Sydney’s summer heat wave had given way in the past week or so to a deliciously rain-soaked relief.
February was a painful month for many, marking the start of a new school year, return to work for 2017, and the first full month of the Trump ‘presidency’ – at least it was a short month …
My family experienced its own painful start of the year as we farewelled my beloved stepfather, who had passed away after a short, but harrowing, fight with cancer.
He was a wonderful and much-loved man and the sadness of his passing was overshadowed only by its sudden and unexpected nature.
His passing is a timely reminder to live your life to the fullest, never let opportunities pass you by, never leave what you can do today to tomorrow, and be kind to people.
March also marks the arrival of autumn in Sydney, and a change of seasons. Cooler weather is on its way which will be welcome by many after the steamy summer we experienced.
This month’s cocktail is a refreshing Aperol Spritz as a farewell to summer …
1/3 soda water
Method: combine the ingredients in a large wine glass, stir gently, add ice. It is helpful if your prosecco and soda water are pre-chilled.
If you are adventurous, and not drinking alone, take a large jug, pour in a bottle of Aperol, a bottle of prosecco, and a bottle of soda water, stir and serve with a bowl of ice on the side and wine glasses for all. (Note: if you are making your spritz by the jug, do not add the ice to the jug as it will water down your spritz. Just add ice to your wine glass after pouring each glass of spritz.)
* Aperol is a gorgeous Italian apéritif made of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona among some other ingredients.
** Prosecco is Italian sparkling white wine.
While you are enjoying your Aperol Spritz, here are a few of my favourite tunes I am currently listening to …
‘Heaven’ by Troye Sivan ft. Betty Who
Australia’s own Troye Sivan did it again with this amazing single and music video released the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration – for a reason.
With the civil rights of the LGBTI community expected to be slowly dismantled under the presidency of Donald Trump, the song is an LGBTI protest against ingrained societal attitudes about gay people, and the music video pays respect to those who fought hard, and gave their lives, for those civil rights now under threat …
Without losing a piece of me
How do I get to heaven?
Without changing a part of me
How do I get to heaven?
All my time is wasted
Feeling like my heart’s mistaken, oh
So if I’m losing a piece of me
Maybe I don’t want heaven?
‘One Small Voice’ by Carole King
‘One Small Voice’ was originally released by Carole King in 1983 on the ‘Speeding Time’ album. At the time the album was poorly received and it was her first album not to chart. King did not record a new album for six years after that, but embarked on a very succesful concert tour in 1984.
I’m making the updated recording of “One Small Voice” available to everyone because it will take the strength and persistence of many small voices to overcome the lies of the loudest voice with our message of truth, dignity, and decency.
Why I’m Just Now Re-Releasing A Song I First Wrote In 1982, Carole King (26 January 2017)
In the political climate of 2017 ‘One Small Voice’ found new relevance, and was re-released by Carole King in response to the global Women’s Marches that took place on 21 January, the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
The Emperor’s got no clothes on
No clothes? That can’t be; he’s the Emperor
Take that child away
Don’t let the people hear the words he has to say
One small voice
Speaking out in honesty
Silenced, but not for long
One small voice speaking with the values
we were taught as children
So you walk away and say, Isn’t he divine?
Don’t those clothes look fine on the Emperor?
And as you take your leave
You wonder why you’re feeling so ill-at-ease
Don’t you know?
Lies take your soul
You can’t hide from yourself
Lies take their toll on you
And everyone else
‘Love’ by Lana Del Ray
I have been a big fan of Lana Del Ray’s moody, otherworldly music for some time now.
‘Love’ is an unusually uplifting, positive song about love from Lana Del Ray, and the song sounds like soft velvet feels on your skin.
‘The End of Eddy’ by Édouard Louis
If you prefer a literary journey with your Aperol Spritz, this month my choice is ‘The End of Eddy‘ (En Finir avec Eddy Bellegueule), by Édouard Louis.
‘The End of Eddy’ follows naturally from last month’s autobiographical journey penned by Augusten Burroughs.
This month it’s Édouard Louis’ turn to unleash his heartbreaking early reality on us. He wrote this account of his childhood when he was just 19, and the book was published when he turned 21.
‘The End of Eddy’ is characterised by the triumph over needless suffering from ignorance, hate, racism, homophobia, misogyny, toxic masculinity, and violence of the protagonist who, despite the immense pain inflicted on him, escapes to discover personal growth, self-appreciation, and freedom.
From my childhood I have no happy memories. I don’t mean to say that I never, in all those years, felt any happiness or joy. But suffering is all-consuming …
The youthful experiences of ‘Eddy Bellegueule,’ now known as Édouard Louis, are confronting, but most likely not unique. We are very fortunate he had found the courage to shine a light on his troubling story.
Yet, the book attracted controversy, with many choosing to take issue with the frank portrayal of his cartoonishly ignorant, violent, racist, misogynistic, and homophobic working-class upbringing in rural Northern France, rather than the pain and suffering such toxic cultures inflict on their victims, such as Édouard, and arguably his entire family. Because, make no mistake, Édouard’s mother, father, sister, and brothers are as much of victims of the toxic culture unmasked in the book as Édouard was. Only Édouard got away …
The End of Eddy reads almost unsophisticated, yet the journey will leave you practically breathless, yet triumphant. By fearlessly and frankly exploring a hidden and ignored tragedy, the book becomes a cultural, political, and social landmark.
One can only hope that the raw portrayal of the reality of a young Édouard will shock some into a reexamination of the cultural norms and blind spots that lead to such deplorable experiences.