It's really easy to be cynical sometimes. Maybe all the time, in fact. I’ve found recently that I'm trying to tone it down in my life. When I see cynicism on display in other people, I feel how ugly it can be. It's such an emotional and intellectual dead-end. It's not just that something is terrible, it's that it has been designed that way just to frustrate us and there's nothing we can do about it.
In my recent efforts to reduce my own cynicism, I have started to feel something that might have eluded me in recent times. There's been a couple of occasions lately where I've been utterly in awe of something, and it's pretty refreshing.
On New Year's Eve, I spent the afternoon on the beach and the night looking over Port Phillip Bay. It was a gorgeous day: perfect for swimming, a barbeque and some drinks. I spent the whole time amongst many of my closest friends. There were moments where I looked out across the water and felt genuinely humbled to live where I do and to share it with these people.
At this time of year, I head up into the city every couple of weeks to watch the Melbourne Victory with a few of my good mates. As far as I'm concerned, we've had a pretty fun couple of months. A late goal by Archie Thompson won the Christmas derby, and we celebrated long after the final whistle. We are also fortunate enough to have a young player, Marco Rojas, who in extraordinary form and scoring terrific goals for us. His two goals against Queensland Roar in December were staggering. The first was an audacious long-range missile; the second an extraordinary piece of skill the likes of which this country has rarely seen. In the most recent match, I looked out from my seat in that magnificent stadium, and saw the sun setting across the city. Once again, I was in awe. Here was an improving team with a terrific coach, and I was sitting in an awesome seat, sharing the journey with friends.
I know I promised I wouldn’t. I said some pretty strong stuff in that article and I might wince if I was to re-read it. But I broke my word and I don't regret it for a second. I told you all I wasn't going to buy any more music gear because my obsession with acquisition was taking away from what I should have been doing - playing and writing, you know, actually being a musician.
Instead, I made the biggest musical purchase of my life. By a considerable margin, actually. I found a second hand left handed 1999 Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 in Royal Blue for sale from a guy in Hoppers Crossing. It was the guitar I'd dreamed about owning since I was about fourteen. There was an eight year gap where PRS completely stopped producing left handed instruments altogether and the guitars that already did exist got even more expensive than they already were. There was a time when I honestly thought I'd never own a PRS. When I saw this thing, I was torn for weeks. I drove out to try it in the hope that I would hate it and that my fondness for PRS guitars was misplaced. It was not to be. It was better than I'd imagined.
Sometimes when I'm playing it, I laugh a little to myself. It's so incredible I sometimes don't believe it. It suits me so well it doesn't feel like an instrument. Instead it feels like a natural extension of my arms and my hands. I sometimes have trouble putting it down. One night I put it away to go to sleep, left the room, and went straight back in and played it for another twenty minutes. And then I put it down again, left the room and ended up back in the studio for a third time.
I feel like awe has been associated with näivety. It seems to be understood as a childish feeling. Sometimes it feels embarrassing enough that you keep it to yourself rather than sharing it. It's a vulnerable feeling, because you are showing humility; letting yourself andf others know that there is something more amazing that yourself iin the world. I say embrace it, take it back even. It should be normal to see something that stuns you and allow yourself a moment of reflection.