I walked down the Southbank Promenade last Saturday afternoon, very casual-like, because I had plenty of time and it was a nice day. My friend Cat had invited me to meet her at Melbourne Aquarium at three, and I was greatly looking forward to that. I wouldn't have even thought to go to the aquarium on my own, and even if I had thought of it I probably would have decided against it because of the expense. But Cat had a two-for-one voucher or something, so that made it a bargain.
I kept walking and I came across Cat just outside the aquarium. "Let's go inside," she said, and so we did.
An aquarium is a place where they keep fish and marine-life in captivity. People walk around inside and look at the big tanks of water. The people who run the Melbourne Aquarium have put a lot of work into it – not only finding the fish and working out what to feed them and stuff, but also making the fish comfortable and happy. With some of the habitats they'd designed, the fish might almost be tricked into thinking they were still in the sea. And they were beautiful to look at, with the colourful coral and lighting and stuff.
We saw some big fish and small fish – some were brightly coloured, some were shiny, some were spiky, and there were some which looked like they were designed by the same people who do the make-up on "Buffy". We saw some sea-horses, some eels, and maybe even a squid or two. There was one bit, where we could reach down into a tank and touch a star-fish. In one darkened room there were a bunch of jellyfish on display – we could see the jellyfish up close and see them wriggle and wobble. It was amazing to watch. Some of the fish had colours so bright, they looked like they were coloured with flourescent paint, and some of them looked like they glowed in the dark. And Cat said, "Look at that fish over there – it has another fish going in and out of its mouth, like the little fish is cleaning the big fish's teeth."
Then, we went down to the big subterrainial oceanarium, which was the biggest tank of all. It was also the most spectacular. We saw some big grey nurse sharks and giant sting-rays – in one part there was a big glass archway which we could walk under and look up to see the big fish swimming right over the top of us. We saw one sting-ray which lingered on top of the glass for a minute so that we could watch it flapping its gills underneath, it looked like it had a smiling face. I was just glad the glass is really strong so it couldn't wrap itself around my head and sting me. Then, on the other side of the oceanarium, we found this guy who was giving a talk to an audience about the sharks and stuff. He was a fish expert. When he was finished his talk, Cat asked him some smart fish-related questions, showing herself to be a curious interested person.
Finally, we went on one of those "virtual reality" rides, where we watch a movie and the whole audience gets rocked and bumped around by hydraulic machinery. In this ride, it was like we were going down to a shipwreck and checking out the dead sailors on the deck, and then we found this giant shark inside who attacked us – it was pretty thrilling and scary. But then we went into the aquarium souvenir-shop, and that was even scarier!!!! And then we left the aquarium. It had been an excellent visit, because we'd seen all sorts of amazing fish-things that we wouldn't have seen anywhere else. I mean, you see pictures of fish in books, and you see them on TV, but it's just not the same as seeing them in real life – seeing them wriggle, seeing the little hair-like things on the end of their fins as they wave about. Looking into their eyes, it makes you wonder what they're thinking. Maybe they regard us humans as an exhibit, as well, and they think we're here to entertain them.
After that, Cat took me to a Japanese cafe, and then to a comic-book shop, and then we went home to our separate places.
Flash animation – roll your mouse over the buttons and click on them.
The next day, I went down to the barber shop to get a hair-cut. It was very quick – I said "Make it number three all over," and the barber got out his clippers. Now that my hair is extremely short, I won't have to get another hair-cut for a long time. It's low maintenance. But I suspect my head will become very cold in the coming winter months.
After the haircut I went straight out to Frankston. I had applied for an audition for a Pink Floyd tribute band, and they said come by the house in Frankston about five o'clock in the afternoon. The trouble was, the guy lives a long way from Frankston station. It took me about fifty minutes to walk from the station to his house, although maybe it would've taken a shorter time if I hadn't stopped so often to take photos.
I arrived at exactly five o'clock as the sun was setting behind the trees in the middle of outer-suburbia. There were two musicians on the scene, a guitarist and a bass-player. This band doesn't have a drummer yet. I was auditioning as a singer. But before we began with the music, they asked me a few questions and found out that I'm actually a keyboard player as well. They were most interested in this, because they're having more trouble finding a keyboard player than a singer. Of course I just wanted to sing because singers don't have to carry heavy keyboard equipment across town and I don't have a car. But I'd really just want to join a Pink Floyd tribute band any way I can.
In the living-room, we played some Pink Floyd songs quietly and I sang without a microphone. We did "Wish You Were Here", "Comfortably Numb", "Brick In The Wall", "Goodbye Blue Sky" and half of "Mother" – we would have played more songs, but they didn't know 'em, or they hadn't learnt 'em. I sang okay, but I was a little nervous and couldn't give it my all. I forgot the words in a few places, and screwed up some of the high notes 'cause I hadn't practised them. But that was okay – the other two musicians made mistakes too, and they said they were pretty happy with the way I sang. They asked me if I'm interested in joining the band, I said "Yes." They said they'll organise a proper practice in a rehearsal room soon, and they told me to bring my keyboard. And I was thinking, "Oh well – I am going to have to carry heavy equipment across town on public transport, same as always." But the good news was, they gave me a lift to the station.
Nice guys – I asked them if they've been in bands before, and they said "Sort of." I wonder if our Pink Floyd tribute band will ever be really successful and have people coming to see us and saying "Mmmmmmmmm you sound just like Pink Floyd." Or maybe it will just collapse and die like their previous "sort of" bands which had non-enthusiastic members. Cat says she doesn't know why I feel the need to be in a band, maybe I'd be better off just making music by myself. But whenever I join one, it opens up a new area of interest in my life and makes me find new friends. And since I was ejected from my previous band, Positronic, there's been a vacant musical spot in my life.
click to enlarge
I've finally finished the midi-files section of my web-site – I actually finished all the musical files a few months ago, but until now I've been too lazy to create a web-page for them.
Another thing I've finally finished is my painting. I put the final finishing touches on it yesterday. It turned out well. This painting has been added to the artwork section of my website. The original is painted on a rectangle of masonite measuring 36 x 24 inches. If anyone would like to buy it, then email me and we'll work something out.
Andrew Denton hosts that show Enough Rope on Channel 2, it's an interview show. It's different from most interview shows because it's better quality and the host asks really probing questions so that the guests have to shed their phony facade and we get to see what they're really like underneath, and sometimes they turn out to be really deep. And sometimes he interviews people who are not very famous or not famous at all, because those people have interesting stories to tell too. And there's always a few laughs. So it's quite entertaining, but it's not the sort of entertainment you'd see on commercial television because it requires you to think too much.
This Wednesday I went to the karaoke and sang two songs – the first one was "Yellow" by Coldplay and it went pretty well but I had a bit of confusion about which notes were meant to be falsetto. Much later, I sang the song "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette and that had some major problems at the beginning – I had it transposed down so low that the bass was almost below the threshold of human hearing and thus I couldn't quite figure out in which key I was supposed to sing. It wasn't until the chorus that I got into it properly. Actually the whole night was a bit lame. There was a long hiatus in the middle 'cause people weren't putting their names down on the list. On the plus side, I received a "Certificate of Rock-god-iness" from the host. But that wasn't very special 'cause he was handing them out to pretty much everyone.
Historical photo of the week:
Stephen Clark, eleven years old
I swear this is the happiest photo taken of me in 1987, the worst year of my life
Music: Ween are a band. Cat is a fan of them, so she recorded some of their music on a tape for me to listen to. I took the tape and played it in dim lighting, in my room, whilst having nothing else to distract my attention from the music. I already knew a bit about Ween, like that they did that cool song "Push Th' Little Daisies" and that they often don't use a lot of drums. And as for their song "Mutilated Lips" that got stuck in my head for a few weeks back in 1997, I've been trying to get my hands on that for years (without paying for it). But hearing the full breadth of Ween's work on this tape, I learnt a lot of things about Ween, like that they have many different styles and you can't fit them into any one pigeon-hole. And some of their music has pleasant melodies. Other songs have appeal in their strange lyrics, like the one that goes "I Cannot Reveal, the Words of the Golden Eel", and some of them are funny. All in all, you've got to hand it to Ween – they're adventurous and original and they think outside the square.