Sunday, 24 June 2012

Coffee and Country.


The Skink with the think in his head.

Once there was a skink, and I’m tempted to think,
That this skink had a think in his head.
He flew far away, travelled night and travelled day,
Till he sat by a river, and said:

“I am a skink, and skinks like to think,
Though it sometimes doesn’t do us much good.
We think all the time (and because skinks like to rhyme),
We think much much more than we should!”

“The problem with thought”, said the skink who was thinking,
“Is that it often distracts us from life”.
But he continued to think that thought in his head,
Till that thought in his head caused him strife.

He thought it longways and upwards, and leftwise and right.
He thought it under and over with all of his might.
He thought it forwards and backwards, and down to the ground.
Then back up to the top, and d’you know what he found?

The thought that he’d thunk wouldn’t leave him alone!
The skink was trapped thinking, and was all on his own.
This thought that he’d thunk wouldn’t do him much good,
And besides which, I’ve said, he thought it more than he should.

So this thought in question that’s the think of our skink,
Why’d he think it so much, and why’d his heart sink?
Well, this thought was sad and made our skink blue,
And he couldn’t stop thinking, so what more could he do?

He knew if he thought it, it could ruin his day,
But skinks like to think, what more can I say?
“Well, I need a plan”, our little skink said,
“That’ll help me not to think such thinks in my head!”

So, the skink sat to think, low down by that river,
And as the hot sun set our little skink shivered,
But he stayed there till night, to think of a plan,
And think hard he did, as only skinks can!

So after hours of thought, sat there by that river,
He cried, “I’ve got a plan, I just need think BIGGER”.
“I need to smile and grin!” he said,
“To help me not to think these thinks in my head!”

Really, in truth, the skink wanted to be happy.
He wanted to forget and be a normal skink chappy.
So he started pretending in order to smile.
Our little skink thought happy! (If just for a while).

But the problem with the skink, as I’ve already said,
Is that he just couldn’t help think that think in his head.
Though he tried and he tried to shove it right out,
In his dreams it crept back and he’d let out a shout.

“Can I ever forget?” our little skink cried!
“Am I destined to always have this sadness inside?
Can I really let go?” our little skink said,
“Will I always have this awful think in my head?”

And d’you know, often that think was still there.
In the odd word, a look or occasional nightmare.
Often that think did rear its sorry head,
But the skink could try to think another think instead.

So little by little, and bit by bit,
Perhaps the skink would get rid of it.
Perhaps in time he’d be all right,
Perhaps he wouldn’t lay wide-awake at night.

Perhaps on a sunny day he’d feel OK,
Perhaps eventually he’d just find a way,
Perhaps some time he’d feel really glad,
To let go of that think and the life he’d once had.

And that’s where we leave that lonesome low skink,
The one with the head filled right up with think.
He’ll probably just keep thinking, sat where he’s sat,
Until realises he could be better that.

But…..much later…..

(There’s one more thing about our skink left unsaid,
Eventually he forgot that awful think in his head,
One day he smiled, but a real smile instead,
And he went off happy and thoughtless, home to bed.)


This week has been a sleeves up affair, except for a few sleeves down setbacks.  I’ve been pushing on and trying to find fun and distraction in such places as it might be found. I’ve spent my last week (for the time being) in Melbourne, partied lots and tried to make plans for what happens next. I have begun to see a pattern emerging.

Other than posting photos of my trip so far and ‘liking’ a few bits and kibbles, i’ve found that the “internet” and Facebook in particular (being the omi-present harbinger that it is) is the place that I connect most with being made to feel shit. Of course it’s my fault for using it in a manner that leads to my grumbling sorrow. This week I’ve realised that however false I feel when I say “Ignorence is indeed bliss”, it is indeed true, and I’m better off staying away from things that I know are gonna fuck me up… as the old saying goes.

I’ve begun to feel a begrudging numbness. I feel a kind of exsistance that is possible through lying to oneself, consistantly. You can’t see me because my hands are over my face.
Some things that I’ve felt shift this week have lead me to believe that the choice to be happier is mine, and some things I’ve noticed have been circumstantial and an imagining of what can happen depending entirely on how I see a situation in the immediacy of the moment.

My ridiculous schoolboy nightmares have nearly passed and are now more sad and confusing than excruciating and hellish. Not to say I haven’t had dreams that have been gut-wrenchingly beautiful in their masterfully engineered sorrow, but thankfully I no longer wake sweating and with a lust for revenge and compensation.

In a way I was sad to say goodbye to Melbourne for a month. I was so extremely lucky to find a group of friends I would genuinely say are friends (despite me knowing them all a very short amount of time). Hancock, Albert, Maddog, Nina, Shaylie, Siena, Liam, Lewis, Ruby, Dave, Dave and Kyle, I’m talking to you. Thanks for being brilliant, understanding, funny and drunk with me. I’ll see you all before I go back to the UK I’m sure.

My top 5 places that I drank too much coffee in Fitzroy:

1) The Provenance (simply bitchin’ coffee and service…thanks Stew and Knives x)
2) Atomica (Awesome and tasty, not too hot and not too cold...Goldilocks coffee)
3) The Black Cat (I drank here lots..... Cheers Nina x)
4) ICI (great food too, but deep dark coffee goodness at its best)
5) The Convent (beautifully made coffee and amazing surroundings)

Coffee is mad here. I’m only going to say this. It means something and is very important to the area… and I might not drink it upon my return to the UK!

I got very much into country music during my time at the house in Napier Street. Thanks, for the most part must go to Alby and Nina. Their unrelenting Deep South accents and unstoppable enthusiasm for showing me new music did the job great. Sometimes you just need an ‘in’ for some genres of music. Plenty of people (though really only a notable few with any level of success) have tried to initiate me into the world of country music. Most have failed mainly because they actually only played me country and western music, which not only is a whole other ballpark, but as it turns out, is something I actually am not into no matter how hard I try.

I found however that given the right introduction and back story I didn’t need to try to get into country. Mournful stories of heartache and despair, told with a touching simplicity made me think again and listen in a whole new way. “These things also make me sad….you understand!” I said to myself.  It was remarkable how plainly and obviously I was able to feel part of the music and the singers intentions, and moreover how many country singers were singing of the same woes that I bitch at you about here in this rambling narrative of unfocused prose.

Since my last blog, which admittedly has been a few days longer than normal in coming, I’ve been up to a fair bit…. Tell you what, I’ll let you know using my words eh? What about that? Lets get growing!!!

Last Friday I journied the meagre few yards to Chris and Kyles house where upon we began the first proper rehearsal with our new band, ‘Redbone Dead’. Possibly together for one gig only, we are basically based around Alberts soulful yet manic country guitar pickings and vocal howlings, Hancocks tech-death snare accompaniment and my all too obvious but hopefully acceptable mariachi trumpet screeching. Later we added m’boy Doug on the wrench and chain and Lewis (Kyles little bro and Nick Cave look-a-like) on lead guitar. We basically got drunk and jammed away at the three riffs we know. Well it seemed to work. I’m pretty sure none of us would say we were the best band around, or for that matter, even that we were a band at all, but music is the most powerful and intense universal language there is and connections were made that can now not be broken. As with all music, good or bad (of the sort, that is played or produced with at least an amount of soul, integrity and passion) we expressed our own feelings through our instruments, out into the air and into the ears of those unlucky enough to be there…. mostly we expressed drunk feelings. But, man, what fun. We hope to make a demo, for posterity more than anything in August!

On Saturday I dragged myself loathsome and bedraggled (and far too late) from my sleeping hole and began the preparations for Kyle and Rubys ‘Onsie’ party! Oh, and what an affair it was to be!

Doug had on a onsie that made him look like the house dog, Major. Mine was an altogether more practical offering and I went in Alberts spare welding overalls. I thought I looked quite dashing. Every made the effort and we piled into our local ‘The Prov’ to drink, drink and drink some more. Redbone Dead kicked off, drinks went flying, tales were wailed and dances were flailed. Our first gig was memorable, in that it definitely happened, and I’ve seen photos that prove I was there, but musically we’ve got a bit of growing to do… that's all I’m saying…. All hail the Redbone Dead!
Redbone Dead. Mariachi-thrash-country-bluegrass-punkcore pioneers.

Once again, Sunday didn’t happen.

On Monday I did something, that as lame as it sounds I’ve never done before. I went to the cinema on my own. I watched Prometheus. Much fun I thought! I wanted more answers however and was bummed that although in a linear sense it was an impossibility for Riply to have shown up, if the writers had tried hard enough I’m sure she could have popped in for a one liner or two! In the evening the whole house of people landed in a pile on Alberts bed to watch the first Terminator movie. Fiiiiiiiiilllllllllllmmmmm! Dush Dush Dush Dush Dush!!!!! All this and I was gifted a new and deeply moving nickname. Simmo Dobbo….. great!

On Tuesday I got my hair cut…. $28 with a free beer. I’m in! I got this weird mullety mohowky thing that I think looks at the very least, interesting if not altogether conventionally cool. I thought I’d got a hip buzz but Doug thought I looked like a creepy teacher. Albert on the other hand was overwhelmed with redneck sympathy and loved it!

Wednesday meant tourist time (not sure why) and so I packed all my things being that I was in my last day in the city before flying to warmer climbs in Brisbane. I walked out in near gale force winds and headed to the Melbourne museum where I enjoyed a whole variety of stuffed animals, geodes, exhibitions and interactive gubbins before finding out that my weight in gold would mean that I was worth $3,701,899. Not bad eh…. anyone wanna start some kind of scam with me?

I also found out that when you are on your own people aren’t constantly judging you on why you are on your own. They are not, despite what my head would have me believe, whispering that I am some kind of idiot loner who can’t tie his own shoelaces or find his way out of the complex at the end of the day. I have discovered that of the three or four times that I have genuinely felt happy since I’ve been in Australia, three or four of those times have been when I’ve been entirely alone and of some kind of mission. Telling. I think my next four weeks are going to be a great and exciting learning curve. I feel like child learning all over again. You’re never really alone. There’s always music, imagined or otherwise.

On Wednesday night I gathered a few friends at ‘The Cat’ and got stuck in. I drank far too much cider, but had a lovely night with Doug, Siena, Janita, Albert, Dave and Nina, culminating in drunken story telling, reassurance and more country music. I went to bed with a list of albums to upload as long as my arm.

So, Thursday arrived and I blag a taxi to the airport $20 cheaper than normal. Sweet. I have an ipod full of country and happy making bluegrass and fly to Brisbane to meet my old school friend Andrew, who I haven’t seen since 2007. We drink and smoke and stay up way too late. It’s like no time has passed and both relish the idea that we have five years of musical conversation to catch up on! Never have so many albums been shown to so few people in so little time. Just how I like it!

this thing wot I found.
The next morning Brisbane is baking hot. It is literally amazing what a bit of vitamin D can do for the lightness of ones soul. I walked all the way into the city following the river and drink in the suns every last ray. Brisbane (or at least the most watery parts) are service by the CityCat, a super fast catamaran that shoots up and down the river ferrying commuters and tourist alike around the main business district of the town. It felt really good not knowing where I was going but following my nose regardless. I spent half the day whizzing up and down the great river and all for the cost of fuck all. I also must have walked a good 5 miles between stops and through town and soon I came to the botanical gardens and the South Bank. In the early afternoon light this place was stunning. Terraces in a fire of bloom and studious types relaxing in the warmth. I chose my spot. Inhaled. Exhaled. Felt good. Drank a beer. Felt better. Started writing a poem. Felt purged and proud.

Eventually when the rays had exited my personal field of coverage I walked back across the goodwill bridge, stopping half way to see the sun set and drink (another) coffee. I walked through the botanical gardens an put the new PJP band album as loud as it would go into my cans. Oh how my spirits began to fly. Happiness? Abandon? So this is how it felt! By the end of my 30 minute walk and having listened to ‘I am a Racer’ on repeat I was very nearly dancing my way through the balmy heat of the evening kick out rush hour and feeling so good I was almost high. And it was free! I met my friend Andrew, sunk a few beers and after heading home to change we trekked to a joint called ‘The HiFi”. Very cool. Except that you always need ID in Oz. I’d forgotten. Well, an annoying but unavoidable $40 cab journey later and we get into the show. The crowd reminds me of the crowd in the club in ‘Buffy’. What was that called….I cant remember. Trendies, hipsters, throwbacks, bogans, goths, dreads, 90’s freaks and punks mingled to hear a thumping bunch of reggae bands skank away the night. We lose our minds and float away.

Andrew, his gal Jess and I.
On Sunday morning, groggily it must be said, we got out of bed and put on our glad rags and met Andrews girlfriend for another first for me. A day at the races. Wow! Like, really? Uh huh, a day at the races. The poshest thing ever. I had a shirt, tie and hat, but no shoes or trousers. I borrowed them, and although not my normal cut (I’ve been in skinnies for years now) we hit the track. Madness and too much white wine, but very fun, and it was only after the champange started to flow that I realised that I looked for all the world like Charlie Chaplin (minus the Hitler tash and cane). Too funny! The race was on to find a cane. No luck, but fun trying. I even placed a bet. We went simply on the funniest horses names. I chose 'Gay Deceiver'. Who wouldn’t? Obviously it came in last, and I lost $2! Later we bet $6 either way between us on a horse called 'Ginga Dude' and we won $50… Swings and roundabouts eh?! Oh an we blagged our way into the poshest marque ever and drank as much free wine as we could before feeling so lowly and out of place that we legged it and rejoined the collective.

Now its today and we’ve taken it easy. We’re gonna stay up real late and watch the England v Italy football match, not that either of us is into football, but it seems a funny thing to do. The beers are in the fridge.

We plan to make a road trip to the jungle on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I get another tattoo. Not telling what of yet. All that and I still gotta see my friends Deano and Claire yet! Phew.

Upon leaving Melbourne I felt a sense of foreboding and adventure in the air. I feel it now even as I type these pretentious words. I cannot wait to get off on my own to see how I do. I’m gonna head to Byron Bay to chill for a few days before trying to find adventure up north where the rocks steam and the ocean boils.

I’ll try to ensure that the blogs continue while I’m off adventuring, but without my laptop they may be much more basic. Its all about the lyrics though right?
Much much love to my home tribe in Plymouth. May the gin soaked carriages and blood ivory tower see you through the night and deliver you warm home to your loved ones and friends.

Keep in touch y’all. Email is ever so easy. I wont be offended if any of you fancy keeping me up to speed with whats happening in the state of this… (thanks Rach btw x)

Until next time, Oh my brothers and sisters,

…And So it Goes


Thursday, 14 June 2012


IMPORTANT: Unless you've read 'A Clockwork Orange', or have a basic founding in slavic futurist propagandan Russian (?) you might find part 1. of this weeks blog a little hard to digest... for translations please refer to the glossary here.


"... Oh my Brothers and only friends, on this day I have seen that all of ones jeezny is about realisation and acceptance. The problem is that both of these states are hard to achieve when you feel half beezoomny already. A cally situation indeed.....unfair bog above.

Your humble narrator does not know which way to turn and although I don't feel as razdrazzled or baddiwad right now as I did last week I feel no less confused, out of place and still on my oddy-knocky. I feel that my identity has been crasted away from me. When I look in the mirror the litso I viddy is unfortunately that of a starry chelloveck, oh my brothers. Trying to viddy who onesy was or who onesy should be is very difficult and just to find peace of mind without getting so easily drawn back into the grahzny reality of my train-wreck jeezny is near impossible. Everything I viddy and everything I slooshy of the ptitsa I loved so much makes me feel like creeching and blubbing. That's no way to live; to feel a nazz all the time?! 

I cannot stop the old red krovvy flowing over this devotchka. To accept the realisation that the ptitsa perhaps 'loves' me but is not 'in love' with me must be one of the most stracky, cally things to pony in ones vonny jeezny. Especially when I can see no fault lying at my own grahzny nogas. But, I fear, oh kind friends, that I cannot start to rebuild my plott and enjoy my train-wreck life until I take a glazzy at this painful truth, and break from these oozies.

The nochy-mares still visit most days but have decreased in there oozhassny viciousness to a level of dull pressing sickness and incessancy, allowing me to at least fall into the old spatchka, one nochy in two. Slooshying choodessny music from my droogs back home has been one of the only veshchs to keep me smiling. Having also had the old needles stick me with their inkfull blackyness three times already has increased my physical pain, but not decreased the mental! So much for that vareet!!!

How does one simply let go of seven years of jeezny? Ignore it and turn ones gulliever the other way? How do you unlearn so much learning? how do I forget, when my heart, oh dear brothers, be loveted?!

Devotchkas don't seem pretty, music sounds all cally, swilling the firegold and suds keeps me sober, pischa tastes rotten and sleep consistently invites.
I spend most of my time smoking the cancers and peeting the coffee....tis where most of my cutter goes.

I find myself in the midst of bolnoy once again and my plott aches daily. I have to pretend to every veck else, just to avoid seeming screaming beezoomny! It is true that we are what we pretend to be, oh my brothers, but pretending is a cally, grahzny business, my friends, and you are bound to get found out eventually.

My slovos are told like this to prevent your shilarny and worry (my appy polly loggies for the mystery), but those malchickiwicks and ptitsas in the know or willing to put in a malenky bit of work will be able to understand my slovos. I have a real proper horroshow gang of droogs here, and we have fun, but I find myself constantly missing; the never-present narrator...... oh, to smeck again!

I must press on, dratsing with my rookers held high....lest I snuff it!!!!
In just over one week this friendly nadsat goes to Brisbane to warm his heart and soul.

I will visit you in yet another guise next week....for now, oh my brothers and only friends, I must itty off to another mesto...."


Another funny week. Sometimes genuinely funny.....sometimes just weird funny or not funny, funny.

I've been genuinely trying to distance myself from my perceived former life out here. But the internet being, as it is, an omnipresent harbinger, it's never that easy. Sometimes you just stumble upon stuff huh?! I've been practicing the age old ancient Chinese art of 'not letting everything I see utterly fuck me up'. Right now it seems to be working.......right now.

I've been finding myself being pretty quiet though. 

Sometimes my mind is filled with a silent but sonorous inner monologue. Poetry, music, madness and darkness, gliding around, pushing and prodding me into confusion and crisis. Sometimes my mind is filled with nothing, nada, static. I realise however that everyone has my best interests at heart when I hear them say "why so quiet", or "what's wrong". Sometimes "it's probably better not to get into it", I say. 

It strikes me that one simply cannot be quiet anymore. And though I know I have reason, it 'just isn't the done thing'. If, at a party, you stand alone and stare out of a window, you are a weird, lonesome, pathetic idiot. Yet with a cigarette in hand, you are a fucking philosopher.

Though, fear ye not, oh fearers of thine knots, I'm having a good time out here in Oz. Much in the same way I was having a good time in Plymouth before I left. That kind of unfocused, slightly unreal, numb, pretend fun that it is possible to have regardless of how messed up you feel. Perhaps all this pretending will solidify into reality at some point eh? Perhaps I use the word perhaps too much..... perhaps.

It's true to say that my physical state isn't the strongest it's ever been and obviously this will effect my mental state greatly. I do understand that the old adage "You'll get better when you're sick of being sick" is correct, I've seen it in motion, but quite how to apply this to my current life situation is blinding at best, but.....oh fuck it, i'll work it out.

I promised myself months ago now that I would not let things make me bitter and cynical (lord knows i've seen enough of that over the last year), but I can already feel myself thinking that I was too soft in many parts of my life. A walk over, unattractive and pathetic. But.....oh fuck it, i'll work it out...

Onwards, once again, to the good stuff....

So, "what have you been up to?" I hear you cry in your millions untold. "Please tell, Simon!" I hear you shout in unison, as if the very heavens themselves were to demand of my tales and tomes....

Well....bits and bobs, as it goes.

On Thursday I was honoured to be asked to conduct the Kew Band from Melbourne for the night (Former Aussie Champions don't you know!!!). The band were on their last rehearsal before their break and I was essentially on holiday so this was a great, relaxed way for us to make music together for the evening. I was able to be a slightly less hardcore version of my conducting self for the night, not a situation a conductor will find themselves in all that often. Much fun. I was very lucky that the band were open to playing through some on the compositions wot i've written in recent years and although the music sounded fairly far-out to start with the band gave it some and ended up finding pretty clear musical direction and making a good sound. They could swing too!!! 

The bands normal conductor, a lovely gent by the name of Mark Ford asked if I could run the band through some sight-reading and presented me with the fearsome, fiendish, primal, hideous and sarcastic 'Blitz' by pommie composer Derek Bourgeois. "Uh huh", I said, "let's hit it!!!!!!". Despite the ferocious nature of this music the band coped pretty well and we spent a real fun hour smashing our way through the deepest, darkest recesses of a brilliant mind and coming to a thunderous close bang on finishing time. It was a real pleasure to be welcomed so warmly.... hopefully I'll get to work with them all again sometime.

Waving my arms around, often with gusto, infront of the wonderfully welcoming Kew Band, Melbourne.
Following a chance meeting with a jazz dude in the local coffee hangout, the Black Cat last week, I was advised to book a ticket for a gig that marked the last night of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. The show last Friday was called 'Future Now', and as the name suggests showcased the possible future direction of Jazz. The show was expensive and very nearly sold out, so I got straight on it and booked my $70 ticket and made my way into town. 

Anyone who has read my former blogs will know that confidence has been an issue. Baby steps. I didn't know the guy who asked me to go to the gig, or anyone else there, but got hooked up with someone to meet for dinner before hand. I walked to a cool japanese restaurant in Swanston St. and called 'some random chick' (that was just to make myself feel cooler, she was actually called Gemma!). She and her friend, an Australian called (and I shit you not) Rory Patrick O'mally, invited me to eat dinner with them, and they were dead cool. We got a few cocktails in us and sauntered over to the gig. The show was at Melbournes Forum. A serious venue.... Never quite seen a stage surround like it.....honestly felt for all the world that the gig was outdoors in 17th Century Italy. Sick. Have a butchers here.

First on stage was Bobby McFerrins son, Taylor, playing a live vocal beatbox and production set. Sickness. He opened with his dads 'Thinkin' about your body' and tore the place up. One man with a mic. Skills. Next up was smooth jazz crooner Jose James and his tight band, including an off the hook Japanese afro-sporting trumpeter called Takuya Kuroda. They were good, but didn't really rock my boat that much....however, last up was the 'Robert Glasper Experiment'. Holy sweet jebus. You know when you hear music that you've never heard anything like before? I stood mesmerised for two hours, screaming "Blow man, Blow!" like some deranged version of Kerouac's Sal Paradise, while they rocked, flew and slid their way through and around every genre i've ever heard, inventing new ones with every measure and beat. SAVAGE!!!! needless to say when they finished with a future fusion, vocoder rippin' version of 'Teen spirit' I barged and elbowed my way to the merch counter, Nuff said. Do yourselves a favour and check them out here

Rory, Gemma and I.
The Forum, Melbourne.

I had fun. I returned home exhausted to find my house mate Albert and friends Liam and Dave, smashed and tattooing each other (that seems to happen a lot here as i'll explain later). After a few shots I fell tired as hell into a fitful sleep whilst my friends went out on an inevitably unfruitful search for a booze filled house party to crash.

Saturday....we all surfaced groggily at about midday and shrugged at each other. After breakfast (I had blood orange martinis) we ended up at the bottle shop (the offy for us pommes) and soon were with our lovely talented friends Kyle and Chris "Hancock" (read last blog for stuff wot is about Chris and his awesome artings). Saturday descended into party madness and was hectic to say the least. My friend Liam, it turns out, is pretty handy with a tattoo gun and so set about inkin' my arm up good. I thought some more Dylan, to match my left arm would be good. This time, the ever perfect 'Keep on Keepin' on' struck me straight between the eyes and with some original "Hancock" text (people pay serious money for that shit here) we were off.....amidst crazy girls doing interpretive dance to Prince, Liam held his nerve and did a great job, I love it, thanks mate. I'm sure you've seen the pix. It hurt like hell. A great night... 

(Oh, and I inadvertently became involved in the ad-hoc birth of a new band.... A mariachi country mash, albert and 'hancock'. We have our first thrown together gig on Saturday night, opening a onesie party at another local coffee haunt, the providence, for Ruby and Kyles joint birthday thats gotta be joy!)

Sunday didn't happen.....

Monday blustered in, but then cleaned up to a beautiful, sparse, cold blue dream. We played frisbee in the park, an excuse to exercise the house dog Major (HE IS A GOOOOOOD BOY!), then I went to get another tattoo (I'm on it!)....this time a wonderful design by my friend Jim Nolan. I reckon he didn't even know I was gonna do this, and certainly didn't design it as such, but the thoughtfulness, focus and energy of the whole thing seemed too perfect. So a few hours and $200 bucks later, I'm the proud owner of my first back piece. Curious in design, sure, but cool as hell!!!! A magikal symbol, known as a 'sigil', enfused with the creators belief and desires. Thanks bro..... 

Thanks're a legend.

Tuesday I became a tourist again and went to visit both the Melbourne Aquarium and NGV (the National Gallery of Victoria), The Aquarium was ace....I literally felt like a kid again....oooooh sharks.....MASSIVE SHARKS!!!! and penguins. Ninja. 

Lemon and Lime
The Gallery was amazing too. Saw a huge show of beautiful Aboriginal art. Made me think. I honestly think from the small pickings of evidence that i've seen here so far that the plight of the indigenous people of Australia is a huge bloody stain on the modern countrys consciousness. The heritage trails and art galleries seem like mere lip-service considering that most aboriginal people i've seen so far have been unfortunate and likely blame-free drunks, shouting on street corners....their anger no doubt a very thinly veiled commentary on the rape of their lost land. Very sad.

So, in other news, being that im mostly out of the loop (thank god) with what has been released recently in the UK, I thought i'd write a few sparing and paltry words on the latest album i've heard. Admittedly I cannot profess to be much of a review writer, nor can I claim to be anything but utterly biased, but the new (yet to be released) album by my three oldest friends 'The Patrick James Pearson Band' is surely going to be hailed as a work of art. 

Perhaps (there it is again!) that may seem like quite a claim. Think of it like this. I live my life as a professional musician. I'm sure what I do and create isn't to everyones liking, very often not even my own, but I would be a blind fool if I had not over the years noticed that certain friends of mine had placed a certain amount of faith and confidence in my musical opinion. Yes, i've know the band members forever. Yes, I'm on the record. Yes, I was there whilst the album was recorded, but nothing could really prepare me for listening to the final mix of the album end to end.

The band recently won the listeners choice award on the BBC Radio 1 review show with Edith Bowman. One of the reviewers said the song 'I am a Racer' wasn't his thing because it was too earnest. I feel sorry for that person. Thank god I say! A group of musicians cutting through the hype filled mediocrity that the music industry seems to drag from even the most incorruptible  musicians! '...And so it goes' is a whole album of joyous, and, yes earnest songs, to make you dance, laugh, cry AND FUCKING THINK! I'm not going to go into too much detail except to say that this album is one of the rare records where there isn't a filler track on it. Every track is worth something and came from a place of truth and meaning. If you believe that modern popular music is worth anything at all, please have faith in my ramblings and get behind this record from the start to the end. Teaser trailers to release this will be an important piece of art for my three oldest and most valued comrades and I think for the wider musical world!!! Yeah.....I said it! Check out the PJP band here

Anyhoooo......It's winding up to my last week in Melbourne before I head to old friends, new music and adventure afresh in Brisbane (don't worry, i'll bore you with another blog before too long). I cannot wait to get to real adventuring now. I need to cut loose and get into some scrapes.....and once again try to lose this funk for good! In the next week I'm going to play a Mariachi country gig, plan some things and do some stuff..... sorry I can't be more to the point right now. Its 10:30 and I drank too many pots at The Grace Darling.

I'll leave you with a comment I saw written on a wall near the National Gallery here in Melbourne. Its kinda morose, but it made me laugh.....darkly.

"Life, it would appear, and I wouldn't assume to be the first person to have thought this, is a disease. Sexually transmitted and invariably fatal".

Take that as you will....
As ever I've really enjoyed writing. I think I enjoy the technical side of composing words because I know deep down I should be composing notes....guilt free non-creativity! More about that anon. I have some great blog ideas in the pipeline....

Please feel free to follow this blog, comment, RT, share or whatever the hell you please.

Much love to my tribe in Plymouth. Pat, Mike, Tim, Angelique, Rach, Vicky, Jono, (other) Tim, Kev, Josie etc etc etc etc to my family, and love to the gin strewn, junkie ridden benches of our fair town.

oooooh, the dots......

Until next time, oh my brother and sisters.

...and so it goes.


Oh, and I've been thinking a lot about this

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Dark and Stormy.


"And so, as the wind changes, so does the mood…

A great depression shakes me from my bunk and I am charged nocturnally with nightmares and terrors the like of which I have never known. Each time the rum soaked day cajoles me back to sanity my own mind pulls me back into the gloom, creating ever more painfull and disgusting ways to taunt me, finding ever more artistic and macarbre angles with which to draw sorrow screaming from my dry mouth. Seeing things so eternally hurtful and being unable to shed but a single tear. Hearing words so hateful I can but only wish to haul the world from its roots, yet when I try to scream my throat is mute; bereft of its chance to mourn. Being laughed at again, and again, and again, and again, and again, by the one I wanted the most.....She.

The dream world is a cruel and remorseless plane.

I awake, exhausted, to wish I could sleep, but am only too aware of what may happen if I do. So I sit with crooked neck and stare out of my small cabin window. The skys are no longer the rich blue they were but have turned a heavy grey. The temperature has dropped too, effecting the spirits of all. My own are laden to say the least. The wind batters the glass, and I admit to wondering how I will ever lift this haze of depression that so clouds my mind and judgement.

Having reached news from afar and seeing my fellow countrymen celebrating queen and country into the night with such wonderful music, it is fair to say that there have not been many occasions on which I have felt the arc of distance between them and I quite so keenly as I do now, nor do I wish there to be many more.

To my own regret and alarm I have felt a great many dark thoughts melt past one another, slickly sliding like the many other monsters of the deep. It is beyond me to know what to do for the best, except to traverse this grey day, try to sleep off its ill effects and start all over again on the morrow. No part of me was fool enough to think that this was not a possible outcome of a lonesome 12’000 mile journey, nor did I think that the sailing would always be plain, but I feel the hold of melancholy so tightly that I fear I may lose my own grip. 

It is not unknown for a man to succumb to such sadness and decay on such lonely nights on a dark and stormy sea…"


It has been an interesting week. At least, I could never say it had been uninteresting, though interesting may perhaps be the wrong word. I think my last caffeine and adrenaline fueled post was written very much in a state of change and displacement and while I was excited I think my brain was yet to adjust to its new surroundings and distance. Not that everything has been woeful, far from it; but I have found this week challenging and alien in equal parts.

It was always my intension to detail my time away with whatever openness and honesty I could muster and so please forgive the slightly darker tone of these scrawlings. I would do myself a disservice if I simply wrote about milkshakes and haircuts (though I will indeed tell of them both) so I'm gonna give it to you straight, all be it probably with a healthy dose of pretentious rhetoric thrown in for good measure.

I have found myself feeling very alone at times, despite the growing group of nice people I've been lucky enough to meet and hangout with in Fitzroy so far. Feelings that I for the most part left behind a month or so ago have returned with a vengeance, only this time with the added weight of a 12'000 mile void. I suppose in a sense I'm lucky that i've never really felt truly alone until now. Thats what I came out here for though, right? To face this shit head on! To face loneliness, to confront insecurities, to overcome bitterness, anxiety and sadness?

Well, in theory....yes....however the reality of the situation was something that I was in hindsight probably not all that well prepared for. The one thing that is for sure, however, is that I do not want to be that person anymore and I'm getting totally fucked off with depression and nightmares.....I mean how many 30 year old men suffer insane nightmares nearly every night? Not recurring nightmares, but a truly symphonic, rhapsodic, theme and variations on the same jagged melody of painful experience. I mustn't let this crap define me though and I must learn to take my own advice.....everything seems so neat and ordered and black and white and left and right when I set it down like this for you all. It's oddly cathartic to write this shit down and intensionally invite you to become voyeurs into my weird life.

Onto the good stuff......the stuff wot i've been getting up to.

On Thursday I went to see a graffiti battle! Just like a rap battle but with two apposing street artists from Melbourne facing off over two huge canvases placed side by side....90 minutes, no spray, black on white only. I was there with my new group of friends, Kyle, Shayli, Albert, Liam, Ruby and of course my old comrade Doug. We we're all on the side of Chris "Hancock" (Kyle's fiance), all-round good guy and sick artist.... just like a rap battle, the audience members were in support of one artist or the other and just like a rap battle the artists endeavored to use their talent to diss their opponent. Our boy Chris won both the judges votes and the audience 'scream-o-meter' vote. Three out of three. Smashed it! You can see pictures of the event here. A hectic night of partying ensued and I awoke with a dull, thudding head and painted nails. Also somehow during the night my brain took a dive and I spent the next two days being darker than hell.

Friday saw some winter sunshine and I sat on the porch at the front of the house where I'm staying like a proper redneck drinking beers, smoking cigarettes and reading Hemingway. I even wore shorts for a while. Before long an impromptu gathering occurred and most of our household sat like rednecks, singing country songs and trying to keep our feet in the dwindling rays. Doug bought me a knife to start whittling with....there is a banjo here too. Yea-haaa!!!! Later that night we drank Dark and Stormys (rum and ginger beer) and talked shit into the night until I felt I had to sleep and throw myself into the nightmares again (joy).

The 'Deliverance' porch at Napier St. where I'm staying.

On Saturday, after some pretty serious sitting around and drinking too much coffee I went out on my own to see a local band called Mesa Cosa. They ruled. Mariachi thrash punk. Much fun.... I'm determined to wrangle my way into playing a mexican trumpet solo with them at a show next week (you know how much i'd nail that right!!!???)....anyway I was talking to their drummer 'knives' and he said I could, so there. After that we drank and danced the night away.... I went to bed with a feeling of foreboding..... Justified.

Having slept for a turbulent and almost pointless three hours Doug and Siena got me up at 8 a.m to take me to a crazy antique warehouse op-shop thing in the middle of nowhere. We had tea in a train and looked at old stuff till our eyes nearly fell out.... Cheese burgers, the beach boys and the best chocolate milkshake i've ever had finished our day at an American diner in South Yarra called 'Soda Rocks'.  

Monday was very......ummm......Monday. You know how Mondays are sometimes, right? Well it was like that only stormier and colder. I was darker than hell again so I cooked everyone a phat stew and it lifted the dulldrums a little. Monday, thankfully and unsurprisingly gave way to Tuesday and that was much better (waking from nightmares on tuesday morning having been the lowest of the low)! 

I went into the city on my own, a simple thing one might think. It very much is a simple thing, but something I've never really attempted before. I realise how lame that sounds, but, well, you know the score, confidence and all that. Anyhow I visited the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and had a great time on my own. I didn't even have the normal sickening levels of insecurity and uncomfortableness whilst getting well involved in all the interactive stuff that place has, so not all bad. I even got a brilliant souvenir! A flip book of myself flipping the infamous Dobson birds. Sick. I decided not to bother with the tram on the way home and walked from central Melbourne out to Fitzroy. Nice.

Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Skills.

So, Fitzroy is great. But, for me, almost too hip. I've never been anywhere this hip. So hip it hurts. And is confusing. And makes you feel unhip. All about haircuts. And Ironic Goth chicks  (yeah, uh huh, Ironic goth chicks)...however the people here seem pretty happy, and other than one guy (who was so up himself I wanted to jump of the roof of the bar we were in) nearly everyone has been sweet to me. It's just.....well, everyone here is either a pro graffiti artist, a model, a DJ or a tattoo artist. But, it takes all sorts, right? And I'm not mocking it, its certainly lively, but I'm from Plymouth..... I'll get used to it. 

The Fitzroy street art is up there with the best in the world and is genuinely something to behold. I seem to have already accidentally met most of the most famous street are crews in town.... Check out the walls here.

I've seriously never been to a place where coffee is so important... its so good here. I feel like i've spent the majority of my money so far on coffee. Money well spent. If a place don't do good coffee here, it shuts down. Hardcore, but once you've tasted the coffee and heard how passionately people talk about it you'd understand. I do like this place, and if I'm honest it's almost certainly my own mindset and headspace that has made me feel so low this last week and not my perceived vision of the area and its inhabitants. 

So, I'm gonna get a new tattoo next week, courtesy of the wonderfully kind and thoughtful Jim Nolan....what else? Oh yeah, and a mohawk too. I'm hopefully gonna conduct the local brass band here in Melbourne tomorrow night, and am going to a sick jazz gig on Friday night. Hopefully things will start looking up and i'll be able to lose this funk that is plaguing me so. It's getting pretty cold now, so I'm scheming a trip up North on the East coast to Brisbane, some winter rays and some old friends.

Don't let my dark words worry you too much. I may sound pretty fucked up, but i've no choice but get through it no matter how hard this is.....

My thought are, as ever, with my beloved blood soaked gutters of Plymouth and my ever supportive friends and family. xxxxx

Until next time, oh brothers and sisters, much love.

...And So it Goes.