It was a Friday night not unlike a few I’ve had before, though they are not regular: hunched over my computer, chain smoking jazz cigarettes and listening to music, trying not to get too frustrated with the limited RAM capacity, slugging beer after beer as I edit together video footage I’ve shot along my recent travels, trying to make something that will look fucking cool projected over a bunch of musicians on a stage of some sort the following evening.
That was last Friday, the Friday before Record Store Day, the Friday before Yardstock. I was shit-faced, still awake at 6 am, sun pretty much up, birds definitely singing, and the thing was kind of almost finished after a last-minute 12 hour slog on a slow machine, very professional like. Sometimes these passion projects work out, other times they don’t. Later that morning I woke up in Pete’s bed to the sound of humans clomping around the house moving musical equipment, dogs barking probably, Ray coughing because he’s sick, poor fella, sick and running around organising a suburb-wide music festival/party all day, Pete helping, coming in and out of the bedroom, giving me shit about “the life of an arrrrrtist” because I got to bed after the time he would normally be getting out of it in order to go to his construction industry job… welcome home Tahlia, you’re truly back in to a life now, in all its weirdo, confused and frustrating glory.
Settling back in to a city is nice when you’ve got good pals around doing cool things. Pete played that day and made a bunch of people smile at Mills Record Store in Fremantle, I was feeling pretty great despite the massive night of solitary, frustrated intoxication in front of a computer screen which brought me in to the day, a bit bleary eyed but more than comfortable with my body, I danced with Nick a little, which was nice, breezing around the record store, pulling out Electric Wizard and Mayhem, shoving them at Pete hoping he’d acquiesce and purchase them because my broke-artist-ass couldn’t afford such a luxury, Pete’s set was wonderful, he was so clear-headed, oozing confidence and comfort, the set and playing tight and well-paced, the new space upstairs Mills the perfect place to play an afternoon session, can’t wait to see some art up there soon. A nice little crowd showed up too, Pete signed a record, and a young man’s day was made when he introduced himself to Nick, so nice to meet your musical idols huh, Happy Record Store Day!
After that, we had to organise all kinds of things for the final venue of Yardstock. We’d missed the whole day’s journey around Freo and surrounding areas, the little flyer I made a few weeks ago the only available guide to the houses holding music, left in Mojos Bar to be picked up by those interested, little map directing what must have been, by all accounts, an enthusiastic crew from house to house, and Pete was playing again at the final venue, a big ol’ amphitheatre tucked away somewhere in White Gum Valley, had to organise gear acquisition and transport, luckily my brother and his housemate were up to the task, and we sat around drinking beer and talking shit at home for a while, finalising plans and having nice times, then OFFFFF to the place we go, all the things in Troy’s car, me Pete and Nick in an Uber, Joe on his freshly salvaged and reinforced scooter after some dickhead attempted to steal it, apparently the cops were dickheads about it too, but that ain’t my story to tell, you’ll have to ask Joe.
We got to the place, were lost for a while, it’s a big parkland, not much of it untouched by the ravages of population growth and colony expansion, constructed park as far as I could see in the darkness, wondered what was there before in that place that was concreted like an old Greek construction, small though beautiful as it was, made from stone that looked local, sweeping broken glass to somewhere the bare-footers wouldn’t hurt themselves, ultimate freedom, ultimate responsibility and all.
So, so many people ended up filling those stair-case seats, they trickled in slowly at first, as I was trying to set up the projections, coming to the disappointing realisation that the lack of one little adapter I had never heard of before would mean noooo projections at all, such a bummer, so I packed it all up, determined to be more prepared next time, like actually learn what machine I’d be using at least a day before the event, and then suddenly there were hundreds of people, smiling laughing dancing cheersin’, pretty glorious to be honest, glory at celebration of musical culture in this city, shared through backyards and along the streets, a mixed bag of attendees all attesting to the serious drawcard of high quality live music, of which this town can provide in spades. Even though the hunched computer work I put in was not to be realised in that setting at that time, I had no weight on my shoulders, only smiles that community organisation is getting better and better, things are growing, if we can direct these energies in the right way we can easily have an even greater positive impact here, just gotta show the Big Important things the care they’re really worth, you know? Music is about people, and people are society, and society is tied up with all kinds of problems. If music works for getting people smiling and working together peacefully, then fuck, maybe some of that music-spirit in to other fields? I’m rambling now. I’m still pooped from all the things I just told you about.
For photos of Yardstock, take yourself to this wonderful album by Amber Bateup, one of Perth’s finest, hardest working live music photographers.
Pic By Amber Bateup