October // Canberra, Nowra // Fun Machining


Wow. Filling in on bass for Fun Machine has been an excellent way to survive the absence of the inimitable Ramsay Nuthall, friend of mine par excellence and FM’s usual bottom-ender. The Beresford Upstairs hosted us and Myth and Tropics We played the launch night for the ACT’s new ‘peak music authority’, MusicACT on the deck (The Deck) at Regatta Point, watching the sun go down, reeling from the defeat of our first rec-AFL match as the Fellowship of the Ling (alongside members of the Bally circus crew and Jason Recliner). We day-tripped to Nowra, busting a tyre in the borrowed van and sharing the stage with the Mighty Ash and Richard Lawson. We played a hand-made version of Puerto Rico.

We also played the the Garden Party line-up announcement for Canberra’s most wonderful Corinbank Festival, and it’s going to be pretty great. I had a set, Fun Machine had a set, Fun Machine had another set, everyone was dancing, and pretty quickly I’d played for two and half hours. These shows are great for the gig-fitness – konzerteignung, as the Germans might say.

There are photos of MusicACT here, of the Nowra Trip here, and of our enormously rocking Garden Party gig here.

Post-script: this has been the link-heaviest/name-droppingest tour diary entry ever. Please forgive me, and I am but a poor boy without the server space to put all my photos up…

Revue Review Dictionary

I have included this picture of a chandelier because this is a 'classy' post.

This week, a review of mine has been published in BMA that is overloaded with unusual words. I make no apology. Reviews of events that, having ended, can’t be attended by the reader tend to bore me. Writing one, I thought I’d just go crazy on the vocabulary and let likeminded folks go dictionary-hopping.

Here’s a list of most of the words that drew questioning glances from BMAs sexy and talented editor.

sybaritic: (sib-uh-rit’-ick) adj. furnishing gratification of the senses, hedonistic, voluptuous, luxurious. [from the notorious luxury of the Sybarites, the people of the city of Sybaris.]

marmoreal: (mar-more’-ee-al) adj. of, relating to, or suggestive of marble or a marble statue, especially in coldness or aloofness. [from Latin marmor “marble”.]

quidam: (kwee’-dahm, kwid’-dahm ?) n. someone; an anonymous or unknown person [from Latin quidam “a certain thing, certain, one, somebody, something.”]

irenic: offering a peaceful hand, a peaceful option, &c. From Irene, Greek goddess of Peace

paronomasia: (pair-on-oh-maiz’-ee-uh) n. the use of a word in different senses or the use of words similar in sound to achieve a specific effect, as humor or a dual meaning; pun. [from Latin from Greek paronomazein “to call with a slight change of name,” from para- “closely resembling” + onoma “name.”]

oscitation:  yawning – see oscitate

vitiate: (vish’-ee-ate) v.tr. 1: to reduce the value or impair the quality of. 2: to corrupt morally; debase. 3: to make ineffective; invalidate. [from Latin vitium“fault.”]

and the only stretch: embrocation: (em’-broh-kay’-shun) n. 1. the act or process of moistening and rubbing a part of the body with a liniment or lotion. 2. a liniment or lotion.

I have included this picture of a chandelier because this is a 'classy' post.

Melbourne Tour Epistolary // August // Part 1

Shopfront of dreamsWhile in Melbourne, I typed (at coffee shops) and then painstakingly hand-wrote (on really very nice paper, mm-yes) a letter to Ramsay Nuthall, old school friend and Fun-Machiner. The letter contained a summary of the entre trip. Following are some extracts:

” Dearest Davey,

Did the Melbourne trip in six hours yesterday plus a Holbrook pie. Thought of you + beautiful mistress as I ran the <-450m/600m-> to a public toilet and realised that excessive signage and a pie shop with an ENTRY ONLY door and EXIT ONLY ‘Thank you for Coming’ door betrayed German ancestry. I always thought it was a myth about Holbrook, but I guess it’s not far off the mark. Impatiently peed on a tree stump in a vacant lot, was amazed to look down and see varicoloured concentric rings of beautiful mould that I would forget to return and photograph.I know what you're thinking I got this photo on the way home.

Aug 30

Espy crowd was thin on the ground like one of those summer snowfalls Canberra inexplicably drops from time to time. Gig was stupendously awkward, six songs only and Joe-nly as it turns out half of our gigs are in his name. He doesn’t understand how that happened, but it doesn’t bug me too much! Until a night like that, where I would have been on like a monitor and he was a blinking red light on a monitor that isn’t showing anything even though it’s plugged in.

Great steaks in the Espy kitchen and some very enjoyable conversation covering spiritualism (with Tarsh and Joe, who’s surprised?), mother’s cooking (my mum’s lasagna is actually the best) and exercise (pros and cons). Tram ride home, entertained myself by being slightly obnoxious, then fell asleep.

Aug 31

Sanity saving gig at Open Studio, a sweet little red+white faux Italian joint that – and you couldn’t tell from the look of it – infamously hosted the rise and rise of the gypsy-band craze. Woohoo Revue, Rapscallion, and our own Mr Fibby, &c. &c. Crowd of twelve, some Regen friends of Joe’s, Claire Hughes of mine, Lucy Hall of ours, and a piano. Small enough that we could joke around and enjoy ourselves, which we did with no small panache. Sold many CDs, which was a relief because it looks like none of these gigs are going to pay at all.

Sep 1st

Woke up in the morning with a powerful urge to get out into sunshine and fresh air. Walked the block aimlessly until I found a small white house with a garden completely dominated by beautiful wildflowers. Every inch of grass was competing with gold, white and purple trumpets bearing sweet smells. On closer investigation, the front door was open and the mailbox engorged with damp, free newspapers. I love an abandoned building, so I wandered in to explore. The first room was obviously a living room, if you can call it living: twenty-odd crushed Cougar Bourbon cans, and three times their number of abandoned hypodermics in the soot of the fireplace. I quickly backtracked, plucked an enormous posy, and hightailed it.



Set up amps in the park, ready to jam and get ready for the night’s gig, but a tiny piece of the power adaptor is missing so we jam, one acoustic, one enormously loud electric. People and dogs very deliberately do not stop to stare. As we pack up, exhausted and not particularly cheerful, a guy runs over and begs us to join him and continue our music. He’s a scaffolder and he and his scaffolding mates are nice enough but accepting that beer was a huge mistake. Even though my attempts to catch the football spilled half onto my jacket, the other half left me with a headache and yet sorer mood. Watched some skaters at the park, meditatively, unsure what the school-age athletes thought of the gaily-dressed pervert leaning on their fence. No beating, so chalk that up as a success.”

More next week! Stay tuned.
More down the wire.

Ollie’s House at some point /Melbourne

I had to drop a photodiary of a house we visited, graphic artisans Oliver Hayes and Cam Moylan. The tiny place, whose abutment on one side consists of enormous car-yard advertisements and whose wall-peaks slide in towards each other, drew my lens like Graf von Faber-Castells draw sketch-artists. (Hold your mouse over the text for explanations/Halten Sie die Maus über den Text für Erläuterungen)

The rolled-up sleeves and tough guy attitude are typical of both of these models.

Behind
each
of
these
is
too
much
secret
stuff
to
cover
here.

22nd June 011 /Hay, Mildura, Desert

The road from Adelaide to Canberra is largely desert. Against the odds,we found a boat there. We turned our noses up at spending 1.50/L on fuel in Hay, and it was twenty kilometres out of town that we saw our first ‘no more fuel for fifty km’ sign. Joe’s car hadn’t been swinging at full capacity recently, “funny, we were just talking about that,” and full of gear, with a new tyre, we weren’t sure we were going to make it.

 

The tyre had blown, inexplicably, shortly after we had a bunch of new tyres put on in Walcha. Joe’s an adventurer in his car, but this was serious. We were tearing out of Canberra to play a show in Sydney that night and a rhythmic thump-whump-whump-whump was worrying us all, but we made the ex-dec to push on. We made it to Lake George and a gunshot rang out. Ever a cool head behind the wheel, Joe had us over safely and the spare on in twenty minutes. We were all relieved it wasn’t the engine, or a military biplane. When we finally got it changed in Adelaide, the guy wouldn’t believe us. “You didn’t get slashed, did ya? Doing burnouts? Ha’n’t even seen-a burnout do that though, eh.”

First night out of Adelaide we camped in Mildura, after a practice session at a local pub and running into a beautiful pair who were doing drug and alcohol counseling, jetting around out of Orange. We camped near what we thought was a wetland, but turned out to be another de rigeur industrial patch-up job. Accordingly, we justified our surprise at the concrete-hard tent-peg refusal ground by waking up exposed as rabbits, on a block that obviously pitched used cars to the highway immediately in front of us. “At least it beats Naracoorte!”

Cruising out of Melbourne we’d run out of stamina in Naracoorte, empty on a Tuesday night, and our exhaustion pushed us into our first night’s paid stay at a hostel. Turns out the town exists almost solely to harbor kids here from overseas, pushing through their Australian education by making three, six, or nine month trips to Naracoorte’s thriving abattoir and fruit-picking region. We met some beautiful folks from Tibet, Nepal, Korea, and Thailand, and Joe beat out the afore-mentioned sleep deprivation to provide some entertainment ‘til the early hours. I collapsed, eager to get moving the next morning.

 

Problems just kept popping on our mad desert rush. “If we can just keep up ourmomentum we’ll probably get within at least an hour’s walk, and I can stay with they car while you…” contingency plans echoing against the increasing claustrophobia, but again and again, “Roadwork? Out here?” In the end, it was the enormous bag of pears we’d been gifted at the Adelaide farmer’s markets that kept us alive.

 

 

To our surprise, the station at Hay appeared without a problem, we were filled up and heading home with nary a problem; barring an interesting negotiation with another pair of tourists and a porcine gas station attendant who didn’t know how to explain to us that there really was only the one pump and we had to split the bill.

 

 

12th June 011 /Adelaide

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.