The changing seasons: May

Close-up shot of hand forming chord on guitar. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I’m late with this month’s The Changing Seasons post, and I think it’s because May is a month that passes largely unnoticed in my life. There are no birthdays to celebrate, no public holidays, no special events. The weather tends to be all over the place — warm and sunny one day; heavy rain the next.

It is New Zealand Music Month however (have I mentioned that here already?) and I have really enjoyed my daily trawl through the Kiwi music archives. I’ve found new songs and rediscovered some old favourites. I’ve been both elated and flayed raw by some of the memories that have been awoken.

I’ve even picked up my guitar, dug out the chord chart and some music, and thought about ways of creating time in my days to practice.

Here’s the song that inspired this desire to make music. If I ever sound this good —  I’ll let you know.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman. Please visit and see the Cardinal’s month, and find links to other participants.

There are two versions of the challenge:

Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!


Friday flip through the archives

"And I tell myself it's just a blue day. And it's hard to see it any other way ..." 'Blue Day', Colin Bayley & Murray Burns (1983). B&W shot of unmade bed. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

“And I tell myself it’s just a blue day. And it’s hard to see it any other way …” Blue Day, Colin Bayley & Murray Burns (1983). Image: Su Leslie, 2015.


It’s 1984 and I’m in a state of metamorphosis. The life I’ve fallen into since leaving my parents’ home has become as constraining and ill-fitting as that which I originally fled.

I cut my hair very short and bleach it very blonde. I acquire a wardrobe of vintage clothes; oversize men’s shirts, pencil skirts and beaded cardigans.

I catch glimpses of an unfamiliar woman in the mirror and wonder why she doesn’t look happy. Some days the world beyond my bed is a void I’m afraid that I will fall into and become lost forever.

I listen to a lot of music. Sometimes it makes me feel better.


“Maybe this good thing’s gonna happen today ..”


Shoppers at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

Last week in Melbourne I was very aware of how being on holiday sets one apart from other people. While I was free from the constraints and rhythms of my normal life, others were going about the everyday business of living; shopping, learning, going to work, attending appointments.


Shoppers in Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

On the trams and in the market, I found myself wondering about the lives of my unknown, transitory companions. Are they in work they love? Is there constant anxiety about paying the bills? A sick child? A relationship that exhausts rather than nurtures?


Waiting for a tram, corner Burke and Spencer Streets, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

It made me think of Thoreau’s line …

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.” — Henry David Thoreau

Which made me think about the artists I know, and how the need to release “their song” is such an imperative. It also got me thinking about public art and how much it enriches us; artists, listeners and viewers, and indeed communities.


Busker, Bourke Street, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.


Street art, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.



“Just want to know ya. Just want to talk to ya. I want to hear about your day.”

The opening lines of Bic Runga‘s song Something Good seem particularly appropriate to this post, which has been written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.


From sport to shopping: two faces of jubilation

The Boy-child with a soccer trophy he won, aged 7. Image: Su Leslie, 2004.

Early soccer victory. The boy-child with Player of the Year trophy. Image: Su Leslie, 2005.

The boy-child has always worn his emotions near the surface. From jubilation to despair, his face seldom conceals his feelings. Capable of very dark moods, moments of happiness are always a pleasure to witness.

Canny shopper. The boy-child was jubilant to find a coveted Louis Vuitton scarf (genuine of course -- yeah, right) at Brick Lane Market, London. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Canny shopper. The boy-child was jubilant to find a coveted Louis Vitton scarf (genuine of course?) at Brick Lane Market, London. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

NZMM2016_jpgThis post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. This week the theme is jubilant. Trying to capture jubilation in music, two songs came to mind.

Bliss by Th’ Dudes (1980) was written about the drunk audiences the band found itself playing to. Ironically, it has become something of a celebration of drinking culture.

She’s a Mod was was originally recorded by Christchurch band Ray Columbus and the Invaders in 1964, and again in 2009 by The Mint Chicks to celebrate The Invaders induction into the NZ Music Hall of Fame.

NB: I’ve chosen The Mint Chicks’ version here because it’s a fun homage to the original and because Mike Logie, the bass player, was a mentor to my son while he was playing in bands. I have huge respect for Mike’s talent and commitment to encouraging young musicians.