This Is The Golden Age

This Is The Golden Age



image The word ‘leadership’ is bandied around so much, I believe that everyone’s definition of the word would be entirely different, based on their experience with someone to whom they consider a leader.  I know that when I thought about leadership, I would think about government and historic leaders of the best (Mandella) and worst (Hilter) kind and so the idea that I somehow fit into the sphere with people of this calibre certainly made me somewhat uncomfortable. Not because leadership makes me uncomfortable, quite the opposite. I have always had strong leadership skills; I believe that as humans we are struck down by the fear that ‘real/true leadership’ changes the world. That is enough to make anyone feel inadequate.

One of the profound realisations that I had through my time in the program was how little we, as leaders, give ourselves credit for, yet how good we are at remembering all the things that we have done wrong/how we don’t measure up and beating ourselves up over it. What we really need to remember are the Lollipop Moments (see the videos below) and that each time we lift someone up, we change their world, which may not be the whole world, but it is still pretty incredible.

I encourage you to thank the leaders/people in your life who believe in you/lifted you up/changed your world before you miss the opportunity. A short blog post cannot begin to scratch the surface of my experiences being a part of this Rising Leadership cohort that regularly challenged my thinking, pushed me outside my comfort zone, opened my eyes, forced me to reflect, reflect, reflect and made me feel valued; but if there was one more thing that I could share with you based on my experience it would be that, in my opinion, values based leadership are really the only kind of true leadership. At its core, leadership is about building up those around you. It is, in fact, not really about you at all. So dig deep and identify honestly what your values are (do a print workshop if ever you are given the opportunity!), as it will make your leadership journey at work and at home so much more rewarding and fulfilling.

The theme of each experience was set in line with the chapters of “The Truth about Leadership” by Kouzes & Posner – worth a read if you are looking for further reading on leadership.  For more information on the Leadership WA, Rising Leadership Course visit:

Check out some of the inspiring and thought provoking videos that we watched as part of the program.

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability 

Derek Silvers: How to start a movement 

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action 

The Imperfect Leader: The World’s toughest job 

A few people that overcame Adversity to make their dreams come true 

Drew Dudley: Leading with Lollipops  

- Chelsea F


Musica Viva, the largest presenters of chamber music in the world, announced their 2015 International Concert Season earlier this week. The season, which celebrates the organisation’s 70th Anniversary, includes some pretty big names including Tafelmusik, Paul Lewis, the Eggner Trio, the Goldner String Quartet, Steven Isserlis with Connie Shih, I Fagiolini, the Modigliani Quartet, and Maxim Vengerov. In 2015, the Musica Viva Festival returns to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music for four action packed days of chamber music. You can read all about it on their website, or you can watch this excellent video of the Musica Viva staff presenting the 2015 season. 




Marlon Williams.

If you haven’t heard that name before, remember this moment, because the kid is going to be huge. He is the very definition of the full package; he’s good-looking, writes great songs, and has charisma in spades. Then there’s that voice. A legit mix of Roy Orbison, Elvis, and Jeff Buckley, it is a complete surprise, and an absolute pleasure to hear. 

Sitting firmly in the roots music corner, Williams has notched up some impressive tours and collaborations in his short career, most notability with Australian songstress, Melody Pool. A recent Australian tour generated rave reviews for the duo, which is what brought both of their talents to our attention. 

Williams is a born and raised New Zealaner, who moved to Australia less than a year ago, presumably to further his career and explore new opportunities. So far, he’s released a physical only record under his own name, which means you wont find much of him Spotify, but it doesn’t take much digging before you turn up some gold on YouTube. Here are a few to get you started. 


In a previous This Is The Golden Age post, Yvonne listed the Top 5 Things To Do In Winter (That Cost Money). Today, we bring you The Top 5 Things To Do In Winter (That Are Totally Free). So keep those purse strings drawn, and let Cynthia be your thrifty guide. 

1. Live music early in the week

Finding free live music in Sydney is easy at the beginning of the week and my favourite place to go is 505 in Surry Hills. The ideal times to go are on Monday nights when they have free Jazz jam sessions and on Tuesday when they have old school funk and groove night. Curl up in one of the craggily leather chairs that are always occupied over the weekend and let the music wash over you.

2. Watch your favourite movies

Save this one for a particular rainy and windy day, when there’s track work on your train line and you can’t be bothered to wear anything but pyjamas. This is the perfect and rare opportunity to watch those movies you quote endlessly and you secretly love. Recently I revisited the teenage angst-ridden world of the Breakfast Club shortly followed by the bright and classic Singing in the Rain and then some Harry Potter because…why not? I am not ashamed of my choices.

3.Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains

The Mountains epitomises winter for me and the colder and mistier the day the better. As soon as there is a crisp cool breeze in the air I want to jump on the next train to Leura, bundle up in my warmest coat, gloves and beanie (because there is rarely the need to use all three winter items when in Sydney) and breathe in the fresh mountain air. It is nice to go café hopping in the upper-mountains as a way to stay warm, but if you’re looking for free things to do I recommend going bushwalking. It may sound awful to face the numbing wind and the mist that suddenly appears then disappears as quickly as you can blink but the exercise keeps you warm.  An added bonus is that there aren’t as many tourists around on those days so you have the opportunity to take those picturesque photos without masses of people getting in the way.

4. Create something  

Sometimes being hauled up at home because it’s too cold to go outside can be the best motivator to finally play your piano that’s getting dusty, to draw something with those pencils you bought a year ago but never even touched or edit those photos you took on your last holiday. I find that the howling winds and grey clouds can muster the best inspiration even to the most unimaginative of minds.

5. Curl up in bed and read.

It’s simple, but it’s a classic. 

- Cynthia C. 


The Mad Max: Fury Road trailer has arrived via Comic Con and, boy, does it kick arse and take names. Australian director and Mad Max creator, George Miller (Happy Feet, Babe), is back at the helm, and delivers a trailer that is guaranteed to whet fans’ appetites. In an age where trailers detail every plot point and render seeing the film pointless (How To Train Your Dragon 2, anyone?), Miller has done a fine job of revealing the tone of the film without giving too much away. Top marks for the cinematography and costume design, and a special shout out to the soundtrack. Turn it up.  



In the final episode of Musica Viva Australia’s webseries, Chamber Music & Me Season Two, mother and daughter, Vanessa and Lena Olofsson, talk about the role chamber music plays in their family. Vanessa, whose mother was a founding member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, has spent her whole life around music. Similarly, her daughter, Leni, a violinist and student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, has also spent her life surrounded by music. In this candid and emotionally moving video, mother and daughter talk music, love, family, death, and saying goodbye. 




Alcohol and the truth - they go hand in hand, right? The famous rock ‘n’ roll associated whiskey, Jack Daniels, funds Brisbane filmmaker Dan Graetz as he asks a bunch of contemporary bands about how much money they make from music. Unsurprisingly, they don’t earn much. In fact, one musician estimates that for each member of a four piece band to earn a $50,000 salary, the band needs to turn over $1 million a year. 

The video also asks the musicians how they feel about corporate sponsorship. Most of them seem to think it’s fine, just as long as the brand is relevant to the band, and the artistic vision of the musician isn’t compromised. Sounds fair enough, but I can’t help but be skeptical of a corporately funded video promoting corporate sponsorship. 

Another thing I took away from this video is that the musicians seem to think they’re not playing popular music. Now, far be it from me to decide what is and what isn’t popular, but I’m pretty sure rock, hip-hop and pop (!) are genres of music that are considered popular. It’s a worrying sign that it is so difficult to make money out of mainstream forms of music. I mean, it’s not as if they’re playing Hare-Krishna-dance-fusion-death-metal-K-pop, or something really obscure.     

This video highlights just how important it is to support local music. These musicians, and most others in this country, are doing it tough. They’re in debt for making recordings, renting rehearsal spaces, producing videos, and distributing music. As well as providing the soundtrack to your Friday night beers, they also help shape the cultural identity of our young nation, and they deserve the opportunity to make a living out of something that is valued by so many.

- Roland K. 




After all that complaining about that unseasonably pleasant weather in June, Sydney-siders have gotten what they wished for – two-digit temperatures that start with a 1. So, whether or not you’ve been saving for a rainy day, we’ve got your winter activities covered for your prince or pauper budgets.


1. Wear cashmere $$$

It’s called ca$h-mere for a reason. This is some serious dollar to pay for the privilege of wearing this exclusive wool. Cashmere is the saffron of the wool industry - sourcing it is a labour-intensive process, involving breeding and shearing cashmere goats from the harsh climates of China and Mongolia. But it’s the price you pay for wearing the most incredibly soft, light, and warm threads to see you through the winter. Avoid the nanna-cardi look – you can find some non-frumpy cashmere pieces here and here. Then you’ll know what George Castanza’s girlfriend was on about.


2. Make soup $

As the saying goes, winter is the season for eating without chewing. Why bother cutting into a tough steak, or munching on some sprouts, when you can tuck into a hot, steamy bowl of soup? No matter if you’re short on dosh from all your cashmere-buying. $10 easily buys you pumpkin, garlic, chicken stock, and a bread roll. If soup’s not your thing, take a handy hint from actor Carl Weathers, and get a stew goin’.


3. Play Cards Against Humanity $$

If Hungry Hungry Hippos has lost its edge lately, perhaps it’s time to settle for the card-game-of-the-moment, Cards Against Humanity. Marketed as ‘a party game for horrible people’, this is basically a rude and crude version of Balderdash. One player asks a question from a blank card, and points are accrued by selecting your most aptly inappropriate answer-card. Yes, it’s juvenile. Yes, it’s undergraduate. But when it’s cold and rainy outside, sometimes the only option is to stay indoors and wallow in some political incorrectness.


4. Drink whisky $$ - $$$

Back in my student days, I was seduced by a Nigella Lawson Christmas episode, in which she wore Country Road knitwear and demonstrated how to make a hot toddy. Inspired by this cosy English winter idealism, I went straight to the liquor store and bought the second-cheapest brown liqueur I could find. It was like drinking a sock. Since then, I’ve learnt it’s worth forking out for three essential winter items – flannel sheets, aloe vera tissues (you do feel the softness) and a good whisky. If you’re still too skimpy to invest in a whole bottle, do yourself a favour and head to a whisky bar in Sydney’s burgeoning small-bar scene.


5. See some dinosaurs $-$$

Yeh, bet you won’t find this on any facsimile-hipster blog. The Australian Museum’s Tyrannosaurs: Meet the Family exhibition is an incredible showcase of dinosaur fossils and skeletons, accompanied by sophisticated interactive and multimedia educational resources. Ok, so I pretended I was Sam Neill in Jurassic Park for most of my visit, but the highlights were seeing the 10 life-sized dinosaur specimens on display, and laughing at the kids who were scared of them. Get in quick, the exhibition closes on July 27.  

- Yvonne L. 


Musica Viva have dropped the penultimate episode of Chamber Music & Me Season Two. The episode features Andrew Aronowicz, a young Melbourne composer who has been listening to classical music since he was ten years old. Andrew’s passion for the music is palpable as he explains the “orgasmic” moment in one of his favourite pieces, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. 

To check out all of Chamber Music & Me Season Two, visit;


A few years ago, somewhere on the vast interweb, I stumbled upon a lovely piece of writing by Rosemary Urquico that told men why they should date a girl who reads. It tells you to give her gifts of words, to lie and fail her as she knows life isn’t perfect, to make her tea, and surprise her. “You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots”.

I’m a girl who reads. I’ve had a library card since I was 5. I have a pile of unread books by my bed and have been part of too many book clubs to name. A few months ago, the editors of Amazon released a list of 100 Books Everyone Should Read Before They Die. Old news, I know, but the varied nature of this list caught my attention. From short story collections to war biographies, self-help books to children’s stories, this list will keep you busy.

So far there’s been 3 main highlights for me, all non-fiction, which I admit to being somewhat new to. 

The first was Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, one of the most engaging biographies I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It tells the implausible but startlingly true story of Louis Zamperini who went from delinquent youth, to Olympic superstar to US Bombardier to Japanese prisoner of war within a matter of years. He met Hitler, survived a shark attack, was stranded in the middle of the ocean for months on end, was brutally tortured at the hands of the Japanese and yet the story is told with warmth, elegance and gratitude. This book is extraordinarily moving, and is also testament to the strength of character of this inspiring man. An unforgettable, gripping, beautifully told story that should make it on to your to-read list immediately (especially as the silver screen version is out later this year)

The next book that had me singing its praises was Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. A story that started with the simple question ‘Why does my foot hurt?’ took McDougall on an ambitious quest to Mexico’s deadly Cooper Canyon to meet the Tarahumara Indians, renowned for their ability to run hundreds of miles without rest. Jumping between doctors and physio’s, science labs and trainer manufacturers, McDougall’s journey climaxes in a race between America’s best ultrarunners and the Tarahumara. An engaging read for runners and non-runners alike, this book takes you on the fascinating journey to discover if human’s really were born to run.

And thirdly, shame-researcher Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. Based on 12 years of research, and told through hundreds of engaging case studies, Dr Brown challenges all our assumptions about vulnerability and shame, arguing that rather than a weakness, harnessing your vulnerability leads to trust, success and connection within relationships, families, schools and organisations. These sorts of books aren’t usually my thing, but this was incredible insightful and an easy and informative read. Alternatively catch Brené’s Ted Talk on the subject.

- Eleanor B.