Day on the Green: Florence and the Machine

Dusk’s multicoloured cloak enrobes the hills outside Geelong, softening the dry brown grass hills into something beautiful, a burgeoning moon rising of over the hill. This is when Florence and the Machine take the stage.

A wild will-o-the wisp trips across the stage, a heart and head of burning, fierce joy. Her gossamer wings and tail spinning and swirling across the stage in frenetic exultation.

She entreats us to dance and to love one another in the practiced cadence of a spoken word poet, something childlike in her voice. Ensnaring us in gothic magic, the age-old trappings of song.

The supplicant crowd moves, undulating, swaying, hands clasped and smiling, unrestrained in formless dance. A girl draped over her mother’s hip, bedecked in a flower crown, smiles beatifically at the crowd. Another rides high on her father’s shoulders, silhouetted against the bright stage lights. Babies tucked beneath arms, wrapped in blankets in their carriers, their mothers swaying as the babes slumber on.

As the last notes fade, last sunlight sunk beneath the weight of evening sky, we the crowd file out under soft fairy lights and the stars, carrying away picnic rugs and baskets, throats husky and hearts buoyant from those free moments in the half-dark where we could just embrace the unrestrained joy of being.


The last comedy of Hannah Gadsby

Hannah Gadsby, Nanette: an experience and a lesson

Hamer Hall

Tonight was the last show of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette in Melbourne, a show that has toured the world and international acclaim. I went expecting some incisive comedy and some laughs.

And that’s how the evening began. Jibes at the insensibility of homophobia and the rhetoric, particularly in Australia—Hannah is an excellent mimic of the troglodyte slurs.

Hannah lead us through her life, through the pressure of representing a community, to the skills learnt. That comedy is about building tension, and then breaking it.

What it meant for her life, her sexuality, her experiences and internalised homophobia to be the punchline of the joke. How it drowns out the rest of the story: her mother’s evolution from Hannah’s coming out to the recognition and regrets of failures in her parenting; to the end of the encounter with a man who misgendered her, and then beat her.

How she was broken by her community’s debate of her humanity, her right to exist, both in Tasmania in the 1990s prior to homosexuality being decriminalised in the state and in Australia’s shameful opinion poll on allowing LGBTQI Australians to be treated as second-class citizens. Talking about how she internalised that people she loved thinking she was a pedophile and also the rhetoric from the mainland damning those same people she loved as less than.

When people were implored to think of the children, Hannah points out that most of our lives, we spend thinking of the children, our future, regardless of whether we spawned them. It’s too late for her, she says, but other children like her can be saved.

Hannah is anger and fire as she tells straight white men to pull their socks up, implores us all to be better, in public debate, to each other; to re-embrace our humanity. That she’s leaving comedy because it doesn’t allow her to tell her story and requires her to mine her own trauma for laughs. That she’s leaving us with this tension that has never left her body.

As the lights come up on Hamer Hall, there are sombre faces. I wish everyone in this country was there to see all the red eyes, tears from people (mostly women) being comforted. How pervasive this trauma of othering is, whether because you’re a woman or gay or don’t conform to what some Australians think others should be.

Hannah leaves the audience with carefully curated words from John Farnham purposely to leave us thinking as we file out like sheep.

We’re all someone’s daughter

We’re all someone’s son

How long can we look at each other

Down the barrel of a gun?

Light the Night at Lillydale Lake


Greg and I took a wander at Lillydale Lake Friday afternoon and came across an event we had forgotten was occurring on the public holiday (in honour of football parade–what the hey Victoria?!). Light the Night, an evening walk in honour and to support people with blood cancer.

My grandfather died from his red blood cell leukaemia and we have other friends with blood-related problems. So for us, it was a no-brainer to purchase a lantern and join the walk around the lake in the balmy evening.

What a sight. The lights stretched out behind us for kilometers, each a family or couple there to represent or support someone they loved.

LightTheNight4This evening was only one across the country (except you Perth; yours is next week on the 9th, so get to it). A well organised and well attended event for the Leukaemia Foundation. Congratulations to all involved.

If anyone wants more information about the foundation’s good work, head straight on over to