My initial message to Vorn Doolette was a shot in the dark. Along the lines of: “Hi! You don’t know who I am, but we have a profession, some friends, and Canberra in common. Let’s hang out.” I certainly wasn’t expecting him to offer us a place to stay for our whole Adelaidean week. From the first, Joe and I hit it off with Vorn, and we were launched into a beautiful routine of days spent at the kitchen table, vegemite eggs for breakfast, extraordinarily drawn-out rounds of chess, haltingly web-constructing, and conversation upon conversation. We were all ready at a moment’s notice to burst into song, some ridiculous, most heartfelt and cathartic, echoing upon the green and pink marble floors.
Yes, green and pink marble. I really should have got a photo, but my camera was out of action for the week.
Our new housemates were an unexpected twist. Aaron had filled the house with his art, and we caught him drumming in two different bands in the short period of our visit. Punu is almost impossible to describe: all energy, all the time, reacting with the passion of youth to each occurrence, inquisitive (and harbouring strong opinions) about every topic under the sun. Her passion for music easily kept up with us three musicians, and that week I heard/karaoke’d more songs on youtube than I thought there were. Punu also sneakily kept her artistic bent under wraps until we were long gone, when she unveiled this portrait of Vorn that sums him up perfectly: a pile of expertly-arranged dark crevices held together with spiderwebs and, presumably, songs.
In and of itself, Adelaide is a truly excellent city. Everywhere we went were folk who were keen to talk to a pair of wandering guitarists, offer advice about where to busk, and share a few stories. Green areas are everywhere and the list of venues putting on live music is pretty sexy. In our week of wandering, we managed to visit (at least) the Wheat Sheaf, the Grace Emily, La Mar at the GSLSC, Jade Monkey, The Crown, The Governor Hindmarsh, Producer’s Bar, and the World’s End. Music was all over the place, and we felt very much at home, especially playing our shows at La Mar (with gorgeous duo The Firetree and Pocket Fox-esque Traveller and Fortune) and the Grace (how often do you get an audience lounging on the floor of a pub?).
One night, karma sent us to spread good cheer to the city. Bored with our current drinking establishment, we took off with our banjo and wandered the streets, playing and singing for the people on their paths from nightclub to nightclub. We played songs for a gaggle of hens-nighters and their future bride, drew a gang of hoe-downers into a mad dance under the eyes of their unimpressed girlfriends, and in a decidedly RPG moment, helped a crying girl find the five pieces of her phone before her friends came to rescue her from a bad night on the town.
Joe and I locked heads on music theory all week. At any moment the silence could be broken by a breathless amateur dissertation on modes of the major scale, or a compositional analysis of the Tetris theme, or an argument about the importance of sixths. We covered a year’s musical academia in our Adelaide week, and in a whirl of tea, chess, theory, youtube karaoke, and three-dollar chocolate Bavarian straight from the freezer, our magic week had escaped us.