Exploring the Back Catalogue

Started by SueC, January 26, 2020, 02:58:00

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thedrowningman9904

Hi there.

I just wanted to pop in to say this thread is one of the main reasons I decided to join this forum. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your thoughts and analyses as you explore these albums. It's so refreshing compared to the usual discussion to be found around The Cure's music and I'm looking forward to the next installments.




SueC

Hello, and welcome to our little forum!  :)  We don't often get new people talking to us, so it's lovely that you're actually posting!  :cool

I'm glad you're getting something out of the reams of stuff I produce purely recreationally. I used to do stuff like this in paper journals, of which I have cupboards full beginning in the mid-80s, but had a go at doing most of that online and interactive six years ago on another forum, and found that was fun because it introduced community, and because people can enjoy reading each other's thoughts.

There it was mostly smallholders sharing life in the countryside, and it's a big forum so has lots of participants, and a culture of long-form writing. I used to earbash that writing group about music as well but a couple of years back decided I needed to find a better home for that because I was itching to write more, and particularly about the Cure back catalogue, which is way too niche for general smallholders, haha.  :beaming-face

I can relate to what you're saying about the usual writing on Cure music. I got so incensed at an article that appeared in our press in Australia a couple of years back at the time of the Disintegration gigs in the Sydney Opera House that I sat down and wrote several thousand words in response. The very idea that people - professional journalists at that - project their own BS onto The Cure's (or anyone else's) music and present that as if it was fact just didn't sit right with me. I wished they were honest about that, with themselves and the public. You can't stick music into a box and close the door like this. Music is highly personal, and we all interpret it differently based on our own background and experiences. One of the best ways to get to know other people is to talk about music with them (and books!).

I notice you list Wish as your favourite Cure album. I was listening to that the other day putting in the spring food garden (big task this time of year, the sun has now returned sufficiently to be able to do it). There's a lovely sound on that album which really is like aromatherapy for the ears - even though its themes are often wrought!

Feel free to pop into this thread with your own thoughts anytime. I also hope to read an intro post from you in the Meta section, and lots of other stuff!  :)
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 16, 2021, 15:54:23... this thread is one of the main reasons I decided to join this forum.

Hi and welcome! That's good to hear, Sue will be happy that there are avid readers of her output!  :cool
It doesn't touch me at all...

thedrowningman9904

Thank you both for the welcome!

I have written an introduction post but it's waiting for approval.

You've hit the nail on the head perfectly for why I usually avoid discussions about music, except with close friends. The discussion around music is far too tribal. "If you don't like what I like, and for the reasons I like it, then you're an idiot."

Music, like all art, is an extremely personal and subjective experience. Sure, there are some objective qualities like the technical complexity of music, or use of language, or styles of brush strokes - but they're rarely important in terms of how we experience and appreciate a piece of work.

Our lived experiences have such a huge effect on what music evokes emotion in us, and how we respond to that. That's a large reason why I am enjoying reading your posts. Music doesn't exist in isolation from everything else in our lives, and I appreciate that holistic approach to your writing. It's genuine and it's relatable.

My wife, Jess, and I are in a somewhat similar position to you and Brett. Jess had an extremely traumatic childhood, and after she suffered a breakdown 8 years ago, we quit our high-pressure jobs, sold our house in Sydney and moved to a small country town. We're not quite as self-sufficient as we'd like to be, but we do grow the vast majority of our own fruit and vegetables and exchange any surplus with other people in our town for more variety. The quieter, calmer lifestyle has had a noticeable improvement on our mental health, and our health in general. Spending each day doing meaningful tasks which have tangible results is so much more fulfilling than our old lives were.

I spoke a little about Wish in my introduction post, but since it hasn't appeared yet: Wish was the album that really got me interested in The Cure, and songs from it are connected to a lot of the important moments in my life, happy or sad (and often both). For example, when Jess and I got married, my support dog at the time was an important part of the ceremony - I walked with her down the aisle to 'Trust', and she stood with us through the entire ceremony. We sadly had to have her put to sleep 2 years ago, and I find Wish to be the perfect conduit for remembering her, and exploring the duality of joy and sorrow. And of finding comfort and happiness through (and sometimes in) the pain.

I find it an important part of my mental well-being to take the time to explore (but not dwell on) my "negative" emotions and memories, in order to process them. I used to try to ignore them and that... didn't work out too well.

... and now I'm feeling really anxious about whether any of this makes any sense or is even slightly interesting or remotely relevant for your thread. I'm terribly sorry if it's not. Let me know and I'll delete it.

SueC

It's fine, don't worry about it!  :cool

I've spent the day putting in potatoes and am too like a jellyfish to make a proper reply to you just yet, but will do it later.

Meanwhile - good luck with lockdown, and best wishes to your household. (Lockdown in the country is generally better than in suburbia, thankfully...)
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19I have written an introduction post but it's waiting for approval.

It must be down to the Admin (dsanchez), because I can't find any unapproved posts in my moderation log. (Seems like it might take a bit until dsanchez is back online again, sorry for any inconvenience.)

Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19whether any of this makes any sense or is even slightly interesting or remotely relevant for your thread.

I see no problem here. We gave Sue the possibility of starting this topic for her explorations, I'm certain she welcomes any such contributions! (Edit: indeed, while I typed this, she replied in a positive way.)  :cool
It doesn't touch me at all...

SueC

....OK, I've had some sleep and no longer feel like a jellyfish. Here goes:


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19Thank you both for the welcome!

Thanks for joining our forum.  :cool  It's not easy to keep niche forums going in the age of social media, but they offer opportunities for long-form writing, detailed discussions, and a genuine sense of community - which IMO doesn't happen when people are just "twittering" - I think that's too short and shallow for genuine human connection. I write on this forum as an antidote to what a social media mindset does in the world (although I'm not suggesting social media is all-bad either, but its effects on the human brain and the way it gets utilised are a concern, as is the tendency for the propagation of sound and fury signifying nothing, and I care about that). It's sort of like the slow food movement.  ;)


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19I have written an introduction post but it's waiting for approval.

There must have been some problems with spammers. Plus, for some mysterious reason we get so many people joining up and then not posting at all... I hope to read your intro post soon.  :smth023


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19You've hit the nail on the head perfectly for why I usually avoid discussions about music, except with close friends. The discussion around music is far too tribal. "If you don't like what I like, and for the reasons I like it, then you're an idiot."

It's like that with politics, religion, football, etc etc too. Maybe even with interior decorating!  :-D

A psychologist would say that many people emotionally get stuck at the three-year-old stage like this (and probably, all of us - the Dalai Lama included - at least part-time, when we have our moments) - where it's all about them, and where there's difficulty seeing other people's perspectives and not getting hostile. In an actual three-year-old that's developmentally appropriate; but us adults have to work on it.  :)

It's so, so important for humans to learn that people don't have to be clones of each other; that diversity is a good thing and that genuine, respectful multi-perspective dialogues and discussions teach all of us things we need to learn.


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19Music, like all art, is an extremely personal and subjective experience. Sure, there are some objective qualities like the technical complexity of music, or use of language, or styles of brush strokes - but they're rarely important in terms of how we experience and appreciate a piece of work.

Our lived experiences have such a huge effect on what music evokes emotion in us, and how we respond to that. That's a large reason why I am enjoying reading your posts. Music doesn't exist in isolation from everything else in our lives, and I appreciate that holistic approach to your writing. It's genuine and it's relatable.

Thank you very much, that's what I aim for.  :cool  I enjoy writing and reflecting and it's helpful for my own thinking and emotions, so I would write this stuff regardless, but it's really nice when there's some enjoyment / benefit happening for someone else after I've personally walked away from my keyboard-tapping.


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19My wife, Jess, and I are in a somewhat similar position to you and Brett. Jess had an extremely traumatic childhood, and after she suffered a breakdown 8 years ago, we quit our high-pressure jobs, sold our house in Sydney and moved to a small country town. We're not quite as self-sufficient as we'd like to be, but we do grow the vast majority of our own fruit and vegetables and exchange any surplus with other people in our town for more variety. The quieter, calmer lifestyle has had a noticeable improvement on our mental health, and our health in general. Spending each day doing meaningful tasks which have tangible results is so much more fulfilling than our old lives were.

South of Sydney is gorgeous scenery!  :heart-eyes  Sydney itself is a beautiful city if you can manage to live within walking distance of the harbour - I lived there for nearly three years in my 30s, and just loved dropping down from suburbia straight into the wild, after work - you can walk Manly to Balmoral to Taronga and on from there surrounded by dense bushland the majority of the way, and look out to this heart-lifting enormous expanse of blue, with its ferries etc. ♥

Sadly it's an incredibly expensive place to live unless you've inherited family property there - but I'm really glad to have been a resident. Wonderful place.

I love the scenery all the way to the Hawkesbury (ever done the Barrenjoey Peninsula walk right at the edge of that?) but prefer the coast south of Sydney Metro (from Royal Botanical Park south) to the vastly built-up Central Coast. There's spectacular coast south of Sydney and those rolling hills parallel, and little places which just nestle - like Berri (at least when I saw it). There's many spots I could happily have lived in that particular region. I'm sure you're enjoying your scenery, and it sounds like you also have community down there!

Self-sufficiency is a bit of a big one. We grow about half of what we eat, but we also sell surplus: Honey and small-scale organic grass-fed cattle; we turn off around four of those a year - and the one we are currently eating ourselves is going to feed us well over two years; we don't eat that much meat, just enough to cover protein/iron requirements - and we often eat kangaroo when there's been an accident and our neighbour puts the poor thing out of its misery (like a boomer with a broken leg a few years ago, whom I then cut up for us and the dog - the meat is like venison, wonderful stewing, and it would have been a waste to just leave the carcass in the paddock - fed us and dog for six months).

I'm sorry your wife had it tough; but I always cheer when I hear of people from traumatic backgrounds ending up in stable couples and in a nice part of the world doing things they find fulfilling. Plus, I found you can grow a lot of flowers when the compost has matured! 🌻


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19I spoke a little about Wish in my introduction post, but since it hasn't appeared yet: Wish was the album that really got me interested in The Cure, and songs from it are connected to a lot of the important moments in my life, happy or sad (and often both). For example, when Jess and I got married, my support dog at the time was an important part of the ceremony - I walked with her down the aisle to 'Trust', and she stood with us through the entire ceremony. We sadly had to have her put to sleep 2 years ago, and I find Wish to be the perfect conduit for remembering her, and exploring the duality of joy and sorrow. And of finding comfort and happiness through (and sometimes in) the pain.

I'm curious if you've got a vision-assist dog or other type of service dog - I guess because I'm interested in how people deal with various challenges. Did you ever read about Asphyxia, who's an owner builder, artist and circus performer in Victoria, and who is completely deaf? I love her articles, and how she gets around the various challenges that not being able to hear presents. Personally, one main reason we tree-changed and built our own house is because I lost the nerve to one of my vocal cords in my late 30s. At first it was unclear if I'd ever speak again. I couldn't keep teaching and I needed a project. My voice eventually recovered reasonably OK but isn't suitable for long stretches of speaking because that starts to strain the remaining connected-up vocal cord which has to cross a gap to try to meet and align with the disconnected one hanging in space. And of course, I've lost a whole bunch of top notes because that's too hard for one working vocal cord to do. But it's a lot better than it could have been.

That's a lovely song to walk down the aisle to! ♥

I'm sorry about your dog. Our dog is getting older and I'm having to lift her onto her sofa and into the car these days, and I don't look forward to losing her. She's 9, hopefully she'll have a bit of quality life yet - she's OK once warmed up, kind of like Brett and me - we warm out of our various creaks and early-morning limping!  ;)

It's great to have music that doesn't close its eyes to either the joy or the pain in life, but celebrates the joy and acknowledges the pain. ♥


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19I find it an important part of my mental well-being to take the time to explore (but not dwell on) my "negative" emotions and memories, in order to process them. I used to try to ignore them and that... didn't work out too well.

Yeah, culturally I think there's been a lot of BS around emotions and their expression, particularly negative emotions, and I think particularly this idiotic idea that men aren't supposed to cry etc but just bulldoze on...(and to ignore is as damaging as it is to wallow - what's needed is acknowledgement, honesty, emotional processing). That's getting a little better with the younger generations now; I like that there's been a real mental-health awareness focus in Australia lately, but of course with all our social problems - e.g. domestic violence epidemic, prevalence of depression and suicide, not uncommon public violence and bullying, workplace bullying, inept governments who govern largely for themselves and their high-end mates etc - we urgently need this focus.

I was really hoping that the pandemic would get us to stop and seriously reconsider how we do society and our relationship with the planet and each other - because if we don't do that, and do it right now, I think we're doomed. Things looked quite hopeful initially, but now I'm less optimistic. Still, I hope humans don't waste this opportunity for critical reflection.

Welcome again!  :)
SueC is time travelling

thedrowningman9904

I couldn't agree more with everything you've said. Especially at the end there about mental health awareness. We (as a society) had a real opportunity to correct course as a result of the pandemic, but at almost every stage of it, the rich, powerful and privileged have done everything possible to maintain the status quo.

I'm not a fan of social media either. I don't use Twitter, I find it far too aggressive and confrontational for the most part. Despite some definite good that has been achieved on it, it has also provided a platform for bigots and anti-intellectuals to spread their hatred and willful ignorance* to a wider mainstream audience and embolden people to repeat them and act on them.

* By this I mean the people pushing agendas such as anti-vaxxers, flat-Earthers, moon landing fakers... chemtrails, Illuminati, etc. It's not that they are unaware of the facts; they deliberately ignore them.

I can't tell if social media is eroding peoples' ability to empathise with others, or if it has just removed the illusion that common decency was as widespread as we hoped.

Having said all that, I'm glad I ended up on Twitter from the Chain of Flowers blog the other day, or I wouldn't have found this forum. I only use Facebook, and that's just to keep in touch with my relatives who are all in England, and to share photos, primarily of our dogs.

Quote from: SueC on August 18, 2021, 02:51:41I'm curious if you've got a vision-assist dog or other type of service dog - I guess because I'm interested in how people deal with various challenges. Did you ever read about Asphyxia, who's an owner builder, artist and circus performer in Victoria, and who is completely deaf? I love her articles, and how she gets around the various challenges that not being able to hear presents. Personally, one main reason we tree-changed and built our own house is because I lost the nerve to one of my vocal cords in my late 30s. At first it was unclear if I'd ever speak again. I couldn't keep teaching and I needed a project. My voice eventually recovered reasonably OK but isn't suitable for long stretches of speaking because that starts to strain the remaining connected-up vocal cord which has to cross a gap to try to meet and align with the disconnected one hanging in space. And of course, I've lost a whole bunch of top notes because that's too hard for one working vocal cord to do. But it's a lot better than it could have been.

I'm so sorry to hear that. But I'm glad things have improved. From the sounds of things the overall lifestyle change has been a net positive, too?

I just Googled Asphyxia. Her story is very inspiring. It's amazing what obstacles some people can overcome.

My issues are mental health related. I have bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, which are helped to some extent by having an emotional support dog. Zelda, the one at our wedding, was my first support dog.


That's her with her floral lead for the ceremony.

We now have four dogs:

That's Midna and Impa. Midna is on the left. She's a 9 year old Alaskan Malamute x Labrador. Impa, on the right, she's a 9.5 year old Labrador x American Staffy.


That's Jackleby and Zora. Jackleby is the sleeping Parsons Russell Terrier. He's 3. Zora's a Bull Arab x Staghound and she is just 9 months old.

When Zelda was 6, she was diagnosed with cancer and given less than six months to live. We got Impa then, so that she could learn from Zelda, and because everyone was worried what I would do. Surprisingly, and extremely happily, having a young pup around really noticeably picked Zelda up. Her cancer went into remission, and she enjoyed a long and healthy 9 more years. For her last few years, she started to struggle with walking due to breed-related hip issues and athritis, so we bought her an above-ground swimming pool. The low-impact exercise helped her stay in shape and helped her regain and maintain strength in her legs. It might be worth trying for your dog, if she likes swimming? I hope you have many years left with her.

For the last 11-12 years, I have only ever been without Zelda and/or Impa by my side twice - when I saw The Cure in 2011, and one afternoon a few years ago when I accompanied Jess to the hospital, both of which I had to be fairly heavily medicated to get through. We very rarely leave our property - usually only to go for scenic drives in our 4wd or for bushwalks, and the dogs are always with us.

Quote from: SueC on August 18, 2021, 02:51:41I love the scenery all the way to the Hawkesbury (ever done the Barrenjoey Peninsula walk right at the edge of that?) but prefer the coast south of Sydney Metro (from Royal Botanical Park south) to the vastly built-up Central Coast. There's spectacular coast south of Sydney and those rolling hills parallel, and little places which just nestle - like Berri (at least when I saw it). There's many spots I could happily have lived in that particular region. I'm sure you're enjoying your scenery, and it sounds like you also have community down there!

When we lived in Sydney, we lived in the Western Suburbs, and did most of our drives and walks out that way, particularly in the Blue Mountains and further west. My dad lived on the Central Coast for a few years, and we went on some really nice walks up there, but as you said, it's quite built-up up there. We did a few trips down near Wollongong/Nowra, which is a very beautiful area.

We now live 5 hours from the coast, but still surrounded by beautiful natural areas, just very different to the coastal scenes of Sydney. We have plenty of National Parks and state forests around us, plus we're not far from the Snowy Mountains. Here's a photo I took in our nearest National Park, which has a few signposted walks through it:



We similarly don't eat much meat. More days than not we don't eat meat. We'd rather a nice salad or a plate of roasted/barbecued vegetables. We haven't had stewed kangaroo, but we do get kangaroo steaks from the local butcher sometimes. Shortly after moving here, we got two sheep, with the thought of maybe eating them eventually. But they became too much like pets and we couldn't do it. :) They're now living on a nearby farm, as the daughter's pets.

SueC

Hello again!  :)

Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46We (as a society) had a real opportunity to correct course as a result of the pandemic, but at almost every stage of it, the rich, powerful and privileged have done everything possible to maintain the status quo.

That's very true, and I'm worried about something else on top of that: The complicity of significant sections of the general public, even people who are anything but rich or particularly powerful. If you look at Murdoch, for instance, and his role in the whole debacle in the US and UK and also here, there's this section of the population who really seem to love this shiitake, this prolefeed that the Murdoch press makes up, who seem to love having enemies to rail against (like immigrants or refugees or women or Aboriginal people) or spitting on people poorer than them and telling them they deserve it because they didn't try hard enough - just this lack of compassion and lack of sense of community for people in general,  beyond the particular narrow tribe these people seem to hang with.

It worries me that completely horrible, hateful, ignorant, arrogant people like Trump get so much support from people he'd probably spit upon if he walked by them in the street, under ordinary circumstances. It worries me that an oaf like Morrison is elected in Australia, or that Abbot was - these are just such unprincipled people, if you look at their track record on refugees and women and other vulnerable people like the unemployed, pensioners and the homeless - if you look at the whole Robodebt thing and yet how they funnel millions of taxpayer dollars into corporations at the slightest opportunity - if you look at the culture of sexual abuse and misogyny they've tolerated (and indeed created) in Parliament etc.

And it worries me how the state government of NSW is (mis)handling the pandemic, and has been from the beginning, with the Ruby Princess etc. Some of our first cases of COVID in WA were from the Ruby Princess - because they let people with respiratory symptoms disembark and go all over Australia, even while they already knew we were in a pandemic and that there was COVID on the ship. WA stamped it out so we didn't get community transmission, and did it repeatedly over the past 18 months, so life over here has been comparatively normal (just hygiene measures and social distancing most of the time; we've spent very little time in lockdowns as they were immediate, short, sharp and effective). But the way things are going in Sydney, it's likely to infect the entire country before too long (because it's so much easier to breach state borders than the international border, and because Delta is so much more infectious).

And if they'd applied the same principles to their first cases of Delta in Sydney as we applied here, they'd have had a far better chance of containing the thing. It's totally beyond comprehension for us in Western Australia that it's taken NSW months into an outbreak to get serious about stopping people travelling out of Sydney. Over here, they clamp down on people leaving or entering the Perth metropolitan area the moment they have a community case there. We all get segregated into our sub-regions and get locked down into those (with patrolled road blocks and permits for essential travel), and it's been tremendously helpful in stopping the spread of this virus. There's been good community spirit about it in general, and a sense of teamwork.

I just can't understand people who think it's more important for them to have a party etc than it is for someone else's grandmother or other family member not to get ill (or even, apparently, their own). I'm really starting to detest this extreme individualism which says up-yours to the rest of the community. And of course, along with that attitude there's often wilful ignorance and conspiracy theorising.

Without consideration for others, we're not going to get through pandemics or any of the other challenging scenarios we're facing (e.g. climate change), which require human beings to cooperate and to care about each other, and to adjust priorities in line with information from outside our little enclaves.

We're feeling pretty glum about the world at the moment. I thought things were pretty bad 20 years ago, but politically things have gotten so much worse in so many places, and democracy has become a joke lately.

/end rant (...maybe I should be handing out awards if people get this far :1f637:)

We hope your part of NSW manages to band together and keep each other safe.


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46I'm not a fan of social media either. I don't use Twitter, I find it far too aggressive and confrontational for the most part. Despite some definite good that has been achieved on it, it has also provided a platform for bigots and anti-intellectuals to spread their hatred and willful ignorance* to a wider mainstream audience and embolden people to repeat them and act on them.

On that note...  ;)


from https://www.existentialcomics.com

:-D   :evil:


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46* By this I mean the people pushing agendas such as anti-vaxxers, flat-Earthers, moon landing fakers... chemtrails, Illuminati, etc. It's not that they are unaware of the facts; they deliberately ignore them.

I can't tell if social media is eroding peoples' ability to empathise with others, or if it has just removed the illusion that common decency was as widespread as we hoped.

That is a really good question...



Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46I'm so sorry to hear that. But I'm glad things have improved. From the sounds of things the overall lifestyle change has been a net positive, too?

I probably needed something like this to tip me over the edge of doing a major lifestyle change. I really loved my job, but it was taking way too many hours, way way more than I was paid for, and I was increasingly paying for it with my physical health and things I wanted to do away from my work. When I got married I was nearly 37 and decided not to work fulltime anymore, because I wanted to spend time interacting with my 9-5 spouse in the evenings (imagine that!), and not just have dinner together and then mark essays until bedtime. So I decided to change to casual work at the same school - I'd known the students for years and years so I was still able to connect with them and to teach them stuff, but I didn't have to take any marking and preparation home.

Then a colleague of mine got bitten by a shark and they asked me to take his classes while he was recuperating - which once again meant "goodbye evenings", but it was only supposed to be for a term and the students asked so nicely too. Only then, it became another term and then another term. This was a pure English load and I was working 60-70 hour weeks (pure Science was 50-60 hours a week; it's the essay-marking in English teaching that's the killer, especially if language-teaching standards have been poor). I loved the classroom time, the students I had were gorgeous and just so lovely to work with and there was so much learning, not just curriculum but on a human level all around - but the workload was killing me. Four weeks before the end of the last term, while I was in class, my voice just went, just like that. Not like laryngitis - like you're suddenly trying to talk from underwater. Just gone. Between that and exhaustion, I had to leave. I'm prepared to accept that the loss of voice might have been my body deciding to stop me before I fell off a cliff. I could have worked with one leg, but not without my voice.

So the lifestyle change has been very much kinder to me in those terms. I work maybe 40 hours a week now, with birds singing around me when I'm outdoors. But it's a pretty isolated life socially; it's vastly different from having a hundred people in my face every day. That part of my work I thrived on; I love the interactions and being in a consistent group of people, and I miss that, and lots of things about teaching, except the hours, which if we lived in an ideal world would be simply adjusted by reducing class sizes, as well as the number of classes a teacher is expected to teach, so that the whole job could be done in 40-50 hours maximum a week - perhaps even just the time you actually get paid for, imagine that.

But our system in the West is designed to extract the most you possibly can from an employee without actually killing them in the short term, and when they burn out in the long term, you can just hire the next blue-eyed novice and repeat the cycle. And at the same time, there's people who can't get fulltime work, or can't get work at all - we actually need to spread the work around so we don't have a proportion sitting out and trying to survive on the poverty line while others are overworked like this...

From the point of view of having actual time to spend with your partner, and where you're not just exhausted, living on a smallholding is much better than both of you being in the rat race (my husband does 4 days a week off-farm, while I do the farm and farmstay). We've always been foodies, and now that's become huge - we grow so much of our own, and it's so much better, and better for us, than supermarket F&V etc. We do farmstay about a third of the time, and it's fun when we have guests to let them experience what it's like to eat home-grown stuff. The basics of life are much better out here. The thing that's missing is community, in the immediate vicinity - that's a bit unlucky for us, because a bit closer to the coast there's several little villages which actually have a fabulous sense of community, and if we could shift our entire smallholding to there by magic, we would. Out here, we were the odd ones out voting yes for marriage equality etc... we're social progressives in a rural area with one of the highest One Nation votes in the country...and I'm done with the conspiracy theories various neighbours have spouted at us.

What's your locality like? You mentioned bartering produce, etc - sounds to me you're more in a place like the ones south of us - enough likeminded people to actually do something useful together?


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46I just Googled Asphyxia. Her story is very inspiring. It's amazing what obstacles some people can overcome.

She's amazing. I also love the little house she built herself in her early 20s, smack bang in Melbourne!


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46My issues are mental health related. I have bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, which are helped to some extent by having an emotional support dog.

That's quite a bit you've got on your plate there! A friend's daughter has bipolar very badly - she does well when she can be creative and in a stable environment. (And the implications of that for mental health in Australia are...because what are the chances of that, for many people?)

Another friend has agoraphobia, but I had no idea at first. She gave talks in town and obviously went shopping etc, but I wondered why she'd often be stuck indoors on a fine day and why I could only rarely winkle her out of her house, until she told me! She's one of the best-read people I ever met.

I suspect my husband has a bit of social anxiety - he feels incredibly uncomfortable in a group of mostly strangers, if he thinks he's supposed to interact with them (but he was always fine going to gigs). He's OK with groups of people he knows, but prefers not to be very social (except with me). When we have guests I sometimes have to remind him beforehand not to disappear too quickly!   :lol:

I really like the look of Zelda - she just oozes warmth and connection and joy. How cool to have a four-legged member of the wedding party! And what a wonderful story of how she outlived predictions!

By the way, have you ever seen that saying, "The more I see of people, the more I like my dog"?  :lol:

Dogs (certain types anyway) are very good for mental/emotional health support - and would you believe, donkeys too? They are so Zen. We've had stressed-out guests sitting in the grass for hours with the donkeys just hanging with them - it's what they do, they're highly social and will hang around people for hours of their own free will - no food treats involved.



That's Don Quixote, Mary Lou and Sparkle - we also have Ben and Nelly. Ben:



Nelly (Ben's mum) is just coming towards the horse I'm riding in this photo (all three horses are harness racing retirees over 20):



The donkeys have also had a calming influence on the horses!


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46For her last few years, she started to struggle with walking due to breed-related hip issues and athritis, so we bought her an above-ground swimming pool. The low-impact exercise helped her stay in shape and helped her regain and maintain strength in her legs. It might be worth trying for your dog, if she likes swimming? I hope you have many years left with her.

Our dog (who's called Jess, after the female dog in Footrot Flats) loves swimming - she's forever jumping into any river, farm dam or bit of surf she encounters!



That's a good idea though with the pool - when she's older it would avoid having her go into really cold water in winter!


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46For the last 11-12 years, I have only ever been without Zelda and/or Impa by my side twice - when I saw The Cure in 2011, and one afternoon a few years ago when I accompanied Jess to the hospital, both of which I had to be fairly heavily medicated to get through. We very rarely leave our property - usually only to go for scenic drives in our 4wd or for bushwalks, and the dogs are always with us.

Wow, sounds like the dogs are a truly incredible support!

How did you get by when you were still in the rat race?

I could now make jokes about seeing The Cure on drugs, but you've probably already thought that yourself!  :winking_tongue


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46When we lived in Sydney, we lived in the Western Suburbs, and did most of our drives and walks out that way, particularly in the Blue Mountains and further west. My dad lived on the Central Coast for a few years, and we went on some really nice walks up there, but as you said, it's quite built-up up there. We did a few trips down near Wollongong/Nowra, which is a very beautiful area.

The Blue Mountains are full of beautiful walks!  :heart-eyes  I particularly love the Grand Canyon walk and Lillian's Glen.


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46We now live 5 hours from the coast, but still surrounded by beautiful natural areas, just very different to the coastal scenes of Sydney. We have plenty of National Parks and state forests around us, plus we're not far from the Snowy Mountains.

Thankyou for the lovely photos!  :cool Oh wow, you're really inland and up, so you probably get really cold winters! Maybe even snow!

Sounds like a wonderful area to live in - all that scenery and near a lot of pretty unspoilt natural areas!


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46We similarly don't eat much meat. More days than not we don't eat meat. We'd rather a nice salad or a plate of roasted/barbecued vegetables. We haven't had stewed kangaroo, but we do get kangaroo steaks from the local butcher sometimes. Shortly after moving here, we got two sheep, with the thought of maybe eating them eventually. But they became too much like pets and we couldn't do it. :) They're now living on a nearby farm, as the daughter's pets.

I tend to have a hard time selling my cattle when they've grown up. I feel horrible when they go on the truck and for days afterwards. But I do make sure they have a good-quality life while they're here with us. I had to sell a group of cattle this year; we replaced them with four dairy poddies. One of them is incredibly social and tame and spends a lot of time snuggling up to me, which is unusual for cattle, who are normally a bit stand-offish even when they're friendly. He's also making friends with our blind donkey. I already know this is going to be a big wrench in two years from now. But, if he wants to be friendly with me, I'm not going to push him away. He'll have a better life that way, and be less stressed when he goes to the saleyards. By that time, the current lot will be over 700kg each and then it's actually better for the land to take them off it, and buy in the next batch of young, far lighter animals. And if we raise them, we know they'll have lots of food, shelter and adventures while they are with us, and their lives will have been worth living. Plus, average age of bovines in the wild isn't high either...

These are nearly fully-grown Friesian steers:



It all gets a bit easier when you're managing an ecosystem, rather than just looking at it piecemeal. We've always got kangaroos dying of various causes too and being replaced by young ones. The pasture that's on the property needs to be grazed; it's not suitable for cropping either - and cropping usually means tractors and monocultures. We do have a permaculture system for growing our own F&V that doesn't rely on mechanised inputs. We used Linda Woodrow's model from her "The Permaculture Home Garden" book. What are you growing, and how? I imagine cherries would grow well where you live? We have enough chill to grow them here but I imagine it's even colder where you are!  :)
SueC is time travelling

SueC

Public notice: The next instalment of astronomical and philosophical head-spin in relation to the lyrics of Labyrinth is ready here. The post is being added to periodically until it's finished, but there's enough added since last time for having with a cup of coffee, for those of you who enjoy reading unusual things.

And remember, there's an open invite so say hello and join in with your own thoughts and ideas.  :cool

Wishing anyone reading a decent day!  :)
SueC is time travelling

Pongo

This thread is fantastic. I'll get back with my feedback...in a couple of months time. Maybe I'll throw in my thesis on why Wild Mood Swings is a stellar album.

Ulrich

Quote from: Pongo on September 01, 2021, 12:52:18...my feedback...in a couple of months time.

Ho-hum, months? Hurry up a bit, Sue's waiting for it! XD
(Just kiddin', take your time.)

Quote from: Pongo on September 01, 2021, 12:52:18Maybe I'll throw in my thesis on why Wild Mood Swings is a stellar album.

I'm really looking forward to that (seriously, I've always liked this album).
It doesn't touch me at all...

SueC

No, not waiting for it, Ulrich, you dag!   :yum:

(For those who need lessons in Australian vernacular: A dag is the shitty bit of wool on a sheep's bottom. It's an affectionate insult you use for friendly leg-pulling. :beaming-face)

It would take anyone months to 1) read this entire thread, listen to all the clips and follow all the links, and 2) recover from the subsequent coma.  :winking_tongue

A Wild Mood Swings discussion would be great - we could all chime in; I've not discussed that album on this thread yet (but some of it on the Exploring Join the Dots thread, via B-sides) - because I listened to it well before I started writing this thread, and for that, focused on whatever albums were coming into my mailbox at the time. So I've not gotten around to Wild Mood Swings (or others from "before this forum") yet and it would be lovely to do that in company. :cool

Currently I'm going at a glacial pace - I've not even listened to Pornography yet (studio album; but have several times via Trilogy) even though we've had it for months - nearly a year? It's because I'm still not "done" with the self-titled, and I have this German thing about order and sequence...

Good things take time, etc. Especially if you only do them when you really feel like it, instead of making a millstone for yourself...  :)

And especially if you are temporarily distracted by writing "The Cure versus Aliens" adventures:winking_tongue
SueC is time travelling

Pongo

Quote from: Ulrich on September 02, 2021, 09:43:12I'm really looking forward to that (seriously, I've always liked this album).

Me too. Initially I thought it was "rather ok". But I found that it's an album I'm coming back to more often than many others. So that must mean I like it, and I think I know why. Stay tuned :)

Quote from: SueC on September 02, 2021, 10:49:35Good things take time, etc. Especially if you only do them when you really feel like it, instead of making a millstone for yourself...  :)

Can't agree more. And I feel I can't just barge in here and write stuff without knowing what's been said. That would be too disrespectful. I also need to know what I'm up against, in terms of level of scholarship.



Ulrich

Quote from: Pongo on September 02, 2021, 11:35:37Me too. Initially I thought it was "rather ok". But I found that it's an album I'm coming back to more often than many others. So that must mean I like it...

Well after "Wish" I waited four long years for the next album, so I had to like it... ;)
No, I really liked it when it was new. Over the years, some flaws became more obvious and it's not really a "coherent" album, more like a wild collection of songs & moods (as the title suggests). There may be a few "weak" songs (also production/mix sometimes), but in general I still regard it as a good album with many fine songs.  :cool
It doesn't touch me at all...