Shortly after our move to Lane Cove on February 5th 2019, something, or rather someone, challenged my thought that this neighbourhood is ordinary upper middle class, conventional and in short “boring”.

I had a Paul Bennett sighting one morning on my way to grab coffee and I remember thinking that I must not be fully awake. Was I imagining things? His hair was like wisps of white clouds on a sunny blue sky day. His glasses were unusual with thick frames and his clothes were colourful, not the khaki, greys and neutrals of business casual or the suits one would see in real estate agents and other sales professionals.

Lane Cove, a charming little village, is where my partner grew up, went to primary school and made lifelong friendships. It’s a place that’s stayed in his heart despite once venturing as far out as Newtown, where we met back in December of 2010.

We’re now back home in Lane Cove. I’ve come from Turkey and the US, then Istanbul and Newtown, North Sydney and Crows Nest to finally find a community that inspires me.

Seeing Paul that morning gave me hope that there are others in these parts who dance to the tune of a different fiddle. If you’ve ever seen the film The Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye the milkman introduces the traditions for families and the people in his community, the village of Anatevka in Ukraine, you can imagine a similar sense of duty and a set of shared values that keeps Lane Cove together despite being an ethnically diverse neighbourhood. On the surface, this suburb is for the white collar professional, people in upper management and it’s where they raise socially responsible children. The artsy vibe of Newtown, with live music on tap, something I miss, isn’t what’s on offer.

Then I came across Paul on the fiddle with Ken on the guitar and vocals, otherwise known as The Road Captains busking for their funeral fund.

That was last year.

Fast forward to this year and they’re a trio, having added a double bass player and perform across from the Birdwood cafe on Thursday late mornings.

Paul is enamoured by clouds and paints them using inspiration from the paintings of his late father to guide him. If you need a little inspiration on your artist’s journey, Paul, who painted the portrait above, with his wife Tutti, is a good person to watch and listen to.

Who knows, Paul may grace us with his presence at our first writers and artists picnic tomorrow, Friday 2nd of October at 2PM on the Pottery Green Oval.

Over to you…

When was a time you wrote that first word, sung that first note, danced that first step, painted that first stroke? Have you continued on your artist’s journey?