Monday, August 20, 2012

(Camel) Train Man

Cavorting in the Northern Territory. A nice thought, when one is sitting in a freezing house in the middle of the coldest time of the year. Frontier Land - where long trousers are only worn on special occasions and, even then, generally unnecessary.
As I was daydreaming of Darwin, three words came to mind - warm in August.
The lure of a mid-winter's break ultimately proved overwhelming, so last week I set off on The Ghan on a northern adventure that would take me and my guitar not only to Darwin, but also to Alice Springs and Katherine. Two places upon which I'd never had the pleasure of inflicting myself.
I had to reacquaint myself with train-life, but a few familiar faces helped to smooth over the logistical challenges.
I had three or four gigs every day on the train; harder work than it sounds, really. Some nights I was playing from 6.00 until 10.00, with maybe a half-hour for tea. Not that I am complaining - it's a great experience. The passengers generally love it, and it gives me the opportunity to shift a few CDs, and accept the odd free drink. I've had some great conversations with amazing people, and listened to tales of triumph and tragedy. I also get to eat like a king, albeit in a rather rapid-fire manner. Nice one.
In addition to the joy of playing music for people who enjoy it, I also get to visit other parts of the country. This time I got to go on a camel ride, cruise Katherine Gorge, visit the Winnellie Hotel, have a beer at Bojangles, climb Billy Goat Hill, enjoy a Pale Ale at the Katherine Hotel, and enjoy a shared bathroom facility in my Darwin digs. Oh, the glamour!

Eighteen onboard performances later, I emerged back in wintry Adelaide, needing a few days sleep.

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