‘I part with things quite easily’: Meshel Laurie on her favourite objects – and why she’s not attached to them

·4 min read

Meshel Laurie has one of Australia’s most recognisable voices. For more than two decades she’s worked as a radio presenter, and in the past few years she’s reached a new audience as the co-host of the wildly popular Australian True Crime podcast.

Her time in the audio booth speaking with victims, cops and forensic experts inspired Laurie to write a book about the science used at crime scenes. CSI Told You Lies, out 3 August, sets out to debunk the myths true crime fans have encountered in fiction. It’s not Laurie’s first foray into publishing – previously she’s penned a memoir, and a series of books on Buddhism.

Related: ‘I don’t have to carry it around à la Gwyneth Paltrow’: Julia Zemiro on what’s most useful

As a longtime Buddhist herself, Laurie, who grew up in Toowoomba and now lives in Melbourne, has learned not to get too attached to things. But there’s one item she does rely on: a home speaker system. Here, she tells the Guardian why music makes her life easier, and shares her philosophy on material possessions.

What I’d save in a house fire

I don’t have a lot of precious objects, I have to say. Well, I do, but nothing I’d haul out of a fire, if you know what I mean. That’s next-level-presh.

I part with things quite easily. I mean, I don’t want to lose my make-up (I shop constantly and needlessly for make-up), but I hope I wouldn’t face down an inferno collecting up contouring kits. Really, as long as all the living things were safe, I can’t think of a single object I’d be beating my breast over or sending hunky firefighters in for.

I have several Khatas given to me by His Holiness the Dalai Lama – they’re white cloths that Tibetans give to guests – and I also have a lovely bracelet of rose quartz crystals from his sister, Jetsun Pema. I know neither of them would want me to worry about saving those in a fire though, so I’m afraid I’d probably leave them unless I happened to pass them on my escape route.

My most useful object

My home speaker system. I know, how privileged. It’s hardly a hand-made plow, is it?

It’s changed my life though, for two reasons. Firstly, I find music really does soothe the savage beast – the beast being mainly me whilst doing anything remotely like housework, but equally beastly, my daughter in the mornings.

As my own mother wished, I’ve ended up with a child just like me, so I’m trying to spirit her out of her bed with some of the best music ever made (which is something my mother never tried, and thus, I win).

It might be the Stones. It might be Iggy Pop. It might be a carefully curated playlist of post-punk new-wave classics, from Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees to Devo and Gary Numan. The point is, she’s going to hate waking up no matter what, so she might as well imbibe some great art osmotically while still in that vulnerable dream state. That’s my theory.

The other thing is, it has a PA function. So I can pipe my own dulcet tones into her bedroom instead of screaming like a Banshee up the stairs to let her know I’m coming up to get her if she doesn’t come down.

The item I most regret losing

It’s really difficult for me to answer this one because I work so hard at not letting things like this get to me. I started studying Buddhism seriously around 20 years ago just so that things like regrets over lost items wouldn’t haunt me. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. There’s no use in letting the loss affect me emotionally. I honestly have no attachment to a single thing.

I’ve never really been sentimental about objects, to be fair. For me it’s always been more about the shame of losing things, because I lose things a lot! Now I just say straight up to people: “Please don’t force me to take your favourite book, or casserole dish or jacket, because I will lose it, I promise you.” If they push their crap on me after that, it’s on them.

My true friends accept me that way. They know that if they’re lucky they’ll get the jacket back eventually but I’ll have worn it a lot, and the chewy they left in the pocket will be long gone. Thank you, Matthew. It was warm and minty fresh.

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