March 23, 2006

obscurity?

photospace 4-06 small.jpg

Here's the flyer for next Sunday.

Interesting the news about Stonesoup's closure - I had been tempted a couple of times to close this blog anyway. I'm not sure if I'll start another one - maybe go back to having a handwritten diary just for me? I suspect the blog might be one cause of my lack of 'real' creative writing over the last few years - or is that just a lame excuse? Anyway, thanks Iona.

It's good to have had a sense of progression from the dark days of 2003 (maybe not coincidentally, one of my creative peaks) through the uneven journalism-dominated mixed bag of 2004, to a really good year in 2005 and seemingly another one this year. This could be a good note to wind up on.

I just finished reading Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, flexing my neglected reading muscles. Nothing like a good tragedy - that character could have been me quite easily. Dying of pneumonia caused by stone dust from his mason work, no friends around, unremembered? Calling someone 'the obscure' is pretty much the opposite of 'the great'.

After that I watched the film version with Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet. They had to streamline it a bit, so of course the book's better, and it ends with him still alive. Also odd to see David Tennant in a small role - the guy who's now taken over from Eccleston as Doctor Who. Doctor Who's my pop-cultural soft spot - great to have it back, and it lent a sense of excitement to 2005 (especially since I was overseas at the time). I'm half surprised they didn't start filming it in NZ - though given my experiences with the film industry in Wellington, that could be a good thing...

Recent music listening: Chopin's piano sonatas, Charlie Parker, Audible 3, Sabot and Combat Wombat.

www.fiffdimension.co.nz

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March 20, 2006

a change

Wellington gig has been rescheduled to Sunday 2nd of April, at Photospace Gallery (Courtenay Place) 3pm.

Other news in brief:

I planted two olive trees and a mandarin on the section here. There's also a fig tree and a passionfruit vine to have as potplants. The idea is to get the land working for us - there's probably enough space here for a market garden.

I also built some new steps and paths, and Cynthia's been weaving harakeke to cover up an ugly area underneath the house.

I saw a couple of good movies recently - David Cronenberg's A History of Violence and Masked & Anonymous by Bob Dylan & Larry Charles. Both stood out for great script-writing.

And I went to see Sabot at the Phat Club the other night, and talked to Chris the bass player. The annual festival at CESTA sounds like a great excuse to get some people together in Europe.

As for NZ gigs, North Island tour seems too much like banging my head against the wall at this stage. Maybe I'd rather have a tramping holiday in the South Island....

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March 14, 2006

Seems like Nannos' heart is in the right place

Wellington gig looks to be on April 23rd at Photospace...

An interesting wrinkle on the planning front is the question of finding a venue in New Plymouth. I'm also interested in playing in Hamilton and P North, maybe even Auckland, but in the meantime:

"Hi Dave,
"Sorry I havent got back to you earlier., after the response that we had from
the last gig I think I would prefer not to host another. Your style of music
is very interesting but only appeals to a select bunch of people and I'm not
too sure how to market it correctly. I'm not intending to offend you, I just
think that it would be difficult to attract another audience. My advice to
you is that you contact Raw Records, they are a high profile music store and
they recently had a gig there that had a good turnout. My friend Nannos asks
that you check out his website as he likes to play craaaazy muzak
www.soundclick.com/nannos
"Churr.
"Krysten"

Funny, I would have thought the people running a 2nd hand music store, presumably open minded people taking an interest in things, would have been the most receptive. I must have frightened them - turning up in a blue & white striped t shirt with a banjo, a laptop and a sunburst les paul (of nz origins in the 70s sometime - a fake gibson made by someone in their shed in an edition of one, with paua shell fretboard inlay)... they must have expected someone in de rigeur New Plymouth black clothing, like the uniform at New Plymouth Boys' High (and my time there basically sucked), and especially with a name like Dave Black. I thought the gig in January went quite well - they've got a decent venue, they could be having a regular series of gigs by touring performers & locals.

...& of course the only gig of mine that my parents have come to to date was the one where one of the band got drunk and then naked.

& then there was that (in)famous bad review in NZ Musician.

& strumming guitar on a porch in Melbourne someone yelled "you're terrible!"

& a neighbour in Nelson wrote a poorly-speeled letter abusing me for practicing drums.

& I used to open for Sticky Filth playing solo acoustic guitar & harmonica.

& I played with a 12-piece free noise ensemble at Sweetwaters '99.

& I got kicked out of Wellington (believe? - T/F).

& Liz Barry said my music was "just too weird" to play on Homegrown.

& aren't all the great artists misunderstood at the time?

& I used to write songs but went through various breakdowns & angsty bits, so I've had to learn to walk again (metaphorically) - I'm always learning & evolving.

& now I'm living in Nelson, and wanting to play gigs in your part of the country, and to promote the new albums (Australian-novel-for-the-ear + 'best of' compilation). So I've got to find another venue in New Plymouth. And maybe the mountain weather will be good for tramping...

Oh and I went to Nelson Lakes National Park for the first time in the weekend - interesting shape, leading up through the foothills into the interior heart of the South Island. I made some field recordings of tui and bellbirds, and a robin came close but didn't sing. Would be great to do the 4-day loop sometime.

www.fiffdimension.co.nz

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March 07, 2006

anyone know a couch to stay on in Oslo?

Just got back from seeing Chris Knox & the Nothing at the Phat Club, cheered me right up. Having a band seemed a definite improvement on a drum machine, but the small Tuesday night crowd meant a lack of crowd surfing antics. I had a talk to them afterwards, interesting how Chris has left Flying Nun in favour of releasing the new album independently (with help from a distributor) - this way he gets $12.50 for each copy sold rather than $2.50 from Flying Nun. He also didn't want to be on a label as a 'heritage act'.

Meanwhile Stefan Neville the drummer (aka Pumice, for any of you who follow the NZ musical underground) shed some interesting light on his tour of Europe -
two months as an artist-in-residence in Vienna, then touring small venues to crowds of 20 people... it actually sounds like a really good way to get around. He thought the solo tour was probably easier than going with a band. That's something I have to figure out, whether to go it alone or as part of a group.

He also recommended Oslo as a good city - one of the guys on the course who spent the last couple of years in Europe said the same thing (Oslo, Edinburgh and Melbourne were his favourites).

Nelson's been fine as far as entertainment goes - doesn't feel too isolated. There's good classical and folk music, makes a change from Wellington's dub and avant garde sounds. There was an acoustic duo at the Verdict the other night who blew me away, forceful lead playing and foot-stomping to keep time. There's also the Mussel Inn in Takaka, amazing venue. Deep South are a good folk band, with guitar and three-part vocal harmonies. Mike the leader is a 51 year old who writes great songs that are recognisably from a NZ perspective rather than copying English or American folk. He told me he hasn't made much money but at least he's done what he wanted to with his life. Then there was Minuit (some well-considered lyrics along with the electro beats) in the weekend, Chris Knox and classical guitarist Slava Grigoryan this week, and Sabot next week.

I made a couple of contacts in Brisbane, looks like playing over there in July should be doable. They sent me an abstract film on DVD of shifting morphed images with an electronic soundtrack. I should get some kind of video together to play along with live?

I'm also organising a couple of North Island gigs for April. I had a good time in New Plymouth in January, and it's my hometown, so I could play there again in Easter. See if I can build an audience there? Then go have a look at East Cape, the one part of the country I've not yet been to? And then play in Wellington (and Palmerston Nth?) on the way back down?

I just need to confirm dates, but it's hard when people don't answer their emails...

www.fiffdimension.co.nz

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