Category Archives: art


In the mid 80’s my boyfriend and I went to see Stevie Wonder in concert.

He was a great boyfriend.  He was serious and sincere and I could see a very sensible future ahead of us, but by the end of that night, it was all over.

Stevie Wonder’s tour was riding on the back of the huge success of the ‘I just called to say I love you’ single.  The stadium was packed and our seats weren’t great but it didn’t matter.  I had been a long time fan of Motown, so seeing the great man in concert was a dream come true.


It didn’t take long for him to play ‘Superstition’, (for all you younguns out there, Superstition is the funkiest song of all time).  We weren’t in a spot where I could get up and dance so I did the next best thing a funky girl could do, I did a modest ‘chair dance’.  Just bopping my head and tapping my fingers on my knees.  I was having a ‘moment’, just me and Stevie.

Then he did it.  My boyfriend grabbed my hand which was innocently and funkily tapping in time to Superstition and held it tightly in his own. That inappropriately timed romantic gesture sounded the death knell of our relationship.  I looked at him like he was insane, and knew in that second that I couldn’t spend my life with anyone who couldn’t let me get my groove on.

We broke up shortly after.

I have never regretted the decision.


The King

A Mother’s Pride by Ivy McManus.

NOT when just metres from the finishing line of the 800m run, he stopped to help a mate who had fallen over (his ‘mate’ got up and finished 3rd, my son came sixth).

NOT when he sang on stage to an audience of hundreds.

No, my proudest moment came when he was in 1st Grade.  Every week his teacher would feature a different kind of music to play in the classroom during the day.

On this particular Friday, the teacher asked the class if anyone knew the name of the singer they had been listening to all week.

My son looked around at the other students, waiting for one of them to answer but no-one did.  The teacher asked again and my son, my glorious boy, rolled his eyes and raised his hand.

‘Elvis’, was all he said.

My heart near burst, ‘That’s my boy!’  I stood before the 1st Grade teacher with tears in my eyes, and in that moment I knew, for all the angst of being a first-time Mum, I must be doing something right.

ElvisPresleyAlohafromHawaiiLong live the King!



I felt completely alone.

An agonising silence where the baby’s heartbeat should have been.

I had heard the heartbeat just days before.  ‘How could this have happened?’  I asked the nurses who busied themselves around me.

It was nobody’s fault…
These things happen all the time…
You can always try again…

My 13 week pregnancy was over.  My baby had died.

They told me the best thing was to have the procedure immediately, an overnight stay then home the next day.

I lay on the hospital bed in shock.  Just yesterday everything had been fine.  Life was good.  I could see the future and it looked beautiful.  In that terrible silence of the ultrasound, everything I thought I knew had fallen away and I was consumed by a kind of horror.

They wheeled me into the surgery waiting room.  I was the only patient there.  One nurse sat at a corner desk.  She didn’t look up or talk to me and moments later she left the room altogether.  Alone.  Just me and my beloved baby.

Then I heard the nurse’s radio playing on her desk, it was tuned to a local station which played mostly heavy rock music.  It was all I could do to breath calmly and not start bawling my eyes out and I just knew if ACDC, or something similar, came on after the news break I would lose it completely.

The news ended and a song began.  It was ‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac.  So quiet and gentle, I was suddenly so grateful to be on my own.  I closed my eyes and said goodbye to my baby.

Just before the song ended, two lovely nurses came for me.  I was crying, but calm.

Eight years later, I still think of this baby every day.  And when I hear that song, I am so grateful for the comfort it brought me at such a heartbreaking moment of my life.

by Christine McVie

For you, there’ll be no more crying,
For you, the sun will be shining,
And I feel that when I’m with you,
It’s alright, I know it’s right
To you, I’ll give the world
to you, I’ll never be cold
‘Cause I feel that when I’m with you,
It’s alright, I know it’s right.
And the songbirds are singing,
Like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you,
Like never before.
And I wish you all the love in the world,
But most of all, I wish it from myself.
And the songbirds keep singing,
Like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you,
Like never before, like never before.


the day the music died

December 9th, 1980.


Just 12 years old, I was riding the 412 bus home from Melba High School by myself.  It was quite safe in those days, and anyway I was so shy, I would never talk to strangers.

Driving up William Webb Drive, we were nearing the bus interchange behind the local shop at Spence.  I would buy a chocolate paddle pop and then it was only a short walk home to watch some telly with my brother before our parents got home from work.

The bus driver turned his radio up loud.

Did he turn it up so that his half dozen passengers could hear, or because he could not believe what he was hearing?

John Lennon shot dead.

The bus fell silent.

It didn’t make any sense.

Rock stars died in plane crashes or from drug overdoses.

Shot in the back 5 times.

Dying in a pool of blood.


The bus pulled into the interchange.  Still no one said a word.

Not stopping at the shop, I walked home quickly, desperately wanting to see my big brother.  Wanting to hear him tell me it wasn’t true.

I found him in the shed and asked if he had heard the news.  He just looked at me, and looked away.  Not a word.  That told me all I needed to know.  It was true.  It really had happened.

I couldn’t understand it, and 34 years later, I still can’t understand it.  A man who dedicated himself to spreading the message of peace and love, shot in the back 5 times as he walked from his car to the door of his building.  A violent death.

We lost our innocence that day.  The world had changed in that moment.  The unthinkable had happened, and nothing would ever be the same again.

I never say his name, the man who did it.  Today, my own children talk about John Lennon often, like a member of our extended family.  I tell them about his life and his music.  His art and his philosophy.   I tell them honestly of his death not shying away from the truth.   If John Lennon had to live through it, we have to face it too.  And I never, ever say the name of the man who stole Lennon from us. When they are old enough they can seek out information about that man if they want to, but I will not waste a single breath on him.

One of my sons is proud to have been given the name of Lennon and, at least in our household, John Lennon lives.

Image of John Lennon, uploaded onto Photobucket by JDHathaway99Kitty Phelan

Tasmania 2014


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