Happiness as Anarchy #253: Going out with my small people

It’s the second day of 38 degrees and everyone is tired from the first week back at school. Hot, sweaty and tired, we tootled off to a delightful gig lead by one of my favourite musicians, Melbourne guitarist Jon Delaney. Gypsy jazz and jazzy Beach Boys played beautifully in a wonderful room. The small people enjoyed it more than I thought and we’ve all come home inspired and with full hearts. There is so much joy in sharing music together.
Here’s a tune they played tonight – Le valse des niglos (The Waltz of the Hedgehogs)

Happiness as Anarchy #251: Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
“Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n’y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n’y a plus rien à retrancher.”

Wisdom from Antoine de Saint-Exupery in his memoir Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars), published in 1938. He is most famous for his beautiful tale, in the guise of a children’s book, Le Petit Prince. It has been one of my favourite books since I was tiny and even more delightful since I could read it in French.

Happiness as Anarchy #250: Big Bad Banksia Men

Banksia plants are terribly interesting, from the dark green of their upper leaves, to the soft pale green of the underside, their knobbly trunks and intricate, large flowers. For such a spiky looking tree, the inner part of the flower stalk is remarkably soft like velvet. I spotted a coastal banksia recently with curious lumps on its flower heads – some kind of disease or parasite, but aesthetically very pleasing.
(Big Bad Banksia men are the villains in the classic Australian children’s book Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.)

Happiness as Anarchy #249: Trailer Acrobatics

The last of three trips of things from under the old house had a trailer filled with furniture, a large bag of rubbish and some cinder blocks. We didn’t need to unpack, just to take the trailer off the car so I can nip off to work tomorrow. Thinking (foolishly) that it was balanced, I straddled one of the front bars and pulled it off the towball, which shot me into the air and left me suspended off the ground like a performer in a removalist circus act. Lucky I was holding firmly onto the handle or I may have been catapulted over the fence. Twas quite hilarious for both me and my young helper. In hindsight, there is no doubt that the blocks in the back of the trailer were significantly heavier than the furniture in the front.

Happiness as Anarchy #247: Meeting Real People

I’m always curious to find out how real people are. Especially famous people. It’s hard to tell if they’re putting on a show or if the show is genuine. This question accompanied me on my drive to Melbourne this morning to meet Amanda Palmer at a workshop for artists. How would she be in real life? As real as she seems in her book (that I’ve read twice) or not?
There was not even a sniff of disappointment – she is a very grounded, strong, warm person – very real. I’m delighted to have spent a few hours in her company.

Happiness as Anarchy #246: Stevie Wonder on the road

Cruising the highway on a long weekend requires some funky music. My 14 year old took it upon himself to select the music for today’s cruise to the beach and we ended up with two hours of Stevie Wonder. It is excellent driving music – funky, interesting, happy and energetic. I think I need to give Stevie some more airtime in my aural life.

‘Sir Duke’ is one of my favourite tunes, and I like live this version – it’s slightly rough around the edges, but has a real energy to it.