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459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

Love of Synthetics

Andrew Ryan

rupert from erasers is five metres from me, behind a wooden desk where he's making coffees. a man is chewing his ear and the ear of his fellow barista off about the first time he heard of an iphone. the man is moving back and forth on his feet, he's got asics on, a thin face, a colonel sanders miniature upsidedown pyramid beard, fleecy coat. is he a crazy man, or an android doing stream of android consciousness, some cultural cypher sent to take up the time of a few baristas in the weird world for a moment?

rupert walked away from the guy. he came up and we started talking and got on to revelation film festival. he recommended a documentary about a woman called suzanne ciani, who apparently made sound effects for old coca cola adds, and then he went on to tell me about ten or twenty beautiful things to investigate, in his beautiful way of talking which is like a radio show you'd like to listen to, or a soft and full-of-true-content article in a non-lame journal, where you go away bigger and with ten names in your mind, like Revenge International, Freak Way, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, The Congos together with Sun Araw, Ariel Kalma,

the man is still speaking. i'm still thinking about synthesisers - that's what rupert plays amongst other things - and synthetics. there's an android on masterchef at the moment, with sprayed on skin and me and nick watch for glitches in her programming, watch for when her reactions don't fit the cooking that's happening, or don't fit with the emotional waves set up by the tv edits and musical backgrounds and what is actually happening around her. synthetics, hm.

last week i was running a camp for kids with parents in prison, or a sibling in prison. that was far far away from the world of synthetics. these little kids were real and their dysfunction from past life experiences, as in, this very life, just 8 or 9 or 10 years here on earth, was very very real. you could see it from a little way off, and then when you were close it hit you in the face, as some of them have been. what goes in must come out. that's not a physics concept perhaps, but it's a psychophysics one - i'm guessing.

tessa from akioka and matt saville from the photography world and abalonely came to do music with the kids again, keyboards, loop stations, and a certain knowledge that comes from both being parents. the little tiny broke lives weighed heavy on them as the two of them drove home after the workshop - i know because matt told me, with tears in his eyes, in the kitchen after the camp was all over. we were drinking wine and mulled wine and mulling over all of it and what it meant.

can you synthesise love? that is the question that will probably get looked at less fervently than the questions of nuclear energy and how to make it safe, but it could be a good secondary question to find the answer to. there are not enough loving human parents, even in australia, to take on the children of damage, but maybe if we make loving clones it would be possible. i'm still talking about synthesisers.

of course, like many things, the answer is love but the problem is systematic injustice, which is why more than a normal proportion of the children on the camp with parents in prison were indigenous.

well, after all that i went to see stella donnelly and cam avery play at the oddfellow. thank goodness the bar manager who was a criminal creep is gone, so i can be there without my heart beating fast with a desire to throw things at the man offering drinks to me, a whisky bottle over the head, a trial by jury that ends in actual justice etc.

stella's most powerful songs, according to my spirit, are these: the one about her friend being assaulted, that she always makes a disclaimer/warning about before singing, and which spins into the minds of all the men and women watching, recognition of the experiences, the feelings, perhaps a slap of recrimination for someone on the wrong side of the story, who knows?; and the 'mechanical bull' song which has a tiny bit of a grunge way of approaching guitar strings to make me love it more, and is a most powerful way to get across the feeling in - that one image - the mechanical bull - of wanting everyone to leave you the fuck alone, and using your small body's power to become big and actually achieve it.

i told cam and stella my theory about photo portraits, modelling shots, press shots the other night at dinner, which is this: you have to make the head and the hands BIGGER which is why people like to extend the hands of their subject via a cigarette, or their head by way (for example) of a stream of pasta flowing out of their mouth and a cap on the head to extend the head and face. you see?

cam's most powerful power was his voice. it was in the front of the show except for a few times when his braggadocio took the stage and then had to be dampened with self-deprecation, which happened in full plates which was good. john grader - we always call him 'john grader' instead of just john, told me from near the bar he'd never realised how good a singer cam was. i had realised; but yes, this was the time to know it for real, a concert where everyone listened and he put his meaty long fingers to the keys, which could stretch over five pianos at once probably, and to the guitar - fingers which could reach over the necks of at least three guitars at once. a long song in spoken word fell down the cracks of trying something but it not being the favourite of everyone, as in not working, you know what i mean, but apart from that it was about the sweet voice given from above, and stella's sweet voice from above too, reminding me of cosi from jaala, fluttering about with the force of a mountain.

 

ps watch out for the androids - they can cook, and understand justice, but they can't yet love - that's harder to teach.