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Week 5: Mumford and monsters and wigs, oh my

This week saw me heading to Cairns to visit one of my favourite people for an extra long weekend. Yay! I wasn’t sure how I was going to fulfil my commitment to doing a new thing this week, but I knew that something would come along.  And so it did. First cab off the rank – a Mumford and Sons gig at the Kuranda Amphitheatre. Whoop – I love Mumford and Sons and had never seen them live in concert. Nor had I been to the Kuranda Amphitheatre. I could claim two new things in one outing – bargain!

One slight hurdle; I didn’t have a ticket and the concert was sold out. Not one to be deterred, a quick search of the Gumtree website showed a single ticket for sale (and at face value no less). Yes! I called the number and made contact with a rather harassed-sounding man (I learned later that he had just missed his flight to Cairns and was trying to source another flight – oops). He informed me that he had had a number of offers for the ticket via text, but I was the first to actually call. Based on that fact he declared that I would henceforth be the rightful owner of the ticket. We arranged to meet (once he finally made it to Cairns) and he kept his end of the bargain. I now had my very own Mumford and Sons ticket – woo hoo.

I was close to tears when I heard the lovely English accents of the Mumford men. I could almost imagine myself back in the UK attending one of the fantastic English summer music festivals that take place every year; something that I greatly missed since returning to Australia.  But there were no tears when it came to the venue – set in rainforest gardens with grass terraces which can hold an audience of up to 3,500, the Kuranda Amphitheatre  is a stunning, tranquil and intimate place to attend a concert (well that sounds a bit like an ad right there doesn’t it?! Maybe I should look for jobs writing advertising copy?!). It was wonderful to have my UK summer festival partner in crime with me once again to dance and sing the evening away with a fantastic band and in such a stunning venue. The only blight on the night was the fact it was the first time I had attended a concert where I hadn’t called my dad so he could play a little part in the evening. It had always been a ritual, and this was a painful first that I wish with all my heart wasn’t a first that I had to experience.Mumford and Sons

My five-night stay in Cairns ended up bringing two more firsts: monster cupcake making and wig-wearing (not at the same time). Now when I say monster cupcake making, I don’t mean ridiculously large cupcakes. I mean cupcakes with monster faces on them. I should probably note that the cupcakes were for a Halloween party. I don’t just go around making monster cupcakes for fun. In fact, as those who know me will attest, I don’t go around cooking or baking full stop. I am not, as some might say, “domestic”. So when my friend asked if I could help her out by making some cupcakes for her upcoming Halloween party, I laughed out loud. “Um, you have met me right?” I recall saying. “You know that kitchens and I don’t really mix, unless the kitchen activity involves pouring wine or socialising at parties”.  But it seems she was serious, and she provided me with a packet mix and the fanciest mixer I have ever seen to prove her point; and then promptly walked out of the door and left me to it. Shit (sorry, hope you aren’t offended by swearing, but I really couldn’t think of another word that summed up how I felt right at that moment. Oh my deary me really didn’t cut the mustard).

Ok, packet mix, no one can go wrong with packet mix right? Being home alone, I cranked up the iPod and danced and sang my way around the kitchen whilst gathering and pouring ingredients into the fancy bowl, ready for the fancy mixer. So far, so good. I then turned on the fancy mixer –my goodness that was a treat. It was indeed a very fancy mixer and I was oddly fascinated by watching it work its magic. I felt like Nigella Lawson, all buxom and baking. I took it upon myself to pretend that I was indeed Nigella, mincing around the kitchen, explaining what I was doing, and pouting at the ‘camera’. When the mixing was done I even tasted the batter, ensuring as I did that I copied Nigella’s ‘sexy finger in the mouth’ move. TV can teach you things! And yes, I was still home alone at the time!

The cupcakes turned out quite well (i.e. they were edible) and I thought my job was now done. No, no, silly me, that was the easy Monster cupcakespart! My lovely friend then advised me that we were to ice the cupcakes, and make monster faces on top of them using marshmallows and chocolate dots. Dear god, would the torture end? I armed myself with the ingredients and plonked myself in front of the TV with a glass of wine and settled in for what would end up being about one and a half hours of monster cupcake decorating. Man I am such a good friend! In the end, the monsters turned out looking more like little Pac-Men, but hey, they were cute and tasty and they were all scoffed at the party, so I deemed the adventure a success!

Speaking of the party, given that it was in aid of celebrating All Hallow’s Eve, the request was made that we all dress up accordingly. Argh, dress-ups – what would I wear? All I had in my arsenal was a red dress and a black cape. Oh and a devil wig I had picked up at the last minute. Ok, so with a bit of dramatic make-up, some fishnets, heels and pitchfork I could make it work. And work it I did! Best of all, I had never worn a super long hair wig before so I could claim it as a first.

Rumination time

So what did I learn from my firsts this week? 

I learnt that sometimes you can just be in the right place at the right time (aka be in Cairns at the same time as Mumford and Sons are playing a gig nearby). There is no rhyme or reason to such things, and when presented with such opportunities, one should make the most of them.

I also learnt the power of a phone call versus a text message. In this day and age we often send texts as our main means of communication. We justify this by saying that it is easier, less time-consuming, and less emotionally stressful than indulging in an actual conversation, even if that conversation is with a loved one (as opposed to someone we do not know well). We have, perhaps, forgotten the pleasure of receiving a call, of talking to someone, of being able to understand the emotion of the conversation without having to second-guess or make (often wrong) assumptions regarding the emotion being portrayed via text (hands up who hasn’t misinterpreted the intent of a text message and gotten themselves into a spot of bother / debate / argument  / bit of a tizzy as a result – I am guessing there are not many hands waving in the air right now).

When you think about it, in some cases it is actually quicker to make a call to sort out things – like making arrangements to meet someone – than it is to text back and forth ironing out the details.

In this case, my phone call elicited a favourable response and I got exactly what it was that I wanted, despite others having made similar offers via text. Why? Maybe it was the personal angle. I cared so much about something that I made the effort to call someone who I didn’t know in the hope that I would be successful in obtaining that something which I didn’t have but that I wanted. I made an effort; I stepped out of my comfort zone and I was rewarded. (I was also very friendly and positive which of course probably made a difference as well – not sure the same response would have been received should a more sullen person have called…).

I also believed in my heart that I would be able to purchase a ticket for the concert.  I didn’t know how, but I felt that a ticket would be forthcoming. A lot of people believe in the power of positive thinking, and that truly believing you have something you don’t currently have will bring about you having that something. More and more I have seen this work in practice. Coincidence or something more? Why not try it and decide for yourself?

Other lessons I have learnt this week:

  • When pushed, I can actually do a bit of cooking with moderate success (as long as the cooking is easy and comes with a complete set of instructions). I am sure the same could be said for any number of tasks and activities. We all just need a good push now and then (and good friends who believe that we can do it if only we try).
  • I am a good friend, willing to do things outside of my comfort zone in order to help a friend. That is the marker of a good friend. If your friend’s aren’t willing to do that for you, then maybe it is time to rethink the friendship.
  • Music is good for the soul. It can soothe wounds and elevate your mood. Find your happy music space and indulge whenever you feel the need (I also find a good 30 second dance break every now and then is very helpful in kicking bad moods – go on, put some boppy music on and dance like there is no one watching for a full 30 seconds and feel the difference in your mood).
  • Attending gigs in the great outdoors is one of life’s pure pleasures. I recommend everyone try to do this as often as possible in their lifetime.
  • Wigs are itchy.

Until next time, remember

Opportunities do not wait” – Greek proverbJust because it was so cute