November 30, 2005

media then and now

Had my tv debut the other night on Mainland TV, the regional station, reading a couple of stories from an SPCA charity anthology. Anyone remember Max and Rastus the cat?

I also got out the movie Fracture and saw myself - in the background of a cafe scene and at at the Wellington railway station as an extra. It's a good film - since Kahukura Productions went bust while making it, a lot of people never got paid. They owe me something like $200, which I don't hold out much hope of ever seeing. Oh and Elisa's there in another scene, looking gorgeous and holding hands with some guy.

Being a film extra is one of the more pointless jobs around - you turn up at 5am, get into costume if necessary, then spend the next ten hours sitting around drinking coffee. It got depressing after a while, with the realisation that you're completely disposable and not being hired for any skills.

Odd dream the other night, something about causing environmental disaster with a giant lemon and going on the run from police with a tyre-less bike that was in progressively worse condition...

Next project here is to plant the vege garden, and feijoa and lemon trees. We're on the edge of summer so it's really a bit late. Will have to look after them. Did I mention I like working with plants?

Gig at Mapua Kindergarten was fun, except for the late start, lack of soundcheck, and talkative audience. Our Fruityloops + banjo arrangement of 'Auld Lang Syne' was great fun.

www.fiffdimension.co.nz has had a good response so far - including an unexpected email from my oldest friend John Metcalfe who I went to kindergarten with and haven't seen in years! He put in an order for Fran's album...

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November 25, 2005

New website ready!

Here it is finally - I'm pleased to announce the launch of www.fiffdimension.co.nz

Please visit, let me know what you think, tell all yr friends, update yr bookmarks etc... It's costing me $15/month, hopefully worth it.

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November 22, 2005

technical question

Can anyone tell me how to record stereo sound into my computer? It's got a single mic input, but I want to be able to mix stereo sound. And if I could avoid spending thousands of dollars that'd be nice.

I also clicked onto the fact that I can run the computer through a guitar amp, so play Fruityloops beats etc. That plus the guitar or banjo opens up endless possibilities for a live act, that people could potentially dance to.

First Nelson gig on Saturday - fundraiser for the Mapua Kindergarten.

Spent the last couple of days planting native trees on the section here, will be good to watch them grow. It's so sunny here! Nothing like the gloom & gales of Wellington...

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November 15, 2005

'I love deadlines - I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by'*

Had a dream this morning that I was at a hall talking to the woman manager about the gig coming up in twenty minutes. The band hadn't showed up, and I'd broken the hall key in three pieces from fidgeting with it.

Today's the day funding applications are due for Fringe 2006, and I was hoping Ascension Band would get something happening while I was off on the Heaphy Track. But no, they're letting it slide without me as noone else wants to take charge of organising it and fronting up with the registration money. Bloody slackers. Oh well, since I'm now out of Wellington my involvement would be limited anyway.

Hopefully I can find some people to play with here, and I did get accepted for the Nelson School of Music next year. I'm having fun learning to play drums at the moment.

The way my evolution went was, early on I had plenty of musical ideas (if not much technical skill), then I burned out around early 2003, lost my confidence and managed to get back into it by collaborating with others (The Winter / Ascension Band)... but every paradigm has its limitations. For the last year or two I've relied too much on others for ideas? Now I have to rediscover how to generate my own ideas again, and compose for ensembles. Plenty of learning to go - then we can (fingers crossed) take something overseas in 2007. In the meantime I have to assert more of an internet presence, so there'll be an audience waiting.

And another project is clearing weeds off the section here, building steps and planting a vege garden. It's a good afternoon to work on that...

* - Douglas Adams

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November 13, 2005

Nelson, day 4

Conditions on the Heaphy Track were perfect, not rainy and we stayed in a tent so not crowded. The track would make a good introduction to NZ bush for a visitor, as each day is different. Day one is an uphill climb through beech forest, day two across the tussock high up, day three downhill through podocarps to the Heaphy River, and day four along the gorgeous West Coast beach with nikau palms alongside. Such vibrant colours, and infinite layers of depth to everything from tiny to huge plants and whole ecosystems growing on the large trees. The West Coast sandflies also make their appearance - the noise of a swarm of them trying to get into the tent sounded like rain. A robin sang a whole aria and came right up close on day three.

I was a little dissatisfied with my fitness level, having been pretty sedentary the last few months. The Heaphy is my first step at getting back into shape, and there are plenty of excuses to go outside and get exercise here in Nelson. A couple more goals for the summer are to climb Mt Taranaki again and walk the Wangapeka Track, which at eight days over rougher ground than the Heaphy looks to be a real challenge.

I went to a barbeque last night - my contribution was adding parsley, mint and vegetables to all the meat on the barbeque (though then it ended up cooked in meat juice, so I settled for a delicious salad meal, but other people ate it) - and ended up wandering up the street where I found a rimu to climb. And yes I gave it a hug.

There's a drumkit at the house and I've got my guitars, keyboard and banjo here, so all set up. There's a bass player vacancy.

Oh and I got accepted for the Nelson School of Music's contemporary music course next year if I choose to do it. I am keen to lift my game up a bit so I can be on a par with Fran, Mike, Nigel et al. If I can get a student allowance again I'll be pretty sorted.

Got to find a job etc next, and get that %&^*ing website up & running...

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November 02, 2005

another last week in wellington

I woke up this morning from a dream that Bob Dylan and James Joyce had both just died, causing me to miss an exam. I was half expecting to see Dylan's death on the news when I woke up, but fortunately no. He should still have a couple more good albums in him. And James Joyce would be well over a century old if he just died now. Would be interesting to see what he came up with after Finnegans Wake though.

I'm leaving Wellington (again) on Sunday. Currently working up at the Kapiti Observer, and finding the hour and a half commute each way a nuisance. Oh well, only three days to go.

[One of] my problem[s] is that I get tired of just about anything after a couple of months, hence my life of peripatetic wandering from one short-term job to another. The pattern looks set to continue, as I'll be in Nelson for a couple of weeks walking the Heaphy track and doing some garden clearing or something, before heading to Gosford in New South Wales for a few weeks' working holiday. Then back for Christmas, haven't worked out what to do for New Year's yet, and hopefully spend January playing some gigs with Mike, Damian, Warwick and Fran. Unfortunately they're all a bit slack on answering their emails so it could be hard to organise things if we're not all in the same place, grumble grumble.

I've got a vague dissatisfaction gnawing at me, and having the http://fiffdimension.tripod.com website down is a pain - I'm not making any progress getting the music out to the people who'd love it if they only knew it existed. Got to get the new site up.

And I need more exercise to get back in shape - too much sitting down since I returned from Melbourne, I've got a bit flabby. And I'm not doing enough creative writing.

All this is probably a healthy sign. On the hierarchy of needs, releasing albums comes some way below air and food. Complaining about little things suggests that the big things are taken care of for now.

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