Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Canberra & the Killa Connection


Canberra
Capitol hillcity of australia
it's about a 3hour straight drive down from Sydney
and it's about 100k inland from the nsw mid-south coast
it rises at about 2000 feet above see level
and lands at about 36 degrees south of the equator
Canberra is one of the relatively few places in australia
that is orchestrated by four distinct seasons
where summers can be hot breezeless and dry
nighttime winterwinds are criminally freezing
autumn laconically sheds its leaves in pawprints of green and red
and tourists come to watch the tulips bloom
in the springtime
Canberra is a planned capital city
originating at the beginning of the 20th century
the lake seperating north and south is artificial
but that doesn't make it that much less attractive...
the area of the city is flat
except for the pimples of a couple of mountain tops within the city
with icecream snow on top for winter
the aboriginal peoples had a name for Canberra
in their language it was 'meeting place'
for the vibe of Canberra is curiously opaque
there is no vibe as such
many people joke about Canberra as being boring
that's because there's no "feel" there to speak of
when you're in Canberra
and you're circumnavigating the lake that wasn't there 100 years ago today
or trying to make sense of streets that maze in circles for ever and ever
you get the feeling that this place doesn't really exist
that it could easily dissapear in a puff in that very moment *now*
unlike Sydney that is very grounded
and feels and feets like a team player
in the real world
as we know it
Canberra hosts the national art gallery and library
the national parliamentary idiot house
and an abundance of 50's style modernist'e' buildings
which are curiously pleasing in their own archaic way
Canberra does have one thing special going for it
aside from fresh air and bike tracks and big roads'n'roundabouts and pine plantations
southwards as you drive away from the city
you approach the beginning of the ranges
that lead to the sub-Alpine and alpine regions of southern nsw
it's one of the truly magical regions of the Earth

Tidbinbilla, Namadgi, Brindabella
ranges with names that sing themselves
these sub-alpine ranges in their cool-climate opaqueness and underlying beds of granite
stun me with their fathomless depths of passion and feeling
the northern nsw triangle around Murwillimbah & Byron Bay
has that warm heady spiritual energy
new england feels manored and a little Scot-like
the blue mountains west of sidney has a rather dank and unforgiving air about it
but the regions mentioned south of Canberra
are utterly vast in what they convey to the being
prior to entering the Tidbinbilla ranges for example
there is a space tracking station
when you drive around there particularly around dusk
you feel that you are in another totally uncognizant dimension
that you could be millions of light years away
that area as a whole generates this passion
that aside from its beauty and wonder as God's forests & mountains in a sub-alpine zone
the feeling you get there is a vastness and mightiness of being
of passion
that anything is possible
that anything is real
way beyond what our 'civilised' minds could ever hope to conceive of

Steve Kilbey is from Canberra
he spent his formative years there, from 10-25
it is utterly fitting to me that he is from Canberra
because his boundless and dimensionless creativity
as i see it
mirrors those qualities I've conveyed about the regions around Canberra
remember it is 'opaque'
there are no faeries in these forests
only kangaroos
Steve Kilbey may not have been too interested in forests in the 1970's
but his profound being would have registered *that* influence however unconsciously
he said as much himself in a recent blog
that all those years in a place with no distractions
allowed him to meld his creativity his own way
Canberra is too big for small-town tightness
and too small for much distraction
the clean air
the cold winters
the non-vibe
the views of snow-covered mountains
the profound sense of unconscious vastness
(if you're sensitive enough to register that)
is a Canberra phenomenon
and it filters into Kilbey's work even to this day
people from Canberra i find are generally a bit one-dimensional
either you shield yourself away from the glaring mirror of cold yet stupendous "nothingness"
by becoming very canberrean
or you face it
i don't think i could
Kilbey didn't need to do anything
his unconscious registered what it needed
and when the work was done
and when the Time was right
he moved on...

Sydney is where it happens
Sydney is where Kilbey waved his wand and allowed Magik to Happen
1979 to my memory
is when time sped-up
with a sort of newspaper blusteriness
to me the meeting of Marty Willson-Piper & Steve Kilbey
in 1980
is the most magical of meetings in rock music history
John met Paul at a village fete in July 1957
but practically they would have met up anyway
if not then, a few months down the track
they lived in the same city after all
Keith running into Mick carrying a few lps under his arm
was pretty spesh
a band forms in Adelaide in 1973
consisting of a local bassplayer
(who was gonna get kicked out anyway)
a 16-year old singer/drinker from Scotland who'd been on the adelaide tiles since age 5
a guitarist from Alice Springs just moved down after finishing hi-school
a drummer just come down from Liverpool (!) England just to check out the local scene
and a Ray Charles obsessed physicist/mathematician keyboardist who'd come down to work on weapons research
from new england Armidale
they were Cold Chisel
...but...the Church!!!
Marty heard the clarion call
and made his way to Australia to busk
saw a band
liked them
joined them
Steven had a intense inner-vision
of vastness and purity
Peter was his cohort from that vast place we call the nation's capital
yet the summoning of Marty
the most perfect member of the Church in foil to Pete & Steve
and who joined the best band that could ever possibly be created for him
and to come all the way from Liverpool England to Sydney Australia
is magic
Pure Magic
Marty had London at his beck and call
surely he enjoyed himself around Paris and Europe
why come to busk in Sydney Australia
...there is a lot more to this story than I know
but the thread of a global coming together
of a vast and heavenly sonic-vision
speaks of the magical meetings of beings
in the right time
and the right place
Australia is often touted 'the lucky country'
this is something Marty cannot deny

listen to early Church
like Fraulein & you got to go
it sounds very 'canberra' to me
opaque
cool-climate
pristine
yet deep and passionate
Kilbey's art is boundless
his bassplaying speaks like eons of creative force
rising through the deep unconscious of the earth
his lyrics and songs speak of a universe unbounded
aided and abbetted
by his guitar playing cohorts by his either side
Peter - no stranger to Canberra himself
aids with that dimensional paradigm of sonic heaven
Marty is grounded in pure artistry and northern hemisphere influence
everything is what it is
the Church are a magic band
what brought Steve from England to Dapto to Canberra and to Sydney
was the same force that brought Peter Koppes to Sydney
Richard Ploog to Sydney
and phenomenally,
Marty Willson-Piper to Sydney
and where were all the early-Church vids filmed??
Church music speaks of universes and uber-dimensions
of heavenly and fathomless sounds and words
and when i hike down in the ranges south of Canberra
i feel within my body
all these things precisely
as they are reflected in the earth around me

as a postlude...
all of the above may read outlandishly
but this is how i live my life
i allow the vastness of the earth to inform me
as much as possible
and so be it
under the milky way
...forever


3 comments:

veleska1970 said...

many years ago, when i was about 8, i had a penpal who lived in canberra. i've long since lost touch with her.

but canberra~~little did i know how i would be enlightened by a one certain resident about 7 years afterwards.... :)

i've always been intrigued by how marty joined the church, too. all the stars in the heavens were lined up just right that day. lucky for us.

Ross B said...

Yeah, I'd love Steve (or Marty) to tell us all about the when, the where, and the how of their meeting up...Magic Happens!

Hilário Godinho said...

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Donations for the Resistance Portuguese Military and Civil Anti Pide/D.G.S.E..
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Al-Anon

enjoying a bevvy Awakening to the ‘good’ in our lives and to the fulfilling sense of gratitude which follows often comes to us via ...