That was 2017

01/01/18

2017

I started 2017 with great excitement about what adventures would come my way. I wondered which new people I would meet, what new things I could try and how many great times I’d have with established friends. I am happy that I live in such a wonderful city as Melbourne and get to enjoy so many of the great things it offers on a daily basis.

I appreciate and acknowledge that I have it easier than a lot of people and I am grateful that I have the energy to go out and embrace a lot of what is on offer.

2017 - you have given and you have taken, but upon reviewing my diary, it has been a very enjoyable year - lots to keep me happy.

 

 

Folk

Looking through my diary, I see that I had many planned catch-ups - the list of names doesn’t include friend’s partners or friend’s friends. It also doesn’t include any incidental catch-ups along the way, either. Interestingly, there are 105 names of which only 14 are male – so no change there then.

These friends have been around for varying periods and have been discovered in various places. Many of these friends have been part of my world for quite a while, while some were new encounters that were fleeting (but rewarding), whilst others have developed and grown. It is interesting to look at my current world and think that it is only 20 (ish) years old as, other than 5 folk who I originally met in the UK, all are people I have known since moving here in 1998.

Adtley, Af, Alex, Allison, Amanda 1, Amanda 2, Ange, Angela, Ann, Annette, Belinda, Carmen, Carol, Catherine, Cathy, Charlotte, Claudia, Dane, Danielle, Deanne, Demi, Di, Dillini, Doug, Edwina, Emma, Erica, Erin, Fee, Felicia, Francine, Frank, Freya, Georgiana, Georgie, Georgina, Heather, Helen, Irene, Jack, Jackie 1, Jackie 2, Jacqui, Jane, Janine, Jenny, Jo 1, Jo 2, Joel, Jules, Julie, Kam, Karen 1, Karen 2, Karin, Kate, Kerrie, Kristina, Kristy, Kylie, Laura, Lauren, Lea, Lisa, Loraine, Loretta, Mara, Marque, Matt, Maz, Merredith, Michelle, Mike, Miki, Mine, Mini, Mona, Monnie, Murat, Nadine, Nicole, Paul, Pierre, Quila, Rachel 1, Rachel 2, Ros, Roseanna, Rosie, Ruth, Sally, Sharon 1, Sharon 2, Steph, Sue, Tatiana, Terri, Tommy, Tonia, Trudi, Trudy, Vika, Virginia, Vonne and Zoe.

The more people I meet, the better I get to know myself and the richer my world becomes.

To each and every one of you, thank you for enhancing my year.

 

 

Entertainment

It was another fine year of varied entertainment - I will only list events rather than say which were the best - as by saying that any are better than others, diminishes some and I don't like to that - all days start equal - it is nice that they end the same way. I try and live in the moment and immerse myself in where I am and what I am doing – so the events were all that they could be at the time –some fizzled, some were great at the time and some created larger ripples that remain alive now.

As I list out the events below, it is rewarding to me to note that there are 167 of them, so that is a healthy amount of experiences.

International music acts (30)
Adam Ant, Adele, Aled Jones, Alice Coltrane collective, Alison Moyet, Bic Runga, Billy Bragg, C W Stoneking, Cat Stevens, Christopher Cross, Colin Hay, Culture Club, Eddi Reader, Elton John, George Clinton, Glenn Miller Band, Human League, James Taylor, KC and the Sunshine Band, Lisa Hannigan, Paul McCartney, Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox, Sister Sledge, Status Quo, Tom Bailey, Tommy Emmanuel, Vera Blue, The Waifs, The Wailers and The Village People.

Australian music acts (62)
Ahern Brothers, Alma Zygier, Alana Wilkinson, Allysha Joy, Archie Roach, Benny Walker, Bernard Fanning, Black Sorrow, Broads, Casey Donovan, Chris Wilson, Clairy Browne, Dan Sultan, Daryl Braithwaite, Deborah Conway, Ella Hooper, Gallie, Geoff Achison, Hailey Cramer, Jack Charles, Joe Crighton, John Butler, Jordie Lane, Karise Eden, Kev Carmody, Kira Puru, Kutcha Edwards, Kylie Auldist, Lisa Miller, Liz Stringer, Lloyd Spiegel, Madder Lake, Mammals, Mark Seymour, Megan Washington, Melbourne Gospel Singers, Mental As Anything, Mick Thomas, Midnight Oil, Missy Higgins, Monique DiMattina, Nichaud Fitzgibbon, No Fixed Address, Peter Garrett, Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Queenie van de Zandt, Raised by Eagles, Rebecca Barnard, The Residents, Rob Snarski, Russell Morris, Simon Bailey, Steve Smyth, Stiletto Sisters, Tex, Don & Charlie, Tex Perkins, Tim Rogers, Tripod, Turner Brown Band, The Young Folk, Xani Kolac and Yothu Yindi

Classical shows (6)
. Carmen
. Carmina Burina
. Concert Grand
. Haven Choir
. Rachmaninov
. Ravel ’s Blues

Musical shows (14)
. 50 Song Memoir (Stephin Merritt)
. Apia gig (Deborah Conway, Black Sorrows, Colin Hay and Mental as Anything)
. Bob Dylan birthday gig (Angie Hart, Sime Nugent, Gallie, Lisa Miller, Rebecca Barnard, Van Walker)
. Gospolation
. Like Running Water (Ella Thompson, Clio Renner, Sui Zhen, Prue Stent and Honey Long)
. Fitted for Jazz (Nichaud Fitzgibbon)
. Heart of St Kilda (Adalita, James Reyne, John Paul Young and Leo Sayer)
. Melbourne Gospel Choir
. Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir
. Songs of the Diaspora - Michael Tippett’s arrangements
. Stand by Your Woman (Xani Kolac with Kate Miller-Heidke, Tim Rogers, Kate Ceberano, Tex Perkins, Jen Cloher, Steve Kilbey, Harry Angus and Davey Lane)
. RocKwiz
. Tapestry (Vika Bull and Debra Byrne)
. Women’s Day Concert (Kylie Auldist, Ajak Kwai, Chelsea Wilson, Emily Wurramara, Parvyn, Sahida Apsara and Janam Kaur).

Plays / Stage Shows (13)
. A Drag Queen Stole My Dress (Butterfly Club)
. Before God (Butterfly Club)
. Betrayal (Northcote Town Hall)
. Book of Mormon (Princess Theatre)
. Childproof (Bella Union)
. The Encounter (Malthouse Theatre)
. Fire in the Meth Lab (Butterfly Club)
. Palomina (North Melbourne)
. Passenger (Footscray)
. Pike Street (Fairfax Theatre)
. Stories for the dead (Hamer Hall)
. Sunday Roast (La Mama Theatre)
. 1984 (Comedy Theatre)

Movies (5)
. Blade Runner (Jam Factory)
. Go Betweens (Nova)
. Heroin Town (Nova)
. Loving Vincent (Nova)
. Sammy David Jnr: I've Gotta Be Me (Classic).

Comedy (16)
. Best of British
. Big Value Edinburgh
. British Invasion
. Cal Wilson
. Carey Marx
. Comedy Gala
. David O’Donerty
. Dr Ahmed
. Great Debate
. James Acaster
. Jerry Seinfeld
. Keep Calm
. Kevin Bridges
. Phill Jupitus
. Russell Howard
. Upfront.

Talks (17)
. The Alt Write
. Jimmy Barnes (book launch)
. Black Lives Matter
. Julian Burnside
. Saamdu Chetri
. Dave Graney (book launch)
. A C Grayling
. Chris Hadfield
. Clive Hamilton
. People Geek-up
. Tex Perkins (book launch)
. Questions for the Nation
. John Safran (book launch)
. Kevin Sheedy (book launch)
. Peter Singer
. Krista Tippett
. Women’s Day debate.

Dance (1)
I decided to try another dance event – it was called Ever and was staged by Phillip Adams – it was appalling. I give up.

Art (1)
Just one this year and that was one of me old mate, Steph Rampton.

Social Events (2)
I had the pleasure of attending Monnie’s wedding to Rocky and was given the honour of walking her down the aisle. I also got the opportunity to be at with Murat for his 50th birthday celebrations.

 

 

Holidays

Just the one escape this year and that was when I headed to Western Australia and stayed in Fremantle. The main objective of that trip was to get the ferry over to Rottnest Island, and get to meet some Quokkas – it was a great thing to do.

 

 

Sport

Only went to a couple of AFL games during 2017 - generally, I was too busy doing other stuff. I will be back on the Hawthorn wagon next season though.

 

 

Volunteeing

I continue to support the non-for-profit organisation, Fitted for Work, who have 3 arms to their service; 1) providing work clothes to women who are currently suffering disadvantage and are attempting to rejoin the workplace, 2) providing programs of support to these women to help them build up the skills and capabilities to take on the challenge and 3) offering them mentors to help them from where they are to where they want to be – I am one of those mentors. This year I have taken on further training to now be able to join their new program of assisting survivors of Family Violence in their journey to employment. It is rewarding for me and a privilege to be in a position to assist women who need that help.

 

 

Work

I started the year working at ME Bank and I followed that with 6 months at Australia Post and have been at The Bendigo Kangan Institute for the last 3 months. All the jobs have had their own challenges and provided their own achievements - and I’ve interacted with some interesting folk. Being a Business Analyst means that the required role expectations change from company to company – and though I usually support the HR area of a business, I am currently supporting a Student Management System. I never really feel that I am defined by my work, but I do tend to enjoy it a bit and there are worse ways to make a living.

 

 

Writing

I have been maintaining a journal for over a year now, but it feels quite dull nowadays as I tend to just say what it is that I have done – so no real insights. I originally wrote in the journal every day, but that got boring, so for the last 10 months it has been every other day. But I still feel that it isn’t drawing out much about what I think and feel.

So, I am going to try a new approach and only write once a week - the Sunday where I can look back over the previous week and assess how it took shape for me and determine what it gave me.

To enable this, I have come up with a list of questions to ask myself each Sunday - I do accept that sometimes there may not be answers to all, but it is the asking that is important.

The questions are:
. What has been the highlight?
. What have you learnt?
. What did you share?
. What has surprised you?
. What have you started?
. What have you achieved/completed?
. What would you like to have done differently?
. What inspired you?
. What turned out different than you expected?
. What stretched you most?
. What took you back to a previous time?
. What new things have you experienced? (food, gifts, places etc.)
. What have you read and/or listened to?
. What has made you laugh most?
. Which was the most interesting conversation?
. What are you most grateful for?
. What advice have you received or given?
. What have you done for the first time?
. What are you proudest of?
. What was most satisfying?
. Who have you caught up with?
. What have you been up to?

It will be an interesting way of looking at things ... I hope.

 

 

Books

There has been a definite theme in my reading – and that theme has been around time travel - it is a genre that is limited but enjoyable – it is just something that my imagination thrives on.

. A Girl in Time (John Birmingham) – I had to bail on this as it was so badly written
. Dark Matter (Blake Crouch)
. Time and Again (Jack Finney)
. Time to Time (Jack Finney)
. The Man Who Folded Himself (David Gerrold)
. How to Stop Time (Matt Haig)
. 11.22.63 (Stephen King)
. Lightning (Dean Koontz)
. All Our Wrong Todays (Elan Mastai)
. Us (David Nicholls)
. The End of the Day (Claire North)
. Touch (Claire North)
. To Say Nothing of the Dog (Connie Willis)

 

 

Projects

Only one project this year and that was my time machine one where I created a time machine that had 100 journeys in it and I listed the 100 events/times that I would visit. I wouldn’t be seen by anyone from those times and I couldn’t interact with anyone or anything - I could observe but I couldn’t be observed. It was enjoyable to think of the 100 events and ended up with 50 of them being musical visits.

I have started playing with an idea called Up where I will post pictures of the sky and/or looking up at things. I'm not sure whether it will satisfy me, but I'm having a play with it.

I haven't decided what project will come next.

 

 

Health

I took the 5-2 diet for 12 weeks and lost 13kg (2 stones). I needed to do it as I had started bulking up a bit too much and am happier at this current weight, though it wouldn’t do any harm to lose another 6kg – I’ll attempt that early 2018.

Not only did the diet take off some weight, but when I had my annual medical, the doc said that I was good in all levels e.g. Cholesterol.

Another thing I did was to go for a 51km (31 mile) walk one day – seemed like a good idea but ended up giving me grief with such issues as shin splints, but there you go – it can happen.

Next year, I hope to get a bit fitter – it will help with weight loss and is something I should do for my overall health.

During the year, I treated my body to a number of experiences e.g. acupuncture, Lomi Lomi massages and Thai massages - maybe not as much as I should have.

I also continued with my weekly Pilates other than the last 3 months of the year as I have moved out of the city and haven’t found a place to go to near my new work – I will pursue that in January and bring it back into my world.

For my mind, I took a course in Mindfulness that I quite enjoyed and may pursue some meditation classes in 2018.

 

 

Lifestyle

Though I have attended many events this year, my pleasure comes mostly from my friends. I still like to spend my time catching up over a meal, one on one with people whose company I enjoy. I like the variation of conversation, the surprises, the laughs, the shared understanding, the trust and the desire. Without friends, there isn’t much else.

It is hard to say what value my life has – I live a hedonistic lifestyle that is about me having fun – so what I do to make the world a better place, is questionable. But I don’t believe that I am causing any harm and I try and consider those around me and respect them for who they are. I just go around looking for adventures and embracing what I come across and take opportunities that present themselves to me. It is a simple life.

So good bye to another interesting year - and hello 2018 – it’s nice to meet you