Runner Album Launch at the Astor, and Homemade Tattoos

i was listening to coldplay a lot in my car, even on the way to the beach at one am and back from the beach at 5am and also in my mind as i remembered making out for a long time with a friend, at the beach, in an alcove made by rocks and a roof made by the stars. so at the moment all the bands sound like coldplay to me, and all the versions of the sky remind me of kissing.

this weekend, as well as lots of coldplay, i tattooed a man for the first time. well, two men. it was one man and then another man, and i tattooed them both.

but first, i’ll tell you about runner. my boss on here, andrew ryan, was leaning over the desk today in the radio station telling us about his grandmother who used to be a runner in the war. when the bombers came, she’d run along the london streets and sound the alarms with her pale hands. he told us “people sometimes say to her ‘far out, you’re so courageous!’” and she says “no – you have to be scared to be courageous.” what a badass.

friday night it was the launch of runner’s album, a band made up completely of lovely men. if it was wartime, they’d be the right age to go out and shoot people or be shot, their brains and body parts spread across the fields, and not even time to whisper last words, just an explosion of being into nothingness. but because of all sorts of particular reasons they can make music and share it freely and confidently across the fields instead.

this band, runner, is like a little house, just made of lovely men. because of cold play though i was imagining them on a big stadium and in fact they are one of the few bands i would like to see like this. they’d set themselves up, all the walls of the house, and their voices as the roof, and they’d have all the room they need to make the sound go outward as far as it’s meant to. i have heard them sing in my loungeroom, but i would also like to see them from afar, with fifty thousand other people all taking it in.

jake and i played and i enjoyed it, in the dark room, even though i couldn’t see the faces in the crowd. i made mistakes and couldn’t hear jake’s guitar enough, but it still felt good. in my mind i dedicated songs to nick and to every asylum seeker in prison and to nathalie and to adam who were in the crowd. then flower drums played but i was moving gear and only heard the last song, but it was so together and pure and if i believed in regret as a great thing to spend time on, then i would regret not having made it back to see more of them playing. in the band room after though i got the pleasure of their company, as pure and interesting and shapely as the sound of the half a song i heard them do.

and runner, well… it wasn’t their best show ever, but it was still great. a room of people just there for them. like john lekias said “we don’t have this many friends!” and it might not be true, but the truth is the room was at least 95% fans, even if it was also 60% friends. i left room for 5% who may just have been there to chase a girl and still would have enjoyed the music.

the songs are my favourite thing about the band. andrew clarke’s writing is my favourite thing about the band. the focus on drums, snare and toms in the drum parts are my favourite thing about the band. the fact they remind me of a norwegian duo kings of convenience for whom my mind draws up many happy feelings is my favourite thing about the band. and this night my particularly favourite things were when jason pang and bec sung together for a few moments, in a clearing of sound, and the eccentric dancing the music brought up and through the body of one particular girl watching, and when a man with deluxly straight dangly hair and a sports jacket got up to do ‘supplementary percussion’ and when john lekias’s brother jumped up on stage to do some unplanned ‘supplementary percussion’, threw his hands up in the air to get the crowd going and then froglept onto john’s waist for a celebratory brotherly embrace. yes.

so yes, that was friday. the next night was tipped to be ‘the greatest night of our lives’ for our swedish friend about to move away, and even though people left early and we didn’t make it to amplifier, we did, the five best friends of us, get to tattoo one letter each of the word ‘perth’ onto his ankle.

and the following night while it was jasmine’s birthday i got to tattoo across the whole chest of her man nick, with the mink mussel creek lyric ‘so when i get to the sun, i know that i will be ready’, with that mink mussel music playing as i dug the words in, and nick falling to sleep every now and again because i was digging it gently. a variation on the ‘perth’ tattoo, a peaceful, not military tattoo, with a lyric born in this place but reaching somewhere further, to the big star waiting up there.