Sunday, July 31, 2011


July has been a pretty good month for gigs. I've made a total of nine appearances, and only two of them saw me playing less than half a dozen songs.
As well as the usual open mic spots, I've played gigs at the Metropolitan, the Ambassadors, and the Burnside Library. The highlight was a well received two-hour show at The Ambassadors. I had to drag a few songs out of the vault, and resuscitate others, just to make sure I had enough originals to fill the time slot. I did throw in a couple of covers...
So, it's been a good month, musically speaking. Long may it continue.

photo copyright © Stewart Cook 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

End of leave

My leave is almost over. I haven't been quite as industrious as I would have liked, but it has been a good break.
I've done just about enough to convince me that my work rate has been satisfactory, but I've also drunk a lot of wine, eaten a lot of food, and watched a lot of telly.

That's fine by me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blaxploitation and Zombies

Having a little time on your hands can be a wonderful thing. I've had the pleasure of watching a few low-budget classics while I've been on leave.
Penitentiary (I & II), The Black Godfather, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Sugar Hill (1974 version), The Big Doll House, The Black Street Fighter, The Big Bird Cage, Zombie Holocaust and The Black Six have all been part of my holiday viewing schedule. I've found this concentrated experience to be a most enjoyable ride.
Most of these films look like they were made on a budget of around a thousand bucks. Some of the dialogue is cringeworthy, but the majority is just plain B-movie gold. The perfect antidote for the winter blues.

Oh, and just to remind myself that there other types of films, I've also watched the excellent Lost in Translation and Adaptation.

Monday, July 25, 2011


While walking around the neighbourhood, I've noticed that blossom is appearing on a few of the trees. This is great news for anyone waiting for the longer days and the warmer weather. It is another sign that we are heading in the right direction.
We are now well past the Winter Solstice, although it is still dark when I walk to work in the mornings. Not that I've been doing that in the last couple of weeks. The evenings seem a little lighter.
It is forecasted to hit 20 degrees on Thursday. That sounds very pleasant indeed.

I suppose it won't be very long until we have to put up with folks whinging about Daylight Saving and carping about the heat.
Humans are funny.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Writer's cramp

It's been a productive few weeks for David Robinson, boy reporter. Writing takes time and energy, and the pay-off moments are often few and far between. It is most pleasurable, then, to find oneself in the midst of something of a purple patch.
In the last month or so I have written and submitted mountain biking pieces for Cycle magazine and the nationally distributed Australian Cyclist. The articles focus on my latest Mawson Trail odyssey and my usual Sunday morning ride respectively. Hopefully both will see the light of day soon.
I have also had music-flavoured articles published in SCALA News, Infolkus, and Trad & Now. This is the first time I've appeared in Infolkus and Trad & Now, so I was pretty happy to see my name in their pages.
Hopefully this trend will continue. It makes me happy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Musical interlude

I've just started a fortnight's leave. Fantastic.
Holidays generally involve me embarking on some sort of project or adventure; this short break will probably see me doing as little as possible. I am hoping to take it easy at home, escape the bleak extremes of winter, and spend my days doing comfortable, pleasurable things. Musical things, most likely...
I have websites to update/redesign, songs to write, new musical equipment to work out, and more than my fair share of minor chores to manage. On the other hand, I have loads of films to watch, guitars to play, and comfort food to eat.
We shall see how things pan out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"...for we are young and freezing"

I spent most of last week in Canberra. I arrived on Tuesday and flew home on Friday. It was, unsurprisingly, extremely fresh. Mid-July is never going to be warm in the capital. The skies were blue though and the days had a sunny disposition, which made it quite pleasant despite the chill. I was reminded of my longer stints in the city, over the course of a couple of winters back in 1995 and 1996. Despite being a long way from home, they were fun times.
I got to spend a couple of my evenings at The Phoenix; it is a most agreeable place. It would be good to get a gig there sometime. I wish it was just around the corner from my house...
I also picked up some more cut-price horror DVDs from Landspeed Records - Dario Argento and Tobe Hooper collections, as well as a couple of cinematic masterpieces; the evocatively named Zombie Flesh Eaters and Zombie Holocaust. I remember watching both of them when living in share houses back in the day.

Canberra can be fun.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Well, it's been a long time. After lying dormant for few years, underutilised and undercover, my Honda deserved some love.
I finally got around to getting the old girl looked at in late 2009. I thought it probably needed points, a new battery, and a couple of other minor things. Nope. It needed plenty of work, and I was going to have to pay, and wait, if I wanted a functioning bike again.
I didn't see the bike for just over a year, and was very happy to regain possession of it in mid-April. Unfortunately, Mawson Trail mountain bike rides, work, bronchitis and music commitments have made it difficult for the two of us to spend any quality time together.

That all changed this morning.

Welcome back, Honda.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Friday on my mind...

It's Friday night and I'm playing a two-hour show at The Ambassadors. For someone who relies almost solely on originals, this is a pretty big ask.
My setlist comprises all of my songs that I know well, and don't mind playing, as well as a host of songs I almost never play. Plus a few covers courtesy of Billy Bragg, Alistair Hulett, Joy Division and Wreckless Eric. Thanks guys, the cheque's in the mail.
The bar is filled with after-work drinkers in various stages of disrepair, and I wonder if the level of weekend-welcoming inebriation is the reason why I'm going down so well. Not that I am bothered, a win is a win. Without wishing to put too finer point on things, they love me.
It's nights like this that remind me why I play for people. And play for myself.

As usual, the time passes quickly and I sense that my singing, my harmonica and my 12-string have passed the audition. I could do this every week; it might be time to seek out a residency somewhere...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A good day

Some days, everything falls into place.

This morning, the radio shattered my pre-dawn escapism as per usual, and I rose and went about preparing myself for workaday drudgery. At least it was my half-day.
I'd forgotten that we had planned to drive to work, so I walked in without thinking. Nice one David.
I left work at lunchtime, and when I got home I went online and registered my Honda before taking it for a very short ride to fill up the tank. Despite the fact that it was only a couple of kilometres (the real ride will come on the weekend), it felt great to be back on my motor bike. It has been getting fixed up over the last 12 months and has only recently found its way back to my house.
As soon as I got home and flipped the bike up onto its stand, a parcel van arrived. Very timely indeed - it was my Fender Telecaster that I'd recently purchased from Austin, Texas. Welcome to your new life, you little beauty!
I also discovered that I'd successfully bid on a guitar effects rack. I'd made a very skinny bid expecting it to be bested but it turned out to be sufficient. What luck!

Just when I was thinking that the day couldn't get much better, the sun came out.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Winter's Tale

Tuesday night. The Metropolitan Hotel is relatively empty as I walk in, escaping the chilly evening air. The true believers are there, and no doubt the place will fill up once things get underway. Although, it is a cold winter's night and I understand why folks may choose to stay at home.
I have a decent chat with a few people; there are advantages when the evening is a little more relaxed than usual. We talk about guitars, life, and other absurd concepts.
I play a few songs. I've been trying to showcase a bunch of different songs at recent gigs - covers, really old songs, and a few new ones. It all helps to broaden my repertoire. Tonight I give myself a night off and play six of my more familiar numbers. Just for fun.

Catching the bus home on a cold but fine winter's night in deserted Adelaide carries with it a sense of romance. For a few minutes I am 17 again.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I got out of bed the other Sunday, quite early as it happened, to prepare for a mountain bike ride. My Saturday night had been of a half-decent size so I wasn't overly surprised to feel a little dizzy as I lurched down the hallway.
It passed quite quickly and I didn't give it another thought.
When I went to bed that night, I had an attack of the head spins as soon as I lay down. Weird.
It was the same the next morning and night, and for the ensuing days.
Anything strange like this is a concern and, as the early morning/late night spinning persisted for over a week, I decided to consult a physician.
I was hoping it wouldn't be anything too serious, but worry is a powerful thing. After doing his best to allay the most melodramatic of my fears, the doctor pronounced a confident diagnosis of "benign positional vertigo". It turns out that its quite common, and can be helped by the execution of an exercise known as Epley's Manoeuvre, and although this is usually successful, it can always come back.

Great. Now I don't know if, on any given morning, I am going to walk into the hallway, or into the wall.