It's been such a busy week that I've barely had a second to myself. But I've found myself a quiet moment, and now I can write. And as Uni starts again tomorrow, I thought I should make the most of it. I went to a rally on tuesday. The S.L.A.M. (Save Live Australia's Music) rally. It was to protest the laws which have meant the closure of Melbourne's small grungy sticky carpet pubs. These are places I have frequented since I was sixteen. Melbourne's music scene is one of the many things I love about living here. Little bands, playing to a handfull of people every night of the week somewhere across this town is what makes it great. All types of music, played by all kinds of people, in all kinds of venues. Fan-freaken-tastic!
But the threat that licensing laws have made on the livelihoods of so many people in the music industry is devastating. From publicans, musicians, mixers, crew, bookers, and in the case of our beloved Tote - the complete closure meaning everyone from the cleaners to the bar staff no longer have a workplace. The beer-soaked rock 'n' roll culture is being eroded.
Luckily, there are those who say NO to this. They say NO loud enough and care enough to do something about it. And these wonderful people organised a rally. On tuesday 23rd February at 4pm they came. All ages, young and old, all types, musicians and music lovers alike. It was estimated that around 10,000 people came along. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and this diverse crowd were all there to make one unified statement...Don't kill live music. The vibe was amazing, and as I and a friend walked amongst many others, reading the home made signs, in this eclectic mix of humanity, I felt an amazing sense of belonging.
I have felt this way a few times in my life. Usually at music related events - such as the Meredith Music festival, The Community Cup (charity footy match between RRR & PBS staffers Versus the Rock Dogs [local musos]), Brunswick street festival, RRR events or various gigs. It's something I've not felt in other crowds, and is interestingly more apparent when I'm in a group of diverse individuals. I'm not quite sure what gives me this sense of belonging, but it is an incredible feeling.
And it makes me realise how important belonging can be. We all need to feel that we have a place in life, that there is somewhere that we fit, that there are others who understand us. Perhaps the old saying of 'united we stand, divided we fall' rings true. Is it a primal sense of being safer in a herd than on your own? I'm not sure. But being part of something feels great. Community is under-rated.
I was thinking about this on the way home from the rally. And while doing so, I had another revelation. There is another equally important sense of belonging we should have. That sense of belonging within ourselves. It is a feeling I have only recently begun to feel. As mentioned before, I am calmer and more content within myself, in myself. I still have moments where I wish things were different, but overall I'm beginning to like the person I am, and feeling more like 'me' every day. And that sense of comfort at the person I look at in the mirror, knowing that I am being true to myself, is an incredible feeling....as I have my last few months of being 39. And the reason I know this, is because I see people who struggle with themselves every day. Maybe they'll never reach a point where that true belonging, both in a crowd and within themselves occurs. But I have to say, for the payoff it brings, it's worth working at each day.