17 December 2009

Punk On A Prayer Mat

Australian/Indonesian. Vegan. Muslim. Left-Wing. Punk. Hijabi. These words seem so disjointed when you isolate them but collectively these words describe, basically, who I am. Strange, huh? It wasn't long ago when I'd look at these words and feel a great sense of loneliness in my gut.

A little over a year ago, I Googled the words "Muslim Punk" and found a couple of Myspace pages, including The Muslim Punk Foundation and The Kominas music page. I had a look around and a listen but for some strange reason, I didn't feel any kind of connection with it. To be quite honest, it all seemed pretty dead to me. For a whole year, I ignored what could have saved me from feeling like an outsider every single day of my life.

It wasn't until around June this year that I decided to re-visit Google and type in the exact same words. This time around, however, I decided to do a bit more than to look around two pages because something told me that there had to be more people out there like me.
I found a beautiful girl from the UK named Tabzy whose blog made me feel like I had found my fucking twin. The title of her blog is "Ramblings of a Not-Very-Hardcore Muslim Punk" and her blurb pretty much described everything I wanted to say to the world in regards to my identity.
I discovered an awesome band from Chicago named Al-Thawra ("The Revolution" in Arabic) when I never would have imagined a blend of crust-punk and traditional Middle Eastern music actually working and sounding brutally awesome.
And it was back to The Kominas for me that very day too, four punks who decided it was okay to question religion and not necessarily reject it.
Also, I found Eyad Zahra, a Muslim director based in California who is working on the motion picture inspired by the novel The Taqwacores - a book written by Michael Mohammed Knight that brought these punks together and gave them a name that embodied their ideas without having to be defined by anybody on the outside looking in.
It wasn't even the idea of Taqwacore that got me. It was the fact that I had found a diverse array of people - each and every one of them with a different idea about what Islam and punk meant to them. The thing is I probably don't even share the same lifestyle and/or life philosophy as these people but it doesn't matter because essentially, we share Islam and punk as the basis of our beliefs and through these people, I have cyber-met a dozen other wonderful people.

I hadn't read the The Taqwacores until a few days ago when my friend Luke texted me saying "Bring $23, we have The Taqwacores!" whilst on my way to Jura Books. I had no cash on me so I had to borrow the money but that didn't matter - I had to get my hands on this book no matter what. So I read it on the train ride home, before I went to bed that night, in between waiting for my slow-arse laptop to load pages, during commercial breaks and on every bus and every train.
It's a strange thing reading the book after finding the scene rather than the other way around, I think. Even though the book is not precisely how everything works in real life, it still gave me a little bit more objectivity when thinking about real-life Taqwacore. Before reading the book, I had the idea that everything was perfect and everybody loved each other. But that may not necessarily be the case and I don't know because I'm kilometres away from where it all began. I'm still new to it all so I think that objectivity helps.

I hope that I get to meet all these people in the near future and I fucking pray that I'll get to even play some shows with them. I don't usually say things like this because I don't like to impose religion onto anyone but I feel it's appropriate: maybe Allah decided it was time I found someone to relate to.


14 December 2009


"No, I'm vegan now," you replied
but you saw me frown and continued
"But I can teach you how to make vegan pancakes."
I jumped out of bed, tripped over
some clothes and bongs
and before you could crawl out from under the blanket,
I was in the kitchen pulling out utensils.
You came in stumbling after me, hair lopsided
and there we were, ready to take on the world.


24 November 2009

Hungry Chest

I see you falling apart and I can't help but think that you need me
It's hard for me too, you know, it's never been easy
But these days I can't find a way to fit myself in your arms
And this shaking I feel is no longer a way to stay calm

I've asked everyone I know for a piece of advice
But the only thing they say is to stay far apart
How the hell would I know what "apart" is meant to mean?
I've known you forever and you're all that I've felt, it seems

30 October 2009

History Fell In The Heart Broke Open

"A new state of mind is long overdue and it's time to inhale with a new set of lungs"

I miss Hot Cross.

04 October 2009

Est. 2009

I think I've finally found my sound.

Writing and playing music isn't tedious anymore like it was back in high school. I now understand that playing to an audience now means playing to a group of people who have hearts and minds that may or may not share the same emotions explored in the music I create. The audience is not a panel of New South Wales' elite musical education experts (who aren't allowed to show signs of encouragement in case of bias).
It's almost like my appreciation for musical cooperation has heightened and I no longer feel the need to hide away from allowing my music to intertwine with the creations of other artists.
I'm proud to say I've become a lot more confident to play music in front of people and though not perfect, I feel as though sharing my music is exposing all my vulnerability yet allowing human reaction and interaction to soothe my inner tensions.

All throughout my senior years, the HSC killed the artistic side of music for me. I had precision-based singers all around me. Younger girls who had out- of-this-world talent that I could hardly measure up to. I couldn't sing in key and that was my biggest problem. I would get literally half of the mark that other music students were getting. I felt forced down a path I was so uncomfortable walking on. The direction changed from expression to perfection.
Forcing myself to do things by the book, I reaped a grunge song of its angst and heart. I sang Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana for the performance night. I toned it down and made the song sound piss-weak and boring just so I could control my pitch. I then sang Lua by Bright Eyes for my exam and instead of singing in a natural, raw and passionate voice, I ended up sounding ridiculously lifeless - again, to control my pitch. I ruined a beautiful, realistic song with heavy lyrics and turned it into some shitty acoustic pop number. It was like I was moulding my song choices in a generic, refined template and once it had been moulded, it could not be reshaped like the stubbornness and fragility of clay. In hindsight, I realise that I didn't enjoy being me simply because I wasn't being me at all.

I'm glad I'm no longer confined by marking criteria, green gates and an "educational" system that was so academically-obsessed they missed all the great sports people, artists and musicians that came out of their very classrooms and fields. A system that would spend all its money on a new I.T. centre when the walls in the music room were cracked, the equipment in the gym outdated and the accessibility to practical experience futile and/or unsupported.
At the end of the day, I probably won't be the one making a living out of writing and playing music but at least I know I won't ever let myself lose my hunger for artistic excitement, innovation and reinvention.


18 September 2009

Screw Gender Theories

The arguments of sex and gender do my head in. We are the way we are because we are. I have a notion to propose: Do whatever the fuck you want and calm down.

Overanalysis is death - death of the mind, heart and soul; death of culture and enrichment.


11 September 2009

Milk Through Pipes And Stripey Ink

Inspired by STRIPES&PIPES and milk and ink.

My first crush was a boy I met on a bike ride home from school once. He was older and could do more tricks on his bike than I could ever do. We never spoke but I heard his friends call him "Wes". He was a dirty grunge boy before I even knew what grunge was.

My first boyfriend was not really a boyfriend. I was fourteen. We listened to Joy Divison and cuddled all the time. This went on for years. To this day, he remains the only non-related boy who has seen my hair since I chose to wear the hijab. I don't know him anymore which feels odd and cold but these things happen in order to help us learn how to mend ourselves. I'm just grateful for that one lesson.

Most days I wish I never cared.

What's your story?


04 September 2009

One Sad Stoney Coming Right Up

In 2006, I promised myself that I would never ever leave the all ages music scene. When I turned eighteen, I said I'd go to 18+ shows but if there was the option, I'd go to the AA one instead. And I have done so. I promote and go to the daytime shows and try my hardest to organise gigs around town, no matter how heavy the workload I get from TAFE is. And don't think that just because I go to TAFE, life's a fucking cruise ship.
But what happens when the kids themselves don't give a shit about the music anymore? What happens when there's only a handful of enthusiastic under eighteen year old people left who will do anything to keep this fire alive yet don't have the support of their own peers?
I don't really know when music became such an instantaneous culture (I use the term "culture" very loosely). I knew this day was coming but I guess I chose to block it out of my mind because I didn't want it all to become one disdainful pile of shit. I don't want them to drink and drug themselves to braindeath. Am I so ignorant to want kids to unify and enjoy themselves without losing a million braincells in one night? Are my past experiences with drugs eating me up?
Once upon a time, I thought I was being alienated by the older folks who forgot that they were once kids reading every line in every street press release, every word on every website and every poster on the street looking for a show that was accessible to them. Now I'm scared that it's not them who are losing sight but the kids themselves. I don't know what they'll do when all the people that actually care fly away and live with accomplishment in their stride and they're left with shit-fucking-all to do with their lives. It's exhausting and annoying to think about but above all, it's disappointing.
Tonight, on my (super-expensive) taxi ride to the restaurant, I scared myself to tears questioning the future of music and art and youth culture.

For those who still care, there's an amazing show that will be happening at Oxford Art Factory featuring two sweet bands:

It's advertised as Under 18s for legal reasons but it's pretty much all ages so come along no matter what age. I'm so going to get into trouble for saying this but I don't want anyone to feel excluded.



29 August 2009

Songs Of Winter

Saying goodbye to the last few winds of winter with the songs that kept me warm during the season...

1. Skinny Love - Bon Iver
2. Crow Quill - Circle Takes The Square
3. Winter Passing - The Academy Is...
4. Cowgirl In The Sand - Neil Young
5. Forward Motion - Your Nature
6. Sliding Scale - Bats And Mice
7. Fade Into You - Mazzy Star
8. Manana - Desaparecidos
9. The Vulture (Acts I & II) - Gallows
10. Distress Of Ignorance - Envy

It's been a long yet lovely Winter but it's time to kickstart something completely different.
The Spring and Summer playlists will consist of Friendly Fires, Art Vs Science, Syndicats, Iggy & the Stooges, The Horrors and plenty more.

Love and good vibes,


03 August 2009

This Monday Was Meant To Be A Fresh Start

Why am I so fucking terrible at everything I do?!
I suck arse at being a girl, a Muslim, a vegan, a student.
I don't even know how to keep my friends close to me anymore.
I tune out too easily in class and come quiz time, I've got no clue about what's just been said.
I wreck absolutely everything I own, be it clothes, instruments, books, shoes. Everything. Not to mention how much shit I lose.
I haven't gotten any better at guitar from what, two years ago? I'm still playing the same chords over and over and my fingers just can't do anything else.
My writing is woeful. It disgusts me.
I burst into tears at the drop of a hat - just like now.
I blame the universe for my misfortunes and the fact that I am and always have been single but that's just a distraction from the reality of it all.
One thing I'm good at doing is fucking up.


29 July 2009

Things I Stole Off Jen's Blog

You can find Jen here.


Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag friends.

1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
2. Queer by William S. Burroughs
3. Anthology Of Black Humour by André Breton
4. The Birth Of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche
5. Molloy, Malone Dies And The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett
6. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
7. The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
8. La Nausée (Nausea) by Jean-Paul Sartre
9. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
10. The Responsibility Of Intellectuals by Noam Chomsky
11. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
12. Dracula by Bram Stoker
13. Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
14. The Colonel's Photograph by Eugene Ionesco
15. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

I tag anyone and everyone but in particular - Morgs, Annabelle, Anna, Luke and Arben!
Be sure to link me to your page if you do it!


Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 10 people you like. You can't use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Repost as "my life according to (band name)"

Pick your artist: The Locust (just for kicks, I bet none of these answers will even make sense)
Are you a female: Well I'll Be A Monkeys Uncle
Describe yourself: Scavenger, Invader
How do you feel: Sever The Toes
Describe where you currently live: Tower Of Mammal
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Inbred America
Your favourite form of transportation: Flight Of The Wounded Locust
Your best friend is: Twenty-Three Full Time Cowboys
You and your best friend are: Fixed Companionship, Ghost Town Irrationality
What's the weather like: Immune System Overdrive
Favourite time of day: Red
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: The Unwilling...Led By The Unqualified...Doing The Unnecessary...For The Ungrateful
What is life to you: One Manometer Away From Mutually Assured Relocation
Your relationship: Full Frontal Obscurity
Your fear: Futile Agreement
What is the best advice you have to give: Gluing Carpet To Your Genitals Does Not Make You A Canteloupe
How would you like to die: Skin Graft At Seventy-Five Miles An Hour
Your soul's present condition: Armless And Overactive
Your motto: We Have Reached An Official Verdict: Nobody Gives A Shit

Well, that killed some time. Moving along...


25 July 2009

This Room Smells Like Shit Now

I guess the deconstruction of this ideology will break your head to pieces. So I dare you, just for one minute, to stop contorting images in your mind and look outside your window. Gloomy, I know. I see the gaping black hole too. But it's more than we've ever owned before and I think we've finally found our universe. Sometimes the green and blue and red is too much anyway. Don't you miss the days when the unknown was exhilarating and comfort was weak against the consolation of the alien? You've held my hand through this discordance before so quit moving away from me. I want you to do me a favour and lift your head that has been hanging so low for years to a level where my eyes can meet yours.


22 June 2009

Murmuring To Myself

Hater Players by Black Star, in my opinion, contains one of the best verses ever written during the underground hip hop movement of the later nineties. It is written, of course, by none other than the science-inspired ghetto rocker Mos Def - one of my favourite emcees ever. The verse goes like this:

Visions occupy my synaptic space
Command and shake, to illustrate my minds landscape
The tall grass, the low plains, the mountanous ridges
Thickets among the forests, rivers beneath the bridges
Presence of hilltops, lit up with tree tops
Eavesdrop; and hear the incline of sunshine, nine
Stones in orbit, refuse to forfeit
They all form a cipher, and they came to observe it
I follow suit, and face it, embrace it
Shinin bright, but still I'm careful not to waste it
Destined to rise, because I'm basement adjacent
Spirit is still so just chill and be patient
Some heads approach like I'm the one to base with
Clowns about to scream and shout but dont say shh..
I ain't your student so I ain't to be tested
I'm majestic, I represent my strength without effort
My, method is unorthodox, but of course it rocks
My serious synopsis will drop kick, my topics
Run the gauntlets and galvanise the audience
I must represent, I don't come off with no corniness
It's all luminary, despite commentary
Some people say, Mos how you get so?
My sign will make you jump around like calypso
And, murmur to yourself like a schizo

I have to pay homage to this guy because he is most definitely (ha ha) one of my biggest influences, inspiring me to begin writing when I was around ten. His new album, The Ecstatic, is out now and you should seriously check it out. I can't find any recordings of this song on the internet that aren't just samples so here are some links to some other underground hip hop songs that influenced me:
-Mathematics by Mos Def
-Respiration by Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Common
-Come Close by Common

There are so many more but I have an assessment to do now...


16 June 2009

System Tugs


There is a new song called Your Simple Struggle on my music Myspace which I recorded with the help of Jack Bruun and his gear (and tea). The song features Steph from The Thaw and Keiron from Corpus on "backing vocals" and harmonies and aforementioned Jack on lead guitar. Thanks so much guys! This is the first song I've ever mixed and doubles as my major project for the course I'm doing so I hope you enjoy it.


12 May 2009


I lie and you lie in the piercing cold winds of Sydney with every intention to get the hell out of this desolate yet somewhat assiduous environment. But we end up still stuck here in the same spot with absurdity running through our tightened veins, eyes fixated on nothing as the clouds shift. Every passer-by is an innocent enemy but we're going to have to work through this one without any conflict so we'll just ignore them. Tired? Yes. Nonchalant? No. I just don't know how long this will last, you and I. I guess it's almost over...

It's almost over but I'll always remember you.


04 May 2009

Just Being Honest

I just wanted to express how much I appreciate people who are willing to obtain knowledge from a variety of resources. It takes a big heart, open mind and enthusiastic soul to carry this quality. Though I personally think we're all born this way, the structure of society is powerful in changing our minds in order for us to adapt to norms set up by greed and envy, especially when we are feeling a little vulnerable. That being said, there are so many of you that I've only just recently met that I see hope in and those of you that I've known for a while who have grown and blossomed into such wise wonders. I've had so many fruitful conversations with people in the past few months where the thinking doesn't end when you say "Bye" or when the conversation ends but it continues on and those very thoughts seem to intertwine with my everyday life.
Thank you for helping me learn, think and appreciate.

(A gorgeous photo from the Lost Valentinos Myspace)


EDIT: Wow, Stono, way to talk down to people. I'm such an idiot. I'm sorry, this post sounds so pretentious when read in different ways. I don't mean to sound like a snobby wannabe deep-thinker. I really do feel so grateful.

30 April 2009

The Stars Are A Free Show

"'...But you don't need to get like that. If you've got any education, it don't matter if you're on the road for the rest of your life'
'Well I've found just the contrary,' I said 'It seems to me that when you take a man's money away he's fit for nothing from that moment.'
'No, not necessarily. If you set yourself to it, you can live the same life, rich or poor. You can keep on with your books and ideas. You just gotta say to yourself, "I'm a free man in here"' - he taps his forehead - 'and you're all right'"
-Down And Out In Paris And London by George Orwell


01 March 2009


Uprooting weeds from five years ago - they tower above me now and haunt me at dusk. Their shadows reminding me to finish what I started: "I will remain present until you face me. I am eating away at your secret garden". So I used the strongest poison and all it did was sting my skin. I tried machinery but I got caught within. I looked down at my bare hands and pricked each and every one of my limp fingers tugging on these terrors.
I got caught in vines today. I choked on some of that ivy today. I smoked the leftovers of my pot today and I rocked myself to sleep.