“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?” “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.” 

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy




phone constant rainbow.jpg

out of my mind

When I have stuff to say that isn't a song, isn't a poem and isn't a review - and isn't what I am supposed to be working on, well, it's a blog, isn't it?
Presenting the stuff that comes out of my mind

True Grace

Amanda Collins

true grace

So Elizabeth Gilbert posted a piece today on Facebook, considering the weight we have in other people's lives, and the weight they have in our lives. 

If we are all crabs in a bucket, do we grab others and keep them in the bucket with us, or do we let them (she muses) out of the bucket to go and be themselves? 

If we are all crabs in a bucket, do we let others hold us back, staying on with the crabs we know and love, in our familiar little bucket (which we might have helped renovate and furnish), or, when it is our turn to climb out, do we take a deep breath and go over the side, knowing and trusting that our gracious co-crabs will relinquish their hold (and maybe even boost you up a little)?

As a mother of teens I am working hard on not being too crabby/grabby. Sometimes grace is hard to come by when you realise just how much you are going to miss them. Even if they will come back occasionally.

As a writer and performer who is resident in the bucket I am so grateful for the "claws-off" approach of my family and friends. 

"True Grace - to want somebody to grow, even if it means that they might outgrow you."

Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert, AGAIN.

Love, Peace and Light

Skating when I am Eighty

Amanda Collins

11 November 2014

Dear Jocelyn Taylor Moore

Today I came across a photo of you roller skating at 83. I thought, “Wow, imagine if I could do rolling arabesques like that at 83”. I’ve been saying for quite a while now that I’d like to still be "skating when I am eighty”, but it’s quite a shock to see someone actually doing it. Quite a lovely shock, actually.

Then the bigger shock came when I realised this photo is from 2011. I had a bit of fun surfing and seeking you out, you see – and apparently you’ve been skating your whole life. No wonder you look so fit and happy in the photo. Then I see on another site that you are still skating now – and still coaching others – including numerous World Champions in figure, free, dance and pairs skating. All I have to say to you is Wow.

You see, the thing is, Miss Taylor Moore, I loved*loved*loved skating as a kid and teenager, but the only place I could skate was between the milk trucks at the small town butter factory where my Dad worked. I know you started on your sister's skates in the basement of your home. So you'll understand where I started. My skates were yellow plastic from Kmart, they strapped on over my canvas sneakers, and they were super responsive with excellent bearings. But there weren’t a lot of coaching opportunities, or even other skaters to watch. Occasionally when I stayed with my grandmother in Shepparton, I got to skate at the rink there – in unfamiliar hired skates that had boots like ones I'd seen on TV. I learned about going round and round in circles, which seemed very limited to me, after doing figure eights around the tankers. But it was brilliant. Brilliant. Of course, I learned very little apart from how to stay upright - and balance on one foot.

I have since started skating again – I took it up as a serious obsession at the tender age of 44, and after a few months of struggling (and then some years of slowly learning more) I have become a *bit* more capable, thanks to some excellent teachers at my rink here in Melbourne. You would know how important a good teacher is – laying down the ground rules, keeping everyone safe and pushing them to take the risks you know they need to take to improve.

photo from  Daily Mail  article in 2011

photo from Daily Mail article in 2011

I love this photo of you - what a fantastic high kick. My guess is you had just won one of your nine championships and this was taken for the paper. What gets me is the lack of safety gear – I am sure you knew just how risky it all was, and thought it was worth doing anyway. That’s gutsy. These days I skate in knee pads, elbow guards, wrist guards and a helmet. But then, I’m far more likely to fall than you – and I DO want to still be skating at eighty!

There’s some work been done around the positives of skating – the lateral motion apparently is good for the brain – and I bet you know that, which is why you skate every day. I wonder what a day off skates feels like for you? 

I have met some excellent people through skating, and the most impressive of them tend to be roller derby women. I know this is not your field – it’s certainly not mine either – but I do admire their guts and determination. I bet you had that in spades when you were skating professionally in the championships – I know the top figure skaters skate for hours every day. It certainly shows in those who train.

Skating has been so good for me. Skating inspired me to write again. Without those eight wheels I would never have started all of this – it started with a poem, and later, a song, Derby Girl Blues.  

I am printing out a photo of you for my skate bag. My new idol, Miss Jos Taylor Moore. Skating and coaching at eighty-something. Good on you Jos. Next time I hazard a jump, or grind my teeth over my transitions, I will think of you.

Thank you, Miss Taylor Moore. And may you have plenty more great days on wheels.

Love, peace and light

short signature 001.jpg

Dear Frank Woodley

Amanda Collins

4 November 2014

Dear Frank Woodley,

That’s really strange, saying “Dear Frank Woodley”, don’t you think? Because if we were friends I would say, “Dear Frank” and I were a Tax Inspector I would say “Dear Mr Woodley”. But I’m not a Tax Inspector but on the other hand I don't really know you well enough to be quite so informal. That would be cheeky.

Oh, yes, right. Sorry. Ahem.

Dear Frank Woodley. Thank you. I have just watched your “Give Frank A Break” campaign for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, and it’s brilliant. Thank you for putting your talent behind something so worthwhile and so desperately important. That’s one of the things I wanted to thank you for, but not the only thing.

Thanks also for always “having a go” in the nicest possible way. You make it clear to me what courage is for.  I’ve seen a couple of your shows, occasionally in preview, and I see the ideas you bring out and play with. I’ve heard you declare “Well that’s never going to be done again” as something you’re trying out stutters and stops. But you don’t quit, do you? You bring out more great stuff and the audience laughs and it’s wonderful. And then you get up the next day and do it all again. On this Melbourne Cup Day, I’m tempted to talk about backing yourself because that’s what you do. And if you didn't, we would be all the poorer for it.

I’m often surprised by on-line comments along the lines of “Why aren’t you with Colin Lane anymore?” We’re not all that happy - as a species - about endings. We don’t like them. But they happen all the time. I thought you and Col were magical together.  And I thought you two were smart to decide it was time for an ending, even if it wasn’t evident to the rest of us. The rest of us aren’t Lano and Woodley, although we sometimes think we owned you somehow. Public property is an odd concept when applied to human beings – it’s more suited to park benches and public toilets, isn’t it? Anyway, I’m glad you continue to make funny, clever, original stuff.

Thank you for your generosity. A couple of years ago you met a young girl, and she asked for your autograph. You chatted with her for a while and then the event we were at started and you had things to do. Turns out, the highlight of her night wasn’t the event itself, but the fact that as you wheeled your bike from the building, you called out, “Goodnight, Rose!” You made a kid happy. That’s a gift. And she learned in that moment how decent, generous adults behave.

So thanks. I read recently that your ABC show Woodley would have had even more gags in it if there had been the budget for them. I can’t imagine where you would have squashed them in. I hope there’s more budget for you out there. A lot more. We need more Woodley in our world.

Anyway, I have a pretty good life. I hope yours is too. Thanks for making mine better.

Love Peace and Light


Like a girl

Amanda Collins

You run like a girl - heard that one lately?

Well, my girls are both great at sports, and so it occurred to me that if they DO run like a girl - and they do indeed - that means they run like:

Raelene Boyle, Cathy Freeman, Kerryn McCann, Sally Pearson, Melissa Breen, Betty Cuthbert, Sharelle McMahon, Nova Peris, ...

Need I say more?

So here's a rehearsal tape of me, and the fabulous Justin Gray on guitar, trying out my new song "You run like a girl". Clip to come - but I thought you'd like to hear an early version of it.

I wrote it originally for the Fitzroy Junior Football Club Idol Night - but it's really a love song to all of those gutsy women out there who do what they do. 

You run like a girl. Good for you.

Roygirl knees after a footy match - takes my breath away - she loves it

Roygirl knees after a footy match - takes my breath away - she loves it


Oh, and here's the lyrics:

You Run Like a Girl                                       Amanda Collins 2014


G  You’d be frightened by a lion                    most people would I guess

G  If you want something tougher                 check out a lioness

C  The Fitzroy girls are feisty                          they never give a yard

G  They play like Chelsea Randall                  They always go in hard                    

D Hey, you run like a girl                    Good for you

C You run as well as Betty Cuthbert  Used to do

D You run like a girl                            in your stride

G You run like a lion                           see our pride

G They Fly like Alisa Camplin                         Except they don’t have skis

G And when they pull their boots on            You know they won’t say please

C Alana Boyd jumps higher                            but then, she has a pole

G Inspired by Moana Hope                            they’ll kick as many goals

D Because you Kick like a girl             good for you

C You kick as straight as Lauren Burns         did in Sydney too

D You kick like a girl                            in your stride

G You kick like a maroon                    see our pride

G The Fitzroy girls are in it                             because they love the game

G And once they’ve touched that big red pill          they’ll never be the same

C And Fitzroy breeds ‘em gutsy                      they never miss a trick

G Tough like Aasta O’Connor                         A sweet and booming kick

D And hey, you mark like a girl          Good for you

C You Mark-it-like-Sus-an-Al-ber-ti    used to do

D You mark like a girl                          in your stride

G You mark like a gorilla                     see our pride


D You run like a girl                            good for you

C  Melissa Breen ,Kerryn McCann and Cathy Freeman too…

D You run like a girl                            in your stride

G You run like you're from Fitzroy                   see our pride!!!


always janis

Amanda Collins

Well hello again
I heard this interview for the first time, and thought I would share it with you.
Aren't the graphics evocative?

You are what you settle for.

Janis's car

Janis's car

She's such a fantastic embodiment of 'be what you seem'. And even so, she is worried about the impression she is making. That's a tough way to live.
I would have loved to know her as the older woman she never got to be. I would have loved to make her coffee in my kitchen and hear her fantastic laugh.
It seems to me that her life wouldn't have been the same if she had grown up in a later time.
Isn't it extraordinary that she felt concerned that she might offend people? 

Janis Joplin 1969

Janis Joplin 1969

She lived only 27 years. 8 of those, she was a performer. She sat in the front seat of limos, so she could watch the world go by, When Dick Cavett called her a star, she said "Call me a singer". She loved what she did.

I wonder how she was as a kid. Maybe she was always like that, real, and humble and straight talking. I like to think so. She knew she couldn't settle - and she didn't.

Janis Joplin at High School - just like everybody else

Janis Joplin at High School - just like everybody else

Do we need people like Janis to come and go in our lives, to let us know there is more out there?

things to be grateful for

Amanda Collins

Well hello there!

This is entry number one to hopefully a long, rewarding and joyful - if slightly one-sided - conversation.
It's also a great way for me to pretend to be working when actually, it's far more like play.

Great stuff happened today:

  • Wild crazy wind like the wind in Wuthering Heights. Given I live in Suburban Northcote, Australia, probably that's less suitable than if I were a country lass in England. Also, my hair isn't magnificently curly - or even Kate Bush-esque - something a lass would need should she decide to walk the wildy windy moors, I feel. But the wind today was extraordinary.
  • My mate Denny, warrior poet of Red Rabbit Rubbish fame, spent an apocalyptic afternoon loading rubbish from a neighbour's house in the wind and the rain - so I got to loaf about and watch him work. We wrote a couple of new tag-lines for his business - this was my fave:
    "Red Rabbit Rubbish - 'Cause we like breaking Sh*t Up" 
    I also thought a TV chat show from the cab of his truck could work really well - musings on the weird stuff you find in rubbish removal, the greater stuff of life, and the occasional guest spot for the interesting people Den meets along the way.
  • And I actually got a little more of this e-furniture moved about on my website. It's starting to look like something I would be happy to present to you.

So here it is.
Hope you enjoy the rearrangement. Talk soon!