BACKSEAT BALLADS

"The best places are in your backyard or backseat"

Movie/Favourites Night: Two Year Anniversary Edition

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Traditions are a funny thing. Sometimes they’re born out of sheer necessity and yet othertimes they simply grow organically through the passing of time. If you had asked me at the end of 2011 that a simple night spent at my house introducing my close friends to the cinematic masterpiece The Room, I would have laughed and said ‘What a story Mark’.

Movie/Favourites Night One Year Anniversary writeup

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Like anything in life, there’s always going to be ups and downs. Sometimes I find myself questioning whether it’s even worth continuing having Movie Night at my house. But there’ll be moments where it all clicks and I remember why we have it to begin with: kicking back with the boys (when the girls don’t rock up) talking about our favourite topics #sexbusters2000, watching shitty so-bad-its-good films and in recent times, experimenting/cooking for NGC. 

That’s why we have Movie Night. That’s what it’s all about. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be here to write about the future anniversary in years to come.

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~

Huy Le

About Time

Travelling to the UK made me realise how easily time can be wasted. I had left on a Sunday evening and through the magic of travelling ended up in the UK just after midday. Yet somehow I had managed to lose a day. And personally, I found that pretty disheartening. All those hours that could have been spent doing something productive (not really) were instead spent on a plane. And yet it’s the price we pay to see the world, to be in a different place than where we are right now. 

What’s most bizarre is the sense of losing any sense of time. I’ve always what it must be like to cross that barrier: where one minute it’s night then miraculously it’s daytime in that region. Obviously not that simplistic but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s thought about it. There were so many times I simply didn’t know what time it was and it seriously messed with my head big time. 

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I guess in many ways it reminds me of when we all go camping: as nightfall arrives we usually find ourselves surrounded by darkness with the flicker of the campfire providing us a source of illumination and warmth. As the drinks keep coming and dnm’s conversations take place, the sense of time has sped to the point where we feel like it’s really late.

It’s only when someone looks at their mobile do we discover it’s only 7pm.

Everyone is doing something with their time: whether it’s wasting it, using it, making it, buying it or simply letting it pass. With the new year I found myself wondering what would I be doing with my time.

Because we all know as slow as it may be, days turn into months and before you know it, we find ourselves seeing top ten lists and anticipating what the new year will bring. I’d like to think I’ve learnt a lot last year and even if I didn’t, at least I’ve been in many situations outside of my comfort zone. And I hope with this year, I’ll use my time more wisely with more things to do and places to see.

What will you be doing with your time this year?

~

Huy Le

Overall.

People always say that you learn more when you travel, so did I learn anything? The answer is No. I spend enough time as it is thinking about everything. All this trip really did was reiterate what I already knew about myself and re-enforced my perceptions about life. Having the chance to camp and getting to see the views that I’ve been lucky enough to have seen, I always thought to myself that never will there be a moment where a man made structure can put me in awe as something as seeing an endless horizon of mountains. I found that this wasn’t the case when I saw the Eiffel Tower glitter at night and seeing a glimpse of the Louvre through some dark arch ways. I didn’t spend much time overseas but the one thing that I have to say to you all is, hold the people you care about close to your heart and hold your family even closer and EXPLORE, whether it’s just jumping in the car for a road trip or hopping on a plane, I urge you to do it. There’s nothing better.

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Thai

Apologies for the lack of content in the last few weeks. A few of us have been on some adventures of our own from interstate travels to overseas. Hopefully we’ll have some writeups about these travels along with more photos of past events…. Which I still need to finish editing.

Wishing everyone a (belated) new year and that you may all strive to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself whilst enjoying the finer things in life. A New Years means new adventures!

Huy Le

Apologies for the lack of content in the last few weeks. A few of us have been on some adventures of our own from interstate travels to overseas. Hopefully we’ll have some writeups about these travels along with more photos of past events…. Which I still need to finish editing.

Wishing everyone a (belated) new year and that you may all strive to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself whilst enjoying the finer things in life. A New Years means new adventures!

Huy Le

Tuck Shop Take Away

Our burger cravings aren’t as strong as they use to be as we seemed to be focused much more on fried chicken nowadays. Still every now and then I’ll stumble upon some new place on Broadsheet and suggest it to the guys. Generally it never happens but every now and then the stars align and we actually do have another Burger Crew outing.

This time round Law couldn’t come so Tom came instead. He was working full-time for a long time hence he couldn’t make it to many of our random adventures whether it would be camps, daytrips or when we eat out. The guys were out playing golf in Albert Park so they were going to meet up with us at our destination.

It was a Friday night and by the time we got there it was filled to the brim with people ordering their dinner for the night. We all basically ordered the same thing: Major burger with side of chips and a milkshake. Some of the guys also ordered jaffles which were good enough to inspire us to make some for NGC/Movie Night.

With limited seating we decided to head down to the Caulfield Park to enjoy our feast. The burger was quite good - more akin to a gourmet version of the Lot burger you’d find at fish’n’chip shops. Can’t comment on our triple fried chips since by the time we ate them, they were a tad on the soggy side.

And then came the infamous rom-com session. I’m not sure how it came about but I seriously do question whether other people have the kinds of discussion we have. Basically we began creating romantic comedy ideas/scenarios for each person within the group: the basic sypnosis, specific cliches/tropes and who would play our respective roles.

Yep, our group is awesome.

Huy Le

~

Tuck Shop Take Away 
273 Hawthorn Road 
Caulfield NorthVIC
Tel: 0431 406 580

Snag Sundays

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Raye’s Outdoors - BBQ
River Walk - Royal Botanical Gardens


When we were having lunch up in Malmsbury Gardens back in April, Tish brought up the idea of having a barbecue at the park one day. I guess for many of us, barbecues were generally something we’d go on with our families/friends when we were younger. I can’t honestly say we really do go out and have bbq’s - generally we just have them at someones house for Australia Day or what not. Still, it seemed like a great idea and one I’ve quite excited about for sometime.

Cut to six months later and I’m sitting at Cairnlea park with Mike and Peter when we could smell intoxicating aromas of sausages and onions sizzling on the bbq machines. It’s something that we find simply irresistible and we made defiant that we would have abbq at the park once the weather picks up. Even though it’s Spring here in Melbourne (nearly summer), the weather we’ve been having lately has consisted of cold winds and rain hence any plans of having one were put on hold.

That day we were contemplating either going to the Spanish Festival down at Johnson Street or going on a hike. In some aspects I do wish we did stop by the Festival though I can assume it would have been rather packed and probably would have been a turn-off to the guys. Still I standing outside church with Peter when it was decided that we should have one down in Botanical Gardens. Well, along that area anyway.

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Peter bought the essentials, I brought along my picnic rugs and we all waited for the others to convene at my house before we took off. Neil called me and asked if we wanted anything from the Lebanese Bakery. I was rather puzzled as we were going to be having sausages for lunch and told him that. But alas another misunderstanding as he thought I was referring to the sausage pizza (so good) when in fact I was talking about our sausage sizzle. Oh Neil. We headed off and found a bbq machine, started cooking the food whilst the others kicked back. Frannie came along afterwards, it’s good to see him when he’s not too busy playing games at home or falling asleep.

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Slowly the others left and we laid there on the grass doing acapella renditions of our favourite songs. One day we’ll nail the crossover mix of Teenage Dream & Call Me Maybe and it’s going to be awesome. The fact someone left their keys in the car meant we had to babysit and hopefully wait for them to come so we could return their keys. The car had L plates on it which, many would assume, must have been some young kid who accidentally forgot them in the keyhole. Wouldn’t it be funny if they turned out to be someone older instead.

An hour later, an Asian couple in their mid forties with a young child came to the car.

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Figuring we might as well make the most of the nice weather, there was only one thing on our minds: coffee. Originally our plan was to head to The Town Mouse but the thought of dessert quickly entered our minds. And once again we found ourselves back at our old stomping grounds: Brunetti’s. Coffees and cakes were consumed as intellectually stimulating conversations about the importance of the porn industry were discussed.

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I guess for many people, having a BBQ at the park isn’t any thing remarkable to blog about. Many teenagers would be sneaking off to their local parks, drinking and probably pissing all over the gas bbq’s. Still, I think you’ve always got to have something to look forward to.

Even if it is just having a few snags with your close friends on a nice sunny day.

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Huy Le

Anyone who’s ever hung out with us will realise how ridiculous some of our conversations can be. Generally there’s always someone initiating the conversation and can range from the contemplative to the downright repulsive. Eitherway it’s not uncommon for us to lay bare our thoughts and emotions to one another. Sometimes it’s the result of those deep and meaningful 3am conversations or facing the consequences of making the Jenga tower fall.
Regardless we find ourselves pondering many of life’s most important questions: who was your favourite Backstreet Boy member, would you date a pornstar or who’s the most hipster of the group. I do remember one time after our 6th camp to the Grampians, I was at Pancake Parlour with Mike when Peter, Raye and Frannie met up with us. There we started talking about songs when this question was asked:

If you had to choose one song to play at your funeral, what would it be?

Personally I’ve always been conflicted about this. On one hand I would like to have a solemn acoustic song (Cat Power springs to mind) though I would also want something upbeat to brighten things up. Though my parents would probably have a heart attack if Whitney Houston started blasting over the speakers.
Eitherway I chose my song that night. It’s something I’ve always thought about and I doubt my decision will ever change. “I’ll have it playing at either my wedding or my funeral,” I told them.
Now my question to you, what song would you choose?

Anyone who’s ever hung out with us will realise how ridiculous some of our conversations can be. Generally there’s always someone initiating the conversation and can range from the contemplative to the downright repulsive. Eitherway it’s not uncommon for us to lay bare our thoughts and emotions to one another. Sometimes it’s the result of those deep and meaningful 3am conversations or facing the consequences of making the Jenga tower fall.

Regardless we find ourselves pondering many of life’s most important questions: who was your favourite Backstreet Boy member, would you date a pornstar or who’s the most hipster of the group. I do remember one time after our 6th camp to the Grampians, I was at Pancake Parlour with Mike when Peter, Raye and Frannie met up with us. There we started talking about songs when this question was asked:

If you had to choose one song to play at your funeral, what would it be?

Personally I’ve always been conflicted about this. On one hand I would like to have a solemn acoustic song (Cat Power springs to mind) though I would also want something upbeat to brighten things up. Though my parents would probably have a heart attack if Whitney Houston started blasting over the speakers.

Eitherway I chose my song that night. It’s something I’ve always thought about and I doubt my decision will ever change. “I’ll have it playing at either my wedding or my funeral,” I told them.

Now my question to you, what song would you choose?

A Shared Meal

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Back in the day me and Raye would talk about our extravagant plans of hosting our own dinner party. One word would always be the driving factor to these discussions: Kinfolk. As I’ve said to many people at the Melbourne Kinfolk dinner party two weeks ago, it’s amazing how much of an impact they’ve had over the last two years or so.

I remember being at the Finder’s Keepers market back in April last year where they were selling volume 2 and thinking ‘Wow, this looks like an awesome mag’. Anyone who’s surfed through tumblr would have seen at least one of their photos (though most probably didn’t realise it was for the magazine) and I just find it mind-blowing how a year later, people around the world are now having their own ‘Kinfolk’ styled dinners with close friends and family.

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Generally we’d go on a tangent and start talking about how we’re going to make it pretty with flowers, glass jars with rustic cheese platters and good ole home cooked meals. But as per usual, these discussions never really came into fruition though we did attempt it at our picnic up in Maroondah Dam earlier this year. 

But I’m looking at photos from Tish’s facebook and it’s dawned at me that we have had dinner parties over the last year -  I’ve just never thought much of it simply because it wasn’t styled as one. In a way I’ve just placed Kinfolk on such a high pedestal that I was too blind to realise I had actually forgotten what it really was all about. You don’t need fancy plates, pretty flowers or tealights in glass mason jars to have a dinner party. I had simply lost sight of what it’s really all about: enjoying a meal with each other’s company.

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What made me realised this was when i had a browse through the new Kinfolk cookbook and was shocked to find how they too spent their nights back in college cooking lasagne and eating it off paper plates. PAPER PLATES! I found it amazing as that was always the mindset that many of us here at Backseat Ballads have - if it’s convenient for us then that’s what we’ll use. 

And funnily enough, our NGC (Nice Guy Chicken) meals before Movie NIght encapsulates it all. Who knew what we’ve been doing for fun was actually meaningful in it’s own way?

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One day it’ll happen. This Kinfolk dinner party we’ve talked about for so long will come into fruition. Raye probably won’t be back anytime soon though that does give me more time to stock up on a few essentials. 

Which reminds me, I still need to complete my picnic/adventure kit for my car!

~

Huy Le

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In a few hours time I’ll be making my way down to Wilson’s Prom for the third time. Adventures of these sort have been on hold for the last few months as everyone has been busy with either university, work or their own personal lives. As much as I really wanted to go on roadtrips over the last few weeks, I’ve always found myself busy with other things. Plus the fact I was carless sure did make things abit harder.
This time round it’ll only be me representing the original crew that went the very first time back in March 2012. Till this very day it’s still hands down one of my favourite daytrips of all time. Great company, gorgeous scenery and an awesome Raye’s Outdoors Mix compilation to tie it all together. We did go back a second last year for Thai’s birthday at Venus Bay - the experience paled in comparison as the beautiful blue skies and sunshine was now replaced with grey clouds and shockingly cold winds. Seems to be a common factor everytime we revisit our favourite spots.
Nevertheless I’m excited that we’re finally able to do something. Sometimes I feel like a parent as I see some of our friends who have joined us on our camps branch out and explore in their own time. My, it’s sad to see them grow. New faces, new experiences - who know’s what in store for tomorrow.
But there are some things that never change. You can guarantee there’ll be a fail of sorts, KFC will be consumed and we’ll be singing along as we drive home with the Raye’s Outdoors Mix to bring us all together.
~
Huy Le

In a few hours time I’ll be making my way down to Wilson’s Prom for the third time. Adventures of these sort have been on hold for the last few months as everyone has been busy with either university, work or their own personal lives. As much as I really wanted to go on roadtrips over the last few weeks, I’ve always found myself busy with other things. Plus the fact I was carless sure did make things abit harder.

This time round it’ll only be me representing the original crew that went the very first time back in March 2012. Till this very day it’s still hands down one of my favourite daytrips of all time. Great company, gorgeous scenery and an awesome Raye’s Outdoors Mix compilation to tie it all together. We did go back a second last year for Thai’s birthday at Venus Bay - the experience paled in comparison as the beautiful blue skies and sunshine was now replaced with grey clouds and shockingly cold winds. Seems to be a common factor everytime we revisit our favourite spots.

Nevertheless I’m excited that we’re finally able to do something. Sometimes I feel like a parent as I see some of our friends who have joined us on our camps branch out and explore in their own time. My, it’s sad to see them grow. New faces, new experiences - who know’s what in store for tomorrow.

But there are some things that never change. You can guarantee there’ll be a fail of sorts, KFC will be consumed and we’ll be singing along as we drive home with the Raye’s Outdoors Mix to bring us all together.

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Huy Le

Let Go [Update]

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A few weeks ago I decided to take a break from social media. Initially it began with Instagram (both accounts - @mbhwee & @backseatballads) but I also decided to include this tumblr as well. At that point I was simply exhausted - my creativity was running thin and I wasn’t sure what I was doing anymore.

Me and Jamie have been working on the new website for some time and it’s certainly much more work than I initially expected. In my mind it was a simple job of simply copying and pasting the content we have into Wordpress and that’s it. But as I started to go through all our entries, the true reality hits me. 

Fuck. We have so much content!

The amount of writeups we have was staggering and it sure definitely became a mammoth of a task. Most of us have been so use to writing our entries for Tumblr that it brought upon new challenges as we made the switch to WP. I’ve spoken to my buddy Henry who’s also an amazing designer and he’s given me some help in regards to the overall design of the new website. I’m not gonna lie: it’s going to take awhile. Hell, if we could have it up and running by the end of this year would be a godsend.

But as the days went by I just found myself in a rut which I simply couldn’t get out of. Instagram has allowed me to meet some new people and establish new friends. Yet on the flipside, I’ve found myself becoming very insecure about my work and constantly comparing myself to others. It’s bitterness, that’s for sure. And let’s not get into followers - it’s shallow but it does begin to creep in as you question whether the content you create is as meaningful as you hope it would. Sometimes, that just isn’t the case.

Nevertheless it felt refreshing to get away from Instagram. Those two weeks I found myself free from constantly checking to see new updates or simply new content from others. Kind of sucks as I feel out of the loop but definitely good for me. I’ve also been questioning the purpose of this site and what I want to make of it. Backseat Ballads was initially started as a way for me to document the adventures I go to with my friends. It’s grown in ways I’ve never imagines, yet why does it feel unfulfilling at times?

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I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply have to let go. Not so much of the website but moreso the need to promote and get BSB out there. Self promotion is something that’s entirely new to me and it’s something I’ve always been lousy at. Everyday the thought of making a new post crosses my mind, as though we need to constantly have new content to up to the standards of what other bloggers do. It’s never that easy. I seriously do not know how people can do it with a full-time job in the mix as well.

Regardless I hope to get back into it the near future. The thought of letting this die a slow death has crossed my mind many times. But deep down I know it’s something that I must continue, not for anyone else’s sake but for my own. Once I am able to let go on this innate need to preassure others into following the site is when I’ll finally be at peace with it all.

Just let it go.

~

Huy Le

Werribee Gorge

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Raye’s Outdoors - Hike
River Walk - Werribee Gorge State Park


We tend to organise a camp every 2-3 months, which is fine though I’ve always felt we should try to have more regular adventures in the meantime. It’s quite startling when people come to us and enquire about places they to go and things they could do for daytrips and what not. I mean, it’s flattering don’t get me wrong. But I just feel in comparison to others out there, we’re still newbie’s and there’s still many places we still want to explore as well.

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There’s been discussions about doing bi-weekly hikes during the weekends (working full-time does limit your ability to go on random adventures) and find more local ones to do. Lerderderg is one we still want to revisit Brisbane Ranges is another. But that day, we decided to head towards Werribee Gorge.

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Stocked up with water, Pringles and our cameras, we made our way to the Gorge. There’s a few tracks that you can do there, though we opted to do the River Walk. The walk wasn’t too bad - you did have to be careful as you were walking along a narrow-ish pathway and if you were to fall… it’d hurt.

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We rested along the creek which in some ways felt like a mini beach of sorts. Along the way we’d see areas where we felt ‘Damn, we could totally camp here if we really wanted to’. Further out we reached the rocky area where you literally had to hang from a wire cable in order to continue your journey. In our minds we felt like real rock climbers - which is hardly the case since we were so close to ground level. Still, hanging out in the cave was refreshing and climbing up to the top of the rocky ledge was an experience.

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If you’ve got a weekend free and would rather be doing some productive than being on the computer all day, I suggest you go on a walk. Or hiking if you want to sound abit more adventurous. Werribee Gorge isn’t too far from us (30 mins give or take) and it’s definitely a place I’d want to revisit soon.

I just hope we can do the entire circuit this time round.

Parks Victoria: Werribee Gorge State Park 
Ingliston, VIC 3342

~

Huy Le

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Around Magazine: Interview [Thai]

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Could you introduce yourself? (A short introduction of the members)

My name is Thai but everyone calls me Peter. Funny story but for some reason when my dad was enrolling me into highschool instead of putting down me as Thai, he wrote Peter

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Could you tell us a bit about your background and the life you had? What did you study, which path brought you to your current position?

Growing up i was a very naughty kid. I used to hang out with the bad kids from the block but then somehow I turned out to be the most mellowed person ever. Growing up I had a love for maths, getting the correct solution to a problem was the most satisfying feeling I had growing up and eventually it lead me to studying accounting, which I still am studying but should be done by the end of the year.

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Could you tell us about the name of ‘Backseat Ballads’ Is there a reason?

The name Backseat Ballads came about purely from our love of power ballads. Every camp was just filled with power ballads being screamed out from the top of our lungs in the backseat, hence Backseat Ballads. 

How did you first all met together?

We all actually met in highschool. Some of us have been friends since year 7 but we all came from the same highschool. 

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What’s it about the ‘to do list’ tell us about it!

The ‘to do list” initial started off as a tick list of all the thing we wanted to do with a friend before she had moved to another country. The first to do was completed a long time ago, but as time went by our to do list just got longer. You can never explore too much. 

What was the ‘perfect moment’? On that note what are you working on now?

The perfect moment would have to be sitting on top of Mt Bishop at Wilsons Prom. The reason? Because it had the best of both worlds; mountains and the sea all at your doorstep. The colour of the water looked surreal, everything looked like a painting with a matte finish. It was unbelievable how calming it was. 

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So what will you say to the people that ask you ‘what does this all mean?’

What does this all mean? It means Everything.If you haven’t been camping before you won’t understand, it will change you in more ways than one! You will understand what I’m talking about once you’ve hiked to the top of that mountain sat sat around the camp fire with your closest friends. You walk away with an appreciation and a different understanding. 

Where do you see you all yourselves in the next 10 years?

In 10 years time I’d love to see Backseat Ballads as a magazine. 

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Around Magazine: Interview [Neil aka John O’Neil]

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Could you introduce yourself? (A short introduction of the members)

Yes, YES indeed! I can introduce myself. I’m your typical everyday man of mystery, intrigue and comedy.  Depending on who you ask some know me as John Smith others as John O’Neil and other other people know me as Neil Fernandes or Neil Placid Fernandes.

In terms of characteristics which describe me I can this much: I’m fine chocolate on the outside and a hard macadamia on the inside. Either way you look at it I’m delicious, a trusted friend during the happiest and saddest of times and like most guys I’m good for your heart but bad for your hips.

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Could you tell us a bit about your background and the life you had? What did you study, which path brought you to your current position?

Well I spent the first 11 years of my life in Bombay, India and then migrated to Victoria, Australia and been here ever since. I would say my life has two distinct experiences because obviously there’s a world of a difference growing up in a country where people live on less than a dollar a day and then to come to country where if you’re jobless the State or Federal government will ensure you’re cared for and provide up to $900 AUD to make sure you still have a opportunity to succeed.

After I graduated from high school I got into RMIT University, here I studied Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Biotechnology. During the course of studying I was eager to study, learn and I think I did change myself for the better. With that said I did spend the 1 st year skipping class and getting drunk. The next 4 – 5 years I spent studying, volunteering at various student groups which meet my interest and working a part-time job. More than studying the things I did outside of it molded me to be a more focused and driven person in life.

For the moment I’ve co-founded a company in the chemical engineering space where we develop waste to energy and clean coal projects. We’ve taken about 2 -3 years to gain ground and develop some projects. I hope as we go into the future our projects are built and we continue to grow as a company. In all honestly I joined the venture because I felt at the time it would be a priceless experience and I’m still young so I have nothing to loss. Put the two together with a lot of hard work and a lot of luck that’s got me to where I am now.

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Could you tell us about the name of ‘Backseat Ballads’ Is there a reason?

I think Huy Le was the one that came up with the name. I’m don’t think I was present during the naming process or maybe I was, I can’t remember clearly. Well from what I do remember there was a reason and it revolved around our closest friends signing in the back of the car as we drove around to some random location.

How did you first all met together?

I was a chocolate coated macadamia that accidentally feel into a pack of Skittles? —- Bad Joke

School, all the guys and girls here I’ve known throughout High School.

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Whats it about the ‘to do list’ tell us about it!

Hmmm…….what an interesting question, we have a to do list? When did this come about? Give me a good 10 minutes I’ll go find it on Backseat Ballads and explain.

OOOHHH YEAHHH!!! I think you meant the “Things to do” list. Yup now I get you. Well it’s a list of things we want to get done as a group of friends. I think mainly Huy Le, Peter Tran and Rachel Lazarus are ones who put it together. It’s an awesome list full of adventures and curiously quirky adventures we need to do before problems with diapers come around and family or working life catches up to us.

What was the ‘perfect moment’? On that note what are you working on now?

You’re asking the right question at a wrong time relative to my life. Why you say? Simply because I haven’t experienced the perfect moment yet, or who’s to say maybe I have but I just haven’t acknowledged it. Let’s leave it at that shall we!!

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So what will you say to the people that ask you ‘what does this all mean?’

Quite simple really, this is life. It’s the moments we experience as friends, no probably more like a family. What does this all mean? It means it’s worth putting up with all the difficult things in life to have these adventures with our friends.

Where do you see you all in the next 10 years

I want to be successful in life and that’s what I want this year and the year after and even 10 years from now. Answering the question accurately in 10 years I would love to be my own boss and have a happy family. I want all the simple things in life good friends, good food and always fun times to look forward to. If I don’t have any of those things I don’t think I would have anything to look forward to in life. 

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Backseat Ballads: International

Hey, Lawrence here.

I’m here to inform you that I’ll be travelling over to the United States for the month of September. I’ll be documenting as much of my trip as I can, so expect a little something when I get back. I recently went to Manifest in Melbourne and bought a notebook with a handmade cover of the Assassin’s Creed logo, if it wasn’t for me going on this trip then I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Now that I have; I’m super excited. I’ve also recently only realized that the logo is an A… but it’s realizing it’s double meaning is that it’s my American notebook. Yay! There’s definitely going to be some dumb scribbles and feelings for the day.

"Dear Diary,

When will John O’Neil release the rest of ‘Tales of Adventure?’

It feels like I’ve been waiting for as long as a microwave minute; in line at the Post Office; at a doctor’s appointment and at VicRoads combined and I’ve still got to paint the walls, watch it dry; mow the lawn and time it’s growth…”

Since my first draft of this farewell letter, I’ve found out that there’s more people excited for my return write-up; I’m excited because it’s increased from one to two. If you’re reading this and have a slight intrigue in what I’ll do or have a suggestion for me to do, then don’t hesitate to message Backseat Ballads or on my personal tumblr (lawthority – it’s pretty much turned into an anime appreciation blog.) I’ll definitely read it.

Now, this won’t be my first time over there; my first trip was back in the Spring of 2010, or Fall if you want to be technical. Back then, I had taken all our photos with an 8MP camera my father found on the bus a month before our trip and being a university student it was an impeccable blessing because I had scraped every last cent I got my hand on just to be able to pay for my passport, flights, accommodation and daily expenses. Unfortunately, I think by the first week all that I had saved was gone. I’m grateful that I had relatives in both California and New Jersey. First world problems. I’d probably be busking just to get by. 

This time I’m not letting that happen, hopefully… but with the current exchange rates it’s a possibility. Ugh, I regret not locking in a money card back when the Aussie dollar was stronger but the past is the past and I’m bringing what I think will be enough.

My trip will be in the order of Los Angeles, Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and finally back to Los Angeles. I’ll probably not be updating my social media accounts until I get back. I’ve come to this decision because last time it seemed that people back home weren’t happy I was on the web too much on my holiday. In my defense, I was only on when I was at houses where I had internet access… and with the time difference… This is subject to change without notice.

Hey, looking at your order of cities, you’re not planning on doing any actual backseat ballads are you, what gives?

Au contraire, mon ami, our first road trip will be from San Francisco to Las Vegas and according to Google maps it’ll take a little over 8 hours, which realistically it’ll be around 13 hours by including necessary stopovers, unintentional detours and random regrouping stops. So, 13 hours listening to American radio stations… haha, keep dreaming, Lawesome Mix all day. Yes, it’s later in the trip but it’s still a road trip none the less.

The Backseat Ballads crew know all too well how I am with the music played during our adventures and parties but as for the group of friends I’m fortunate to be with during this trip, they have yet to experience the Lawesome Mix in all its glory. It’s true that they’ve had some brushes with the Law but they have yet to be detained for a prolonged period of time. Nyahahaha!

Until then.

See ya, space cowboy.

Around Magazine: Inteview [Mike]

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Could you introduce yourself? (A short introduction of the members)

Hello! I’m Michael (Mike). I’m 24 turning 25 this year and I enjoy playing the guitar, tinkering around computers and of course going on adventures, hanging out and exploring the outdoors with my friends.

Could you tell us a bit about your background and the life you had? What did you study, which path brought you to your current position?

My parents are originally from the Philippines, but moved to Australia where I was born and raised in Melbourne. My family and friends are closely knit in my life and I love them all dearly and very much so.

I’m still a student in my final year, currently studying Information Technology and Majoring in Business at RMIT University. I decided to take that course because I really like playing around with computers; I’m quite passionate about it! Hopefully once I finish this degree, I can venture on to more exciting projects and adventures; such as releasing some music that I’m working on and travelling interstate/overseas with my friends.

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Could you tell us about the name of ‘Backseat Ballads’ Is there a reason?

The name ‘Backseat Ballads’ came about when we were brainstorming for words and things that meant something to us and could describe our group to everyone else. We chose these two words, ‘Backseat’ and ‘Ballads’; Usually on our trips in between destinations there are these ‘mixed’ music CDs or playlists that we would play in the car. These ranged from all sorts of music, but the greatest moments where when we sang songs that were ballads. Songs such as ‘Total Eclipse of The Heart’, ‘My Heart Will Go On’, ‘Don’t wanna miss a thing’ etc. This occurred a lot on the camping trip we had, to and from The Grampians, and also on all the other trips we went on.

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How did you first all met together?

I first met all the the guys within the group from highschool; our group went to the same school, but have always kept in contact even after we finished. I’m really glad that we were able to keep in contact with each other even to this day.

What was the ‘perfect moment’? On that note what are you working on now?

My perfect moment is pretty much when I described how I felt at The Grampians in my article ‘Young at Heart/M’s 2012’. I had never been on these road and camping trips before and being able to stand on top of something so high (despite my absolute fear of heights) in the sky, and seeing everything below me made me feel very thankful and amazed. Overseeing a tiny bit of the world from where I was standing really made me want to see what else the world had to offer, and I can’t wait to travel to more places and see what there is!

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So what will you say to the people that ask you ‘what does this all mean?’

Personally, this means a lot to me. I’ve especially learnt to appreciate a lot of things that have come my life in general in the past few years. Growing up, I realized that everything will always change; friendships with people come and go, some move on to bigger and better things in their life, circumstances change and sometimes things are just out of our control.

So that said, having and partaking in ‘Backseat Ballads’ is something I’ll always keep to heart. It’s something that I hope will always solidify our group of friends for a very long time coming. And I think it will be great to read and relive pictures and our writings in the future where we all may be in different parts of the Earth, but still able to remember these memories we’ve imprinted in the digital world.

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Where do you see you all in the next 10 years

I hope in 10 years time the ‘Backseat Ballads’ crew will still be close as a group in general. If in the case that weren’t a possibility, I hope that the members will still be posting up adventures and tales of what’s happening around them. I love reading stories and seeing pictures from the others when they go on their trips; it’s always lovely to see them exploring places and coming back telling us what they experienced.

The next 10 years will be exciting for all of us either way.

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