Tuesday, July 29, 2008

cancellation rumination

tonight i was forced to cancel my participation at a tuesday night soiree
due to cold & flu
i was meant to drive westward to mt victoria today
3 & 1/2 thousand feet above sea level
atop of the blue mountains 2 hours west of sydney
i would have played at the imperial hotel
and hung out with the organisers pennie lennon & bruno koenig
of my hearts dezire
i love pennie's music
when i first heard it on cd in 1999 i sent her a letter telling her how much i loved her songs
she wrote back
saying 'oh my goodness my first fan letter'
i since discovered she had one of her albums produced & engineered by two members of the church
so i was mightily impressed and excited by this
pennie doesn't say much about that period however
other than she's grateful for their work and contribution
that album is called 'journeys'
featuring some beefy bass-work from the finest bass-player on the planet

i was looking forward to a sizzling log fire
and to warming red wine
and to taking heaps of photos
and to whipping up a great blog!!
...and yet i have to contend with just sitting home writing this
problem is i can't go up to mount vic until perhaps december or january now
because next week i'll be back at drama school
accessing the upteenth edition of the uber-upteenth copy
of shakespeare's measure for measure
and the rest of it..

worst thing is
...i've recovered amazingly quickly
feeling feeble this morning after yesterday's ominous sense of a cold coming

crashing down on me
but feeling pretty ok now
likely all that olive leaf extract astragalus ginger etal helped immensely
so in a way i could have driven to mount vic

i was looking forward to catching up with pennie & bruno
and all the other participants
and indulging in some-sing-song myself
...and the red wine
...and the log fire
...and the sub-freezing winds
...and the languid afternoon stroll around the pretty highland town
...and the empirically historic victorian-era hotel
...and perhaps the midnight drive back home
roller-skating down the mountains
...and of course all the beaut photos
of a frozen mountain town
and the imperial hotel at night
heartily content people singing their songs
with the log-fire in the background
and that glowing winter ambience
there may some snow up there
it's cold enough for it
it was not to be
here am i
of scarves and beanies
freezing mountain air
flame trees naked and shrivelled to shivering silence amidst the backdrop of a highland town
red wine
listening to fine original mountain-music
and having a laugh with pennie & bruno


Darn it!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Eric Bogosian's Notes from Underground: my first experience with the blog

Around the time I started working at drama school back in January 1996 I was keen to read and to explore a wide variety of playscripts. Though because I’ve been surrounded by the things for so long I tend to take them for granted these days, but in ’96 I was eager for some new reading material. Eric Bogosian was one such playwright I took to wholeheartedly. He writes in a quasi-existential style and is hip to life in modern-day America and mentally I jibed with his stuff and took great pleasure in reading it. Half of his plays tend to be series of long monologues, such as ‘Sex Drugs & Rock’n’Roll’.

‘Notes from Underground’ is possibly my favourite work of Bogosian’s. Originally I wasn’t quite sure if it was a playscript or not because it’s written in diary format – I’ve recently discovered the play gets performed as a one-man show with Bogosian himself acting out the first performance of the play back in 1993.

Years before the word ‘blog’ was invented (or perhaps it’s been around for centuries who knows??) this play portends to be the perfect, hypothetic blog. The play centres around one man’s diary from 21 March – 21 June so that really it’s merely a fictional 3-month diary, or blog. Admittedly I got a lot more from this piece when I was 26 than I do now. Like many people in their twenties, I was a lot rawer in those days and some of this stuff resonated fairly palpably with me. I’ve since grown out of any such proclivities and nowadays I find this piece to be something of an oddity, utterly unrelated to my current experience, though nonetheless a splendid piece of writing that continues to bemuse and wryly intrigue me.

The protagonist is a loner with a series of odd character-traits. Sometimes he tries to be good and sometimes he gets himself into rather bizarre and frankly disturbing situations. Like the narrator of Camus’ The Outsider he doesn’t seem to react to his own strangeness or oddness. Yet sometimes he can be very normal albeit in a quirky-alone kind of way. The reader (or viewer) is left wondering if this guy is in any way a decent fellow, or a genuine oddball.

He is a man at odds with the world – how’s this for an opening line:

Today I ate a meal at a fancy restaurant. I like to do that sometimes. It makes me feel like I’m part of the world. Makes me realise nothing is impossible.

Sometimes the man’s torpor and disinterest in people around him is counterbalanced by earnest intentions:

…I will make a resolution today to be improve my life. I will learn people’s names. I will be more disciplined. I will care about other people. I won’t think negative thoughts. I won’t have bad fantasies. I won’t want things. I will be good.

but for the most part he has built a carapace around him, he lives within his own self-made shell and maintains a bleak outlook on his immediate surroundings and the world at large:

I was feeling better today so I went for a walk. I saw these college students walking arm in arm. They think they are so unusual. They are so arrogant. Arm in arm watching the flowers blooming and they think they’re the only people who ever lived. They know they are young and they will make love and think thoughts and be very concerned about the world. Maybe they will protest something. But in the end it doesn’t matter. But in the end it doesn’t make any difference. They will marry or not marry, they will have children or not have children. Certainly they will eat and they will shit. And one day, they will die.
In a hundred years or so they will be nothing. They will not be remembered by anyone, not even their grandchildren. Maybe their grandchildren. Probably they will be remembered by their grandchildren.
But they did spend some time on earth helping to destroy it with their pissing and shitting and car driving and house building…

The man spends a lot of time in his Manhattan apartment. He eats too many cheese crackers, stares at girlie magazines, smokes too much, likes Dan Rather and attempts to live up to Shirley Maclaine’s example via her new-age books. His moods swing from resolute hopefulness & optimism to deep depression.

Here’s a full day’s entry:

I really feel great today. I feel like I'm breaking through something. I took a bus out to the suburbs. Somewhere in New Jersey. And then I walked through these lovely neighboUrhoods with sidewalks and bicycles in the front yards and shiny Mercedeses. People cutting their grass. Lots of mowed grass.
I found this split-level house. White. It had a picnic table and a swing set in the backyard.
So I went into the backyard and sat at the picnic table. It was quite lovely. I had my portable radio with me and I listened to the news.
The people came home and you should have seen the look on their faces when they saw me sitting at their picnic table.
They kept looking out the window at me.
Then the man came home. The Dad.
He opened the back door and he said in this really gruff voice: ''Can I help you with something?''
I said: ''No, I'm fine.''
He said: ''Well, if you don't mind, you're in my backyard.''
I said: ''I don't mind.''
He said: ''If I can't do anything for you, you better get going.''
I said: ''Can I use your bathroom?''
He thought about that one for a few minutes. I could see him asking his wife.
Of course I was wearing my suit and tie. So the man had to give me the benefit of the doubt.
Then he said: ''You can use the bathroom. But make it quick and then you have to get going.''
I walked into his house and I looked him in the eye and I could see that he was scared.
I went into the bathroom.
He didn't say what I could do in his bathroom. So I thought, this would be a good time to take a bath.
The man came pounding on the door after 15 minutes went by. He unlocked the door and I was in the bathtub. He saw me naked and ran out again, I guess to call the police. He said he was going to.
I sang my song in the bathtub. I got out, dried myself off. Then I took an aspirin and brushed my teeth with the man's toothbrush. The biggest one, of course. I cleaned my hair out of the drain.
The police didn't come. The police are only people. They don't have any real power to change anything. What can they do?
I splashed some of the man's cologne on me. I got dressed and left.
When I came out of the bathroom, the whole family ran into another room and I could hear the door lock. That was funny.
I found some car keys on the kitchen table and borrowed their Volvo station wagon. I drove around, then I found a shopping mall. I left the car in the parking lot with the keys in the ignition. Let some car thief get it.
I went shopping. I bought a very sharp carbon steel kitchen knife. They are sharp, those things. And expensive. Fifteen seventy-five.
I went to a movie in the mall. I think Julia Roberts was in it. I'm not sure because I fell asleep and woke up and the movie was over and I was all covered with popcorn bits.
I called a cab and went back to the bus station.
A great day. Exciting, invigorating. It's nice to do something constructive for a change.

More stuff happens, of course. By the end of the piece he’s looking after children at the playground and longs for the child's innocence, wishing he could be a baby again. He buys a street bum a sandwich. He briefly visits a psychiatrist for treatment brought on by self-inflicted wounds. The question remains, is the protagonist merely some sick twit or a man trying his best to do good in the world? One thing remains certain, Bogosian has invented a character who sticks pin-pricks into the emotional and personal expectancies of the people he encounters, average American citizens with their expectations, their needs, their desires and their sheepish acquiescence to the common city-herd. Bogosian’s skill as a writer is to fill his piece with creepy, wry, absurdist black humour and to filter this successfully into a very readable and flatly straight-ahead script in the form of a day-to-day journal.

Perhaps he’s a reflection of the modern condition, I don’t know...


Sometimes I will wake up in the morning and I will remember a dream I had where I went to a place I remember from long ago. A field with small hills and some large old trees. And after I wake up, I really miss the place. I feel sad that I haven't gone there for a long time. I think, "When I used to go there, things were easier for me." But when I try to remember exactly when I went to the place, I can't. I'm not sure I ever went there, but I miss it so much...

winter blues & fresh spring greens

Some photos of Darling Harbour taken on the weekend of a music festival back in November 2007. Why am I blogging this?? Because I'm in desperate need of warmth and sunshine!!! This is merely a reminder of balmier, joyous days, a therapeutic blog...
I used to love the wintertime. In recent years I've switched over to being a summer person, despite the months of bog-awful humidity that's to be endured, particularly Feb/March. And although I haven't been over to the northern hemisphere during their wintertime it amazes me that people from some of the friggin' coldest places on the planet actually tell me that Sydney is colder in winter!
That's because very few abodes are equiped with central heating in Sydney. (And that's a good thing, we need to conserve as much oil & natural gas as we can). Moreover, Sydney cold is a damp-ish, repressive cold rather than a crisp, true cold, that sharp almost "hot" cold. So no matter how many layers of clothes you wear you can't escape it, particularly in the evening. I feel colder here than I do in the nearby ranges and mountains where the temperature really drops to sub-freezing temperatures. So if it was colder in Sydney in a way in would be warmer...(?)
I'd be happy for a true winter like you get in the ranges and/or Tasmania, but this Sydney winter is bullshit and I'm fuckin' over it!
...by late-August it's over anyway...can't really complain...

...I do wonder what it's like to be living in Quebec City during January/February...Churchill...Anchorage...Vladivostok...
I suppose one gets used to that harsh climate though it remains harsh nonetheless.
...May the sun shine wherever you are ! :-0

Friday, July 25, 2008

thursday 24 july

I awoke this morning feeling a little crabby. It was cold and rainy and I had to rush off to Randwick junction for a 9:30am podiatry appointment. I only made the appointment because I received a letter specifying that it was time for a check-up. My appointment was made for Wednesday but the podiatrist Paul phoned me and told me he couldn't do it, and pressed me for 9:30 am.

I had to drive because I was running late. I was driving in circles in the rain coveting a parking space. And then got wet running to the clinic. I discovered I was at the wrong place. I rang Paul from my phonus mobilis. He sounded tight and so-slightly strained. I was a few doors down. He gave me instructions until we almost bumped into each other yelling into our little phones.

In the warm room of the clinic Paul told me the aforementioned letter was to introduce a new location for the clinic and not necessarily to make an appointment. I grimaced slightly. I remembered otherwise, I was sure the letter told me I was due for an appointment and as everyone knows I got a memory like an elephant. Appreciatively, cool Paul told me he wouldn't be charging me for the visit. He checked my shoes & orthotics and before I knew it I shot off into the rain after well-wishes. Paul is a nice guy.

I had a great shower a little later. One of those showers that make you feel super clean. I felt very comfortable in my jeans, paisley shirt and v-neck black jumper, scarf and black jacket as i hit the bus up to downtown Sydney. I was meeting up with a friend at the Rocks for lunch. We shared a bottle of wine. Interestingly I didn't feel too tipsy or winey, it was lovely sauce, obviously good quality grape, the type that's very forgiving on the head and body. You could taste the love with each sip. Conversation dealt mainly with possible causes of climate change ladeda. We were outdoors under cover yet the sky was still cloudy. It remained yuckily cold though the wine was the amolient, a soothing vine for a drab winter's day.

I walked back to Kensington after casually browsing around Allans music and JB-Hi Fi. I perused the Church catalogue on display, seeing which albums they had, and which ones they didn't. Then I stopped for more coffee. It was good, warming and recharging.

Later went to this strange hard-to-find cafe in O'Riordan Street Alexandria close to the industrial belt, now rapidly gentrifying. For the second time today I drove in circles. The cafe was situated behind a harley davidson showroom on the bottom floor of this strange steel structure. I'll have to examine this more closely next time I'm there. There was an open mic jazz gig on and a friend from drama school was singing. She was good and her sister played keyboards. They later followed on to the Raglan where I quickly shot off to at 7pm.

It was such a fun night at the Raglan. A small audience, yet intimate and cosy. We all enjoyed performing and watching & listening to each other perform. David G convenes the night and performs a set at the beginning and the end. He's such a good performer and is also a lovely convenor, considerate and quietly passionate about the people he puts on, I think he sets the tone for the night. Gav came along to watch. Vic F did some amazing stuff on banjo, a highlight being a cover of Elton J's Benny & the Jetz. Vic was correct in her introduction, the song works well on banjo, very well. I know of some songs that go down surprisingly well on ukulele, but won't mention them here.

I did my bit which I enjoyed. I brought my camera along, it was in the boot of my car where it remained. I couldn't be bothered tonight to be running around in all positions snapping away. But I sort of regretted it later. I sometimes wish others were as ardently snap-happy as I usually am.

The fledgling yet gifted duo Ruby for Lucy came on to play. We love them. They are awesome. They are two of the loveliest young women who share a quite remarkable synergy and musical chemistry. Together they are just so great. I got the impression the girls don't quite realise how good they are together, they are just that good. I almost feel protective of them. In this reasonably small singer-songwriter world we stick together, we are like family and it's a place all of us who are involved can get together and feel safe, and feel at home with each other.

My world is gently rocked.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

my eye

Here is a photo taken today of my retina:

I visited my optometrist John E for my yearly retinopathy checkup. As I've had elevated blood sugar levels in the past (very elevated blood sugar levels) its mandatory I take a yearly check up. Well, to cut a long story short, I reversed my condition by throwing my tablets down the toilet and reaching out instead for natural remedies and supplements combined with a consistent walking & exercise plan. I have not looked back.

I've never felt better or healthier, and I haven't yet succumbed to cold or flu this winter unlike most of the people around me. It's been 5 years since I've last taken antibiotics.

The optometrist dilated my pupils with rather stinging fluid and during the interim we chatted a while. He was very impressed with my motivation and dedication to stay healthy, and his belief is that it's all about loving yourself. He says this, because he sees too many patients with the, umm, sugar problem, just give up on themselves. As I'll explain, it's all in the eyeball.

The photos of each eye stung, for minutes all I could see in front of me was a perfectly round white flash, as if the moon herself was staring me right in the eyeballs.

John E was very proud and impressed with my photo, it is the picture of a perfectly healthy eye. He explained to me a bit about the nerves but what I noticed was that the veins look healthy and alive and to me, the colour seemed good. The photo looked soft, cushioned, and loving. It looks like a circular representation of sun and moon.

I don't know all the terminologies etc but the darker spot ("moon") I think is the macular and I forgot what the light "sun" is. With retinopathy problems the tiny nerves begin haemorrhaging and form tiny spots of blood. It's not until this gets very bad that vision begins to be affected.

John E showed me what this looks like; I found this to be very disturbing. He showed me the photo of a diabetic eye of a taxi driver who apparently, doesn't take good care of himself. The photo was taken a year ago. There were little red spots scattered in the photo, the colour was 'dirtier' and the veins looked lighter. Not the most pleasant image. I was then shown a photo of 6 months later. This had me shocked. ...fucking awful...I kept gasping. There was a pool of red over the lower third of the eye, apparently, that's major heamorrhaging. John turned his gaze over to me to say ...this man did not love himself enough. Perhaps this is why he lacked the fortitude and motivation to do little to help heal himself?...we don't know.

I felt humbled and thankful as I left the clinic. I couldn't see properly for a couple of hours with or without my glasses due to the forced dilation of my pupils. As I walked the streets of Randwick junction, drinking a celebratory coffee and doing a bit'o'shopping, I felt loved, and grateful to G. This is what love looks like, the perfect retina, all pink and supple with beautiful red veins.

The big test of course, is the blood test, in 3 months time. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

saving the whirled

it's taken as given
that newspaper headlines are predictably blustery and exhortant
the most downright glibbest newsy headline i'd ever encountered
happened last week
from the pope
as the pope landed in sydney he gave us a massage
and it became the day's headline
'Save the World'
save the world???
i couldn't get my head around that
it was inconceivable to me
i felt like a calculator that's been asked to divide a number by zero
is the pope serious?
or quite obviously airborne in his hypoxic dreamworld
you see a message of 'save the world' is utterly nonsensical
because if 'save the world' is a teardrop
then the stipulations recommendations problems and neverending fineprint
would equal the pacific ocean
save the world from what, mr pope?
from yourself perhaps??
do you know of something we don't??
...you and your band of illuminatis
and what exactly are we saving
the world and its structures
its financial institutions and big businesses
its population centres and cities
or the planet and its soil and its oceans and its air
and its shifting accelerating climate patterns
and where do we begin to 'save the world'?
jetting around the whirled like you do mr pope isn't setting a good example
everywhere you fly and walk you're leaving a mighty big trail of greenhouse gas emissions aren't you?
and not to criticise that...
but to have a think about what 'saving the world' really entails mr pope

i really don't know what to think about all this stuff anymore
i'm very passionate about reality and earth issues
but there is a side to me that loves business-as-usual
i don't want our structures to fall down
and my 'way of life' to end
i'm currently looking at upgrading a bass amp
and they are so cheap too, less that 500 for something good
of course these are made intensively
using a combination of pvc (oil based) and various metals
extracted from the earth via primary industry
exported to China where they are manufactured at low cost
for our benefit
...gee wee in the west have it good
and for how long we can't say

if the popey wants to save the world
well here's a couple of practical measures he could consider
he can roll his sleeves up and start picking up all the plastic that lies on our ocean floors
some patches as sizeable as australia's northern territory
live utterly subsistently
he can put up a straw hut somewhere in the woods
with a bit of help from his cardinal sin(ner)s
who wear smaller hats than he
and discover which berries are healthy and which are poison
and of course you'll be in competition with the brown bears
.....there's a part of me that imperatively wants to roll my sleeves up
to pickup all the rubbish off the fucking planet
and go off and live off the land
and i must say my footprint on this planet is relatively light
for a westerner that is..
i'm not convinced that anything humanity does now to revert
drastic climate change
consequences of peak oil (= energy)
peak food
peak resources
are going to acheive much
carbon trading scheme manifestos are merely a soggy slap to the face
in the wake of the earth's roar
sustainability practices and business
cannot escape the elemental pain of primal energy depletion (aka the black stuff)

how depressing is all this !
i don't mean it to be
but i get mightily annoyed at some establishment religionist
making a glib remark in the name of some imagined holiness
and landing it on a wave of cheering idiots
who will do Sweet F.A. of course
...you hath spoken, mr pope
and yet the Mother Earth speaks too
it doesn't take much to know
which of you is the Almighty One
and which of you is merely a lame mouse in comparison
dressed in gold lame & diamonds

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

vale tommy

the white fluffy cat i've been minding
passed away this morning
he'd become more withdrawn as the weeks wafted on
slowly yet perceptively
until last week
he began hiding in the bushes 24 7
i wondered if the cold snap had anything to do with it
he ate the food i brought him
though i often had to dish it up to his mouth
and i carried him into the house for some sunday freetime tlc
and he purred and enjoyed that
feline appreciation
but on the monday food didn't interest him
i took him to the vet on tuesday morning
this morning
wednesday 16 July 2008
he passed on
tommy was 15 1/2 years old
and his diet over the past three years had coexisted with medication
to prevent urea build-up in his blood

tuesday 15 july 8:50am
sunny and cool
i come out to tommy
he sticks his sweet beautiful white head out of the shrub
tommy - i purr myself
i lift him into the cat box
carry the box to my car
and drive him the short distance to the vet

the drive was seemingly quick
yet distressingly long
tommy wailed his distress signals
motion and bumps he did not enjoy
and his wails and cries jarred on me
my stomach tensed up
my mouth pulled back, narrowing and downing
my face ashened
and my eyes felt watery & crusty
i heard something deeper in tommy's cry
tommy was crying for all sentient beings
'what have you done to bring us to this
why did you not leave us in peace
to enjoy this beautiful earth'
...i was relieved when we reached our destination

2 minutes to 9am
the clinic is shut
ok, the vet's just gonna get here right on time methinks
meanwhile this is Anzac Parade Kingsford
cars and buses whir and jet past
tommy and i are on the kerb waiting for this friggin' vet
who is now Late!
i kneel down to tommy and apologise for his distress
and here comes someone else
with a huge dog in tow
a lovely gentle dog who's tail has been damaged by the children playing with it
the owner tells me...
i keep reassuring tommy he'll be ok

5 past 9am
the vet scurries towards the clinic
hurriedly fumbling his keys in one hand
and briefy case in the other
sorry i'm late, he sez
in the clinic we let tommy out of the cage
and for a second while the vet is distracted
tommy attempts to hide under a cabinet
his head is under while his body's attempting submergence
an endearing moment at a sad time
with graceful elegance the vet swings one arm to pick him up to the table
the cat's not well
and so be it
after a shave and sedation
he awakes on wednesday morning
but dies soon after

all deaths diminish us
but yet where there is death there is also life
life cannot be separate from death
for we are all life
and we are all death too
because without exception
we ALL march toward where death's shadow's wait
and each tick of the clock sends us closer there
therefore death and life must be two sides of a universal coin
i sensed shadows around tommy since i've been with him these last 2 months
i'd been with tommy a few times prior over the years
this time, it was different
when cats are happy or contented they exude their contentedness
with a quirky please-themselves happiness
content to live out their own comical proclivities
sleeping on that bench that day
on that rooftoop on the other
under the flowerholder that day
jumping on someone's head another
and generally roaming all over the place
with their cartoon-like alertness
this time tommy seemed tired
as if a certain malaise had overcome him
he became scared to come into the postage stamp garden
instead prefering the shrubs of the outer-rim
i feared from the beginning of this mission
that it would be a tough one
that it would be a touch-and-go exercise
to keep this lovely creature alive and happy
until my final day at this abode
8 September
it was not to be
for tommy was making his personal descent
into the winter solstice of his life
the owner phoned me from Portugal
to thank me for all i'd done
and to not feel bad
i accepted that
i loved the cat
i spent time with him as best i could
i talked to him
brushed him
fed him
stroked and becalmed him
but, this is a grand arena where we live
and all earthdwellers come and go from it
we are ticketholders
with time of arrival stamped
mine says 1970
departure time tbc
by the universal saucepan
tommy's passing equivalates to a new litter of kitties born somewhere else
this is a crazy circus
and don't we love it!
let's love each other
and be good
for we aren't separate from that cat
there will come a day
when we will want to hide under a lovely green shrub
or tree
and lullaby ourselves to eternal sleep
goodbye for now

notice the photo of tommy above
look into his eyes
he is staring through the deep unknown
where his future lies

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday 10 July, Raglan Hotel Alexandria

Thursday night, 10 July, I forced myself out of a self-imposed stint of isolation to attend my first gig in about 5 weeks. This was a singer-songwriter night at the Raglan Hotel in Alexandria, a pub I've walked past on many occasions (and not thinking too much of the place) and stepped inside for my first time last Thursday night.

I liked the low-key, old-style ambience and aesthetically pleasing lack of renovation. A good place for a decent beer and to hear some great music.

Not only was it my first gig in so many weeks (I played bass on this particular gig) but I was also offered three gigs during the course of that particular day, two with my duo with Brig and another solo for next Sunday. I suppose that's life's way of telling me that my period of hibernation is over, and to get out there and back into the action!

The first performer was David Griggs. He convenes the songwriter nights at the Raglan on Thursdays and performs sets at the beginning and end of each night. He is a wonderful performer, he has a smooth though strong voice and is a masterful acoustic guitarist. His style is reminiscent to James Taylor with somewhat more intrigue and character to his musicality. He blends his playing and his singing well, he exudes passion and a kind of plaintive sensitivity. At the end of the night David had the Raglan audience yelling out for more!

On next were the Velvet Road in acoustic format featuring djembe player (usually drums) Pete Thompson (he's also a master Chiropractor!), myself on bass + backing voc & Gav Fitzgerald (songwriter) on acoustic guitar + lead vox. The crowd enjoyed this bumptious blend of acoustic blues rock. And I was dressed the part as per usual, having come straight from the library and leaving my scarf on...there was no heating in that pub and my hands were freezing!! We have a good time and this acoustic no-frills format is very easy, minimal luggage and maximum enjoyment! (thanks Dave G for the photos! ;)

Bel Woods next took the stage and performed a mighty set of brilliant acoustic rock. Her songwriting was excellent and she showed herself to be a great acoustic guitarist and singer and exuded great charisma and presence. The songs were often quite percussive and the crowd got behind and into the singing and playing. Bel was terrific!!

Here we go, a curious little ozzie tradition...'Christmas in July', decorations of lit snowflakes dangling from the walls etal etc...all very nice actually but a bit of heating in that pub wouldn't have gone astray!! (or should i have said 'ashtray' ...oops!)

The final showcase prior to David's closing set were a duo Ruby for Lucy featuring Julie Stenton & Kat Borghetti on acoustic guitars and vocals. Here we have a classic example of the sum being greater than the parts. Julie & Kat are both great singers and players but together they are stunning!! The songs & lyrics are memorable and hummable, yet underlyingly sophisticated and evocative. Very English almost, very sweet, and together Julie & Kat as Ruby for Lucy are really very good. Watch out for them!

David finished off with a terrific set in the end and added into the mix some obscure yet tantalising cover songs. We all had a great time and I was very glad to be back amongst it all. Y'know, some of the best musical experiences I've had, and best gigs, have been these sorts of gigs....not too many in the audience, about 20 patrons or so in the pub, but it was a warm occasion (...figuratively) and musically just wonderful. Much can be made from voice + acoustic guitar.
Long live singer/songwriter nights!!

Seeya nextime!! :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

it's a cold cold play...

it's been an intense weekend
thus far
sunday evening and i'm knackered
this morning i drove angel jazzz to the airport
she's flying over to sing at a jazz festival in hot sicily
we had an intense discussion over coffee at the terminal
the whole 'boundaries' thing
we're friends, nothing more etc etc
i was touched by angel's candidness and sensitivity
i could see how utterly well-meaning she was
and is
having gotten up at 530am
because i couldn't sleep anyway
doing mousework for an hour before hopping into that freezing car
to pick up angel to deliver to airport
and feeling somewhat moved and touched
by a conversation that shifts a mouse-slash-mountain within
that was rocksolid in place yesterdays
sheltered somewhere within my torso
i found myself a bit drained afterward
and i was supposed to have a 1st coffee date this afternoon
with a woman i've met via the dating machine
ie an internet dating cite
i sms'd and cancelled
wasn't in the mood for meeting new people
just didn't want to get in that car and drive
deal with the usual sydney rude driver bunch
that's most of us...
besides i was feeling chesty and fatigued
so now i'm left wondering when's the best time to call and arrange a new date
have i allowed the potential love of my love drift into the wayside
because of an intense conversation with angeljazzz???
at a time on sunday morning
that i'd rather be in sleep mode with awake function in slo mo
so that bears on me
ringin' up and organising another Date
and yet
part of me's just not interested
i seem to have a lot of women around me
good friendships
intense ones
yet no love or romance quite
it's said as within so without
i better look inside my chest
and get rid of any nasties lurking
y'know resistances and stuff
maybe i gotta open up more
...maybe i just gotta do nothing
i'm simple friendly luminous and playful
yet am full of little bits of personality that seemingly contradict each other
i can be terribly quiet and reserved
yet i'm out-there in many other ways
i've no compuction about performance
or detailing my private life in blog form to a cast of naught-to-10s
i'm gentle
yet inwardly passionate and determined
and i'm not into the usual stuff people are into
don't like tv or massmedia crapola
dislike 'entertainment'
sport to a large part is diabolical
just not interested in all that
i'm into beauty music people communication nature truth ...
...hey i'm selling myself here already!
so here it is...
end of a civilisationist dating site
i'm the guy
38 Male
and human

the other thing that's rankled with me
pissed me off in fact
was reading killa's blog during the weekend
and all that stuff about coldplay
well, i'm easygoing in most areas of my life
but music i'm so passionate about
i can't bear these dweebs that sprinkle little flakes of condescension at the Church
in propagation of coldplay
i've never listened to coldplay, actually
a good friend lent me a disc once
and 30 seconds of the stuff was all i could handle
but because she's a good friend i'll do it another listen sometime..
the point is...
the Church are Extraordinary
they are blessed with depth and resonance not found in any other band
they speak and sing of worlds and universes
where the music utterly matches the brilliant words and poetry
'aromatic' says kilbey
Koppes & Willson-Piper are a dreamteam
Kilbey is earth's greatest bassist
the synergy between members...
the alchemy...
is magical
they look tantalisingly wonderful and beautiful
(as a hetero guy i'm not ashamed to say that)
and simply they make Great music
not merely "oh yeah it's great"
or it's "good"
Church music is Great music
like bach beethoven beatles is Great music
somehow all that coldplay discussion just got me riled and a bit depressed
but tonight Steve Kilbey has posted a most humorous blog
and that's cheered me up no end!
So long live the Church!!

...and now
do i phone my cancelled date or not...?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

it's a wide open road...

This week I took inspiration from a song by a West Australian band The Triffids called 'Wide Open Road'. Steve Kilbey performed it recently at a Hall of Fame event in Melbourne fronting the remaining members of The Triffids for their inauguration into the HOF. Lead singer/songwriter David McComb passed away in February 1999 a few weeks shy of his 37th birthday.

'Wide Open Road' appears on The Church's 2nd acoustic album El Momento Siguiente as the opening track. When I purchased the album and was getting into all the songs I thought 'Wide Open Road' was merely another(!) great Church track & Kilbey song. I realised after about a week that from reading the track listings the song is credited to "David McComb". Oh I thought, I wondered who David McComb was for a moment, and let it go...but I really liked the song.

Subsequently I discovered 'Wide Open Road' was performed and recorded by the aformentioned Triffids, an 80's band from Perth, WA. I've never been a big investigator of rock bands so obviously the Triffids passed by my window. Yet reading up a bit about David McComb I was intrigued and saddened by his loss at such a young age, and with so much promise too.

My interest in David McComb and 'Wide Open Road' heightened this week with Kilbey's performance of the song in Melbourne. I looked him up in wiki. I discovered he came from a family of medical professionals, was well-educated and well-housed. With weaving success in Australia & Britain throughout the 80's they disbanded around 1989. It appears that David's final decade was fraught with drug addiction and alcoholism. Apparently he had a car accident in January 1999 and was released from hospital with minor bruising, collapsing and dying at home in Melbourne a few days later.

After all these years I still have this subconscious belief that anyone who comes from a safe, educational, upper middle class background should have it made. Obviously that's not how it is, and I realise it after that split-second of wonderment. David reminds me somewhat of Syd Barrett as they seem to have come from very similar backgrounds, they were both uniquely gifted creative artists who appeared to drift quickly into limitation and sadness, snuffing out their great talents all too soon.

I feel for David, primarily through the song 'Wide Open Road'. I left a comment on Kilbey's blog this week suggesting that the song should acheive iconic Aussie status...you see, there's vulnerability and ache in 'Wide Open Road'. 'Khe Sahn' & 'Flame Trees', as examples, are too strong and impenetrable. 'Wide Open Road' hits you right in the gut, there's yearningness and a kind of hurt passion to it. Lyrically it's very Australian....very clever in that 'wide open road' is indicative of the postlude to a broken relationship and literally, the wide open road of highway, scenery, desert, endless straight tarmac. Musically it's beautiful with the simple chord changes matching the yearningness of the lyrics and the melody.

'Wide Open Road' is not a song that pulls up a carapace of toughness; I feel a guilelessness and passion in David's lyrics and tune disassociated with comfortably dealing with the travails of lost love, or the modern world in general. Perhaps his poetic, sensitive nature overwhelmed him, thereby his sojourn into heroin and alcohol, but I don't know. All I gather is from this one, great song.

I look forward to discovering more of David McComb's work, and the Triffids music in general.

dreaming intuition

last saturday morning
i awoke to a faint mood of trepidition and concern
sunlight was beaming through the windows
i turned my head to the clock
my body was pleasantly numbed with sleep
the l.e.d. said 9:00
my mood was caused by a dream i was having as i was waking
i dreamt that steve kilbey was having a little go at me on his blog
i dreamt that he was chiding me ever-so-slightly about having palmed him a book at the vegan do
i dreamt i was reading his blog
the time being
where the chiding bit was toward the end in a new paragraph
all the letters were lower case and smaller font that usual
like ee cummings and this blog
and there were lots of ..........s at the end of words & sentences
i recall that earlier on in the week steve expressed on his blog a certain puzzlement
and homeopathic disdain
at having a book with a title origins of man and the universe land in his palms
anyhow i shrugged all that off and got out of bed to enjoy a lovely day

it was later on in the afternoon that i returned to the computer
and to the Time Being
and oh steve mentions me as friendly fiend roscoe b
he liked the book i gave him
well...that's pleasing
you see, i didn't give steve a book wondering if he'd like it or not
as discussed in a previous blog...
i read one of steve's blogs of 3 months ago
and it hit me without any decision that steve would really go for a book i had in my collection
i email
he replies
and to cut a long story short i ended up at the vegan do at someone else's request
and the book came along..."just in case"
so in giving steve the book
there was no expectation
because i knew with an inner certaintly that if he gave the book a go he'd really like it
and that's precisely what happened
if he hadn't liked the book
well so be it
either way would not have affected me
though i'm pleased for him that he seems to be getting a lot out of it

steve posted that blog at about 8:30am
meaning that he would have logged a new post at that time and would have commenced writing it from there
i was dreaming about his blog at that time
psychic intuition?
i have been told i'm very psychic & intuitive
but to what extent i've no idea
funnily enough steve quotes from the book i gave him
the paradox of a martial artist who is full of power
yet will lose it if he uses it
(steve's read a lot more into the book than i ever did!)
it's the same with skills
or virtues
such as psychic awareness & intuition
some things in life you don't go around telling people
you don't go around telling people i'm the best looker in this building
or i'm "this" or the best that
...it's up to others to offer that compliment
in a goode & rightly moment
that is upwardly serving to both of you
i recall on steve's blog
some months ago
when a spruiker-mercenary was attempting to sell japan to the blogmeister
one particularly abrasive person
yelled at the blogger
and proceeded to detonate a bomb into the comments field
in an attempt to offend a group of commenters
and proclaiming
lionely boasting in fact
of her "intuition" as proof of a rightful deed
well excuse me?
if you're so fucking intuitive why do you land yourself in the shit with your insensitivity and overbearingness?
and candid disrespect to that which is obviously beyond you
managing to upset and hurt others
who do speak up and tell you
...we don't luz you back...

she was wrong anyway
as far as i was concerned the silly woman had it all wrong
i'm sure if we met face to face we'd get on fine
perhaps not...?
such is the pitfall of blogging
being to being is the true form of comminication
there is no hiding
i've nothing against this person
we all have our own lives & pressures to deal with
but to make the point
never to boast about one's own 'intuition' please!
if i get told i'm intuitive...
well, that's nice, i suppose
but i hold no attachment to that
i don't proclaim it
i let intuition do its thing, if it exists in the first place
i don't want to dampen these gifts or powers
...if they are there to begin with...
by making a meal of them
proclaiming them boasting of them
because in that moment intuition dies
be open and aware
then intuition
along with inner space & poise
perhaps light and love
will flow through
like a river
from the universe of suns & earths & moons
into one's own sweet body
and like anyone of course
I ain't perfect!!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Eva Cassidy territory

One of the more intriguing aspects of Sydney Australia
for all its positives and negatives
twos & fros
is that this sprawling city is permeated by multiple ‘feels’
more than any other city I’ve been to
it’s remarkably heterogenous
suburbs apart can feel like totally separate places
you don’t have to go far for it to feel ‘different’ to where you were 5 minutes ago
as an example…
the northern beaches
(including ‘Avalon’ for any Church / Heyday fans reading)
feel…well, not so much sub-tropical
as merely fitting into the warm temperate zone
these beaches, stretching from manly to palm beach
hunger for summer
and for surfboards
the topend of the ‘eastern suburbs’ beaches
ie bondi bronte clovelly & coogee
have their own temperate eastern seaboard feel
where bondi in all her jewel-like allure
remains Queen of the bays
yet south of coogee something happens
the next beach down, maroubra, suddenly vibes differently
it feels vaster, more southern ocean, cooler
and this is how the beaches feel from maroubra down
all the way through the south coast of nsw
that ‘feel’ is instantly recognisable to me
it’s recognisable in the music of Eva Cassidy
therefore I call a series of places south of Maroubra…
‘Eva Cassidy territory’

Sydney sits right in that crossover temperate zone
downtown is at 33°54’ south of the equator
yet the lower end of the greater city reaches to 34°
so sydney’s in that bit that’s not sure if it’s warm temperate or mild temperate
Cronulla beach in the southern suburbs
particularly at night
represents Eva Cassidy territory at its peak
so what is Eva Cassidy territory?
it’s where her music resonates to me in natural setting
palpably and viscerally
and its always at the sea – particularly south of Coogee onward
when I’m driving down brighton boulevard
along botany bay
at night
i start to hear it

in brain & being
wade in the water wade in the water
and as I hit Cronulla particularly on a cold winter night
and the moon lights the surf as it crashes to the bay
my head
and heart
are deafened by the music
i am a poor wayfaring stranger
while journeying through this world of woe

Eva herself lived in Maryland
on USA’s eastern seaboard
which is an equivalent to nsw south coast
she loved nature
and she loved the sea
her music transmutes this love to the listener
and it reflects back through that love
through nature
particularly through the sea

I first came across Eva Cassidy in april 2001
i read a 2-page spread about her in the weekend sydney morning herald
what was written about her instantly appealed to me
shy… non-projective
remarkably a singer who was able to move all sorts of people to tears
and who died of melanoma at the age of 33
in 1996
i don’t usually go for ‘singers’ as such
but the article read like a female version of nick drake
so I go to the CD shop
and purchased Eva by Heart & Live at Blues Alley
go home
listen to Eva by Heart
hmm I thought, a bit MOR perhaps
but I was intrigued….
another listen
some mood there that I really like
3rd listen on
I was hooked
by 2004
having collected all her posthumous releases
I was interested to play her music on the guitar
as she was a wonderful acoustic guitarist
…one of my very favourites actually…
in june 2004 I meet Brigette
and we do many of eva’s songs together
goddamn brig even resembles eva Cassidy
and she’s my dearest friend (one of)
some of those gigs I’ve done with Brigette
doing wayfaring stranger for eg
with the sound of my rock maple acoustic (now sold)
ringing through the p/a
were musical heaven
absolute musical heaven…
and in this ecstacy I was daunted
I felt I was channelling the spirit of eva
in songs such as wayfaring and over the rainbow
I felt her presence within me
but not to be personal as such
the vastness that she was
captured and expressed in this body
through sublime musical moments

Eva Cassidy passed away in 1996
1996 was a big year for me
a turning point as it were
there was much growth and opportunity available
8 jan 1996 I start a jobb at drama school
where i contentedly act the role to this day
march ‘96
paul keating’s federal labour government gets voted out
by a nation of toads
and toad-worshippers
on 8 july 1996 I took my first night trip to Cronulla
I won’t say who I was with
but on the bay there overlooking the sea
…I had a transcendental realisation
I was wondering what the perfect life would or could be
and something swept over me as I looked around and behind me
at the apartments
at the moonlit bay
the sea
the surf
the moon Herself
a sensation of ecstasy filled me
there were no thoughts
but energetic passion, a yearning and fulfilment
of what my life could be
potential perfectualised in spirit and body
next day I noticed something had clicked
the air sniffed differently
in hindsight I felt that the ballgame had shifted
that god picked me up in his big hand and moved me from the periphery
to the centre of the ballgame
many circumstances criss-crossed
all of a sudden there were stark choices
I always felt I took the wrong one(s)
and that the years after were about staving off the after-effects
by November 1996 I was entrenched
eva Cassidy became noticeably sick in july 1996
and passed from her belovedness
her beautiful body and her Angelic gift
given to her by the almighty Love
on November 1996
…I’m not claiming much other than coincidence here
yet we are all connected
and connection is uniVersal
I have an affinity with eva
eva is loved primarily because of her singing
and with that her arrangements and guitar playing etc…
it’s the energy behind the singing that matters much
eva was no fairy
there was an earthiness to her
an opaqueness
a vastness without words
she speaks to us of the beauty of the natural
the real earth
in her perfect music
in her personal life for example
eva worked in a nursery and drove the tractor
she often wore shorts and mens work shirts
she was physically attractive and possessed an earthy sensitive sophistication about her
and had blue dophin eyes that glistened like sunlit oceans
Eva was an immensely private person
she loved riding her bicycle through the woods on sundays
Chris Biondo was her boyfriend for a while
equally important he was a great supporter of her music
Chris was a studio-owner and producer
and a fine bass player
whose bass playing and producing
found its home comfortably in most of eva’s recorded work
eva’s recordings all sound sophisticated
and they are all well performed both by herself and band
yet because they were essentially private recordings
they don’t have that slick production value that can negate great musicmaking
so when you listen to eva
you listen to real music
absolutely true music
for eva was also an astoundingly gifted interpreter of song
the “covers” she sang and recorded sound like her own originals
gordon sumner’s fields of gold for example
over the rainbow
wade in the water & wayfaring stranger
eva had some record company interest during her lifetime
yet the record co’s wanted her to stick to one genre
eva could sing anything
and she wanted to keep doing what she wanted to do
fame and ambition didn’t interest her in anyway whatsoever
are left with a rich and varied soundtrack by a fine artist and being
Eva Cassidy is one of my great heroes
possibly my one true intrinsic hero, or heroine
I love her very much

Eva Cassidy (1963-1996)
We love you
God bless you

Ross B


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