Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bad Religion

I'm pretty sure that most of you know by now that I sing at weddings (I mean, it's in my bio for crying out loud). What I talk about less is that I make my living singing at Catholic weddings. About half of them are nuptial blessings, which means they don't have a full Mass with Communion. But the other half are full blown, bells and smells, gold hat and Easter candle, kneel till it hurts, weddings. And this isn't a problem at all, except that I feel like a hypocrite for earning my living in churches where I don't belong, because the truth is I don't believe in God anymore. I don't think I have in a long time.

This wouldn't be a problem except that my family is deeply religious. I've alluded to this in this space before, but I come from the product of two very Catholic parents who take this stuff super seriously, and confirmation that I've left my faith and THE CHURCH (I have to write that in caps lock) behind me would break them. I live under their roof, they know I don't go to Mass weekly (which they pretend not to notice) but if they knew I didn't believe in God at all, they would simultaneously shun me and pray harder than they've ever prayed for anything. 

I don't know how to have a conversation with them about this one. Ironically enough the conversation probably won't happen unless and until I get married myself and have to explain why I'm only having a civil ceremony. My mother chastises me for blaspheming every now and again, and I don't know how to tell her that you can't have a concept of blasphemy when you don't have a concept of God. She talks about priests throwing their weight around and I can't tell her that in my experience that's the rule, not the exception. She yells at the news when stories of sexual abuse hit the fan as often as they do, and I can't tell her that it's not just bad guys doing it, it's the systemic cover ups the world over that tell me that the people at the top just don't care and looked the other way while it was happening. But I don't say anything, because I don't want to shove it in their faces.

I don't know when I stopped believing in God. I tried for many years to find a form of Catholicism that worked for me. But I do know the moment I walked away from THE CHURCH. It was the day when two news stories were side by side in the newspapers. One story detailed a sexual abuse cover up at the highest levels in Sydney, Australia. The other was about a 12 year old girl in Venezuela who was excommunicated after having a abortion for a conception that only occurred due to a rape. The rapist got off scot-free. 

There are always going to be things I love about the religion in which I was raised. I believe that you should perform good works, and that you can't be saved by faith alone. I believe in service and in charity that you don't shout from the rooftops. I love the music and the outlook on life that comes from living humbly and modestly. 

But it's not for me. I just wish I could be honest with my parents about that. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lisztomania (Take 5)

Now that the 2014 mix CDs have arrived safely (both locally and internationally), I can share the track listing with the rest of you!

For those new readers: every Christmas I make a mix CD that is usually a mix of new releases and old favourites. There are a few rules: I can't use anyone/any band I have used before, but side and solo projects are OK (for example: Glen Hansard has featured on the mix CD before but this year he appeared as part of The Frames). I usually try and include at least four or five Australian acts, although this year I failed woefully. And I try and avoid music that EVERYONE knows (let's say The Beatles or The Stones), and if I do include better known artists I try and avoid the big singles. But that's about it. 

Here is the 2014 mix CD, in all its glory:


St Vincent - Rattlesnake
Cold War Kids - Miracle Mile
New Order - Ceremony
Chrissie Hynde - Dark Sunglasses
Sky Ferreira - Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)
Jungle - Time
The Frames - When Your Mind's Made Up
Total Control - Flesh War
Banks - Beggin For Thread
Ásgeir - Torrent
The Jezabels - Look of Love
Chlöe Howl - Paper Heart
Yazoo - Only You

Mix CDs from previous years can be found hereherehere and here.
Sunday, January 4, 2015

No Make-up (Her Vice)

So I like a bit of makeup, and even though this isn't a beauty blog I thought I'd share my thoughts on a few great products I used this last year that I love. 

I'll start with what is probably my favourite product of the year, the beautiful Rouge in Love lipstick from Lancôme, in the shade Corail in Love. 

This really is the perfect lipstick, the formula is great and it glides on with something between a sheer and satin finish. (You can build it up if you want.) It also smells great, as well as being a product Emma Watson was the public face for when they were released about two years ago. What's not to love? At $45 AU they're not cheap, but I favour quality over quantity when it comes to makeup...when it comes to everything, really. 

A few months ago the lovely Kat from Kitsch Snitch turned me on to the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipsticks, and, like her, my favourite colour is Hot Pepper.

I find matte lipsticks can often be very chunky and difficult to touch up during the day, but this matte has none of those issues. If you don't like wearing lipstick then this could be the product for you, as it really feels like you're wearing nothing. These usually retail for about $27 AU, but you can get them on sale at Priceline and ASOS for a lot less than that. (I bought mine for about $13.50.)

My favourite complexion product of the year was a product I received in a Wantable subscription box: the Tarina Tarantino Hyperlight, which is basically a concealer with a touch of illuminator in it. 

This little beauty comes in a clickable pen and a little goes a long way. It feels really good on my skin and the slight shimmer it gives is very flattering. It's by far the best concealer I have ever used, for some reason I've always had trouble with them. It retails for $22 US. 

I'm still hunting the perfect mascara but this one by Benefit comes close. 

This was also a product I discovered thanks to a subscription box, this time the Australian box distributed by Marie Claire, 'The Parcel'. It gives a nice balance of volumising, curling and lengthening, so it's a great all round product. It retails $38 AU, but I'm still using the sample size so I haven't had to fork out for it yet. 

Finally, a product I bought in the last few days. This isn't a new product or anything, but I'm loving it and it's new for me! It's the NARS The Multiple in Copacabana. 

I splashed out getting this, using some giftcards I was given for Christmas - it's expensive at $52 AU. But as it works as both an eyeshadow and a highlighter I feel like I'll get my money's worth from this one. I'm a bit addicted to the rosy sheen this product gives and I love that NARS products are good to slap on with your hands. I like makeup but I'm pretty low maintenance with my routine, and I hate brushes (they irritate my skin) so fingers it is. 

So there are my favourite beauty products for the last year. Have you been using something you really love? Spill!