Music To My Ears!

Music is such a wonderful thing. Can I play it? No, except if you count the half a song I learnt to play on my 3rd learning attempt at the age of 16, in 1979 with my Brother, Larry as Tutor.

Or in 2011, when I purchased a Harmonica as I had always enjoyed its sound, and found out that learning to play it would assist with breathing, in terms of doing public speaking. I learnt the first two lines of ‘Kum By Yah.’ The first two lines are exactly the same…hmmm. Like the guitar, I lacked the daily discipline of practice. That could probably be the end of the line as far as me attempting to play music…

Larry went on to learn 1/2 dozen different instruments, write some music, can sing, does Watercolour painting and uses soft Pastels.

I was in a shop yesterday, and The Beatles, ‘Penny Lane’ came on. My mind was instantly transported back to my early years when life seemed no doubt, easier, more fun where I had no responsibilities. Such wonderful memories flooded back!

7 years of age when The Beatles ‘called it a day’ in 1970, my music world was full of The Beatles, Pop, Motown etc courtesy of my Sister, Cheryl who was 17 at the time. My Brother, Larry (4 years older than me) was also heavily into ‘The Lads From Liverpool’, The Beach Boys, other band legends from the 60’s, Elvis and 50’s music.

Moving into the 70’s my sibling’s musical influences on me continued with Neil Diamond, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen, to name but a few.

Even though the joy of being able to play music has seemingly escaped my life, music continues to be an incredible force in my life.

Yes, I am a long-term Beatles, Elvis & Bruce Springsteen Fan but my musical tastes did broaden over the ensuing years and include:

The Rolling Stones; Tommy Emmanuel; Status Quo; James Morrison (Trumpet); Amy Grant; Frank Sinatra; Gene Krupa, Dean Martin, John Lee Hooker, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Guitar Shorty, Lambchop; Lee Kernaghan, John Denver, Galapagos Duck; Acoustic Alchemy; Vivaldi; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Fourplay, The Moody Blues, Creedence Clearwater Revival, MUSE, are some of my other favourites.

Genres include Rock, Pop, Blues, Australian Country, Motown, Disco, Swing, Jazz, Folk, Classical and some Alternative.

Music inspires me, soothes, relaxes and entertains me and for that, I am exceedingly grateful.

Written by David Johnson
9 July 2017

I Have An Addiction…

Yes, I have to admit that I have an addiction and it’s one that I have had since my school years… Well, actually I have two!

The first one is that I love Libraries, and probably too much!

Yes, I have a love of books which began at a very early stage in my life. I can remember being taken to Lakemba Library by Mum. In 1974 (aged 11) I won the Library Book-week Award.

Libraries for me were such fun places for a young mind to be. I remember being interested in a number of subjects, Geology, Astronomy, Aircraft, Ships, Science-Fiction, Movies but to name a few. Libraries are a font of information and (these days) some have questioned their relevance with the ever-present Internet now wound indelibly into our lives.

Our High School had a library (originally in an old classroom, but then a more modern separate facility was built up on top of the Science labs from memory). As soon as practicable after an assignment was given, I was off to the Library to do research and disappear into the ‘World of Books!’

I could quite happily spend hours at a Library when I was younger. As I grew up I would enjoy spending more and more time at the Library, taking as many books as I was allowed, and then enjoyed sifting through them at home, exploring and discovering worlds that I had not seen, experiencing (through books) things I had not done.

Fast forward to when I started work (1979, 16 years of age) wherever I was working I would search out where the local libraries were and join them, particularly if I was in an area for a while. Over the years I have been a member of approx. 12 Libraries.

I’m currently a member of 4 Libraries. Why still so many, and particularly when the Internet is such a force for information gathering? The Internet is a wonderful source for information for sure. Sometimes though it is overwhelming in its choice of what sites/people to take notice of?

For the amount of information, the Internet obviously wins hands down, so have Libraries lost their importance, their place in the world at large or in my world?

No, I don’t believe so for the following reasons:

1. When you walk into a Library it is like walking into an ‘inner sanctum.’ You are physically surrounded by knowledge, by the experiences of others and a sense of imminent discovery. Books, waiting on shelves, waiting for someone to accept them into their lives, to share their knowledge and wisdom. Often a library is a place of minimal noise and it is a place of relaxation for the mind. At least that is how it is for me.

2. The Internet has many people airing their views and information for all to see. Is everything on the Internet correct? There is no-one or body vetting the information before it appears there. From what I understand, the individual library will choose the books that they will have in their library so at least there is a ‘control’ to a certain extent.

3. The Library of the 21st Century is in the continual process of change to ensure it maintains its relevance in the community. Whilst at times the there is still a quietness about a Library, it now welcomes more and more groups as a meeting place. Craft, reading, discussion groups, retirees as well as the younger folk use the library as a meeting place. It is continuing to bring individuals and communities together.

It is pleasing to see change happen in libraries for without change they could quickly lose their relevance.

My second addiction, unfortunately, does not stop at ‘being a member of multiple libraries.’ My thirst for knowledge remains unabated and sometimes I have multiple books out, as many as 12 but thankfully sanity is prevailing and now don’t go above 4.

Whilst I read fiction, a lot of the books borrowed are reference books on all manner of subjects e.g. Photography, Art, Painting, Drawing, Cacti & Succulents, Sketching, Travel, Astronomy, Music, Business, Self Development, Poetry, Verse, History and so on…

Just this morning I walked out with, another 2 Art-related books which make a total of 4 this week.

At age 54, my ‘love of Libraries’ is still there!

This is one addiction that is going to happily continue! 🙂

Written by David Johnson

1 July 2017

Express Them I Must!

Addiction

My Photographic Journey – Part 2

Having purchased my Olympus OM-10, I embarked on a journey which still fascinates me to this day, although that journey has morphed in time, as you will find out much later…
The OM-10 came with a Manual Adapter. I was assured by the salesperson that this allowed me full Manual control. I was to find out later, that this was not true. My first lesson learnt as far as ‘gear’ was concerned…
I started to photograph all sorts of things. I remember driving out on a country road and seeing a small pile of rubbish on the side of the road and saw light reflecting off some beer bottles. I stopped, I photographed. Aiming the camera, I continued to photograph flowers, birds, buildings, insects, cars, people, parades, musical instruments and basically whatever came in front of my lens.
Books and magazines were my main sources of learning. Back in 1982 there was no Internet so the newsagent, bookstores and library were ‘our Internet’ if you like.
Early on I took prints and had them processed at the local camera store or chemist and they would take 1-3 days to be ready. Sounds strange now, in the Digital Age.
In 1983 I purchased an LPL 3310D Student Black & White Enlarger and jumped into this strange, but exciting world of Black and White developing and printing. My early attempts (I still have them) at photographing and developing black and white images were, in a word, woeful. I could really achieve a really good muddy grey…
Basically, I needed help but didn’t know where I might find it…and started to concentrate more on colour prints, taking a lot of different subjects, and enjoyed taking the camera on bush walks, to functions and continued finding things to photograph. By this time, I had added an Olympus OM-1n (a truly Manual camera) and some additional lenses to my bag, plus a tripod, filters etc.
This continued on until mid 1986 when I saw an ad for ‘Campbelltown Camera Club’ at the local Camera store.
In May 1986 I attended a couple of meetings and joined in June 1986 and my life changed forever…

Opportunity Awaits!

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Joining Toastmasters International has affected my life in many positive ways and opened up a lot of opportunities that would not have been there had I not taken that step, and continued the journey.

From my first speech at a Toastmasters Club meeting (where I could not sleep the night before and could hardly eat on the day) in front of 20 members to the amazing experience I had last Sunday is testament to the wealth of personal growth, in terms of confidence, communication and leadership that Toastmasters International provides.

Last Sunday, I was the ‘Test Speaker’ for the District 90 Toastmasters Evaluation Contest at the Annual Conference which was held at Rooty Hill RSL.

A ’Test Speaker’ in Toastmasters delivers a speech that is then evaluated by contestants, who are then judged to see who is the best evaluator by a panel of judges.

18405363_10209459931199732_1520567314_oGetting to deliver a 7 minute speech in front of over 100 people with many Distinguished guests including Mike Storkey, the current International President of Toastmasters International, is an experience that I will cherish for a long, long time.

Receiving speech evaluations from the Top 6 Evaluators in District 90 is something I am very, very grateful for. I learnt a great deal that day.

18426614_10209459931719745_1134015842_oIf you are looking for a way to gain confidence, grow personally and develop your communication and leadership skills, Toastmasters International is waiting for you…

Click on ‘Find a Club’ in the link http://www.toastmasters.org and start your journey today!

David Johnson
Camden Toastmasters
28 April 2017

Beginning Anew…

Beginning anew

Idea Conception

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Public Speaking In Your Pocket!

Back in 1986 I joined Campbelltown Camera Club (now known as Macarthur Photographic Society). After 4 years there I was asked if wanted to present a talk on ‘Close-Up & Still-Life’ Photography.
Apart from a basic Presentation Skills course, I had never done any Public Speaking courses. Over time, I did some other Camera Club presentations and the ‘passion for Photography got me through.’ 😃
In 1995, I took on the challenge of becoming a Photography Judge and visited Camera Clubs, evaluating images and judging at Exhibitions up to National level etc.
I didn’t like being up in front up people but again, the passion for photography saw me through.
As time went by I started to source out material that would help me be a better speaker in public.
Long before I joined Toastmasters International (in 2008), I started purchasing public speaking/communication books and now have a collection of nearly 100 books relating to communication.
One of the early books I purchased is a very handy little book that is packed with tips and it’s small enough to fit in a coat pocket. I often still take it with me, and when I am waiting in a queue or waiting for an appointment, I will flip through it and ingest another brilliant piece of advice.
Contents include:img_7486
  • Your Voice
  • How Your Voice Works
  • Being Heard
  • Variety in speech
  • Clarity in speech
  • Microphone technique
  • Voice Care & Development

112 pages of public speaking Gold!

Over time, I will highlight some of the other Communication books that I find valuable and still refer to from time-to-time.
Written by David Johnson
7 February 2017

The Human Spirit

It is a pleasant surprise when reading the news, to come across a ‘good news’ story, because as we know ’The News’ is often filled with depressing stories, fact and opinion.
For some time now, I’ve been accessing my News via ‘Google News’, which allows me to set up filters on things that I am interested (apart from the normal News), like Photography, Painting, Poetry, Public Speaking etc.
Recently, I was pleased to find an article titled ‘Paintings by Syrian children display of hope.’
Despite the war, senseless destruction and being forced to leave their Homeland, it was pleasing to read that the children, when creating Art, created paintings filled with vibrant colours, white doves, the latter symbolising peace.
Through their Art, these children are creating a new life, a life full of hope and love.
We, as adults, owe it to the children of the world to build a better future for them.
I’ve included a link for those who wish to read the full article.

Natural Beauty

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A Universe Of Knowledge

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My Photographic Journey – Part 1

People find their paths into Photography in many different ways.

For some it is by virtue as a camera as a present; others are enticed by one of their peers; some choose it as a career.

Many years ago (while I was at school) I was building Airfix model plane kits and I used to stick them to fishing wire that I had strung across my bedroom. If you were taller than say 6 feet/185cm, you had a problem…

I then thought how cool would it be to photograph them so I bought some blue cardboard, held it up in the background and fired off some shots with a Kodak Instamatic camera (110 negative) size to try to make it look like they were flying.

Throughout my youth I used to take photos (on a couple of different cameras) on the Kodak Instamatic, an old Box Brownie or a Polaroid Instant Film camera. The photography bug was ‘nibbling me’ though at that stage it had not ‘bitten’ me.

When I was 19 (1982), the Family moved to Leumeah (60km SW of Sydney, NSW, Australia), and not really knowing many people in the area my brother & I joined a Church Youth Social Club.

We had so much fun on the outings, picnics etc I decided it was time to buy a better camera, a Canon AF35M Autofocus compact camera, purely to record the fun times we were having.

The camera lens had a thread on the end and I enquired what that was for? Question answered but the salesman said you could do much more with an SLR. ‘A what’ was my response…?

That day in 1982 my world changed forever and for good! I started saving for my first SLR, an Olympus OM-10.

The real journey had begun…

Joadja, Thank You For The Inspiration!

Over the years, I have visited Joadja Creek, which is an old Shale mining town in the Southern Highlands of NSW Australia.

I had been down there 3 times before dating back to the 1980’s however I had not been20140926-img_5656-1 there for some 12 years when I ventured down there in 2014.

Although some restorative work is taking place with some of the roofs, Joadja is largely how I remembered it, a place of history, an ornament to the Scottish part of our heritage and a wonderful place to let the mind relax.

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In the past I had gone down there with just photography in mind however this time around was a bit different. This time I took my camera, my iPad and my pencils.

The camera to capture the place photographically, the iPad to capture it in words and pencils to do some sketching.

Included here are some of the images I took and I also have included a link to a previous post on this blog, where you will see a poem I wrote about Joadja when I was down there sitting amongst the ruins…     20140926-img_5604-1

If you do find yourself on the area, drop in for a visit. It is a place that will capture both the historian and the artist in you.

Written by David Johnson
December 2016

https://communicatingcreatively.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/solitary-moments/

For further information about Joadja, click on the link below:
http://www.joadjatown.com.au/about.html

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A Lasting Friendship

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