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Some stuff about me

07:55 PM 2017-09-18

I've had a few enquiries about my personal life.

I am single, in good health, heterosexual and support Marriage Equality (Gay Marriage). I am not vegan/vegetarian. I am a light meat eater, mostly fish. I believe all life should be respected and that plants are 'alive'.

I do not like Politics, I do not like War or aggression, but have learned how to kill in self defence as a child, as part of my Sami manhood survival training. I had a rifle at age 10 and am a good shot. I do not have pets, I set all my pets free after my Sami manhood ritual at age 12, but am happy with others having pets and am good with dogs, cats, snakes, lizards. I'm not a horse person, horses tend to freak out and panic if I even approach them, I stay away from horses. The only bear I have encountered was a Black Bear, who danced and roared before me for 15 minutes, then lay down to sleep and died peacefully 3 days later, I generally avoid encounters with Bears. Birds have been attracted to me since I was a small child, I have many wild bird 'friends' which I don't call pets, they live in the trees and urban spaces, but behave in a similar way as a companion pet.

I am not Religious, I do not believe in 'one God', but I am 'spiritual' (for the want of a better word). I believe in fairness, the right of self determination and the right to hold different opinions, but not the right to exploit or abuse. I have frequently put myself in harms way to protect strangers, requiring no benefit for doing so. I do not tolerate those who try to exploit my good nature.

I function with both left and right sides of my brain, if we have both it seems silly to exclude one or the other. I am creative and capable of free and random thinking, but can be meticulous methodical and a perfectionist when necessary. I do not like Math. I don't read novels I prefer to see the movie. I do read text books and factual data.

I like most styles and types of music and can play both improvised and scored works very well. I have the manual dexterity of a person in their 20's. I am mentally sharp, can talk the leg off a chair, or remain silent and calm in the face of terror and extreme aggression.

I will speak my mind, I am truthful and honest to a fault. I cannot be bribed, I will rebel, but prefer to progress instead. I can be happy alone or with others, can work in isolation or a team and enjoy the experience of both.

I believe in Magic and Love.

07:55 PM 2017-09-18

 

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Early Music

My first public music performance was spontaneous and memorable. I was about 7 years old (1962) and at the Mordialloc primary school (Melbourne Australia).

The school was an old styled 2 storied brick building with wood fuelled open fire places in each class room. There was about 250 pupils.

One chilly morning there was a delay in the firewood being delivered. Wood fuel was the common source of heating across Melbourne and demand was high, the delivery truck was running late.

We sat shivering as the Fire Warden started to bring the wood in as soon as it arrived. The teacher asked for volunteers to help carry in some kindling fire-starter wood to speed things up. I volunteered with a couple of others and went out to the wood shed in the school yard.

It was a fairly harsh environment in the school yard which was completely covered in bitumen with solid brick buildings everywhere. We entered the woodshed and were shown the kindling pile that was dumped into a large wood storage bay area.

It was split pinewood about 30cms long and about 10-20mm square. We were to grab a small armful, about as much as a kid could carry and take it straight back to the classroom. The Fire Warden would then come around to set and start the fire.

I loved the sound the kindling made as it tumbled down the pile in the storage bay, a clunkle type sound. Next to the wood storage bay was a long water trough with a couple of water taps for washing out tin buckets that were used as waste paper baskets in the class rooms.

There were half a dozen or so that had been washed and were tipped upside down to drain out and dry.

I picked up a couple of lengths of kindling, one in each hand. They were about the size of drums sticks. I tapped them together and they made a pleasing tapping sound, out of the corner of my eye I saw the metal waste paper buckets, on drying racks with the base facing up, like a drum kit.

I wonder what the drum stick sized lengths of kindling would sound like hitting the metal buckets, my young inquisitive mind started to think. And as most 7 years olds would do, I thought I’d just hit one or two to find out.

It sounded really good, the metal buckets had a great sound which was amplified bouncing off the concrete floor making a boom sound in the shed, and unknown to me echoed all over the hard reflective surfaces of the bitumen covered schoolyard and the solid brick walls of the school building.

I kept banging away to my heart’s content until suddenly bursting through the door came the Fire Warden, ‘What are you doing !’ he growled “Straight back into the classroom !”  I dropped the sticks and scurried out the door.

As I left I saw all the kids in the school peering out of the classroom windows who had been listening to my impromptu concert, and angry teachers herding them back to their desks.

The Fire Warden had gotten into trouble from the teachers who complained to the school headmaster about it and my Parents had been phoned to let them know.

My teacher had also gotten into trouble for not supervising me properly and I had to write out 100 lines, “I shall not play drums in school”.

The punishment worked, I never played drums in school again, in fact I never played drums anywhere again.

However in my teens (early 1970's) 'drum machines' came into being. I got one, then another, then another, then computers with drums ... today I'm a happy man, in spite of school, and I still like that big boomy metallic tin bucket drum sound  :)

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Music Therapy

For more than a decade until the end of the 1980's I worked as a Music and Art Therapist. Most of the work was undercover visiting Safe Houses for severely abused teens. Physical, Mental, Sexual abuse and those who had attempted Suicide, often from bullying at high school.

These were the too hard cases, ones that had been through the hospital system and had various medical treatments which didn't work or had little effect improving the suffering the clients endured.

I worked in a multi-discipline team, with Doctors, Psychiatrics, Social workers, Police and Court staff. We tried a variety of methods to use Music and Art in a therapeutic setting, with some often startling successes.

After many years we began a formal 2 year Clinical pilot study. The pilot program was to clinically study the methods and create programs for Music and Art Therapy to be used in State institutions, Hospitals and with the United Nations Child Rights unit who were developing the UN Child Rights Charter.

All the cases were overseen by UN Observers and Court officials, as the cases were so severe that Courts were involved. I spent about 2-3 days a week for 2 years in the courts presenting both Music and Artworks as evidence to support the victims statements. We won 100 out of 102 cases. Normally a very good success rate is about 35-40 out of 100. Typically success was 20-30 out 100.

I spent around 6 months at the end of the pilot program demonstrating the techniques we'd developed, lecturing and training Health professionals, Doctors, Psychiatrists, Nurses, etc.

There was great interest from the medical community and a large clinical test was arranged at a Adolescent Psychiatric facility in Melbourne, where I would present the therapy live, to 5 volunteer test patients in front of 250 professional observers in a medical lecture theatre behind a one-way mirror wall.

I had never met the patients, I was given no background on them, had no access to their medical files and had never met their Doctors or family. Among the observers were their treating Doctors, a family member or legal guardian, and an independent Doctor who would observe and monitor both the patient and the treating Doctor and family from behind the one-way mirror.

The clinical test was conducted in a plain, carpeted square white room. The room had constant fresh oxygenated hospital air feed into it and 4 video cameras and microphones were placed in each corner of the room, so Doctors could see both the patient faces and my facial expressions and reactions etc.

The video images were fed to a nearby Medical training University were there were a few hundred Medical and Health professionals and students watching live. I had no idea at the time of how large the audience was. All I was told was, that there were the individual patients medical team and family members.

I had a 1980's synthesiser keyboard which had a variety of pre-set sounds in it's memory banks and some control knobs to alter the sounds. It was fairly simple to operate and I often used it in therapy sessions. I also had a standard 'boom box' tape recorder and a dozen pre-recorded music tapes that I used in therapy sessions.

The only other person in the room was a (male) nurse who played bass guitar and had helped arrange the session. He worked at the facility and was the only face known to the patients.

5 teens, 3 male and 2 females entered the room sat in chairs arranged in a semi circle in front of me and were introduced by the nurse. He only gave their first name, and their names were not their real names, they were pseudonyms for the test.

I introduced myself and said we were going to conduct a 'non-verbal session'. That I would give a few simple instructions and for the remaining one hour session, the first of 3 one hour sessions spaced over 10 days, there would be no talking, just music.

I asked the 5 patients to make themselves comfortable, there were a few bean bags and cushions in the room if they wanted to relax a bit more.

I started playing some music from the tape deck. The music was all instrumental, no lyrics, no words. After about 20-30 minutes, I would usually ask patients to 'Draw how you feel' using the blank paper pads and coloured pen markers provided.

After about 10 minutes, one of the female patients suddenly interrupted the music and asked me, 'Did you make all that music with that?' Pointing to the synthesiser.

There goes the non-verbal session I thought to myself. But as it was the first session I thought I'd use the opportunity to do a bit of a 'get-to-know-you' session to keep the session friendly.

I said, 'Yes, this is all my music, some done on this synth.' As I was talking she gestured to the synth and asked 'Can I have a go of it?' and got out of her seat and boldly walked over to the synth and started playing a few notes as I showed her the buttons to change the sounds in the memory banks.

There was a sudden uproar from behind the one-way mirror. The nurse looked a little perturbed and I figured it was because we'd breached the study protocol of a 'non-verbal session' and these were voices of professional disapproval.

There were many Health professionals sceptical of Music and Art Therapy, they believed only hefty medication and years of traditional Psychiatric therapy could be effective with such severe case.

The nurse said, excuse me a minute I'll find out what's going on behind this supposedly clinically sound-proof wall. A senior doctor had already come down to the room and briefly chatted with the nurse at the doorway, smiling and gesturing to me to carry on.

The nurse explained that the teen girl, unknown to me, had been in the lock-up Psychiatric ward for more than 6 months. She had not responded to any known treatments or medications. Nobody in the hospital had ever heard her speak before. She was shy, withdrawn, didn't interact with anybody, didn't even grunt or groan, totally silent. Her case was so severe Doctors had investigated whether she actually had the capacity of speech.

And suddenly here she was like a normal inquisitive teenager playing a music keyboard, speaking normally without slurred speech or impediment, interacting with me and showing another patient who had come to the keyboard, what I had just shown her, explaining to him how to use the synth and alter sounds. Both quite confident in front of a group of others, most who were strangers to them.

Behind the one-way mirror, her family members were in tears. It had been a very long time since they had heard her even utter a sound. Suddenly, here she was, 10 minutes into the first session, chatting, confident, smiling and enjoying herself with the others.

The other patients went straight for the bass guitar and a practice drum kit, which had a few hard rubber pads to hit and a small cymbal. None had any musical training, none were previously forthcoming, none had shown any ability to interact with their surrounding, and none of them had been seen smiling so much by any of the staff.

The medical staff conducted medical examinations for the next couple of months to evaluate the session results.

The conclusions were significant improvements in different degrees for each patient, with no alteration to their medication, and I had apparently achieved in the first session what a team of Doctors couldn't in 6 months of medical treatment, usually requiring intense changes to medication.

I spoke with the senior Psychiatrist afterwards and he was boggled by the results.

They practiced strict traditional Psychiatry, which involves patients verbalisation of their problems, and through the verbalisation, the Doctors can usually determine what's going on and treat them.

But that only works if a patient is able to both verbalise and articulate their thoughts. Often with severe trauma verbalisation just re-lives and re-traumatises the patient, sending them into a downward spiral that they have to climb out of again, and the process can take many years to gradually overcome.

Music and Art therapy provides an alternate means of communication that by-passes the verbalisation process of the brain and permits the grieving and trauma to be externalised and communicated without the usual associated distress.

The girl who couldn't speak was pronounced cured, and the Doctors were now understanding some of the elements that had led to her silence. The others were declared as having significant and lasting improvements.

The Doctors were amazed that without any knowledge of their medical conditions or background, I could get such successful results, simply by playing some music.

'How do you do it?' The senior Psychiatrist asked me as we chatted.
'Oh, don't you know ? I thought you could tell me' I replied. 'I just know what works and repeat the techniques.'

He said Western medicine knew that such techniques had been common practice for 1000's of years in some of the worlds oldest cultures, but they'd never seen it conducted in clinical Western Medicine trials, mostly due to Western prejudice against non-western cultures.

We chatted some more about possible ways the healing could occur in western terms and understanding. But western medicine was sorely ignorant of such methods.

30 years later after much more study of the real world physics and bio-chemistry involved, I am beginning to understand, but no where near as much as I would like. I am drawing on more than 10,000 years of my own personal family heritage, in both Sami and French/Spanish traditional medicine practice, so I don't expect all the answers explained in modern western thinking in my lifetime.

But I can tell you the music I played at that first therapy session. It was 'WolfDragon Moonshine' (1986)

Availible from CDBaby
'WolfDragon Moonshine' (1986) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/garryshepherd3

Please Note: Everyone is different, don't expect the same results by just playing music, there can be underlying issues that need to be addressed also. Always seek help from Medical and Health professionals if you have concerns for yourself or another's wellbeing.

 

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Both Doctors and I were curious about the music and art therapy clinical tests, so I arranged with the Austin Hospital in Melbourne to undergo a series of brain scans - PET and MRI, blood tests etc done by a bunch of neurosurgeons and specialists in the nuclear medicine dept.

They injected radioactive particles into one arm and scanned my brain as the radioactive particles decayed travelling through my body and out the other arm where a Doctor and couple of nurses took a vial of blood as a sample every 30 seconds for about half an hour. We also had some of my music playing in the lab for me to listen to for a while to look for changes in the blood chemistry etc, with and without music.

The results were surprising, I was text-book Normal. Absolutely No outstanding attributes to my Type A blood, my brain reacted normally when I focused on my music with increased activity in the hearing zones of the brain as any normal person would, but nothing much different to listening to just the ambient sound of the lab and quiet discussion of doctors from time to time conducting the tests.

There was very thorough testing and examination for months by a team of specialists, and we were all looking for something but found absolutely nothing, No distinguishing features at all.

As I am completely normal in physiology - and after having similar tests done regularly over the past 30 years and routine blood-tests which are common for someone my age now 62 years old -, we concluded that whatever ability I possess with the music and art therapy, is possible with ANY person of similar normal western physiology.

Clearly there are other factors involved, but these are most likely due to cultural training. Therefore these are techniques which can be learned.

As I mention above, I do not fully understand the physics or bio-chemistry involved in western medicine terms, but I don't need to understand them, just as a child does not need to understand advanced human anatomy to be able to run. But they do need to understand not to run into a brick wall, for instance.

I was doing my weekly TV Show TOE - Theory Of Everything on Channel 31 at the time of the tests in the 1990's. The Austin Hospital was looking for volunteers for nuclear medicine research, so we arranged to have a sort of give-away competition for TOE. I figured anyone can give away concert tickets or CD's as prizes, but we gave away Free Brain Scans, yes for real :) The audience just had to write in 50 words or less why they thought their brain would be of value to medical science.  It was a huge success, my TV show apparently attracted an audience of people who liked adventure and wanted to have radioactive particles pumped through their body while a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) machine scanned their body recording the radioactive decay.

You got really nice computer images in techno colours of your brain slices if you wanted and it was reassuring that if you did have some medical brain issues, it would be detected for treatment. It was a buzz and helped medical research and you could even arrange to see the baby Cyclotron they had to make the radio active particles. But sadly your eyes didn't glow in the dark after the scan,  Aww shucks :)

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I've had some people interested in TOE wondering where they might see some of it. I edited a lot of the raw camera footage and made a feature documentary out of it called GLOBAL SHUFFLE 1990-2010. The movie length documentary has original footage from the 1990's and focuses on the Melbourne Underground culture arts and dance scene. Global Shuffle also has a lot of footage that was never included in the original TOE TV series. GLOBAL SHUFFLE is streaming on Amazon Prime, with more details at links below.

GLOBAL SHUFFLE Streaming on AMAZON PRIME

http://cybafaeriesandwolfdragons.com/blog/brunswick_street/  

www.globalshufflemovie.com 

 

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