FEB 28 – MAR 17
Just done Port Fairy Festival which was fantastic and loverley. I played with Fairport
Convention and did a few solo sets. Also met nice people such as:
1. Mal Webb who does really wacky stuff with his voice. His CD is superb. You must also listen to him doing ‘Water Bear’.
2. Pete Morton – who singer songwriter solo act very good is touring over here.
3. Some nice people who moved my stuff around the festival who I couldn’t have done without. Some of their names are Chris, Gavin, Dave, Ollie, Quentin, and some others.
4. Jamie Mckew who is the boss of the fest and speaks young.
Also Eddi Reader was there and did brilliant singing with Boo Hewerdine and Colin Reid. Colin has 4 letters of the word weird in his name and Boo has all the letters of the word weird in his name. The Fairports had a great time and did go swimming in the sea there. It was really hot on one day and very much like a UK festival except with dollars for money and probably more people than most fests in UK.
Yesterday – went to see some big huge stickyupintheair rocks called the 12 apostles with Enda Kenny who is looking after me here – he’s a solo singersongwriter here – with Pete Morton – he’s a solo singersongwriter in Leicester – with Lindsay Martin who is fabby fiddle player from Woolangong in north somewhere. He has been my guide for Melbourne and I love his playing – he got up with me on my last set at Port Fairy and sounded wondrous. I am sad now he’s gone home which was yesterday just in time for plane. I will be sad when I leave all the people I’ve met here cos they’re so nice and I’ve been treated like some kind of international megastar.
Here is a quote from Pete Morton regarding Australia:
cough cough cough cough cough (choking on tea) walks across room to look at me doing this ” we’ve been treated like international megastars when we are merely from the land of Uk (UK). annA rydeR was horrible to me in the car all the way to Port Fairy and she wouldn’t give me any chocolate.”
I’m here for a few more days. I’ll go to the Cornish Arms at Melbourne to see and perhaps play my accordion with Eddi and also do a gig at Rhythm and Views record shop in Northcote Melbourne.
Last week I played with the Fairport at Cornish Arms and had a great time.
The people of Aus are quite relaxed and like to hang out a lot.
I think it would be nice to live here but I spect I would miss old Engerland a bit.
Got to go now as Pete Morton is being horrid and nasty to me trying to get me off this computer because he says it’s his turn when it’s not. But as he is bigger than me he will easily be able to push me off the chair and I will fall off and hurt myself but if he does I will tell Uncle Don …. ow …. ow … get offf!!!! owwwwwwww! help Don! help!
It’s my turn! ow……..
….continued later on….
This is some more stuff about my trip to Australia. There might be some things I’ve already said when I emailed you from Oz but never mind – this has got photos and cartoons as well.
I started keeping a special diary which didn’t get finished but here it is anyway:
Feb 28 Heathrow airport – 7pm sitting uncomfortably in uncomfy airport lounge
First thing I realised is stuff is too heavy + bad news = was forced to pay £112 by BRITISH AIRWAYS (rotters) basically for the weight of my guitar which is 9kg.
A kg is a bag of sugar which is not much. What I should’ve done is pointed out the really fat man in the queue and asked if he’s going to get charged for excess baggage. I mean well really I only weigh 7 and ½ stone.
Apparently it is roasted vegetables. I have also got a Stella Artois which is nice. I have got 2 hours to wait. Can’t even practice cos my overweight guitar have got down the ‘safe luggage shute’. NOT. Marty Willson-Piper (friend) said to me:
You must put tape over the catches of your guitar. If you do not put tape over the catches, the catches WILL get caught on things, the catches WILL open, the case WILL open, the guitar WILL fall out and the guitar WILL be destroyed.” As it happens I would not be too sad as I will not have to pay another £112 on the way back. Plus I will get enough insurance money to cover my costs.
You know I have not been on a plane apart from to France once and to Jersey twice. I am looking round here and get the distinct feeling that everyone knows things I don’t. They seem to have quite a lot of hand-luggage and have headed straight for the bar.
Have just heard I have to head for gate 3 now…..
On the plane…
…we’re nearly at Singapore. It is 5 something there but in the UK it’s 10 to 10. We are 23 thousand feet up and lots across. I’m sitting next to the window right on the wing with 2 people on my left. Apparently this is a Boeing 747 which is called a Jumbo Jet. It is massive. I am quite surprised it’s up here actually. I’m not sure I quite ever understand how this happens.
It is extremely cramped and we all have tried to sleep but it’s almost impossible as it’s so uncomfortable. Some people have brought pumpy-up pillows to put round their necks. The food is HORRRRIBLE!!!
I have realised that the crew have been briefed to trick us into thinking it’s another time by giving us meals which are called ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’ or ‘dinner’ – we only know this because they announce it, not because it actually looks or tastes like it.
This is supposed to tricking us into not getting jetlag but I reckon we’re all going to be ill from:
a) being too cramped
b) the horrible stale air being pumped round the cabin
c) the food
d) lack of sleep
e) stiff necks due too having nowhere to lay our heads
There is a man on the plane who looks like this:
We think that he has most likely been drinking to cope with all of the above. He staggering about the aisle and annoying people. He seems to have bought a necklace from the duty free book. I suspect it is the same fat man who was in the queue at the airport…
We are now at 37 thousand feet above Kuala Lumpar. Going at 536 miles an hour. We’ve come 6559 miles and it’s minus 47 degrees outside. I know all this because there’s a screen which tells us all this vaguely interesting information. If I look out the window all is clouds and a wing which is about a mile long and slightly wobbling up and down rather disconcertingly.
Monday March 4th Melbourne
Hello – I’m back and me = not got jetlag whatsoever. Yet.
Here’s a bit more about on the plane. We stopped at Singapore to change the headphones and let some people get off. I went out to Cactus Garden in the airport where everyone goes to smoke. It was really hot outside. My dad used to go to the Far East when I was a kid. He was in advertising. He would’ve stopped here and it made me think of him. He might’ve stood right in the same place and looked up at the different stars I looked at.
It was loads more hours to Melbourne pronounced Melban. Upon which amazingly my mobile worked although later found even if you phone someone up standing next to you it goes all the way back to UK first and then comes back to Oz. I phoned Enda Kenny who I know from a few years ago doing some folk fest in UK. He is very nice. Plus he does cooking. He is putting me up here which is kind of him. He came out and picked me up. Meanwhile my big sister Louisa sent a text message very exciting saying am I there yet? So I phoned her and exciting spoke to her. Very exciting.
Anyway Enda picked me up and showed me round his small house in Melbourne and then around a lovely market which was so nice full of organic veg and fruit and nice things I can’t begin to tell you then we went back to pick up some bloke called Lindsay Martin who plays fiddle with him. He is another nice person although fiddle players can be dodgy.
Here is what they look like Enda and Lindsay:
They sound rather good too. Anyway we went off to some festival in some hill called Denangon or Deganon or Denangenon or something. Plus it was raining. And cold. I bought a hat for Oonagh = $12 which is about £4:
I played to some people about 4 songs.
So did Enda and Lindsay.
In this country where I am the bark comes off the trees not the leaves.
The Lomond is a pub quite a bit likes ours except there is live music every night. It’s nice here. We had a beer called Coopers which has no preservatives or additives so you don’t get a hangover. Met lots of nice people also there. No jetlag happening yet.
On the next day went to visit a festival in Brunswick Street I think it was. Then went to The Lomond again to play. There was a nice man called Tony who lent me his keyboard and his accordion. His accordion was brown on purpose and brown accidentally. His keyboard was also brown but only by accident.
In the pub there was one Steve, one James, one Sue+Don, one Brenda+Dave, one Leanne and at least 2 Julies. Some of them certainly enjoy their drink. After this we came back to Enda’s house me and Lindsay and had a lovely time fixing Enda’s new old piano. Lots of bits came off it quite easily. In fact most of it.
Tuesday March 5th
Today we got up late. I phoned my bloke in the UK to tell him stuff about Oz. We waited in our swimming costumes for Julie who came to kindly take us to the beach. Enda turned up demanding a shower because he smelt of a dead body as he had found one earlier. Unfortunately we had used all the hot water. Oops! Meanwhile Julie went out to fetch Australian coffee and pastries for breakfast which apparently all Australians do every morning religiously. The weather is now sunny which is most gratifying as this is what is supposed to happen.
We went to Half Moon Bay which is a beach. Lindsay was a wimp and didn’t go in. It was cold. Us Brits are hardy people and always go in the sea even when it’s freezing cold.
We found starfish, fish, mussels, shells, cockles and some men who we thought were from St Kilda Football Club and they were playing a game of Aussie-rules-water-cricket.
After this Julie dropped us in Lygon Street where we ‘did’ lunch. Hm hmmmmm! Schnitzel. German food in an Italian street in an Australian city. I was just telling Lindsay about this great book I’d read called ‘English Passengers’ by Matthew Kneale when I had my ‘First Indigenous Encounter’. The book is about Tasmania, a Manx captain with a double-hulled contraband ship, a mad preacher, a sadistic scientist and a Tasmanian Aborigine named Peewee. The ship ends up in Tasmania where all the aborigines as usual have been killed by foreigners who then inhabit their land, a place the mad preacher believes to be the garden of Eden which it probably was before – it’s a good book. Anyway this Aborigine bloke came up to me, looked me directly but quite pleasantly in the eyes and said Can I have 2 dollars? I said yes and started to hand some money over. 2 dollars is less than £1. Suddenly this suited white bloke with a stern face came up and shoved him away like shooing a dog away. I was quite shocked. I was shocked that people could treat other people like this. Australia is a wondrous place and there should be enough room for those who were living there in the first place surely…I felt ashamed as I didn’t speak up or give the bloke the money in the end.
Learning curve = steep.
Here are some of the things I was warned about by my friends back home about coming to Australia:
- Spiders are everywhere. Never put your hand under something.
- Snakes drop out of trees on you.
- It is boiling hot all the time and you won’t need any trousers.
- It is boiling hot in the sea and you won’t need a towel.
- You will definitely get jetlag.
Well no-one here I have spoken to has ever been bitten by a spider or a snake or knows anyone who has been bitten by a spider or a snake. I didn’t see any deadly spiders or snakes except in a wildlife park.
It is not hot all the time and fortunately I brought trousers.
It is certainly not hot in the sea all the time and fortunately I brought a towel.
I didn’t get jetlag and lots of people don’t.
Then very exciting we got on the tram back to Enda’s house well actually to the end of the line accidentally and then back to Enda’s house and a eucalyptus tree which are everyewhere. Just in time for fabby Enda-food Enda Rock-Chef of The Suburbs. Prawns, flatfishheads, green things, red things, yellow things but no blue things. Apparently blue things are not red but something red can be blue. Apparently. E.g. dog. I have book = Red Dog which is about a dog and is set over the other side of Oz in Dampier and elsewhere. In it he’s called Blue.
We sat around with Enda, Julie, Don and played music on the repaired piano, a fetched-by-Enda electric piano and Enda playing guitar and singing and Lindsay playing his fiddle was nice. Plus beer.
Tomorrow I must go to Geelong to do a workshop for some students at The Gordon Institute which will be nice especially as we’ve sussed the day which will go like this:
- Leave 10ish
- Don and Sue kindly to chauffeur us
- Have lunch (do)
- Drive down bit of spectacular Ocean Road
- Go to beach
- Buy stuff = shorts from famous Ripcurl surf shop in Torquay – T-shirts, shorts
- Buy other stuff – minidisc microphone, camera, film, shaving cream (Lindsay), French horn (2nd hand) (very), ironing board cover and new iron (don’t tell Enda), toilet seat (don’t tell Enda), piano repair kit (don’t tell Enda), bag for carrying above stuff (except for repair stuff) back to UK (will definitely have to leave my guitar behind now)
- Come back to go to balcony barby at Don’s which is held high above the Melbourne metropolis
- Enda will miss all of the above as he will be collecting Pete Morton (famous singersongwriterUK) from the airport
All this was great and worked really well. The workshop was lovely and we were treated to a gorgeous meal by Adrian Hann. Then we went to the beach and swam and drank beer. Then we went shopping in the Ripcurl shop which was fantastic as everything is so cheap here. Think Don and Sue got fed up of waiting!!! Then Don’s balcony barby was great – just a few select people. Pete Morton sang a song about how stupid it is to rhyme the word ‘love’ with the word ‘glove’ in a song and then I sang my song which rhymes the word ‘love’ with the word ‘glove’. Met up with Pete Morton again after many years of not. Don is great – he is like my friend Pete Jones except an Aussie version.
He likes old cars. He hates Volvos. (The Volvo is the hated car there abit like the Skoda here) He seems to have about 4 or 5 old battered cars lined up outside his house. E.g. Rover 2200? I think should’ve taken a photo. In Oz people can drive much older cars around which have bumper hanging off etc as there is no MOT in Melbourne at least. So consequently I was pleased to see lots of old bangers on the streets. No Ford Cortinas though. It was nice to be able to sing Heaps Of Metal for someone!
Here ends what I wrote while in OZ but here is the jist of what happened else but only short. Thankyou.
March 20th 2002 Home sitting on my bed
Okay so I couldn’t keep up with this diary thing as I was too busy having fun and also couldn’t be bothered to do writing.
I am now back home and extremely sad not to be in Australia anymore. Holland is happening at 3am tomorrow morning. Then onto Germany. I’m not going to tell you the whole stuff that went on cos it’d take too long and probly be boring to you so just summary it like this:
1. Port Fairy Festival which was the only gig I officially had was fantastic big and I think it was a success cos everyone clapped and that’s good enough for me. Port Fairy Festival has thousands of people at it and good turns on such as Kristina Olsen, Dan Crary oh and loads of others you’ll have to visit their website. It has a beach with real blue sea and real sand also a nice little town and stars including The Southern Cross which of course is not in this country not even in this hemisphere. Also the stars are much brighter because they are obviously nearer or something. There was quite a long time spent looking at them. They are a wonder to behold.
2. Everyone in Port Fairy and in Melbourne and everywhere in fact looked after me so lovelyly it was amazing.
4. Also Eddi there. (Reader – you know I’ve told you about her before) Was great. Just missed playing with her at Port Fairy cos timings overlapped. However did 4 hour gig with her plus Boo Hewerdine and Colin Reid at Cornish Arms using Dani Rocca’s monster accordion.
5. Accordion. Blue not red.
6. Saw sticky up rocks called 12 Apostles along Ocean Road with Lindsay, Enda and Pete Morton. Was wondrous.
8. Sold 112 CDs considering I only had one gig I don’t think I did too bad.
9. Found I actually made a profit of about £200 overall. Wow!
10. Did gig in record shop called Rhythm and Views in Melbourne. If you were at this gig – you’ll most likely find a photo of yourselves in Audiences I Have Known – have a look.
12. Thanks Enda for the loan of your house and your nice food. Thanks Julie for being a chauffeur and for looking after me.
13. Thanks Lindsay for being my excellent escort and showing me the ways of Aussie peoples.
14. Thanks peoples of The Lomond for your fun.
15. Thanks Adrian for the time I had at Geelong
16. Thanks Dani Rocca for the lend of your monster blue accordion and for sorting all the other instruments.
17. Thanks also to Gavin and the boys who helped sort and cart me and my instruments around.
18. Thanks Jamie McKew for the great time I had at Port Fairy Festival. Please let me come again.
19. HUGE BIG THANKS TO GAYNOR for getting me here in the first place
20. Thanks other people who made my time in OZ truly wondrous…
21. Spent money on cool clothes for me and Oonagh and others back home.
22. Flew home – looked out of window for as long as possible at Australia going away under me. Sad to leave Oz and all the great people I had met.
23. Decided going back there in 2003 for a whole month definitely. I know how to do it.
By the way did not have to pay any money for excess baggage on way back as Oz airport staff much more nicer than British ones. Plus I had a whole nother suitcase full of presents which made me even heavier. I think BA are just trying to take advantage of the twin towers disaster to make money. They took over £2000 off Fairport for transporting their stuff to Oz….
UK is sunny today but I came back in the rain and cold. Heathrow is a desolate place. I waited 2 hours for my coach back to Warwick. However the blossom is out on the trees like toothpaste squeezing out of tubes. Birds are singing a lot. Forgot how much they do that. My lovely friend Charlie (girl) has been in touch. It was her birthday yesterday she is older than me. She plays the fiddle. This year is the year of the fiddle players. I’ve decided…