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: Weak in the Knees

Day 21: Your favourite song

Weak in the Knees | Serena Ryder

serenaryder

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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Addy’s Best of 2012: Single of the Year

In addition to the Mental Health Month Challenge I have decided to undertake a more light-hearted challenge this month that I discovered on Heck Yeah Tumblr Challenges. Each day in December I will be issuing an award in celebration of everything 2012, continuing with…

Single of the Year

~ Try (P!nk) ~

Pink - Try

For many this would be a simple category to award, but ever since I became homeless listening to music (especially new music) has been something I’ve had a great deal of difficulty doing. Thus, I’ve probably only heard half a dozen (at best) new singles this year.

However much I wanted to give Stompa this award, I couldn’t in all faith do so, for this is easily my single of the year for reasons that go way beyond my love P!nk.

If you missed my mini-breakdown around October 11, you should count yourself lucky. For those who were around during that chaotic week of bad memories, depression, binge drinking and borderline suicide, you may remember I’ve posted this video before, on the evening of October 11, where I listened to it on repeat for several hours whilst consuming vast quantities of alcohol.

Thus, for the rest of eternity, whenever I hear this song I will think of drunk Addy tweeting random celebrities whilst trying to survive that most horrible of days.

~ Runners up for ‘Single of the Year’ award ~

Stompa – Serena Ryder

Seriously? I still need to talk about how amazing Serena is? My favourite musical artist…of all time!

Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) – Regina Spektor

I love Regina Spektor. Seriously, if I ever met her it’s entirely possible I would Ted Mosby her! Dom Knight played this song on his radio show several times when it was released earlier this year, making me want to Ted Mosby him for bringing such awesomeness into the life of this formerly homeless man :)

P.S…I want those caterpillars!

I’ll Change Your Mind – Kate Miller-Heidke

Another artist I have cherished for several years released her much-anticipated third album earlier this year. After purchasing it as a surprise present for my dad’s birthday, I ended up taking it back to the shop as he had already ordered it online as a present for himself. A stunning album, a fantastic song and – like Serena Ryder and Regina Spektor – an artist that everyone should listen to. Frequently.

Skyfall – Adele

I’m not the world’s greatest Bond fan. I’m not the world’s smallest Bond fan. But if I had to choose a favourite Bond theme it would be a toss-up between Live and Let Die, The Living Daylights, License to Kilt (sorry, Kill), We Have All the Time in the World or this one.

The only Bond theme in twenty years that has made me want to watch the movie!

 


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Addy’s Best of 2012: The Most Underrated of the Year

In addition to the Mental Health Month Challenge I have decided to undertake a more light-hearted challenge this month that I discovered on Heck Yeah Tumblr Challenges. Each day in December I will be issuing an award in celebration of everything 2012, beginning with…

The Most Underrated of the Year

~ Serena Ryder ~

Serena Ryder

Serena Ryder (b. December 8, 1982 in Toronto, Ontario[1]) is a Juno Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter raised in Millbrook, Ontario.

Ranging musically between folk, roots, country, and adult contemporary music, Ryder possesses a five-octave range. She attended the Integrated Arts Program at Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School in Peterborough as well as Crestwood Secondary School. As a teenager, she performed solo as well as with many bands from the Peterborough area, including Christian band Thousand Foot Krutch and Jive recording artist Three Days Grace.

from Wikipedia

Okay, given her most recent album Harmony has only just been released, it may seem a little too soon to award the most underrated award to this musician, but I am doing so because I firmly believe her music has long been underrated by the music loving public.

For years I have cherished Serena’s music. Her album Unlikely Emergency provided solace during the breakup of my relationship with Louise, whilst her album If Your Memory Serves You Well came at a time when I was slowly beginning to move forward with my life and quickly became the soundtrack to those brief months of happiness before my breakdown.

It was her album Is It O.K that provided the hope I needed to navigate the pain and trauma that was the ‘homeless’ chapter of my life. And with the release of Harmony, it is pure happenstance that I now have a new Serena Ryder album to further score the ups and downs of my rather chaotic life.

Yet through it all her music has remained on the fringe, her name drawing blank stares when it should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

A superb musician, a magnificent song writer and a stunning live performer, this most underrated musician deserves to be known (and loved) by all.

You can find out more about Serena Ryder (and purchase ‘Harmony’) via her website www.serenaryder.com

Heavy Love (from the album Harmony)

Weak in the Knees (from the album If Your Memory Serves You Well)

My favourite song of all time! This live performance runs to a different beat than the version I’m in love with but I have to say, it’s superb.

Stompa [with Kevin Drew] (from the album Harmony)

~ Runners up for ‘The Most Underrated of the Year’ award ~


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Would you mind if I pretended I was someone else, with courage in love and war.

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is:
Take a line from a song that you love or connect with.
Turn that line into the title of your post.

We spend our lives wanting to be someone else, deriding and criticising every aspect of our appearance, personality and heart.

Our bums are too big, our bodies are too fat, our nipples too inverted, our courage too slight, our bank balance too small, our toes too abnormal, our hearts too broken, our mistakes too defining, our lips too thin, our backs too hairy, our fantasies too twisted, our lives never good enough, our days spent trying to earn love, recognition, forgiveness and respect from everyone under the sun (including ourselves).

Yet through all this self-hate and self-criticism we never realise how perfect we are in our entirety.

We are unique. We are beautiful. We are amazing. Every single one of us.

So perhaps we should stop wanting, dreaming, desiring, criticising, hating and pretending to be someone else. Perhaps we should just be who we are and be happy with that person.

For there is no-one else in the world quite like us.

Weak in the Knees, officially my favourite song of all time, from my favourite artist of all time.

 


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Sunday Stealing: Je n’ai aucun ami

Sunday Stealing originated on WTIT: The Blog authored by Bud Weiser. Here we will steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent memes.

1. Ever been given or received an engagement ring?

Generally men aren’t on the receiving end of an engagement ring, so I’ve never been given one. I did purchase one once upon a time (imported from Scotland) when my girlfriend and I decided to get married. Only she decided she didn’t want to get married (giving the flimsiest of excuses) before I had the chance to give it to her.

2. Longest relationship?

Other than the one with myself? That would be Louise, aka who I purchased the ring for.

3. Last gift you received?

December 2008, a bottle of whisky as a Christmas present. I only got to drink one glass of it before having to leave it behind as I wasn’t allowed to take it on a plane. Wow, four years since someone bought me a present, geez, that makes me feel spectacularly loved that does!

4. Ever dropped a mobile phone?

Yep. Many times. Never once down a toilet though, I reserve that annoyance for MP3 players and iPods.

5. When’s the last time you worked out?

Yesterday. Had planned on a run this morning but anxiety took over so had to cancel my plans.

6. Thing(s) you spend a lot of money on?

Bills. Energy prices in Australia are completely and utterly insane. They’re rendering people homeless, forcing people to choose between medication and electricity, creating countless health problems as people can’t afford heating and yet no-one seems to care.

7. Last food you ate?

Rice. Purchased 2kg of rice for $2 yesterday – a good thing given I had yet another electricity bill arrive on Friday so if I hadn’t found such a bargain I probably wouldn’t have much to eat this week. So sick of the ‘poverty line’!

8. First thing you notice about the opposite sex?

Eyes. Always the eyes. The eyes tell you everything you need to know.

9. One favorite song?

10. Where do you live?

I had to leave my “home” in Melbourne after numerous assaults and the ludicrous rental market, so now I live in country Victoria and have done for nearly a year. I feel ten times more isolated than I did when in Melbourne and given I’m already socially isolated, this isn’t a good thing as it severely reduces my chances of getting a life back. If I could move back to Melbourne, I would, in a heartbeat, but I really don’t want to be sleeping in a park again.

11. High school attended:

A random comprehensive school in South Wales. It was a bit of a dive and never encouraged artistic pursuits. I’d rather not think about it.

12. Cell phone provider:

Huh? Why? What possible reason would anyone have to be interested in this?

13. Favorite shop:

I rarely if ever go shopping as I have no money and there’s only so much joy you can acquire from ‘window shopping’. My favourite shops used to be: Polyester Music, Polyester Books, Book Affair, Grub Street Bookstore and a plethora of odd little laneway places in Melbourne.

14. Longest job:

Homelessness. If you think it’s not a job, you try it for three years. Guarantee I work harder than you do!

15. Do you own a smart phone? Why?

I’ve never even held a smart phone let alone owned one. I would love to own one, but alas that pesky ‘poverty line’ keeps getting drawn.

16. Do you prank call people?

Nope. Never. Does that make me boring?

17. Last wedding you attended?

My brothers. I was an usher, and looked totally edible in my kilt!

18. First friend you’d call if you won the lottery:

Je n’ai aucun ami! However, I already know what four not-for-profit organisation would receive hefty donations if I won the lottery, so I’d probably just call them.

19. Last time you saw your best friend(s)

2008. I fucked up.

20. Favorite fast food Restaurant:

I hate fast food. I really do. But if I had to choose one it would be Subway because (a) Omelette + Sandwich = Heaven (b) they’re healthier than McVomit and Crappy Jacks (c) it reminds me of the first time I ate them during a beautiful week in Canada and (d) you can have as much salad as you want :)

 

 


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Original vs Cover Song #1: “Heart of Gold”

We all know that musicians love covering classic songs, but do the new versions ever better the original?

Every week I’ll pitch a cover version against the original artist and leave it up to you guys to decide which is better.

#1: Heart of Gold

In the red corner we have Neil Young:

In the blue corner, we have a duet from Australian artist Lior and fellow Canadian, Serena Ryder:

Whilst you’re deciding, here’s a few facts about the song:

  • This song was Neil Young’s only number 1 single.
  • In a 2005 radio poll, ‘Heart of Gold’ was voted the 3rd greatest Canadian song of all time. It was behind Barenaked Ladies ‘If I had a $1,000,000’ and Ian and Sylvia’s ‘Four Strong Winds’.
  • It was ranked #297 in Rolling Stone magazines top 500 greatest songs of all time.
  • Whilst in 1985, Bob Dylan admitted to hating the song: “The big song at the time was “Heart of Gold.” I used to hate it when it came on the radio. I always liked Neil Young, but it bothered me every time I listened to it,”

So, now you’ve listened to them both, it’s time to vote. Which is your favourite? The final results will be posted next week along with a brand new face off.

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