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The Shins in Monmartre

So things come together

My favourite band at the moment, my favourite place in the world.

I have no idea how this came about, but wow, for me, what a clip.

I know exactly where they are. And those two songs, gone For Good and Turn On Me are two of my favourite songs of theres (plus Alone Again Or!).

Just lovely and coincidence ridden. It’s like it walked straight out of my fantasy.


I don’t want to die at Euro Disney

I don’t know what to write about Paris this time.

It was the most amazing, inspirational couple of days. And I don’t even know how to share it. From the people I met, the places I saw, the silly things I did…it was all amazing.

Caught up with old friends, recreated Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset, found the hotel used in Charade…and trying not to let the Da Vinci Code ruin it for me.

I didn’t want it to end. My French is getting better. The food was out of this world. And the weather! 28 glorious degrees, beautiful women everywhere. Sleeping on the grass, crepes avec jambon et fromage, 1 euro wine…

But it was more than that. It was just refreshing, I had enough time to just wander and think about stuff. Finally hit on something to collect in my travels. Those big old fashioned travel stickers you see on old suitcases, but they will be for my guitar. Anyway, I just wanted to bookend this trip with another post.

Suffice to say it was alright. Suffice to say it wasn’t bad.

Me at the Louvre


Paris again…


I’m back in Paris.

I’m jaywalking like I own these streets.

Gare du Nord is my albtross. It’s the only place in recent memory where I felt so unsafe, uncomfortable and undone.

Today I walked through it without a hesitant step. I would have kicked any black cats that would have thought about crossing my path.

It is the hottest I’ve been anywhere since I left Australia. I cannot remember the last time I well and truly sweated!

Today there were hundreds of people on the steps of the Sacre Coeur, just sunbaking.

I know it’s a cliche for someone like me to love Paris but I do. I even love the mess on the streets. It’s like the living room of the locals. You leave a bit of a mess because it is yours.

I have a couple of more days here. I am thinking of joining the pretty young things on the grass and just daydreaming my hours away on the Parisian sun.

Oh and French women, who looked beautiful in summer… Well when they pull out their lighter tops for winter…oh my. I’m not sure what will make me faint first, the heat or the cleavege.

I’m stumbling home and all I can think is I have to get residency in London, so I can live in Paris.


Heavens to Betsy now we’re late twentys…

I know I hark on about it, but growing old has been on my mind a lot.

Something Craig and I have discussed often is that we would get better with age. The early twenties didn’t fit me right. Maybe it doesn’t fit many people right. I found my own niche, had fun, hard tough times, struggled with what this blue and green ball was all about…but it didn’t really feel like I was a part of things. i think they call that ‘Indie’.

One of my life’s greatest heroes, Tim Rogers of You Am I, told me once that he never wanted to be younger, always older. I feel the same. When he sings about watching old men in pubs and the respect and sadness of age really hits me.

I’ve also been listening to Tim’s first, brilliant solo album What Rhymes With Cars And Girls, a lot. It’s a very mature work for Tim, and written and released at a time when he had broken up from the major relationship of his twenties, and just past his first flush of success. It’s reflective, funny, and sad about growing old, all those drugs he didn’t take anymore, but he doesn’t want to go back either.

I am, however, really loving the twenties, which is what I wanted to write about anyway. Is it me, or does it feel like this is our time? Sure you get the odd exception where young-uns like the Arctic Monkeys still set the scene. But it seems like our culture’s youthful voice isn’t actually that youthful at all.

There are many reasons for this. We are staying in school longer for one. Society is so fragmented it’s harder to start a scene. Or maybe, I’m just older now, and very few 19 year olds have much to say to me. But it does seem like we a target market of our own. You look at things like Word magazine, movies like Little Miss Sunshine. We, the Bourgeois children of Woody Allen.

A friend of mine made a movie. I saw it last night and it was fantastic. Another friend of mine made a fantastic album, of richness and depth and actually sold a truckload of it too. Another is a leading scientist in his field. I’ve been meeting matte painters, novelists, actors…all of us in our early twenties, here in London, living it up.

Things are going really well right now, and I feel like I’m taking the biggest gulps from the cup of life I ever have. And as much as I’m happy and how I feel like this time in my life is a really important one, I look at my friends, I see them sitting around my living room, at the pub, us out in the streets of London, and I think – this is their time too. It’s a strange feeling, and someone needs to give it a name.

I love all the songs on What Rhymes With Cars and Girls – but one of my current faves is the duet with Sally Datsey of Tiddas, a song called Up-A-Ways, about travelling. The line is

Those wandering dues sound oh so good in a tune
But you need some place to waffle all that mud off your boots.

Danny Yau

ps. Paris, AGAIN, this weekend.


This is actually an old piece that I wrote a couple of weeks ago but I’ve decided to publish it.

This is a term I’ve made up, and it’s something I think about a lot. Definitivism is the degree of how definitive something is; that is the best and most effective run of a recurring, serialised medium. You know, it’s when a TV show was the best.

For example, the most definitive era of Superman is when he’s still keeping a secret from Lois, when Jimmy is still a photographer and Perry’s the boss. For many people, high school Buffy is THE Buffy. Cheers with Diane. Etc.

So it’s the era that everything else is judged by. And not necessarily the first part of a run either. I’m sure you can list plenty of your own. Now, there’s a reason I bring this up.

Back in 2002

This photo dates back from 2002. I’ve never seen it til last week when my friend Daniela sent it to me. I’m working for the same company I’m working at now, via a detour and in another country. I was very happy then, and I wonder if that, 2002, will be the definitive period of my life.

It happens in the 20s, right? That’s when you make your mark, write your story, find your path. I look at myself in that photo and all I have are good memories and dreams that never came true.

This photo fascinates me. It mirrors so much of what I’m doing now, and so much of what I have been. Although my hair is long and my stomach is fat.

I’m still desperate to find sunglasses like the ones I’m wearing there. Aviators that are rimless. Bought for five bucks at a BDO in Melbourne. That jacket has since developed a large hole. The shirt betrays a man in love with alt-country music. That backpack is with me right now in London, holding the laptop that you see in that dock below that big monitor. The yellow flyer to the left is for a screening of the Wilco movie I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, a band I still love.

In the far right bottom is a box of digibetas that I still don’t know what they are for. The photo pinned up on the very right is a picture of me, Jon and Linkin Park which I still have. Bec sits on your very right. We would talk a lot. I don’t know if it was my day to get the tea or hers, but the fact there are two mugs suggests it’s the afternoon. Ah, so many memories in that photo.

So back to Definitivism. Maybe this was the defining era for me, right there. It sometimes seems like I’m trying to get back to that point. I think maybe that’s why my last job was so disappointing. It was like Buffy with Riley in it. It just wasn’t the same.

Anyway, so I’m kind of back on course with things I think. It’s not the same. The budgets are a bit bigger. The cast are a little older. What we have here is Star Trek: the Movie. Not definitive, but still an important part of the overall story.

And I’m not saying I’m never going to be that happy again. But the time in my life when this photo was taken, was a golden period. I don’t miss it, but I remember everything about it, and think about it a lot.

Anyway, it’s just funny cos I’m wearing sunnies indoors.


That Last Post.

Funny how the word ‘Last’ has two meanings (actually probably more). Last can be the end of something. Or last can mean the continuation of something.

I haven’t changed my mind that I am taking a break from posting here. But some people have emailed me after that last post and…yeah there are reasons to keep going too. So…not the last then, in the first sense.

But it is the last post in that I feel like what I said in it meant a lot to me. It built up over months and years of my life about what my beliefs are, what and how I think, and basically being self centred and egotistic.

So when I die, and they find that folder on my computer called “Things To Publish When I’m Dead”, that Last post would make a good ending, even though it’s hopefully not even halfway to the end. In the meantime, a big break from this blog is called for. There’s been enough deep and meaningfuls, really.


What We Talk About When We Talk About Love/I’m A Believer/Let It Go

My final post. For Beth.

I saw Peter Tork of the Monkees tonight. He performed with his band, the Shoe Suede Blues, and it’s not just a silly pun. You can tell he is a man in love with the blues. And also, in love with music.

I had a long talk about beliefs with Beth a while ago, and it’s been on my mind. To the point where I came up with my perfect epitaph – “I’m A Believer.” I want it on record that when I leave this world that I want that written under my name and place of birth.

Let’s look at that phrase. It’s synonymous with one of the great pop songs of all time. And pop music is something I have believed in all my life. It captures me, inspires me, warms me and thrills me. Even tonight, in the Notting Hill rain, I passed a record shop and looked in the window, and stared at a copy of the Shins record on vinyl.

“I’m A Believer” is also one of the greatest love songs of all time. One of the great downbeat-verses-then-euphoric-choruses. The man has been saved. And love, and love songs, has also played a huge part in my life. Love in all it’s different meanings…friends, family, women, strangers and country. And more.

Lastly, there is the word Believer. I definitely am one. I use no facts to shape the way I live my life. I just believe. In music, in fate, in love and in life. I just do. With no basis. I would have made a great religious zealot if someone had got to me early. Someone other than the Beatles.

So I’m thinking about all these things. It’s coming up on Valentines day, and I realised that love is an unexplainable thing, and I live in a life that tries to explain it. I’ve written love songs, and I’ve listened to them all my life. My job is, essentially, to get more love songs out there. But they take tinted photos of love. It’s not real, and it never is. Paul Kelly once sang… “I’ve never heard a love song yet/That I can call yours and mine.” I think it’s because none exist. If you can describe what makes you love a person, in any definition of the word love, then it’s not love.

Same, in many ways, with death. There is a dictionary definition, but it’s also inexplicable. I could write forever about those two topics, and you will never, ever, see it my way. Which is why this blog is ending. I’ve realised that leaving a record of my thoughts here, for the public, is a hopeless idea. I could never describe to you the things I see, the way I’ve felt. It’s mine and it will never be yours.

The other reason is the excitement is over. I started this blog because my life was at a point where there were things to write about. It was a time to write a diary, because every day was different. Now it’s not the case, as days bleed into eachother and I fall back into a rhythm of regular life.

So it’s time, again, to let it go. Send me an email if you want to hear from me. But none of my life will be on here for public record again. You’ll never get it. And it’s not that interesting anyway. And the past, Australia, is far away. I’m sure I’ll keep in touch with many of you as I have done, but this has to stop.

We should be ashamed to think we know what we talk about when we talk about love. Or life. Or death. Or anything. But on the other hand – I’m a believer. I believe in all those things, without facts, on pure faith and just, you know, something to believe in. Just to keep going. So I’ll believe, and not feel ashamed.

Peter Tork played I’m A Believer tonight, to a small crowd, because he is still drawn to it. He still wants to play music. He still believes. I do too.

Danny Yau

Something for the weekend

So allow me to reassure everyone that despite appearances (or the last post), I am doing very fine. I have days like that in my head all the time. I just never had a blog before. If there is something to worry about I’ll let you know.

So, it’s the weekend again. The days are just flying by. To misquote Lou Reed “My year is better than your week.” I’m back in routineville.

But routineville aint bad. The weather, the first thing anyone here talks about, has been great. Sunny skies…I even pulled out the old sunglasses today. Nick of Nick-and-Dave-from-Paris fame is back and crashing at mine. Next week we have a bunch of visitors – Alicia, Davey and Kath.

Got a great cheap denim jacket today, along with a stack of old Mojo magazines. I’ve never even seen ones this early before. I love Mojo magazine. I watched the not-as-bad-as-I-thought movie Notting Hill, and you know, that’s my friggin hood. Also managed to catch up with a few people on MSN, Skype and iChat. Robert, I hope you are proud of me.

And work is going great, but supremely busy. But a friend sent me a link where someone noticed something I did and it was quite flattering. I am recorded in world history for something I did. Look. Let me have my moment.

It’s going to be a fun, busy few weeks to round out the month. I’m VERY behind in my writing and my reading. But you have to live as well.

One last thing. Happy Waitangi Day everyone. I heard rumours of the scale of the thing here in London but all I can say is I was impressed. I walked out into the street today and was greeted by thousands of black t-shirts, loving life. It was great. And it went well to my current re-obsession with all things Finn brothers.


I maybe climbing on rainbows

So, I might as well be honest.

This weekend has been kind of crappy. And I can’t quite put my finger on it. Just general bottled up frustrations. Crappy Australia Day. Work is very busy. Can’t seem to find a better place to live. Worried about this. Worried about that. Getting angry just looking at the face of strangers. Big existential doubts. Missing people. And places. And travelling. It just led to a low ebb this week.

Which is the best time to write, really.

I spent some time this weekend just wandering around. I’ve got my favourite walk down pat. Start at Starbucks on Kensington Church Street. Buy a coffee (Grande Latte) and a muffin (Classic Blueberry usually, although yesterday I got Chocolate Chip). Walk past Kensington Palace, home of Princess Di, into Kensington Gardens past the high school sports teams and curse myself for getting that stupid muffin, as muffins are not really designed to be one handed meals.

Take a slight detour past the pond and use the bin there to throw away the muffin cup paper squiggly wrapping thing and the paper bag. Light up a cigarette and both coffee and smoke should be done by the time you reach the bins and exit near Lancaster Gate. From here you can trundle on for twenty or so minutes to Soho or jump on the tube.

So nothing frustrates me more than nothing. I’m supposed to be writing but I haven’t really been in the mood and my writing space is a bit blergh. I need some clothes but I don’t know what to get. I’ve got all these half things that I’m putting off, waiting for something I don’t know.

Anyway, all this rambling IS leading somewhere. It sets up quite nicely the mood I was in as I got to Soho today, nominally to look for a present for a friend. And I remembered that since 16 I had an outlet for my stress, my frustrations, my creative energies and my whimsy.

So I bought a £200 guitar.

It’s a ¾ sized Art and Lutherie, a Canadian company. It’s blue, making it look both odd and a bit like a toy. I was trying to think of something small and blue to name it after and I’ve pretty much settled to the emotionally crippled, manic depressive that is Charlie Brown.

Got out the old notepad today and I pretty much finished one song and got most of the way through a second. And it feels good. Also managed to do some recording on Garage Band. Exciting is not the word I would use to describe it, more just comfortable. I should have gotten one earlier. Everyone needs a talisman, or a security blanket.

I’m going to go work out the chords to Bread’s Make It With You now.

Charlie Brown
Meet Charlie Brown


UPDATED: 31st Jan

Ha. Sometimes I surprise myself with my own multi-layered genius. The first and most famous security blanket of them all belongs to Linus van Pelt, also from Peanuts. How apt that mine is named after another ‘Peanut’. What do you mean you don’t see how funny that is?