Victoria Nugent

A writer, a reader, a daydream believer

The importance of validation April 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 11:37 am

The first time I saw this video, it really made an impression on me. I still think it is great.

Sometimes all we need is to be told that what we do is great or that we have a beautiful smile or that we are great. Perhaps we all need to focus on spreading more happiness.

 

 

 

A quest for more, with the help of a house concert April 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 12:07 pm

Lately I am a woman on a mission. I want life to be bigger, more powerful, more soulful. I am deliberately seeking out experiences that make me grow and doing new things. It’s too easy to get into routines, to not make the most of our leisure time, to let days turn into weeks and months and even years without pushing our boundaries.

I’m trying to read more literature (The Beautiful and the Damned is on my bedside table),  watch a better class of film (yay for Woody Allen marathons) and experiment with new recipes (tamarind sauce, citrus crepes, home made ricotta and bugnes have all been on the menu).

More importantly, I’m seizing different opportunities and mixing up my routine with experiences which are fulfilling, unique and just plain fun. That brings me to this weekend, when I had the privilege of hosting a beautiful house concert.

When an old friend of mine, Chloe Tully, announced that she was going to perform in a series of house concerts across the country, I was very quick to put my hand up. I’ve long been aware of the house concert phenomenon and have been intrigued.

The lead time quickly passed and Friday afternoon saw Chloe and I sipping wine as we waited for the first guests to arrive. I had strung fairy lights and paper hearts, scattered cushions across the floor and arranged chairs around the room. Punch had been made, zucchini soup heated, bread from the Goldfish Bowl cafe sliced and an honesty box set up on a mosaic table by the door.

The honesty box set up for concert guests, with EPs for sale.

The honesty box set up for concert guests, with EPs for sale.

 

The real magic happened after the guests had arrived and all the necessary introductions had been made.  We settled into our places and then Chloe took up her guitar and started to sing. It was intimate, it was powerful and it was all happening in my lounge room, surrounded by friends. In between songs, Chloe answered questions about the songwriting process, inspiration and all manner of things. It was a unique music experience.

Afterwards, curled up in the lounge chair surrounded by conversation and laughter, I couldn’t help but feel lucky to have had the chance to host such an event.  Many of my guests hadn’t known what to expect when they accepted the invitation. One thought that it may have been some kind of pyramid scheme, while another expected a whole band in my lounge room. After the concert though, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

Perched on a kitchen stool, Chloe Tully filled my house with acoustic emotion.

Perched on a kitchen stool, Chloe Tully filled my house with acoustic emotion.

 

I’m yet to put the fairy lights and love hearts away. They’re a little reminder of the magic that happened in my house on Friday night and  when I see them, I cannot help but smile.

 

 

Hold the (mobile) phone! October 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 10:47 pm

First published in The Armidale Express

Our generation lives in a world where we are permanently accessible, perennially available.

Switching off from the world has become increasingly difficult and, more to the point, it seems many people don’t want to escape the technological onslaught.

According to a report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in 2010, some 95 per cent of Australians aged between 24-35 have a mobile phone.

The report also states that when young people move out of home, one in three choose not to install a landline, relying solely on their mobile phones.

Mobile phones are no longer a luxury, but indeed a necessity in our lives.

Mobile phones have revolutionised the away we communicate, allowing us to get in touch on the go and perceivably making life a lot more convenient.

However, our mobile phone usage has gone way beyond phone calls.

Notably, mobile phones have become a crutch in awkward situations.

It’s just that easy to fiddle about on your phone while waiting to meet up with a friend, rather than feel uncomfortable sitting in a public place on your own.

A long walk provides a perfect opportunity to catch up on phone calls with far-away friends instead of simply taking in the scenery.

If you wish to avoid talking to someone, you can merely pretend you’ve just received a text message which requires an instant reply.

These kinds of occurences make me wonder if we’ve forgotten how to be comfortable being on our own.

Being alone is not the same as being lonely, but our generation seems to have forgotten that.

Mobile phones provide the perfect tool to stave off being alone.

However, it’s not just when we’re alone though that our mobile phones provide an escape method.

At a friend’s workplace, rather than make conversation in the lunchroom, everyone grabs their phones for a quick game of Words With Friends.

On a night out, it’s common for one person to whip out their mobile phone, and soon enough the whole group is on their phones, no longer interacting with each other.

Social networking also comes into play in this equation with checking in at locations online and tagging friends a normal part of evenings out.

A Nielsen survey in 2010 found that more than one quarter of social networkers participated in mobile social networking in the past year and 66 per cent of mobile social networkers are aged under 35.

I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been guilty of the occasional social networking interaction during a night out, but I can’t help but think that it’s all gone a little bit too far.

When did it become essential to broadcast to the world such brilliant snippets as, “Tearing it up on the dance floor with my besties! So much fun”?

Furthermore, by staying glued to our phones, we may be inadvertently be denying ourselves the spontaneous, interesting kinds of moments that make life that little bit more exciting.

We are instantly more approachable when we’re not desperately trying to appear busy and we are also much more aware of our surroundings.

The chance is there to have an interesting conversation with a stranger, spot a familiar face that you may not have seen if you were busy texting or even just enjoy the moment without distraction.

What do you think?

Do mobile phones actually hinder us as much as they help us?

Can they actually do damage to our social lives?

 

She is Gillard, hear her roar. October 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 11:56 am

I am a proud feminist. It irritates me to no end the number of people who look at me strangely when I make that statement. There are people who say, “What? Did you just call yourself a feminist?”

Of course I called myself a feminist. I am a woman with big dreams and I believe that the likelihood of achieving those dreams should not be tied to be my gender.  I am angered by the many examples of small misogyny present in every day society. The tiny assumptions that you must think or be a certain way because you are female. 

I’m willing to call today a highly significant day. October 9. It marks the birthday of musical genius John Lennon. It was the day Hobart was founded in 1804 (something I’m sure Tasmanians can appreciate). It was the date Australia formalised its autonomy through the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942.

But this is year it is the day that Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered her own blistering set down of Tony Abbott, calling him out on sexist remarks and misogynist attitudes. I’m loath to diminish the power of Gillard’s words through a late night, clumsy analysis. Instead, I suggest you watch it for yourselves.

 

Just another rant and Rave September 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 12:15 pm

After a recent holiday, I was accompanied back to my Armidale abode by a plethora of musical gods and goddesses in recorded form thanks to a CD buying spree in Sydney. My house has been graced with the sounds of Angus Stone, Julia Stone, Regina Spektor, She & Him and Busby Marou. Whenever I get to the “big smoke”, one of my essential ports of call is usually a kick-arse music store and for days after my return home, my lounge room hums with my latest musical indulgences. Then of course there are the CDs that arrive in the mail after I have been unable to resist a pre-sale or as delightful perks to contributing to a Pozible campaign. In the past I have also gotten a great many CDs as a humble music reviewer.

During my university days I kept myself busy as I tried to get a foot in the door of the journalism world. This meant that I followed in the path of millions of aspiring journos before me and thus I discovered the glorious world of music reviewing. I would regularly make the drive over to Stone’s Corner to pick up CDs from the recently defunct Rave Magazine, and would hit up gigs as a reviewer for (still thriving) music website Life Music Media. The world of music opened right up before me. My CD collection now teems with bands unfamiliar to the average listener and in many cases, even the eclectic listener. I tried not to discriminate by genre, in order to give myself the broadest experience possible. This has resulted in owning a few albums that may as well be used for coasters, as I’m certainly unlikely to listen to them willingly again. I was by no means one of the more prolific street press reviewers. I merely dabbled in reviewing compared to some of my peers, but I loved every second of it.

Perhaps my view is a little bit rose tinted, but I was saddened to hear about the sudden closure of Rave Magazine in June and couldn’t help but think of all that it gave to the Brisbane music scene. Brisbane is home to some amazing musicians and it is my earnest belief that in order to serve them well, it needs amazing music coverage. Therefore, quite apart from my nostalgia, I will recall Rave fondly. However, it always pays to remember that endings lead to new beginnings and I can think at least one case in point. A new website, Offstreet Press, has sprung up, made up of former Rave contributors and other music enthusiasts. Posts are regular and seem to be generally of a decent quality from my observations thus far. It’s certainly nice to know that while Rave is gone, its spirit  remains.

 

Crazy Stupid Love= so good December 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 10:19 am

 

I absolutely love this scene. Jacob’s “big move” would totally work on me. Doesn’t hurt that Ryan Gosling is so amazingly gorgeous.

 

The beautiful musical styling of Miss Chloe Tully December 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 3:50 am

Right up the top of the list of things that I am loving at the moment… this song. Disclaimer: Chloe Tully is an old high school friend of mine, so some may call me biased. However, any bias that I may have doesn’t make the song any less amazing. Seriously, have a listen. It’s a gorgeous song… sweet vocals, acoustic guitar, some truly great DIY percussion featuring bottles, tins and clapping… I also love the video itself.  It just goes to show that yes, you can create fantastic things without the need for studios and big budgets. It’s low key but lovely.