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18 December, 2011

Keep Smiling - My Take on 2011

The weekend's been productive. I went out on two dates, trialled a new writing program, and had a ridiculously good time at a Swedish Christmas featuring Glögg.

Good use of a weekend in my opinion, but I'm not hear to wax on about the merits of a successfully-spent-Saturday-and-Sunday. Instead, I have decided to review 2011, a year of many firsts, and one that I am very thankful for the many opportunities it presented.

I was inspired by trawling through my old blog, The Tomes of Marshy, and recognised that in the earlier years, it was quite customary for me to do a year-in-review-style synopsis of what went down that year.

Given, that this year has been the most eventful by many measures this year, it only makes sense to resume this tradition.


Where to start? Let's start with some statistics:

Number of new countries visited this year: 7
Times I saw Gabriel & Dresden: 1
Times I have listened to Gabriel & Dresden sets since being disappointed: less than 10
Video log views:1,300+
Amount of guests that stayed in my new Singapore apartment: 13
Jobs had this year: 3 with two companies

And I guess that will do, I just calculated them on the spot and I guess it's indicative of what has preyed on my mind this year. Travel, music, personal development, friends/family and career.

And if this were a role-playing game, I've racked up a shit-load of experience and improved my stats in all the key characteristics. And I'm Level 28 now, I can dish out some serious pwn

First the travel. It's fair to say I used to eschew it. I had a lot of stuff going on in my life and shitting on about travel and trips and what I have/haven't seen did not interest me in the slightest. But, it's a bit of a life-experience impediment not having seen the world and I took it upon myself to do just that.

Without ever having left the country I jumped on a plane to Singapore for work, and in the meantime have managed to see Krabi, Chiang Mai, Bali, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh, and Manila. Some of these places more than once, and managed to go back to Australia to brag about the experience three times on top of this. Winning.

It's given me a fresh, new perspective on the friendships that count, reaffirmed my ongoing love for my family, and made me completely forget the people who aren't worth the time of day - who? Exactly.

While I've been further than ever away from my favourite clubs, my love for tunes and music has only increased. It's been a bloody good year for sounds and appreciation of it. So much so, that after years of deliberation, I chose to get a tattoo of my favourite song from my favourite band, Crystal by New Order.

I've been enjoying it so much that I might undertake another project, let's watch this space in 2012.

Speaking of projects, I made less headway on the book than I would have liked, but am realising that there's no rush and that progression comes in many forms. Another project is the entitled Marshwah, which has been a tremendous amount of fun and given me some great insights into video, editing, and new media.

Career has been the other big story for me this year. I've worked hard and reaped rewards far more rapidly than I've anticipated. If making the call to move from Melbourne to Sydney for work was smart, moving from Sydney to Singapore was incisive. I'm blown away by what I've achieved and have to shift the goalposts again. Not that I'm complaining.

The year has been colourful, chaotic, and an absolute pleasure. Next year has a lot to live up to, something tells me we'll be up to the challenge.


Another tradition I used to have from my old blog was a saying that I'd append to the end of each entry, it's ringing true for me now so I'm going to dust it off.

Keep Smiling.

28 November, 2011

Like a Boss

If you're a friend of mine on Facebook and other platforms, you would have noticed my newfound affinity for this phrase. I like the false sense of arrogance it denotes, while having a laugh at myself and the situations I append it to.

Things have been happening like a boss lately however. It's nothing short of astounding what this year has brought.

Almost a year ago, I relocated to Singapore to pursue a new dream. I needed to go international, I'd never left my homeland and the wanderlust was simply too strong. What had held me back in years before was no longer an issue, and with the loss of an account I was working on was the catalyst for a new opportunity.

I continued with the agency I was working with in Sydney, and took on a new role, new challenges and new markets. I've learned some things as I go, and have embraced each change as much as I have worked through new doors that have opened.

People told me Singapore is a great place for travel. Having spent the last ten months living there, I've been surprised by how much I have been able to do. I've racked up eight countries thus far, and am only hungry for more.


I was writing the above on the way back from Philippines, and we had to turn off electronic devices. I had a tale unfurling in my head but I'm distracted now. So I think we'll leave it at this for now. Like a boss does.

05 November, 2011

'Nam Baby

I'm starting to sound like a broken record. I'm on a plane again. This time it's Vietnam and I'm grateful as always for the opportunity to travel. I have a lot of friends in Singapore that find it pretty easy to jump on the "it's boring" bandwagon (myself included).

It's times like these when I realise I'm an ungrateful idiot.

I'm travelling with a mate from work and the trip was booked at short notice for a very modest price. It's a public holiday in Singapore on Monday so it's a semi-extended trip, but that doesn't mean the travel has to. This week I'm off to Sydney to work I'm quite excited about returning there as my last two jaunts to Australia have been to Melbourne. It will be good to return to the spot where I forged my career, not to mention seeing all my wonderful friends.

I managed to update my vlog again, I'm up to my eigth entry, appropriately titled: "Marshwah travelling". Check it out if you like at:

I'd embed it within my blog, but I'm on a plane and find such coding difficult given the lack of Internet.

It's been quite a fun project and I've enjoyed having a laugh with it. It does shit-all traffic, even this blog bests it, which has been a bit of a blow to the ego given my threads on Inthemix used to inspire dozens of comments. But it's a new platform and I'll persevere - it's good to have projects on the go.

I've started another project as well that's a bit closer to home, but I'm keeping quiet about it for now, I think I'm going to give it a few weeks before I start advertising what it's about.

Gosh I love the Internet and what it lets you get up to.

Well it looks like we're landing earlier than I anticipated as there was a bit more I want to say, we'll see how we go on the brief trip back to Singapore.

02 November, 2011

The Inevitable Musings on the Way to Bali

I'm on a plane again, this time I'm headed to Bali.

So naturally it's time for a blog update. I was listening to a Ferry Corsten mix, Creamfields, and it opened with a song I can't quite identify without the Internet on standby. It's a bloody solid tune, Father, I think it's called.

Anyway, it opened with a some lyrics. They went something like this:
"Brother, and sister, tell me how you're feeling..."

Then it continues, the lyric that really resonated with me was a bit later, it went:
" million miles away from home, one million miles away from love..."

It got me thining, because this is how I felt last Saturday. Sitting at home, gaming on my beloved Xbox 360, I was hit with an overwhelming sense of homesickness. It was massive. I know it comes and goes, but this was an overpowering wave. I say wave now because it passed, but at the time it was all that I could think about. It was so strong that I found myself searching on for apartments I could rent in Melbourne, and then it ebbed away.

I spoke to my sister a bit later, not about that, but the exchange put my mind at ease.

Wow. Where did it come from? Will it come again? Will I be ready for it? I've done some self-reflection since and spoken to my friends openly about it. What's been stewing in my head is two things, the first is that my reasons for being away from home are no longer the same as they once were. I left what I consider to be my home city for a media gig in Sydney. I needed to build up my credentials before I return, I told myself. And build is what I have done. I could walk into a media job in Melbourne now.

The second, more subconscious reason, is that it's the only place I've been in love. I'm not disputing that love can be found in many places, and there are cliches about it coming when you least look for it, but I'm getting kind of lonely doing my own thing. One thing that travelling to places like Tokyo and Pai have told me is that it would be amazing to have someone to share it with.

I've had dalliances, with both sexes, and as enjoyable as its been I'm kind of sick of short-term exchanges. In the gay world, there are guys that scour the sites specifying that they are after a LTR (long-term relationship) - I used to scoff at this. You don't simply state that you are looking for a long-term relationship, it happens naturally. Yet I can relate to how they're feeling now and share their sense of perspective to a degree.

This is no woe-betide-me tale. It's merely what has happened over the past few weeks.

Another thing that's been happening over the past few weeks is book progression. I'm editing what I've compiled thus far pen-and-paper-style. It will also help me with the structure, as I can rearrange pages and portions as I see fit. There's something soothing about doing this too.

That's my plane blog, I'm about to land and catch up with an old work colleague who also doubles as a great bloke, to say I'm looking forward to catching up is an understatement.

I'm going to leave you with a compliment that I received from a friend this week, that not only has me smiling, but had me nodding in agreeance about a succinct summation of my attitude:
"I like that you are always you, and don't give a damn about treading in people's toes or caring what people might think <3"

So I'm having a weepy blog entry about homesickness and being lonely. If you don't like it you can go fuck yourself.

14 October, 2011

Following Up on a Nugget of Inspiration

I'm sitting on a plane headed to Thailand, and have just written what I intend to be a blog entry.

But I'm hungry, I wanted to write more, and here I am.

I have a lot on my mind at the moment, a lot bubbling up and I would like to capture it.

At the forefront of my mind, is a desire to succeed. I've got a destination in mind, and I know where I want to be in five years time, and I know where I want to be in ten years time. Beyond this, I don't think I have the foresight to envisage beyond that, but I will know before I get there.

I'm driven. That's a given. I'm not settling for mediocre and I want to achieve a lot in my time here. Every day progresses and I'm closer to achieving my goals. Each year passes and I reflect on the year before in wonder.

I'm on an upwards trajectory and am fortunate enough to be have been on this path for long enough now for reflection, this reflection sees appreciation, and this appreciation drives me to seek more. I'm a proud person, and I seek a hell of a lot to be proud of.

I'm starting a lot of this sentences with 'I'. That's because I have me on my mind. Nobody else is going to hand me what I want so I have to rely on myself to get there. Fortunately I have a skill set and the acumen to go there and continually self-improve.

Where's the destination? What do I want to achieve?

First things first, I have a book I want to publish. It has 54,000 words done and it's not enough. I want to finish it. I want it out there. I want to spread my message and have something I can be proud of. Why am I telling you this? I want to be accountable. Without documenting what I want it will only remain in my head, and all that lies in my head are dreams.

I'm going to wrap this entry up here. That's my first goal. I'm making this promise to myself: by the time I'm back on the plane, I'm going to have tangibly progressed towards my goal. 54,000 words down, and its not enough. I'm going to continue writing...

A Life-Changing Breakfast

Last Sunday I had a breakfast that might have changed my life.

I work at Google, and it was a brunch with some colleagues. I work at a brilliant company, and presumably the people I were having brunch with were brilliant people. I'm new to the company and while it's safe to assume these people were brilliant, it's not for this reason specifically that I had a life-changing breakfast.

It wasn't the food either. I'd opted for the big breakfast, and it was quite good, one of the best Western breakfasts I've had in Singapore. There was Chipolata sausage, poached eggs, toast, spinach, and even a dash of bolognese sauce. It was a touch unconventional, and I guess that's what made me label it Western.

It wasn't the coffee. Even though I was told this coffee was some of the best in Singapore, and it delivered on this promise and then some. It was a round, fat cup, and the liquid was warm, nourishing, and had just the right amount of edgy bite. No, it wasn't the coffee.

I did order another on the way out, and I guess this breakfast was the precursor to that life-changing moment.

Because across the road was a bookshop. Despite being an aspiring writer, I read very little of books. I read content and converse voraciously. But it's quite a rare occurrence to find me reading a book, I simply don't have the attention span.

But I was surrounded by presumably brilliant people and at their behest I entered the bookshop, it was called Books, Actually.

I purchased a book in there, but that's not what changed my life. It was the book that I picked up yet didn't buy.

It was called 'It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be'.

The book appealed to me because it was small, palatable, and once I started reading, I found myself nodding and agreeing. It wasn't just because the book was written by a guy in advertising. It helped, I work in advertising after all, but it was more because it was inspirational.

I decided then and there to purchase this book. This inspirational knowledge that would help me progress in life, but I was stopped.

By one of the brilliant people I was with. She said she had the book and would lend it to me, I thanked her, and the next day at work she handed it to me on loan.

Four days later, I'm sitting on a plane headed to Thailand, and feeling compelled to write this entry after reading the book. I wanted to record this moment in time, the day my life changed.

Watch this space.

09 October, 2011

Everything is Coming Up Marshall

2011 continues to deliver in ways I could never envisage.

The past week and a half has seen me return to Melbourne for one of my best friend's weddings, commence an epic trip to Japan, get immersed in one of the best weeks of my career, and see me return to Singapore positively beaming with a trip to Thailand on the cards for Thursday night.

I'm a very lucky person. A year ago I was at my housemate's birthday in Sydney seeing one of the gigs of my life and thinking life is good. It's continued to outstrip itself and challenge what it's like to be happy. Also a year ago, I wrote an entry stating My Bassline is Increasing. I reflected on what's gone down since my move to Sydney, and the simple things seem better than they were years ago.

I had an anonymous commenter ask in that entry:
Is it that you are more contented, or is it that you have just realised that over time your life can infinitely be more advantageous and that taking advantage of all opportunities that are present to you at any stage of your life actually adds to your personal satisfaction and well being?
I never bothered to answer the question, as at the time I couldn't distinguish the difference between being more contented and having more opportunities. I thought it was a given that with more opportunities comes more contentment.

Fuck that. You make your opportunities, and they're in abundance if you look hard enough. And if you can't see any you make them.

I think the point my anonymous commentator was making was that your ability to realise this over time increases. This year has seen more change amongst my friends than almost any other. One has decided to traverse the world based on a feeling, another quit their job to take up study again, another became a tattooist after years of professional artistry.

Is it because things have finally come good or because they're out there making the most of what they've got?

If the question is rhetorical to you I think you get it, and if it's not then I won't wish you good luck, because you'll never get it if that's what you're relying on.

15 September, 2011

I Feel Dirty Already

I feel dirty already.

I ate my words. After denouncing the beast two and a half months ago, I caved and returned to Facebook. It was an interesting journey being without it. I think the time spent off it was time spent well, and definitely gave me some perspective about living overseas and the challenges of staying in touch.

What did I learn?

Other social media is out there
I embraced the other social media that's out there, and it was fun. I found myself checking my LinkedIn a lot more and reaching out to build connections on there. My Twitter usage went through the roof!

The Marshwah Project saw more videos made. And that elephant in the room, Google+ continued to see some thought out updates from myself. My point being, that while losing Facebook may seem like cutting your hand off, the void can be filled.

For instant gratification, Facebook is streets ahead
I readily identify myself as a social media whore, and ever since commencing blogging in 2001, one of the key elements to enjoying it was the responses. People love engagement and conversation and I'm no different. Despite having the other social media out there, there is something about being able to make a post and have five people comment inanely on it almost instantaneously. I don't think it's simply due to sheer volume of people Facebook has either. I think it's more to do with the user experience. A similar (but not quite) amount of gratification could be gained from my time on Inthemix. But not quite.

You can set the trend, but it's pretty lonely
I bravely set out to do something only a few of my friends already had, and I enjoyed the experience and stand by it, but there's something to be said for going with the majority. Call it herd-mentality, but I don't believe in biting your own ear off for principle's sake and will happily concede defeat. I'm overseas, in another country, and have spent the longest time away from friends and family I ever have in my life, the time away was good - but I'd love to reconnect.


So I'm back, and when I say dirty, I'm more like a pig in mud.

14 August, 2011

How I Got a Career in Media (and not Advertising): Some Lessons

Yesterday, a friend of mine shared a link with me of an enterprising young man that is applying for a role with Google. It's very clever, the guy, Matthew Epstein, applies basic marketing principles upon a well-known subject, himself.

Like the Old Spice campaign the year before, Matthew didn't do anything ground-breaking. He just utilised existing channels with a single, over-arching premise that was cohesive on all touch points. Whether or not Matthew will get a job at Google is yet to be determined, but I have no doubts that he will go on to succeed, a quick look at the web metrics in his blog is proof enough of that.

Another advertising/media/advertising whiz is Zac Martin, whose blog Pigs Don't Fly advocates the 'Move Fast and Break Things' approach coined by web behemoth Facebook. His advice is about building something is sound, and I couldn't endorse it enough.

When I started this blog over a year ago, I mentioned my reasons for doing so, referring to an article that Blogs are the new CV. I basically acknowledged the need to start marketing myself a bit better, and as I said then, I am writing a fucking book after all.

Things for me continue to get better and better, and I thought it was time to impart some of my own advice about how to make it in the marketing industry, in the only way I know how: by telling a story.


By 2006, I'd decided I wanted to get into the media and advertising game. I'd temped at an agency called Starcom and basically enjoyed my time there, and set my mind to getting in. I even wrote about it in my OpenDiary (beware of the shirt).

The first thing people will tell you about getting into media and advertising, is that it’s fucking difficult. Ironically, once you’re in, the first thing people will tell you about media and advertising, is that it’s hard to find good people.

I believed I was good and set my heart to it. What struck me as a golden opportunity was Advertising Federation of Australia's Graduate Program. It had a stringent selection process, but I went to the information session with my Mum and believed I was up to the task.

The first hurdle was a set of seemingly boring questions:
  1. Why do you want a career in advertising?
  2. Which brand do you most admire and why?
  3. What is your favourite advertising campaign and why?
  4. What is the most challenging thing you have done? Why was it challenging?
  5. List 10 things to do before you’re 30.
  6. If we asked someone who knows you well to describe you, what would they say about you?
  7. If you couldn’t get into advertising, what would you do?
If you're interested, you can read my answers to these questions here.

Lesson #1: Be interesting.

I passed the first hurdle, the second hurdle, was much more daunting. It was a day-long workshop where you'd meet the agencies involved, brainstorm and work within groups, and then pitch to the agencies themselves. We weren't armed with much information, other than there was a no PowerPoint policy. Fortunately, we'd been given the names of the agencies involved. They included George Patterson Y&R, Clemenger BBDO, Grey and Magnum Opus.

My friend Sean knew a guy that worked in advertising and offered me his phone number, I seized it with both hands and picked this guy's brain. I asked all the burning questions and then some. The knowledge this guy had was tremendous. I shared my plan for the pitch, he added some words of advice and we were away.

Lesson #2: Know someone and lean on them.
The day came and went. I blew it out of the water. I'd handcrafted a folio for each agency that had their logo emblazoned on the cover. The start of the folio had a letter, addressing them in the only style I knew how: "Marshy" style.

The letter read like this:

Dear Representative,

My name is Luke 'Marshy' Marshall and I'm here today to bring my life to life. Here is a booklet which will highlight the key points of my presentation, with my contact details on the back page. Feel free to keep it, it may be worth something one day, I'll be signing autographs at the commencement of the proceedings. Before I go into the main thrust of this presentation, I'll provide you with some facts:

* I'm from country Traralgon, but don't let that hold you back
* I like to cook 2-minute noodles for longer than 2 minutes
* I have a very unhealthy obsession with dance music
* I'm deadly serious about my desire to get into the advertising industry.

I'm extremely versatile, and have done jobs ranging from data entry operator to DJ, and as crazy as it sounds I believe all my past professions have prepared me for an advertising career. As such, I've chosen to bring my 'working' life to life, with convincing reasons as to why they have prepared me for advertising. So without further ado, flick over your pages please...
But that was just the opening, over the pages included "slides" of what I had accomplished in my career thus far:

Accompanying the presentation were props, as a paperboy, I flung a paper across the room to show I delivered the message, as a sports journalism intern I pulled out a footy to prove my point, as a bartender, I whipped out a bottle of Baileys and poured them all shots (except the pregnant lady, sorry about that one).

The pitch couldn't have gone better.

Lesson #3: Go hell for leather.
But this wasn't a fairy tale, through the AFA I secured a meeting with one of the agencies, that was postponed and postponed, until finally I met with the director to be told there was no room for an intern and that I'd been mistaken. I was gutted.

To my detriment, I'd never followed up and had taken no for an answer.

For the next year I applied for roles in Melbourne. The thing about the city I love is that there weren't that many entry-level roles for the likes of me, and when I did get through to the interview process I never managed to get over the line.

The progress was like this:

1) Find ideal job;
2) Get excited and apply;
3) Reach interview;
4) Crash and burn like a drunken pilot; and
5) Get depressed by another knockback.

It was early 2008, and I was contemplating moving to Sydney to achieve my dream.

Lesson #4: Be ready to adapt.
Acknowledging this reality crystallised something inside of me, and I went for an interview with a media agency in Melbourne, called Zenith Optimedia. I had a bit more tenacity this time, and got through to a final interview with one of the partners.

He hinted at giving the role to the other candidate and that was enough for me. I put it on the line, I said I rarely get an opportunity to pick the brains of the media elite and what were my chances of finding employment if I moved to Sydney.

"I'll get back to you," I'll always remember him saying. I never imagined hearing back from him.

So imagine my surprise as I picked up a call from an unknown number as I was plugging away as a data entry operator for an insurance company. It was the partner, they had a role in Sydney and he asked how quickly I could move - I told him two weeks. FUCK YES.

Lesson 4: NEVER stop chasing your dreams.


And the dream has continued. I'm sitting in a penthouse apartment in Singapore, about to pursue another new opportunity.

It's exciting and terrifying and I would never have anticipated this while I was knocking on doors in Melbourne and recovering from my time in Perth.

If you're thinking about doing something about your career, do it. You don't need a fancy video, but you do need to tell a story, and that's the only way I know how.

20 July, 2011

Top 5 Gigs I've Ever Been To

I'm not going to lie, I've been updating this more than usual.

I put this down to two reasons. The first, is that I've had the book at the back of my mind a lot lately, and I'm keen to step things up a notch and get things finished. The way I can get back into it is by getting into the habit of writing more regularly, and hopefully this habit will transfer to the book. It can't hurt anyway!

The second reason is thanks to a program I've had recommended to me for a while, but have only just picked up. Evernote has been fantastic. If something jumps into my head while I'm out and about or at work, I can simply jot it down and then re-read it at work, home or on my phone. It reminds me very much of the Pensieve in Harry Potter. Although not quite as magical. More techno-ma-logical.

But I digress, I wanted to list out my Top 5 gigs of all time. Why? Well I've recently completed the list. It may change in the future. For example, New Order might reform and I will go to their concert, but for now here it is. Insert something here about no preferential order or some such.

1. Matias Aguayo, Pirates of the Underground Boat Cruise III, Sydney Harbour, 19/12/09
Who is this guy you ask? You might even listen to some of his music on Youtube, or note that his debut album made Resident Advisor's Top 100 Albums of the 00's. None of that knowledge mattered to me, as I had never heard of the guy prior to stepping on the boat. I got on the boat and all preconceptions about what good dance music was were thrown out the window. The boat, a piddly little thing next to the super-yachts of Sydney's elite, was heaving. And it was all thanks to one man. The guy completely blew my mind. He actually sampled an obnoxious guys horn-blowing mid-set, and sampled it back into what he was playing. I raved about it after the event. My friend wrote an even better review. It was all such a pleasant surprise, I wish I was back there.

2. Daft Punk, Sydney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, 14/12/07
Personally, I didn't care for the hype surrounding this act. I got my tickets a couple of weeks beforehand off a reseller, listened to their Alive set prior, and was prepared for a good show. That was pretty much it. I had a couple of vodka Red Bulls, lost my friends, then they started... I didn't stop moving until they finished. This Youtube doesn't really do it justice, but I was there that night, and hearing 'Music Sounds Better With You' towards the end was something else. I blogged about it then and the comments still stand. I did end up finding my friends at the end of the gig, their grins were as large as mine.

3. Gabriel & Dresden, Zouk Nightclub, Singpapore, 03/06/11
I had built this gig up in my mind bigger than it was ever going to be. Imagine falling belatedly in love with an act, whose very first remix was of one of your favourite songs from your favourite group. Only to discover they have broken up before you ever get a chance to see them. But then, it gets even better, you get offered the opportunity of the lifetime, a chance to move overseas and develop your career, and then discovering that the act you fell in love with are touring in Australia after you leave. There was a tale of redemption, they played at Zouk Club, Singapore, I was there middle and centre. The highlight for me was counting down to a fresh edit of this track and getting blasted by an ice cannon. You can't script better experiences. The gig wasn't the best in this list, I was disappointed to hear them play a dubstep track, but it was the finale to one of the greatest musical journeys of my life.

4. King Unique, Musica @ The Forum, Sydney, 09/10/10
It was a good friend's 30th and we'd already had a big day, we had a house party in the afternoon, and then made our way to the conveniently timed Musica party that started at dusk. The day was already good, and anything that we got out of clubbing that night was just going to be icing on the cake. The headliner played a warm-up set, there was some noise and some dancing, and then King Unique came on. He ripped the venue a new one. Completely smashed and destroyed the place with tune, after tune, completely devastating people who hadn't expected someone listed 3rd on the billing to completely own the night. I was an instant convert. It was a gig very worthy of this list, he held a broom aloft at one stage like a crazed gorilla. What more can you say?

5. Robbie Lowe, Extrawelt, and Michael Mayer, Subsonic Music Festival @ Barrington Tops, 3-5/12/10
Festivals are a tough one. They're generally a disappointment. Too many acts to choose from, massive crowds, and they tend to attract douchebags. Subsonic was a stupendous exception to the rule. The festival ticked so many boxes you'd need a new warehouse, and the crew we partied with were some of my nearest and dearest friends. The music on this weekend though, was exceptional. Seeing Sydney-local-hero Robbie playing at 1am, outdoors, next to a river on a hot summer's night with a very refreshing light drizzle of rain was delightful. Hearing warped progressive from a duo you've admired on centre-stage held me absolutely captivated. And just when I didn't think it could be topped, having an epic, Sunday afternoon set that moved me to comical interpretative dance for the following hours capped off what was truly an amazing weekend.


So there you have it, my Top 5 gigs. You can see that they are from within the last five years, I can only hope the next five are as special.

18 July, 2011

Charleson Farm and the Triple M Adventure

Sometimes when you're drinking with friends the topic of 'best' comes up. Best movie is a fun one to talk about while drinking, as is favourite actor/actress or good TV shows. I find when I'm having these sorts of conversations I get a myriad of suggestions that I should follow up on, yet never do. Despite 1,001 people suggesting I watch Dexter and myself stating "I'll give it a chance", I never do, and it gets relegated to the pile of things I'll never do, for better or worse (I'm told it's REALLY good).

But back to the original topic, one 'best' came about that sounds simple enough, but you don't hear that often. Someone in the group asked 'what was your best holiday?' Immediately a slew of arguments emerged, with the overall theme being that the question was very subjective. You could have the most relaxing, but it wouldn't necessarily be the best. You could have the trashiest, and it wouldn't necessarily be the best. And so on.

I have the privilege of not even having to take all these facets into consideration. I already know what my best holiday is. I'll call it, Charleson Farm and the Triple M adventure.

How did this escapade come about? Through furious organisation by friend 'A'.

Back in the day, we had an email chain of a group of friends that included friend 'A' and a bunch of people from both Sydney and Melbourne. We had all come to know each other via my perennial reference Inthemix, and exchanged banter on an ongoing reply-all chain. Talk had come to a head, and the topic of a big get together was mentioned. Friend 'A' ran with it. From researching, to getting interested parties to contribute, to arranging who was cooking what on each night.

It was a formidable task getting a dozen of us to get our shit together, and friend 'A' performed admirably. Soon enough, we had a destination, Charleson Farm.

----Aside, holy crap! A quick Google Search just revealed that there's a video of the place!

Anyway, now that I've painted a vivid picture of what the place looks like, here comes another complicated logistic. The place was outside of Geelong, myself, friend 'A', and friend 'B', all lived in Sydney. We had to fly or drive down there.

'A' crunched the numbers and it turned out cheaper to drive. Our names all begin with 'M' - thus the Triple M adventure was born.

Now I knew these guys fairly well. After all, we'd been exchanging email banter for a year or so, and I'd recently relocated to Sydney with some help from 'A' and 'B' as well. But still, this was a 12-hour drive we were looking at, each way, and even the best of friendships can unravel being in such a close proximity to each other. Add to that, 'A' and 'B' were a couple, and I was looking at a potentially tough journey.

I got the extra time off, and we departed early Thursday morning. They picked me up and we were away. The mood was buoyant and we all knew we were in for a treat. There's certain rules that one should adhere to when travelling with people for such a long distance, and for this journey, the rulebook was thrown right out of the window.

There was a temperature gauge in the car. It told the temperature. It was cold outside. The gauge reflected this. Fascinating stuff. At least it was to 'A' and 'B'.
"Hey 'A', look at the temperature - it's 4 degrees".
"Hey Marshy, you see that? It says it's 4 degrees", said 'B'.
After about half an hour of this shit, I'd had enough.
"Hey guys, why don't you talk about the temperature more."

And it was on.

While I wouldn't say the 12-hour journey consisted of temperature references exclusively, these two went out of their fucking way to let me know about the weather at every point of the journey. First of all, these guys didn't know me that well, that I'd let them get away with this shit. Secondly, these guys knew that fact and ran with it. These were friends for life.

We arrived at Charleson Farm, and it was like the opening scenes of Big Brother where they arrive at the house. We ran from room-to-room, marvelling at what we'd scored. The next order of business was to put on the fire, put our legs up, and revel in resplendent, blissful peace. While I was new to my job, there had been a lot of stress with the loss of an account, and it was good just to switch off and forget about it.

And that's what it was like until the Friday night, a relaxing time of doing nothing. Every time I thought about checking my phone, I didn't. And it felt good.

The next phase of the holiday was like a slow-release birthday present. As time ticked over, the rest of the dozen started arriving. Each time a new member arrived it was exhilaration and joy as we hastened to show them the surrounds and where they could put their things. This was our holiday and we fucking owned it. There were high-fives and pats on the back all round.

Once everyone arrived we drank and were merry, and good times were had.

Saturday was the calm before the storm. During the day we bided our time, some ate, some started drinking early, others cooked and cleaned, but all knew it was game on once the sun set. We were in an isolated part of the world with DJ decks, accomplished music aficionados, and the perfect mindset.

I can't go into details about what went down that night, that would be outside the spirit of it, but let's just say there's video evidence and if it ever saw the light of day there'd be some members of the group that would null and void their chances of ever getting into politics.

The recovery day was all it could be and more, we snuggled with doonas and watched old movies like The Goonies and The Lost Boys. One of our friends even made a delicious zucchini soup (something I always considered an oxymoron). The holiday wound down and by the next morning everyone pitched in with cleaning the place up.

The trip home had a different mood to it, it was one of kinship, there was less talk, and more comfortable silence. The clincher for me was when I was dropped off and instantly missed my companions, and then gasped with pleasured surprise when my phone beeped and it was them thanking me for an awesome time.

I've been on holidays since, and I'm sure I'll go on holidays that will be better in other ways, but Charleson Farm and the Triple M Adventure will be hard to top for me.


I recently went back to Australia, and without realising it, spent a night partying on with a good half dozen of the members that we holidayed with that time, when it was realised it didn't come as a surprise. It was good times with good friends.

Oh yeah, and the temperature gag? It still lives, just check out A and B's JurkTurtle blog and scroll down to the bottom.

Yeah, very funny guys.

17 July, 2011

Silly Sayings and Their Origins

I hail from a small town in Eastern Victoria, nestled within Gippsland, called Traralgon. I'm fiercely proud of my background, and love letting strangers and friends know about tidbits of information that have filtered through my upbringing and beyond.

Maybe because of my heritage, maybe for completely other reasons unbeknownst to me, there are a few sayings that have resonated with me, and that I continue to utter to this day whether it be verbally, while drunk, or cryptically as a status or Twitter update.

They'll always have an air of mystery for me, but today I feel like deciphering the nonsense, or attempting to.

1. Safest hands in the west
This is a favourite of mine to trot out after catching something. To me, it resembles a brag - these are the safest hands in the west - and I can catch unerringly and with great skill. But I'm not quite sure where I got it from. I barrack for an AFL team, the Western Bulldogs, and I'm fond of likening my ability to catch to that of an AFL footballer. But I can't be sure, I'm more fond of it now that I live in the East, I can cite the silly statement when catching something here, as if I have all of the ability of the Western world behind me. Maybe one day I'll meet my Eastern coounterpart?

2. Kick this one for st. paul, and this for minneapolis, and kick this one here for me and my super hero complex
I really enjoy this phrase, and is one that has resonated with me upon first hearing. I first heard it as an excerpt from a remix I heard on Triple J, but it is take from a oft-sampled spoken word called Pride's Paranoia. The entire verse is pretty mesmerising for me, much like Wear Sunscreen, but this particular verse stands out in my memory - why? I don't know. I'll probably never go to St. Paul or Minneapolis and I'm not altogether certain what a superhero complex is or whether I have one. But sometimes, at particular moments in my life, I've felt these words spill out of my brain.

3. Strike me a kipper, I'm all out of lemons
This statement is probably the most nonsensical of them all, as when you break it down it really doesn't make an ounce of sense. In recent years, it's been my most oft-repeated, now as a deliberate source of good humoured banter amongst friends. I've thought long and hard about where it came from, and did some research this morning. I'm pretty sure I heard the term or something similar on Martin/Molloy's The Brown Album back in 1995, but I don't have a copy of it anymore and the excerpts I listened to on Youtube bore no fruit. A Google search of the term revealed a similar catch-cry from a Red Dwarf episode, with the phrase 'Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.' I used to watch the show religiously, so it's entirely plausible that my memory has played Chinese Whispers and adapted it to the nonsense it is today.

4. Give me, a kiss to build a dream on
I love this phrase, and every time I hear it I smile. It takes me back to my teens, and my exposure to the game "Fallout 2" - it's from a beautiful Louis Armstrong song and my heart melts every time I hear it. I've uttered it in all sorts of incantations, and it still resonates with me today. It's a magical song.

So there you have it. An explanation of the unexplainable. It's funny though, how certain turns of phrase just sound appealing, but may come across as rubbish to someone else.

I guess this means I can no longer knock Megan Fox's tattoo.

I'm comfortable with that.

05 July, 2011

Those Rash Decisions That Seem Right

I just deactivated my Facebook.

As little as a month ago, this would have frightened the hell out of me. But now, it feels right. You know when you have those decisions festering in your head, and it could go either way, and you end up going one way and feel an immediate sense of relief?

That's how I feel at the moment.

I proudly displayed my electronic act of rebellion on the new Google+. One of my friends questioned whether this was premature - after all - there are friends on there that won't be transitioning on to the new platform for years to come, if at all.

I'm pretty comfortable with that. As big a fan as I am of the new Google+, I don't see it as a Facebook replacement. It may eventually end up replacing it, but for now its a nifty new platform for sharing, getting the attention of some people I admire, and has connected 64 of my friends.

A digital agency I admire, mentioned at the start of the year something called social media fatigue. It was the first time I'd heard of it and I almost scoffed at the idea. Yet halfway through the year some of those 64 of my friends did deactivate their profiles, citing pretty much the same reason.

But am I fatigued? After all, I'm an enterprising social media whore (see About Me). I don't think I am, but I'm ready to bank against the house. It's not a huge statement, but it's mine.

We'll see who wins in the end.

24 June, 2011

Sometimes I Have to Pinch Myself

We have it good in Australia. It's a fantastic country and I will eventually return there. I'm proud of my culture and heritage and don't hesitate to share it with people and share the idiosyncrasies I'm a part of.

But notice how I said 'eventually'. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, because moving overseas has opened my eyes to so much more.

In a good way? You betcha. I've been here almost exactly four months. It's been a bit of a jump and not without its ups and downs. But am I better off? I've learned more about myself and my capabilities in four months here than the last year I've spent in Australia.

I don't begrudge that fact, I more or less appreciate it for what it is. I was talking to a bit of a mentor of mine around this time last year about opportunities and heading overseas and he said it's good to wait. I could have done this as a school-leaver or graduate, but would I have had the same open and receptive attitude, the same appreciation to what I have now? I don't think so. I was a very different person from 18-22 to what I am now.

Oh listen to me, I visit three countries in SE Asia and all of a sudden I'm worldly and have all this omniscience and insight. That's not it at all! It's just made me more thankful for the experiences I've had, friends I've made both home and abroad, and very appreciative of my background and family.

I guess that's the hardest part about doing this on my own. I do miss my friends and wish I could share my experiences with them. And knowing that the rest of my immediate family are all back in my hometown enjoying life eats at me inside, but I know this is all part of the process - and I think next time I see them they'll be blown away by my affection for them.

Eventually though.

I'll be right back, I have a world to see.

28 May, 2011

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

We've come a long long way together
Through the hard times and the good
I have to celebrate you baby
I have to praise you like i should
-- Praise You, Fatboy Slim


Not the most profound lyrics unleashed on man, but certainly resonating with me at the moment. Things continue to astound me about this place, and I have a raft of visitors coming through in the coming months for me to look forward to.

After a hiatus while life got crazy, the Masters is commencing again, I start in two days and am looking forward to tucking into some academic endeavour. Not biting off too much, just one subject, but it should help keep my mind sharp. The subject is Writing History and while history is not my strong suit, I am eager to learn and apply myself.

The Marshwah Project has been a good laugh, with my foray into video logging providing some entertainment for myself and others. I think initially I was gunning for a new video every 3-4 days, but this is a shade ambitious for a number of reasons.
  1. I have a day job and will be studying again very soon
  2. The production elements of the task takes longer than I anticipated, with the whole rigmarole taking a good few hours
  3. Being the complete narcissist that I am, I need to acknowledge that me talking about just anything doesn't really make the cut - I need engaging material and I think it's quality over quantity
Having said that however, I'm enjoying it quite a lot and one a week should keep me out of trouble. The feedback has been amusing too, it's ranged from "go Marshy!" to "GTFO" to a tongue-lashing from one of my old friends who is resoundingly anti-digital (in good humour though). We'll see if the novelty wears off or if it continues to prosper.

Probably need to lose the headset though, I'll do that when I get a new computer!

So previously I mentioned that I'm not drinking for two months, and if you know me well you might be surprised to read that I haven't caved yet! It's been 15 days without a drink.

To be honest, I haven't missed it as much as I thought. The culture is a bit different in Singapore and despite being out and being offered free drinks on several occasions, I haven't felt the need. Alcohol's main allure for a lot of people is the lowering of inhibitions and relaxant effect - I'm a very uninhibited person anyway so it's not really affecting my enjoyment. Add to this, my head's feeling much, much clearer. I feel like the guy in Limitless.

But there's more to it than that, I've commenced The Couch-to-5k Running Plan and have completed my first week. I've had this program recommended to me several times over the years, but have always essentially ignored it because I don't like the clumsiness of time-based running ie. Run for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds etc. But with my new open and fog-free mind, I discovered a set of podcasts that counts the time for me.

The music sounds like what would happen if you froze 50 kilos of frozen tripe and spun it around in a cement mixer, but its utility is unquestionable.

It also has the added bonus of reinvigorating the RUN FOR COVER MOTHERFUCKER Facebook fan page which has received a deluge of spam-like weather updates.

There's a lot to pleased with this year and I have an inkling things are only going to get better.

17 May, 2011

A New Frontier

Back in November, I mentioned how impressed I was with the potential of Vlogging on audiences. You could get your message across, convey more humour, and generate a lot of attention.

As I love doing all of these things, I didn't let the hit of inspiration just wither away and die. I had a day off today, and spent most of it polishing my new product and preparing to unleash it on the world.

The time has come for me to enter the world of Video Logging, otherwise known as vlogging. And I don't mind my first attempt. Rather than blather about it, I'd prefer to just see how it goes, or maybe you should see how it goes...

What does this mean for my current blog? Nothing at the moment, but it'll be fun to see how it goes.

14 May, 2011

Some Thoughts and a Personal Challenge

Been a while since I blogged. My apologies. The past few weekends and work have been semi-crazy. For the weekends in good ways, and for work in bad ways. But the ship's righted itself now, and I'm blogging from a happy - and clear-headed place - on this rainy Saturday in Sinagpore.

But more on that later.

I saw a dear friend off the other night, he was here for six weeks for work. While that's the official reason, I think the universe conspired to have someone close to me here while I settled in. The fact he was staying just two blocks away from my apartment for the majority confirms this suspicion.

The move here has been nothing short of unbelievable, and to have someone here to basically hold my hand while I settle and be a vessel for bouncing thoughts and feelings off has been a privilege. Plus we had some bloody good times. The one that springs to memory the most was when two other friends were in town for Thailand. Two bottles of Bacardi, an amazing venue, classic tunes, and three great friends. For those of you who didn't read the constant praise we were all heaping on the night via Facebook here's the summary:
  • Sensational weather
  • Magical company
  • Glorious food
  • At least two power-spews
  • Diving in the adjacent pool to the sounds of Missing
  • Lost keys
  • Many, many laughs
A top five experience for sure.

But I alluded to being clear-headed on a Saturday. What gives? Well in my latest "I'm Gonna" (let's face it, I have a lot of projects that I never quite fully see through) is that I'm not drinking for two months.

What's provoked this? A desire to lose weight and get the metabolism on track. I just hope it goes better than my last effort. Add to this, in two months from yesterday (when I started) it's my 28th birthday. A pretty good milestone and reward to strive for.

So that's that. I'm not drinking. Had my first test last night when I rocked out to the tunes of James Zabiela at Zouk. Personally the night was a privilege and I didn't really need the assistance of alcohol, but the test came when my two friends hit the d-floor with jugs of some concoction and basically tried pouring it down my throat! I fortunately didn't cave, it would be a really piss-poor effort only lasting less than 24 hours. Besides, the natural energy in the room was more than enough.

Lastly, I have some good news on that other project I used to always blog about: my writing. I've resumed my Masters of Writing and commence my next unit on the 30th May. I couldn't be more excited. Life was pretty crazy the past 8-9 months, hence the postponement, but now that things are back on track I can't wait to further my education.

And that'll do for now.

27 April, 2011

I'm Back

Zing. I wish I had a typewriter. You know that satisfying 'Ting' sound it makes after completing a new line? That's how I feel at the moment. Like a 'Ting'.

What the hell am I talking about? It's that project I started almost two years ago. That thing called a book that I was interested in writing. The one that I'd done a large slab of, and then had wiled away time with excuses and blocks. I was literally stuck. And now I'm unstuck.

I've studied writing literature, in fact, according to my course convenor, I should be eligible for an exemption and have my Graduate Certificate in Writing soon. They tell you that 'writer's block' is a myth. That the white page can be overcome, that it's just a case of working through it with rigour and exercise.

All of that might be true, but when you're writing about yourself and the colourful life you've lived, certain sensitivities come to fruition that impede progress. It was these sensitivities that prevented me from going any further with my tale, and it's languished as a result. Part of me knew that moving here might give the creative juices a creative kick-start, I just didn't know it would come after having a shit of a day on my least favourite day of the week.

It's not like I was struck by a lightning bolt, I have been investing a lot of thought on how to attack my life's subject matter and translate it into the rest of the book since I came here, but I think the long weekend helped significantly. Typically I'd be socialising almost exhaustively on a holiday weekend, but this weekend was filled with introspection and enjoying my own company.

Then today, a quote from a dear friend of mine popped into my head and gave me the kick in the pants I needed. It encapsulated everything I was about and gave me license to invoke the key-typing fingers of fury again.

What's the quote?

I guess you'll have to read the book to find out. But I promise it will be finished.

13 April, 2011

Initial Observations about Singapore: Part 1

I've had this germinating in my head for a while. I'm making it a Part 1 as I'm sure there'll be future occurrences that will continue to astound and confound me.
  1. It's fucking hot
    The first thing I thought before coming here was that 30-degree days everyday would be some sort of paradise, after all, some of the best days I've had in Australia have been around this temperature. But I didn't factor in the humidity. Looking at a cloudy sky and sweating your dick off is not an ideal situation. Especially when it happens every day without fail.
  2. People get bored here
    Not much of an observation, hey? People get bored everywhere. But I get asked of locals - what do you do with your spare time? With the insinuation that there is nothing to do here. I counter with something along the lines of: between travelling around, having people visit you, games of FIFA on my XBox360, playing online poker, drinking at the various bars, eating at the many food destinations, shopping for essentials, writing, and dealing with my addiction to Facebook... what spare time? I'd be doing the same thing in Sydney!
  3. Banter is non-existentWhat do I mean by banter? The usual chit-chat you'd exchange around the office or in a cab. Talking shit. I am built for this, my whole day revolves around lackadaisical observations that are perceived as cool stories and yet this doesn't really happen here. My first trip in a cab I launched into a somewhat bland note that the weather was different here to Australia. Normally that would generate all sorts of colourful expressions from a cab driver. Not here.
    "You're not from here are you?"
    Silence. The same applies in the office, but I'm threatening to circumvent that with much yelling across the room of late.
  4. They love their food
    You don't just sit down and have a drink with these people. As a matter of fact I can't remember a session I've had where this has happened. You sit down, order a drink, and all of a sudden someone remembers it's compulsory to have food with your drink. Of course, silly me. I'm not really pooh-poohing it, it's just something that's taken some adjusting to. Some of the best drinking sessions I've had have been at places like Strattons. And there you need to be very drunk to order the food.
So there you have four quasi-negative points about Singapore and where I'm living now. Am I loving it? Yes. A change is indeed a holiday and while I'm still dumbstruck by some of the concepts I'm wrapping my head around, I wouldn't have it any other way. Work's been challenging, but I have to keep reminding myself that this would be the case with any new job I was starting. Let alone in another country.

10 April, 2011

Feeling the Beat

So I'm listening to Gabriel & Dresden fresh from a Skype call with my Mum. I always wondered why travellers would tout its virtues, but I'm a fresh convert. Being able to see and hear people makes a world of difference to how you cope abroad, and my only complaint is that I can't think of everything I want to say when time aligns. I was a phone whore back in Australia, and I'm barely getting my fix here!

Last post I was acknowledging my homesickness, and it was probably an accurate reflection of one of the lows I was experiencing. While I love to post, brag, and share as much as I can while I'm here, I am guilty of putting a positive spin on things a bit much, and I think acknowledging the challenge of being far away from friends and family was cathartic in a way.

Fortunately, I've been lucky enough to get a chance to see two of my besties in Chiang Mai. At relatively short notice I jumped on a plane and visited a magical city that my friends have been raving about. The trip was short, sweet, and envy-inducing. As much as I love my job, the networking and what I do, part of me wishes I could just kick back and revel in the work-from-home lifestyle my friends enjoy. It was a pretty magical experience for me in amongst all the drinking and food, and I'll definitely return.

But I have to get some more travel out of the way first! On another whim I booked flights and accommodation to Kuala Lumpur. I have the travel bug and I have it bad. The advice I received once I arrived in Singapore was to get as much travel in as I could, and I've certainly looked to maintain that.

Another friend is in town now! Unfortunately he works seven days a week while he is here, but it's bloody good to have a dinner buddy in tow that lets you debrief. The other night we had beers, frog, dumplings and shredded pork. And he queried why I was grinning so much - pretty happy to have a visitor was my answer. It really doesn't get much better.

Now that I'm a bit more settled here, I'm looking to resume my Masters. It's been on the back-burner for a while now, and I'm keen to resume as I've got the itch. Hopefully that will result in taking the book off the shelf and finishing it off too.

I just hit a wall. It was a big, big weekend with two nights of heavy boozing, and I'll be thankful for some rest. I'll tell you the rest later ;-)

26 March, 2011

With Or Without You

Saturday morning reflection times with some yum cha in my belly. I've just about clocked up a month here and it's starting to feel like the long haul now, rather than the initial feelings that were holiday-like.

By that I mean I'm starting to get the odd pang of homesickness. I thought I was prepared as I've spent the last three years away from what I'd consider home base in Melbourne, but I had such a tight network of friends in Sydney that part of me is bitter about missing out on the good times.

Facebook is a double-edged sword. It's fantastic for keeping abreast of shenanigans, but at the same time it reminds you you're not a part of the shenanigans.

But it's funny how things work, three years ago I was probably experiencing the same feelings when I moved to Sydney, I can vaguely recall lamenting not having anybody to talk to on the phone. That changed over time - so much so that I barely remember feeling lonely there.

It's just the odd pang though. As a friend would say, it's a marathon not a sprint mate, and my pace has kept me in good stead. I'm relishing the challenge, and the bar for what I could achieve here keeps getting pushed further, even within this short period of time. It's ridiculous what's going on here, and it's hard not to be proud.

I move into my pad today. To say I'm excited is an understatement. It's a guilty treat. It will be good to finally plant some roots here. And show it off to my friends. I'm going to have a dinner party once I'm settled, as I can in this place (it has a dining room). But also, I have a number of friends coming through in the coming months - I think we have people coming through April, May, June and July thus far. Combine that with my own travel plans and I think I'm going to be okay.

But there's always going to be that odd pang of homesickness.

13 March, 2011

Feel so bohemian like you

I'm sitting in my shophouse and the Bohemian Like You came on while I was listening to old MP3s. The memories came flooding back, good times were had around the time that song was out. And it got me thinking about this new adventure I've embarked on, and whether there'll be songs that stand out in my head.

I remember when I left for Sydney, it was The End (Dirty South Remix), I even remember blogging about it and how apprehensive I was and how I was wondering how things would unfold.

I'm yet to find a song that defines this transition, but rest assured it will be something that triggers new memories too.

So I'm sitting at the end of my second week in Singapore and things have progressed a bit since the first week. The sheen has not wore off yet and everything is still a fresh experience. Especially the food, when it comes to the food I'm a man possessed, I'm not much of a photographer but I keep feeling obligated into taking snaps of the chow. Like what I gorged myself on last night when I got home.

But I transgress. I've achieved a few things this week as well. I got my first business trip under the belt, heading to Krabi for a conference on all things digital for our company and the region. It was an honour to be in the same room as some of the brightest minds in the business, and an opportunity I would have normally have to wait years for if I stayed in Australia. The pinnacle for me was presenting. My boss asked me to present the Singaporean digital landscape on our company's behalf and I lapped up the opportunity. It wasn't a long presentation, but the adrenaline rush I got from standing in front of my peers and nailing something was something else.

I actually got a bit swept away afterwards, calling Mum and waking her and then another friend and just debriefing about a new career highlight that had just been achieved.

I've managed to get the menial out of the way too. I now have an Employment Pass (the Singaporean equivalent of a Visa) and a bank account. I've looked at three places now and have signalled my intent for one of them. Waiting to hear back about that today.

I think once I have my own place I'll be truly settled. Then there's two things that need doing. One is to show my friends the town as they come through on their various travels, and the other is to do some travelling myself. I can't wait to go to Chiang Mai and see what the big deal is with some dear friends who live over there, and I also can't wait to just find some locations off the beaten track.

I'm subscribed to the travel newsletters now, and will be watching them like a hawk.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm about to rustle up some lunch with a pretty lady!

01 March, 2011

And I'm Here

Wow, I really wasn't kidding around when I said 2011 was going to be my last year in Sydney. That sure escalated quickly. Oh Lordy, what have I done to myself? In the space of three weeks I went from brohemian, brunch-loving Newtownian, to fish-out-of-water, international travelling neophyte.

And the verdict? In the words of DJ Pied Piper and The Master of Ceremonies: I'm loving it, loving it, loving it, I'm loving it like this.

I knew my friends were right, I knew the travel thing had to be done, but what I didn't know, and what I'm quickly coming to realise, is that this is pure awesome.


I arrived in Singapore and the first thing I noticed was the carpet. It was an ugly shade of black, grey and maroon squares. But then I looked up, and realised I was in an airport, and that I shouldn't get stuck on such pitifully dull details on my first sojourn through an international airport.

I walked out and after making sure I had all my necessary documentation, walked into a guard and asked with a faint tinge of trembling: "How do I get out of here?"
"Down that way", he said with a smile.

Being subjected to Border Security on Australian TV had me quaking in my shoes at the prospect of passing through immigration. I was envisaging savage customs officials, machine guns, and maybe a rapier.

Instead, there was smiles, stamping, and a pleasant bid on my way.

I've never experienced duty-free shopping. I've heard murmurs of what it encompasses, and the vast, bountiful value that accompanies these purchases. But 1 Litre of Smirnoff for $18 SGD?!?! Yes please. I also grabbed three Tiger cans for under $6 bucks. They came in handy later.

Picking up my luggage was wait-free, and I rather expertly got into a taxi and pointed the driver in the right direction. Perhaps the way in which I accomplished this task had gone to my head, because when I got to the street I was staying in the taxi driver exploded. I didn't say I had a Visa Card. How the shit am I meant to pay for it!

So I fucked up my first cab experience. We drove to an ATM and I got some cash out and paid the good man. I then walked up to the address I was given and had no idea where the agent was. I stood around scratching my head. I called her from a phone on my way through the airport but she was nowhere to be seen. I pondered what to do, as I didn't have a phone and figuring out a local telephone box with a currency I haven't used before seemed like way too much effort given I'd just been in the air for eight hours.


I have to say, it's was the first surreal experience in another country. Another country where you know fuck-all people. Another country where you don't expect to hear your name. I smirked. I think the penny dropped there and then that I was in for a fun ride, even the simplest little things are going to take on new meaning, and this was only the beginning.

Of course, it was the estate agent. She let me into the shophouse, and we navigated three lots of stairs to get to my pad. After an inventory check and receiving the critical "dongle" for Internet, she bade me farewell and I couldn't stop smiling. I was in my apartment, in another country, with absolutely no idea what to do.

Before I left, I spied a 7/11 on Google Maps right next to where I was, so I decided I'd go to that and get some mixer for my vodka. I grabbed my orange fruit drink, paid for it while fumbling around for the correct money, and scurried back to my pad.

I was pretty tired, and after slamming the vodka down, I had my first fitful sleep fighting between the sound of the air-conditioner blasting, and wallowing in the heat.


And that's how I got here. It's now my second day of work and I'm settling in. New market to learn, new procedures but I'm prepared for the challenge.

This aside, I'm now sure coming here was one of the best decisions of my life.

17 February, 2011

Impending Luminosity

Flights booked, accommodation sorted, passport (almost) on its way.

I'm right in the middle of a push to make overseas happen and I'm winning. I don't want to jinx what's going down but it's immensely satisfying getting through the rigamarole that unfurls when one decides to relocate.

I've got that same, nervous but assured sense of discontent in my belly that is ridiculously comforting. Comforting insomuch as I feel like I'm making the most of an opportunity presented to me and seizing it with two hands. This is happening. Happening it is. I can't believe after sub-conscious and conscious procrastinating I'm actually going abroad.

And I've been touched by the overwhelming positive feedback I've been getting.

"I'm so proud of you," friends have said.
"I'm so freaking jealous," others say.
And my favourite after getting told I'll be travelling to Thailand in my second week of work:
"Have you slept with a leprechaun or something?"

Maybe I have. Maybe I have.

I'm finishing up at my work desk this evening as I have Playground Weekender tomorrow - a multi-day festival that will be a great way to finish off my penultimate weekend in Australia. The majority of my crew will be up for it and it will be filled with quality time, good conversation and what a few of us like to dub: the Nectar of the Gods.

Word on the street is it's going to rain but there's no way it will dampen our sense of fun.

I come back from that on Sunday night, ready to hit overdrive with getting rid of things, a health check, and many an individual farewell. Then next Sunday, oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, next Sunday I hit the skies.

And I've got a feeling this is going to be even better than I'm expecting.

09 February, 2011

Destination Known

I've been working in media three years now, and despite this length of time, it never ceases to surprise, impress, or even startle me.

The past few weeks are my case in point.

My last update consisted of me rambling about where I'm going and where, and stated it was my last year in Sydney. I said this knowing it would be. What I didn't know, was that it would also be close to my last month.

Events transpired rather quickly.

On Australia Day I got royally hammered in the sun, there was a new cider going around called Brothers and it went down pretty well. I got to dance with some of my best friends and generally engage in tomfoolery. On the way to another party, I drunkenly checked my work email on my phone for reasons unfathomable to sober me. There was an email that piqued my interest immediately from the Singapore office:

"I’m reaching out with a pretty awesome opportunity for one of you to live and work in Singapore for a few months as a Digital Media Planner. We just had a position open up and would love to seize the opportunity to bring in a talented individual from one of our other UM offices to learn an exciting new market.
In this role, you would be responsible for all things digital; from pre-campaign strategy to post-campaign reporting and all points in between..."

I was all over it like a fallen sack of potatoes. I called up my mother, babbled drunkenly, then debriefed with friends. As soon as I got into the office on Thursday I'd emailed Singapore. This was for me. I can do this. I will own this.

While this was going on however, the team I was within were waiting to hear the news I've been hinting at, whether or not we'd maintained the client. The news was broken last Friday on the Internet, before any of us had found out. The team was a mess, but at the back of my mind I was wondering what would come of the Singapore opportunity.

I didn't have to wait long. After a meeting with the CEO, MD and my director it was game on. A couple of phone calls later and the offer has been made. Move to Singapore, at the end of the month, with a relocation package.


I cried tears of happiness as soon as I got off the phone, the dream is continuing but on a scale that I've never considered before. It's going to be a challenge but one that I've clearly been gearing up for.

Overseas here we come.

24 January, 2011

2011: Ending something, or beginning?

So my last entry was a bit on the glum side, and to be honest, I entered 2011 with the glumness semi-continuing. It's been hard to shake off this work stuff, but I've persevered and it looks like things are starting to come good. However the situation unfolds now, it will see me in a good position, and ready to kick some arse.

I guess the turning point was talking to two of my old colleagues - and getting their perspective on things. I voiced my thoughts and they were nothing but pillars of support. I've been in digital media three years now, and I'm starting to command some genuine respect amongst my peers. It felt good to hear this respect, and no matter how I decide to take on this year, it's going to hold me in good stead.

How will I take on this year? Well it depends on how this work situation unfolds. What is this situation I keep referring to? Well, it's hard to explain unless you're in media, but essentially the client I work for is realigning their agency - which may or may not include us. I'll know in a week or so what's happening, and it will be good to have some direction. I say direction, but really, it's more catalysts for change. I think this will be my last year in Sydney, as overseas is beckoning. There are one or two things that might keep me here for a bit longer, but essentially my heart is yearning for travel. I've done Australia, my demons are behind me, and there's no more excuses.

I've been talking my intentions through with friends and colleagues and the response has been encouraging. It makes sense and it's clearly something I've invested a lot of thought in - now I just need to rub out my debt and make dreams a reality. And if there's one thing I've proven to myself it's that dreams are the sort of thing I like to chase.

On a lighter note, one dream is over. My time on my beloved Inthemix has ended by my own choosing. I retired. In the end, I like doing things on my own terms and the site isn't the same as I once knew it. Yes, I flagrantly start attention on the thing, but it's no longer an enjoyable vehicle for my rants on the Internet. I started off sharing my life on OpenDiary in 2001 and haven't really looked back, I essentially changed the vessel around 2005-2006 to ITM, and now it's time for another change of vessel, I no longer get the kicks from sharing what I have to say on there after 15,000 posts, and for better or worse I chose to end on a high note (ie. a final thread). I've made the majority of the friends I have today either directly or indirectly through the thing and I'm not going to bear ill will towards something that's given me so much. So salutations you old devil of a website you, maybe now instead of starting threads I can invest some time on here.

But what exactly is this blog apart from a vehicle for my concerns? I think in my next entry I'll set something in writing aside from 'The Scrawlings of Marshwah' as my 'angle'. And run with it. I'm leaning towards three options: keep it as it is, make it more about digital media and what's happening in the industry, or turn it into a vehicle for overshare. Actually, next time I'll do a list of the pros and cons of each.

Stay tuned.