don’t get comfortable.

{public post}


don’t get comfortable.

greetings from my rental in hastings, aoteraoa new zealand.

the althing/state of all things was supposed to go out today, but i haven’t even touched the draft that hayley and the team have put together. you may not have seen the news. but we are back into various levels of lockdown, especially in auckland. to all my friends and patrons there…i’m feeling you. along with all my friends in melbourne…the states…the UK…everywhere.


well…fuck. just when we thought we were out of the woods.

…but isn’t that always the way?

don’t get comfortable.

after 100 days of no community transmission and much hoorah-ing, the government was also making small noises here last week, saying “when, not if…” and everybody was a bit on edge. and… here we go. last night, every person in aotearoa got this message on their phone:

Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 2.30.42 PM

you can read more about the news here.


if the universe could please stop hurling buckets of painful and synchronous poetry at me for just one second:

yesterday, i played not one but TWO big gigs in hawke’s bay….two of the largest gatherings i’ve played since march.

in one day. that was yesterday.

i started off by getting up at 6 am and heading over to iona college (a girls’ boarding school) to play the morning assembly. the gig came through kya, whose daughters, nyssa and boudicca, both go to the school.

it was as weird and formal and surreal as you can imagine.

everyone wears a uniform-dress and jacket. at 8 am, the girls come from the breakfast hall (where they are mandated to attend breakfast) if they’re boarders and from the parking lot if they’re day girls. at precisely 8:15, there is a shuffle. the principal and deans enter the hall. one girl (the head girl?) stands at the front of the room and says:

“all girls rise”. 

i may get that tattooed on my forehead someday.

these girls were all about 13-17 years old…many of them from farming families in the area. there were about 200 students.

i read all of your advice on my post a couple days ago about which songs to play…and at the end of the day, i listened to boudicca, kya’s daughter who just turned 17, for the final approval of my setlist. i started with “coin-operated boy”, went almost straight into “runs in the family” and ended up with “in my mind”, which made me a little teary.

here are some shots…kya took this of me soundchecking at 8:05:


here’s me with nyssa (left) and bou.


the gig:


it was actually pretty wonderful.

bou informs me that some of her friends were looking me up on spotify.

who knows what anything means, what any performance means.

but if one single woman comes up to me 15 years from now at a show and says “i’ll never forget seeing you wailing on the piano when i was 13 years old,,,,,”, it was fucking worth it.

here’s a handful of the iona audience outside…


and these guys….


it feels so notable that today, 24 hours later, this touching would not be allowed.

we are now not supposed to cuddle in a group like this.

but we did.

we did.


i went about the rest of my day, rolling up my tired sleeves, trying desperately to sort out projects and release schedules, feeling the gradual inner sigh of relief of finally having my wall calendar of projects up to look at.

not making much specific headway on any particular project but at least getting a birds-eye view of the mess in front of me.

this is so good! i’m finally getting on top of my shit. i can post about CDs and landfills and stuff i haven’t gotten to! yay. (by the way, almost 2,000 of you want

i was on top of my shit enough that i said YES to my friend jamie, who kept egging me on to do a little presentation at pecha kucha, a little TED-like event where 8-10 speakers do 6-minutes talks in a very strict format: 20 slides, for 20 seconds each. i kept saying no and he kept asking. i finally agreed to just wing something, and xanthea helped me grab 20 photos off the web and instagram and we emailed them over the jamie a few hours before the event. i didn’t look at the final selection, i trusted xanthea. i figured i would just make shit up as i went along…and i did.

it was scary. i thought it was going to be just 100 people or so…it wasn’t: it was a crowd of 500 in the opera house in hastings and the people were all like, old smart people. i was scared. i like being scared/ everybody else had prepared their talks and were reading off paper. i just looked at the pictures and tried to explain what’s happened to my life in the last five months in six minutes. it was exhilarating and fun, like tight-roped walking or bungee-jumping. i knew i was technically safe but i had hardcore butterflies. i think it was recorded, if so i’ll send it as a surprise to you $5 patrons, you haven’t gotten anything tasty in a while.

i started out the talk by saying something along the lines of “i don’t mind being uncomfortable”.

what hubris, palmer.


then i played the ukulele anthem.

i hugged a lot of strangers after the show.

i went home with a quick step and a light song in my heart.

i tucked ash into bed, went to grab a book to read myself to sleep, and saw the text from xanthea about the news.

well, fuck.


i don’t know what is going to happen now, but i do know that neither gig yesterday would have been allowed to happen today: level 2 bands any gatherings of over 100.

life is weird.

here we go again.

don’t get comfortable.


the word on the street is that level 2 will probably hold in hawke’s bay because there is still no community transmission in this area. we’ll find out on friday.

but meanwhile…this means that my tour of aotearoa will very possibly be postponed or canceled. please stay tuned for updates. we’ve frozen some of the ticket sales in some venues to be safe.


some shows may be able to go on in a limited seating capacity….who knows. we’ll know more in a few days.

that’s all….fine. i don’t mind.

i am so fucking proud to be in a country with a sane, wise government who is taking shit seriously and listening to science.

watch jacinda ardern and the way she addresses her nation.

she is a sane, strong, compassionate leader.


meanwhile, and i don’t believe that anything ever happens by accident, i saw this thread on the patron-only section of the shadowbox, and i wanted to say something here, too.

from brooke:

I posted about this on the Patreon page a week or so back (the coffee shop post), but you know how things get lost there. Also, it may not be something people want to hear right now. Who knows.

At the beginning of this whole scary pandemic thing, AFP was amazing and was with us and I understood that this Patreon would help us all get through this together. So many ideas were named. I felt like in the sea of chaos, we were being told that there would be content to help us all through this. Now it’s many months later, I don’t see this content. Things in NZ are much better (I am thrilled for them).

In the US, things are much, much worse. Scary worse. The Patreon posts are mainly about the things happening in NZ (sitting in a coffee shop, singing for schools of girls). This doesn’t feel like support for me. Things have gotten worse here and those in charge are making sure that the trend will worsen. Loved ones in hospitals alone (whether or not they have the virus) because we live in a hotspot (there are so many here now) and they won’t let visitors in. Sickness, death. Death I don’t know how to get over.

Where is the Patreon support that we saw on that first webcast from NZ? We’re still here. I’m still a Patreon, but I’m not feeling seen. And I wouldn’t have expected the support, but it was offered and then didn’t appear. I thought from reading other comments that I was alone in feeling this way, but one person showed me I was wrong. They commented and said so much more than I even managed, but didn’t feel comfortable leaving their comment up and deleted it. I don’t know if they felt safe posting something that might come across as unhappy amidst a sea of heart emojis. I left my post there though. It feels true.
Stay safe all.

a comment like this means a lot to me, especially the way it is worded without anger or attack.

i answered over on the box. i said:

hey all.
this is such a beautiful post to read because it is so honest and there is no anger or attack in it. brooke, i thank you for that. figuring out how to balance everything here has been so. weird.
maybe you saw that NZ just went into a second lockdown…weird atop weird. one of the things that i was already going to try to do, and your post lights a fire, was a follow-up to the “unclickable” heart post, where i ask everybody for a check-in. it was amazing, it took me (i am not shitting you) five FULL DAYS to read those comments. it’s the text and time equivalent of a long novel. but reading and hearing from you is important i’m gonna try to thread it together. i’m also so scared and so confused and so tired and taking care of ash basically takes up all the time i used to have to connect with everyone. i’m trying to forgive myself for not getting any of this right. i’m getting it right enough. i love you all a lot. xxx

to which brooke responded:

I want to be super clear. You’re NOT getting it wrong. This post was basically me questioning what this Patreon is for me in the current environment. It’s not the only place I turn to, but is it somewhere I belong? It felt like one thing, then was something else entirely. Like so many things in life now.

I was sad to hear about the new positive cases in NZ. If the past tells us anything, it will be handled responsibly, people will heal, and things will hopefully go back to the new normal there. Soon.

Thank you for taking my post for how it was meant. I know you have a legion of protectors (not a bad thing to have in your pocket) that might jump on it. @Hayley is very protective of you and I understand. Responding to that: I do hold immense compassion for others. It’s possible to do this and also feel left behind.
Sending out love to all that read this.

i’ll cross-post this next answer over there, but let me also say it here:

i am making this all up as i go along.
you know that, right?

what i love most about this community is that people can feel lost and wave, and that i can feel lost and ask fior guidance. i do it all the time.

for the last few months, i really haven’t known what i’m doing half the time. more than half the time.

i have been staring at these lists of projects and back-up films and documentaries and song-releases and i just feel fucking overwhelmed.

i know i’m supposed to be an artist.

i know i’m supposed to be a mother.

i know i’m supposed to connect myself to this community, and this community to itself.

i know that i’ve never had a real plan and it’s pretty much worked out for the past twenty years.

i know my team is exhausted.

i know that the world is exhausted.

i know that, at the end of the day, everything is going to be fine. 

i know that, in my bowels.

part of why i know that is because i toured for a solid year, singing that to thousands of people every night. i have to believe it. i don’t believe in an interventionist god, but i believe in making peace immediately with everything that happens. i believe in letting go of a plan. i believe in letting go of controlling the outcome. i believe in waving my arms as an artist, haplessly sometimes, carelessly sometimes, but knowing that i’d rather get it wrong than stop waving.

i know i can’t do everything. i know that whatever i accomplish on a given day is enough.

not perfect. not ideal. not impressive. just enough.

as long as you guys are okay standing by me as a flail with my daily version of enough, i’ll be okay.

i love you all so very much.

i’m going on a year of being away from home and my family and friends.

in that time, i’ve done a world tour and a global pandemic has broken out and my marriage has hit the rocks.

it’s all so fucking weird, you guys.

i’m sorry – sorry in the way that you know that i mean it – if it all seems so random sometimes.

i don’t really know what i’m doing, that’s true.

but how beautiful is it to really admit that?

i bet you don’t know what you’re really doing, either.


no…don’t get comfortable.

but perhaps we an all get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

one of my favorite buddhist sayings is:

pain is inevitable.

suffering is optional.

as we are all faced with confusion and pain….may we find our awkward steps away from suffering.

lots of love, and as they say around here:

kia kaha.

stay strong.



p.s. i’m going to do a webchat for the $10+ tiers this coming monday at 11 am NZST (sunday for people in the states and europe)…i’ll send a post about that in a second. it’s been too long.

p. p.s. i’ll be paying attention to comments here and the above thread on the box tonight. please feel free to chat. xx



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