Brothers Angels and Demons

Today I am inspired by a gig I attended on Saturday night: Brothers Angels and Demons.

It’s probably best I give you a little bit of background. I am a huge fan of the rock band The Angels. The first of their concerts I attended was in February 1981, the last time I saw them was in 2010.

Their lead singer was Doc Neeson. A charasmatic, mad Irishman who was the best front man ever (IMHO)! He left The Angels in 2010 to be replaced by singer Dave Gleeson, a singer I have never been a big fan of, hence why I haven’t seen the band in recent times. Sadly in 2014 Doc passed away after fighting brain cancer for 17 months.

The Angels were formed by Doc and the Brewster brothers, John and Rick. They had great chemistry on stage and wrote brilliant songs including this one.

 

John and Rick are the third generation of professional musicians in the Brewster family, however the first to play rock music! John’s son Sam is now a member of The Angels. So basically there are four generations of the family celebrating and enjoying music in the professional arena.

Because this band have always  inpsired me and given me much music pleasure I wanted to see this show. It has toured in Adelaide (their home town) and Sydney several times but only one other time to Melbourne. On that occassion I couldn’t attend. This time around I was determined not to miss the show.

Brothers Angels and Demons is the story of the Brewster family’s musical journey. With an MC to ask questions and prompt story telling, John and Rick share stories about their grandfather and father, about learning classical music and discovering Bob Dylan. Stories about writing songs with Doc, about nearly giving up on a music career and the highs of success. All of it very inspiring. They also share music.  The music includes a classical piece written by their grandfather, improvised music from their first professional band The Moonshine Jug and String Band, songs they co-wrote for The Angels and for their Brewster Brothers CD and songs that have inspired them.

Performing in this brilliant show with John and Rick are John’s three sons Sam, Tom and Harry. An inspirational show of a talented family who clearly not only enjoy music but appreciate what a great opportunity it has given them. If you are a fan of The Angels or simply Australian rock music, then see this show. It will inform. It will inspire. You will enjoy.

 

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Sam’s letter to Jennifer

Today I am inspired by the lovely book Sam’s Letters to Jennifer. I finished reading this easy to read book on the weekend. It is written by James Patterson, who is better known for his crime stories than love stories, but he does not disappoint with this book.

Sam is Jennifer’s grandmother. She is unwell so Jennifer returns to the small village where she resides to be by her side.

The letters she has left for Jennifer to read are inspiring. They are letters revealing a deep secret. They are letters of hope. They are letters with lessons for Jennifer.

Jennifer is also an inspiring character. It was inspiring to experience the depth of love she has for her grandmother and it was inspiring to see her let go of the past and live the moments she was experiencing now. To fall in love again was a huge step for Jennifer but a rewarding one.

The two love stories, Jennifer’s happening in the book and Sam’s revealed through her letters, are beautiful love stories and give inspiration to anyone who needs to be inspired to fall in love and be true to one self.

 

 

THE BEEKEEPER’S SECRET

Today I am inspired by a lovely Australian book, The Beekeeper’s Secret by Josephine Moon.

Josephine Moon is an Australian writer who loves writing, to quote her, Foodie Literature. Her previous two novels are The Tea Chest and Chocolate Promise, also books that I can recommend.

The Beekeeper’s Secret is set in Queensland and is a tale of guilt, love, reunions, The Catholic Church and bees. Maria is the beekeeper living and managing a retreat whose profits are used to fund an orphanage in Cambodia. Maria, an ex nun, is enstranged from her family. Tansy, her niece, tracks her down and is determined to reunite her aunt with the family. But of course it is not all straight foward. In getting to know Maria, Tansy learns of her Aunt’s past, of her secret and her guilt, all whilst she is coming to terms with  some big decisions she and her husband need to make.

I love Josephine’s novels and this one did not disappoint. Josephine has a talent of bringing her love of food to literature. She researches her topics well, in this case bees. I did not read this book expecting to learn a great deal about bees, but that became an added bonus to this lovely story.

 

If one of Josephine’s goals in writing this book was to inspire her readers to be more interested and concerned about bees, then she has been succesful, with this reader at least!

Autism and Music

Today I am inspired by a podcast I listened to yesterday. The podcast was from the Only Human series. It was the topic and those involved in the research that was inspiring.

A doctor in America had an idea that the methods used by Opera singers to control their voice could help Autistic people who stutter. Luckily she has a friend who is an opera singer and was prepared to assist with the research.

The results were amazing. A young man who had struggled throughout life to make friends, to be confident and to find a job, had his life changed due to this research. The opera singer spent months with this young man teaching him how to control his voice and breathing using the same methods opera singers use. It did not involve singing, simply the breathing method.

On this particular podcast you can hear this young man struggle with his stutter before he started this project and then hear him speak  6 months and then 18 months later. It was inspirational. The young man’s self esteem has escalated, simply because he can now speak normally.

I found his determination and motivation inspirational. I found the doctor inspirational. She had an idea, a vision and turned that into something very positive and life changing. Due to this research there are now other autistic people benefitting from this project.

 

Magda Szubanski

Today I am inspired by Magda Szubanski and her beautiful memoir Reckoning.

Magda is well known in Australia for her comic work, paricularly as Sharon in the TV series Kath and Kim. Reckoning is her first book. This memoir is not just Magda’s story but also the story of her Polish father, in particular his life in Warsaw during World War II.

It is inspiring to read a memoir that is not a celebrity gush or gossip feast. As one podcaster said recently it is more of an Australian story than a celebrity story.

Her frankness about her struggle with her own sexuality, her weight and her father’s past are refreshing and insightful.

If you are a fan of Magda’s you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy celebrity gossip then this book is not for you. If you are interested in Australian stories then this is a must. If you have an interest in World War II history then this will feed your hunger for knowledge.

KNOWLEDGE IS IMPORTANT

Today I am inspired by a podcast I was listening to yesterday that had originally been broadcast on Radio National Australia. The podcast was on the history of libraries. There were two particular strains of thought from this podcast that inspired me.

  1. Knowledge is important
  2. Everyone has a right to information.

Knowledge is important. It is the reason for libraries. For books and schools. How knowledge is communciated is important. The communication of knowledge has such a huge influence on how we interpret the knowledge and what we do with it. There are some people who believe some knowledge is too important to share. It gives them power.

Everyone does have a right to information. This is why libraries were formed.  Again it’s how we use that information that influences, educates and inspires us. Everyone has a right to information and now with technology and social media more people can access information and more quickly than ever before. How much information we share and how often is often a concern.

Information becomes knowledge. Knowledge is information. Knowledge is important and everyone has the right to information. How we share our information and knowledge is influential. How often we share our information and knowledge is influential.

Sharing information and knowledge is much easier today and in some ways more dangerous. Media outlets quick to share information before it has been confirmed as fact. People taking and sharing information they see on social media as true before checking if it’s a realiable source.

Yes knowledge is important and yes everyone has the right to information and in this technological, fast world how we use knowledge and information can still be influential and inspirational. Just be careful.

 

Vale David Bowie

Like many music fans across the world today I am in shock by the death of the inspirational musician David Bowie.

His music, his movies, his art, his filmclips and his fashion have all inspired people for decades.

I don’t have a large collection of Bowie music on my ipod. I am very familiar with his hits. I enjoy singing along to the tunes. When I was a teenager I had the Space Oddity LP on vinyl. These days I have his greatest hits on my ipod.

Yet he is one of those musicians that inspires me. He was a genius. He was talented. He was incrediable. He is someone you could not ignore.

Last year I had the privilege of visiting the David Bowie exhibition in Melbourne (Australia). An exhibit of his costumes, music, clips and movies. An exhibit that was inspirational.

I read the following social media post yesterday  “There will never be another David Bowie. There will be another Justin Beiber.”

So true. Today’s musicians may have been inspired by the greats such as Bowie, Lennon, Elvis and Jagger but will any of them ever make it to the greatness of these inspirational geniuses.

Today music fans mourn the passing of another inspirational musician. R.I.P. David Bowie 1947-2016

Friendships

Today I am inspired by friendships. One of the most valuable things in my life are my family and my friends.

I am inspired by the love and warm feelings felt by the friends that are in my life daily. The bond.

I am inspired by the connections with friends whom you may not see very often but when you do there is no awkwardness. It is comfortable, as if  we are frequently in each other’s company.

I am inspired by those who I barely know but welcome me with open arms.

All of these frienship types I have experienced this week. Today I am grateful I have experienced them and confident that I will again.

Talking on the phone with life long friends. Sharing our joys and concerns.

A text message out of the blue from a dear  friend telling me she is having surgery. That she was unsure about sharing it but then knew she should.

Lunch with friends we haven’t see for two years. Greeting each other with a hug. Chatting, sharing stories of our girls, sharing food and wine. Promising not to leave it two years before our next get together.

Friends whom I have an online connection with, who are connected through our admiration for one rock star. Friends who I have meet in person just one other time, welcoming me with a smile, introducing me to others, dancing and singing together in a night to celebrate the life and music of our idol.

There are strong friendships, there are frienships based on a common interest. There are life long friendships and friendships that hang around for a season or a reason. Friendships change with time. Some disappear, some become stronger, others static.

To me friendships are not just inspirational but necessary. They bring joy, love, support and learnings into my life.

Friends; a valuable aspect of my who I am.

 

Leap : A great read

What inspires me today is a fantastic Australian book that I recently read. The book is Leap by Myfanwy Jones. This beautifuly written novel is set in Melbourne Australia. It deals with the topic of grief and the leaps taken to cope with loss to be able to move forward in life.

The two main characters are grieving the same person, the young Jen. The leaps the two characters take are different. They are complex but also simple.

The most inspirational aspect of this novel is how it has me still thinking about it days after completing it. Every now and then I am reminded of the story, of the characters and find myself wondering where their next leap has taken them.

I highly recommend this book.

Inspiration from a homeless man

This morning I read a small piece on Philani Dladla, a young South African man who has turned his life around through book reviews. I found it so inspiring I want to share the story with you.

Philani Dladla, also known as the Pavement Bookworm, grew up in KwaZula Natal loving books but after he moved to Johannesburg to find work he started using drugs. When he could no longer pay his rent he was forced to start living on the streets.  He noticed that many beggars were getting money for nothing and decided he would be different and offer something for money. That something was books and reviews.

He started selling books that he had read and offering a book review with the book. He priced the books according to how much he enjoyed them. The more enjoyment he got from a book, the more it would cost you to buy it. He soon became known as the Pavement Bookworm and his small business started growing.

With this new level of self esteem, some motivation and a lot of self help books, Philani decided to stop using drugs and help others. He used the money he made from selling books to buy soup and bread for the homeless. Soon after he decided to share his love of books with underprivileged children by setting up a Book Readers Club in a local park where kids were hanging out waiting for their parents to finish work.

He would give the children books on the condition that they came back to him to share what they learnt from the book. The children and Philani not only read together they discuss their hopes, dreams and challenges, but most of all they support each other through the tough times.

A story like this, a man like this, gives us hope for the homeless and the drug addicts. Life can be challenging for everyone, but especially these people. If something as simple as the love of reading can turn their lives around, that is fantastic, to share that love and help turn other lives around, is inspirational.