The 1975 @ The Amplifier

Having been brought up in a relatively small, out of the way (see: bogan) town in north Queensland, experiencing all the wonders of live music is still a novelty to me. The biggest band to come to my hometown when I was young was Evermore… need I say more?

(Side note: the Evermore concert was small enough that it was in the foyer of the auditorium rather than on a real stage, I jarred my finger on the lead singer’s guitar, and my cousin got backstage with no difficulty to tell the band that he liked their “shiny pants.”)

This, coupled with my perpetual state of being penny-less thanks to being a student (and an impulse buyer of very stupid, useless items) has been the driving force for my lack of experience with live music. 

Which means that when I do get to see bands play live, I am almost uncontrollably excited.

Last night, I got to see one of my favorite new bands, The 1975. They are a genre-ambiguous Manchester four-piece whose music (SKIP THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ THE MOST CLICHED CLICHE THERE IS) really speaks to me.

Purely because I had such a lovely, lovely night and that in itself deserves its own celebration as a pocket of a few unforgettable hours, I thought that I would write about it here.

Getting into the concert itself was a wonderful fluke — having no money for tickets, I didn’t think I would be able to see them. Four hours before the concert was set to start, through connections with connections, I was able to get in for free under the proviso that I pretend to be a writer for a music magazine doing a review on the concert.

I am a rubbish liar, so up until the very front of the line (which, being the inexperienced North Queensland-bred girls we are, we were in for an hour and a half before we should have been, and actually lined up at the wrong door anyway) I was having a small freak out to my friend, Tahlia. I thought that she should pretend to be me pretending to be a reviewer to get into the concert while I pretended to be her, but she successfully convinced me that making the web of small lies bigger is the stupidest thing to do, and that I should just stop being such a wuss. We got in, no problem. 

The Amplifier, where the concert was held, is an amazing venue in Perth. It seems to open up into more and more rooms as you walk through, so that there are DJ spots, indoor and outdoor bar rooms, V.I.P areas, an overhanging upstairs and a live music stage and standing area all tucked away; a marked improvement from the front entrance of a small amphitheatre, thank you very much, Evermore.

The warm up band was pretty great, albeit unable to get the crowd moving. They were No Doubt if No Doubt toed the line between punk rock and all out rock a little more, and if Gwen Stefani rocked an outfit somewhere between Clueless and generic goth. 

By the time The 1975 advanced onto the stage, I was ready to wet my pants with excitement. So, I definitely fit in with the cooler-than-thou crowd…

Living up to their quickly growing reputation, The 1975 played amazingly. They were truly brilliant performers. The small venue was perfect for allowing the facades put on in a usual performance to fall away, effectively eradicating the boundary between performers and the audience in a way that more than allowed for direct interaction between. It was a very intimate performance, one they were evidently not used to, with lead singer Matt Healy saying to the crowd at one point that he was about to go back stage with the band, only to return when we shouted for more, as he did at the rest of their concerts, but that he had decided against it this time as there was only a tiny room and a table back there, which would make them look like “douchebags.”

Matt Healy, coupled with a cigarette and ever-present bottle of red wine, exuded stage persona and sexual charisma in a way that was eerily reminiscent of Michael Hutchence. 

Late in the show, the crowd chanted for a fan favorite song, titled Sex, until Healy laughed and stopped them, telling the girls that they were confusing the hell out of the boyfriends they had dragged along by yelling “we want sex!”

It was the kind of concert, small and enveloping, where you lose yourself in the music and the general atmosphere and just enjoy what is right in front of you and all around you rather than letting your mind wander. They captured the attention of the crowd in their opening number and didn’t release it until their last.

It was a wonderful night, with music that was one-part dense with very Tumblr-esque lyrics that made you want to run off and get a nautical tattoo (but brilliant, nonetheless) and one-part beats that took you up, up and away.

All in all, the 1975 performing intimately and engagingly to a couple of hundred people beat the hell out of my previous live music experience. Evermore, eat your heart out.

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The Beauty of Exercise: From the Perspective of an Unfit, Unmotivated Girl

For a good part of my 18 years thus far on this earth, I have been in rigorous training for the life of a coach potato.

Many said I could never do it, that I could never be that lazy and unproductive… but I showed them. Oh, I showed them.

I have never liked exercise more strenuous or involving greater distances than the walk from the couch to the fridge. Nor have I ever felt enthused at the idea of running around an oval, or lifting up heavy objects for the hell of it. I always came last in cross country, even when I tried my very best (which is really no different from my laziest: I’m very unfit). 

If it were possible, I’d be lapped in a hundred metre race. I really would. 

I never understood the people who would encourage me to exercise. To be honest, I thought they were all raving mad. Worse were the people who ate healthily — no chocolate??!? VEGETABLES?!?! What madness is that!

But I’m a changed (wo)man.

Well, I still eat a lot of crappy food, struggle with beans, and get puffed on stairs but I’m in the process of changing, okay! Leave me be!

I actually really enjoy exercising now. I’m still super unfit, so there is no running. Actually, I hate running and I may always hate running, no matter my fitness. It hurts my boobs and I always think that I can feel my brain bouncing around in my skull. Is that a weird thing to think? Maybe I shouldn’t have said it. Well, it’s out there now. (There is a backspace key? What? No one ever told me!)

But I ride much more often now (which makes that expensive bike that I bought then left untouched in the garage for seven months MUCH more worth it) and I love long walks. I’m also getting more active with sports like basketball (which I coach) and soccer (which I play against my two little siblings and my dog… they always win).

For someone who is a very anxious person and who can easily get weighed down by the BS like me, exercise is really beneficial. I find that I can get absolutely lost when I exercise (figuratively and literally — thank god for Apple Maps). I stop worrying and just let it all go. I feel much happier for it, every time.

And that is the great thing about it – every time I don’t feel like going for a walk or a ride (which is the vast majority of the time) I remember how great I felt every other time I send screw it and just went. I’m lucky enough to be very near the ocean and have easy access to a gorgeous bike/walking path that is frequented by many cute guys. So whether its my view of the ocean, or of the guy in front of me (I like beautiful things, what can I say), I always see or experience something that makes me smile. So I never regret going for a walk or ride. 

Seriously though, this is my view:

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I also find that as I walk, I see really lovely things. Whether its a mum teaching her son to ride a bike, or a sweet moment for a couple overlooking the sunset, I always end up feeling warm and fuzzy inside. 

There are two different walking styles for me: long, lovely walks by myself where I just relax and let go, and shorter, hilarious walks with my friend. 

Although the walks I take with my friend are much shorter, they burn as much energy just through the laughter we share. I thoroughly recommend walking with a friend, especially if you don’t really like exercising. For me, it doesn’t even feel like I’m walking because I’m just having fun. In saying this, choose your walking buddy carefully. If you are a speedy gonzales, choose a speedy gonzales friend. If you are slower and more in the mood for a chat, choose a mirrored friend. The lovely girl I walk with is actually much fitter and faster than I am, but she saves her speedy gonzales moments for her own walks and indulges my turtle-like walking. For that, I am eternally grateful. 

My friend that I walk with personifies the other kind of healthy and fit. She is really good at sticking to healthy eating and is much fitter than I am. I have tried to keep up her in the past, with no sugar diets and the like, but I just do not have the will power. But what I have found through being her friend is that everyone does things their own way. Just because she is much better at sticking to the greens than I am, it doesn’t mean that I can’t slowly transform my eating habits, too. 

(SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO THIS FRIEND: Thank you for putting up with my lies when we used to walk in the early mornings, when you would call when I was late and it would wake me up, but I’d say that I was on my way and almost there. You hardly ever made fun of the fact that I was too tired to change out of pyjamas when I finally showed up for the walk, and never commented on my bed hair. Thank you. Thank you kindly.)

On the other hand, if you ever see me walking alone, you will notice me. I really let myself get transfixed by the music in my ears and the sights around me and just the methodic act of walking, and I’ll end up kind of dancing and singing as I go without really realising it. It happens all the time. I also madly smile at lots of people, who all look back at me like I’m a lunatic. 

(SIDE NOTE: Do not be the person who gives ‘the look’. You know which look I’m talking about. It is the look that says, “I’m completely decked out in Lorna Jane gear and you are wearing pyjamas. Embarrassing.” It is the look that says, “How can you be so puffed already! My make up/hair is perfect but you look like road kill.” Don’t do it. I hate it.)

It is my walks alone with only music for company that see me kind of zone out and get lost in time and end up walking much further than I can really walk, and end up sprinting home because it gets dark and I get increasingly more frightened of being kidnapped. I’m clearly not the brightest bulb in the kitchen. Is that even the saying? Are there any other bulbs in the kitchen to compete with? Who knows…

If I exercised for anything more than fun and feeling good, I would be doing a pretty shitty job. Although I could stand to lost a love handle or two (preferably two because what is the purpose of only one love handle? They are a package deal…), I am taking my time.

At the beginning of this year I was feeling particularly down about myself (see: the rut post previously in my blog). I was on a mission to lose weight, and fast. Because I thought that that would magically make me happy. It was driven by my own insecurity as well as friends and family telling me I had put on weight or that I should watch what I eat. (DON’T DO THIS TO PEOPLE. IT’S SHITTY. IT IS NOT AN ACT OF CHARITY. IF THEIR PANTS AREN’T FITTING RIGHT, THEY WILL KNOW IT. THEY DON’T NEED YOU SPELLING IT OUT FOR THEM. ASSHOLE). Being someone without a really healthy relationship with food or exercise, I found myself eating nothing and then binging crazily, or going from no exercise to making myself run until I felt ill. 

Now, exercise isn’t about losing weight to me. If it happens, cool! But I’m pretty happy with my lumps, bumps and curves. I’m just taking it at my own pace and using it to feel good, rather than putting undue pressure on myself. It is the same with eating healthy now, on a side note. I still eat too much Nutella and lean more towards chips than vegetables, but I’m slowly making my diet healthier, without actually dieting.

This is not because dieting is necessarily bad for you, but because I now know what I am like, and what I need to do to implement change in the long term rather than just short periods of it.

Look, exercise may not be your thing. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you may be super fit and healthy and look down on this post greatly. Don’t we all, don’t we all. But this is just my newly formed opinion on exercise from the girl smack-bang in the middle of the spectrum. 

Now, it’s not the idea of the end goal of weight loss that makes me happy, but the process of exercising that does. 

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Why I’m Struggling With University

It’s hard to admit that you don’t enjoy an establishment that is marketed as a validation of your intelligence, and the only ticket to a good life.

To me, university was always built up to be this amazing experience that would enrich my learning.

The truth of the matter is that I’m not enjoying it. And it really is freeing to admit that.

I looked on it not only as a further fundamental step in my education, but as a whole new life. No wonder it has not met my absurdly high expectations.

I do love my university as a place — it is absolutely gorgeous. The University of Western Australia has beautiful grounds, amazing buildings and little niche spots that you only find by being here. Out of all the universities in WA that I looked at, it was the only one that inspired me. And it still does, to be fair. But not in a way that makes me want to study… It inspires me to write mostly. I have a notebook that I carry around and scribble in like a raving lunatic, and that’s lovely, but it certainly doesn’t lead to passing grades.

I have been thinking about why I’m not enjoying university, and I think it comes down to a lot of things.

Firstly, it is described to us when we are younger as an essential step in reaching our full potential in life. We are made to feel that we need to go to university and study something just to prove our worthiness or our own intelligence. For me, that led to me jumping head first into a course that I don’t particularly enjoy.

I wanted to become a teacher, but once my ATAR came back as higher than anyone expected for me (because for the amount of work I did and for how much care I put into my work, my ATAR should have been half what I got) people around me pressured me to change my mind to something seen as more important by society. Law, for example.

I don’t know if you know me very well, but I would not suit law in the slightest. I also would not suit psychology, which was also suggested to me.

I don’t like the idea that your achievement or the importance of your contribution to the world is directly equivalent to your wage, or how hard your university degree was.

In the end, I settled for a double major in Politics and International Relations/Communications and Media. To be honest, I’m not really enjoying it. I dread class, rather than look forward to it. And as much as people say that you can change courses as much as you like in your first year, $3000 is a lot of money to waste in just one semester.

When I picture myself in the future, I don’t see any particular career standing out to me. I don’t want a life based on a black and white career. I want to travel and be happy and do something I love, not for money but just because I want to. I think that is why I make YouTube videos and blog posts – because in some way I hope that that could end up being my future. Impossible goals, I know.

Another reason I think I’m struggling is because I was one of the many people who grew up thinking that they were special, and oh-so intelligent – because that’s what people told me as a child! To be suddenly thrust into the position of being the teeny tiny fish in a big ocean is petrifying! It’s really set me back a bit, which may sound absolutely ridiculous and privileged but it’s still how I feel.

Thirdly, I never studied or worked much during school and I was lucky that this didn’t affect me at all really. I read through the textbook before an exam and could remember most, and BS the rest…. and I ended up doing pretty well when I graduated. I got an ATAR score of 93.5 which isn’t amazing but it is more than I deserved with the amount of work I put in. (For those not in WA, an ATAR of 93.5 means that I scored in the top 6.5% of the state). Because of this, I never learned my lesson. I never had that ‘oh crap’ moment where you realise that you can’t just skate by in life without putting work in. So, I have no study skills whatsoever.

Linking in with this is the fact that I am the self-appointed queen of procrastination. I can waste a week staring at the walls rather than get down to study… so I’m being left behind at uni (entirely my own fault, I know!).

As well as the study, university has a big aspect of partying. I’m not a homebody, but I definitely don’t enjoy parties. As someone with anxiety, they make me very nervous, especially if the people I’m with are all drunk. I have only been to one party that I genuinely enjoyed. All of the others have made me nervous. At university, parties are on a much bigger scale. A rave I went to with a bunch of friends was so hectic that I had a panic attack (which is very rare for me). And that’s just a crappy feeling that I don’t want to have. I’m lucky that I had one lovely friend who came and looked after me!

Ultimately, it’s hard to fully invest myself into university because deep down I know it’s not really what I want to be doing. I want to be travelling, and enjoying my life, because I don’t want to die only knowing education from within four walls – I want to learn from the real world, and I want to be helping people and making a difference in others’ lives. I don’t feel like I’m doing that where I am.

I don’t know what I will end up doing. I may drop out, or defer, or just suck it up and finish the course. I don’t know.

But I know that what I need to do is do what makes me happy. It’s the time to kind of say to hell with what other people want me to do with my life, because I know that they mean the best, but I’m the only one who can decide for me.

P.S. I am not unhappy or anything – I don’t enjoy university, but I’m still doing fine in life, this is just me venting, rather than me breaking down!

Mapping Out My Life

There must be more to life.

You go through childhood wishing to be older. You are insatiable, craving knowledge but being rebuffed and belittled at every turn. You’re forced to learn manners and slowly, bit by bit, you are transformed into a socially-acceptable human. You are torn away from the thrill of pure instinct and the curious gleam in your eye is lost as everything you wonder about it given a name, a label, a prescribed way to be. 

And then to your parents horror, you go through puberty. You are awkward and gawky and you eat too much. But you don’t eat enough. You stress too much but you don’t stress enough. You can never, ever please anyone completely. There is always something wrong. You just want a hug but you fight anyone who comes close. Your parents think they are losing you to rebellion and everyone else thinks you’re a loser. 

You can’t concentrate in class because what is the point? You’ll never be the best. You’re mediocre, as is everyone else. You feel alone. You drown your sorrows in a haze of embarrassment and you bury yourself in music. You fall in love with fictional protagonists to escape the real world antagonists – bitches. You bitch about the bitches who bitched about you. It’s a vicious cycle. 

And then you graduate high school, thinking that it is the be all and end all, but now you’re flailing in reality. It’s a big world out there, kiddo. And whether you put it off a year, go to university straight away, or never go at all, you end up in the same place – working a full time job that you hate. But it’s better than going home. 

Whether there is someone waiting for you at home or not, you’re alone. Somehow in between the mindless hours of work, your life slips by. 15 years later, you’ve got a few promotions under your belt but life hasn’t reached new heights. You are married now and you can’t remember what the words ‘passion’ and ‘love’ mean anymore,. You cheat or they cheat but you stay together because it’s a pattern and it’s easier than the effort it takes to leave. Then you have kids who you struggle to understand even though they are only going to do the same old stuff that you did.

There must be more to life.

That’s why I find it difficult to suddenly decide what I want to apply for at university. I don’t want to map my whole life out with my choice because I don’t want my life to be predictable enough to map. 

I want to live day by day, year by year. 

I want to travel and love and write. I want to change my mind and change my job and be able to be my own person. 

And yet with all that I know about myself, I don’t know what I want.