Posts Tagged ‘Beatles’

Adele, the Phenomenon

March 12, 2017
IMG_0765

Lobelia

Hello, but am I missing something?

I asked my neighbour how he was. It’s the usual way to start a conversation. Sometimes, we talk but only if mutuality allows it. No obligation to talk. It should be free choice. It really is a matter of observing the other person and likewise the other way.

He said, ‘I’m fine and we are going to see a concert in Sydney tonight.’ ‘A concert, I replied. Where are you seeing the concert?’ I expected, the Opera House or some other venue, may be a Private school or Art gallery. You have to remember that to me a concert is something that includes Beethoven with an orchestra, possibly a grand piano, violins and a conductor with baton. It was nothing like that.

He said, ‘it is held at the Olympic Park and fully sold out. We are taking all the kids as well.’ Our neighbour’s kids are grown girls. The Olympic Park is at Home-Bush and was specially built for the Sydney Olympic games in 2000. ‘It’s Adele, he added.’ The ‘missing’ part is that I know very little about fame and its people. Never heard of Adele. I have heard of The Gypsy Kings and The Beatles, but Adele is well below my radar. That is not surprising because I don’t watch much TV or read newspapers. With both forms of media I generally don’t read or watch sport or brush up on any fame. The only recent pop star that I remember is Bieber. ‘Can you make me look a bit like Bieber?’ is what I habitually  ask my barber.  And that is starting to fade as well.

I lack the honesty to admit to my neighbour I had never heard of Adele. There is no lie really. Can omission to not know of a well-known thing be a lie?  I went inside somewhat ashamed for not having continued the neighbourly conversation. He was also in the process of washing his car. The noise of the  garden hose hitting his ducoed car wasn’t helping much of me hearing what was being said. I decided to go inside and seek the help of Helvi in clarification of ‘Adele.’ She is much more on the ball than I.

‘Of course, I have heard of Adele,’ she said. ‘She is a singer and writes music as well.’  I however, had never heard of her. It is well-known that snobbish people often state that their superiority has reached such stellar heights and is so far above everyone else’s, they proclaim, to everyone still patient enough to listen , they know nothing about sport or pop stars.

With me it is not so. I am just quickly dulled by sport or famous pop-stars. My dad was the same. I have his gene. I also don’t know about much else as well, it’s not only sport or pop! In any case. I went back to my neighbour and told him the last concert I went to was a concert of The Gypsy Kings, a long time ago. He was nice about it and told me he still has all their music. So, that was nice. I did not come through the total ignoramus.

Just now I put on a song by Adele and it’s called ‘Hello.’ The neighbour said that at the concert thousands were in tears, sobbing. That’s the power of that  song by Adele. I put it on for Helvi’s benefit. After 20 seconds she asked me to put that screaming woman off.

So, there you go. Different strokes for different folks.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Safari suit.

April 12, 2015
Balmain cottage downstairs room

Balmain cottage downstairs room

We are now going back to a period when our children numbered just two. It was a long time ago. We were living in our second house on Sydney’s Balmain harbour peninsula after having lived in a 1 bedroom apartment in a somewhat  bohemian area called Pott’s Point which is next or part of Kings Cross, Sydney. It was an area of artists, crooks,  prostitutes with sandaled souteneurs, and priests. There were also many delicatessen where one could buy real coffee , prosciutto, cheeses not named ‘tasty’ and books. If I remember correctly there was also special dispensation given to some  Euro-continental shops allowing to stay open after 6pm. It was still frowned upon as decadent by some who tried desperate to uphold decent ‘peace and quiet’ Anglo closed up traditions. This all during the  sixties when our marriage was so young, sprightly and sprouting  first babies.

The one bedroom apartment was soon crowded out with birth of our second daughter. We bought a very old and rickety weather board cottage that just had one large sitting-kitchen-dining-bathroom downstairs and two small bedrooms upstairs. The downstairs would  originally have had rooms but the previous architect owner had taken all walls out leaving just one spacious room that looked out over a glorious and vibrant harbour. In those day it was always sunny.

That the bathroom was part of our sitting area could not have worried architect nor did it us. In the middle of this room was a round wood burning cast- iron heater with the name ‘Broadway’ on it. It was  lined with stone on the inside and as chimney had a large galvanised pipe going through the ceiling and upstairs bedrooms ending finally through both levels  on top of the roof. It was capped by a china- man’s hat to keep out rain.  It heated the whole house during winter with cut up old wooden rail sleepers.The cottage had a waxed wooden floor downstairs and upstairs I painted the floors white. This was a typical workman’s cottage that might have housed some years back, a family with three or four children with a husband who could well have been employed in the stevedoring industry. He might  have smelled of tar, salt and rope each time he arrived home with his wife making tea and his children playing outside.

The harbour in front of this cottage was less than 100 metres away and always busy with towing of large boats of which the house would vibrate each time the propellers reversed. We made own furniture and made do with little.  Milk came in glass bottles and bread by baker doing the rounds announced by barking dogs. Even roosters were still around. We could afford the luxury of a nappy service and had a second hand washing machine of which the only drawback was that the pump had packed it up.  No worries, we sucked on the hose to get the gravity of flow going and let it run into our court yard. That is how it was. Not anymore now.

And at Christmas we had parties and fondues with friends and family sitting on planks suspended between paint drums while listening to the Beatles’ Sargent Pepper or Peter, Paul & Mary  thumping out from home made giant speaker boxes with 12 inch woofers, tweeters and cross-overs. Did we not also drink cheap headache wine squeezed out of bladders but yet into nice fluted glasses?. We would meet and compare the tie dyes. Wives sometimes dressed in pantsuits, men with hair the longer the better,  jeans dangerously flared. The enormous shoulder pads were yet to come, waiting in the wings.  They were the best years but aren’t all years of past the best?

 In Athens

In Athens

During that time when things had settled and some money coming in Helvi decided to visit her family in Finland taking our two young children with her. Our youngest daughter would be carried in a papoose while her sister was old enough to walk at airports  during change- overs while helpful in carrying her own little bag. It was quite a trip from Sydney with another plane to catch in Finland to the closest airport where her family lived. Finland is a huge country,  greater than the UK.

It  was going to be a six weeks holiday and I would be on my own. I could hardly wait for their return but had to do with receiving letters for the time being and the rare phone call. It was a lonely time and I missed my family.

It is then I made a choice that till this day I am still haunted, remembered and reminded of. I bought a wine-red knitted Safari suit. It had flared pants and a double breasted jacket held together with brass gold buttons and a belt of same material above my hips but below armpits with large gold coloured ostentatious looking  buckle. The pants were held up with its own wine red belt made of same knitted material.I also bought  something resembling shoes that were from Egypt and made of rope that was coiled around the toe  and heel  part above the sole with in between the rope arrangement  a  cream leather-like material and  a buckle on top. I completed the whole outfit with a modest gold chain worn unobtrusively but magnificently opulent, around my neck.  My idea was to look a new man or at least a reborn man.  A proud prince of unsurpassed passion and vibrant vitality. I wanted to impress my Helvi. I looked of course a one hit pop star failure, but at the time wasn’t aware of this, blinded as usual by foolish folly.

Finland, just married.

Finland, just married.

I went to the airport on the day of my family’s return to Sydney. All good things come to an end. As my little family passed through customs and into the  arrival hall I spotted them first. The look on my wife’s face was of utter disbelief soon followed by a scowling disapproval. ‘What are you wearing now?’ she said. My daughters too looked frightened. Of course we drove home all excited to be together again but Helvi kept on looking at my suit and shaking her head. I never wore the suit again nor ever shopped for clothes without Helvi having an input. I am fashion blind.

The shoes went into the slow combustion Broadway.