‘I used to be a high school teacher in maths and geography. 30 odd years ago I went to England and I was teaching over there for a long time – long enough to get married, have a daughter, get divorced. You know…the usual story. When I came back they’ve changed the rules on me. I’m no longer qualified. They consider me a new starter. I haven’t got a specialist teaching qualification so despite the fact that I’ve got 30 years’ experience including head of department I can’t teach without going back to uni for another year. I can’t afford that so I’m making scarves to keep myself above the streets rather than below them.’

‘If I sell a few scarves a week, I’m happy. The first couple of scarves buys all the wool I need. The next one buys me food for the week and the next one puts some petrol in my home.’

How appropriate that we should bump in to these wonderful Humans of Newtown on Father’s Day. Adam featured on our page on Friday crossing King Street with both twins strapped to him – daddying like a boss! Join me in wishing him and all the dads (and dad role models) out there a wonderful Father’s Day.

‘I felt totally useless because what could I do? I couldn’t do a thing. All I could do was hold my wife’s hand. It was the first in my life that I felt completely useless. One minute it’s just the two of you and the next minute there is another being with a personality and character just out there. That’s the most amazing thing about it. The miracle of the whole thing is just amazing. When he was born, it was like looking at a picture of myself as a child.

‘Before you just lived life for yourself and your partner and all of a sudden you stop and live life for someone else and try to make a future for them.’

‘I’ve always had depression from when I was young. I think it came about from my family life. My dad was not a nice person. I’m not in contact with him anymore. He got deported back to England. He did something super serious.

‘It’s taken me a long time to get through it and as you get older there are issues. When you’re younger you didn’t have to face these issues but when you get older it’s a new issue and a new part of that problem that you never had to deal with. I guess I’m OK.’

If you give advice to fathers out there from a daughter’s perspective, what would it be?

‘Listen to them and look after them. Don’t hurt them. A father plays a huge role in a child’s life. I’ve seen kids go through the same thing where they’ve got fathers that haven’t been there for them enough or haven’t focused on them at all or have treated them in a certain way because they’re not a boy. You just really have to focus. You don’t understand how that impact of your dad really destroys you. Your family upbringing is a huge thing. If your father’s not around it destroys a lot.’

‘The big change for me was that I lost my dad. It was over two years ago. He was a doctor and he’d been in the same community for over 30 years. He did quite well for himself and he had a lot of stuff and all the things that come with that.

‘But when it was all said and done, the thing that made the biggest impact on me was they had a big memorial for him and they had the biggest hall in our small suburb in Newcastle. I turned up and there were just crowds of people in the streets out the front who couldn’t fit inside.

‘I realised that that’s the only thing you’ve got is the impact you’ve had on other people’s lives. It’s not about all the money that you earned and all those successes and that was just a huge change for me. From that day, I went down this path.

‘Looking at what I’m seeing today shows to me that there is definitely the interest out there for people to be able to come together for many different reasons to express themselves. I just like to bring a little bit of happiness to people’s lives in some way, help the community and be part of it. I hope that then creates a domino effect of people helping each other. Something I’ve always lived by is to be the change in the world you want to see.’

COMMUNE founder, Sam Ali.

‘I play the Oud. It’s a Middle Eastern lute. There’s a new album out on ABC called “Permission to Evaporate” which is a recent one I did in New York with two great jazz players. One is Mike Stern who was in Miles Davis’ band and Christian McBride – the biggest double bass player at the moment on the jazz scene in the world actually. So I was very lucky to get the chance to record with them.’

If you could describe the Oud as a human, how would you describe it?

‘It’s pretty much like me – short necked, half pear shaped. It’s perfect. I’m exactly like the instrument!

‘I’m playing next Thursday (26th) at Camelot Lounge Marrickville in a repertoire called Angel. We only play that repertoire twice a year to commemorate my parents’ passing. It’s nice to commemorate them through music. This one is to commemorate my mother’s passing two years ago.

‘She was quite sick towards the end. I think there were quite beautiful moments within the short space of time you spend with them in the end. It doesn’t get easy not having your parents around. I think it really gives you fuel for your music. It helps you as a human being and helps you grow. We’re constantly healing and that’s the beautiful thing about music. I guess you’ve just got to take these things as a lesson and grow from them.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rhp-IpRPxIs

And so the tables are turned.

If you were to give advice to a large group of people, what would it be?

‘It’s about the bigger picture. You think that the world is your little bubble but take a bird’s eye view of where you’re at. My dad actually told me that you picture your situation and then you zoom the camera out a bit and you take in the suburb you’re in and then you zoom out and take in the state and then you take in the country. It puts your experience in to perspective because there is a lot going on outside of where you are that’s also important.’

Thanks to the lovely Jo from ABCTV for this morning’s interview (her’s and mine) and a lovely hug!