Flashback Friday – On The Same Frequency

I had such a good time recently on air on The Arts Program on 99.9 Voice FM as a guest presenter, that I’ll be doing it semi-regularly. Sitting in the studio is always a beautifully nostalgic place for me, because it takes me back to my formative years and reminds me of how connected I am to my parents.

I first did community radio in my early teens. I spent three hours every Sunday opposite my dad Bill Elder in the studios at the local community radio station for the better part of two (or maybe three?) years.

Our show was called ‘That Sunday Feeling’, a nod to Jethro Tull’s song ‘My Sunday Feeling’, which also served as our intro theme tune. We made our own promos, which usually featured a stupid and funny sound bite from films like ‘Cable Guy’ or shows like ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ or ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’. We talked and laughed about anything and everything, and played music from Steely Dan to Sade, Billy Joel to The Beetles. I introduced my dad to Alanis Morissette, Evanescence and Jamiroquai. We often played long Prog Rock songs so we could have an extended afternoon tea break, and once we played Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of The Worlds’ in its entirety.

It was in these years that I also wrote a musical with my Dad. It was about cryptic crosswords, which we completely religiously at the dinner table every night. My Dad taught me to play Tenor Horn at the age of 8 and we continued to work together at the local Concert Band. He was the Band Master, and I became the Librarian for a stint, spending weekends sorting dodgy copies of sheet music in a dingy back room of the Band Hall.

I would lie to my friends and say my parents were strict and wouldn’t let me go out to that party or let my out-of-towner friends sleep over. I usually just put the phone down on my lap for a minute while I “went to ask”. I told my parents later what they’d supposedly refused just in case. I would then happily spend my Saturday nights watching The Bill, Poirot or a David Attenborough documentary. Or finished the cryptic crossword or playing Solo, or Canasta, or Scrabble.

I’d still rather hang out with my parents than most other people I know. They’re my kind of people. It’s their love of music, words and humour and their dedication to community  and family that has shaped my own values and also my career path. I’m so grateful to have their support as my parents, and as my children’s grandparents, but I also count them as my best friends.

Where my heart is
There are four people in whose company
I would rather spend my time
Than anywhere else on earth
As a girl I would lie to my friends and say
My mother wouldn’t let me play
Because I would rather be at home
Where my heart is
As a woman I am thankful to say
I cannot come along for my children are sleeping
Because I would rather be at home
Where my heart is
Why search for it in some man, some girls night out, some party noise
When it’s right here
It was never missing
We are bound forever by more than blood
By a sing-a-long and seven across, native grass and muddy boots
Sticky dough, british tv shows and laughter
I am the sum of their parts and more
I am me and what have I been put on this earth for
If not to love them
My mother told me that I cannot ask too much of her
And I give my children to her
Because she too is their mother
And my father is the only father here
One day when we three are old
My children will return the favour
And so we link arms to face the day together
Why waste another day alone when I could live in this village
Where all my efforts count for everything
Where I am free to love and be loved
I will be healed at the centre of the universe
Where my heart is
January 2018

Flashback Friday – Poem – “Mistress of The House”

This poem about my Nanna, who passed away in October 2016, was written shortly afterwards. It was then part of the Minerva Speaks project in March 2017.

A performer read the poem as Minerva from the highest balcony of the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute while audience stood in the Titanic Bandstand and listened to the live broadcast of local literary works.

 

 

The Mistress of The House
A poem for my Nanna.

A yellow brick house called Remuera
Full of wonders
Silver bells and tiny shells
For playing bridge
We use as money for a shop
Stop and hide the thimble now
Go and look with nimble fingers
Turning over precious things
And sneaking through the Den
Getting warmer
Warmer still
Our hearts fill up with love
For our Nanna
Calm and safe and a little bit stern
But a twinkle in her eye
Tiddly-winkle
And so many wrinkles
I take her hand
And pinch her skin to see how quickly
It falls back into place
She commands her space
From a brown chair
She is always there it seems
At Clairmont Ave
Baking rock cakes
And making cumquat jam
Squatting in the garden
And popping up to Bentleigh shops
Gently guiding us and showing us
The best way to be kind
The be funny, to be bold
To be thankful and to be old and wise
In this guise it’s harder to see
That in her youth she was a beauty
But more than that
She was courageous
Her stories tell of places far away and foreign
Of black boys and lost boys
And little graves on islands out to sea
Of colourful hats made beacons
And of four sisters dark and bright
We cast our minds back to a beach
Where Nanna dives into the surf
And smiles ruddy-checked and sticky with salt
We can taste that curried egg
And soup and bread
And at the back of our throats now
A lump is forming
All the ferns and camellia are still
Adorning her front door
But the mistress of the house is there no more.

Flashback Friday – Poem “Another Scorcher”

I maintain that a flashback to a month ago still counts. I wrote this poem in the middle of the night, by the light of a streetlight on a random piece of paper near my bed. I read it at last month’s Words Out Loud but unfortunately my set was not recorded so it’s performance was not kept for prosperity.

Another Scorcher
The sheets radiate heat like the mirage
Shimmering off the sticky black tarmac
I can’t stand the street light but I have no choice
But to sleep with the windows open
Desperate for any breath of air
The sound of a baby crying wakes me in the night
It takes a minute to realise it’s not mine

In the morning I’m thankful that I don’t have to endure
The public transport torture
As I batten down the hatches
Bracing for another scorcher
I am reminded of the days when I could
Shove open the carriage windows
And feel the sea breeze in my hair
All the way down the Frankston line

The evening meal is cold meat and salads
It’s too hot to turn on the gas
And I feel sorry for those poor fools
Dripping in front of the fryers at my local F&C
But I order anyway and eat chips with gravy
Until the cool change arrives around nine

January 4, 2019

Flashback Friday – Poem “Parent-thesis”

I love this poem so much that it now forms the opening of my newest play, The Let-Down Reflex.

I wrote it in June 2017 and it really does reflect the every day lived experience of parents. The Let-Down Reflex is currently in development and will be having a work-in progress showing on Thursday 24th January at Ballarat Trades Hall. Come along!

Continue reading

Flashback Friday – Musings on Identity

I wrote this as a Facebook post almost a year and a half ago. I saved it recently when Facebook memories brought it back to my attention.

It was doing the Leadership Ballarat Leaders Forum that enabled me to identify the need to re-vamp my thinking, but also gave me the courage the start that journey. I’m still working on that, as my most recent blog describes. Continue reading

Flashback Friday – Poem “Strong Vessel”

A year ago I was right in the middle of the Leadership Ballarat & Western Region Leaders Forum. We were preparing for our trip to Canberra and we used Shakespeare as a text to practice powerful public speaking with the fabulous Bryce Ives. I was blown away by the courage and creativity shown by everyone that night – it was the moment we truly became a team. After I went home, I wrote this ode in iambic pentameter. Continue reading