sometimes i nearly get to the end of my passion for shows. it’s kind of all the same thing, it kind of seems pointless when the world is falling sideways, seemingly more rapidly. fair enough, bands exist, but what about the warming of the damn earth?
hmm. friday night i went back to midland, for a big dinner with all the families and friends of my friends who support newly arrived refugees. i saw the rwandans again and the afghans again and the americans again. somehow we all ended up at perth airport where there happens to be a mini-detention centre. there were people sitting round on the lawn in the dark with home made banners and fold up chairs and biscuits for a vigil, a few die-hards getting reports on their mobile phones about who was doing what in manus island, messages from people there who were purposefully starving themselves and sewing their lips together to signal ‘help’.
the detention centre was all lit up and barbed like a little soft prison. just this little mini holding place, beside the perth airport where people head off to get their hair plaited in bali, or where i go off to america, or where every second west australian ends up to fly north to dig up the earth so they can buy a pool and custom number plates. the afghan girl closest to my age kind of casually mentioned she’d been in a detention centre for a long time. all the people who have lived with my friends came that way – through indonesia, then on a boat, then into prison, then into my friends’ house, set up just for them even though they’re strangers, to give them a soft landing.
hmm. well, anyway, saturday i still went to a show. it had some of the best performances of the year so far. mei saraswati has become the queen of perth, acknowledged by everyone, and now held up above her woven clam shell throne by many of the best musicians we have amongst us, ben, jack, phil, bryn, john and her singers. earlier in the week i’d been in the lounge room of rupert and rebecca from the band erasers with my friend loren, and we watched 20 minutes of live footage of mei and her band recorded for rtr. we discussed it, revelled in it, all acknowledged that this is the reign of mei that maybe only a few hundred people in perth will know about – but we still know. so mei and her band’s set on saturday was actually transcendent, and it came after my other favourite performance of the burgeoning new year, eleventeen eston, with his (john tanner’s) likewisely immaculate band, jack doepel as the overlap of the two bands, who took the songs and the whole set to a higher level when his sax came out. once a girl from dorset told me she and her sister listened to john’s music as they walked along a beach in england somewhere – this is a special thing.
anyway, mei played again last night, cockroaches crawling on the mojos stage, and her all alone this time but not really alone because honestly the good parts of the cosmos are all on her side. before her andrew ryan, who runs this website but i’m not ashamed to say was so good, all alone too, my favourite way to see him, where it’s just his true songs, his own way of playing guitar standing out, and his body sweating out years of emotion, action, perth-style pain, momentary glimpses of big things. while we played i got overwhelmed by the cosmos too, i saw people on the streets in another city while i sung with my eyes closed, and i asked for good things for particular people, and i sung to mei swan, to mai barnes who was about to play as golden string, to dear nick who’d come after pond jams to see our tiny offerings, to maddison and hugh who seem to be winning happiness finally these days. there was more music, and it was wonderful… mai barnes with her glowing face standing high up on the piano chair with her own eyes closed, going to her own places way deep in there, and fabian, freely arrived stranger from chile who became one of us, on drums now with another band fox jellyfish whose singer mei and i secretly accompanied from the crowd with made up lyrics about wanting to be in a rock band too.
so yes, the passion comes and goes, and once in a while all the feelings tie in. i’m not going to sew my lips together in solidarity although i could – people do it – but i’ll try do something today, as well as music, that doesn’t ignore the tipping globe.