just got a letter today telling me that I didn't get through. And that's OK. I can try again next year, but that'll be the last time as I wil be twenty-six next July.

I started with "Chanson triste" by Henri Duparc, and was then asked (from my list of submitted repertoire) for "Tornami a vagheggiar", an aria from the opera Alcina by Handel.

Anyway, on to the more important aspects of the week!

On Saturday night, Elysia (housemate), Helen (sister) and I went to see the production of AVENUE Q currently showing in Melbourne. Can I just say first -- I am a huge fan of Avenue Q. My brother gave me the CD (well, "lent" - but I have "permanently borrowed" it) a couple of years ago, and I just fell in love with it. I have since seen a bit of a bootleg of a production of it on *cough* YouTube *cough* (can't remember if it was West End or Broadway - have seen bits and pieces from both on the special tube), so I already knew the show... but that didn't detract from it at all! What a fantastic show it is. It's so funny. So accessible to adults of all ages. I was surrounded by people of every generation (including the guy who plays 'Harold' on Neighbours, who was sitting in our row, but hey, I'm just saying - celebrities flock to me). There were a few Americanisms in the show that the Australian cast had altered for easy comprehension by Australian audiences, ie., "Mexican bus-boys" became "Mexican waiters", and "... change my major, or f*** my TA" became, "... change my major, or f*** all day". You know. And there is a line very late in the show about how, "George Bush! ... is only for now", that became, "Swine flu! ... is only for now", which I cacked myself at. Clever. Great show. Fully recommend it. Unfortunately, the show ends in early August in Melbourne so get a wriggle on and book your tickets ASAP!

On Sunday night, Helen and I went to see French and Saunders live. THANK GOD WE TOOK A TAXI. Man. I could never have navigated my way to the Palais Theatre in St Kilda. Roads were blocked and it was all complicated! Anyway, the Palais Theatre is gorgeous! Holy shit! What a fantastic theatre. I saw a poster advertising Ben Folds the night before I'm due to fly to Melbourne for the ASCAP "Broadway to Australia" gigs that I'm doing with the Southern Gospel Choir ... Can you imagine? Ben Folds in this gorgeous theatre! In Melbourne! Oh! I bet it's already sold out, too. Meh. I seriously love my Ben Folds collection ... but moving on from that - how fantastic are French and Saunders? God, do I even need to go into any detail? I'd already watched the DVD of the show (and yet I forked out over $200 for my ticket) but had a wonderful time regardless. The fact that I was seeing French and Saunders in the flesh was so exciting to me! Two people that I've watched on TV for years and years and years were suddenly there, fifteen metres away from me on stage. THAT was cool. I love those moments! (I want to have a Ben Folds moment like that. Must google the availability of tickets!) So star-struck. They were larger than life, infectious, funny, generous with their audience and seemed to be having a genuinely good time (even though they must've done that show, word-for-word, for a year now!). I got a t-shirt. I wore it with pride on the way home from Melbourne. LOL.

We didn't have much money so we didn't really do a lot else, just kicked around in our hotel on Little Bourke St and stepped out to soak up the Melburnian atmosphere around the streets. Tried to go to the Salvador Dali exhibition, but it was packed, and then I tried to go to the Star Wars exhibition at Scienceworks in Spotswood, but the "helpful volunteer" standing on a shop corner designed to help tourists didn't really know how to get there and suggested that I take a free bus ride instead. "Oh," I said, "Will it drop me off near Scienceworks?" He shook his head. "No, but it's free..."

... Riiiiiight.

On a health-related note, in addition to my head-cold (sore throat, sneezing, coughing, rivers of snot), I managed to get period pain, headaches, develop two enormous blisters on both heels that STILL haven't gone down (six days later), and slice my finger open with my razor as I was packing up all my bathroom products. Full marks to me in the "needy" stakes!

Had a great time. Recommend Melbourne.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

I love my birthday. Despite the fact that I have been sick on a number of different birthday occasions, I still frigging love mine. Even though I had to work for nine hours at a service station on my birthday this year (yesterday), I still loved it. We went to Mezethes Greek Restaurant for dinner last night (that was AMAZING, as usual) and then had dessert and champagne at my house. Yay! So good. Had some really good cooking triumphs this time. Made a really yummy lemon slice (I was going to link to the recipe, but the tab seems to have disappeared from my Firefox... can't seem to stop people 'borrowing' my laptop to watch things on YouTube!), caramel slice, Mars Bar slice, chocolate crackles, truffles... Jess was my big, big helper on Saturday night. We made these things whilst dancing and singing madly to all the best musicals (I'm talking Little Women and Avenue Q, man) and it was great. Good times ahoy.

Can't believe I'm 25. WHAT HAVE I ACHIEVED?!?!?!

In the past, people have said to me that I am a really difficult person to buy presents for. I disagree! I am going to list for you what people bought me this year, as it suits me DOWN TO THE GROUND.

Many cards (I love cards)
The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde*
T2 French Earl Grey tea leaves
T2 Madagascan Vanilla tea leaves
A very dainty and sweet tea-cup
Bill Bailey The Classic Collection DVD
Grug Has A Birthday, by Ted Prior**
A big black umbrella with music notes and a piano keyboard***
An ethos bibita silver wine-rack
A Bonnae silver charms keyring!
Harry Potter Poster Sticker Annual 2009 book
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince mini sticker book
This Little Piggy Went To Prada, by Amy Allen****
A stack of three notepads reading: Some things are better rich; coffee, chocolate and men.
Notepads came with a cute pen and a leopard-print ribbon!
Reese's Peanut-Butter Cups
Reese's Mini Peanut-Butter Cups
A little notepad edged in music
A ruby and cubic zirconia necklace from Prouds, to match my graduation earrings
A Lush "Happy" box, full of delicious-smelling things from Lush
Pretty fresh flowers
Noodle-box of chocolates from Norman and Dann
The Sims 3 for PC*****
Bottle o'wine
Party poppers
Glow sticks

* I am so glad that Jen got me a new copy of this book. She didn't know if I already have it, and I do; I bought it second-hand, and haven't been able to read past the first chapter because the book smells like old, musty cigarettes, and I can't abide it!

** That was such a cute idea for a present. I loved Grug!


**** Dude. So cool. Natalie and B will be so proud. Thanks, Lucy!

***** From my siblings. So much love for them right now.

Kate has lent book three in The Mediator series by Meg Cabot also, which is the only one I haven't read yet. So I'm delighted!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

One Chance

I have just bought a new CD. (New as in it's new to me, cos it sure as hell ain't new to the CD market.)

Paul Potts - One Chance.

I'm about to listen to it. Let you know how it goes. I'm proud of Paul Potts for fighting for what he wants out of life! You go, girlfriend! And yes, I'm incredibly jealous that he gets to record CDs of songs that he loves AND make a packet doing it. I have this deep-seated jealousy of everybody who gets to do that. Il Divo, Josh Groban, Charlotte Church (though not anymore - oh dear - that pop album - er - where to look - awkward), Amici, Hayley Westenra, etc etc etc. Bastards, all of them. I WISH I could do what they're doing. I would TOTALLY sell out and record popera if it meant that I could have a blast doing it and pay the rent. Le sigh.

Anyway, back to the new CD business. I also just ordered yet ANOTHER limited edition thinger of Josh Groban's that he's releasing. Gordon Bennett, kid, slow down and let me catch up! He's going to send me broke. Lucy and Mikey reasoned that I didn't actually HAVE to keep buying the stuff, but hellooooooo... it's a collection now... therefore, it must be completed!

Also, I just got ahold of Chess In Concert (Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, other people I can't remember). WONDERFUL! I had never listened to Chess before. What a great show. How hot does Idina sound in it? It's so far removed from Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West that I'm gobsmacked and impressed. What a genius. Love it. Can't wait for the DVD to arrive. Also, massive kudos to the Customer Service Team at Warner Bros, who let me re-download the pre-release digital tracks after my laptop was cruelly wiped by ASUSTek (but in a very timely fashion, I must say). Wouldn't have been so cruel if I'd learned to back up my files properly in the first place. Moron.

OK! Listening to Paul now!


OK, I love this Paul Potts album. What a champion. GO TEAM PAUL! He is obviously having a ball doing what he loves.

In other news, this has caused me to create a separate pile of CDs which I am naming "Lolly Music" (which is very complimentary, even though it doesn't sound like it, but I like lollies, and I like these CDs, so it's OK), and I have discovered that my PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED copy of Il Divo's first album is MISSING. All of my Da Vinci's Notebook CDs are missing TOO.

*low growl*

'Fess up.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Opus 101

I really want to write my rant about the Twilight obsession that the majority of the populace seems to be going through, but it makes me too cross to write about and I can't be cross tonight because I'm page-turning for one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world and if I screw up the page-turns while he's playing that godforsaken cello sonata on the piano, I'm dead.

So I'm going to tell you about something I'm loving at the moment instead.

I'm currently listening to Susan Graham, an exquisite mezzo-soprano, singing a CD just bursting at the seams with songs composed by Ned Rorem. I can't recommend this CD enough.

I am an avid fan of Ned Rorem. He has such a good eye for poetry, and selects such inspiring works to set. I am forever falling in love with poem after poem after singing it in one of Rorem's settings. Secondly, he appears to have an acute understanding of the voice and how to articulate said beautiful poetry. I mostly hate musicology, so I won't try to sound all wanky, but his methods of vocal setting are just exquisite. Exquisite! I love all of his songs, and am eager to try more and more and more!

And what can I say about Susan Graham? My God. She is more my idol than any other singer on this planet. I mean, I love Jessye Norman with my heart and soul, and nothing will ever convince me not to love and idolise her, but Susan Graham's voice is the one voice on earth that I most identify with. I love her tone, her warmth, the richness of her sound. She is so real, so gorgeously honest. She is not the same kind of soprano as me; I honestly do believe that I will turn out to be a lyric soprano of sorts, whilst Susan is defined properly as some sort of mezzo-soprano. I'm not really sure, I'm not too savvy with all the different terms for sopranos. I don't really care, either. Having been the subject of so many arguments about "Is she a mezzo-soprano?" "Is she a soprano?" for years, I couldn't care less about defining one by their voice type. I mean, shit. Get over it. Yes, yes, it's important to be aware of one's voice type, and gently educate it and grow and learn, yada yada yada, sing the right roles for opera without damaging one's voice, et cetera, but honestly - when it all comes down to it - just sing.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Susan Graham is a creature of loveliness. She is so rewarding to listen to. Wonderful enunciation, gorgeously warm tone, fabulous spin and momentum, and such an air of intelligence that you can't help but be drawn in. What a star. I love her. Lots of love.

So my point is that you should get ahold of Susan Graham's "Songs of Ned Rorem". Malcolm Martineau plays the piano for her, and he is, of course, beyond comparison... I had the opportunity to meet him last year, and I found him to be an entirely very intelligent, intuitive pianist with more brains and passion that all the singers in the world put together.

I do have another CD of Ned Rorem's works on which Ned Rorem actually plays, but I just cannot abide the singer. Carole Farley, I believe her name is. I do not mean to disrespect her, but her methods of performing art song are just so far removed from my own that I find her very difficult to listen to...

I should be off now! 'Twas a pleasure listening to Susan Graham and sharing her with you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My beautiful, WONDERFUL friend Marcella Mathot-Dewis took GORGEOUS photos of me yesterday, as I need a portrait shot for a singing competition application I'm working on.

(I know. When you reach a more important level than 'local eisteddfod' in singing, you have to APPLY to compete. Wtf.)

Anyway, I was so excited that I wanted to share one!

Thank you, Marcella!


Friday, May 1, 2009

La Traviata

Tonight, I have the immense privilege of participating in the new Tasmanian Opera Chorus as we accompany The Melbourne Opera Company in their production of Verdi's La Traviata at the Theatre Royal. I missed most of the rehearsals due to other commitments, and have kind of come in at the last minute, but I have to tell you - this experience is great. The camaraderie, the fabulous music, the fun staging, the FANTASTIC costumes - bliss! All of this validates my firm belief that this really is what I want to do. I wouldn't mind if I was a chorus-girl for the rest of my life. What fun there is in forming part of the chorus in an opera. We get to do Tosca at the end of the year... isn't that wonderful? I'm turning into a raving opera loony!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shadows and Light Tour

There were so many words and feelings swirling around me during the Lior concert that I went to see tonight. I had to blog about it, just to remember it. Sorry. You don't have to read it or anything! It's rather long and a bit ramble-y but it feels oh-so-important to get it out.

Once in awhile, it really hits home to me about what I do and why I do it. It is inevitable in life that, every once in awhile, something or someone will inspire you more than other things and other people have recently. Being inspired to continue is the greatest feeling; it validates your belief in yourself. Sometimes, there'll be somebody who comes along and just blows your mind, every time; somebody who tends to validate your reason for breathing.

Check out the picture up top. (I'm sure he won't mind, should he ever be extremely bored and searching amongst the internet attic for mentions of his own name, with additional search terms of "oh god" and "possibly the best person in the world"). That's Lior. Who's Lior? You probably already know. In fact, you've probably already had your own version of discovering Lior for yourself! You've probably been to one or more of his gigs in your town. You've probably stood in the crowd and swayed to 'Bedouin Song' or 'Diego and the Village Girl' and had your own epiphany. Well, that's cool. Let me rave on about mine.

The first time I saw Lior live was probably at least three years ago now, if not four. He was holed up in the Republic Bar, in North Hobart. Packed house. He managed to silence the place when he sang, and I was so impressed. How could anybody be so at ease on a pub stage and yet appear as though they would be equally at home singing from the top of a pyramid, or in a lush forest, or in a market, or a famous concert hall stage? He was remarkable to me. Until that date, I had never encountered a singer who was SO FABULOUS live. I knew his album ("Autumn Flow"), and was amazed that his live show was even BETTER. I had never encountered a singer who managed to make their live shows better than their recordings. Lior did that. He improvised confidently, and took us down pathways to his Eastern heritage (hell's bells - a topic I won't go into now, but, suffice to say that, ever since viewing "Aladdin" as a young girl, I always wanted to explore a thesis topic to do with Eastern ornamentation in vocal music - and then I met the hierarchy at the post-grad department at uni - blech). I was young in my musical and singing education back then (and still am, God forbid), but I knew that what I was seeing and hearing was special, and unique to Lior. He delivered his show with rare honesty that I've never found in another singer.

Moving forward about a year, I saw Lior again, in a different venue. A place called "The Venue" (which is actually about a two-minute walk from my current doorstep, but that's another stalkerish point altogether). Lior was more on display here, less of the pub noise; it was more like a concert instead of a gig, and it suited him. Fast-forward to a couple of months ago, and I was like, "Wut? Excuse me? Lior is doing a show at the Theatre Royal?" (One of the oldest, most haunted and most elaborate theatres in the history of Australia.) This, I had to see.

Lior, you never disappoint me (or your millions of other fans worldwide). This time, Lior brought along not only a string quartet (more on that in a minute), but an opening act (which, come to think of, he did both other times as well... duh) and a master craftsman whose speciality is shadow puppeteering. WOW. How innovative is that? One bloke and his guitar, with four string players, a girl with HER guitar, and a guy showcasing shadow puppetry. What a team. Magic! The string arrangements for Lior's songs were lovely. Nothing too adventurous and nothing out of the ordinary, but completely suitable and didn't detract from or steal the spotlight from Lior at all. Enhancing the mood nicely, I'll say. The shadow puppeteering in a really big moon-shaped blob on the back curtain during the songs was - shall I use the word again? - masterful. Entirely creative, this guy, Stephen somebody, was backstage using all manner of strange and unrelated objects to create shadows of stories on the screen; stories which had been carefully thought out and designed to reflect a kind of story and mood to accompany each song. Wow! Didn't know what to watch - the shadows, the string players or Lior! I don't know why I'm so surprised at the showmanship of this tour but I guess I really wasn't expecting it.

That quick minute on the string players - I knew the first violinist! I don't know her well or anything (she is amazing, whereas I am - hello? Have you BEEN paying attention?), but she got to play with Lior! So jealous right now...

Lior's witty repartee between songs has really relaxed. He wasn't ever uptight or anything, but all the experience that he's gained since his first national tour has really shaped him into an even more charismatic, funny person, who just seems so at home on the stage. He delivered so many funny stories and one-liners to the audience tonight. It was really great. He is an awesome story-teller. I am really impressed with his growth as a performer. Vocally, he was as impressive as ever, but I was most interested by the showmanship - the thing that really sells you to your audience, you know? Boring thing for me to notice, but that's what I noticed.

In his show tonight, Lior got kind of personal and mentioned a time where he was living in London, and feeling completely uninspired by his surroundings and his day-to-day activities. He talked about almost forgetting the reason that he was in music to begin with. And can't we all identify with that? It's taken me ten years, some performance experience, plenty of life experience and a few hypnotherapy sessions with a very qualified psychologist for me to nut out that I am not the only person who feels like this. I am NOT the only musician who ever feels like this. Lior talked about needing to rediscover what it was that he so loved about music, and being inspired by a cleaner at his apartment whose dreams were so close to the surface of her that she was blinking back tears after talking about them for only a minute. Isn't that kind of wonderful? I mean, she probably feels shit most of the time that she's not living her dream (hence the tears), but isn't it also kind of amazing and beautiful and wondrous that her dreams are, as Lior put it, so close to the surface? I had to agree. I think it is the most tragic thing in the world for somebody to forget their dreams.

My dad sent me an email forward the other day (as he often does), that was directed at older people. It said something about how, as you grow older, you learn what it feels like to regret having never pursued some of your dreams. This forwarded email (always so bittersweet with a touch of irony - if only the writers of these crappy forwards put their names on the emails so that they, too, could be famous for fifteen minutes) gave the impression that it is completely normal for people not to have pursued some of their dreams in life.


Whose dumb idea was that?!

Shit. This life, you know? It ends. One of these days, maybe sooner than I want, my life is going to end. It is. I'm going to stop breathing, and everything that I will have been working on (no doubt leaving piles of unfinished scrapbooking, hundreds of unread books, my bed messy, piles of things "to be sorted" on the floor and half-learned songs scattered all over the house) will be cleaned up, dealt with, shelved, sold, given away and moved on from. It's true! Are you frightened of it? I am, a little bit. I'm worried that I'll die before I get a chance to really experience everything I want to experience. I mean, I don't lie awake thinking, "Oh shit, really gotta work on that opera career" or "Christ be Jesus, must get me that seventh book in The Princess Diaries series tomorrow because I might be dead by Sunday". It could be a cool personality quirk if I did, but I think mostly it'd just be annoying. For me, and for you, because you'd be reading about it. Hell, you're reading this. What's to say you wouldn't read the neurotic blog posts of a paranoid woman?

One day, I'm going to die. And so are you. And I don't want there to be ANY regrets.

(I also don't want any of my previous English teachers to see my incorrect usage of the word "and" so many times in one blog post...)

I don't want to get to forty and regret not having done this. This! This. What Lior is talking about. On a different scale. I'm getting to the point. Do you know what Lior does for me? He does for me what somebody else does for you. You probably know who it is, but I don't know who you are, so I'm just going to attempt to guess. Let's say yours is Kermit the Frog. The little green man excites you and makes you want to live peacefully and spread happy messages of love, green-love, ribbits and world peace to small children on network television. Every time you see him do something great, you get so keyed up! You get so excited! He is affirming your desire to help the world! "SAVE THE CHILDREN FROM BORING TV!" you will shout from your rooftop, after viewing the newest and greatest Muppet movie. "WORLD PEAAAAACE!" you will yell, as though Kermit is there yelling it with you. You feel like somebody understands your point of view. Somebody validates your TRUTH. Your reason for living. Your reason for breathing. The one thing that you want to achieve more than anything else in your entire life. Somebody else wants that and is living that and they're being a living inspiration to you each and every day. It's such a powerful feeling. It makes my tummy bubble happily and words spin around crazily in my head, begging to escape, and an all-powerful, all-encompassing desire to leap out of my theatre seat and race down to the stage, skidding on, panting, and going, "Sorry I'm late! I was dozing up there!"

It can be so hard. It is so nice to hear somebody so successful talk about how hard it can be to keep going. Isn't it nice to know that people with successful music careers, big tours, mega respect and mega bucks can also suffer from this scary thing that is pursuing music as a valid career and lifestyle choice? Geez, man. It's kind of frightening. All I know, and all I've ever known, is that there are many different choices out there for me to make, and many different career paths that I could've ventured down, but this is the one that lights my fire. This is the one that sets my blood ablaze and rigs up one hell of a party in my body. Music makes me want to sing, to dance, to run around in mad circles barking happily, to write prolific amounts of words than can never do justice to what I feel and to pass on this happy, happy feeling to all of the little cherubs who cross my path and want to learn to sing. Music makes me feel more alive than anything else on the face of the earth. I want to sing EVERY type of song, and master EVERY genre of singing that there is. I don't want to be restricted by anyone or anything and I want to experience everything. Music is my dearest friend, and my partner for life. I could never shun it. But sometimes, this realistic world in which we live brings me down occasionally, and the lack of money, the lack of security and the constant adventure can wear me down...

Isn't it nice to know that Lior feels the same way?

Thanks, Lior. You and your stunning concert (as always) have just made me feel glad I'm alive.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Something they really SHOULD bring back

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone
I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

(Darren Hayes & Daniel Johns)

I miss Savage Garden.

That is all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Layout & Hijacking


This is Natalie hijacking Pam's blog because I currently can. Cue evil maniacal laughter.

I'm done with your layout, Pammy... hope you like it! Though really, all I did was make you a header and the rest took care of itself.

B says she's been watching some sort of cartoon (Winks Club? Winx Club? It is a club of some kind. I am sure of it.)  and the three main groups of characters are Fairies, Pixies and Witches. Apparently, your blog name and mine have Fairies and Pixies covered so she's going to think of a witchy name for hers. Message her with suggestions!

Uncle Karl layout for Elephant Fairy blog coming up soon...

You know that behind those stylish black sunglasses lie a pair of laser beam eyes, and he only wears leather biker gloves because he must conceal the scars from the retractable adamantium claws that keep accidentally sprouting when he's trying to sketch a bouclé jacket for his new Spring collection. If that doesn't inspire fear and motivation, I don't know what will. And I may or may not just have watched a Marvel Comic movie adaptation.


Natalie Faye

P.S. Everyone reading this should also add Team Supahero to their blog rolls because Pammy also blogs there and it is frankly awesome.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Team Baby, And The Thing That Made It All Worth It

Birthing babies

Holy shit. I had no idea that birthing babies was such hard work.

Okay. So I knew that labour was painful. I've seen the movies and read the books. Women screaming, men panicking, doctors yelling for things like forceps and scissors, and eventually, a baby's cry piercing the silence.

My best buddy of over ten years gave birth nearly three days ago now. Months ago, we had the 'discussion', and it was decreed that I would be allowed to be present at the birth of this, her first baby. I didn't really think too much about it. I knew it would probably be a bit gross but I was very excited about the prospect of seeing somebody being born and all that it entails.

Thursday, April 9. 15:30. Phone rings. It's my friend. She says that she thinks that the back pain she's had for the past two days (two sleepless nights) have been the beginning of labour, as the pains are ten minutes apart quite regularly now. I rejoice. Baby! One problem. I'm over two hours away.

Thursday, April 9. 17:30. My housemate and I are on the road.

Thursday, April 9. 18:30. I get a text message advising me that my friend's contractions are five minutes apart now, so she's at the hospital already. I panic quietly, urging time to slow down so that I can get there sooner.

Thursday, April 9. 19:45. I arrive at the hospital, and run down the ramp towards the entrance, huffing and puffing my way up to the labour ward. I am stopped by a locked door and am eventually let into her labour room, only to find my friend, her husband, her mother and her oldest sister, not to mention a nurse. My friend is pacing back and forth, moaning, occasionally leaning forward on the bed, her face scrunched up in pain. "Shit," I think, "good thing I hurried!" We are convinced that labour will happen soon, as my friend is in incredible pain at very regular intervals.

Thursday, April 9. 21:00. A resident (read: doctor-in-training) comes in to tell my friend that she thinks my friend MIGHT have an infection because her waters MAY have broken a day or two earlier, and so, they're going to put in a cannula and feed my friend antibiotics to combat the problem before it becomes a problem. My friend doesn't really care, as she's too preoccupied with the incredibly difficult and painful contractions that her body is now subjecting her to at four-minute intervals. The resident examines my friend's wrist for ten to fifteen minutes, trying to find a friendly-looking vein. She eventually settles for one in my friend's wrist, and pats it uncertainly for a number of minutes, causing fear to grow in the pit of my stomach. I've had inexperienced people poke me with needles before, and it hurts. The resident gets out the big needle and starts sliding it into my friend's wrist. My friend starts to react... loudly... and then louder... and louder... crying now... screaming, in fact... and the resident says, "Oh, I've missed it," and instead of pulling it out, she wiggles it around! To try and find the vein by the power of the wiggle? God knows. So my friend is in agony in her abdomen and her wrist now. The resident eventually gives up, and then does a vaginal examination, only to figure out that the waters haven't broken at all and there's no risk of infection at this stage. Total eye-roll moment. We all mutter ferociously about how the next person to insert a needle will have a minimum of thirty years' experience.

Friday, April 10. 00:00. My friend is in total agony with her contractions. They are four-to-five minutes apart, depending, and contracting across her lower back and her front. I have never seen my best friend in so much pain. It worries me greatly, as I hate to see her so upset, exhausted and in so much pain. She cries with every contraction now, and is starting to say that she doesn't know how much longer she can keep it up for. The nurse comes in and suggests morphine. My friend is very reluctant, but we talk her into it. She's too tired to deal with so much pain.

Friday, April 10, 02:00. My friend's cervix has dilated to 4cm, but shows no sign of budging any further for a few hours. The morphine appears to have slowed the contractions down, as they are now ten minutes apart. We agree that we (her mum and I) will go home to get some rest and come back in the morning. I fall into bed about 03:15.

Friday, April 10. 05:30. I'm awake. I have to get back to the hospital to see how my friend is. I want to make sure that she's okay and I really don't want to miss the birth.

Friday, April 10. 06:30. I arrive at the hospital. The nurses are surprised to see me so soon. Fair enough, too. I really only slept for two hours. I chat with my friend as she deals with her contractions in bed. They're manageable at this stage, but picking up pace rapidly. We go for a short walk down the corridor and poke fun at some art on the walls. The contractions are becoming more and more regular, and increasing in severity. My friend is beginning to regret the walk.

Friday, April 10. 08:00. The staff have decided that my friend's labour is not pressing enough, and have come in to tell her that she should either go into the maternity ward and hang out there, or just go home and wait for the contractions to get worse. I'm thinking, how much worse do they have to be in order to qualify for a bed around here? The doctor then performs a vaginal examinations and reneges on his assessment of five minutes ago, telling my friend that she should stay in the hospital but hang out in maternity instead. We move all our stuff to the maternity ward. My friend is offered panadeine forte, but she declines at that stage, as she'd prefer to not take pain medication unless she really needs it. My friend is very upset that the staff seem to think that her labour pains are not exciting enough to be worried about.

Friday, April 10. 10:00. My friend is experiencing some very nasty contractions. We're all hungry, so I call my sister to come and get me for a food run. The nurse on duty has come in to introduce herself, and we're all a bit shell-shocked by her personality. "Hellooooo, dear!" she greeted my friend in a saccharine voice. "Are we having a baby today?" ... No, grated cheese. What do YOU think?

Friday, April 10. 11:00. I return with the food. We go for a walk to the hospital grounds. My friend can hardly move for contraction pain, and is utterly miserable, pausing after a few paces to dance around in agony.

Friday, April 10. 12:00. My friend is in so much that she doesn't know what to do. Her mother suggests a bath. We ask Barbie (as we have nicknamed the nurse) to run my friend a bath. Her older sister departs for her Easter holiday regretfully. It's now just my friend's mum and I, and my friend's husband. He goes home at this point to freshen up. The bath's warmth is very soothing to my friend. Her mum and I sit on either side of her, massaging her back and trying to help her through the contractions as she grips our hands, tenses her entire body in pain and cries her way through each contraction, regular as clockwork now as her body tries to prepare itself for the oncoming watermelon push-out.

Friday, April 10. 14:00. My friend requests another vaginal examination, desperate to know if all this pain has dilated her cervix any further. We are moved back to the labour ward. The contractions worsen. My friend can't speak properly for crying, exhausted and spent, each contractions wearying her more than the previous.

Friday, April 10. 17:00. My friend has been given a drip of fluids and sleeping stuff to help her relax. Apparently relaxing brings on the baby. I am entirely unsure at this point how anybody is supposed to be able to relax through contractions, as they seem to be the most horrible thing upon the earth. I make the mistake of walking past the nurse's station. A midwife on duty pulls me over for a short lecture on my friend's cervix, and the amount of dilation that still needs to occur. She ends her speech by telling me that my presence in the room isn't relaxing my friend and that I should just go home and come back later. I am extremely offended and sit in the corner of my friend's room, sulking, for over an hour. I eventually decide that maybe the midwife is right and I should go home for a break.

Friday, April 10. 19:45. I return to the hospital. My friend is in a chair, crying with exhaustion and pain. The midwife is there, telling her all about her options from then on in. The doctor arrives and tries to explain, loudly, about epidurals and pain relief but my friend is contracting and can't hear him for the blood pounding her ears as her body deals with the pain. After some long discussion and long episodes of crying, pain and exhaustion, it is agreed that my friend will have an epidural to relieve the pain and allow my friend to rest in between contractions.

Friday, April 10. 21:00. A South African anaesthetist comes and administers the local anaesthetic and the epidural. My friend is tucked up in the bed and soon slumbers between each contraction peacefully, her features gently relaxing as she can't feel the pain for awhile. Her drip is inducing her, and the contractions are as regular as a heart beating.

Saturday, April 11. 01:00. My friend is starting to feel the contractions again as the epidural wears off on one side. We are all exhausted by this point. The nurse comes in to examine my friend, and says that she needs to be induced further. The drip is altered. My friend's husband goes for a nap in the other bed. I take a brief nanna nap in the relatives' lounge while my friend's mum reads.

Saturday, April 11. 03:00. Things are well and truly underway. My friend is starting to contract repeatedly and, worse, she can feel it now.

Saturday, April 11. 03:40. My friend has just had six contractions in a row. The nurses and doctor get into labour mode and start setting up properly for the birth. Bowls and instruments are set out everywhere, the end of the bed removed and my friend examined. I am sent to fetch her husband from his nap. He proves difficult to wake. My friend is given instruction to begin pushing, and so she does with each contraction. We all alternate between holding her hand, holding her legs in stirrups and checking out the V-action as she begins to open up. Eventually, she is clutching the hands of her husband and her mother, and I am left sitting on a seat in the room, watching with the best possible view as the doctor gets into place to deliver the baby. My friend is beyond exhausted, but, with the news that the birth is really very imminent now, shows some gumption and pushes with gusto.

Saturday, April 11. 04:10. The baby's head crowns. Kind of. He needs some help. The doctor inserts a suction cap which adheres to the baby's head and guides him out gently. Then the suction cap and the head don't quite fit through, so my friend is snipped around the edges to make the hole bigger. The baby's head appears properly. I am fascinated by the colour. "It's green!" I say to my friend. "I can see the head!" "Oh good," she replies tiredly and continues pushing. The rest of baby begins to emerge, and I realise that the baby is in a sack with a greenish tinge to it. The head and shoulders are through, and the rest of the baby slides out with a plop, unfolding into a little person. The doctor catches the baby expertly, peels back the sack and, in one swift movement, places the baby on my friend's chest as blood and ooooky bits pour out of my friend into a large bowl. My friend and her husband look at her baby (a boy) delightedly before he is whisked over to the little baby platform under a bright light that they've got in the labour room (I dunno what it's called). I am in tears as the miracle of what I've just witnessed dawns on me. All these hours and hours of horrible, intense pain have all just culminated into the arrival of a tiny little person. Watching his head and shoulders emerge from her vagina, however "too much info" that may be, is possibly the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed to date.

My friend needed stitches, and was stitched up after she passed the placenta, which I was disgusted to see was as big as the baby itself. "How did you fit that all in there?" I wanted to know. It was amazing. The nurse showed us all the various parts of the placenta as the baby was taken away, having swallowed some of the amniotic fluid and the meconium. The green tinge was a result of baby having been stressed at some point during the pregnancy and pooing inside the sack. He was covered in little bits of it. After my friend was stitched up and the drama had calmed down, we all adjourned for the evening. I got home at 05:30.

I returned six or seven hours later with my father and sister to meet the baby properly and have my first hold of him. He was so sweet. I was bubbling over with excitement, despite the tiredness. What a hell of a ride. The labour was pure hell, but the birth was magical.