6 years and a day

Last night as I was packing up my gear I realized the date: January 19th, 2012.  I stopped for a moment before it sank in: today is my 6 year anniversary of arriving in Australia.  Maybe I should have come straight home and done an elaborate post in true commemoration, but instead you get one with a day of thought, (or non-thought) behind it, plus a title that nearly oozes with über-cool nonchalance.  Nearly.

So here I am, 6 years on after landing on a very hot Summer day that seems exactly like yesterday.  Exactly like today as well.  Tomorrow is projected to look eerily similar.  Although I did leave for about 11 months or so to hop back on a cruise ship to earn money and continue traveling the globe, overall I consider myself to have “lived” in Oz for 6 years.  The fictitious biographers waiting in the wings of posterity can squabble over the dates and details.

I briefly tried to reflect, really reflect, on what my time here has meant, but I’m not coming up with much.  One sad fact that I have to admit is that 6 years represents quite a sum of my legally adult life, and now I can say that I have spent an equal number of years being happy as I spent unhappy.  That oversimplifies things quite a bit, because while I’m not saying that all my time in America was rubbish and all my time down under has been grand, it’s rather handy to summarize it in exactly such a fashion, and far more true than not. As in, 99% true.

A few random things, in no particular order, illustrated in a clumsy manner with bad punctuation….

–Summer here doesn’t really, really start until mid-January.  We had a fairly cool November and December, and I remember thinking, “Hey, it’s gonna be a mild Summer.”  Bollocks to that.  I’m pretty sure I still have some Northern Hemisphere hard wiring going on, so to me the idea of January will always require a bit of translation, and since I’m bloody slow at that I suffer from yearly amnesia.  There is no such thing as a mild Summer here in Australia, and certainly not in Port Macquarie.  They are all the same.  Hot.  One day I shall remember this.

–I have been fortunate enough to either be put in or carve out a situation where my entire existence is based on and derived from music.  I might not be making a lot, I will grant you that, but I’m not starving either.  Since I have an ever-growing fascination now with US politics (survivor’s guilt of sorts?), and keep in touch with my family, I understand how bad things are for a number of people and their families in the US.  I remember struggling against the forces of economic reality, and only yesterday realized that, had I stayed where I was, it’s almost certain that I would have wound up as either a manager (or former manager) of a failing Ruby Tuesday restaurant, drinking too much and hating the world, or else just completely burned out and living on the streets or with my parents in some sort of court-ordered supervised care.

Reading about grown men and women who spent years of hard work in good employment now looking for any sort of job, no matter how lowly or underpaid, certainly made me think, whether rightly or wrongly: I got out.  Call in cowardice, call it fate, call it treasonous, call it self-romanticizing myth-making; I don’t care.  It feels true.

–Since I do get to spend a fair amount of time on the road (last week was a particular example of me at my finest ; ), I get to come across a few bands that I like and feel the need to share.  Keep in mind that whenever I try and hype up other bands nobody gives a flip, because my own band is largely out of fashion, and thus my tastes and top picks.  Whatever, I’m learning to live with that fact.  We are so far out of step that all we can do is keep marching until the world is in step with us, if only for a moment.  To close, I give you a new fav that I’ve encountered live.

CHERRY DOVE: We met this band when we were playing in Brisbane.  I developed a man/musician crush on their guitarist coz of the way he played (and looked, I’ll be honest), but he is listed on their bio as “Duckboi” and I can’t really remember his name.  It might be Chris.  It might be James.  Anyway, he plays much better than me, in a way that I wish I could play.  The weird thing is that he was really only the teaser to the band, because they are fronted by a very capable singer/guitarist named Logan, who is everything a front-woman should be.  They also have a bass player, Mel, that our roadie/driver developed a massive crush on, but that’s understandable.  Live, they kind of reminded me of the old riot grrrl sound, but that almost damns by association, so instead I’ll just say that I liked them a lot and would actually leave my house to go see them.  Hopefully our paths will cross again soon.  They have their new Wanted EP out now, and it’s available for free on bandcamp.

As a closing aside, I will say that it is great for the consumer that there’s so much free music out there, but it also points to a very sad and depressing trajectory for music.  Like a kid who’s never known anything other than a digital photo, or a blue whale that will roam the oceans its entire life without ever meeting another of its kind, there are more and more bands who will never know anything other than giving their music away for free and hope that somehow, some way, that will translate into success.  There’s more to be said, a lot more, but I just don’t have the heart to go into it now.  You know that whole 99% vs 1 % thing happening right now?  The very same could be said for music and the music industry.  There are fewer and fewer bands and artists making money off fewer and fewer revenue streams, and the rest of us keep accepting less and less while making bigger and more far-fetched gambles.  The middle class of music is shrinking, and now there are only millionaires or those who want to be millionaires.  That’s why we all have real jobs that pay the bills and keep us with almost-but-not-quite-enough dosh to keep recording and releasing music….for free.

Happy New Year’s.  I know it’s late, but it’s from me.  I’m sure you understand.  Write back if it’s been a while.  Stop by and say hi.  I might do a review of the Cherry Dove EP, God knows they deserve it, but for now I will say good night.

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One Response to “6 years and a day”

  1. kolembo Says:

    Haha, I enjoy reading/following you when I can! You’re a mad dog, thouroughly honest, good sort, wrapped in gnarl.

    It’s been years since I was in the US, and never been to Australia but have money, will travel.

    How was cruise ship? Intriguing….did you go sans band?

    (ya, sometimes my writng can come over all cosmopolitan!)

    Hope your christmas went well, that you’re well into all the New Year’s Resolutions you made, and that your still enjoying the Ozzies.

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