On the Couch with Steve Vizard

Steve Vizard Arts Review On the CouchWho is Steve Vizard?
Writer / Performer / Producer / Librettist.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Listen harder, look more deeply, live more presently, savour each mouthful, avoid the cheesecake.

Who inspires you and why?
Almost everyone. Musicians for the soundtracks of our lives. Writers for the worlds they imagine. Poets for the things they see. Teachers for their love of tomorrow. Cooks for their comfort. Mothers for their love. Children for their hope. Old people for their divinity. Everyone on the morning tram for their stoicism. Postmen for their parcels.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Passionately educate everyone. Educate about stuff… maths, English , science, politics. Educate about the fundamental place of stories and creativity and imagining in our lives. And educate about mans need for a spiritual heart to his life.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Something about the light and colours and culture and smells and tastes of the Amalfi Coast makes me feel alive. I’ve seen some beautiful concerts from that perfect eyrie of Ravello. I’ve cooked home made pasta for weeks on end, with fresh tomatoes and basil picked from our Amalfi garden and fish caught from the azure waters below our house only that morning. And read and swum every day listening to my favourite Italian trumpeter, Fabrizzio Bosso. Yep, definitely the Amalfi Coast.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
A walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens is a beautiful way to start the day and affords visitors fantastic views of Government House and the Melbourne skyline. Then a bite of brunch in one of the fantastic cafes in South Yarra. Maybe a tour of the superb NGV Australia, the only major art gallery in the world dedicated to Australian art, which gives a visitor a trip to the city’s Federation Square and a compelling visual history of our city and our nation.

Melbourne always got something on – Comedy Festival, Food and Wine Festival, Spring Racing Carnival, Arts Festival, Australian Open and on and on – so we’d catch something seasonal. Maybe a game of AFL at the MCG, very Australian. A show then dinner in Flinders Lane.

What are you currently reading?
I was given a copy of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milkwood when I was 15. I re-read it the other day and I’m passionately renewing my love of Dylan Thomas – his Collected Poems 1934 -1952. I always seem to have several books on the go – currently by my bedside I’m halfway through The Crack Up (F. Scott Fitzgerald); The Diaries of FS Kelly; The Clockwork Testament Or Enderbys End (Anthony Burgess); and Jasper Jones (Craig Silvey).

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve only recently discovered Esperanda Spalding and I’m loving her magnetic talent. What else… The Songs of Jerome Kern, Kamasi Washington, Emma Mathews and some 1930s standards for a project I’m researching.

Happiness is?
… the way you look at life – though it is true that some of my happiest looking seems to recurringly feature my wife, my children, my friends, a perfect blue sky morning, brunch and the answers to questions 1 to 8.

What does the future hold for you?
More of the same but different. Creatively I’m thoroughly enjoying writing lyrics at the moment, particularly for the music of my old friend Paul Grabowsky. And I’m loving the creative freedoms and challenges of writing for a number of different forms… cabaret and music theatre and TV. Friendship and laughing and passion and menus and music all seem to feature in most of my future plans.

Steve’s latest work, Banquet of Secrets will be presented 1 – 5 March 2016 by Victorian Opera in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. For more information, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.

Image: Steve Vizard (supplied)