The Flute let me down

The flute let me down in high school… It made me a lame school musician… Like the nerdiest of the
nerds…

Learning an instrument at school is great… It helps with a lot of things, including brain development… But it is an activity often taken up by nerds… Either because their parents told them to, or they thought they could be the musician that defied the laws of school ground class groups and become a cool musician… Adored by all, young and old, girls and boys, nerds and jocks alike… But the truth is… Most school musos are fairly studious and pretty well behaved nerds… Not surprisingly… I did music… Because I thought it was cool… (Which it is, but only now that I am older and I can see it with my older me eyes, and it’s a different cool than what I was aiming for in high school).  At school I learnt flute… Which wasn’t my first choice… But it’s where I ended up… And until last weekend, I was content in being a flautist at school.  But that was until I went to Mt. Gambier… To the Generations in Jazz competition… I had known about the competition since I was at school, the stage band went and back then didn’t win much, and Dave’s school, which I had taken an interest in went and won a lot.  Over the weekend Dave and I returned to Mt. Gambier with a stage band from Dave’s school and it dawned on me that I had missed out.  There were lots of kids there who had been just as nerdy as I was, but here they were kings… Those from schools with great music reputations were famous, it was like a whole new world… One which I think I would have enjoyed very much, but the flute ruined that for me.

You see, while there are often flute players in stage bands… They are there because they play more than one instrument… Flute is just one… Because playing the flute alone doesn’t get you into a stage band.  An orchestra, sure, a concert band, absolutely, even an incredible ensemble.. But not a stage band… And not to Mt. Gambier… So, it turns out I missed out… I missed out on Mt. Gambier, which just isn’t the same when you return a teacher… Especially when you aren’t a music teacher…

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Wired to Hate Sydney

For as long as I have been alive I have been taught that Melbourne is better than Sydney… and so I have become part of another generation who has been taught to dislike our rival city…  If you asked me why I hate Sydney, I probably couldn’t give you an answer other than that Melboure is just better… It’s something that because I live in Melbourne I never question… I just believe it to be true.

This weekend on our road trip I have been forced to consider this question once again… and even though I know I have been wired to hate Sydney… I have discovered it’s not that bad… In fact I think the reason there is a rivalry is that it’s actually hard to split them… Here is a little pros and cons list I came up with on our road trip

Transport
Well it doesn’t take a genius to notice that Melbourne has much better roads, clearer signs and more space… In fact when it comes to Sydney, well the roads are just a bit nuts… even my GPS was getting confused… they just go every where, but only one lane of 6 goes where you need… but the sign doesn’t tell you until… well it’s almost too late…  Melbourne wins this one hands down.

History
Sydney has some massive and very impressive historic icons – The Bridge, The Opera House and Bondi just to name a few, Melbourne just doesn’t have anything like this, we have some cool stuff, even some very beautiful stuff but as much as I hate to admit it…. its just not the same… Well played Sydney.

Shopping
This one is a tough choice… I love the way Melbourne is set out… it makes it easy to shop… but Sydney has some better shops… some shops that Melbourne doesn’t have… does that make it better…  I don’t know? Maybe it’s just different…

Wow Factor
I am also not sure on this one… I am not sure that Melbourne makes you go wow the way the view from circular quay does… but Sydney doesn’t have the cool little ally ways and hidden gems that Melbourne does…  maybe that’s Melbourne’s wow factor… maybe not… maybe in some small way Sydney does have a little more… although that hurts to admit.

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So there you go… maybe you think differently, but I think the truth is they both have a lot to offer… I wouldn’t want to live in Sydney… but I don’t mind visiting it, and maybe it’s not as bad as I thought… there is nothing quite like the view from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge after climbing to the top and… after all, they still have Sizzler… how bad could it be?

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5 Reasons Canberra is Underrated

This past week end Dave and I went on a little road trip.  I am a big fan of the road trip, I like the fact that it takes time, I like the security of having your own car and I like that you can pick an choose destinations and stops on a whim… Originally we were heading up to Sydney for the whole weekend, but for something different we decided to have a day and night in Canberra too.

ACT Fun

For most of my life I had I had been lead to believe that Canberra was important but not that important.  It was important because it is the capital, but as far as a holiday destination goes… there were better places I could visit.  I am not really sure how I came to have this opinion, I am not sure if that’s what I was told, or if I just never heard anything about Canberra so it just flew under the radar, either way, until now, it was never somewhere I had thought about visiting.  What I have discovered though is quite the opposite… in fact I am pretty sure Canberra is the most underrated city in Australia and here is 5 reasons why:

1.   It’s really pretty.
I know that sounds kind of vain, but it is… there are lakes, mountains, beautiful national parks and some pretty awesome buildings… even the ramp leading up to Parliament House is breath taking at night.  And while the roundabouts and poor road signage are annoying… it means that you get to see some really beautiful parts of our country.  My favorite “pretty” feature though is the fact that the war memorial, the road and Parliament House all line up perfectly…  not to mention that both of those building are pretty awesome in their own right.

2. It was custom made.
There aren’t too many cities that I can think of in the world that were hand picked for a very specific purpose and then custom planned and designed.  There was a competition and everything… and while we all know that Melbourne should have been the capital, I have to say that I am pretty happy with Canberra.

3. It’s quiet.
For some people this might be a bad thing, but Dave and I loved it… no traffic, no lines, no waiting… wonderful…

4. It has great car parking.
Seriously… let me explain… we only paid $2 for parking for the whole time we were there… most of it was free and there were lots of parks… to do the same activities in Melbourne would have cost easily $50 maybe even more… so to the man who complained about the 4hr free parking limit… you have no idea!

5. It is the holder of some amazing things.
Being the capital of a country has a few perks it would appear not only is it the engine room of Australia in that all the major decisions of past, present and future are made there, it also holds all our history and future at the same time.  There is lots of looking back at places like the Australian War Memorial, the old Parliament House building, and numerous other museums and galleries, but there is just as many places looking forward like the Australian Institute of Sport, the CSRIO and Parliament House.  It’s all there… waiting… with no lines and lots of car parks because of number 3 and 4.

Canberra

I think I have been mislead… I actually love Canberra and which we had have had more time there.  It is something special about standing in parliament house reflecting on times gone by and things to come.  There is something special about the detail and the extravagance with which the building has been made and designed.  There is something special about standing on the gardened roof and looking straight down to the past that is held so sacred within the Australian War Memorial.  There is something moving about walking through rooms and rooms of history and sacrifice at the war memorial, there is something very moving about walls of poppies and there is something moving about looking from sacrifice for freedom to democracy and power.

Canberra is definitely underrated…