So it’s time to reflect on the year that was. Below you’ll find 10 things that came to mind when I sat down to think about the last 12 months.
Oh, and regarding the feature image. That’s a picture of the best thing I ate this year.
1 – Nailing the speech at my wife’s birthday
In a past life, when the occasion arose, I would honour the birthday person, newly betrothed or recently departed with my guitar and voice. This was due, in part, to my inability to be concise when giving a formal speech.
Now that I write (often poorly) on a daily basis, I thought I would draw on that experience rather than my musical ability when preparing a formal acknowledgement for my wife’s birthday this year. So I wrote her a listicle – “5 steps to becoming the luckiest man alive”. I nailed it.
2 – Uploading the first episode of Driving Around In Cars With Microphones
Uploading the first episode of Driving Around In Cars With Microphones was a massive achievement. It wasn’t long after I met Kian West (of Newcastle Mirage fame) that we began discussing our love of podcasts and planning to collaborate on one ourselves. So to actually see it go live on iTunes this year, was a real goal kick.
Kian’s the sort of bloke you can tell things to, that you know he probably disagrees with, and not feel afraid of being judged. It’s rare to form a friendship/creative partnership with someone like that, so I’m very grateful. Kian has so much to offer the world, especially Newcastle; he’s got a really quick wit and a deep intelligence. Just hanging out with him gets my brain going and opens my eyes to all the possibilities of our local area.
3 – BIGSOUND 2016
Gra is my best mate, BIGSOUND is our Makkah.
Hanging with Gra during the 3-day music conference not only strengthens our friendship but solidifies the reasons I love the music and entertainment industries. It reminds me that I’m passionate about music and live entertainment experiences and that my input (albeit small) makes a positive impact.
BIGSOUND is a meeting of minds and ideas. It’s not necessarily about what you bring back, but what you put in. Meeting people walking the same path as you professionally is reinvigorating, and collectively you’re able to give birth to the new paths you’ll be walking over the next 12 months in the industry.
Special mention goes to Rach from EAO who came with Gra and I this year. She may have only drunk 1 apple cider (and that was in the airport before we left), but she was still standing right next to us at the end of each night, just as excited as we were. Gra and I drank her free beers for her – it’s the type of guys we are. Seeing Rach become a fan of Gabriella Cohan was one of the many highlights.
4 – Travelling to my mate’s hometown in Japan with 10yr old son
I could travel to Japan every year, and NEVER get sick of it. So it was an extraordinary experience to share my love of the country and its people with my son.
While the trip was full of highlights, the feeling of stepping out of the train after and 10-hour journey to see my friend Dia and his daughter Hanon standing on the platform to greet my son and I was truly unforgettable.
Dia is like a brother to me, and we haven’t seen each other in years. He now has his own business, a family with Yayoi and a coastal life in Japan that many could only dream about. Myself included.
5 – Newcastle Live
Working with Steven, Terry and the team at EAO has been life changing for me, and Newcastle Live stands as a massive achievement.
While there is still much to do, launching the new look site late this year gave me the opportunity to actualise much of what I’ve wanted for the platform since I came on board, and I got to interview Henry Rollins!
I’ve done better interviews (and I got to sit down at The Stag & Hunter for a chat with my favourite rocker, Jon Toogood last year), but without doubt interviewing Henry Rollins was the biggest thing I’ve ever done since changing careers.
Henry has been a huge part of driving my passion for music. When I was about 19 or 20, my mate Mungo gave me a copy of “Get In The Van” on cassette – It changed my life.
6 – Watching my son in Starstruck.
I was in Starstruck. This year my son was in Starstruck. I don’t want to get all emotional, but man. Rock on little dude.
7 – Playing Dolls with my daughter
Role play kicked up a gear, and playing with dolls has never been more exciting. I’ve learnt about my daughter’s personality from roleplaying with Max, Princess Amy and the many other players.
8 – Learning from Mel Murray
Mel at PSM is an all round awesome person. Her guidance and openness to workshop ideas with me is invaluable, and I’m forever grateful for her time. Whenever she calls I’m bound to learn something and get great stuff for the website while I’m at it.
9 – AB Original
This could have gone under the BIGSOUND banner, but it deserved its own spot.
AB Original is the most powerful thing that’s happened in Australian music this year. I was lucky enough to be in the audience for their BIGSOUND 2016 Keynote and later saw them perform at The Elephant that night. It was powerful, entertaining and I was blown away.
Let us see January 26 take out this year’s Hottest 100, hey.
10 – Local music
I’ve had the pleasure of working with even more local musos than ever this year. This is in part to the great relationships with other passionate people in the local industry. Special mention to Josh at Holliday Music, and Craig & Robyn at Swamp House. Josh and Craig are relentless in their quest for quality and I’ve learnt a lot from them. I’m especially grateful to Craig for giving me great advice when it comes to juggling a love of live music and a family.
Helping local artists launch their babies to the world wide web, and listening to all the local music that gets sent to me is probably the best bit of my job at Newcastle Live. When you’re listening to the likes of Justin Ngariki, In Motion, Helena Kitley, Veiins, Gooch Palms, Paper Thin, Dave, Introvert etc etc etc, it’s gonna be a good day at work.