Deadline Party #2

Two years after the first Deadline Party, the niggling voice in the back of my mind started up again. “You’ve always wanted to do XYZ… So, remind me – why haven’t you done it yet?” Well, because [blah blah blah ELABORATE EXCUSE blah blah]. It’s not that I can’t. Pffft.  I could if I wanted to. It’s just that I haven’t… yet. It’ll happen in its own time, though. You’ll see. You can’t force these things…

Last time thoughts like these took hold I created the Deadline Party to give me some incentive to do the XYZ – which back then was to be able to play Rachmaninov’s Prelude in D Major (which I did, btw). This time round, my XYZ was to write and record a song. I knew I could, I was just a matter of putting my mind to it. But “putting one’s mind to it” is hard when you have no time, no motivation and no purpose.

Enter: Deadline Party #2.

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THE DEADLINE PARTY – an experiment in getting things done

They say the only deadline you should worry about in life is death. But “they” didn’t know about my party.

A few weeks ago, I had a party. It became known as “The Deadline Party” because the night of the party itself was the deadline for which each person invited had to have completed some personal project that they’d been wanting to complete for some time, but – due to work or the general time-sapping minutiae of life – hadn’t gotten around to doing. The impetus for the party was Rachmaninov – the Russian composer with the big hands – whose Prelude in D Major I have been trying to learn and finish for the last ten years of my life but have never had the occasion or motivation to do so.

So, I decided – why not invite a bunch of friends around to my house specifically for the purpose of performing this piece? Maybe then I will actually learn it. And why not make everyone else endure the same nerve-wracking build up to the ‘deadline’ that I would inevitably experience? And so, the Deadline Party was born…

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Becoming Beyoncé – My mission to learn the Single Ladies dance

From Thriller to the YMCA and that unfortunately unforgettable ’90s one-hit-woe – Macarena – music videos have been inspiring people to learn dance sequences for generations. There’s something uniquely liberating about piecing together a few moves in your lounge room with friends, then flash mobbing the dance floor with a perfectly synchronised routine when the DJ plays that song.

But there’s a long way between Nut Bush-style square dances and the choreography in the clip to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).
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Rugby or rock? Music muscles in on sport

 Illustration: Rocco Fazzari
Illustration: Rocco Fazzari

As pop culture grabs teenagers, music is becoming cooler than sport at school, writes Jodie McLeod.*

School used to be about the survival of the fittest. Where you ranked in the playground hierarchy was proportional to your speed, co-ordination and how good your legs looked in your sport shorts. But now the criterion of “cool” at school is changing. As a wider variety of opportunities are opened up to students in schools, and as the instruments of pop culture increasingly infiltrate teenagers’ lives – musical involvement (listening to it, supporting it or playing it) is becoming more a marker of greatness among peers than one’s ball skills.

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What is the best age to go travelling?

Eiffel TowerThis is a tough one. Everyone who’s old says, “Do it while you’re young”; but when you’re young you think – “maybe I should wait till I’m old, when I’ve actually got money to do it, and do it well?” Of course you can travel when you’re young, middle aged and old, but not often do we get the chance in life to take a large chunk of time off – I’m talking a year or two – to do so. No matter how the question manifests – whether it’s a hypothetical or a realistic choice – the question has crossed everyone’s mind at some point. So if you did have to choose – which option would you take? Let’s look at the pros and cons… Continue reading

You can’t shoot a fire

Photo by CSIROThis is what I remember: solid twisters of smoke moving down the hill towards our house like giant stone statues; mum and dad running down the driveway in t-shirts and thongs carrying buckets and wet Hessian bags, telling me to stay inside… and then the wait.

I could see flames from the kitchen window.

I called my friend who lived three houses down. She was alone too.
What if the fire came into our backyards? she asked.
Duh… we would run.
But wouldn’t our mums want us to defend the house?
No – surely they would prefer us to live more than their kitchens. Mum doesn’t even like her dishwasher anyway.
So what things will you get before you run? What are your top three favourite things you would save?
Easy: my Dinky Diary, some jewellery out of Mum’s bedside drawer, and maybe the gun in the laundry.
You have a gun in your laundry?
Yeah, an old one Dad got from the army.
What do you need a gun for?
To defend us, of course.
… But you can’t shoot a fire, Jodie.

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ROBBED! The hidden cost of going to the movies

Everyone knows how to be stingy at the moment. You choose Coles brand over fancy labels, collect shop-a-dockets as though they were their own currency, and you buy that E10 eco fuel, which I’m convinced is designed to get the car only as far as the next petrol station. When it comes to entertainment, you rent DVDs on Tuesdays only, and on Saturday night you play Solitaire in the kitchen by candle light.

In the olden days (ie: the ’90s) going to the movies was the cheapskate’s night out of choice. ‘Movie’ could even be coupled with ‘dinner’ – to form the definitive date night concept ‘Dinner and a Movie’. But in modern times, the D&M idea is out, because – quite simply – you can’t afford it. The price of a movie ticket on its own is enough to make one wince, let alone the additional necessary expense of a choc top and a coke, which can easily come to a total of around $25.

But there is another price to pay for going to the modern day cinema that no amount of buying of Coles brand items can offset – and this money-sapper is called GETTING ROBBED. Continue reading