Trampled Rose

Recently a central Coast icon was sadly demolished. The Castle Rose was a mysterious monument in my local area, in the suburb Buff Point. The castle was a strange and beautiful anomaly amongst suburbia, easily one of the most interesting buildings on the coast. Known by locals through the stuff of folklore, the castle was attributed to ambitious creator Bill Muncke.

Legend had it that Bill was constructing a castle for his queen, his wife, bringing materials over across Tuggerah lake. Building started in the late 1940’s. Due to an injury he was unable to continue the building and his wife died before the castle was ever finished. Perhaps then losing the steam to continue on it the castle was sold in the late 70’s.

Photo: Christopher Halling. For some more amazing pictures see ‘here

Research Blog:

I’m currently conducting some music research as part of a PhD, so I’ve decided to set up a research blog as a way to document & share the project.

Lastest post is on a presentation in October as part of the the Musicological Society of Australia’s Annual Conference (Which this year will also be a bit of a celebration of Sydney Con turning 100!)

Internet Show & Tell No.2: O-Bon

The end of July marks O-bon time in Japan, a tradition honouring ancestors. Based on the old Lunar calendar, many families go off visiting their home villages to visit their loved ones from both sides, on what amongst the living falls around the date of July 15th.

Of course you can’t let your ghosts go hungry…O-bon refers to the container of offerings. This can be food for your otherworldly guests or something else that’s pleasing, like some ethereal floating lanterns.

Photo: Mitchell Adams (2006) Sourced from Flickr.
Photo: Mitchell Adams (2006) Sourced from Flickr.

As could be expected a unique kind of O-bon folk music & dance get a work out in celebrations:

As O-bon is also known as Hungry Ghost Month, i’ll throw in another folk song about ghosts for good measure (& as there are many to choose from!). This one’s an English ballad, referred to as Child Ballad 78 or The Unquiet Grave performed by the lovely Joan Baez:

For a much more comprehensive look at O-bon/Hungry Ghost Month

Internet Show & Tell no.1: Kalt

In an attempt to blog more regularly, I decided I’d like to share something musical or interesting that I come across on the internet each week (though this might end up more of a fortnightly habit). This week… Kælan Mikla’s video for their new song Kalt.

The band is an Icelandic group that began in poetry slams. The band have said writing in their native language is naturally an expressive vehicle for conveying their poetic meaning (More here…). They’ve also said that they didn’t understand how they attract an audience outside of Iceland, where the meanings of the lyrics are obscured.

The music to me isn’t instantly hypnotic but is quickly elevated though a building visceral energy. There’s something very aesthetically pleasing about the words. They seem perfectly picked. The consonants have great attack and are so interesting to an English speaker. Even though I can’t fully understand the words with all their connotations (though I did google translate), it’s provocative.

Beginning of a New Term

This weeks starts the new term. Lessons start up again, new fresh-page notebooks and some fun ideas that I anticipate trying out. This dark rainy weather makes it particularly easy to stay in and organise folders and tidy up.

Over the course of preparation i’ve burnt out pretty much all of my nice candles trying to make an ambience of my work space, but I thought I share a little music that has been beautifying the room over the past week or so…

In a low-res glowy halo…George Harrison Paul Simon- Here Comes the Sun:

From one of my favourite ‘Berlin Bowie’ records, Low, Always Crashing in the Same Car:

In other news, I’ve recently started volunteering at Norah Head lighthouse. Tours of the building run daily until 1.30pm

The lighthouse on a sunny day
The lighthouse on a sunny day

Creating Space

Yves Saint Laurent's workspace by Hedi Slimane
Yves Saint Laurent’s workspace by Hedi Slimane

A peaceful and inviting studio or practice space make can make a big difference to your musical practice. Yoga studios and art rooms are more often good examples of inviting and purpose driven spaces. You don’t need to have grand space or even a full room but carving out your ‘own space’ can inspired and enrich your practice.

Here’s five things that can make a space ideal for a focused singing practice…
Stock your space with tea or water to keep hydrated. The steam of a nice herbal tea will fill with the room with a nice scent without drying the air like a scented candle. Steam is very beneficial for your voice.

West Elm Owl Teapot Set
West Elm Owl Teapot Set

Air is important for singers, so keep your practice space or studio refreshed and clean. You could add some indoor plants to naturally filter the air or keep a window open for a bit each day.

Anthropologie 'Carnival pots'
Anthropologie ‘Carnival pots’

I’m a bit guilty of letting piles of sheet music, books and notes accumulate, but nothing says ‘calm’ like a good looking, well kept bookshelf.

Illustration by Quentin Blake for Roald Dahl's Matilda
Illustration by Quentin Blake for Roald Dahl’s Matilda

A space with good natural light is ideal, but you can supplement with the soft light of lamps to avoid a stark and clinical atmosphere. Mirrors are also great, serving multiple purposes- checking posture and presence, as well as reflecting light and creating the illusion of space.

open window

It’s important to make your studio or practice space somewhere inviting and where you’d like to spend time. Put your own spin onto it and add your own little vignettes, maybe through art or sentimental objects.


images via pinterest