Steel Determination

Emily takes on the might of The Black Ferns 2018

My job takes me to many different locations. Not only around Sydney and NSW but Australia wide. Obviously, there’s an opportunity to meet a lot of different people, but rarely do you meet someone like Emily Robinson.

On the job for the Waratahs 2011

We crossed paths on a work site at Kemps Creek a few weeks ago. She portrayed herself as an enthusiastic, hard working type who’s keen to get on with the task at hand. But with all that aside, I hadn’t the faintest idea that Emily plays rugby union and greater still, has played for Australia!

Ambition begins at the Narrabeen Tigers!

Originally from Manchester in the UK, Emily moved to Australia with her family when she was just six years old. Of course, being a former “Man U” resident, Emily had a keen interest in soccer much to the delight of her father. But after the Robinson’s took up residency on the northern beaches, Emily was introduced to another game.

Wallaroos in pre-match ceremonies prior to the world cup fixture against Japan in 2019 world cup.

Emily’s passion for the game of rugby began when she was nine years old. She suited up for the Narrabeen Tigers and played in the boys competition until she was 13. Since there was no woman’s competition a frustrated Emily was then forced to quit the game she loved. It was three years later as a sixteen year old that Emily found an opportunity with the Warringah Rats in the competition known as the Jack Scott cup. Then injury hit and Emily had to endure consecutive knee reconstructions over the next two seasons.

It’s a tough game. But a broken nose was never going to stop Emily.

Remaining undeterred despite her injuries, Emily then decided upon what she believed to be, an achievable goal. Which was to make the Wallaroos squad and represent Australia. All of which took a step closer in 2011 when she was picked for the Sydney representative team. In 2014 her dream was almost realized after she was picked for the Australian World Cup squad. Then injury raised it’s ugly head again and Emily had to endure another knee reconstruction.

But despite all the adversity she faced, Emily’s determination stayed hard like the steel she works with and in 2016 she was again selected to play for her country. This was followed by the news that Emily would make her Australian debut against the Black Ferns at Eden Park on October 22nd.

Emily and another debutant in utility back Shontelle Stowers. Shontelle also plays for Warringah.

Most of us would say that Emily had one hell of a dream. But that dream, through hard work became reality with a career spanning twelve years. But the most important thing to remember is, it was Emily who made it all happen. Of course, having a boss that understands your passion is a big help. Emily is employed as a steel rigger with AWI Steel Fabrication. Managing director Paul Mirabito has been very understanding with regards to Emily’s ambition and his flexibility with her hours etc. has been a contributing factor to her success. 

Aspiring players in any sport, often need guidance and inspiration. Sometimes it’s just a few words from someone who has been “there” and done “that”! For Emily, it was a great advantage to have regular contact with great players like Tui Ormsby an Australian fly-half. Another Wallaroo in the shape of Cheryl Soon, who also played half. Chris Ross, who is originally from the United States represented Australia in the 2010 World Cup.

What was once a dream is now reality.

However, with all the success Emily has enjoyed, I find most of the inspiration is in her will and relentless determination. I could quote pages of cliches but the greatest thing to remember when chasing your own dream is “if it gets too hard, you don’t want it bad enough”.  To her credit, Emily never gave up! The agony she went through with three knee reconstructions and the rehabilitation afterwards would have ended the dream for a lot of potential champions. But that’s what separates a champion from the rest. To her credit, Emily never let her determination wane, she never lost focus on what was needed and the rest is history.

The picture says it all.

From a personal perspective I’m proud to have met Emily and grateful that she allowed me to write this article. Her achievements are truly inspirational and I hope in the years to come, that people like her tell their stories. So that anyone chasing a dream can hear it and hopefully be inspired enough ” to give it a crack and have a go”! Because for me, achieving your dream is the track to true happiness. 

THE KEY TO YOUR SOUL

There’s no denying it! Well not in my opinion anyway, that music is the key to the soul. And I’ve often said, that it’s not always about the music itself, but where it takes you. Lyrics that are essentially about love or hate can often be muted by a great riff or melody that takes the listener to a completely different place.

Ledzeppellin iii
One of the greatest bands of all time

I first heard this album in 1971 after my brother purchased a copy. I was just ten years old and I fell in love with it immediately. To this day, I still think that track 4 on side 2 “Bron -Yr-Stomp” offers one of the greatest examples of the acoustic guitar of all time. Even just the thought it still sends a chill up my spine.

Variety is the spice of life.

Don’t Pigeon Hole Your Taste

I don’t care if you’re 8 or 80! There are no rules controlling a musical taste. Regardless of what you’re into, just remember that every style, every genre and every niche exists because someone likes it! Who cares when you were born, don’t limit yourself to just the music of that era. One of the great things about music is that it keeps offering up new artists who offer new styles. The new stuff can be enjoyed too!

A Tune Can Never Be Destroyed

Obviously, you’ll have your own thoughts regarding the world’s greatest gift. But mine are pretty well summed up in the Michael Leunig cartoon below.

Vinyl Keeps Spinning

Some of My Collection

I remember the first two vinyl albums I purchased were The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Not long after I bought Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John. This was partially due to my thoughts about the end of the world. One day the earth could be attacked by a force of ruthless aliens that destroy everything in their path. So upon discovering my decrepit remains, they would at least find three of the greatest albums ever produced in my collection.

On Sgt Peppers, A Day In The Life inspires a variety of emotions. From the grand to the sad and the dark. Regardless of where your emotions go, it is truly an exceptional album. But we all know it didn’t stop there for the Beatles. They went on to produce some of the most influential music of the twentieth century.

Dark Side of the Moon, I always thought was a groundbreaking release. The special effects used, produce a sound that at the time was just unparalleled creativity. The music from this album remains as popular and as relevant now as it was upon release in 1973. For a truly great musical experience, listen to Time and see where it takes you!!

The track titled Funeral For a Friend on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is without a doubt an absolute masterpiece. The introduction is as haunting as it is beautiful and the transition to the song Love Lies Bleeding is absolute perfection. The entire album like the others I think, make up three of the greatest contributions to the world of music of all time.

Some Alternative Vibes

The Pixies

One of the great things I love about alternative music is that it is different and not held within the bounds of the commercial taste. I was introduced to The Pixies by a friend who’s actually a professional photographer on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Up until that point I had never heard of them! But from that moment on, I think my taste in music took a giant step forward. Simply because The Pixies opened my mind to the “outside the square” alternatives.

Indy Cindie
Indie Cindie released 2014

As far as I’m concerned they are one of the greatest contributors to the alternative music scene. I have featured below, what I believe to be three of their greatest musical achievements. Surfa Rosa is the album that even if you’re only a partial Pixies fan, you have to have it. Tracks such as Gigantic and Broken Face are the results of creative minds stepping outside the realms of reality.

But the song that really did it for me on this album is Where is My Mind which is also on the soundtrack of the classic movie Fight Club. Some say that the Pixies front-man Frank Black was just dedicating a song to scuba diving when he wrote this. Then others say it’s about getting your head right if you don’t like what’s in it. Personally, it takes me to a place of true bliss and paradise.

Other favorite Pixies tracks include Gouge Away, Debaser and Monkey Gone to Heaven from the Doolittle album. Not forgetting Is She Weird, Cecilia Ann (a fantastic instrumental piece)and All Over The World from the Bossanova album. I saw The Pixies play at the Sydney Opera House in May 2014 and that concert remains one of the greatest musical events that I’ve ever witnessed.

Breakaway Material

Outside of The Pixies, Frank Black has done quite a few albums under his own name and also Black Francis. The one shown here is an absolute “must-have” for any collection, not just alternative. Tracks such as Calistan, Two Spaces, and Old Black Dawning confirm that Frank Black really is a bottomless pit of talent.

The Breeders was initially Kim Deal‘s part-time project when she wasn’t doing a Pixies gig. Then she left the band and created a sensation of her own. The Last Splash is the second album from The Breeders and it’s pretty much what you’d expect from someone who was a major contributor to a band like The Pixies. The whole album is bliss to listen to, with tracks like Cannonball, and Divinehammer stamping The Breeders as a class act. But the song that really does it for me is Driving on 9. Here’s an array of masterful harmonies with a string accompaniment that satisfies a vast array musical tastes.

Some Real Heavy Rock N Roll

The Song Remains The Same is a masterful concoction, of rock n roll and special effects that culminate in a creation that lies somewhere between heavy rock and in a form, classical. I saw this performance via the film of the same title that was staged at Madison Square Garden USA in 1976.

One of the greatest guitarists ever, Jimmy Page is at his best and this live version of Whole Lotta Love is extraordinary. Of course, Robert Plant provides an astonishing performance as always through his vocals. The performance of Dazed and Confused where Page plays his guitar with a bow, produces some mesmerizing effects that are truly unforgettable.

I’m not sure if Ozzie Osborne was really Paranoid at this stage of his career but even if he was it didn’t affect the quality of heavy metal music on this album. It was released in September 1970. Three tracks on this album are stand-outs for me. Being, Iron Man, War Pigs and of course the title track Paranoid. Black Sabbath albums are not always standard content in the basic music collection, but this one should be.

One of the greatest riffs of all time and probably the best known is the Smoke On The Water intro. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Deep Purple twice. On both occasions, the venue was the Sydney Entertainment Center. The first time was 1983 and the second was some 27 years later in 2010.

The only original member present at the 2010 gig was front-man Ian Gillan who joined the band in 1969. Live in Japan is one of the greatest rock n roll/heavy metal contributions of all time. For my liking, Lazy is a standout but Highway Star and of course Smoke On The Water are true classics of the genre.

Some 27 Tragedies

Unfortunately, we have lost some great musicians over the years. Whether it was drug or alcohol-related, is of minor significance to me. The tragedy is that they went at such an early age, 27. The 27 club as it’s known, began with a blues singer in the shape of Robert Johnson.

Legend has it that Johnson made a deal with the devil in exchange for exceptional talent. But the real demon might have been his thirst for alcohol and the bitterness of a jealous husband who allegedly poisoned him. That was in 1938 and since then the world has lost Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones in 1969, Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson from Canned Heat in 1970.

Also in 1970, we lost Jimi Hendrix to a combination of red wine and sleeping tablets. Followed by Janis Joplin to heroin also in 1970. Then Jim Morrison moved on in 1971. Apparently through a heart attack but many say it was an accidental overdose of heroin. Adding to these tragedies, Kurt Cobain shot himself in 1994 and we lost the great Amy Winehouse to alcohol poisoning in 2011.

But their contribution to the music world will keep their memory alive for all eternity. On this occasion, I have listed just three artists. Mainly because they all moved in on in the same era, the 70’s.

Jim Morrison, the “frontman” for the doors was known for his unmistakable voice and his unique lyrics. Jim clocked off from the world after LA Woman, but at least he left on high a note. There are four tracks on this album that to me, made The Doors legendary songwriters. The first being Riders On The Storm, then Love Her Madly, Been So Long and of course LA Woman. I must also mention another Jim Morrison classic from the Strange Days album and is, of course, People Are Strange. And they often are!

Janis Joplin to me was an iconic musician and songwriter who had one of the most unmistakable voices I’ve ever heard. The band Big Brother and The Holding Company got her career started in 1966. The power in her voice stands the test of time and will continue to do so for all eternity. My favorite songs from this artist include Move Over, Summertime, the great classic Me and Bobby McGee and Ball and Chain.

Jimi Hendrix had a career that basically lasted just four years. More than just a rare talent, but rather a guitar innovator who turned distortion into an art form. Like his predecessor, Robert Johnson, you could be forgiven for assuming that he made a deal with the devil also. His music is priceless and so are the guitars that he once owned.

My Hendrix classics are as follows: Voodoo Child, Machine Gun, Ezy Ryder, Purple Haze and Highway Child. He has an album titled The Jimi Hendrix Experience and that’s exactly what it is. An experience! But I think you could say that about all of his creations. I just wish that I could say I witnessed one of his concerts.

Kurt Cobain was in my opinion the King of Grunge music and few would disagree. He was the frontman, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana. They say that his behaviour was mostly anti-establishment and his lyrics were fueled by angst. Well “they,” say a lot, don’t they!! I don’t really care what inspired his lyrics or fueled his passion for the genre. I just know what I like. And I like this album. Nevermind was released in 1991 and I had to have it.

“So here we are now, entertain us” and that’s exactly what this album did for me. Songs like Smells Like Teen Spirit don’t get created too often and in my mind, they inspire chaos! I suppose that’s what makes them so popular. The whole album offers a wealth of talent that makes Nevermind one of the benchmark albums in the grunge scene.

So that’s a wrap on this article. Please keep on eye on this site as there will be more to follow. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts regarding music. Now go and find some new stuff to listen to.

UPSTAIRS AT FREDS HAS IT ALL

Camden’s obscure haven. Offering great food, great staff and great music.

Anyone residing in the Macarthur area knows where Upstairs At Fred’s is situated. That’s right, it’s that enormous sweeping verandah atop of the old Whiteman’s building. Fred’s has been doing its best to offer Camden a venue with a difference since 2015 and I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until recently that I actually checked it out for myself.

Upon arrival there is the awe of history with beautiful ceilings and fireplaces. While this does look so grand it also gave me the feeling that it might of been styled to appease the more conservative patron. But I soon discovered that nothing could be further from the truth.

The crew at Fred’s are, as I discovered very passionate about the key to the soul. That’s right, music! This venue has hosted independent acts such as The Dardi Shades, Bleeding Knees Club, The Shang, The Chats and many more. Check out facebook for upcoming gigsRecently I was fortunate to capture the maiden gig of local band Zucchini Soup.

Zucchini Soup is a trio combination of guitarists in Gregor MacKenzie, Aaroon McLoon both members of local outfit “The Swingin Old Fellas”. The third member, is fresh talent to the local music scene in the shape of Paula Bonocorso. Despite her inexperience, Paula conveys confidence in her performance through superb vocal tones. She also performs her own take on the classic Waifs track “Lighthouse” and adds such passion through her voice that the song has virtually become her own. Collectively, this outfit more than holds it own, presenting classic blues songs from the deep south to Santana and Ed Sherwin numbers. Zucchini Soup will certainly perform again at Fred’s in the near future but in the interim they have a gig at the Green Valley Hotel in early December. Date to be confirmed.

Finally, in addition to great music in a truly classy environment, Upstairs At Freds has a chef that is insanely passionate about the cuisine he offers. Beautifully prepared dishes include a superb tapas menu, burgers and kids treats. But essentially, Fred’s is not designed to be a family venue. Children are most welcome during daylight hours but come Friday or Saturday night, book the babysitter.

The best service at Fred’s.

So come Upstairs to Fred’s. Enjoy a great range of beer, wine and spirits all of which are served by friendly professional staff. And most importantly, get the music in you!!

YOUR LOCAL FLORIST SAYS IT ALL

The Butterflies Florist in Camden

There doesn’t have to be a reason to show someone you care. You need not wait for a birthday, anniversary or special occasion to remind someone how much they mean to you. Flowers are the perfect way to express the words that so often elude us.

“THE FLAMINGO PINK”

The standard range of floral arrangements includes “Tutti Fruity” and “Flamingo Pink” pictured above but it doesn’t stop there. Did you have a night out with the boys, before arriving home in the wee small hours of the morning? There’s tension in the kitchen and an apology expected, but you’re at a loss for words! The Butterflies Florist offer a range of gifts that are specifically tailored to convey exactly what you want to say. What words often can’t say, but flowers can. And all is forgiven. The Butterfiles Florist is open six days per week with delivery.

The Service Doesn’t Stop There.

Add some effect with balloons.

When It’s All Happening

The twins are turning nine or perhaps it’s your turn to host the under eight’s end of season party. Maybe your daughter has found the man of her dreams and there’s an engagement to celebrate. Could be a 21st, a 50th or even a christening! Whatever the event maybe, why not add to the fun with balloons.

Make everybody happy.

The Butterflies Florist offer a range of balloons to suit every occasion. Everything from “Lollipop, Hoop Frame, Flower shaped and more. So don’t be caught short on that special occasion and take advantage of the expertise on offer at Butterlies Florist Camden.

Camden’s Great Value Cafe

The cafe that suits everyone.

Whether it’s a long black, a latte or just a flat white. If you’re anything like me, you like to start your day with a great cup of coffee. The GCM Cafe in Camden’s main street has it all.

The staff are not only friendly, but are also talented baristas that ensure your “heart starter” is exactly the way you like it. I’ve sampled most of the offerings in Camden’s local cafes and at $5.50 the GCM’s large size (16 fluid oz) mug is the best value. Not only that, when you ask for “extra” hot coffee, that’s exactly what you get! Add the convenient location, which is right next to the National Bank, the friendly service, and your day kicks off the right way.

The Menu has it all

GCM has revamped its menu and regardless of what time of day it might be, there’s something for every taste and preference.

Outside of the food options shown in the images above, there’s also a great range of pies, sausage rolls, muffins and soups. If you’re thinking healthy breakfast, why not indulge in some GCM muesli and yogurt with berries. There’s also croissants, soups and a range of cold beverages including smoothies and milkshakes.

Take a seat and chill out.

It’s a lot more than just take away! If you’d like to enjoy a coffee and a meal in house, the staff at GCM are more than happy to have you as their guest. Soak up some sun and relax in the courtyard at the rear of the building if you feel like it. Or escape rainy days and stay inside. You will find the atmosphere vibrant yet relaxing, with every staff member wearing a smile. So start your day or do lunch, maybe swing by for an afternoon cuppa and a muffin. Whatever your taste or time frame take advantage of GCM, the best value cafe in Camden.