A Passion for Prohibition

Don’t make me drink another bottle!

Yeah, so I’ve slightly failed my first two days of ‘No Goon June’- thanks Matt for the inspiration. But that’s ok, because if you’re going to fail at an alcohol-free undertaking, you might as well do so at an underground Prohibition-style bar.

Ronan and Sarah, I blame you both for letting me drag the two of you to Palmer & Co those first two nights. As per any good adult, I refuse to take responsibility for my own actions. Perfection’s for the gods, and look how fucked up they were!!!

But perfection (and potential alcoholism) aside, the atmosphere of such underground swill-houses with the gaslights burning in dark alleyways, the cool jazz and attractive barkeeps has been great fuel for spirited discussions about living your passions. Whatever it takes.

What are your passions? And what are you doing to live them? What is the atmosphere you need to immerse yourself in so you can ooze your passions from the inside out? God forbid I become possessed by the spirit(s) of someone like Hemingway, but I love this atmosphere! It makes me want to run out and write and research and relate stories to my friends. To learn to play the double bass, to trawl through sepia toned archives, to dig up history, overhaul my wardrobe with cloche hats and flapper dresses and redder than red lipstick. To say piss off to polite society and let life rip! Phew!

Seriously though, what are you passions? If you knew that you could not fail, what would you be doing right now? If money was no object, how would you dress? Where would you be? Who would you be with? What would you be doing? I’m going to leave you with a question asked by Alan Watts on the video below: What do you desire?

Right in this moment I desire action, adventure and change. So I’m going to get up out of this seat, and do whatever it takes to dodge some crazy traffic, and buy myself some redder than red lipstick.

Then come back and write my novel.

And plan my trip to Ireland.

And smile!

Magical Mystery Tours

The Fortune Teller


What a momentous few days I’ve just had. Where to begin? Thursday night sounds like a good place to charge out of the starting blocks. My lovely friend Sarah invited me to The Firehouse Hotel to have a glass of wine and a tarot reading. The fabulous Frankie Starr is there each week offering up fee-free readings. How can you resist?

With trepidation I cut the cards. Please don’t belt with doom and gloom! I prayed.

As Frankie dealt the cards, her nails sparkled a mystical red, and I held my breath, longing for good news. Movement, passion, creativity, adventure and love on the cards! Magic! Just what I need. And a decision: Where to next?

“Pick a place, any place,” she said. “Get up and go. And don’t look back!”

“Where to go? What to do?” I thought. “I’ll see what transpires on the weekend before I make any rash decisions.”

Cue the weekend: I ride into town on my trusty green and yellow steed, pulling into the wharf at Circular Quay with an hour to wallow in a bowl of coffee before wandering down to the Sydney Writers’ Festival, where I was greeted with front row seats (on the floor) at a wonderful talk on myth and fairytales.

View from the Front Row

View from the Front Row

“What do you want to write?” I was asked as I scoffed down my lunch in preparation for a talk on small ‘l’ love.

“I haven’t found my story yet. But I love stories of magic set in reality. And true tales of adventure. So, maybe something that combines those things.”

And from fairytales to explorers I went, to hear tales of polar expeditions, Himalayan hikes and my favourite, a nomadic adventure across the Eurasian steppe. For years I’ve been fascinated by Mongolia, so when I saw Tim Cope’s book, On the Trail of Genghis Khan, on the shelf at my brother’s house, I had to read it! What an inspiring story! He had a dream to cross the steppe on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary to understand the nomadic way of life. He followed that dream, faced incredible adversity, and lived to tell the tale. As did his dog, who I was delighted to meet at the festival!

Thank you to all the adventurers, and trailblazers, dreamers and visionaries. All the people who have a goal or a dream. The ones who take the road less travelled. The ones who take the road more travelled and re-purpose it! To all of you, thank you. I’ll see you out there on the road. Because I found my story that day. My tale of magic set in reality, that’s taking me into a true adventure story. Look out Ireland, I’m headed your way!

Will I see you out there on the road too?