Australian Music Vault Talks | The value of fandom

“As soon as you get music lovers together, they start talking and networking and coming together, and amazing things come out of it.”

The Australian music industry is fuelled and built upon beautiful, personal connections. That spark when music lovers come together, as described by Amy Bennett, the Creative Learning Producer at Arts Centre Melbourne, is what ignited Australian Music Vault to launch a series of talks to run at Arts Centre Melbourne over the course of 2018.

“At the moment, we’re really in a time of conversation and the public contributing to discussions instead of just observing from the outside,” Bennett says.

“I think the music industry are really keen to have a forum where they can present these issues from the general public side. It gives the public a front row seat to the inner workings of the industry, because it can be a bit hard to understand how it works.”

The Australian Music Vault Talks will tackle what it means to be a music fan, roping in mega-fans of the likes of Nick Cave, Crowded House and Kylie Minogue to talk about their obsessions.

But the first talk will see a panel of women from all facets of the industry come together to talk about gender representation in the Australian music industry.

The panel will focus on the path to change the gender imbalance, and the challenges that stand in the way of such a thing. Facilitated by journalist and author Jenny Valentish, the panel features Grace Kindellan of Wet Lips, Mohini Hillyer of Habits, Dr Catherine Strong, who is conducting APRA approved research into gender inequality in the Australian music industry at RMIT University, and Tracee Hutchison from the Music Victoria’s Women’s Advisory Panel.

“It’s a really big one,” says Bennett of the inaugural talk. “There has been a lot of discussion on it. It’s really important to us, to the Australian Music Vault, to make sure there’s equal representation, and we felt we had a role to play. It’s really moving forward at a rapid pace.

Bennett, who is a musician in her own right, is happy to report that she’s definitely seeing a shift in gender representation within the industry. “There are more female mentors available for younger musicians. There are more women who want to be leaders, and show younger women that this can happen,” she says.

“That being said, you still go to gigs and 15 out of 16 people are dudes, so in the music industry, it really needs to stay active. That’s why some of these young musos like Grace (Kindellan) are so important, because they’re actively choosing lineups based on this.”

The Australian Music Vault was launched at Arts Centre Melbourne in 2017. Set to run for three years, the free exhibition is a celebration of the past, present, and future of the Australian music industry, and an insight into the history that has shaped it.

“The idea is to celebrate Australian contemporary music, there’s such a rich history and there’s so many amazing people involved in the history and the present, and obviously the future, but it’s been something that the Victorian Government and us at Arts Centre Melbourne, the music industry, and major stakeholders like Michael Gudinski, have wanted to celebrate for a long time,” Bennett says.

The vault, and these talks, are there to remind the audience that it’s not just musicians who make up the scene, it’s every audience member, and the stories they have to tell.

“When it was announced that Festival Hall would become apartments, that was a change in the city, a change in infrastructure. But what it did, whether or not it’s bad or good, is it made everyone tell their stories of Festival Hall. That’s what we want to encourage,” Bennett says.

We all have stories of Festival Hall, of our youth, no matter how recent that was. “The members of the music industry are really passionate about a lot of issues that are a massive part of their everyday lives.

“Having these talks helps to give wider context for these issues. We want it to generate discussion, to excite people who then give back their stories. It’s a two way street.”

Originally published in Beat Magazine. 


The Shins | James Mercer

Though James Mercer, frontman of indie rock darling The Shins technically began work on the band’s new album, Heartworms, about two years ago, he confesses his songwriting is far from a linear process.

Mercer’s writing is a labour of love, and some songs on the record have been in the works for close to ten years.

“I’ve always done that, there’s always these ideas where I hit some sort of an impasse with the song, and I can’t figure out how to make it work, so I set it aside. There are songs that I was working on before Oh, Inverted World that I still can’t figure out, so hopefully they’ll come out one day,” Mercer says.

“Some of those songs I’ve been working on for so long. The Fear is a song I’ve had floating around for years. I remember showing Eric Johnson that song when he was in the band, so that would have been touring for Wincing the Night Away.”

Even the titular track has its roots far earlier in Mercer’s illustrious career.

Heartworms is pretty old, it’s something I was considering for Port of Morrow, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Otherwise, everything is new, and I wrote it during that gap after I toured with Broken Bells.”

Despite this, it’s far from disjointed. Mercer effortlessly brings the old and new together to create a cohesive and palatable structure. However, the album is dynamic in its emotions, something that makes a lot of sense when you take into account it was written over many stage in his life. Continue reading


Nars Audacious lipstick – collection, swatches and review

I just love patchy lipsticks that drag along my lips, dry them out, and smell like homemade play-doh went off in the fridge, said no one ever.

Oh, the sass!

14302356_971640649628957_1456109653_n.jpgThe polar opposite of the sometimes cheap and nasty lipsticks you find on the shelves at the local pharmacy are without doubt the Nars Audacious lipstick formula. These lipsticks are a little swipe of luxury, and are without doubt my favourite formula of lipstick I’m yet to try.

Insanely pigmented – they claim to offer full pigmentation on the lips in one swipe and they bloody well deliver – and ultra creamy, they are hydrating on the lips, and hide any textual issues you may have going on from dry lips.

Since my discovery, I’ve amassed a small but passionately adored collection of shades. If you’re the type of person who likes to snoop at what other people wear on their faces, or you just fancy seeing some lip swatches of a few shades, scroll on, ya filthy animals.


Imma let myself finish, but this is my favourite lipstick of all time.

I know. Big call. Huge, even. But justifiably so.

Creamy, luscious, and the perfect cool-toned mauve pink. What the hell more could I ask for.

‘Nuff said.



I bought this at a Nars event with Mecca Cosmetica. After trying it on with the Nars El Agua lip liner. Cue compliments! Oh did my vanity flourish, and my already big head blow up larger by the second.

A muted, medium purple with pinky-violet, cool undertones, it’s one of the most unique lipsticks to ever touch my lips.

If it wasn’t already sold thanks to my own extreme love for the colour, as well as a few passing sales assistants, what really sealed the deal was when the (undeniably attractive) male waiter handing out champagne told me how great it looked with my skintone.

I’ll take them all, please.



After falling in love with the formula of the Audacious lipsticks, I went through a period of meticulously browsing Temptalia‘s swatch gallery to thoughtfully choose welcome additions to my collection without breaking the bank.

Natalie is a bright flamingo pinky-coral with warm undertones, a perfect summery colour for warm nights on a beach or spring days filled with picnics in gardens – or more realistically, long summer days lying on the couch re-watching Jane The Virgin and complaining about the heat.



The most recent addition to my modest but ludicrously expensive collection is the radiant coral-red that comes up with a pinkish tint on my cool skin that the folks over at Nars describe as a ‘wild azalea’.

Considering azaleas are some of my favourite flowers, it seemed a good match. The colour is also unique to my lipstick collection, with literally no other colour coming close to matching this shade.

Pair with minimal eyes for a totally day time appropriate sunny day face, or add smokey eyes to edge it up.



Actually the very first addition to my Nars audacious collection, this stunning berry is reminiscent of Mac’s Rebel, without the sticky, almost sheer sheen that wears away. This is so effing opaque, it looks like I’ve eaten so many berries that I’ve permanently stained my lips.

It perfectly coordinates with my fair skin and dark hair, making my green eyes pop.

I’ve nearly finished the shade, perfect for a cool autumn or winter evening, and will most definitely repurchase when the time comes.


Do you have any Nars Audacious lipsticks? If so, what’re your favourites? 


Best in beauty 2015: LIPS.

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Lips! If a year ago you’d told me in one year I’d have an excessive (and expensive) collection of lip products, I would have been shocked that you had squandered your ability to time travel on finding out useless facts like what I put on my lips.

I also would’ve been shocked that I’d developed the confidence to wear such vibrant lip colours out of the house.

Rocking a bright lip takes guts, and it’s something I’ve had to work up to. But discovering formulas, undertones and colours that work for me has been outrageously fun, and its something I highly recommend everyone try.

Here’s hoping you can benefit from my excessive study.


Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick:
Released in 2015, this new formula for Urban Decay comes with a slightly small shade range, but one of the highest standards in quality that I’ve come across. Long wearing and damn near transfer proof, despite the matte finish they are hydrating rather than drying.
Favourite shades:
Tilt, bright orange;
After Dark, deep berry pink with a purpleish blue toned shimmer; 
Stark Naked, peach toned nude;
Blackmail, almost black purple. 

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks:
2015 was the year of the liquid lipstick, and I finally got the chance to try this formula after Sephora finally opened in Melbourne Central, and they’re honestly the only reason I braved the lines and crowds.
Favourite shades:
Mother, dusty mauve pink;
Bauhau5, deep raspberry;
Aeysha, rich lavender.

Nars Audacious Lipsticks:
Hands down my favourite lipstick formula. Perfectly opaque in one swipe, as they advertise. Only wish they didn’t transfer quite so easily.
Favourite shades:
Anna, mauve toned rose.
Natalie, a flamingo, coral pink. 
Dominique, a pink lilac, and perhaps one of the most unique colours I’ve ever come across.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils:
A long-wearing, intensely pigmented lip product. These are so good, basically every colour I try knocks my socks off. Only criticism is they can be a tad drying.
Favourite shades: 
Sex Machine, mauve toned pink,
Walkyrie, burnt, brown toned red
Dragon Girl, bright pinkish red,  
Never Say Never, berry toned pink.
Damned, deep magenta red. 

Nars Lip Liner El Agua:
I’m not really one for lip liners, but picked up the purple toned pink El Agua in an attempt to make my excessive collection of mauve-pink toned lipsticks more purple. Long lasting on the lips, elicits compliments.

Stila All Day Liquid Lipsticks:
After acquiring the two holiday sets from Mecca Maxima, I developed an intense love for this formula. Extremely long lasting and easy to apply, in a variety of bright, unique shades.
Favourite shades: 
Patina, mauve pink;
Baci, grey toned mauve;
Cosmo, bright violet;
Aria, deep berry;
Cianti, blackened plum. 

L’Staj Liquid Lipsticks:
A wild card entry! These lipsticks are available online only, via the L’Staj website. A niche brand catering only for lips, their small shade collection is of an outstanding quality for the price, and is available in packs to further save dollars. I often receive compliments for these colours.
Favourite shades:
Lady Cheeky, pastel lavendar. 
Lady Lovely, classic, soft pink. 

Mac Evening Rendevous Lipstick:
This limited edition reddish toned purple landed in 2015, and instantly became a favourite shade. I’d be sad that it’s limited edition if it weren’t slightly less awesome than Men Love Mystery, one of my favourite lipsticks of all time.

I would own many more Colourpop lip products if the shipping cost weren’t so expensive. I’m saving up for a mega-shop sometime in the future. I have the Lippie Stix in Lumiere, a collaboration with YouTube star KathleenLights, and three Lippie Pencils, in Lumiere, Grind and Leather, all of which I would recommend if you’re looking to experiment with colour without laying out for more expensive liners.

It’s been a long and treacherous wait, I’m aware, but the space between now and the hotly anticipate part three will be here faster than you can say “This mauve toned lipstick is definitely different than all those other mauve toned lipsticks I already own. I need it now.”

If you missed part one, which was all about the best eye products of the year, go back and read it here.

For a science lesson from a regular dude who likes to drink beer, and who won’t change his mind on anything, regardless on the facts set before him, click here. Science is a liar sometimes. 


Best in beauty 2015: EYES.

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Oh hey there make up lovers, future employers, and friends I’m forcing to read this. Happy 2016, and welcome to a new year of blog posts, now with bonus product focus. Hurray, consumerism!

As I welcome in an exciting new era, I thought it may be fun to look back at the beauty products that made 2015 such an exciting year for me makeup wise, and for my self-expression and growth.

No, seriously, it actually was.

Makeup has the power to inspire and empower, and so although I feel a bit vapid writing about it, I genuinely love it.

I love it so much, in fact, that I spend a lot of money on this hobby. As such, there are a lot of products to talk about, and the Best in Beauty 2015 series will be split into a few different parts.

So, without further ado, welcome to part one.



Oh eyes, you windows to the soul, you.

Eye makeup, I believe, will always be my favourite kind of makeup.

And for me, 2015 was the year I mastered eyeshadow blending.

These are the eyeshadow palettes, three of which were released in 2015 that stood out most in 2015.

Gwen Stefani x Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palette:
If the words “Gwen” and “Stefani” next to each other weren’t enough to sell this to you, then the borderline perfect colour selection and quality should do it. Released on December 26th in Australia, this late addition to 2015’s eyeshadow offerings has firmly cemented itself as one of my favourite. Although at first glance it seems like a lot of the colours are very similar, at least on my fair skin it has an incredible range of versatility, and for once, the palette I can take with me and have all I need.

Urban Decay Naked Basics 2:
A simple little iPhone 5 sized palette of cool toned matte shades. Perfect for the crease and blending, they are a perfect match for a red lip. If you’re feeling like getting all kinds of use out of this palette, the shade Frisk works pretty excellently as a cheek contour shade on fair skin.

Urban Decay Spectrum Palette:
After experimenting with more neutral tones, I wanted to challenge myself to use colour more on my eyes. The Spectrum palette was the perfect way to do this. The limited edition palette comes in a luxe, velvet lined box, and the colour selection is divine. With everything from a duochrome navy/green, to hot pink, and a rose gold, its perfect to pair with a Basics palette and challenge.

Urban Decay Smoky Palette: 
Notice a theme here? Yes you sure do. Urban Decay’s Australian arrival in Mecca Maxima back in March 2015 can in itself be considered a solid favourite. The smoky palette added a mega versatile selection of cool shades to my stash, and the pale shades are some of my most use shadows in my entire collection.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette:
Must be included in any list of favourite eyeshadow palettes, simply as it was the first higher end palette I ever bought, and remains one of my most versatile and most used items. Another palette I can take with me and have every shade I could need. Yes, it does smell (and taste, don’t pretend you haven’t tried) like chocolate, but that gimmick isn’t what gets it across the line as a solid performer.

Colourpop Supershock Eyeshadows:
These shadows are a firm favourite on the eyes front for 2015, despite the ridiculous shipping cost required to get these suckers across the ocean from the USA to my hot little Australian hands. The unique, creamy to powder texture glides on in a vibrant, ultra pigmented pop of colour. Each shade comes packaged individually in a little pot, and at only $5USD a piece, are an absolute steal. I’m a particular fan of Lala and Bae.

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade:
Oh, dipbrow. How did I cope without you? As a lady that has been filling in her brows since she was 14 – it was in fact the first form of makeup I ever ventured into – I’ve tried everything from powder to pencil, to wax or gel, and consider myself a bit of a pioneer of the natural brow. Dipbrow is undoubtedly my favourite brow product I’ve ever discovered, and don’t see myself straying from it any time soon.

Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Eyeliner:
Although some of these are hit and miss, and I’m not the biggest fan of the need to sharpen, the colour range, lasting power, and pigmentation of these eyeliner pencils has firmly cemented them as my favourite eyeliners of the year. I especially liked the pictured holiday set, with the limited edition rose gold shade Trick, as in the shade Trick from Urban Decay Naked 3.  Here’s hoping it’s added to the permanent line in 2016.

Maybelline Hypersharp Liquid Liner:
Included simply because I’ve strayed from liquid liner over the course of 2015, and didn’t wish to splash out on the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner for it to just sit there unused and dry up. This liner has exceeded all expectations, lasting me months at a time without going dry, and performing flawlessly throughout the day.


Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara:
Well I’m not one to judge what gets the product namers over at Too Faced going, so no comment on the name. Each to their own and all that. This is however my all time favourite mascara, the one that each time I use, I regret straying from its hourglass bristles thinking theres something better out there for me.
Pro tip: I don’t use it on my bottom lashes due to its annoying habit to transfer and smudge, however on the top lashes will provide luscious curl, volume and length, akin to lash extensions. 

Nars Audacious Mascara:
Makes my lashes look outrageously spiky and voluminous, doesn’t transfer at all, and provides intense, flake free drama. What more could I ask for? Except winning the lottery, or for Liam Hemsworth to hurry up and realise his love and uncontainable desire for me.
Pro tip: Apply carefully as its easier than it should be to stab yourself in the eye. 

Laura Mercier Caviar Eyeshadow Sticks:
Pretty simple concept, these eyeshadow sticks by Laura Mercier are easy to use: twist up the pencil, draw on, smudge in with a finger if you feel so inclined, or a brush if you’re feeling fancy/excessive, and congratulations, you haz eyeshadow. Special mention to the shades Rose Gold and Amethyst, but unfortunately they don’t quite measure up to…

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eyeshadow:
Providing a sophisticated sparkle unlike anything else I’ve come across, and extremely unique shades, these shadow sticks are in a league of their own. Misty Rock is by far and away my fave shade, a purple toned bronze, with Frozen Quartz, a soft pink, a close second.

Excited and ready for more? Fear not, for part two is just around the proverbial corner.

Want more makeup goodness while you wait? Why not read all about Becca Champagne Pop to sate yourself, while I type away about other parts of my face.

Is you cat constantly stomping around, driving you crazy? Click here for a solution. Meooowww.