Thanks for the Lessons

While some people open up easier than others, I truly believe that if you give people a chance they’re probably going to teach you something – or at least confirm something that you only “sorta kinda” knew, but perhaps need to more deeply engrain in your psyche…

For this week’s musings, I’m going to get a bit nostalgic with y’all and share some of my favourite lessons from a few of the interesting people who have kindly shared a little piece of themselves with me. Continue reading

Swanee’s ‘Fortunate’ Life

First published in Orange City Life 13 July 2017.

OAM John “Swanee” Swan’s rock music career has spanned many decades, with jaunts of booze, drugs, love and loss – overcoming his own demons to help others.

Musician John “Swanee” Swan made a name for himself in the music industry playing in a number of bands including Adelaide group Fraternity, and replacing his good friend Angry Anderson in the Party Boys, ushering their most successful period. He appeared with Cold Chisel from time to time providing backing vocals and percussion, until he was fired for “punching a roadie”. He was considered as Bon Scott’s replacement in AC/DC after Bon died from alcohol poisoning in 1980, but Swanee says it’s a good thing it didn’t transpire. “Bon was my drinking buddy! If I had’ve joined AC/DC they would have had another drunk as a singer. And why would you put them through that again?” Continue reading

Earning My Place: Jamie Stedman’s High Impact Life

Jamie ‘Stedo’ Stedman has lived a few different lives… he discusses drugs, family, death (his own), and his view on finding ‘purpose’. 

When I first met Jamie Stedman, ex-prison officer and current editor of Orange City Life, I immediately liked him. Not sure why, but that’s how it works for me. Over the next few years, I changed my mind several times as we butted heads big time, but I always came back around. On this particular day when we first met, Stedo and I were introduced, we exchanged hellos, and that was it – I knew he was an alright bloke.

What I didn’t know then, and wouldn’t for years, were the colourful stories that shaped who he is, or who he chooses to be. A man of loyalty, bluntness, defensiveness, humour and often pig-headedness. It’s a lot easier to understand him when you discover where he’s been: a kid who tried his best to look after a dysfunctional family; who hid heroin in piles of pigeon shit from his mother; who has died twice with a cricket ball through his spleen. And that’s not even half of it. Continue reading

‘I think I’d Rebel’: Artist Ada Clark on the Art of Living

First published in Discover Magazine, 1 March 2017.

Esteemed Artist Ada Clark talks to Denise Mills about taking art ‘off its pedestal’ and embracing fear to live creatively.

Ada’s Place is an art gallery just walking distance from Millthorpe’s main drag. It’s a charming old brick building with no hint of the smattering of colour, artisanship and vibrancy contained within its walls, apart from the brightly coloured piece of pottery which sits atop the mailbox and a simple sign: Ada’s place. But perhaps just as impressive as the works of art contained within, is the strength and vivaciousness of the artist herself. Continue reading

‘Shattered’: Acclaimed Violinist Doreen Cumming on Life Behind the Accolades.

First published in Orange City Life, 23 Feb 2017

Violinist Doreen Cumming has reached remarkable heights in classical music, but her toughest battle was within.

Doreen Cumming is a radiant, quick-witted and passionate violinist who has performed with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and on a number of recordings for big-name film scores. She’s acted in all violin positions including soloist and concertmaster, and plays with a depth of skill and emotion which has impressed audiences in Asia, Europe, America and of course, Australia. Continue reading

The Supermarket: A Place for Spiritual Practise

Like most of us, I do my best to be a nice person. It’s partly for selfish reasons, to be honest – I want to be so stable and happy within myself that no-one can really bother me. I can’t think of a better place to practise than the most annoying place on Earth: the humble supermarket.

Yesterday, I didn’t get off to a great start. First, old matey took my space. He was doing that manoeuvre where people who can’t manage to park properly drive straight through one park, and into the one in front. It saves them the difficulty of straightening up a little.

Continue reading