" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

December 31, 2014

Darren Hanlon and "A Descant for Gossips"

The Art of Song Writing

For those who like a good spooky story and weird coincidences, 
read on. 
I attended a talk this year at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival featuring Darren Hanlon and Missy Higgins called  
The Art of Songwriting.
Click on the red link under the first picture to hear, or see that talk, it's well worth viewing, or listening to, and Darren gives his spooky version of how he came to write the song he performs in that talk, The Ostracism of Vinny Lalor.
Now, in that talk Darren mentions a novel which was written by a lady named Thea Astley called A Descant For Gossips, which I have just finished reading.
It's a tragic (and apparently kind of true) story about a relationship between two teachers and a student in a small Queensland town named Gungee in the book, but was really meant to be Pomona, and the hall where the school dance takes place is the hall where Darren recorded his album Fingertips and Mountaintops, over a two week period, not long after Thea Astley passed away, which the song  
The Ostracism of Vinny Lalor is on, 
Majestic Theatre Pomona, Queensland

Thea Astley died at the John Flynn Hospital on the Gold Coast in 2004 and Darren Halon's album Fingertips and Mountaintops
was released in 2006. 
The album above was the first Darren Hanlon album I ever bought, because I liked the song Happiness Is A Chemical (which I just noticed has 7,237 listeners to it on the album's webpage)
and Hold On.
I became a fan of his work after that and started buying his back catalogue of albums.
And I finally got to see Darren play live last year at the  
Woodford Folkfest, which I wrote a post about at this link -
Lightning Strikes That Change Lives 
the song I mention in the post -
Prelude to the Woodford Folkfest
Couch Surfing is also off the album Fingertips and Mountaintops.
Daz is often a nick-name for people named Darren in Australia.

Missy Higgin's album The Ol'Razzle Dazzle that her song was off.
Now, I have to say that I wasn't a big fan of Missy Higgins before this talk, but have since become one.
The main reason I went to the Byron Bay Writer's Festival talk that day was to see and hear Darren Hanlon, but I thought it was a bonus to see and hear Missy as well, as she is the bigger star out of the two singers on a national and international stage.
I thought it was funny that the song Missy performed in the talk 
about song writing was called, Cooling of the Embers,
a song she says in the talk was about the period when her Grandmother lay in hospital bed half in this world and half in the next.

is off Missy's album The Ol'Razzle Dazzle
The irony is that Daz is often a nick-name given 
to someone with the name Darren in Australia.
I know this first hand because that is my first name, too,
and I often go under that nick-name as well,
hence the name Brizdazz on my blog.
But I noticed how often the word dazzle is written in Thea Astley's novel, A Descant For Gossips and that on page 254 the term  
Razzle Dazzle is used.
Don't read any other words on that page if you plan on reading the novel in the future, as there are some major revelations there which are sure to wreck the story for you.
The funny thing about Missy Higgins choosing the song about her dying grandmother was that the tent the talk was held in was sponsored by an aged care facility named Feros Care, who were beaming the talk back to their homes via TV cable.
Missy told us this in her talk that I attended on the day after at the BBWF.
Luckily though the people in the home all loved the performance with reports that there wasn't a dry eye in the home.
Oddly enough, I had someone from Feros Care staying in the same motel as I was in and not too far away from my room either, by the looks.
Darren Halon (right) in the Pomona theatre/Dance Hall.
Getting back to Darren's song The Ostracism of Vinny Lalor.
In the Writer's Festival talk he tells of writing that song in the same dance hall the school dance was held in from the Thea Astley novel,
He clams the song pretty much wrote itself, as he felt the words came into his head as if by an outside source.
I guess some people would call that channeling, or something much like that?

In the writer's festival talk Darren is asked what he thinks is the most perfect song written and he names a Paul Kelly song as one of the best songs he ever heard.
Kaarin Fairfax as Vinny Lalor in the ABC TV mini-series.
The ironic thing here, and I don't know whether Darren realized this, was that the ABC made a TV mini-series out of Thea Astley's book in 1983 starring Paul Kelly's ex-wife Kaarin Fairfax, who played the part of Vinny Lalor.
Kaarin also starred in the 2001 TV movie One Night the Moon with her then husband Paul Kelly and their daughter.
It was based on the true story of a young girl who went missing in the Australian outback in 1932.
Interesting also was that Tim Burstall the director of Thea Astley's TV show adaption of her book died the same year as Thea, 2004.
I've only ever been to the town of Pomona twice in my life.
The first time was to climb Mt.Cooroora with some work mates.
And the second time was to visit the Majestic Theatre and take in a silent movie with my two boys, while the organist played the music for the Buster Keaton movie Go West, that we saw that day.

And here is another weird story.
After I took my boys to see Go West, I took them east to visit  
Noosa Beach on the way home.
I parked my car in what I thought was a free public car park in Noosa and went to go for a walk on the beach, but a storm was brewing and it was starting to rain, so we went for a pizza.
I was thinking what a great day we had when we were returning to the car and then I saw a piece of paper under my windshield wiper.
It was a parking fine for $90.
I was so pissed getting a fine in an area that didn't have any signs telling us you couldn't park there, but I knew to fight it I would have to take days off work and come back up to Noosa to try and get any justice, but I would loose money even if I won.
So I figured I should just pay the fine and forget about it.
As I was driving home still pissed at getting a fine for just trying to give my boys a good day out, a thought came into my head that I shouldn't worry myself about the fine, as the fine would be cancelled out in some way.
I thought, yeah right.
But the next day I won Just over $90 with a Powerball ticket I bought the day before.
That prize cancelled the fine out and I have never won a prize that high since by playing Powerball, not that I  play it that much anyway.
All I have to say about this talk at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival is that if I had not have attended it I would not have gone to Missy Higgins talk the next day where she was announcing the release of her OZ album in September,
Missy Higgins Has a New Oz Album on the Way...And That's Not All
and I probably would not have gone to her Brisbane concert later that year.
Which will be the subject of an upcoming post of mine.
Missy Higgins at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Someone uploaded Missy singing Paul Kelly's song,
Everybody Wants to Touch Me from her Oz tour.
Missy Higgins at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Oh, and one last thing I almost forgot.
On the day after seeing Darren and Missy do their talk I was driving around Bangalow after having breakfast in the main street that morning and then heading back to Byron for another day at the BBWF and stumbled across this street sign in Bangalow.
(Darren) Hanlon Court?

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