Last Friday I went to this really good gig, it was at the Rob Roy hotel. My favourite singer was the headline act, her name is Jodi Phillis and she only comes to town about twice a year so nothing can stop me from going to see her when she comes to town. The support act was someone I hadn't seen before, named Laura Imbruglia. So at the beginning of the night, I stood in the auditorium and experienced the music of this new up-and-coming talent as she played her guitar and sang into the microphone.
The first song Laura Imbruglia sang was all about how she fell in love with a guy on the internet – it's a funny song – she goes "Email lover, don't stray from my site, be the server to my heart, lets make megabytes of love. Yahoo! We're compatible..." and lots of other computer-related lyrics. And then, she sung a song about two anarchist vegan friends that she has – that was funny too. And then, she sung a song about how she's frustrated because everyone thinks she's gay.
By and by I began to realise that Laura Imbruglia is great. What I liked best about her was her clever lyrics. Most of her songs were funny and made me smile, and many other people in the audience reacted the same way. So I was thinking, "Maybe if I really really try, I could write lyrics like that and people would think I'm witty like her." Thus the gig was one of those rare occasions when the performance impacted on me in such a way that I might change the way I do things in the future.
But the next act was Jodi Phillis and she was even better. She also had an acoustic guitar, and there was this guy who played alongside her and did backing-harmonies as well. Jodi Phillis has an excellent singing voice, she's a better singer than anyone. And she writes songs with pretty melodies, the melodies that make me close my eyes and sort of drift away, caught up in the beauty of the music. I was standing up the front, and towards the end my legs started to get a bit tired so I sat down at the front and leaned my head against the block of wood there.
Flash animation – move your mouse over the block of wood.
The room was packed and the audience really liked her, so she played an encore of at least five songs. This was my favourite part of the evening, because she was playing some of her songs from a few years ago which were old favourites of mine, some of which I'd only heard on CD. I wanted to take some photos of her in profile so I climbed over one of the fold-back speakers to reach an area at the side of the stage. This was a good move because it meant I could sit apart from the crowd and have plenty of space to move my head around and sing along without fear of disturbing anyone. And the last song she played was my favourite one of all.
Jodi Phillis' new album, with a sheet of lyrics written by her (or someone else)
After the music was over, I waited around because I wanted to get her autograph, and several people had the same idea. While I was waiting, I noticed the handwritten set-list still sitting on the stage so I grabbed it. A set list is a good souvenir of a gig. Later I got her to sign my CD, and she wrote "To Stephen thanks for listening! Love Jodi." Later still, when I was walking city-wards at about half-past twelve, I had a closer look at that set-list – I noticed it had someone's email address written on it, and also what looked like a couple of phone-numbers scrawled in the margin. I thought to myself, "Hmmmmm – I hope this isn't some important information that she needs. This reminds me of last time I stole one of Jodi Phillis's set-lists, and it turned out to have new song-lyrics written on the back, with crossings out and stuff." But I didn't go back and return it, because it's such a valuable artefact.
My parents have gone on an overseas holiday, to the other side of the world. But the day before they left, they invited my sister's family (and me) to dinner at their house. We ordered some take-away food and ate it at the big table in the dining-room. There was noodles and rice and meat and broccoli, and sometimes soft-drinks. After that, my niece Thérèse was playing with wooden blocks on the floor in the hallway, and my baby nephew James was there too. Unexpectedly, Thérèse said that she was going to put on some sort of show for us. So, thinking it would be cute, everyone watched and took out their cameras. I was thinking, "What sort of show could a four-year-old put on? This will be something really lame. I remember when I was five, I put on a show for my parents by playing a piece of music for them on the piano – it was partly my own original composition –
My first piece of music
– that would have been pretty lame."
And I was right, because after a few minutes it became clear that Thérèse was having some trouble getting this show started. When she arranged the wooden blocks just so, in preparation, her brother James knocked them down. So she got upset with James and hit him. James started crying. Thérèse's father said "Don't hit!" and he sent her to the bathroom in shame so the show was cancelled. Thérèse was very sad about the outcome of events, and she cried a lot. But we knew how she was sorely provoked by James, so she was allowed to come out of the bathroom after a short time and after that she was not so sad.
James & I
At some point during the evening, my sister gave me a set of die-cast metal alphabet letters for the purpose of embossing leather. It was something I'd been looking for when I was going through my late grandmothers things a couple of weeks ago, and Melanie had found it. Also at the end of the evening I took home a couple of my own charcoal drawings (in frames) which had been in my grandmother's possession also, and now they are mine again.
On Wednesday night I really wanted to go to the karaoke, but I couldn't because there was a rehearsal scheduled with the Pink Floyd Tribute Band. The rehearsal was in Cheltenham. Week by week we are learning more songs, in preparation for our first gig in November. This week we played well. We have a new backing-singer in the band. She's the same singer who auditioned for the lead-singing role ten weeks ago, and I'm very pleased to see that she's back, for many reasons.
One of them is that she lives on the north side of town. This means that it wouldn't be too inconvenient for her to give me a lift home once in a while when we practise in Cheltenham. She might have done so today, but as it turned out the lead singer (Vincent) was going that way anyway – he said he wanted to check out a gig after the practice, and it happened to be in my home suburb. So I went with Vincent.
He discussed some things with me on the way, like about how he had been having some problems with the police and he doesn't like the changes that are happening in society at the moment. Then, as we neared our destination, he asked me where I wanted to be dropped off, and I explained the exact location of my home. He said, "I'll stop in at the Greyhound Hotel on the way and we'll check out this band, okay? It'll only take about half an hour."
I would have preferred to just go home, really. But I didn't want to be a pain, after he'd been good enough to give me a ride. And there was no particular reason I had to go home in a hurry. So I said okay.
The band we checked out that night were a rockabilly three-piece called "High School Hell Kats". They were good. But I wasn't having fun. I don't like that kind of music. And even though Vincent had said it would only take half an hour, he insisted on staying till the end, so we stayed for about an hour and a quarter. He wanted to have a word with the musicians after the show, because he was planning to do the sound mixing at their next gig. At one point between songs they said, "Okay, we're going to play a couple more." Then four songs later they said "Okay, this is definitely our last song." And then they played four more songs, and then they stopped, and still the crowd were yelling for more. I wasn't yelling for more, I was just sitting bored and impatient with my ear-plugs in. My home was only about three hundred metres away, but I couldn't leave, because I couldn't carry my heavy keyboard equipment that distance, especially not after midnight, along a street that's renowned for crime and prostitution. Anyway, after a bit more boredom and delay, Vincent finally drove me home.
Click to enlarge
This week I finished my painting, which I've been working on for the past ten weeks. I put the finishing touches on it this evening. It turned out pretty much just the way I hoped. This picture has been added to the artwork section of my website. The original is painted on a rectangle of masonite measuring 36 x 24 inches.
The programme CNNNN is by far the best and funniest Australian comedy series on television at the moment. It's a send up of news shows. You know how sometimes, on the news, the journalists sometimes exaggerate some aspects of a news story so as to make it more entertaining, or sometimes they use their media outlet to push their own agendas? Well, CNNNN takes that to extreme lengths in their news satire, and in the process they make us all laugh and they make us think, about how we can't trust what the media is telling us usually. They also do parodies of those stupid skin-care and shampoo ads, and they have genuine interviews with people in the street, getting some funny reactions to silly questions. I like to tape the show and watch it twice, because they have this scrolling text at the bottom of the screen with joke-headlines, and I can't appreciate all those jokes on top of everything else unless I watch it twice.
Historical photo of the week:
Stephen Clark, 25 years old.
The other day, I listened to this song called "Song to the Siren" by This Mortal Coil. It's one of those songs that I don't notice, when it's playing, unless I really force myself to pay attention. So I'd give it three out of ten.
I started reading a book called "Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates" by Erving Goffman. It's a non-fiction book, and the title pretty much says it all. It was written in 1961 so some of the mental hospital experiences it talks about are pretty horrifying and interesting. But after I was about 1/7th of the way through it, I was drawn by an irresistible force to read the next Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". So I'm in the middle of both of them now. Both books are fairly long so maybe I will be able to read them concurrently and finish them at about the same time.