I played a gig with my band last Sunday afternoon. Before it happened, we told the people at Beat magazine about it, and they published this little paragraph about us on page forty-one:
"For the past year, The Floyd Show has been working together tirelessly rehearsing their performance of Pink Floyd music. The band has made it their number one priority to perform the music exactly as written and performed by Pink Floyd. You can catch them this Sunday afternoon at the Yak Bar in Abbottsford."
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The Yak Bar is not very big, and we had to squeeze the instruments close together to fit them all on the little stage. But this gig was very important, because it was the first one we've ever had. A lot of people showed up – it was not exactly a full house, but there were plenty of people there and some of them we didn't even recognize. Admission to the gig was five dollars. When we added up the money later, we found that we had earned about fifteen dollars each. As for the music, it was great. We played very well with hardly any mistakes – it didn't sound exactly like Pink Floyd, but it was not bad for a first gig and the crowd seemed to really like us.
The band has been rehearsing for about six months now – for a while I wasn't sure if we would ever make it to the performing stage. I was thinking, "Hmmmm, maybe we're not smart enough or talented enough to be a successful covers band." But now that we've had our first gig, we feel more confident. We even have a second gig lined up, at the Barleycorn Hotel on the twentieth. It seems possible, at least, that we might get regular work in the future.
It was one of those days when happiness was just sort of hanging in the air because of the good weather. The backing singer, Leah, introduced me to her friends and family who were in the Yak Bar – then she invited me to go to the Esplanade Hotel because a friend of hers was playing there with a band. So I said, "Okay."
She gave me a lift home first to drop off my keyboard and other equipment. Leah's brother commented, on the way to the Esplanade, that I would perhaps "come right out of my shell" once I'd had a few drinks. There was some fun to be had in the Public Bar section of the hotel, because some musicians were there playing blues in an improvisational way and they were extremely good. Leah, being a bit of a social butterfly, was friends with a lot of people on the scene. Somebody asked me, "Stephen, do you want a beer?" I said, "No, thanks." They said "What do you drink?" I said "Wine" so they bought me a glass of wine.
Leah's brother asked me to play a game of pool, and he arranged it so that we were playing a doubles game with two girls he had just met. They were English girls, like tourists or something. I'm not very good at pool – Leah's brother was outshining me all the way because he's an experienced pool player. But that didn't bother me – only one thing bothered me tonight and that was that I made an error early in the game – I started to take a second shot when I was only entitled to one shot, and one of the English girls stopped me, and she was all like "Hey, why are you taking two shots?" and I said, "Oh, sorry."
While the music was playing and the pool game was going on, Leah's brother had a private word to me – he said, "These English girls are very nice – and they're very drunk!"
A few minutes later, one of the girls came up to me and started having a conversation. She asked me about my band and what it's like. I think Leah's brother must have had a word to her beforehand – I'll bet he said something like, "That guy over there, Stephen, is a musician in a band which I saw earlier this evening – he's very talented, but he's a little shy and lacking in confidence." I think this because the girl spent several minutes talking about how I should be proud of how I can play music so well and thus gain confidence. The conversation soon stalled and ended, as I knew it would.
Leah's brother said, "Stephen, you should get another drink." So I went to the bar and bought another glass of wine for myself. When I was finished that one, Leah's brother said "Stephen, you should get another drink, again." But I said, "No, I don't want another one." You see, after two glasses of wine I was in that perfect slightly tipsy state of mind and I just wanted it to stay the same, not increase or decrease.
Leah said it's a pity we didn't have my keyboard here 'cause otherwise I might have joined in with the musicians. It was one of those nights where anyone can join in and jam – they were playing familiar old blues covers and I could have tinkled along on the keys. But then again I probably wouldn't have done it very well, not being prepared and all. "Maybe next time," said Leah. By the time the blues men were playing their last tune, the pool game was over and the vibe was getting extra funky so I danced a bit with a few other people near the band. Then I sat down on a seating arrangement where Leah was telling stories and discussing life with her friends. I can't remember what she talked about exactly, I was just marvelling at the fact that a social misfit like me is even allowed to be a part of this scene. And then, soon afterwards, they drove me home.
Do you know the difference between a dynamic microphone and a condenser microphone? I do, because this week I had to write a one-page essay on that topic as part of my sound production course application, and I had to post the essay to the course selection-officer. They put a series of obstacles in your way when you apply for a popular course like this, and this essay is one of them – if you don't send it in on time, or if you do it badly, they cross your name off the list of applicants. I did it very well, I think, getting my research material from the internet newsgroup rec.audio.pro and learning a lot of other things in the process. For instance, the word "mic" (short for microphone) can be used as a noun or a verb, but when you use the verb in the past-tense you can't spelt it "miced" so you have to spell it "miked" or "mic'd", and no-one's sure which way is correct.
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I got a call from my friend Cat a few days ago – she said she couldn't come to my gig because of her cat who has a broken leg and needs taking care of. Apparently the injury is extremely bad, and she was finding it hard to deal with the situation because she doesn't have enough money to pay for the expensive operation that the cat needs to save its leg. If the leg has to be amputated, it would be sad. "I'm not really sure what to do," said Cat.
Tonight I finished my latest painting. I put two sessions of work into it this week, just so I could get it done at last. This picture has been added to the artwork section of my web-site. The original is painted on a piece of masonite measuring 36 x 24 inches.
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I saw this thing on TV with lots of singing and dancing, featuring hundreds or maybe thousands of school students from New South Wales, it was called the Schools Spectacular. They had a whole big orchestra and stage band. It's pretty awesome to see so much talent and enthusiasm all in the one place – and it boggles the mind to think of how much rehearsal and planning would go into such a massive event. All the dancers had to know when to go on stage and how to stand in perfectly arranged formations – even the 700-voice choir were doing synchronized hand-movements sometimes. As I watched this show, I danced along with it and I thought "This is much better than anything I took part in when I was at school."
Music: Augie March are one of the most interesting and different bands in Australia – I was listening to their album "Strange Bird" tonight and it made me think, they really put a lot of effort into those lyrics. When I read the lyric sheet, it's like reading a book of classical poetry. I don't really understand it but it's deep. As for their music, well it doesn't fit into any particular style and it doesn't follow any trends – it has a timeless quality, like it could have been made today or a hundred years ago. Sometimes it sounds very pleasant. But for intelligent music like this, I'd really have to listen to it over and over and over before I gain a full appreciation of its many complicated aspects.