Henry Shires at Bay – Rejoicing in Ripponlea

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Although, as John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of the punk godfathers, the Sex Pistols) famously said: “anger is an energy,” it is not a very environmentally friendly one.

Having been an angry young man and, more recently, an angry old man for most of my life, despite the fact that the targets of my anger might well have been highly justified: injustice, inequality, cruelty, unfairness, arrogance and privilege – whether they be on a societal or personal level – that anger has probably done more harm to me than those it was aimed at.

Heart disease, my current ailment de jour, is, for instance, traditionally equated in energetic medicines with a surfeit of anger.

Anger and its nearest relative, frustration, are like the green goo blood of the aliens in the eponymous Aliens films; when you shoot the alien their highly corrosive blood comes flying back at you and destroys you. So with anger, which is more likely to eat away your arteries and organs than the institution or person at whom you direct it.

So, from now on, my esteemed and now universally loved colleague, and fellow columnist for this very organ, Serge, shall no longer have the monopoly on happiness (if you have been doing something under a rock for the past month Google his wonderful ‘Happy From St Kilda’ project and YouTube clip).

From now on let it be known that the curmudgeonly miserablist formally known as Seditionary Shires shall now and forthwith be known instead as ‘Happy Henry’.

But before we pass on to some great local reasons to be cheerful, it is worth noting that happiness in popular music was not invented exclusively by Pharrell Williams. Yet another old punk and London larrikin Captain Sensible of another seminal punk outfit, The Damned, was rather famous with another popular pop peon to happiness called Happy Talk, way back in 1982.

I recently discovered the wonderful music-as-medicine work of Chris James at his concert at South Melbourne’s Community Hub Theatrette. Chris on first appearance is just another of us bald, middle aged, Yul Brynner lookalikes, but from this unprepossessing exterior comes an angelic singing voice and a god given ability to enroll and heal his fellow humans through music and communal song.

His latest CD; Walk With Your Heart, I found particularly appropriate for my own personal predicament of ongoing angina, it contains words and melodies to inspire or soothe whatever ails you. He is doing a one day workshop in Melbourne in October and a weekend retreat in Gippsland in June. Chris’ workshops bear witness to his belief that “we are all born with a beautiful voice”. Check him out at www.chrisjames.net

I was also recently lucky enough to be the recipient of some incredible acupuncture treatment (not all acupuncture is equal I find) for my heart which continues to provide ongoing release from an otherwise horribly frightening and oppressive condition. If you are ever in need of a top of the range practitioner at an entry level price please check out the superlative Daniel Ooi www.momijitraditionalmedicine.com

Daniel works out of the beautiful best-kept-secret inner city rooftop escape; The Staple Space, which is the sister business of Ripponlea’s very own health-food-staples-at-affordable-prices’ Staple Store www.facebook.com/wholefoodproject

I am also getting a lot of relief for my troubled heart and my upper back and neck with an ingenious new device/piece of designer furniture called the Yellow-Head (www.yellow-head.com.au). It may look like the illegitimate offspring of a sexually rapacious banana and a child’s potty but I find it to be (albeit suitably soft and spongy) solid gold.

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