Posts Tagged ‘toowoomba


The breakdown you have when you’re not having a breakdown and why I need a break


Life is crazy.


We are busy.


Craaazy busy.


It’s not new news. We’ve always been busy. Sometimes I delight in it (I’m easily bored).


I often hashtag #crazybusy and #xsneverstops but I don’t often stop to contemplate the implications of this. The other day I hashtagged #xsneverstopsbutxsmightneedto


This is why.


Last week I crashed my car. I was tired, I was at a roundabout, I looked and then didn’t look again quite soon enough, and I hit the girl in front of me. She had gone to go and she stupidly/safely, thinking better of it, had suddenly stopped again. Fuck! I knew I had no insurance and I was about to discover that neither had she. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be near enough to hit her. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be too tired to drive. Ordinarily I would have listened to that little inner voice inside of me that said when I got out of bed that morning, “Do the school run and go back to bed. Enough already. Stop.” Instead, largely because I’ve always associated that little voice with the onset of a migraine, I blinked, dressed, continued to ignore the little voice sans migraine, and headed to yet another event that followed hot on the heels of our 10 days and nights of fabulous Noosa Long Weekend Festival events.


For the last few days, while my car has been out of action, I’ve been in Toowoomba, where my grandparents have lived for as long as I can remember. (Of course there is history beyond that, before the beginning of my memory, and it’s an interesting story but it doesn’t matter for the moment).


I used to think of Toowoomba as a town of schools and churches but now I realise it’s actually an aged care mecca.




My grandfather is 96 years old. My grandmother is 83. Grandpa still lives at home, and so did Grandma until she contracted pneumonia and suffered a serious fall last week, which put her into hospital and meant that the discussions about aged care facilities began again. Grandpa is actually still fairly “independent”. It’s as bewildering as it is impressive. He’s almost blind but he knows where everything is…as long as he’s in his own home. He sometimes spills the sugar when he’s making his tea but there is always somebody around at some stage to help clean it up.




I should tell you, I’m very late to this party – the discussions actually began over five years ago – tentatively at first, and then, just two years ago, application forms were requested, facilities were visited and with great diplomacy and delicacy, the subject of moving to a care facility was broached again with Grandpa, who wouldn’t hear of it. Of course not. Stupid, really. What were they thinking? Or, in his words, I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE.


Last week Grandma suffered a fall and discovered that simply breathing was difficult. Mum and I have visited every day and each day, although there have been some ups and downs, she seems brighter and livelier, even “bubbly” and “ready to come home next week!” You can imagine the twinkle in Grandpa’s eye as he says this, knowing he wins, again. This, after so much talk (so many tears to hold back!), of not returning home but going into a home, and Mum’s sister, and Mum and I persisting with ongoing comparative studies of no less than eleven places in town (and well outside of it! “Highfields? Hmphf! Too far!”). Sometimes one of them will agree, “Oh yes, that does sound nice, doesn’t it?” And I feel like I’ve been here before. Oh wait. I have been. Different party, same theme, starring Sam’s mum. Good to have had a rehearsal. From one decision to another, and back again. It can drive a person crazy! The next part of the decision making process is obviously about letting go and taking a step back from the process itself. Ultimately, once again, the decision is rightfully Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. We might just need to change how we feel about giving them the space and time to work things out for themselves. To fumble with the remote control. To lose things, forget things. To spill the sugar. To see out their days in the comparative comfort of their own home…




Some of the homes are actually lovely and others are, well, best left out of the conversation. You can tell when you walk into a place, whether or not somebody you love might like to spend the rest of their days and nights there. There is the matter of design, décor, landscaping, meals prepared on the premises, coffee shops, colours, smells, and warmly lit (or not) corridors to consider. There are either happy, smiling people working there and living there, or there are not. There are fees. And there are admission processes. And then there is Centrelink. Since July 1 2014 a whole lot has changed, making it difficult for families and administrators to fill the rooms available. That’s right. The rooms are there but most places won’t admit a person until Centrelink has processed a particular portion of the paperwork, which could mean a wait time of up to 10 weeks. Meanwhile, there are rooms – empty rooms. And conflicting information and advice from each facility and government agency. It makes it all so much more difficult. Stop. Spoiler alert!



That leads me to letting you know that I’m bowing out for a bit. I’m continuing to rely on our wonderful team of reviewers to keep up with the Brisbane scene. I still love theatre, I love seeing the shows, and I love having the conversations about them, but I need to take care of a few other things at the moment, including family matters, our growing business (hooray!) and also, me. I’ll keep doing some teaching, which earns me more money than reviewing (ie some as opposed to none), I’ll keep posting the reviews our writers submit, and I might even stick around on social media. I still love Instagram. I’m going to let you know about our upcoming events, including the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival (with special guest adjudicator Margi Brown Ash!), Keep Calm and Cabaret, and the launch of my sister’s book Dress, Memory and Brisbane Writers Festival. But this writer needs to get back to writing…and sitting and reading and dreaming, and drinking cups of tea with friends, and getting to know our child and her friends, and growing our food and talking with the chickens and walking on the beach.


I’ll see the things the Matilda Committee needs me to see and I’ll see the things I desperately want to see. It might not be your thing and for that I’m sorry, but not really, because I’m truly completely and utterly exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally drained. And frankly, I’m disappointed that you didn’t make it to see our recent things. They were really good. I know. Too busy. TOO FAR! (Insert the sigh of one who knows she is beaten by apathy more than by distance or time-poor existence). It’s okay. Really. You have your own stuff to work on too. Everybody, keep doin’ the work. There will always be someone (nearer) to see it.


If you’re a Brisbane based writer and lover of theatre do email me, or find me on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to have you on board.



Kate Miller-Marathon

Do you know anyone else who has seen more than one different artist over 75 times?

Andy Clark has now seen 3 artists over 75 times.

fan  /fan/  Noun: A person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art or entertainment form, or famous person.

The man may well be Kate Miller-Heidke’s biggest fan. He recently followed her halfway around the country.

Here’s his story.

By Andy Clark

Between 1980 and 2010 I saw U2 perform 79 times. In the 80’s I saw Welsh band, The Alarm 110 times. And now, just 7 years after seeing her perform for the first time at Women In Voice 2005,

I’ve seen Kate Miller-Heidke 79 times too.

My recent Kate Miller-Marathon started in Lismore. I even sold my ticket to the incomparable comedian Ross Noble to go to see Kate perform songs from her upcoming NIGHTFLIGHT album and her previous albums at Lismore’s Star Court Theatre.

Kate was joined on stage by her collaborator/guitarist/hubby, Keir Nuttall, and her long time friend, the angelic singer, Madeleine Paige. The 3 synch together like the legs of a Tripod and at times are as hilarious as the Comedy trio of the same name.  The opening song Fire and Iron is a delightful calming beautiful song, but the variety of Kate’s setlist is one of the reasons all the shows on her tour sold out within days of going on sale.

Old songs like Shoebox, Politics, Words and Space blend with the new songs seamlessly, despite the often massive contrast between the different styles of the songs Kate produces. Other new songs that are gentle and gorgeous like Fire and Iron are Tiger and Devil, whilst the absolute highlight of each recent Kate gig for me is the spinechilling story of a girl called SARAH who got lost at Livid 1997.

Nightflight, Humiliation and In The Dark are all awesome new songs on the setlist and Kate also performed brilliant acoustic intimate versions of Dreams/I Love You, Can’t Shake It and God’s Gift, plus the radio hits Caught in a Crowd and Last day on Earth.

From Lismore I flew to Melbourne (for the first time ever for a gig) for 3 nights at The Speigeltent and trips to The Espy at St Kilda and Victoria Markets plus Werribee Zoo and Park. The Speigeltent is a magical place for anyone to play. Despite shortened setlists, Kate’s gigs there enhanced the ambience of the venue and it was delightful to meet fans who until now had just been tiny photos on my Facebook. Talking of which, it was Kate Miller-Heidke who suggested that, at the age of 46, I should go onto MySpace and then at age 48 that I should switch to Facebook. Then in 2009 I videoed Kate’s Facebook Song at Brisbane’s HiFi Bar and after Keir added lyrics it went viral in USA, it intrigued Ben Folds interest in Kate and now has nearly 1.5 million views on You Tube. Are You F*cking Kidding Me? No I’m not and that is also the title of that song.

My most memorable moment from The Speigeltent was when Keir did something wrong and whilst they regrouped I shouted “He’s the Star” which caused the audience to laugh out loud to Kate’s slight dissatisfaction and so I quickly added “He’s the SECOND STAR”. Hopefully Kate and Keir will continue their trip from the Second Star to Utopia, Nirvana or Neverland and head straight on till morning. I think they are on course to become massive in 2012, but I have been thinking that for 7 years now and voting for them in triple j’s Hottest 100 annually, without success. Another massive song in waiting is Kate’s Southern Cross Tattoo, which talks about Hottest 100 Day being a ‘very special day’ when we ‘keep the VB cool” and “we’re gonna blow up the pool’.

Kate has covered many diverse songs, from Toxic by Britney and Little Water Song by Nick Cave (on triple j’s Like A Version).  Their current cover is Slim Shady by Eminem. This still amazes the crowd and if you like some controversial comments check out my video of this from Woodford 2010. Over 69,000 views to date and some of the best comments come from disgruntled Eminem devotees.

Home town gigs are always special and Kate’s Brisbane gigs were both amazing, but different. The Friday night seemed to be full of people coming from their work, with polite laughter and applause. On Saturday the audience reaction was sensational, with lots of whooping and outlandish hysterical chortling, like they’d all inhaled happy gas or a bottle of wine or two. I got permission from Kate and the Powerhouse to video a new song Toowoomba which they had debuted on Friday, to the parents of both Keir and Madeleine, who all hail from Toowoomba.

Yes, my hobby is taking videos of new Kate Miller-Heidke songs and both Kate and Keir like what I do.

Then The Finale of my Tour was in the quaint little village of Pomona, inland from Noosa. I arrived there at about 4pm. Pomona High Street reminded me of another lyric from Southern X Tattoo of “gonna file er up at the Servo” because as we arrived at a deserted street there was the Pomona Servo (closed of course) and as I said ‘The place is deserted” I realised the wooden building next to the Servo was indeed The Majestic Silent Movie Theatre where Kate was playing that night. It contained an old organ, fit and ready for Barry Morgan. I fantasised about Kate playing Psycho Killer on it. Then 5 hours later my fantasy was almost fulfilled as Kate performed Psycho Killer as an extra song in her Encore and dedicated it to me as I had now seen her 79 times! Kate confirmed she is now “equal with U2 in [my] Gig Diary”. Unfortunately my Gig Diary only began in 2006, when I decided I needed to monitor my Gigging and Kate’ing. I wish I’d started it just after I saw Roxy Music in 1974.

After 268 gigs by 3 artists and thousands of others by over 500 other artists I have no intention of stopping and my next Utopian goal is to combine my 80th Kate Miller-Heidke Show with my 10th consecutive Splendour in the Grass.

Don’t dream it, be it. Keep straight on till morning. I got the way. Thanks for Today.

Bring on Nightflight, Sarah and the video to a song on Nightflight  (the video is ready to launch), Ride this feeling.

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