One of the joys of being in the men’s movement is meeting people on the journey. The men’s movement is filled with poets, artists, musicians and ratbags of which I am chief. My friend Noel Giblett is one of those many poetic minstrels and for the purpose of this newsletter, I am calling him ‘the musical man’.
Before I tell you about Noel and his latest album, Surrender, let me tell you a little about the Men’s Movement. I often call it the higgledy piggledy men’s movement, because it is made up of hundreds of different groups and organisations. Funnily enough, many of them do not know the others exist. Sometimes it also takes years of talking on the phone or by email before we do actually meet.
A classic case in point is Robert Falzon from Men Alive. I have been talking to Robert on the phone and emailing him for several years but we had never physically met. Yesterday I met Robert Falzon for the first time for coffee in Sydney. It was a moment of joy and inspiration, just like Noel’s new album. Robert and his friend Peter Shakhouskoy and a small group of intrepid warriors formed Men Alive in 2003 to reach out to men within and without the Catholic faith. Collectively they have touched the lives of over 12,000 men. This is no mean feat.
I recall Germaine Greer writing about the early feminist movement of the 1970s as being a very small group of writers, teachers and activists who were loosely aligned by their passion to help women and give women a voice.
The Australian men’s movement is not dissimilar. It is constantly growing and changing, and it is made up of hundreds of individual and groups with varied points of view, but united in the need to help men and give men a voice. I will always argue that we will always need good strong feminists that are dedicated to helping women and giving women a voice.
There is no doubt that womankind has suffered at the hands of men for thousands of years and in many cases still do. Australians should be proud of the fact that South Australia was the first place in the world to allow women to stand for election (1895) and the second state in the world to allow women to vote after New Zealand in 1893. Australia has been a leader in providing equality and parity for women in the whole world.
We are thankful for those women and men who are reaching out to help women today, and we applaud them now as we have done in the past. We are believing that the Australian men’s movement can rise to the occasion and follow in the path of the Australia’s women’s movement in being a world leader in gender advocacy.
The good news, with the likes of continuing contributions to the Australian men’s movement from men such as Noel Giblett, is that it is highly likely to be the case. Noel Giblett is a counsellor and therapist from Perth, Western Australia, whose passion to help men surfaced in the early eighties as he tried to help himself. It is usually the way.
I got involved in the men’s movement trying to help myself and other men in 1981. I was part of the men’s movement without realising it. Noel was the same: working with men and couples through the eighties and cites Robert Bly, the author of Iron Man, Sam Keen the author of ‘Fire in the Belly’ and Richard Rohr as his three main inspirations. Richard Rohr has pioneered men’s rite of passage ceremonies in the Arizona Desert and has written dozens of books. Noel organised a tour for Richard Rohr in the year 2000 and presents workshops for men and couples in Perth, WA. He well knows the challenges of the masculine soul and his new album with long time friend Michael Done, is full of acoustic ballads and poetry with melody that nourishes the human spirit. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote,
“Music is the universal language of mankind”. Dietrich Bonheoffer said, “Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.”
Let some joy back into your life. Listen to your favourite music and invite your children to listen with you and explain why the music you love touches you so deeply.
While you are in a musical mood, check out some of the great tracks on ‘Surrender’ and if you like it, buy a copy for yourself and some for your friends. This ‘musical man’ will touch your heart, and your friend’s too. This is Christmastime and as Longfellow said,
“Music is the language of mankind”.
Yours for more musical men