Discos in the 90’s..

You have been shopping with your mum to find THAT outfit..the one that screams I am unique, but not weird, I am up with fashion, but not quite rocking M.C.Hammer styles, I am confident but not cocky, and most of all this outfit will finally make the popular boy in school notice me, with gold light haloing my ginger head while he ponders our going steady status…first thing Monday morning (at morning tea).

It was indeed 1991, I had my new striped shorts with a shortish white cutoff T, my hair was half up half down (risky), and I was ready for that school hall full of boys, music and sport bottles of fizz, in crates no less* It is in this moment that I can feel myself back in the body of that awkward 11 year old, desperate to make her mark but too scared to ask any questions, step over any lines or ask out any boys, and move in a way that resembles dance. Lets just say that 90% of the disco turn out were doing the side to side shuffle, while the group of confident cocky popular boys, were rocking out the running man, and the running man, and the running man to the soundtrack of Vanilla Ice, as we the girls, watched on in fascination while looking disinterested at the same time…total skill* So a few shuffles into the night and with a nervous possum light gaze secured upon my face, I walk across the room to buy a cola, wondering if my butt wobbles too much, if my socks are too high, or if my every step is being analysed by the row of people I have to walk past, in order to get to the tuck shop. Here I hand over my 50cent sweat swimming coin, take my cola, then heaven forbid open and drink the bloody thing looking poised, cool and…shit I have no one standing beside me anymore* Cue floor open…jump…hide…tap my new shoes, home home home*

And while my discos should have ideally looked like this..



…they actually were more like this (ignoring that this pic is from the 50’s),

disco shy


those giggling girls and macho boys all trying to find their way through hormones, growing boobs, sweat and hair in new places..how do we all manage this mind warping time of our lives.

What amazes me the most is the music I remember more vividly than anything from pivotal points throughout my life…Pour some sugar on me (age 9 @ primary school), Ice Ice baby accompanied by the running man (age 11), Know your enemy (age 14 first pair of Doc’s), Have you really ever loved a woman (age15..boyfriend 1), Funk soul brother (age 19…art school), MIA paper planes (age 30 recently divorced, in town, tequila shots). Our lives are soundtracks that are on shuffle, any of these potent tracks play, we are transported straight back to that memory of time, held in our consciousness with all the associated goods, like an automatic reflex* In this we can never escape memory, we can move past it but not away from it, there will always be a song, a boy, a girl, a place, a beach, a first kiss, that is at home in our being, and jumps out from time to time to give us a jolt. Some of these jolts are as uncomfortable as that disco hall and others feel like a warm shiver, tantalising and familiar.

When I was 15 I went to my first school ball with my first real boyfriend, I was so badass as he was 19, had a job and a car and was about to go flatting. I was a shy ginga afro geek, but rocking my black Doc Martens with my ball dress. Weirdly I have absolutely no memory of the event, like a sambuca infused night I went, I danced, I spoke, I went home….I woke up and thought what happened* I can only explain it as fear and excitement driving my memory to the nether regions of my mind, as I went into auto pilot and came out the other side! Ahh those were the days of such all consuming joy taking over the body along with hormonal sensations and first love* Love songs till midnight and sneaking packs of cigarettes to be popular, Pearl Jam concerts and Michael J Fox movies. I loved the freedom I felt (but didn’t really have), the risks I took, the boredom of long weekends and the chocolate raisins I ate and tea I drank when I got home from a late shift at St Lukes and hopped into bed to watch Felicity on a Friday night at 930 :)…the world was turning and I was spinning..still am, just in the body of a 36 year old with a few grey hairs making a regular guest appearance.

Anyway..having graduated from Discos to Balls to Concerts in the space of the 90’s was a mammoth effort and what I really didn’t get until I was 25, were all the potential opportunities missed through fear of blushing or asking the wrong question (equaling humiliation), that would actually kill me right there as I stood…no jokes. My body therefore got me through my teenage life at high school, my brain was in there somewhere too on auto pilot, as my shy demeanor made me easy target ‘A’ as the bullying and shame that came with high school worsened. I persevered..I wanted to be an artist so focused on my painting and listened to my art teachers, spent hours in the darkroom where I bought to life what I saw through my lens and was truly happy in those moments of me, (and by the by did NOT attend any more school related ‘dances’). At 17 I started my Arts Degree and the so called daily Disco in this world was something else all together..Mohawks, Studded collars, Nick Cave wannabes, Feral beings living on rice, Tech savvy jargon loving gurus, all coming together to drink, smoke and use language they didn’t understand in order to make a statement and be crowned the most ‘ARTY’. The disco here was one you weren’t invited too it just was..everyday, in a different looking hall with different looking people, sitting on grungy couches wearing painting dungarees* I was introduced to Bfm, The Chemical Brothers,  Daft Punk, Che Fu, Leonard Cohen, Bob Marley and Patti Smith, and I was content in my studio absorbing sounds from afar,  anonymous and happy while no one watched.

So here’s to all of us who have been there, conquered or survived, coming out the other side to do the same in adult life…now this is many ways is more daunting than that disco, we move out of home, pay bills, are accountable, try to make relationship work, and career and children. So lets remember that someone watching or not, just dance and this track may just be the potion you needed prescribing*

Daft Punk-Lose yourself to dance*


To multitask is to cope…

What is multitasking? It is the way you can tie your shoes and your child’s in unison, juggle 4 different means of technology while holding a half conversation, eating on your lap while sewing a kids uniform back together, working while socialising with your colleague and checking your bank account for those all important $$$, cooking with a babe at your hip, having the washing on and checking English homework.


I pride myself on being a mean multitasker and in reality most of us are, but the way in which we multitask changes, along with the context of our lives. It is the only way I cope with the dawn to dusk waking hours in my house, and I wish at times I had a day to manage nothing but my bath, a coffee and the ability to listen to sweet sweet music full volume, that doesn’t sound like this dude Old MacDonald and his EIEIO farm, (complete with seal, donkey and elephants c/o me).

The truth is I am out of my comfort zone and trying to manage the best I can, however dealing with two children and two home businesses takes its toll. Netflix, WordPress and the car are my best friends at present. The handy swift takes me and the kids out into the world, providing a safe capsule that my toddler cannot escape from, while I inhale a muffin and absorb my caffeine, then high tail it off to a fenced playground or Nana’s house, where I do not have an anxiety attack over all the housework and the newly designed playdoh carpet. This last sentence spells out alot, the fact that I have anxiety, that I struggle with a mess (clogs up my brain), and that I feel like I need to escape in order to feel a little peace. Life with children is just bloody hard, plain and simple, and to escape this is pointless. Regardless of how much we can juggle we all fall sometimes and fly sometimes and I am on a steep learning curve with this one.

This is how I imagined life to be in 2016..472275811

and this is how it actually is..



So as I still envisage myself to be a zen multitasking mother that embraces all light positivity and patience, I will settle for knowing that everyone is fed, warm, loved and alive the next day pulling me out of bed to watch Peppa pig, feed me left over toast and shit in their pants just as I am ready to walk out the door for school drop. It is bliss on a stick, and I wouldn’t change it for Jane Austen….ok maybe for a few hours.

As I started this piece I thought lets Wiki* and came up with this article that speaks volumes to my radar of familiarity, Why Multitasking is killing your brain…I am screwed. I fall into all these categories of small frequent tasks and neural addictive qualities…hence my sentences when spoken outloud are often a product of dyslexic mumble which is highly entertaining for the person trying to make a little English out of the mess. So the exert goes;

“This constant task-switching encourages bad brain habits. When we complete a tiny task (sending an email, answering a text message, posting a tweet), we are hit with a dollop of dopamine, our reward hormone. Our brains love that dopamine, and so we’re encouraged to keep switching between small mini-tasks that give us instant gratification.This creates a dangerous feedback loop that makes us feel like we’re accomplishing a ton, when we’re really not doing much at all (or at least nothing requiring much critical thinking). In fact, some even refer to email/Twitter/Facebook-checking as a neural addiction.” Larry Kim, Founder and CTO, WordStream.

Considering I am mother to a toddler I feel that I fall into the ‘small tasks=frequent gratification=happy mum’ category, who is very ok with a little dopamine fix. The idea that we actually achieve less when trying to achieve more rings pretty true, think about the washing that sits in the machine toooo long…the coffee never drunk as you pull out those weeds…the bath overflowing while you cook dinner…cracks me up that I actually create more stress by trying to create less 🙂

It seems to be the human condition that every time one part of your life seems to be jamming to its own sweet multitasking self, another is going to reveal itself in all its stressful glory, almost as if we are prewired to create more work, more drama, more more more everything. I am on a mission to return to the former glory of my cup of tea days, where I allow more, I forgive more,  I look more and create more, and in doing so reach that beautiful point of never ending discovery quietly calling my name.



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