Alice skye


- As told to Giselle Au-nhien Nguyen

A SENSE OF HOME I grew up in a town called Horsham in Victoria, and we’ve always had a farm in the Grampians region, which is where my mum lives. I always need to create a sense of home, because I am someone with anxiety. I’ve lived in Melbourne for seven years and have probably lived in seven different houses in that time, and my first priority is always making it feel familiar – putting my things around, art on the walls, sensory things like candles or oils to burn. I’m lucky that I play in a band with people I’ve known since we were about four or five, so home comes with us everywhere we go.

WATCHING TV I love watching trashy reality TV and other people’s drama. It’s relaxing. When you watch something that totally burns your mind, that’s really great, too. I used to think that it was kind of a negative thing using TV as a self-soothing, distractin­g tool, but I actually think it’s good to take mental breaks.

LAND BACK I think people assume this stops at land rights for Blakfellas, but it goes beyond. Land Back isn’t a saying, it’s a movement seeking to reclaim everything stolen from Indigenous peoples. It also travels across seas: what we are seeing in Palestine right now calls for land back. For allies, showing up is really important, but if you’re not able to show up physically, there are other roles you can play. You need to be OK with getting it wrong. I think sometimes allies don’t want to involve themselves because they don’t want to say the wrong thing or get cancelled, but you have to sit in the discomfort and learn.

MY DOG I come from a family that bonds heavily over our connection with our pets – our family group chat is just loads of pictures of them. My dog is a border collie x kelpie named Gizmo – he’s about 13 or 14 years old. My eldest sibling adopted him about 10 years ago, and then three or four years ago I had a cat, but I wasn’t living in a house at the time where I could actually have the cat, so we swapped pets. We’ve never swapped back. We’ve been through him eating anything from echidna spikes to chocolate cake, but he’s perfect and I love him.

BOOKS My mum owns a bookstore in my hometown and used the joke “we have more books than a bookshop!” around our house a lot. I never really realised how many books I owned until I started packing to move house. It’s nice to experience a different world, and you can do that with books. They speak to so many things that we deal with in a way that makes it feel more tangible. I love stories that are easy to read and help you think about stuff in a different way. I just want to take holidays in other worlds.

TAKING TIME OUT I’ve been thinking about rest a lot more throughout the pandemic, and also just going through my own experience of dealing with chronic illness and having surgery for endometrio­sis. I’ve always needed a lot of rest, but there’s so much guilt that comes with it for a lot of people. There’s this pressure to always be on the move and I don’t think it’s sustainabl­e or healthy for anyone of any ability. So much of our self-worth feels tied in to our productivi­ty, but rest is the only reason we can do those things. Why punish yourself for taking time to look after yourself?

STORYTELLI­NG All stories are important for us to listen to. Stories have been told on these lands by Blakfellas for 60,000-plus years! My sister is a poet, and one of the songs on my first album is one of her poems. My love for storytelli­ng is maybe an extension of growing up around books I’ve really loved, and thinking about how people use words. A lot of my family members passed on before I was born. My language was not spoken in my generation, but through stories that are still here going back thousands of years. I wrote stories as a kid to make sense of my world, and now I do it for a living. It’s everything.

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