The bits of stuff that fall in the cracks between Life, Music and outrageous fortune.
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The lights and chatter go down at the State Theatre
Philip Glass Ensemble at the State Theatre
21.10.05 -
I'd told Richard it was at Hamer Hall, so I first had to retrieve him, waiting anxiously as he was for his wife Mary at the wrong venue, and escort him back to the State. Mary arrived in the nick of time and we actually had a couple of minutes to catch our breath before the white-clad nine piece ensemble, including Mr Glass, trooped onto the stage. The first piece featured didgeridoo master, Mark Atkins, and it was in the early part of his performance, when the sound hadn't quite come together, that the inherent fragility of so few players trying to create the impression of a much larger orchestra almost unravelled, and it sounded uncomfortably like Lisa Simpson's school band. By the time the piece reached its
climax, however, the power and authority of Mark's performance triumphed over any early faltering, and the audience responded accordingly.
I'm not going to review the entire performance; suffice to say it was a slightly uneven programme, but with more than enough highs and displays of instrumental virtuosity on exotic instruments (not to mention exotic wardrobe) to balance the odd intervals of compostionally induced tedium. I came away uplifted and perhaps a little inspired - or was that the oysters and Bloody Mary I had at Scusami with Richard and Mary afterwards?

Richard mortgages the house..
Location, location.. part two
17.10.05 -
Another weekend, another opportunity to use the search for movie locations as a pretext for tasting and buying wines, not to mention eating well. This time bro' Richard and I headed sideways to the Yarra Valley, the most visually obvious growth area for wine growing near the eastern outskirts of the city. A most pleasant day it was, too, lurching from one winery to the next with a growing booty of wines in the booty. We went as far as Healesville, where I checked out a potential gig at the Bohdi Tree Café, and then we zig-zagged leisurely back home stopping off at every two-bit winery we could find, taking photos of potential locations and listening to the somnambulant coverage of the alleged cricket match coming from the SCG.
That we actually discovered some potential sites could enter into the realms of myth, as neither of us actually kept a record of where we'd been. Jeez, we might have to do the whole exercise again..

Tim worries about the weather
10.10.05 -
I think I've shocked some people by claiming there are times that I positively resent music, or I like to think I've shocked them anyway. Festivals are an excellent vehicle for presenting you with the big steaming turd of one's music threshold. Not that we've been conspicuous at a lot of festivals lately, but I can remember that by the second day of yer typical all-singing, all-strumming, plucking, scraping, squeezing, wheezing and blowing music festival, I'm feeling not unlike the last time I went on a ride at the Show, when my stomach and I parted company at the first lurch and realised there was no going back.
Then there are times that the only thing that can console me is music. This can happen when gigs are few and far between, or when a shift of some magnitude occurs in my personal orbit that passeth all understanding. Or both.
Against this background, it's funny how seemingly unrelated events can suddenly coalesce into a coherent message, like there is a conspiracy going on, or, more
troubling still, like your life is some sort of dream, and not even your own dream. Adding to that uneasy sensation is that your own dreams are all the more vivid when you're undergoing a crisis, and there is quite a deal of unsettling overlap between your dreams and the daily grind.
What the hell - this should be meat and potatoes to a songwriter. I've obviously been too happy for too long. Time to get down and dirty and welcome back the bitch Music as my muse.
So, Tim is probably asking, what's my picture doing in this tortured piece? As you know, Tim popped over on Saturday and laid some guitar on three Spectrum tracks. To say the session was a joy is an understatement - Tim's musicality always astonished me back in the Ariel days, and although the Mr Tim of today has mellowed in many ways since then, the energy and innovation in his playing is still as mind-blowing as ever. To converse with him about his life and family over a meal afterwards was a bonus, and an opportunity to balance the social ledger for which we're both grateful, I'm sure.
And then there's the Spectrum album itself. Even though we have eleven or more tracks recorded, and I have a title and artwork concept worked out, it's still very much in its embryonic state. I'm curious to know where it's going to take us, but I'm too close to the scaffolding to see the whole picture. Some tracks we perform regularly live, and I'm not tempted to add much other than keyboards and percussion to the basic trio of Bill, Robbo and me, but there are others that have been performed rarely or not at all that are asking to be interpreted as studio creations.
While time, (well, the time equals money equation anyway), can be more or less excluded as a factor when you're working from home, time is passing and we're all getting older, so it should be at least considered as a galvanising factor at some stage. Oh yes, it should..

The Maritime vineyard comes attractively into bud
Location, location..
1.10.05 - Frère
Richard arrived early to pick me up and whisk us both down to the Mornington Peninsula to search for an appropriate vineyard to shoot some scenes for our epic movie. We intended to do lunch at Vines of Red Hill anyway, and that we did most satisfactorily before heading we knew not where to pursue our quest. We did find a couple of places too, (pic), but the temptation to buy the wines on offer eventually gave us pause to reflect that this could end up a pleasant but financially crippling exercise, and so we headed home none the wiser. I played Dicko a couple of the more complete Spectrum tracks and he made a couple of useful suggestions. An altogether happy Sunday.
The Magician (cont.)
1.10.05 -
Sorry to be so dazzlingly mercurial, but continuing the story below, I doggedly hauled myself back to the Jam Factory this arvo to see the last part of The Magician, but, boxing clever this time, I didn't actually enter the theatre until half way through, minimising the risk of nausea. I was rewarded with I'll Be Gone accompanying the out-takes
over the end credits. Sounded extra good too, because, apart from a touch of music at the start (I think) there was no background music thoughout the film. You know my thoughts on the subject, so this aspect of the movie at least met with my approval. Actually, apart from my initial discomfort re' the hand-held camera, I quite enjoyed The Magician overall. I'm slightly puzzled as to Adrian Martin's observations about a lack of development in some of the incidental 'chatter'. We're talking about a low-life here, whose idea of compassion in to shoot a mate in the back so he doesn't suffer. It seems to me the 'undeveloped' conversations are simply markers to the hitman's character and perception of himself. That there's no underlying hint of a screenwriter with literary pretensions is totally apt. I'm looking forward to the second album - I mean, movie.

1) So far, so good.. 2) Queasy Mike in the foyer recovering - I'll try again today, maybe..
The Magician
1.10.05 -
To tell you the truth, I'd forgotten all about my aversion to hand-held camera work. It was about fifteen minutes into the movie that the first wave of nausea hit me, and I had to avert my eyes from the screen. I put up with it manfully until I felt I was going to throw up, then withdrew from the theatre - without hearing The Song!
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