3 Nov 15

The SIIP Effect

The SIIP Effect

Some people are just so creative.

While meandering around You Tube-ville the other day, I stumbled into a fascinating world of spectacularly complex and ingenious domino creations. I watched over and over in absolute awe of the very clever (and VERY patient) inventors of these amazing constructions. They came in all manner of shapes and designs: long straight soldier-like rows fainting in formation to spell out a word, towers of trees, animals or buildings imploding in a dramatic showering clatter, huge patterned circles on the floor bowing down in concentric waves. These extraordinary displays seemed to be built for one sole purpose and that is…to be knocked down for our amusement.

What really intrigued me was the way they started to fall. Marbles, balls and other objects were launched to a prescribed spot, setting off an explosive chain reaction. These insignificant tiny specks of cataclysm were integral because if they didn’t hit their target, the dominoes stood frozen, unable to reach their full potential.

A singer. A writer. A writer. A singer.

In my ‘tandem career’ as a musician and writer, I have worked in America, Europe and Australia. (Go on, ask me where I was born.). I’ve performed with a number of bands and orchestras, singing a range of styles from jazz and folk to pop and rock. In London I ran several choirs, a rock choir, a jazz choir and I founded ‘Flash Choir London’ (ohhh Sydneeeey look out…). I have recently started my first Australian choir, ‘Sydney Fringe Voices’ which meets on Monday nights at The Creative Fringe. Non-audition, no experience necessary, very social – www.sydneyfringevoices.com


As a columnist and lifestyle’s writer I’ve been published in US/UK newspapers and magazines. My blog ‘Not Even Close’ lives here, and I am in the throes of completing a memoir called ‘Daddy Tattoos’. I also teach and run creative and book writing workshops and specialise in writing grocery shopping lists!

A little over a year ago I moved to Sydney from London. My visa restrictions prevented me from working for the better part of that year. Naturally and of course realistically, I assumed that during my downtime I would be productive in other ways: make zillions of useful contacts, finish writing my book, spend countless hours at the gym attaining a beach body, organise my life, my office and my house to within an inch of it’s messy existence and learn to play concert piano.

Here is a list of what I achieved during that time:



Along came SIIP (Supporting Innovative Ideas in Penrith)

I was astonished and delighted to be chosen as the current recipient of the SIIP residency programme at The Creative Fringe.

Anyone who has ever been inside the building here will agree that the environment is unique, quirky and inspiring. When I arrived, I had no idea what to expect. Is my project actually viable? How will I achieve success? Where do I begin? Do they eat cake in the office? All valid questions listed in reverse order of importance!

Like most people I have many ideas, dreams and plans. The problem, I quickly discovered was that they were standing one by one at odd intervals in my head, all too far apart to actually fall in a graceful and exciting way. Almost immediately SIIP gave me the tools I needed: Dominoes. Connections, introductions, mentors, people with similar interests and enthusiasm. They filled the gaps where I couldn’t and began a chain reaction that has propelled my business in ways that were totally unexpected.

In my short time so far, I have founded a new choir, Sydney Fringe Voices, developed and conducted writing workshops, joined the ‘Swing West Jazz Orchestra’ and booked several gigs all as a result of people I have met during my tenure here. And, as per my original proposal, I have designed a very exciting series of team building workshops and leadership development programmes, centered around singing and writing.

My dominoes are looking pretty impressive these days.

As a musician I enjoy the crashing sound, the symphonic jangle of the tiles knocking against each other and the impact they make en masse as opposed to the tinkle of one falling on the ground.

And as a writer I appreciate the time it takes to plan and outline and develop the structure. So many little pieces have to come together to create a book or an article or a blog post. One word alone can’t convey the same as 80,000.

As a Team Building Facilitator and workshop leader, I am keenly aware of the irony of needing a team to build a team building business.

I am pleased to be surrounded by so many interesting people who have contributed to my own personal ‘SIIP Effect’. So many colourful dominoes in my world right now.

As for cake, we eat it on Tuesdays.