I’ve got a few things to write about – number one, it’s my younger brother’s 17th birthday today, yay! /bounce We’re having a family dinner tomorrow evening at a buffet; I’m getting picked up from the station after work and we’re off. :)
Now to a more serious note… the death of Bryce Courtenay. Lilian wrote a post dedicated to the wonderful storyteller, and much of what I’ll say is similar to what she’s written, but I wanted to write it anyway.
Bryce Courtenay, South-African-born Australian author, died on Thursday night at the age of 79. He had been suffering from stomach cancer for quite some time, and even had the strength to open up to the public about his illness and the knowledge that his time would come.
He had many bestselling books, and I’ve yet to read every single one, but I’ve read so many of them, and every year I have been in anticipation of his new one, whether or not I had caught up with the last one. To this day, I haven’t finished all his books, and it disappoints me because it was something I had in the back of my mind – to read all his books before he passed away. Now as each year comes, there will be no more of his books, and Lilian and I can’t even bear to read his last book, Jack of Diamonds, that was released this month – because after that, it’s the end.
Lilian and I grew up reading Bryce Courtenay as soon as we became teenagers. When I was about 13 years old, I looked through all the bestselling novels in the bookstore, finding some of our favourite young adult novels while I was there. Somewhere near the top-ranked was Bryce Courtenay’s Brother Fish. I don’t know what compelled me to pick it up, and I know we try not to judge a book my it’s cover but we end up doing so anyway. If I remember – Brother Fish was something I picked up because of the cover reminding me a little of Life of Pi and the title reminding me of the film Brother Bear. I picked up the book, read the blurb, put it on my lap…
It was a huge book. I had never read a book that long before coming across it. It was nearly 900 pages and not your regular sized book. It was also hardcover. I sat there reading it and when my mother came back from doing her shopping I begged her to buy it. She knew I loved books, but she was always hesitant on buying them for me because of their price. This one was pricey because it was in hardcover. She agreed to buy it for me for Christmas.
It took me two weeks to read and I loved it to pieces. I told Lilian how good it was, for we often liked to share good books and we both had a love for literature. From that day forward, we aimed to read more of his books and were blown away by his storytelling. I would recommend his books to anyone. They are very long, and they’re mostly of the bildungsroman/coming-of-age genre, and tell complete life stories, but they are all worth a read. Sometimes they seem to get sidetracked, or have unnecessary detail, but once you hit the end of the book, you realise that every detail is important. It’s amazing how much life he tells in those pages. My favourites of his have to be Brother Fish, Jessica and Matthew Flinders’ Cat. The most recent I read was Fortune Cookie, and that was just beautiful.
Rest in Peace, Bryce Courtenay.
I went to see Bob Evans on Thursday night. Bob Evans is the stage name of Kevin from Jebediah, and you know I love KevBob/BobbyKev/Bevin/Kebob – I will refer to him as either Bob Evans or Kevin in this post. :) As usual, he was amazing. I recommend you read Carly’s review of the Melbourne show; she wrote a fantastic review and a lot of the things Kevin said, he said at the Sydney show as well.
Thelma Plum opened for Bob Evans, and she had such an angelic voice. It’s hard to describe, but she had a voice that was not only ethereal, but had so much strength and power. She was accompanied by her friend Andrew, who played both piano and guitar (not at the same time, of course). Thelma also played guitar for a couple of songs. The room was insanely quiet when she sung; I think everyone was just mesmerised by her flawless pitch. I had been planning to listen to some of her music before the show and I didn’t get a chance to – but hearing it first live was truly a gift.
I was far too impatient for Bob Evans to play, and I spent some time shaking my legs in my seat. Before the show I had spotted my friend Phoebe. We always seem to bump into each other at gigs everywhere – of course, obviously at Bob Evans and Jebediah gigs. :D I was rather relieved to have some company because I was feeling mega awkward sitting alone among people I didn’t know.
Bob Evans was mainly set to play songs from his new EP The Double Life. Everyone who attended got a free copy of his EP, which was really lovely of him; he signed them at the end of the show too. On mine, he wrote “Hey Georgie, stay awesome”. :’)
On the way to the Camelot Lounge where the show was, I picked up a newspaper and found that someone had written a bad review about the EP, giving it only 2.5 stars. Along with that, they dared to compare his song Don’t Wanna Grow Up Anymore to Blur’s Coffee and TV. Shocked, I took to letting him know on Twitter, to which he replied, “fuck ’em”. That’d be right!
Along with songs from the new EP, he played a few from his upcoming album (due early next year), titled Familiar Stranger. From what I gathered from the performance, it’s definitely got a different sound to his “suburban trilogy” – his first three albums following a similar theme of romance and nostalgia and all with a similar country/folk-pop sound. Despite that, we still heard some Bob classics, and he even took to performing his hilarious Ode to My Car, which got many laughs out of the audience. I felt no laughter escape me, possibly because I was more compelled to sing along. It’s a hilarious song he wrote about his car ten years ago. He made a joke that someone could look deeper into it and say, “perhaps the car is a metaphor… for a girl… no, it’s about a car”.
My absolute favourite of Bob’s songs is Nowhere Without You, which is one of the very first Bob songs I heard. After I first heard it live some time last year, I just wanted to cry. It was simply amazing, and after listening to the recording it simply could not compare anymore. Live, it was just beautiful. Last year when I saw him live, it was the first song he performed, and his guitar string broke somewhere near the end of the song. Following that song he played Hand Me Downs, the lyrics of which are:
I’ve got nothing darling, all I’ve got are broken wings. A little love means everything
At that show, someone suggested that he sing “broken strings” instead, because of what had just happened.
I was surprised to find that he sang “broken strings” throughout his performance of Hand Me Downs on Thursday. He then began to say, “There’s a little history behind this song… last time I had a show in Sydney, my guitar string broke, and someone… I think it was actually someone at this table,” he pointed at the table Phoebe and I were sitting at, “said I should have sung ‘broken strings’ instead of ‘broken wings’, and I’ve been singing it that way ever since. It’s funny how someone who probably has never written a song in their life thought up that line, and I took years to write it. Pfft. Broken wings. ‘Broken strings’ is so much better than ‘broken wings’.”
Bob is absolutely charming; he told numerous jokes throughout the evening, as he usually does, and we all laughed about his new classical electric guitar named Sting, and there were a few sexual jokes, not to mention someone yelling out “awks” to a totally not awkward moment – to which he responded, “What was so awkward about that? What is with the youth of today with their awks and totes and amazeballs… it was totes amazeballs.”
One of my favourite moments of the night was when he played Don’t You Think It’s Time, in an intimate performance without his amplifier and microphone. It was truly beautiful. ♥️
He took a few requests, as he usually does, but he wasn’t up for playing anything he hadn’t rehearsed or had played too many times (like his cover of Lily Allen’s Not Fair). I wish he played Stevie’s Song or Your Love, but I guess there’s always next time – and a girl can dream. Someone requested Turn, his amusing but lovely song in which he sings of being a less-than-average, clumsy and lazy guy living with a girl he’s madly in love with, knowing she could walk away at any second but that he’ll be ready to beg for her to stay. One of the things I adore most about Bob’s songs is that they tell stories, above all, stories straight from the heart. That said, he played his fan-favourite, Me and My Friend, which was a hidden track off his second album.
There are probably highlights of the show that I missed, but I’ve written enough to capture what I remember and loved. Thank you dear Kevin for coming out to say hi to us all. Thank you for remembering my name. /love
It is sad when one of our favourite writer died. I don’t really know who he is but when I google his name and visited his webpage, almost all book readers in Australian loves him.
Sometimes, it is rude to write a review regarding on a singer and then simply compare them with a song. Unless they got a logical reason why they rate the song such like that. But, they should rate it like 3.0 or 3.5.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUR YOUNGER BROTHER! :D .
Happy birthday to your brother! He must be excited!!!
Also, it seems as though you’re getting to go to a lot of gigs. Are they fairly cheap compared to the United States concerts? I had a chance to go see Meat loaf live this year, but of course with every breath of my whim I got shot down by my own dad. Knowing how much I love Meat loaf, I went as far as telling my dad I’d pay for the gas, and BOTH tickets. I really wanted to go to, but he didn’t want to drive to either San Diego nor Los Angeles at the time. I’m sure, he really didn’t want to drive to Oregon either, but his girlfriend is driving him (well so to speak – it’s her car, and they are doing this for business I guess…why is beyond me. But he couldn’t drive somewhere closer ? After, I offered to pay gas and BOTH of our tickets? I don’t understand that). So, I didn’t get to go to the Mad Mad World Tour, and see Meat loaf a fourth time. Hopefully, sometime when he recovers from his knee surgery, and he comes back to California, hopefully I’ll have some money saved up by then and I can go by myself.
Now, that’s the third person who has passed away. You may or may not remember Larry Hagman, but he was on shows like Dallas, and I Dream of Jeannie. He was the first to go, like Bryce he had cancer and passed at age 81 or 89 I can’t remember the age honestly. But it’s sad, and another actress that I’ve never heard of passed away. That makes three celebrities gone. They always end up in three. I really hope, that I can take it when my beloved Meat loaf, and Harrison Ford, when they pass away that I can take the news. I don’t even want to think about it, but they are getting up there in the age business.
I’m still working on my layout, and having trouble positioning it just right. I would love to have help, if you’re able. Seeing as to how I’m in a Sunday hour, you’re in a Monday hour, you’re probably either at work or school. Either or, when you get a chance could you please help me? :( . I do need it.
But, nevertheless; I’m glad you had an awesome time and that Bob/Kevin remembered ya! That’s always a good feeling. You always look good in your pictures with celebrities! It must be your camera! I lost the chord to my camera to charge it, so I’m really down about that. I don’t remember where I’ve placed it or if at all.
Death is something that befalls us all, and although everyone is sad to hear that Bryce Courtenay has passed, as a human being (and not a fan, since I haven’t read his books before) I am happy to know that his life was long, accomplished, and probably fulfilling. I’m sure that you and Lilian will read his final book soon and be eternal fans.
I have been a poop and didn’t listen to the bands you keep mentioning until now, since there are some bands that you like that I’m not a fan of (like Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana). But I love Bob Evans, Thelma Plum, and the Griswolds and am eagerly awaiting the Griswolds’ first album. :D You are so lucky to be able to easily (more easily than driving through LA traffic) see these bands live!
Well, I do have pretty extensive taste in music and I like a lot of different kinds of Australian music, so I’m glad you found something! Word has it they might be heading to the US… but probably in a while. Apparently management wants them to make another EP rather than an album, but we’ll see! :)
Happy Birthday to your brother!
I hope he had a great b’day!
You have sent me a lot of names of Bryce Courtenay’s books, but i haven’t really got my hands on them yet… but now I think I should start reading them now!
Anyway, I’ve had a lot of problems, thanks to co.cc domains closing down but i”m setting up a site on WP now…
Belated happy birthday to your younger brother! :)
I haven’t heard of Bryce Courtenay. Maybe I’ll have the time to look him up. :)
Looks like you had a great time in the Bob Evans concert! You really do go to a lot of concerts! I wish that concerts here in our city was more frequent. :(
I don’t think I have ever heard of Bryce Courtenay, but then I’m not a big reader really. Now all I read is geography text books and academic journals *sigh*. His books sounds intriguing though. I’d like to give them a go. I’m getting a Kindle for Christmas so maybe I could download one of his books and give it try sometime. :)
I really want to go to a small gig like the ones you go to. I regularly go to the world famous Cavern Club now I live literally across the road. Some weekday nights are free entry but they usually have the same performers every week and they only sing covers of songs. Not that I’m complaining as they always preform songs by The Beatles. :P I’m going to a big arena concert next Friday, so yay!
Hey Georgie! Happy birthday to your brother. I’m sorry to hear about Bryce Courtenay…it’s sad to hear a series end and it’s even worse when the maker passes away because it’s definitely the end. Just savor the last book, cherish it. At least he got to do what he loved! It’s so awesome how you get to go to all those concerts. Hah. I wish I could do that. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to blog about concerts. ^_^
I’m so sorry to hear about the author! I haven’t heard of him or read any of his books, but I know what you mean about looking forward to books by the same author. At least he’s not in pain anymore!
The pictures from that show look awesome! I’m jealous that you always get to meet a lot of the people you go see. Most of the bands/singers I go see are too big, so I’m lucky just to get tickets at all! haha.
I’m not sure if I have been to another concert since we last talked, but I am going to see Taylor Swift in Toronto next June! So I’m of course excited, as well as Eric Church in February!
And yes, I’ve been working on my portfolio quite a bit lately. I finally got everything up and running. http://www.meredithturner.com if you want to check it out, or http://www.meredithturnerphotography.com for my photography! I’m glad they are both finished enough to have online, so I can at least show them to potential co-op employers and hopefully find a job :D
I hope you’ve been well! It’s been too long since we’ve talked.
Happy birthday to your brother, I hope it was a good time. Is this the same brother that was once in a video annoying you in your bedroom? O: I can’t even remember how long ago that video was shared.
:( It is very sad to hear about Bryce Courtney. I have never read any of his books myself but I would like too. I watched a video that he shared as a farewell to his fans and it was so sad. :(
LOL yes, it’s him! I deleted my YouTube account a month ago, but I shared that video back in 2007. He was so young back then it was funny! :’)
I highly recommend his books, he’s left such a legacy behind. You won’t be disappointed. ♥
Happy Birthday to your brother! Ah, still a teenager :)
What a terrible lost. I’ll check out Brother Fish :) I don’t read a lot of coming of age stories—sometimes they make me sad… Even though it has a happy ending, I can’t help but feel sad.
I think it’s really neat how you and your friend is reading the same books. I don’t have anyone to talk to when it comes to books T_T; oh well.
That is so cool he pointed at your table :D
Happy Birthday to your brother!
Sorry to hear about Bryce Courtenay :( This is the first time I’ve heard of him, but I’ll have to check out his works, especially since I need some new things to read. One of my favorite authors also passed away a while ago, and it’s sad to think about not being able to have another book by him.
I’m glad you had a great time at the show! That’s cool that you got a photo with him :D
Belated Happy birthday to your brother XD his birthday was our first monthsary of my boyfriend. /heart hihih and on the other side condolence to your friend’s family and to you . I hope everything will be fine soon. (Y)