Friday, 13 November 2015

Cum On Feel The Noize - Slade vs Quiet Riot

"Cum On Feel The Noize" is up there with "Mama Were All Crazee Now", "Darlin' Be Home Soon" and "Look At Last Night" as one of my favourite Slade songs. Of course, 90% of the world is more familiar with the inferior Quiet Riot cover, which propelled the song to the status it holds today.

The superior original

The inferior cover

Give them both a listen, and I think you'll agree that while the cover is a bit faster-paced, the original sounds much more complete and fits the lyrics a lot better.

Let's look at what we're losing by "mainstreaming" the song, which, you have to admit, Quiet Riot did. First, I don't know if you notice, but the guitar of the original is to DIE for. It's upbeat, it's twangy, and it sounds great and distinctive. Quiet Riots version sounds bland in comparision. They try to even this out with a token guitar solo, which sounds like every other guitar solo of that era. In Slades version, it's a part of the song from beginning to end.

Slades version, while sounding like a bit of an anthem, still has that groovy dance quality to it. Quiet Riot turns it into a complete anthem, completely erasing the groovy out of it. What you're left with is a song that sounds like it's been remodelled to fit in with everything else - it loses its individuality, and that's why I much prefer the Slade version.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Survivors need to speak up.

In my last post I shared a photo of my new tattoo, the semi-colon in the jigsaw puzzle piece. The normal, autistic girl who lived. This post however is going to be a lot more worked on, because this one is very, very important in my opinion.

I started writing this blog because that's what I do - I write, therefore I am. Selfish maybe, but true. Then the Facebook messages started. Thanking me for writing the blogs, saying that they could relate to what I was going through, and what I had been through, glad that they had someone who they could identify with. Now, as a survivor, I write for those who are still suffering.

From my experience, the absolute, 120% WORST thing for anyone suffering with mental illness is ISOLATION. Whether it's physical isolation (like me just lying prone on the bed all day instead of going to work), self-inflicted isolation (sitting at dancing not talking to anyone because I'm scared), purposeful isolation (people bullying/being dicks because of the mental illness) or accidental isolation (people not understanding the mental illness so they back away), isolation is great for leaving your mind free to think of all of the worst possible things in the world, a fertile breeding ground for things like anxiety and depression. Don't get me wrong, some time to yourself is vital for happiness, however cutting yourself off from life completely is a surefire way to keep yourself sick.

Now, when you're sick, you're not thinking about what's best for you, and you need the support of healthy people to guide you to wellness again, much like you need people to help you when you have the flu or gastro (I had to work some toilet humour in somehow; it's how I cope, okay?!).  However, they need to know a) that you're sick in the first place and b) how best to help you.

When you're depressed, anxious, or suffering from any other sort of mental illness, opening up and talking is the LAST thing you want to do. Unfortunately, most healthy people either don't want to help due to a) fear (born of ignorance mostly) of getting sick themselves, making things worse or just fear of YOU b) not knowing how to help or c) they can't tell that you're sick because hey, you're hiding it out of fear yourself! You're scared of being judged, you're scared of being hurt, you're scared of everything. So you're not in the best position to educate the masses.

But what about the survivors?

Those who have been through it, but are now mostly strong and healthy again? Those who might be able to take a couple of hits that would destroy the suffers?

The survivors know the signs to look for. They know what can work and what is best avoided. They've BEEN there, they can share that experience. They are the ones who can educate others, helping to shed light on the darkness and removing some of that fear of the unknown. WE know the truths. We know that not everything works for everyone, we know that even a kind word makes a difference, we know that the simple knowledge that someone thinks we're worth a damn can make the day bright enough to live through, that someone being there can cut through the darkness, even if they feel they haven't done much.

I see it at work all of the time. Most of the guys at work are taken aback by how open I am about my struggles. You know what though? Being open about my struggles is a large part of what saved me. If I hadn't been open, my boss wouldn't have known that I need to be treated differently sometimes. We wouldn't have been able to work stratagies to get through the dark days (because they still come, and they can spring up out of no where). Now, if someone else with issues comes through that workplace, they know now that it's not this big, scary thing. They have a frame of reference, and the person coming in can see that they have experience with mental illness, which in turn makes it less scary for them. Everyone wins.

It's easier therefore if those who are well can talk about their experiences. My workplace got thrown in the deep end, which from what I've heard nearly always ends badly (again, I am so, SO lucky). It would have been a lot easier for everyone if I'd been able to say "Hey, look, sometimes my brain chemistry goes mental and this can happen. If that happens, this is what I've found works." People find it easier to cope when they're not suddenly forced to deal with a huge issue, it's easier to accept someone who says they've been through hell than someone who is currently going through hell. That is why the survivors need to be ones to open the dialogue. We're not as scary or as intense as the sufferers. We can be the bridge between the two, helping people to understand mental illness, and maybe even gaining some acceptance by the broader majority of people. I can dream, right?

So how do you open dialogue? That's a good question. For me, the dialogue kinda got forced open by my mental breakdown, which probably isn't the best way to open discussion (I lucked out majorly here). What I've found out in the past week though is that my new tattoo helps open doors - some people are familiar with the semi-colon, but are interested in the jigsaw piece and they ask, which allows me to tell them "Yeah, I have autism." Most people don't think it's a big deal. Obviously getting inked isn't for everyone, so perhaps a pin or something similar might have the same effect. The ribbon for mental illness is a green one, so maybe wear a green wristband.

Once discourse is open, try not to be offended by questions. Remember, healthy people really have no idea what you've been through (no one does) and might offend out of ignorance. Steer them in the right direction, towards websites like Beyond Blue that are full of information. The more people talk about mental illness, the more information that is out there, the more people will start to accept our disabilities as disabilities and not "laziness" or "softness".

I want to get a movement going. I want to start seeing survivors speaking up. I want to get #survivorsspeakup trending. Let's stop hiding in secret Facebook groups, where the suffers can remain safe and sound, let's go out there and make the world a safer, more informed place for them.

After all, we survived the horrors of our own minds. Anything after that should be a piece of cake.

Daydream Believer

I like to think that things get better than this, even though I have it pretty good. It just irks me a little to think that I'll spend the rest of my life living in tiny little studio apartments barely making enough to survive while being worked to the bone by evil scumbags.

The most likely of my dreams is that I'll finally find someone who will put up with my insanity and will marry me, father 3-4 children with me, and spend the rest of his life wondering what he was smoking at the altar. It's a nice little dream, but the rest of them are a bit grander.

The second most likely is that I spend the rest of my life alone, but manage to earn enough to buy a nice, big house. Big enough to take on boarders, hard-luck cases who need a helping hand through the toughest parts of their lives. I'd like to be able to help others, I tend to have a bit of a nuturing nature (copied and pasted directly from my mother).

My favourite one though is when I either a) get discovered or b) work up enough courage to take Chuckles and Giggles to a studio. Production starts on the television series, which becomes a big hit and gives Australian TV making a huge boost. THEN I find someone who will put up with my insanity and marry me, father 3-4 children with me and spend the rest of his life wondering what he was smoking at the altar.

It'd be cool to have fans, and to autograph peoples books, clothes, bags, pictures etc. I even have a logo now on my right wrist, a semi-colon surrounded by a puzzle piece. For those who don't know, the jigsaw puzzle (usually brightly coloured) is accepted as the symbol for Autism, and the semi-colon has recently been adopted to represent sucide survival; the logic is, a semi-colon is used when the author chooses not the end a sentence, you are the author and the sentence is your life.

For now, I guess it's just about getting the rest of my life together - my house is currently an unholy hell, so that needs to be fixed. Hopefully once I get that sorted, everything else will fall in line, as I think I'm a lot better than I used to be.

Cheer up sleepy Jean.
Oh what can it mean to a,
Daydream Believer and a,
Homecoming Queen.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Our Nations Disgrace

Of all the things I've avoided blogging about, alcohol is the biggie. Mainly because I know if I do, I'll lose readers and friends (at the very least, I won't be making any friends) but after what just happened, I'm sufficiently pissed off enough to make a comment.

I am a teetotaller. A very tolerant teetotaller, but a teetotaller none-the-less. If I had my way, alcohol would be banned, it's a disgraceful substance and I won't tolerate it in my household (so don't bother coming to my parties, there will be zero alcohol). This view was cemented ever more today, on my 27th birthday.

Yup, my birthday was cut short by alcohol - or rather, other people drinking it and getting out of control. As I said in a previous post, I love cricket and hold the five-day Test format in the highest regard. Others however, don't.

I left the Test at the Gabba today early. I missed my favourite player Joe Burns make his second half-century. Why? Because of the actions of the drunken majority. Jumping up and down and demanding other patrons "scull" their beers (blocking the view and making a god-awful racket), throwing around those stupid beach-balls and roundly abusing anyone who dared let them fall over onto the field never to be seen again and generally not being very friendly citizens. My mother and I left at the drinks break after lunch, just as one of these arseholes was being evicted (he was one of about five in our area that I counted - I felt for security who were coping abuse left, right and centre).

I expect this sort of behaviour at a one-dayer. I even expect it at the footy (where, surprisingly, it rarely happens). But at a TEST MATCH? To really rub salt into the wound, I'm going to take a guess and say 99% of the young people who read this will say that I'm over-reacting. That I'm being a "wowser" or a "do-gooder". It just goes to show how ingrained this behaviour is in our culture for us to accept this as normal or even acceptable or fun.

Wanna know how accepted this is? CRICKET AUSTRALIA ITSELF INDIRECTLY CONDONES THIS BEHAVIOUR BY CONTINUING TO ACCEPT MONEY FROM THE DISGUSTING COMPANIES THAT MAKE THE DISGUSTING SUBSTANCE THAT CAUSES ALL OF THIS! You only need to take a look around the Gabba today - nearly every section was getting rowdy and unmanageable (bar the super-hyper-ultra-expensive B.C.C seats). And if you dare suggest that this behaviour is unacceptable, you're branded un-Australian. What is un-Australian about wanting to enjoy a Test match without feeling threatened?!

My suggestion would be to stop the sale of alcohol after the lunch time break (cue the cries of outrage) and to stop the advertising and glorification of alcohol (have you SEEN some of these ads? "Are you an experience collector?" SERIOUSLY?). It'll never happen of course, and my birthday will continue to be ruined by arseholes who just won't allow us true sports fans to enjoy the cricket.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

"Sensation" stories

Lucky you lot, getting two blogs from me in 24 hours. Anyway, I did it again. A nice big dose of red cordial before bed. You know what that means.

As you all know, my favourite book is the combination of "Little Women" and "Good Wives" by Lousia May Alcott. There is one chapter in that book that speaks to me, and that is chapter eleven of "Good Wives", which is simply titled "Friend". In it, Jo discovers that she can make plenty of money by writing cheap "sensation" stories with no substance or moral in them whatsoever (In fact, Mr. Dashwood, her publisher, even tells her himself that "morals don't sell"), nearly disgracing herself. Thankfully her friend and future husband Prof. Bhaer takes her to one side and shows her the error of her ways.

This chapter speaks to me, as does the whole book, and I definitely agree with it. "Little Women" is still a classic, it's still widely read, it's still studied. Why? I think it's because it's not a cheap little sensation story (which is why I get SO pissed off when people try to condense it into a cheap little love story between Jo and Laurie), it's a story of growing up, learning to be the best of oneself, to work with others and to love others. There is something in that story (and its sequels, including "Little Men" and "Jos Boys") that you can take away with you. THAT, in my opinion, is what a book should be.

Another brilliant example of this is "Harry Potter". There is so much you can take from it, like learning to accept death and learning to love. Another favourite of mine, "A Solitary Blue", also has plenty to take away from it. Learning to accept who you are is a lesson I don't think many people (including myself) ever really learn.

I thought about it recently when I put "Chuckles and Giggles" aside in favour of Project B.A.D.A.S.S (Bitches And Demons Against Soul Suckers), which was nothing more that a stupid vampire/zombie story with no substance. Once I realised what I was doing, I turfed it and got back to working on C&G. At least in "Chuckles and Giggles" I know I've tried to give my audience something to take away, like the Sunny Saga, where Belle and Charlie learn to look past appearances and show kindness to Sunny who desperately needs a friend, or the Webster and Tate Arc, where obsession leads to Tates untimely death compared to how Belle handles her similar situation. My personal favourite is the Chuckles vs. Giggles Saga, where both Belle and Charlie have to face the fact that both of them are growing up, and that growing up will bring changes - some good, some bad.

I think myself and my fellow creators should think a bit more about what we write instead of just churning out cheap "sensation" trash that earns $$$. When future generations look back, we don't want them to skip us over in favour of older generations who took the time and care to write stories with meaning and substance.


I don't like cricket.

I LOVE IT!!!!!

Seriously, if you've never heard "Dreadlock Holiday" by 10cc, then you're not a real cricket fan IMO. Go listen to it. NOW.

Anyway, summer is here and cricket is back! As it write this, Joe Burns (my current favourite cricketer after the retirement of the great Daniel Vettori) is showing his stuff in his first Test opening for Australia at the Gabba against the Kiwis, our brothers from across the sea. In my opinion, he's doing great and hopefully will really hit his strides after lunch.

I love Tests. There's just something a bit more upper-class, a bit more posh, a bit more cultured, a bit more serious about Test cricket. It's something that while good fun, should be treated with a bit of respect, which is why I'm writing this blog. Because over the past few years, I've noticed that the respect that Tests once held is slowly erroding. One could blame this on the emergence of T20 and the party atmosphere of one-dayers, but I reckon that's a cop-out. I'm of the belief that if you attend a Test match, your behaviour should reflect that.

Last year I went with my good mate/senpai/coworker Dave. While we had a good time, it was dampened somewhat by the "Australian Drinking Team", whose sole purpose seemed to be to drink as much alcohol as humanely possible while not paying any attention to the cricket whatsoever. Seriously, why go to a cricket match to get drunk, especially at the Gabba where alcohol is so expensive even Bill Gates would have to save up. Go to the club if you want to get drunk, and go to the cricket to appreciate the game. Unfortunately this wasn't an isolated incident, apart from the family-friendly atmosphere that the Big Bash League is fostering at the T20 level (thank you, thank you, thank you!) it seems the bogans see cricket as their opportunity to cause trouble.

NO. You stay away from our great national sport. I'm not saying that there shouldn't be any fun at the cricket, just keep it respectful - save the getting drunk/partying for after the game (or the one-dayers, where it's encouraged).