Things Liam Neeson Taught Me

Liam NeesonI’ve always hoped that, should I find myself in imminent danger, I would naturally evolve into Liam Neeson.

He has become my spirit-totem-guide-human.

Having adopted my WWLND mindset I’ve learned things.

1. A phone call can be a game-changer.

Communicating with people is all about perception. Your control (or lack thereof) lies largely in the tone you take and the way that is decoded. The problem with text based communiqué is that the tone applied to your words is a product of the reader’s assumptions.

Neeson lesson? If you want to take back your full stake in the situation, pick up the phone and take proper control of your tone.

2. Trust a specialist. Ask for help.

“My father was fond of saying you need three things in life – a good doctor, a forgiving priest, and a clever accountant.” – Schindler’s List (1993)

Sometimes you need to ask the guy who’s done it a million times, regardless of what your ego tells you. I’m all for confidence in one’s own abilities, but if you never ask the experts you can never become one of them. You need to learn the rules before you can break or bend them.

3. Strategy and innovation go hand in hand.

“I believe that no matter how random things may appear, there’s still a plan.” – The A Team (2010)

First step – there needs to be a plan. Seriously, there needs to be a plan. Not kidding. Do not wing things you care about. Stepping stones, intentions, goals – anything. You need a target. Find it. You need a path. Go make one.

Second step – you need to be flexible with aforementioned plan. Master these things concurrently and any situation will be your b*tch… or as my mother would prefer I say, “much easier”.

4. Good people know things. Bad people know things.

Captain Neeson trained Batman and Darth Vader. That makes two of his areas of expertise Ninja-Vigilantism… and The Dark Side of The Force.

Good character traits? Bad character traits? Debatable. The point is for you to learn.

Learn it all. Learn the best approach, learn what not to do.

And here’s the really hard lesson…

Sometimes the best way to ensure you don’t perform badly is to have somebody treat you or someone near you poorly. You will vehemently swear never to become like them and you will mean it. It’s a hard road, but it pays off if you make the most of your experience in a way that grows you.

Teachers really do come from anywhere.


Five Things To Do (possibly more)

  • Seek out playlist glory via La Casa Artist Residency Sessions, which is (gloriously) based in Byron Bay. The whole project is backed by Corona, and yes, everybody looks like they’re hanging out where you’d rather be.
  • Ready to shake things up with the way things are? Tuck your confidence firmly into your front pocket with these tips on Pitching Your Case For Change.
  • Pause and let your brilliance steep, then introduce yourself to Alabama Shakes.
  • Search for lines from Cat on A Hot Tin Roof because Tennessee Williams was a boss. (“Maggie, we’re through with lies and liars in this house. Lock the door.”)
  • Watch Sound City, then watch as much of Sonic Highways as you can get your hands on, then getting Dave Grohl’s face tattooed on both your forearms.
  • Check out this little dude: the desert rain frog. He sounds like a squeak-toy and is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, so the more people know about him, the better.
  • Survey your victorious handling of the day whilst listening to…

Valentine’s Day – Lovers versus Fighters

They happen with people, without people. They’ve happened on couches, at movies, at the beach, in love, in lust, in denial. Valentine’s Day happens to people after a massive breakup just as frequently as it does to people madly in love.

There will be ones when you’re surrounded by friends. It will still rock on by in the midst of happy single person time when you’ll most likely think it’s kind of a joke, call your friends and start drinking.

There are moments when people scattered across the globe will feel truly, legitimately, overwhelmingly romanced by another human, and they will be utterly thrilled to be as close to that person as they feel they are, whether they’re standing next to them or not.

Some of those moments will occur on Valentine’s Day.

There will be Valentine’s Days where you may just call it Tuesday and pretend it’s not happening, with no regard for what Hallmark has to say about it.

The point I’m trying to get at is, rather than getting too emotional about it – irony, noted – it’s really just a reminder to do something out of the ordinary.

Honestly, whether Valentine’s Day makes you want to stab people’s teddy bears or gets you all gooey, it’s a fairly obvious example of the power wielded by putting in a little extra consideration.

If your day is dedicated to making someone you care for feel amazing, because that’s exactly the way you see them, I hope it goes particularly well for you.

And if your concerted effort goes toward bursting every heart shaped balloon you see, then good luck to you also as you show a great deal of conviction. And there’s nothing more romantic than commitment.

Have a wonderful V-Day, Lovers.

And if you’re a rebel against the cause, well…

… make sure you have some fun with it, mmmkay?

The Moderns – Descartes (DB Collective / Green Distribution)

Beers and philosophy

These Gold Coast natives echo vintage Kings Of Leon while their lead singer, Samuel Rees, has you recalling Wolfmother before you can help yourself. The guitars are dirty enough to make each track feel nicely aged but not dated. Troubled Man, the pick of the album and its opening track, could easily soundtrack a Corona ad. It’s also where their album’s famous namesake, the so-called father of modern philosophy, René Descartes, shows up. “You said, ‘I think, therefore I am’/And I said, ‘I’m a troubled man’”. It’s a nice piece of escapism and possible anthem for lost boys everywhere. Other highlights are Beechmont and Wouldn’t Rock And Roll, with the latter introducing a rockabilly feel that exposes more depth to their sound. People throw around ‘from another era’ a lot, but there are no time constraints on the classics and The Moderns have a noteworthy crack at a cruisy rock album.

(Originally published below)

Pear and The Awkward Orchestra – Smocks (Creative Vibes)

Deliciously sweet symphony

Skipping along the line between folk-pop and jazz, this awkward ensemble’s debut is anything but clumsy. Typical of many before it, Smocks presents all delicate and doe-eyed, dreamily wandering through lilting melodies, but don’t expect to be lulled to sleep this time. This album gives you a precocious wink over its shoulder every now and then just to make sure you’re following. Pear takes the lead with her sweet vocals, capturing just enough light and shade to intrigue your ears. Scattered percussion, three guitarists and all manner of orchestral bits and pieces (flutes, oboes, god knows what else) create a nuanced sound but manage to avoid becoming a tangle of words and notes. There is a genuine story in each track and the album would slip easily into the playlist of any Miller-Heidke or Bowditch fan. They say it well themselves in Stand Us Guard, admitting, “No, I don’t know you but I would like to.” If you don’t know this talented bunch it may well be time to get better acquainted.

(Originally published below)


Equanimity (n) mental/emotional stability/composure esp. under tension; calmness; equilibrium. Antonyms: panic, discomposure, agitation.

I’ve only recently figured out how to tell people what I feel about them.

How’s that working out for me? Well, it’s certainly causing a fuss.

You see, I’m well acquainted with the backhanded sharing of feelings. I find it easier to approach people with mild (vague, harmless) insults, assuming they will innately sense my good natured intent. It shows – me, probably nobody else – that the intimacy and affection we have is mutually obvious.

“Obviously, I do not hate you because I am openly insulting you.”

Clear as Aluminium. It’s all very Australian of me.

It’s a bit of a trap. I fell into it via the lure of witty banter and wounds inflicted in earlier days by people who had no idea what they were doing. The hole in my flawless logic is, of course, that humans aren’t mind readers by and large, so they get confused.

Now, here’s what I figured out. You will get a much better result if you do one simple thing instead of taking my approach.

Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Personally, professionally, daily.

Yes, yes, yes.


Playing games doesn’t leave a winner and a loser – it leaves two confused people, and nobody is holding the illusive truth. In the long term that’s not fair to either of you, is it?

And the best part is how quickly everything will begin to make sense.

Being vulnerable is scary, nerve-racking, awful… but much, much simpler than the alternative.

Opening yourself up is a risk because there’s always going to be a possibility that special grade of douchebag might notice you lowering your guard and take it as an invitation to tear your little heart out, but the fact of the matter is nobody worth your time is going to take that shot.

And if you’re nervous, remember, being open and honest is a test of character for the other guy just as much as it is for you.

The Rival Poet

The Bard incognito… or how I imagine he would do it.

Some believe The Rival Poet to be a wordsmith who challenged Shakespeare. Others propose the rival of the sonnets to be Shakespeare’s way of personifying the pressure of competition, brought about by a multitude of other exceptionally skilled writers in his midst. I believe in a slightly broader theory – that the point is not who it was about, but rather recognition of insecurity, burning ambition and admiration of rival talent within even the brightest of the bright.

I think in certain ways he was talking about a voice from within pushing him to be better.

It is widely rumoured that William Shakespeare was a nom de plume for a nobler gentleman. I personally believe this to be true. If you take a quick scattered look (yes, Google it, that’s good enough) it’s not difficult to find pieces of the man assumed to be The Bard. There are taxation records, warrants for arrest, recordings of court appearances, stories of financial woe and the like. This is not a slight on the man’s reputation, just a realistic representation of a common man. And that is exactly where my leaning towards the pseudonym theory solidifies.

One glance at the collected works and it’s plain to see – these are not the works of a common man.

Only years of convoluted history combined with prolific skill could create such a mystery. When you picture a man connected directly from heart to mind to quill and ink, who’d have thought there would be deeply hidden unspoken truths?

The reason I mention The Rival Poet is firstly because the idea is clandestine and intriguing. I’m sucked in by it. Nobody knows for certain who Shakespeare wrote the sonnets in reference to. But do we really care? Probably not. It’s just cool to think about.

My second reason is pretty personal. I feel insecure today and I need a reason to shake it off. This whole ‘Rival Poet’ deal hints at a very human side of Shakespeare – a challenge from a man to himself to be better than he was last night and better then he thought he could be this morning.

A man who was irrefutably one of the very the best in history at what he did still found areas of weakness and disillusionment; struggled with self doubt. But you know what? He was and still is legendary.

Lesson time: Insecurity may tell you a million vaguely logical reasons to be afraid of something, but you have one excellent reason to ignore them all – fear is shortsighted and for that exact reason it has no idea who you are capable of becoming in spite of it.

Shakespeare knew fear, so he wrote some poems about it. Then he wrote Hamlet.