AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE One Hundred Fifty Nine: Thinking of My Real Life, Thanks to Colin Hay

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.


©John Begalke


Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, there’s sure to be that call
It’s gonna happen soon, soon, oh so very soon
It’s just that times are lean

Waiting For My Real Life To Begin – Colin Hay


That is how I feel most of the time.

I was sitting here at my desk (at a place that drains my soul) wanting to start writing on a story I’ve been working on and losing the battle. That first step is the hardest. Plus, thoughts of things going on in my life (the soul-sucking job, the declining health of my hero – my father, and some of my own health issues) was/is weighing me down. It’s hard to get the creative juices flowing.

I turned to Amazon Prime and searched movies and shows to watch. I happened upon a documentary about The Police based on Andy Summers’ book, One Train Later: A Memoir. Being a fan, I enjoyed it. Now, for those that don’t have Amazon Prime and don’t know how the system works, let me explain. When you finish what you are watching, a little photo of will pop up, a suggestion, that is related to whatever you are watching. Since I had watched a music documentary, the suggestion was another one.

It just happened to be Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life.

You know? Colin Hay. The lead singer and songwriter for the 80’s group, Men At Work.

Before I move on, let me tell you this. I was a fan of Men At Work. Like many people my age who grew up in the 1980s, I loved them. One of the first records I ever bought (a 45 record) was Men At Work’s Who Can It Be Now? I played it over and over. Then I bought the record (again, a 45) Down Under. Again, I played it over and over. To this day, if I hear those two songs in the car, get ready, I’m going to sing my heart out to them.

Now, back to it.

I watched this documentary, think it was just a way to pass the time and relive some of the songs from my childhood.
But it wasn’t.
I got WAY much more than that.

We see the rise and fall of a band and see a man, a very talented man, watch his celebrity light dim. He talks about playing a show, for himself, his manager, and for the guy who owned the place. And that’s it. It’s heartbreaking.

I know. This story has been told over and over and a lot of these stories don’t have very happy endings.

Except for this one. At least, in my eyes.

Colin Hay became an independent artist. He tours across the US and overseas playing mostly acoustically. You hear how smart his writing is, how melancholy his words are, and how masterfully he plays.

REAL talent, boys and girls. Pure and life-altering.

I watched this documentary and when it was over, a few things came to my mind.
I became inspired. The fear I had to put down on own words disappeared.
I sought out the music of his that I had missed in the decades and I intend on owning all it and listening to every word.
The next time he comes close to me, I will find myself there, ready to laugh (for he is wonderfully funny when he tells stories), ready to cry (when the words of his songs hit me with all of the emotions), and ready to LISTEN, for he is a poet, a true poet.


I hate when I realize I have missed out on something I could have enjoyed over the years. And I hate that I could have been listening to him (other than Men At Work) over the years and supported him.
But I think of all of his music I can seek out now and absorb it, every note, every strum, every word. And I am excited.

This is a guy I want to be like. Not with music (my car is about as far as a singing contract I will ever have) but with what I write. To be able to do something you love, through good days or bad ones, you have something you hold dear to keep you grounded. That’s what I want.
That would be my real life, the one I’ve been hoping for. And I’m waiting.


I’m going to give you some advice. Listen to me if you choose to but I really hope you do. Look for your real life if you aren’t happy with the one you have found yourself in. Maybe it’s just bits of it that you need to change. Then do so. If you’re looking for permission, you have mine (if it’s worth anything). I give you permission to change what you need to. Bits of it or whole sections. Change it like a radio station that starts blatting out commercials. Flip the dial and find what you want.

Maybe you’ll find something to inspire you like Colin Hay did with me without even trying.
Or maybe he did.

The good ones are good like that. And Colin Hay is one of those.

…on a clear day, I can see, see for a long way…


-Loyd Elmore Jr.
October, 4th 2019


I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.



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