All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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25 Songs, 25 Days: Freedom Calling

Day 25: A song you could listen to all day without getting tired of.

Freedom Calling | Colin Hay

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Me looking like a tad (too) happy next to my hero, Colin Hay! [2006]

Before Serena Ryder stole my heart there was only one singer-songwriter I had a massive crush on; Colin Hay.

For those not in the know, Colin Hay rose to super-stardom as the lead singer of Australian rock group Men at Work, authors of perennial classic ‘Down Under’. After leaving the group Colin Hay struck out on his own, releasing a series of mainly acoustic solo albums of his self-written songs. They contained classics such as ‘Wayfaring Sons’, ‘Dreamtime in Glasgow’ and ‘Can’t Take This Town’. And then, in 1998, he released an album called Transcendental Highway – the first album of his that I heard – and on this album was a little song called ‘Freedom Calling’.

For over six years – until Serena wowed me with ‘Weak in the Knees’ – this was my all time favourite song. A haunting meditation on life, love and longing. For years it was my anthem; a song I carried close to my heart, a song whose lessons I tried to live my life by. When I moved to Australia in 2002 it was the last song I listened to on UK soil and the first song I listened to after arriving down under. When my relationship with Louise broke down, it was the song I turned to in order to help me through the heartache. And it was the first song I shared with my new girlfriend, Kathy.

There are no words to describe how much I love this song. It is pure, unadulterated bliss (with bagpipes!)

Freedom Calling
by Colin Hay

If you hear a voice call out your name
Saying you can stop yourself from falling
And if he strikes you in his fear and shame
Well you can leave him to his ruin

If your dreams they wake you in the night
And your heart it is a pounding
If you cry out as you wake in your fright
And the wind it is a-howling

Maybe it’s time to find another place
Where nobody even knows your face
There is no need to be afraid
For it’s only freedom calling

If your tears begin to overflow
As you walk against the undertow
There is no need to be afraid
For it’s only freedom calling

If you’re sad ’cause you’re all alone
And your hands they are a shaking
And your miracle cure’s not working anymore
And the flood bank’s close to breaking

Suddenly you’re on an open unknown road
Passing all the heavy, long wide loads
It is time to make your great escape
And you can hear your freedom calling

I want to dive into the sea of love
But my knees they are a quaking
I can see myself high up above
And there’s no time left for faking

I no longer need to understand
What it is to truly be a man
Only when I gave up on my masterplan
Did I then hear freedom calling

Did I then hear freedom calling

I couldn’t have chosen a better song to end this 25 Songs, 25 Days Challenge. I hope you’ve enjoyed the music, tales and memories I’ve shared over the last twenty-five days. To view a complete list of songs that have featured, simply click here!


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25 Songs, 25 Days: Let It Be

Day 23: A song that you cannot stand to listen to

Let It Be | The Beatles

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I’m so tempted to repost yesterday’s song in response to today’s prompt because I stand my comment that it is, without doubt, one of the worst songs ever recorded. But that would be a cop out, as there are certainly songs other than I’ve Never Been To Me that I cannot stand listening to. And Let It Be by the Beatles is one of them!

I’ve never been a huge fan of this massively popular musical group. I accept they are instrumental in musical history, but I find a lot of their songs somewhat banal and uninspiring. In fact, I rate only Hey Jude and Yesterday as songs that I would recommend to other people. But the nadir of their musical output, for me, is Let It Be, a most turgid, grating and unpleasant song that I simply cannot stand to listen to.

So, if you’re a Beatles fan…enjoy!

If, like me, you’re not…perhaps go listen to nails on a chalkboard instead!


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25 Songs, 25 Days: Weak in the Knees

Day 21: Your favourite song

Weak in the Knees | Serena Ryder

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For my birthday in 2006 I treated myself to the album If Your Memory Serves You Well by Canadian singer-songwriter Serena Ryder. I had become a fan of her soulful music after hearing her perform at the Port Fairy Folk Festival earlier in the year, so was eagerly anticipating another trip into her melodic, intoxicating world. The album itself consists mainly of covers of classic Canadian songs, each and every one perfectly suited to Ryder’s talent and style. But the last few tracks on the album are her own, unique compositions. One of these tracks is Weak in the Knees, and from the moment I first heard it, I knew it was something special.

The day after purchasing the CD my parents arrived in Melbourne for a three week holiday. Unable to pick them up at the airport I traveled to their accommodation to meet them from their taxi. Throughout the journey to the B&B I listened to Weak in the Knees, on repeat, for over an hour. I must have heard the song over two dozen times in that short space of time, and never grew tired of it.

And in the years since, I have listened to it thousands of times, and have never once grown tired of it. It is a song that reminds me of a positive period of my life; a time that saw all of my hard work finally paying off, a time that I was happy, and loved and full of hope for the future. It is a song that reminds me of the time I spent with my parents during their 2006 Melbourne adventure. It is a song that reminds me that, if you look close enough, life doesn’t suck.

If you’re not familiar with Serena Ryder’s work I suggest pouring yourself a nice glass of wine, settling into an armchair and pressing play on the video below. You will be moved. You will be rendered speechless. And you will thank me for introducing you to her exquisite talent.


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25 Songs, 25 Days: Protect and Survive

Day 15: A song you love singing along to

Protect and Survive | Runrig

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I’m a terrible singer. Really. Truthfully. I couldn’t hold a note if the fate of the world depended on it. But when I’m alone – which is pretty much all the time – I have been known to sing along to random, much-loved tunes.

Given they are my favourite band, more often than not, I’m singing along to Runrig. I love their use of language. I love the rhythm of their music. I love the blend of folk and rock genres. I feel good when I’m singing along to Runrig, even if I’m butchering the tune with my shrill, melodyless voice.

So be glad you’re not in the room with me as I play today’s song; for I will be singing along to it, and I wouldn’t want to damage your precious sense of hearing. But why don’t you sing along to. Even if you are as bad at it as I am.

The red hot sun burns up the hill
The winter’s bride, the summer’s king
I tramp these acres and I feel
Once upon a time
Then it seemed that everything
You saw and touched and felt was real
You turned the tap and you turned the wheel
Breathing free

Once in a lifetime
You live and love
Once in a lifetime
You die
Once in a moment
The sun goes down
Protect and survive

Now you search the open evening sky
Trace the memories in your eyes
For the prophet’s hard rain and the deluge
Lie in tears around your door
Once there were trees and livestock here
A mother’s love, the warnings clear
But you chose to turn away from fear
Breathing free

Once in a lifetime
You live and love
Once in a lifetime
You die
Once in a moment
The sun goes down
Protect and survive

Now there’s a faceless cross on a distant hill
A wasted voice, a silent scream
Where the lovers love and the dreamers dream
You stand and dream alone
You took your sacrifice to the gods of war
Traded your children’s lives for a mess of gold
And you beat your ploughshares into swords
Breathing free

Once in a lifetime
You live and love
Once in a lifetime
You die
Once in a moment
The sun goes down
Protect and survive


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25 Songs, 25 Days: A jaunt into three parallel worlds…

Day 14: A song that reminds you of your boyfriend/girlfriend

Wow. Today’s prompt is single-friendly, isn’t it?

What if you don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend? What are you to do then?

*puts thinking cap on*

*assumes thinking pose with hand on chin*

*spends several minutes pondering this complicated dilemma*

Ok. As I am not fortunate enough to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, as I am destined to spend my life alone, with only my voices for company, I’ve decided to share three songs; one for each of my parallel world girlfriends. For as long as I can remember I’ve believed in parallel worlds. Worlds that are created out of our decisions, out of our choices. For every decision we make a world is created for each of the possible outcomes.

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Parallel Worlds Theory

So, for example, if you choose to ask someone out on a date there are three possible outcomes: (1) They will say yes (2) They will say no (3) They will knee you in the groin for being a moronic fool. At that split second you make your choice to ask the question, three worlds are created, one in which you end up on a lovely, adventurous date, one in which you spend the night alone, mourning your loss and one in which you end up in hospital for a displaced testicle. Understand parallel world theory? Good, we shall continue.

~1~

Champagne Supernova | Oasis

My first parallel world girlfriend is Natalie Skippington, a girl I had an immense crush on in high school. At the time, in my reality, I was too nervous, too shy and too anxious to ask her out on a date. But parallel world Addy was able to ask her out on a date and they have been together ever since. And in that parallel world relationship, one song reminds them of their youth, of the heady days of their teenage lust.

~2~

Little Plastic Castle | Ani DiFranco

My second parallel world girlfriend is Annie Johansson, a woman I  met whilst backpacking across Canada. We met in a backpacker hostel and bonded over fire-toasted marshmallows and a shared love of adventure. For seven long days we laughed, sung and bathed our way through the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. Then it came time to say goodbye. But our friendship burned bright, and it wasn’t long until we were reunited in Vancouver for another week of mayhem, fun and frivolity. Unfortunately I was too anxious to share how I really felt, so our relationship was never anything more than friendship. But in a parallel world I told her. And we’ve been together ever since.

Obviously ‘our song’  is one that reminds us of our initial time in Jasper; and Ani DiFranco sung it.

~3~

Many of Horror | Biffy Clyro

My third parallel world girlfriend is Samantha Campbell. When I met Samantha I was still heavily traumatized by my abusive relationship. I didn’t trust anyone, so was unable to make the moves required to transform our relationship from platonic to sexual. But, in a parallel world, I was able to make the transformation; and our relationship has flourished ever since.

Our song, that one tune that defines our relationship, is by Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro; Samantha’s favourite band.


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25 Songs, 25 Days: The Old Boys

Day 10: A song by your favourite band

The Old Boys | Runrig (with Paul Mounsey)

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My favourite band of all time is, and always will be, Runrig:

Runrig are a Scottish Celtic rock group formed in Skye, in 1973 under the name ‘The Run Rig Dance Band’. Since its inception, the band’s line-up has included songwriters Rory Macdonald and Calum Macdonald. The current line-up also includes longtime members Malcolm Jones, Iain Bayne, and more recently, Bruce Guthro, and Brian Hurren. To date, the band has released thirteen studio albums, with a number of their songs sung in Scottish Gaelic.

My favourite musician of all time is, and always will be, Paul Mounsey:

Paul Mounsey is a composer, arranger and producer from Scotland. He lived for over 20 years in Brazil. A graduate of Trinity College, London, where he studied with Richard Arnell, he has written for film, television, theatre, advertising and also for the Latin American pop market. He lectured for a short while at Goldsmiths College before moving on as creative director of Play It Again, one of the biggest commercial music houses in Brazil. He has also written articles on various aspects of music. He’s written pop hits for Mexican boy bands, has received commissions for chamber and multimedia works, has lived with and recorded the music of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest, and to date has released five solo albums.

And in 2003, much to my happiness, an album was released combining the talents of both Runrig and Paul Mounsey.

So for today’s song in the 25 Songs, 25 Days Challenge I’ve chosen a song from this album.

A song that is both beautiful and haunting.

Enjoy.