in winter.... it's like drinking black coffee trying to stay warm and keeping the cold out. the rain falls, the wind blows. some of you even get to see snow.
in autumn.... it's a backyard in the suburbs, and hundreds leaves covering the green grass.
in summer.... it's a night-time thing. out on the balcony (porch) with some beers and your friends.
.. it's the hope for a brighter day.
Melbourne May 2003
Thursday 15th May 2003
Off to Melbourne for my album launch. Due to budget restraints and my Dad's recovering health this is a whirlwind solo trip but I am more than up for it. Catch a Qantas flight after midday sometime. Relatively smooth ride though it still scares me senseless. The light lunch and coffee goes down nicely and I think good thoughts to keep it that way.
As I wait for CC to pick me up I chat to two pretty Irish tourists. Their backpacks are so long and heavy I have to help one of them up off her chair which is nastily amusing.
Help CC with your grocery shopping and the like. We pick Shayne up from the city which is buzzing. CC cooks us lasagne. I eat too much and play them the new Dando record. Shayno and I play Fifa 2003 PS2 style which is just unbelievable! They understandably hit the hay at a respectable time and I crash in my room. Listen to the new Pete Yorn album and the Lou Barlow Live at Waterfront CD. Can't sleep. Haven't in weeks. Take a pill. Took a while but sleep arrives. Gone.
Friday 16th May 2003
Kids, don't take pills. Out of it until noon. Feel like a zombie and kinda hungry. I have directions and a map written out for me because I have no direction. Ever. Anytime. None. Still, this looks easy enough. Lovely neighbourhood of East Hawthorn. Search for the JB-Hi Fi store and keep walking. I notice some great eateries which is my main concern really. Except I keep walking. And I end up in another suburb. Call CC who confirms I am a long way off but get directions to head back. I do. At least I think I do. Alice calls and I tell her my predicament. She doesn't know Melbourne too well. Ask some skaters at the skate park who send me on a more direct route. Two hours later in an old fashioned milk bar I beg the owner to help me. I plead tourist. I make it back and grab a pie and some coffee for my trouble. Feel like a total schmuck. There is something about getting completely lost that just makes you feel low.
Around 7pm we head to the Empress in North Fitzroy. Have a lovely dinner there and meet up with old friends Natalie, Chris and Emma amongst others. Catch up with Mario who organised the show. Great fella. The Empress as of late have had real problems with noise complaints and thus are only booking for the time being quieter acts.
I Want A Hovercraft are on first and set the mood beautifully. A boy/girl duo in which the lass mostly sings ever so grandly and the guy plays moody, sweeping electric guitar. A real discovery for me and I don't even get to tell them how much I dug it.
The room is starting to fill up as Archibald and Son do their thing. A sprawling five piece band led by Mario who impress for such young guys.
The night is running late and I end up getting onstage close to midnight which I don't mind except for the fact that a few friends have to leave soon to catch the last tram home. Nevertheless, I set up quick and get going. I am really pleased with the turnout and especially with the crowd manner and reception. Easily my biggest headlining show here and just a real treat to be playing tonight. Playing solo to a bigger audience in a smaller room can be tough due to chatter and of course, I am not usually the type to tell someone to shut up from onstage. On the other hand, as of late it has been great and tonight is a fine example. Lots of people sitting up the front which I love.
Set looks something like:
My Friend and A Free Day
Town Where You Where Born
Scotty Come Home
House Near Bridge (w/interlude of 'Beautiful' by Broken Girl)
Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen)
Rub It In
Hey Broken Girl
Pretty happy with the performance but yeah, more overwhelmed by
the audience. Accept some praise shyly and then see Luke who I hadn't
seen tonight and now lives here in Melbourne. Share some jugs of beer.
Some nice girls say they enjoyed the show and Luke just kinda smiles at me and I kinda just giggle back at him. We catch up as This Is Your Captain Speaking take the late spot. They too are a great act and top guys too. Kinda post rocky but really just another fine fine band I have been lucky enough to play with. They keep everyone entertained until closing time. I make use of the bar staff being into my set by grabbing more beer. CC looks after the cash for me. Catch up with Ana who I know through Natalie and who is working the door tonight. Say goodbye to everyone and head back to CC and Shayne's. Shayne and I sing some Elliot Smith and Wilco tunes very casually.
Pyjamas of sorts and late night TV are the go. I am happily sorted drinks wise but Shayno makes me some Gin and Tonic. Get to bed late. Tired but satisfied.
Saturday 17th May 2003
I sleep in until 1pm. Feel kinda bad for doing so but my mates don't mind. Bless them. Head off to a neaby cafe that might be called Morning Star Cafe but I am 100% not sure! Anyway, it rocks. We have a cheap breakfast (this joint is known for its all day breakfast). Eggs, toast and snags. Black coffee. This is the life I like. Late, inexpensive breakfast with friends. Check my pay packet from last night for the first time and am pleasantly surprised.
Finally make it to JB-Hi Fi as my mates pay me out a little for yesterday's expedition. Buy the Wilco dvd for Ace and Tanya, new Ron Sexsmith and Buffalo Tom B-Sides for me. Collect my belongings and hit the road. Drop Shayne off at a friends and give him a big hug and express feelings of gratitude. Taken a while to know this fella but now I do it is my pleasure indeed.
CC continues the drive to the airport except we get really lost.
Well, we are near the right place but just can't get onto that main
road. I don't freak because I don't want CC to. We eventually get
there and I hug CC and express feelings of gratitude. Run into the
line to check in. I am told I might be too late. Apparently they really
DO mean to get there half an hour before your flight. A phone call
is made and I am sweet to board.
Again a smooth enough flight but repeatedly, kinda scary all the same.
Stuart Coupe who puts out recordings by Jenny Queen comes up and says hi outside the Sydney terminal. Alice picks me up and before long I am home. Catch up with the folks and Fred the Cat. Sweet 'lil Fred. Ace joins us to watch some NRL. Nice way to finish a great few days.
Thanks to Mario, CC and Shayne, the other bands and everyone that came along.