Why I’m OK with being a Dag

Comments: 34

Amanda Easton in front of red velvet curtains

Hi there,

If you’re not from Australia I might need to explain ‘dag’. If you look in a dictionary, it will tell you it’s the dung-covered wool that hangs off a sheep’s bum. Yes I really did just say that and no, that’s not the kind of dag I am. A ‘dag’ is similar to a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd but the problem with using those terms is that both geeks and nerds are kinda cool nowadays and a person who is a dag is by its very definition, uncool.

So I’ve pretty much never been cool, particularly in regards to music, and it always bothered me. I grew up in a house where Opera was the staple on our stereo. When we were asked to say what our favourite song was in kindergarten, I named a song from a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. My trajectory as a dag in this life probably began right there. And did I mention that my mother made most of my clothes, and that my outfits were often mini versions of her own?

Luckily some relief came in the form of my Mum’s friend who had an older (and way cooler) daughter. She’d grow tired of records and cassettes and pass them on to me. This is how I discovered Abba and I fell head over heels. Smugly I paraded my new cool love of pop music at school little knowing that, now it was the late 80s, Abba were the epitome of daggy.

Eventually I realised I could listen to the ‘right’ radio stations and be a bit more in the know about stuff that was cool and stuff that wasn’t. Being a pre-internet world, my exposure to the world of pop was limited by the range of the AM band on the kitchen radio but still, I was getting closer. Madonna rocked my world.

School’s finished and I go to uni, start hanging out with some cool student types and realise I had fallen behind in my quest for cool yet again. I still loved the Material Girl but apparently the cool bands and artists were the ones almost nobody had heard of – and they certainly weren’t the bands that paraded themselves on commercial radio.

Thank goodness the internet arrived and I suddenly had the world of music at my fingertips. I could even find out – with a bit of help from Google and his mates – what was considered ‘hip’. I discovered bands from all over the globe, from different genres with different levels of ‘known’ ness.

I decided to make music my career and was suddenly surrounded by people who seemed to have a great deal more knowledge of bands and cool acts than I ever will. I have thrown myself into the discovery of music over the years and my tastes are really diverse but I have realised something. I may have plenty of ‘indie’ and ‘alternative’ albums in my possession now but you put on ‘Get into the Groove’ and I’ll be busting moves in the middle of my living room. ‘I’m Going to Wash that Man Right out of my Hair’ comes on (for the non-dags among you, it’s a song from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical ‘South Pacific’) and I will unashamedly sing along with every word. And it’s not just the music that reminds me of my youth. I love Julio Iglesias and I think Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it off’ is a pop masterpiece.

I moved in with a boyfriend a while ago and he suggested we combine our CD collections in the bookshelf, all in alphabetical order. He was mortified when he saw that the first CD on display would be Abba. He was a cool musician type himself and luckily soon got hold of a CD by ’78 Saab’ to take pride of place in the music on show in our house. So when I married him about a year later and he said I should be the one to choose the song playing as I walked down the aisle, I knew he must have really loved me. I choose ‘Dancing Queen’ unbeknownst to him until the day! I loved the way he smiled when he heard the opening bars.

When I’m not making and performing my own music, I make my living from singing covers. One of my favourite gigs is dressing up as Lady Gaga and singing her songs to kids. I love eating cheese and banana toasted sandwiches, I adore the taste of cheap Lambrusco and sometimes I listen to Barbra Streisand records.  None of these things are ‘hip’ but they are me.  The people that are important to us don’t judge us on our unfashionable tastes. I’m old enough to realise that trying to be cool is actually tryhard and proudly being yourself is about as cool as you can get.

So now that I’ve revealed a bit of my (daggy) self – please tell me a bit about you (just comment below, I’d love to hear).

All the best,

Amanda

34 Comments

  • Jim Sanderson says:

    In Irish slang isn’t a “dag” the life of the party/a funny person? A very multipurpose word! I have a big record collection as well, the only genres I stay away from are country, disco and opera. My favourite genres are Prog Rock, Jazz-Fusion, World, and Power Pop.

    I picked up your EP “Out of the Blue” and the “Polaroids & Postcards” CD today. I made sure that I got them today via Bandcamp so more of the profits would go to you. I am going to play them just before bed so my wife can hear therewith me.

    Thanks for make such cool music, it is the one thing that really helps to mellow me out in these stressful times.

    • Amanda Easton says:

      Thanks so much Jim! I didn’t know that meaning of ‘dag’, I love it! And yes, couldn’t agree more, music is a balm for these times 😊. All the best, Amanda

  • lee camacho says:

    Hi Amanda the world is full of strange and unique individuals. We all have our day.
    Im glad you have chosen this path. Music is universal no matter the genre we all find our likes somewhere. For me I broke out into a Beatles and Beach Boys frame of mind in the 80’s. Love the music. Keep on it.

  • Chris McInnis says:

    Loved your explanation of what a “dag” was. Reminds me of my high school days when I was a huge Neil Diamond freak. Not exactly cool, that, but I’ve lived long enough to know that cool is highly overrated. What you’ve really got to do is just follow your nose and your muse, wherever it takes you. The world of music is huge and I think having unusual influences makes you a more interesting musician and artist. I have over 2000 CDs, about half as many LPs and hundreds of cassettes. My collection runs the gauntlet from Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music to blues, to jazz to folk to every variety of rock as well as soul and R n B. I love great lyrics, great melodies and great singers, which is why you’ll find Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Eva Cassidy among others in my collection. I like your stuff! KOKO!

  • Paul Pears says:

    Hi Amanda,

    So glad to see the comments here. Music is about enjoyment and living. You should either love listening to a piece, dance to it or sing to it. Genre is unimportant, and I love listening to most things, so long as something motivates me.
    The biggest draw at Glastonbury to date was the Dolly Parton set!!!
    That should tell you something with all the world stars that have appeared there!!
    Great to hear your voice, and I am another aging Brummie who loves music!!

    • Amanda Easton says:

      Hi Paul, great to hear from you and yes I so agree, music should be just about how it makes you feel. I’ve got to admit I’m a late convert to Dolly Parton but I’d love to see her live! All the best, Amanda

  • What is it with you ozzies and. ABBA. They always killed down under. You can’t be a dag if the band you love is one of the most popular of all time. Besides, never feel you have to apologise for your taste in music. Ear of the beholder.

  • Ronan O'Leary says:

    Eh – “South Pacific” is not Gershwin – it’s Rodgers & Hammerstein. Cheers.

  • Paul O'Grady says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Love the blog I am into my rock, but when I look back as a kid I was bought up on Motown , fantastic music and then we had Disco & Glam rock. Then caught in with new wave. Motown & Disco will never die. Being from Birmingham I also used to listen to alot of Electric Light Orchestra .at the same time Black Sabbath wow what a mix 😂😂

    • Amanda Easton says:

      That’s a really great mix! I’ll always love Motown and Disco.😁

      • Paul O'Grady says:

        Hi Amanda,
        Motown and Disco has me up on a dance floor every time too 🕺🕺😅.

        • Amanda Easton says:

          For sure! Even though venues are opening up here in Sydney, you’re not allowed to dance yet! Understandable of course but feels like ‘Footloose’! ☺️

  • Vaughan Lewis says:

    Hi Amanda

    You made me laugh. I must be a dag too but I hadn’t realised until just now. My musical taste is eclectic and quite eccentric but believe it or not Abba starts my CD collection which is also (as is my vinyl collection) alphabetically arranged. AC/DC had to settle for second place 🙂

    I have everything by The Beatles and David Bowie alongside The Sex Pistols, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Prefab Sprout. Miles Davis and The Fall sit alongside Richard Harris, Glen Campbell, Patsy Cline and Ralph Mctell.

    I am proud to always be several steps behind and occasionally one step ahead of anything remotely cool. My choice in films and books is as broad and I always make up my own mind. In fact, if a critic slates something, I am more likely to give it a try. It has paid dividends over the years.

    I love Banana sandwiches so I must try them toasted with cheese. It would never have occurred to me 🙂

    Thanks to your husband I am about to try out 78 Saab who I have never heard of, but my friend Google compares them to REM, The Stones and The Church. I’m a big REM fan so I’m hopeful of another late discovery.

    Keep up the great music and stay safe Amanda 🙂 X

    • Amanda Easton says:

      Thanks so much Vaughan. I am exactly the same when it comes to critics – I almost always completely disagree with their ‘picks’. For the record, my Mother introduced me to cheese and banana toasties and I have yet to be able to persuade anyone else to appreciate them. Hopefully you will be the first and you can help me spread the love 😊. Let me know how you fare with 78Saab too. All the best, Amanda

  • Roy Molson says:

    Hi Amanda, I’m probably a bit like you love all kinds of music, from Zeppelin to Mantovani, and love the Iglesias, both father and son. I write poetry and live alone now as my wife died of cancer almost 2 years ago. Love your music. X

    • Amanda Easton says:

      Thanks so much Roy, lovely to hear from you. I’m very sorry to hear about your wife. I’m glad to hear you write poetry – I really think it’s these artistic pursuits that keep us sane and happy, especially in times like these!
      All the best,
      Amanda

  • Roni Walker says:

    There are Beatles’ songs I’m only finding out about now.
    Id love to be a torch singer but where would there be gigs, right?
    We’re all in this together.
    The love of music that is ❤️

    • Amanda Easton says:

      I’m the same with The Beatles Roni, but we can be forgiven – they wrote so many!! 😊 Here’s hoping the gigs come back soon. All the best, Amanda.xx

  • Jim Underwood says:

    Hi Amanda,🌹
    I feel that limiting your music choice would be like an artist with one color.I enjoy your music and you are a beautiful woman.I hope everything is going great for you and your music.

    • Amanda Easton says:

      Hi Jim,
      Hope all is well with you. I know I replied to your message when I first saw it last year, but I don’t know if it showed up because I can’t see it here now! I’m so sorry if you thought I hadn’t replied, how rude of me!! Anyway, I really appreciate your words and hope you are safe and well,
      All the best,
      Amanda

  • Charles Hahn says:

    Amanda there is nothing wrong with loving different genres of music. I believe that it increases our appreciation of music. I’m old and I have an appreciation for all kinds of music. I started out listening to classical music when I was small and my mom used to sing to me and play the guitar, mostly country music. I now love and listen to all kinds of music and I’m a musician myself. I started out playing drums at 8 years old then taught myself to play the guitar when I was 16. I played in rock bands but I have expanded my knowledge and love for all kinds of music except hip hop. You have a beautiful voice and gift God gave you. You are truly blessed. Keep going with your music and God bless you.

    • Amanda Easton says:

      Thanks so much Charles, that’s fantastic that you taught yourself those instruments at such a young age. I’ve got to say my musical tastes have expanded more and more over time – it’s great to have different styles to match different moods and stages in your life.
      All the best,
      Amanda

  • Cub Callaway says:

    Love the blog, aren’t we all dags at heart. keep up the good work. I wish I looked that good when I was being a dag!

    Cheers
    Cub

  • Cub Callaway says:

    Love the blog, aren’t we all dags at heart. keep yo the good work. I wish I looked that good when I was being a dag!

    Cheers
    Cub

  • Patrick says:

    Un superbe mélange de musique qui me rappelle tout ma jeunesse, je dirais même plus, comme les madeleines de Proust. Superbement merveilleuse…. poursuit ton chemin il est formidable!! Kiss

  • John Paine says:

    Sounds like my diverse music collection, Abba to Eminem ,Liza Minelli (17 Cd’s and 12 albums😜) to AC/DC
    Nothing wrong with being a dag x

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