Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another Sunday afternoon...

Adelaide is baking. Two days in a row of 43 degrees, on the back of a warm week, means that citizens have retreated to their darkened lounge rooms, praying that the power doesn't fail. The brick oven houses make even sitting around doing nothing seem like hard work. There are no birds in the sky. The streets are very quiet. Amazingly, the regular Sunday symphony of power tools is missing. Things must be tough...
Being perverse, I thought it might be a good day for a gig. I'd snaffled another appearance at the Burnside Library, the building with the best unplugged acoustics in Adelaide. I set myself the challenge of not playing any of the songs I'd performed on Thursday night at the SCALA gig. I dragged out a few oldies, and a few others that have disappeared from my regular repertoire for whatever reason.
Me, my 12-string, my harmonica and a handful of onlookers. A bit different to The Gov, but every bit as valid.
The venue was cool, Adelaide's population was somewhere else, and I really, really enjoyed myself.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Unrestricted views of forever

Two people, two bikes, four legs...
The Encounter Bikeway is a 60 kilometre on/off-road bike route that takes you from Goolwa to Victor Harbor, or the other way around if you are so inclined. Unable to make up our minds, we decided to attempt the return trip.
It's pretty flat, so it's only distance or weather conditions that will make it tough. Given that I hadn't been out on my mountain bike since the spring, I was just a little curious as to how I'd go.
We started out from the boat ramp at Laffin Point (Goolwa), and rode past Victor Harbor to The Bluff (Rosetta Point) before turning around. Victor was full of traffic but outside of that it was a lovely, meditative ride. The clouds gave way to blue sky around the half-way mark, the surf beaches around Middleton looked very inviting, and lunch at Port Elliot was joyous.
We rode 64 kilometres all up, starting just before 9:00 AM and finishing a little before 2:00, thanks to our rather leisurely lunch break and pretty easygoing pace all up. This was a scenic ride to enjoy, rather than race. A grand day out.
Good for the soul.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I play songs

Another night at SCALA. It's always a pleasure to play at Higher Ground - if it wasn't for the Songwriters, Composers and Lyricists Association, I would have most likely given up performing music back in the late Eighties. That fact startles me when I write it down, but it could well be true. It's even more of a pleasure to play for SCALA when I can help them out at short notice. I got the call on Tuesday night, to see if I was available for a Thursday gig. You bet.
The late-summer dusk is seducing Adelaide as we walk towards the grooviest venue in town. Inside, it's the usual pre-gig ritual. Artists trade greetings; some genuine, others perfunctory. The MC scurries around, collecting tidbits of performer information for his respective introductions. There's a proper sound guy, Chris, and a small but interested crowd. Unfortunately the hordes of David Robinson fans are absent, something to do with late notice, hair-washing duties and other important impositions...
I'm on first. I tune up, do the sound check, and get a glass of wine. Off I go.
The set is most enjoyable. Some nights it's great to be a performing songwriter. This is becoming a more common occurrence, I am very pleased to say. It's a warm evening, but the venue is cooler than usual, thanks to the new ceiling fans. The sound is good on stage, and (as I find out later) quite listenable in the front-of-house. I play a few new songs, a few oldies, and blow my harp a bit. The 12-string is firing on all cylinders. I see friendly faces singing along, which is always inspiring. I see others that are totally oblivious to the songs - something which doesn't bother me, despite sort of defeating the purpose of why I am here. No matter, each to their own. That's a challenge for me, not for them.

Thursday musings...

It's Thursday morning and I am sitting out on the front porch, reading. I've put in a good shift so far; the chores are done, I made bruschetta for breakfast (again) and I've had a quick rehearsal for tonight's gig. Now it's time to relax for a moment or two.
Two or three flies have taken an unhealthy interest in my cup of tea. They buzz the CPSU mug relentlessly. I can't concentrate on my book because I am worried about my tea. My eyes keep darting from the same sentence to the mug. Sure enough, one fly mistimes his flypast and flies into the drink. I whip him out immediately and wonder if the three-second rule applies, or if my cup of tea is ruined. He's on the ground, spluttering in boiling water, and my anger encourages me to smash him into oblivion with my heel. I decide, however, to rise above my base instincts and instead gently flick him onto the garden. I suspect he's a goner in any event. I drink the tea.
I haven't seen too many birds enjoying the birdbath in recent weeks. Maybe it's the heat, or maybe it's the presence of the cat that has taken to prowling the front garden of late. We are doing our best to discourage this feline interloper.
A hoon in a noisy car cruises past. Wraparound sunglasses, a year's worth of stubble, forearm hanging menacingly from the window, and a well-rehearsed look of uncompromising toughness. I suspect he thinks that this posturing makes him look more Scarface and less Cro-Magnon, but he's fooling nobody. What will these people do when all cars are silent? I suppose they'll get even louder car stereos...
Happy days.
The heat is coming. I can feel it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A gig at The Gov - at last!

After playing in most of Adelaide's broom cupboards and telephone boxes, I can now add the big room of the Governor Hindmarsh to my list of venues played. It was a fortunate gig to land - I was asked to play as part of a charity bash. The major element of the afternoon was a quiz function, but they needed someone to play for 45 minutes as an opener to the festivities. Being the shameless whore for gigs that I am, I said 'yes' without hesitation. It was all in a good cause, and I'd get to play The Gov!
I knocked out about ten songs, thoroughly enjoying myself, watching heads bob, feet tap and a few furtive attempts at singing along as I played. I was now treading the same sticky boards that many of my favourite musicians had done over the years.
The gig was good fun on its own merits, but I am very happy that I now have something else for my curriculum vitae.
Rock and Roll. Of sorts...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bad Back Blues

"What a drag it is, getting old"
Backache is no fun. I am generally in rude health - I ride my mountain bike, I walk most places, I lift and carry without worry, and I even manage the odd game of football. But every now and again my back goes to pieces on me.
It's a legacy of an injury I suffered about five years ago. It came out of nowhere, and laid me flat for days. It took months to get over completely but I am happy to report that, these days, relapses are a rare occurrence indeed.
But the spectre lingers. It has taught me to concentrate when I am working around the place, to focus on my abdominal corset when lifting, and to take just that little bit of extra care when physical exertion is required.
It took me by surprise last Sunday. It just got lucky. Unluckily for me.
The upshot is that I've been off work but, because I am immobile, I haven't been able to do very much. I just lie around, reading, eating and drinking. I feel like a Roman Emperor!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

And your bird can sing...

Next door's apple tree is full of fruit. It's that time of year. I'm not sure if the apples are sweet and tasty, or hard, bitter items - like some people I've met over the years. Anyhow, the brightly coloured, chatterbox Rainbow Lorikeets have discovered the apples, and are presently spending an unhealthy amount of time in the tree, gorging themselves. They were the same at our last house - not interested in the stone fruit (well, apart from the plums) - just the apples. Life is good in Adelaide right now if you are an apple-eating parrot, I guess.

I just wish that they would take 20 bites out of one apple, instead of one bite out of 20 apples...

No manners!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fruits of the garden

Because the summer has been relatively mild thus far, we haven't had to battle the blistering heat as much as in recent years. 2009's November/December heatwave ruined most of our vegetables. This year, our garden has provided much joy. Beautiful, plump tomatoes of all shapes and sizes have been harvested, with the promise of more to come. Our peaches are sweet and juicy, and free of bugs (or poisons). Garlic, capsicum, chili, basil, eggplant and many others are finding their way from the garden to our table.
This morning we sat down to bruschetta, consisting in the main of tomatoes, basil and garlic - all from the garden. The bread we used for the toast was made here in our own kitchen.

Such a nice feeling!