Sometimes, as winter gets deeper and I tend to feel a bit disconnected I try to audit my life and make sure I’m directing my energy towards things that I consider meaningful. The Future Makers Management workshop through The Seed Fund is so precious to me. Holding space for potent conversations with these Mavericks is incredibly rewarding and powerful. This year we grabbed some snippets and insights from the participants as we were mid process. Here is Valentine Music Official shot by Nick McKinlay for #seedsessions
This raging powerhouse is Rae Gibson. I met her through WA DEAF ARTS because their signing choir performed Beat and Holler with me (such a huge honor). Rae was raised by a banjo player and a pianist. 78 years young she hasn’t ‘heard’ a sound in her life. She is an actor, a mime, a drummer, a flamenco dancer and a beacon of expressed energy. I invited her onto my kit after our last show for @denmarkfestivalofvoice Still floating on the waves of her magnetic joyous energy. #heroesjourney
Having Spender living in the South West now while we record our new album means we can just shoot off to local festivals like a coupla festive locals!!!! Really looking forward to this beaut community fest!!!! See you there Denmark and you great southerners!!! ArtsMusic Denmark Denmark Arts Council Denmark Festival of Voice
The last 2 mornings my 16 year old has woken up with a complete dread of a climate apocalypse occurring in her life time. I try to reassure her but she has the stats and science. Eventually I end up saying, “Well what are we going to do?” The change that is required is huge and rests upon our LEADERS to alter our trajectory, to invest in renewables. WTAF... I mean how are we still even talking about Adani!!! I encourage her anger. I encourage her to take action, however I too revert to feeling powerless and hopeless as the political juggernaut, seemingly set on self destruction, continues to make decisions with short term financial gain in mind. We have an election coming up soon. Our one moment every 4 years where we get to actually influence who fills the seats of our parliament. Find the party who represents long range leadership vision (we have seen that voting for a leader is consistently irrelevant anyway within a political term in our Country). I can’t fight bad. I’m not much of a fighter. I go weak at the knees in the face of confrontation. I strive to make good. I want to build good wherever I see it. Here is a little good.... Spender and I have added our voices to an historic Music Scene Climate Change Declaration - calling on all political parties to go fossil free. There’s no music on a dead planet Tony Burke MP Melissa Price MP #auspol #climatecrisis. Green Music Australia for all the info. Thank you to Montaigne and Dead Letter Circus for representing so many of us today. I’ll tell my daughter about it when she gets back from school. I’ll remind her of the great philosopher Dr Suess.... “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” www.greenmusic.org.au/climatechangedeclaration
I love it when a song that began in the privacy of my lounge room, and my piano, the privacy of my voice quivering into a new melody, an idea and a feeling, becomes a fully fledged and formed entity... a story which had been waiting patiently to be told.. and then... the most magical thing of all... it becomes a part of other people's lives.... other people's communities. My darling hearts from Clonakilty, whom Spender and I met last year when we played Clonakilty International Guitar Festival at DeBarra's Folk Club, have taken this song and etched it into their love and commitment to each other and the precious lands they walk upon. All the feelings and all the loves and tears in my eyes. Thanks so much Olive Finn for your beautiful encouragement and support embedded into everything you do. I feel the love from you reaching out to so many in so many seen and unseen ways...
Still high on the supply of watching my curly haired spirit sister in full flight at Bleach The Gold Coast Festival commanding and coaxing the swelling tide of singers that were HOTA Choir . I love being in a band with 2 of my most ever bestest of friends. Love you Vinnie and Tango. What an adventure. Manifesting game: STRONG. Spender Virginia Bott 📸 Julie Lowe #olympiclevelmanifestation #choirs #achoirineverytown #choirmedicine #allthelove
Getting my oxytocin fix real deep this week. Last night in Wollongong with Earth Wind and Choir at Spiegeltent Wollongong made me remember why I do this. TONIGHT we meet and do a mega rehearsal with @hotagc choir for tomorrow night’s FREE performance ON THE BEACH for Bleach The Gold Coast Festival. If you feel like a sing come join us for Pub Choir as part of the festival. Come and get your dose of the bonding hormone! See you there golden magnets.
HITS FROM THE GONG!!!! Next week! We get to do our thing in the tent of spiegels AKA The Melba Spiegeltent in Wollongong.... and we have a very special pop up choir moment planned for you with Elana Stone and @butternutsweetheart new choir busily learning a couple of our tunes. Come stomp the floorboards with us! See you there our Wollongongian loves. #spiegeltentwollongong Spender 📸 @w_i_l_k #choirs #choir #singingisgoodforthesoul #ibangondrums #loudnoises
Last week at The Seed Fund was MASSIVE. Check out these golden hearted people!!! We delivered our 11th management workshop: The Future Makers. We facilitated and massaged 4 days of big convos with 30 participants and around 45 Special Guests. We dug deep. We kept pulling the conversation back to the heart of the matter... the why? Questioning and re evaluating the kinds of questions we ask ourselves. Assessing the inherited rules and standards we abide by in all parts of our lives to see who they are imposed by and whether they suit us and if not how they can be shaken. How complicit we are in our own restrictions. Reimagining challenges and blockages as doorways to our wildest most creative selves and inventions. This year we ‘owned’ every aspect of the delivery. We curated every micro detail of the experience. The result was transformative. Then boom. Slam on the brakes and I’m hurtling through the air. Coming down from all those deep reveals and real feels. I’m on a family holiday now. I don’t really even know what that means. We never did family holidays when I was a kid. I don’t really know how to rest. I think I have rest shame. Laziness was drilled out of us as kids as the most grotesque affliction. I still hold some shade of this. ‘Chilling Out’ just for the sake of it, even when I really need it, seems to activate an eruption of latent paralyzing fatigue and self doubt. Yuk. I try to meet it. I try to sit with it and integrate the resistance but generally I feel agitated. Then I feel lame for feeling agitated while on the one planned holiday we have after busting ass for freakin ages! Oh the circular pressure loop. What a drag!!! Does anyone else experience this?? Do I just allow a few days of the full wallow? Will I re emerge??
Can’t wait to be back with these wonders for a special show for Bleach The Gold Coast Festival 26th April. Audience participation up the wazoo with a pub choir option, or just come soak up the wonders of multiple voices in harmonic pocket with the HOTA Choir for our beach front show! And. It’s. FREEEEEE!!!! Go community events!!! Vinnie Ramone AKA Virginia Bott:::: Virginia Bott Tango AKA Tommy Spender:::::: Spender Dingo... ME!!!
Spender and I are writing new songs. But ultimately we love writing stories. We do daily writing exercises. Writing to a theme and time limit. We are going to start sharing some snippets of our favourite COMPLETELY UNEDITED excerpts from our daily writing. Hope you enjoy. “Kindly donated by the McKinley Family in adoring memory of their Patriarch Mr Robert McKinley.” I run my fingers over the brass plate, the engraved letters. I imagine 3 siblings sitting together deciding on the correct wording. I imagine them disputing the word ‘adoring’ as too flowery, but the youngest one fights for it “He loved flowers and poetry”. I wonder what it would be like to be so adored by anyone that they would think or bother to name a park bench after you. A hook catches in my heart as I register again the utter absence of such adoration in my life. I imagine Robert McKinley smiling and pondering the adoration of his family, smug as fuck at the state of his life. I wonder if he would have upped and left the park bench had I sat next to him. Most of them do. I imagine he might have been different. In my comforting repose as I slowly nod off, the sweet forgiveness of heroin fading the loneliness in my blood, I imagine him offering me half of a tomato and cheese sandwich his wife made for him. He is pouring me a cup of sweet milky tea from his thermos. Strong and Hot. This guy knows his tea. Sometimes when he gets up to leave he leaves a bag behind, discrete like, with a freshly washed, folded woollen jumper in it, Eucalyptus Oil and Lavender Detergent, or sometimes a pair of woollen socks. A pair of jeans. He never asks me how I am. He never asks me anything. He doesn’t insult me with his charity. He only offers humanity and dignity in tiny gestures that I never have to thank him for. We meet here every day. Sometimes he points out a squirrel. We always sit side by side. Our skin has never touched. Our eyes have never met. Yet I return to this perch every day like it’s feeding time at the zoo. One day he left me a pair of boots, I can’t work out how he knows my size but they fit like love and I didn’t take them off, save for my showers at the shelter,
Hi all your lovelies out there.... Little something for all of you good people in the Wollongong area.. WE ARE COMING BACK ON THE 24TH OF APRIL! to play the AMAZING Spiegeltent Wollongong which will be all kinds of special... we have some special treats organized for the event. Can't wait to see you there!! https://spiegeltentwollongong.com/what-s-on/mama-kin-spender Spender Elana Stone
My Darling friend Clare Bowditch has released this beautiful song and video today. I love how this video and song sings to and captures the vulnerability and the wildness that is inherent in all the women I know and admire. I love you Clare.. I love how you strive to raise us all up. You are a truly hearty, generous and expansive person and I love you very much. Thank you for this gift!!! Here is what Clare says about her journey to arriving at this song: "One Tuesday night back in 2014, I went out with my girlfriends for a shandy. Such a rare treat – being out like that on a school night - but I needed it. I’d been juggling three jobs, three small kids, and so much anxiety I could feel it in the front my neck. When my husband Marty came home from work, I said “Mummy’s going to see her friends. Don’t wait up!” and walked (don’t skip!) out the front door. God it was good to see them; my girls. This feeing – the relief of being in the company of other women, of being able to tell the truth, of speaking all those pieces of ourselves we tuck in during our normal working week - this has been my saviour for as long as I can remember. Giddy with the adult company, I said way too much, and so did they. What began as a chat about eye-brow threading soon morphed into a rollicking conversation on guilt and hope and politics and periods and our secret self-doubt: that niggling inner-critic who promises to keep us safe but ends up robbing us of our chutzpah. “No more!’ we said, charging our glasses like lunatics. On the way home, I noticed that the anxiety that had been stuck in my throat for weeks… was gone. In its place, a song appeared, a rhythm – “We spend our whole lives trying to fit in, trying to get thin, trying to be enough… for who?” In our girlhood, we can’t help but swallow the stories the world tells us – the ones about why we matter, and who we need to be in order to “belong”. But in our womanhood, we have a chance to sing a different song, to tell a bigger story for ourselves and for the girls and women who don’t yet have that privilege. This work is not comfortable or safe, but in its wake comes all the feelings we’ve been longing to feel; a sisterhood, a world where we care for each other, and that caring is recognised as the super-power it is. Once home, I tip-toed to the piano, put on the mute-pedal (so as not to wake the kids), and sang with all the courage I could muster. I sang out all the parts of myself I’d tucked away, all the times in my life I’d told myself I was too big, too ambitious, too angry, too much, not enough. I sang for my daughter, and my girlfriends, and the woman and men who show up at my shows. I sang the words my girlfriends sung to me every time the feeling in my neck got too much. This is “Woman”. It took a long time to get here, because I was waiting to feel ready, and I’m still not ready, but I’m not waiting any more. Life’s too short. We got too much stuff to do."