Sunday nights

On Sunday nights I force my family to sit together in front of a single screen

We share turns picking a film to watch and sometimes I bribe my kids to sit with me by buying snacks.

It’s not always easy but it’s great sometimes.

The film has quickly become secondary to sitting together.

It’s good to throw my arms around the kids.

And it’s magic when I lock eyes with Jo and feel surrounded by love.

Considering musicals

Two of my kids saw a production of Legally Blonde at Griffith Regional Theatre earlier this year as part of their high school excursion

My son has been involved in a number of large musical productions and didn’t say much more than “it was okay.”

I didn't really pick up at the time that my daughter Neve said it was her first musical.

If I had I might’ve been prompted to remember seeing Pirates of Penzance while in primary school and adoring the songs.

By year seven I was acting in a high school musical in Canberra, which won a peace prize and was attended by the Governor General.

Anyway, last week I noticed Neve was watching Legally Blonde on Youtube and it turns out she's been watching it a lot.

This led me to realise how little opportunity local kids have to see a variety of arts in regional NSW and appreciate that Griffith City Council are creating opportunities for students outside of their shire boundary.

Neve and I have been talking over the weekend about musicals and last night she asked “What does it mean when people break into song in a musical?”

The magic realism of those moments — music realism? — led me to remember the wonderful musical episode of Buffy, in which a curse means the characters can’t help but to express their innermost thoughts through song.

Within the musical genre music is a method of exposition that is part of a tradition going back to the choruses of ancient Greece.

I wonder if musicals also illustrate the creative expression that people often describe as a benefit of the arts.

This leads me to remember this wonderful observation about poetry from Harrison Young:
Poetry is full of metaphor, and metaphor is where one thing means another, it is saying two things at once. And this to my mind is like reality, there are often two aspects. Or more.

The role of the arts seems to be diminishing in contemporary society and I worry it will be to the detriment of our abilities to hold a range of views and see issues from other perspectives.

Art has an important role in building empathy as the viewer assumes the perspective of the artist.

Holding the front page

Years ago I was excited when they ran my photos on the front page, so I was stoked to find myself on the cover this week

You can read their story about the Big Guitar recordings here.

Another good piece on that project was on this German website.

Fathers Day

Another year as a parent and I'm prompted to reflect on my role as Fathers Day passes

Many years ago I learned that to be a father was more than donating biological material to a child.

I'd had this idea to write a sensational article about the opportunity to donate sperm and even pitched it to the editor of the student newspaper as important because educated donors could raise the IQ in the general population.

She wasn't impressed, telling me that was eugenics, but encouraged me to write the article.

It was interesting experience and a little unsettling when the hospital told me my sperm count wasn't high enough for them to accept my donation.

Then years later when I fell in love with my partner, I convinced her that we should have children.

The results have been amazing but I won't dwell here on our offspring, because I am convinced that it is an important step in personal development.

There's a shift in one's thinking to accommodate others, that leads to letting go of some ego and opening the heart.

There is also a profound shift in revisiting experiences of the child-parent relationship but this time as the parent.

For me that has involved shifting a lot of resentment that developed in my teenage years.

Those experiences where I felt slighted and even neglected took on a scale proportionate to my self-centred young mind.

In more recent years I've been able to look back and reconsider what might have been going on for my parents at those times.

They were separated and doing what they could.

I can see that my father's emotional distance might have reflected his own relationship to his father.

And now I find myself kinda marvelling at how calmly he managed various situations.