June 27, 2005

'The backdrop shifted and changed'*


I just found myself listening to the Turangalila Symphony by Olivier
Messaien & reading the liner notes en francais. I found I was able to
read it without having to mentally translate back to English. Also
pretty mindblowing music, which I'd been instructed to seek out a
while ago.

I also finally tracked down a book I'd been wanting since about 2001 -
le Spleen du Paris (mais en anglais) by Charles Baudelaire. Some of
it's like flash fiction, and I love the fact that it's poetry written
in prose. For some reason stanzas on a page make we want to skip over
it without reading, I have to force myself to take it in. Whereas
this evening I found myself reading album liner notes en francais
quite happily - so many different kinds of reading. I'm also half way
through a biography of Eric Blair, the first thirty years before he
stepped into a phone booth and became George Orwell (& speculating on
how & why he did so).

The idea of taking on a persona is an interesting one. Am I becoming
Dave Black or is Dave Black a character? cf Star Wars III, Batman
Begins
this year, not to mention Doctor Who where cheesy comedy
episode is then followed by contrasting story featuring one Dalek
being yelled abuse at by Eccleston-Doctor and then outwitting him.
Eccleston & Piper both quit, making the season a stand-alone
mini-series which will have a different cast (& writers/directors
etc?) next year. The episodes are flawed marvels & in this sense is
true to the Doctor Who concept, which at its heart is breathtakingly
simple. The Doctor, his TARDIS, storytelling.

Black has far more associations than Edwards, and it's my mother's
maiden name so not much of a stretch.

Midwinter Christmas gig ended in stalemate. It started late and so
ran out of time - I didn't get to play. But somehow I didn't want to,
it didn't feel right. I couldn't quite isolate it but I'm sure my old
enemy, the self-defeating-urge took over. But not necessarily - I
didn't lose any honour, kept the high ground and was willing to play
(albeit not feeling especially enthusiastic at the prospect).

Also, I've got a great girlfriend here who holds everything together &
who I'll have to be leaving in about three weeks when I head back to
Wellington. She's a great friend & it looks like the bitter
recriminations & burning hatred clashing with inertia (the
irresistable force meeting the immovable object & shoving it aside)
that came with the Elisa breakup can be avoided. She's also one of
about four or five people who've actually understood what I'm doing
musically.

Ascension Band in Melbourne in March is just another idea at this
stage - if an attractive sounding one. Good news on the band front is
that for the Bomb the Space gig, Warwick is taking a turn at the
composer role. He's the one who holds it all together so it's good
news. Also means that Nigel's happy to shift roles around. And
there'll be different people which'll be great, and I've got a banjo
to play, which will I think really come into its own once its
electrified. I'll miss Belle Murphy though...

Ascension Band is interesting for me in that it's fully resourced & equipped, and is the one project of mine that stands a good chance of getting noticed. The shows were maybe my first complete success.

And from there to Stalemate in Melbourne? Not necessarily a bad
thing, I've just gone underground a little. I've got a lot of stuff
brewing and buried in my laptop - will get a net connection back in NZ
and make it all happen.

I also got a message from Alice saying I can move back into the same
room at the flat on Rintoul Street! It's like going home, and might
feel like I never left. Will Melbourne have been all a dream? Just
this mysterious banjo object which I have to investigate...

And there's still time for good things to happen here.

PS One phrase I got preoccupied with at the turn of the millenium and
which keeps coming back to me is 'I repent for I am militant'. Any
theories?

* - Mark E Smith

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June 21, 2005

midwinter christmas in melbourne this sunday

Flew over to Perth last weekend & drove back through South Australia. Interesting road trip, got some good photos. I don't quite have the motivation to write a proper entry about it now though as I'm using an internet cafe connection - overpriced. Maybe I should write it up as a travel story, complete with facts & details to show my journalism tutors when I get back (looks like early-mid July though I haven't bought my ticket yet).

It is funny how the Australians choose as their national animal a pest that ends up as road kill though... as opposed to a nocturnal flightless bird that's in danger of extinction.

Played my first gig in Melbourne last night - couple of songs at an open mic night. Good to get back in practice. My banjo playing was
nothing special but I thought my voice was alright. I'm getting
better at hitting low notes, which is just a natural progression with
getting older. I think men's voices sound best in their 30s, as
they're in full bloom. Looking forward to the gig Mike & Fran & I are doingon Sunday...

midwinter gig3.jpg

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June 08, 2005

going to the nulabor

Having a day off today, in between some full days of office furniture
moving (we did have to carry desks up stairs this time). It's bound
to be doing me some good, full body workouts + getting paid. On
Thursday there's the trip over to Perth and driving back through the
desert for four days.

Just been for a swim in the pool at Brunswick - it's a Melbourne-style
swimming experience. 50m length, outdoors, heated, a 5m deep end,
unlimited hot shower at the end - they like to do things big here. Of
course the trade off is that every time you use electricity here
you're causing pollution. & going for a swim the day before going to
the desert is going to opposite sensory experiences.

Nigel turned up in Melbourne last night on a flying visit, playing
with the Black Seeds. Seemed like a big crowd for a Sunday night but
maybe that's typical here? People seemed to know the tunes anyway.
Nigel seems to have made another quantam leap recently - last year he
started developing an original sound, now he's getting recognition
too. He's getting paid to tour the east coast of Australia, he's got
a weekly residency for the Chandeliers in Wellington, a record deal
with a 7" single coming out, and he's getting a real (as opposed to
synthesiser) 1960s hammond organ (worth about $5000). Hopefully we
can still harness some of that influence for Ascension Band.

I keep going on about this, but the third episode of the new Doctor
Who was something pretty rare & special: excellent television. Makes
such a beautiful change to see the medium live up to its potential.
Set in 19th century Cardiff - brilliant how the Doctor makes no effort
to wear period clothing and turns up in his leather jacket. They meet
Charles Dickens, and have an encounter with gaseous aliens that leaves
Dickens wondering if his life's work has been wasted - he gets some
nice soliloquoys. More than the special effects, what stands out is
the quality of the writing. They've zoned in on the good aspects of
the whole 'Doctor Who' concept and trimmed off most of the padding.
And the acting is of a consistently higher standard than the original
series. Christopher Eccleston's an actor who I'd watch something with
just because he's in it - the last series I wanted to sit down & watch
regularly was 'Our Friends in the North', which also had him. And he
was in 'Cracker'... the other great thing about the new Doctor Who is
that they've been showing it without ad breaks!

We're about to go on this desert trip - hopefully we can avoid dying
of thirst along the way...

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