If you're a person who gets anxious - really anxious like it's the afternoon and instead of keeping on thinking about death, you have to call up a friend - let's say Peter Bibby to keep it musical - and tell him "Help me! I'm thinking about death!" Well my advice to you, a silvery bullet heading straight for your soft parts, larynx, lips, liver is, just quit caffeine. All your problems will dissolve magically like International Roast, or like a coffee pod with that handsome old guy's face on it if you sent it six hundred and forty light years away, kind of southwards into the sky to Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice, Betelgeuze. And that's the other way to fix all your worries - just learn some astrophysics. In a way it can take a shimmer off the stars, knowing a bit more about them, but in another way thinking about lightyears instead of all them other things can help you.
And this is the next realisation: after feeling small, in the sense that Betelgeuze makes you feel small, and feeling the End is Nigh No Matter What in a scientific and geo-political and climatic sense, and going through "Does it even matter then if I put these batteries in the right recycling thingo?" I ended up at this: well, we all know our friends and family are eventually going to die. All of them, death is coming. But we still take great care of them along the way. We treat them with treats, we take them to the park, we heal all their wounds, we send them mixtapes - and that's how we live, being kind and wonderful to things which eventually, and in the blink of an eye, will pass away.
This is the reason to still care about some tiny bit of plastic that will end up in a numbat or a fish - because you love this earth, and you'll hold its hand like a grandma's during her last lovely days still breathing in the way you're used to.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about death, the end of the world, Betelgeuse - a red supergiant which is getting ready to explode to supanova, caffeine's effects on anxiety, and local music.
On the Side, Mojos, April 25th. Sam Maher, Axel Carrington, Fabian Rojas
Another music-that-I-liked night happened, and again it was by Kate Daniel making a show called On The Side. Again it was more like music used to happen in the hazier heyday of 2000s Perth, where people were trying things on stage and music got put together in strange mixes of genres, and someone was picking the bands thinking just about what they'd like to see rather than any other consideration.
The friendly stoner surfer video artist (vibe not reality) Nathan Thompson was there again making visuals, all analogue, his big set up now in Berlin to accompany Guy Ben-Ary who built a synthesiser controlled by his stem cells, perhaps regressed foreskin cells and who took my game Weenball to his little village in Israel. Well Nathan Thompson's presence is a calming force and seeing someone lightly closed in on by home built computer video parts makes for a cool feeling in the room. People were seated and really watching and listening to Sam Maher on the hang/hand pan - he's been getting flown round to play for the Prince of Malaysia and to the top of the London Eye to play duets with Bjork's percussionist… Internet dreams rolling themselves out, no longer being the surprise of Rodriguez (once known as Rod Riguez because a producer didn't think Americans could handle someone called 'Sixto' even in the sixties) turning up in South Africa to massive crowds who'd never followed him on instagram.
Well, Sam Maher was being beautiful and there's not much I know how to write about the sound. It's just someone who has entered the heart of an idiosyncratic instrument, unbounded by time. When I hear other people playing a hand pan I realise again that Sam is just the one for it, soul mates, a good sound among all the other sounds to introduce aliens to.
Real Homework: Make me a mixtape you think should be what aliens first hear - I'll review them, even if only Lyndon sends one in.
Well, Nathan said doing the visuals for Sam was his favourite one for the night, but my favourite one was for Axel Carrington. I know Axel has a big wide love of guitar music and I liked this one article he wrote about his favourite guitarists in Perth. I was sitting next to Ben Witt, our community's best guitarist though to watch Axel doing an experimental just-guitar set, so it was high standards stakes I had in my mind for listening - and some of it seemed just like finding his way, but some of it was transportative, melding in with Nathan's projections. There were long parts where I lost my sense of time and that's one of my favourite things for music - the most intense experience of that was watching Drowning Horse at 208s where a half hour set condensed itself into three or four minutes for me and when they started unplugging I genuinely didn't understand why.
And then Fabian played. I remember meeting him at The Bakery many years ago and he'd just moved here from Chile and he was talking about just getting into some of the local music and I told him "This is the place for you", and it was. He did a gentle series recording one song really nicely live of various local people playing solo, called Barefoot Movies. And his bands Lost/Tuneless and Last/Tuneless have a home punk way that's not already done a hundred times here. Anyway, he was on his own on the stage with a loop pedal and a drum machine that he hadn't yet mastered or was having technical difficulties with and he looked a bit bummed but it was beautiful. Kate translated the Spanish words into my ear, real lyrics strong and pregnant with ideas for self and world.
I'd convinced Ben Witt to come by explaining Nathan's video set-up, tiny fog machines over tiny pieces of mirror and coloured filters exchanged across home made visual flippers etc, and he wasn't disappointed.
So yeh, cool show, didn't even have to travel 640 light years or more to see it, and now I've got the secret to good mental health which is just take the red pills and a lil third of a cone once in a while and not the flat white.