Weekend Wind Down

It has been months since I blogged. A result of my move from Canberra to Sydney. I have wanted this for years, and now that I’ve achieved it I feel as vulnerable and free as a lone traveller. The energy of Sydney is terrifying and exciting.

Since its birth, Canberra has been scrutinised and sandwiched between Melbourne and Sydney. As the whipping boy, Canberra is used a tool for faux diplomacy between the feuding cities, with people saying things like: “Is Melbourne the San Fransisco of Australia, and Sydney the New York? Either way, it doesn’t matter, because they’re both not Canberra!” But if a city of 350 000 people gets compared to cities upwards of 4 million people, it must be doing something right (even if it’s by geographical virtue).

For me Canberra was a safe haven. Begrudgingly I moved from the Sutherland Shire of Sydney (Cronulla riots, anyone?) to Canberra for uni. As beautiful as the Shire is, and as much as I love my friends and family there, it is classically white-bred. You get picked on if you’re Asian or Lebanese or Middle Eastern. You can proclaim to be gay, but don’t even think about “forcing” Shire inhabitants to suffer your hand-holding or attempts to express yourself as openly as the privileged majority. I don’t know if this has changed since I left in 2002, but on recent visits I have been called a “fag” for daring to wear leopard print board shorts or blast Nelly Furtado in my car.

Canberra was an absence of this hostility. I found it highly confusing. What was this city about if it didn’t hold prejudices? What were its values if not uniformly religious or cliquey and tribal? I had become so closed off, so apt at lying and hiding, that I was shocked at Canberrans’ indifference. It probably also helped that I went to ANU, university students eager to expand their mind, meet different kinds of people from different walks of life. I can’t speak highly enough of the no-nonsense people I’ve met in my thirteen years there.

Despite a sense of indifference, Canberra is hardly bereft of independent thought. Many of its inhabitants have come from other parts of the world, making the city transient and culturally fluid. I felt safe and supported, but I also learned how to express parts of myself which I never thought I’d tap into. I’d been so closeted that I hadn’t even stopped to think about what a life without romance would have felt like.

It is the end of an era. I’m sure Sydney has plenty still to offer, particularly now that I spend much of my time in queer areas. I hope it takes me to new places, I hope I can expand my mind in many new ways. But Canberra will hold a special place in my heart.

This album was underrated, and probably sounds too much like Daft Punk (though I feel it is distinctly Royksoppian). It was probably also suitably eclipsed by the EP with Robyn (Monument seems to fit well with the trending mood). I feel like this song is something of a gay anthem. I have this very nostalgic and dated idea of what would work well in a gay club. Very circa 2008, and would involve lots of Kelis, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and of course Robyn. But had this song popped up on an episode of Looking it would have worked I think. (On a side note, I’m devastated that after an ordinary season 1, season 2 really found its footing, only for Looking to be cancelled.)

Also on my devastation, I somehow missed Jungle at Laneway Festival. They had dropped off my radar, despite having quite liked the album released last year. And so, while on the subject of Looking, here is the atmospheric song used to close the Halloween episode.

Similar to Jungle, I’m quite liking this song by Loveless, which breathes and pauses in a subversive attention-seeking way.

I found this lesser-known guy through Spotify’s suggested artists, via Andy Shauf, whose music I discovered via KCRW’s music blog playlist! See my obsessive trawling? We all do it, I’m sure. I’ve been really craving country/folk, maybe cause I’m a bit homeless at the moment (staying with friends and family until I can settle properly in Sydney).

Japanese Wallpaper has paid his dues, while Airling caught early attention from triple J, and I haven’t much enjoyed her until now. I think Japanese Wallpaper’s minimalist electro pops like exploding candy with her vocals. It’s a very of-the-moment song but I’m tiring of the hipster alternatives lately, opting for some straight up mainstream (whatever that means now).

I can’t look past dramatic despair when it’s paired with an intense, impatient beat. This sums up my neutral, default mood. I am fully aware that’s not healthy.

I’ve liked Tully on Tully for quite some time but this song really nails it. It’s up there in similar style and mood to Jezebels’ Endless Summer.

From memory, I was introduced to Other Lives by the editor of BMA Mag; she was eager for someone to review the album, which was so “unsung”. Other Lives are still quietly working away to a wilting audience. Let’s see if their new material takes flight.

I’ve liked How to Dress Well but there’s seems to be something missing. I think maybe he’s ahead of his time, or possibly behind? I need to be in a particular mood for it and I’m often not. But this orchestral redo of Pour Cyril is arresting.

I can’t end even a Weekend Wind Down mix on such a low. Here is the talented and pretty fun Absofacto! He’s got a real talent for hitting the beat with playful build. He’s been releasing new songs here and there, but with its cute rock-out moments and difficult-to-sing-along-with vocals, Lies remains one of my all-time favourite songs.

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