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The Amber Fresh Chronicles

Filtering by Category: livereview

Pikelet - Evelyn Ida Morris - Speaks Camp Doogs Highlights with Amber Fresh

Andrew Ryan

Ev has her "best Pikelet show ever" and talks "nature", euphoria and melancholy…

Doogs was amazing. More mud, maybe less magic, still amazing. Mink Mussel Creek blew our minds, so did many others. Evelyn Ida Morris came to play solo as Pikelet and with wild ones Baseball as le drummer. We talked in the backyard post-Doogs and here's what she said:

Evelyn: bonjour

Amber: bonjour. why are you learning french?

EM: because i want to live in france for a little while, and just try it out.

AF: what do you like about france?

EM: it's in europe (laughing). there's lots of things actually. i just want to live somewhere where i can tour easily. also i just want to learn another language and being there would make that easy.

AF: what was your general impression of doogs? for someone who's been to lots of festivals and played all over the place?

EM: well it reminded me a lot of being at camp a low hum in new zealand which i've been to a few times and i really love.

general impression was it was very muddy (laughing). but also what i loved about it was… it wasn't trying to be a bigger festival… i liked that it was doing some things like putting bands in an order that they wouldn't have them at a bigger festival.

like, i was really shocked that i was playing a pikelet set later on in the evening, because i thought that that wouldn't work. but what was amazing was that all of that stuff did work just because the crowd was super up for things. and that's what makes it a really good festival i think. the crowd is just like, just up for everything. like when krakatau played last on the first night it just felt really good.

AF: cool. what was it like to play a baseball show again?

EM: we had two shows in melbourne before we came over to prepare. actually i think i wasn't prepared enough or something. i didn't do a very good set, i thought. everyone said all this nice stuff to me and i was trying to be all humble about it, but really i was just beating myself up cos i didn't play as well as i wanted to - i wanted to do a REALLY good job because i have such fond memories of coming to perth really early on in baseball.

AF: i think i permanently injured my neck dancing sitting squished underneath the bar of the hyde park hotel, just dancing with my head when you guys played.

EM: yeah that show was so fun. and was that the first time we met?

AF: maybe…

EM: it was at the swan. that one you and i played together, with baseball, we were meant to play in the basement but it flooded so we played upstairs. it was the first time i met nick… anyway (at doogs) i was just "do a good job for the perth people!" and then i fucked it up.

AF: well, yeah, i mean my perspective is it's quite obvious that you're a genius even if you're making a few mistakes.

EM: oh thank you amber (laughs).

AF: what did you particularly love at the festival music-wise that was a surprise for you?

EM: i have to say i was a bit in my melbourne bubble so i saw a lot of my friends' bands that i would always see in melbourne, which is probably a bit of a bad move and i hope people don't hate me for that. but Hearing actually kind of stole the show for me, and hardly anyone was watching them.

AF: i was watching them

EM: yeah i remember. there was something fucking magic going on during their set. it was raining lots so there was hardly anyone down front, but they're great songs and they just had such a good set, i really felt very moved by it.

it wasn't super a surprise because i've felt that way before with them, but something about the setting, and the comraderie of everyone standing in the rain just felt really special. so yeah they were definitely my faves, Hearing.

AF: did you feel connected to the landscape at all, aside from just having it upon you in mud form?

EM: that's something that i actually find really interesting about festivals. but it's not unique to festivals; it's actually how i feel about nature throughout my life. i have this kind of weird melancholy, whenever i'm around nature. which feels like "i'm sorry". like i feel bad because of i know that i've done so much damage to general environmental situations.

i feel like that especially at festivals because you can see the literal destruction, but also i feel bad because i don't feel connected to it, and i never have, and i understand that the best, respectful, most best way for me to treat nature is to just not fuck with it. and to keep my distance.

i have this urge in me to be connected to nature but i know it's probably not going to happen because our systems have gone too far apart. it's not going to happen in my lifetime. so whenever i'm at festivals, it's almost like more of an actual literal expression of how i feel in nature all the time.

AF: woh

EM: deep, hah!

AF: yeah that's pretty heavy. i have it sometimes.

EM: yeah

AF: when i'm not basically ejaculating in my pants of happiness at looking at small bits of nature, i get the melancholy too. even last night from the sunset. it's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in your life, but there's a melancholy. i feel like maybe it's something to do with infinite things, and that it's hard for us to integrate

AF: infinity (simultaneous)

EM: that amount of knowledge (simultaneous)

EM: i agree. i think that's why the systems we have were created. because infinity and mortality are intangible to us. we can't deal with them. that's why we made all these systems that are about, "go to work!" and, "do daily tasks!" because those bigger things are too impossible.

i don't know. nature is just always going to be a crush i have that i can't quite grasp. i've never had the guts to ask it out on a date.

AF: well i was wondering when you were talking before if maybe your gardening (ev gardens, even doing 'green composting' with broad beans) is a way to be close?

EM: yeah, well gardening is… a bit futile as well. i always feel like i'm just… what's the saying - there's definitely a saying for this - it's like trying to hold the ocean in your hands, like there's always weeds coming back in and you're constantly trying to fend off the "natural growth". weeds are not natural though, so i kind of feel ok about killing them. anyway, i sound like a hippy.

AF: that's ok it's good to be a hippy. .. yeah, any other special moments? any other non-melbourne musical special moments from dooglets?

EM: hmm. well actually, but this is another melbourne one. sarah chadwick's music makes me cry every time. and also she's an old friend and we haven't seen each other much lately and so i miss herd early. actually i wept like a baby during her set. and gregor was standing next to me and i had to like hug him and cry. which i think happens to a lot of people during her sets.

i just felt like wandering around that everyone was being really respectful. it didn't feel like a gross festival vibe. like, people were wasted but … it felt like people were taking care of each other. i guess that's not really a moment but it's a vibe and honestly, during the pikelet set - 

the whole time i was there - i think i told you this - i was trying to practice this thing where i was in the audience but trying to let go of the fact that other people might see me. like that other people might be looking at me. i was trying to let go of the gaze, i was just trying to be in my body. and that all sort of culminated that when i was playing the pikelet set, i just felt completely, really present and that audience were just so loving that i just felt extreme euphoria.

i've never had a pikelet set feel that good.

AF: woh

EM: that was definitely one of the best times i've had playing music. and ever since doogs i keep thinking back on it and just going "wow". haha! like it just felt… i don't feel like i played especially well, but i just felt so good. you know, it was a really really good situation they set up. and i loved all the banter in between the bands as well. i thought that was pretty amazing.

AF: i gotta type this up so i gotta stop. any final words?

EM: i feel bad that i haven't got any perth bands to speak of.

AF: don't worry there were hardly any.

EM: yeah exactly. ok.

AF: it was special for us to have lots of guests over you know. there were only a few local bands.

EM: yeah there was mink mussel creek, and they were…

AF: they've not played for four years.

EM: that was pretty wild, i was dancing a lot behind them.

AF: and mile end, and adam said galore, and verge collection. i think they were the only local ones. oh no actually the choir - (Burundi Band and Peace Choir)

EM: OH THAT WAS AMAZING! and actually i have to say that soukouss internationale they

AF: i think they're actually from here

EM: they were fucking amazing. i had the most incredible conversation with someone while they were playing and we were dancing, they were just the funnest band. i thought they were great and the choir were great. the end.

AF: thank you

EM: no worries

AF: eleven minutes!

 

Akioka Tape Launch Pt 1

Andrew Ryan

it started with breathing, lots of breathing. that's how life started and that's how akioka started for her tape launch. well, first she began with her palms together and her eyes closed inside a placenta, in front of the screen, with a crowd of people waiting outside the opening in front of her, to see her as she emerged. well, she emerged from that meditative place, sitting in front of us, sitting in front of the screen, and opened her mouth and began to breathe.

before that i'd been talking to my old friend sage, who used to be thomas when we knew each other. she is studying something about the intersection between insight meditation and non-traditional, or super-traditional forms of singing, as in throat singing and all the rest. these were not all her words, these are my words to describe what she generously was describing to me, her eyes wide as when we knew each other in the past, my eyes wide as ever too. when she lived with my friend edd, edd used to wear raver pants and feed me frozen peas under the doona while we watched movies, but now i think he would find a show where someone's just breathing "pretty weird". what is weird though, breathing, or wearing raver pants?

well, akioka, who is tessa began, and it was all breathing. then she opened her mouth but what came out, and through the microphone, pedals, PA, didn't seem like it could be her voice. imagine someone talking with helium, except this time it's not funny it's primordial and cosmically interesting/confusing/real/intriguing. that's what it was like. and these were looped over one another and her bff aside from her son (i assume this relationship, based on photos) had set videos to go over and through the experience.

the videos are like this: you are seeing a galaxied sky, turning in front of your eyes. you don't know how she has made this galaxy, green planets, vision rods, the goo which makes up dark matter. in fact the french man called me on skype today and told me if i really want to know about physics, the only and most important thing is, in fact, dark matter. well, it seems like a galaxy, the video going behind akioka, in front of us, on to her face, through her music, but then very eventually you see it's the particles floating on a lake top or something similar, and you realise - well, the same thing really isn't it? lake, galaxy, planet, particle, gooey dark matter, gooey dark matter.

 glossalalia - akioka, is this part of what you're doing?

 Well, this is Part One, because this week I go on camp, to run the camp, with 13 lucky number of kids with a parent or both of them in prison. And Akioka, aka Tessa, is going to do music with the kids and Part 2 is going to be telling you all and every thing about that.

 

WAYS TO LISTEN: FARNSEY, CARPET, CUPPING

Andrew Ryan

would you like to know a secret for listening to music? well, there’s the way the music is presented to you and then there are the options where you can make some decisions of your own. one thing that makes me like people an extra amount is when they know how to whisper. people who can keep the whisper up. they start at a very small volume, very close to your ear or from across the makeshift sofa in the tv room, and then they just stay at that same volume.

not everyone can do this: you might be one of those people who start like this ANDEND UP LIKE THIS. ask your friends. if you want to change it’s possible.

my friend at soup kitchen has just started gambling a bit on his phone to add to the drinking. “perry” i said (not his name) “life has enough problems and pain, why you wanna add to it?” but he knows. it’s just the way it goes. a guy brought a keyboard to soup kitchen too. started punching out the hits, with everyone singing along. 60s classics, maybe some farnesy and chisel, some zeppelin, beatles. at one point dudley on the keys said “amber you’re going to play” and i said “no!” and the others started changing “amber! amber!” another thing i really like about people is when you ask them to play or sing they just play or sing. but i’m not a cool guy like that. “i’m too shy!” i say, but shyness is not quite the thing. the thing is protecting yourself against the potential neg thoughts of others when maybe all people want to do is love you more and have a little musical whisper straight in their ear. it’s possible to change. one day i’ll just say yes, and go down in flames on the soup kitchen floor.

hm. the talk of the town was benjamin witt’s album launch and so it should have been. i don’t know if he made the gutsy move to hire “mei saraswati acapella group” or if mei just told him “i don’t wanna bring instruments”. i always remember abbe may telling me about one sex panther show where mei took all her clothes of at mojos and swung from the rafters. whenever i watch her is till wait for that moment to come again, but her, tessa and natalie were all in raincoats and full winter swamp gear. so the options for sound are life this, to begin with: eyes open, ears open; eyes closed, ears open; eyes open, hands cupping ears to collect more sound from the front; eyes open, hands cupping ears to the back. then there’s the subtle flanger options with your fingers in and out at various tendernesses into your ears. then there’s eyes closed and prayer/meditation directed by the music and your spirit all at once. then there’s imagining your body’s movement as a way to communicate your pleasure and gratefulness for all your limbs, as a way to please the mind of the big. well, these are the ways of listening i use regularly, that are available to all and that i used for mei’s group, dianas and benjamin witt.

in their raincoats they were as good as you imagine – so good -. i watched jamie terry’s face watching them. i watched strangers watching for the first time, and i mixed eyes closed and eyes open. there were feedback problems, there was one song by natalie that was a bit less powerful, and there were songs that used the three of them to put people smack band in the spirit swamp, dipped in mud, peering through reeds to the fullest version of unpaved life on display.

then dianas. i was up close, cupping my hands each of the ways. we all know, all of us here, that they belong on big stages with thousands of fans, but it’s not how it works here. i cupped to the on stage sound because i felt it was the best. they are delicate angels, they are soft surf shredders. come back dianas and live here and play for us every week. yeah, the on-stage sound – you’re in a lounge room with them, carpet floor, pastel coloured walls and decor from the late seventies, early eighties. this is an all-ways good thing.

then be. world class. we link you now to our favourite track:https://benjaminwitt.bandcamp.com/track/marble-orchard and let the music speak for itself. typewriter is full of rice and we’re at the end of the page….

LANA AT SUCCESS

Andrew Ryan

hello! i’m sitting on a grassy knoll. from here i can see boys playing soccer, men playing football, and the place where me, nick and jules became better friends. we climbed the peppermint trees and rolled little clumps of cut grass into pretend truffles and a pretend chicken dinner. i guess the reason is shooting memories down from here and not bullets is a matter of luck and sustained luck.

i never got taught to hate anyone and i never had to watch anything bad happen to my family or my people. i just saw my friends playing guitars and flutes and eating pretty much whatever they wanted for dinner. my grandparents came here escaping the destruction of war and the name of their ship is printed into concrete just down the coast fifteen walking minutes outside the maritime museum.

one time a lady chased me down there for “lookin at her man”, but that’s a much longer story involving c y o’connor blowing up the reef that helped her great great great grandparents collect their food in the season of bunuru when whey would travel down the songlines to the coast with their belts made of the hair of generations of their people who had all gone this way, waiting for the right time to catch the mullet and salmon all trapped there by the destructible ancient reef.

this week i saw music that really truly made me listen. it was a woman going by the name of “lana”. the first time on the weekend i saw her she played after me and after erasers (oooh so good) at paper mountain in an event called “how to love a mountain”. i made a song about it – about how to love a mountain, about the way in california you can actually hear the mountains crumbling as you walk by in the moonlight, as trees talk to each other and you get to hear them. they were saying “i am here for you” which is part of the words of the song, song which also has the sound of my mouth crunching toast at the start and at the end, an unintentional sonic reference to the crumbling mountain of the song. anyway it’s easy to love and save a mountain when you’re on the victor’s team, someone else shooting on your behalf – oil, armies, multi-continental corporations acting for tax purposes as individuals etc – and not a people with hair belts and only spears to defend yourselves. so lana started playing and this first time i was transfixed. it seemed really truly strange which is something that makes you attend. it seemed simultaneously good and not good which makes me attend and also is the sign i’m going to love something completely eventually and also a sign to me that something is wonderful but i just don’t quite get it yet. it was like the emperor’s new clothes but where at the end of the story the thing is that the clothes are in fact marvelous because they are the pure naked man, stripped of all artifice and resplendent in an unexpected divine suit of his own self.

anyway so that was the thing. it seemed good and not so good all at the same time. she was using a drum machine but the rhythms were not making sense, there were background loops of feedback going that were too loud and then too soft, she was singing with this sincere, straight but trained voice that no-one really sings with here, that was mainly strong and melodious but occasionally pitchy, my mind chimed in from watching too much ‘the voice’.

“rupert this is really really weird!” i said into the ear of erasers’ rupert. “i’m pretty sure it’s on purpose” whispered rupert back into my own small ear where all these things, lana, drum machines, two great strange oldnew keyboards, rupert’s trusted friend voice go. “have you heard of blah blah blah?” here rupert gave me the musical references to make sense of what was going on but the names were new so i can’t remember, and anyway my mind was taken back over again by this weird beautiful thing and then there was a beegees cover, the strong rained (yes rained) voice floating over, and me and matt aitken slow dancing with our eyes closed but at full arms-length to show we’re just funny friends slow dancing on some special night.

then the crowd went crazy. lana stopped and tristan and matt djed everyone into some collective euphoria. i took one photo and it just looks like a handful of people being lame but it’s like, how does a baby take a picture to show how wonderful and strange and alien it feels inside the late-term womb, becoming a someone discovering sound at the same time as its ears are forming?

well, another time i wrote a piece called “this is success”. it ends with a true story scene of my friend at the psych ward in royal perth hospital, freshly high after scoring heroin on a brief foray into the city, so high and almost nodding off, his cigarette falling from his mouth and his eyes almost closed, but him still almost beating me at table tennis. at the end of the story is the refrain “this is success”. so, the next time i saw lana play it was at ‘success’, great wide dark cavern underground gallery dimlit music space art land in fremantle. there was a work all about a maybe fake meteorite coming to hit the earth in a country town in australia in the late 1980s – that’s my time frame – with rocks everywhere and headphones to hear wonderful static and music and a girl talking, the artist closest being the ex-boyfriend of my neighbour who giggled at my questions and tried to explain it through his shiny brown rock eyes.

but in the other room lana was playing again, and this time i could just understand it all and let my mind sink into it. it was still so weird, still unpolished “mistakes” but that’s what i like in rocks and music, and still so delicate in the feelings it called up. behind lana’s own fluffy helmet a projected man in a movie with a helmet to stop bullets was kind of following her around the drum machine, to the keyboards, some medieval film, unaware of what he now, suddenly, with the voice of lana all around, could become.

Leafy Suburbs on the Lawn, One Band of In the Pines, Race to Your Face

Andrew Ryan


sometimes i write a “three best things in music this week” – that’s what i’m going to do right now, almost.

but the best thing in australian political life this week is png saying it’s illegal to detain refugees on manus island. here is a quote from the judgement and from abc news:

‘“Both the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments shall forthwith take all steps necessary to cease and prevent the continued unconstitutional and illegal detention of the asylum seekers or transferees at the relocation centre on Manus Island and the continued breach of the asylum seekers or transferees constitutional and human rights,” the judges ordered.
In one of two lead judgments, Justice Terence Higgins said the detention also breached asylum seekers’ fundamental human rights guaranteed by various conventions on human rights at international law and under the PNG constitution.
“Treating those required to remain in the relocation centre as prisoners irrespective of their circumstances or status … is to offend against their rights and freedoms,” Judge Higgins said.’
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/png-court-rules-asylum-seeker-detention-manus-island-illegal/7360078
some people might say this is irrelevant to perth music, but of course, as all the large political questions of our time are, this is completely relevant.

on friday i was to play on a grassy flat outside the new perth library, outside the big cathedral. lyndon was there to play too as leafy suburbs. while i played the sun beat down in the most white heat way it possibly could, i squinted through the tiniest slit of eyelids for the times i had my eyes “open”, except for a few moments to look up up at the blue and white sky. the clouds were going crazy. my spirit was going crazy as i played, but in the best possible way, all the songs being resung back to me by the spirit of the earth and sky, saying “this is how this song is about me, and this and this”. i sung for my friend who watched another friend become braindead by overdosing in the car next to him, he was visiting the hospital while i played. i sung into the few people watching who i knew, wondering if they could feel what i was feeling at the time. i sung into the bright white heat of the sun and up through into the clouds. but from the outside it might have just looked like a small person squinting and sweating in the heat with a guitar pressed to their arms and torso.

that wasn’t one of the best things i was going to write about. the best thing was lyndon playing next. lyndon started to play at the end of the big grassy flatlands. to his left and to all our rights was the cathedral towering up, but in a perth way, so not outrageously impressive, into the sky, and to the other side the new glassy perth library, slitted windows all the way, mirrored glass impenetrable unlike every book in there waiting to be opened. it’s at the same time welcoming and dont-come-in ish. we are meant to be impressed, we are mildly interested, we are put off, but we are allowed to move freely at least. so, lyndon started playing and from the first beats i turned to rupert on the grass and said “i like this already”. then the special thing happened. an old man, in long rumpled pants, a wide akubra with the aboriginal flag colours twined around the head piece, emerged from the side of the stage area. he looked like someone playing his role in a play – even though we were spread a long distance across the grass rectangle, everyone could see his facial expressions and were all responding too them. he staggered a slight bit. he theatrically cocked his ears towards the stage, while still facing all of us. and then he pipped a harmonica straight into his mouth and pipped out one single blow which was exactly at a good timing and exactly in tune.

everyone’s bodies, eyes and ears became more focussed. we looked at the man, we looked at lyndon, this was classic theatre and we wanted to know what was next. the man edged closer to lyndon, still faced us and pipped again – again on time, again in the right key – magically as every harmonica is in a different key. and then he headed to the microphone. the next moments were tense… lyndon was creating loops of a song, beats and synth melodies, and this new staggery man was at the mic. he pipped the harmonica again and lyndon nodded and everybody took out their phones. then came bird noises – you know, you don’t want to turn the scene into a ‘mystical elder character’ scene, but that’s actually what it was like. the bird noises and then the man’s talking turned lyndon’s music into something bigger and yes, more like ancient sounds than the references might already have been.

and then the man started touching the synth. what would lyndon do? roll with it, be put off? did this piece of land belong only a few generations ago to this man’s family and now a bunch of foreigners were all seated on the fakely placed grass, between the monoliths of european invasion – church and library? hmm. well, the scene played out as it does in our country. the sound man felt obliged to step in, taking a long time to convince the man it wasn’t his place to play on lyndon’s equipment, but clearly not convinced himself, every other person on the grass watching with their own private thoughts about just the music, the coffee they were drinking, the history of their country, etc. etc. who knows. and after a while the man ambled away, lyndon kept playing, and everything went back to beigely normal.

second ‘best thing’ – benjamin witt’s last song at in the pines. his whole set was fine, good, great songs, but the last song i believe many people in the crowd were transported up and outwards and something special was happening. i actually thought “i never want this song to end” as the music took me elsewhere entirely, and after ben and his band finished playing dimity who had been next to me said “i never wanted that last song to end, i was in a different place!” so at least for two of us the same thing happened.

third ‘best thing’ – race to your face at mojos on sunday. they were playing for shit narnia’s end of tour launch show, and they were beautiful. the drummer, lee, covering his shirt from the inside with the sweat of true performance, majestically locking in to the loops created by the f-off good guitarist chris – drumming to loops is so so so so so hard, getting loops tight enough for someone to drum to them is so so so so hard. i wanted to see them paired song for song in a battle (but where both are on the same side) with mudlark. intricacies, effort, all of it. it reminded me of michelangleo painting the sistine chapel, im not being ridiculous, but just that thing of watching people who are putting in true effort and making something you couldn’t even dream of appear before your eyes. i was embarrassed to play after them, and didn’t do a great job, but then got cheered up by foam who i have loved from afar since the first time i watched them…

imagine one day if we could all make music in a country where there’s just the necessary injustices – like a few health problems and a bit of romantic heartbreak to deal with – instead of the big time fucked things like incarceration of refugees and people from poorer areas of the country, and insidious corporate and military power, and human created climate change, and an unrecognised and unredressed invasion history. that would be sick.

Flume: Beau Gosse at Le Trianon in Paris

Andrew Ryan

If you’re also someone who hasn’t really listened to Flume because you’re surrounded by snobs, try the track “Ezra”, that’s what I’m trying now. Last week I didn’t have to try because I got to have Flume right in the face in the middle of Paris, with hundreds of French people going absolutely crazy and singing along to every single thing except for the two girls who broke up their karaoke devotion with “F*** me Flume!!!” over and over. I don’t know if that’s the best pick up line in the over-privileged world. Personally I could be won over with “You look like you want to work hard on creating utopia on earth, want someone to make you sandwiches and push you to truly get on with it?”

Anyway, our own Perth Kučka (Laura Lowther) was there in Paris on tour with Flume to just sing two songs at each show and to gradually draw around her more people to love her music. An easy task if any one ever sees her play. My favourite person to watch watching Kučka do shows is the boyfriend of RTR’s music director. Every time he’s a little bit drunk and gets more and more inebriated and invigorated on his own body’s reaction to Laura’s music.

Well, me and Laura hung out in her dressing room. This is what tours seem to be made of from what I’ve seen of all the friends. It’s just transport, being in rooms, instagram, playing a tiny bit of music and then taking up whatever oysters of quick friendship and delicious food and beverages occasionally come your way as everyone wants to please a star. How do you please a star? Just by looking up at them through time and space as they gradually burn out as all of us do, back in to dust, etc.

Well, Laura put on her makeup, we talked about whether it was possible for either of us to be a spy as a job, or whether we both just can’t be truly normal in make up. She did great big eyes, a good hairstyle with her pink hair that in so conservative Paris was enough to make people turn around in the street when we walked along later that night and in the morning. We listened to my masters and talked about songs and she gave me some insight into what the Flume boy is like: basically a truly “beau gosse” (bo goss) which is a French way of saying what a deeply babing babe. You can see it when you look at his face, a truly nice guy, the best possible guy to be having girls yelling “F*** me” and not take it seriously, the best possible guy to be rolling in dollars and slightly embarrassed about it and wondering how to use it for good. And a truly great musician.

Well, yes, Flume played and I got to be in my favourite place, at the front, saved by the barriers and not crushed in the crowd. He was beautiful, he did the same hand gestures to try and give a “Yes! I can see you and want you to be excited” to the crowd, but so humble too. How can you be in front of hundreds (or tens of thousands) of screaming people, just you on the stage, all the love and devotion directed at you, and exude humility? Dunno but he did it. He obviously played all the hits because everyone knew all the words, but the parts I could truly love were where it went away from easy poppy production and into some darker places – but darker like the beauty spots on a smiling 13 year old who had kind parents and is looking after a lamb out in the back yard and defends anyone at school who gets picked on. Not like Slayer dark. The other day I made the mistake of saying to my friend in between showing more and more good Australian music “Let’s listen to some Slayer!” and I’m still traumatised by the first five seconds of the film clip. Not that kind of dark.

Anyway, after dancing with Laura after her beautiful two song triumphant appearance, and the crowds ongoing going-wildness, three stories of a beautiful remade palatially theatrical room in Le Trianon, we went for a late night drink and kept talking about music, and our town, and all the good things about it and the moments of shittiness when people rag on other people’s music, and how to change the world, and Harley (that’s Flume’s actual name for all the snobs) came by with some crew members with a brand new keyboard under his arm – one where the keys are even more sensitive than the keys of an actual piano, and at this point I saw how he’s like the other “big stars” we know, because he told us “I’m going to go play with this for a while and then go to sleep”, instead of staying downstairs with us, talking and eating soup and soaking up a room full of random Parisian late night energy. Good choice little Flume, you’re truly a true beau gosse. <> <> <>

Bananas, Condoms and The End of The World

Andrew Ryan

so tonight in the next to last metro home a woman came nearly past but instead up to me and said “do we know each other?” “no,” i said, “i just smile all the time.” i had been smiling at her momentarily and so that was her chance to stop in front of me and begin talking. she had grey white hair with all the hair the same colour – that’s kind of rare if you look around at your friends or at your own hair in the mirror – and her top teeth were squiggly and her bottom teeth were all long and encrusted with age and food. this is a grosteque picture of her mouth but in fact she was lovely to look at, and a welcome voice on the same train platform, creating a circle of two women talking, one with grey white hair and one with various light and dark brown and reddy blonde hair, to make a small temporary force field together against late-night man trouble.

although it turned out she hadn’t always had a force field around her. she showed me in the first few minutes of conversation a plastic bag and inside the plastic bag was a dvd with her same face on it – grey white hair, long bottom teeth, smooth 69 year old french skin, looking at least ten years younger than australian skin. when she was 18 a man took her to america to be a prostitute and so, this was the story she recounted to me in the six metro stops to where we were both getting off the train. she told me about selling the dvds of her life story, which is how she earns her living now, and about how things got bad in the time of peak aids, and about the fact of not drinking or smoking and just eating fruit making her skin stay nice as it truly was. when she asked me to guess her age i thought about my mum – how old was this woman compared with her? – and thought about how to give a true but also potentially flattering answer. it didn’t occur to me at the time that she too could be my mum.

this happens often, people tell their whole story, or some particularly intimate part to me. earlier in the day i went to buy a banana on the way down through the streets towards the river and the man in the grocery store and i ended up talking about french attitudes to contraception. he was not being sleazy when he said, through his long eyelashes and islamically and grocery-store influenced world view, amongst all his opinions “it’s like licking honey through a pane of glass”. at first i thought he meant sex without being in love is like that, but in fact this was his way of describing sex with a condom. he explained to me how women in his village who didn’t have access to the pill or other contraceptives seemed to do very well with taking care with their husbands of the times in their menstrual cycle for not getting pregnant, and other special methods for when that way couldn’t account for desire.

i couldn’t understand everything the woman in the metro was saying, but one of the things was definitely about her job changing during the biggest aids time and how that affected condoms/no condoms/being able to do the job she was doing with or without the fear of death. “life and death” were also mentioned in the little grocery store, through the smiling conversation with the long lashes man. i can see his face and her face now as i think back to them.

i went to see music too, in a record store. a band called “volage” who later my friends and i agreed on a rating of 65% for, given the mainly excellent self-mix the band did of the semi-acoustic versions of their songs, the mix of songs that seemed like solid hits and those that lacked some balls, the mix of band members with and without charisma, the feeling it was all good but not mind-blowing, but still good. during the show the room of variously cool 20-45 year olds nodded along, drank the free wine and beer, mainly refrained from talking so as to be respectful to the music, and kept their ideas about aids, contraception, making a living by working 16 hour shifts in a grocery shop or as an international prostitute for the moment to themselves. it’s not a fair review because we only saw them play once and it’s hard to compete general folk-rock lyrics with a man bringing out “it’s like licking honey through a pane of glass”, but in french, in a grocery store where you’ve got a banana in your hand and as usual the almost-total absurdity and impending end of the world on your mind.

p.s. climate change

p.p.s here is an unrelated photo of some great dogs we saw in the bois de vincennes

International Women's Day and King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard Heal My Broken Heart

Andrew Ryan

Can I fit those two topics into one article? YES I CAN.

So, yesterday was International Women’s Day. Wikipedia threw up a great image from 1932 in Russia, colour palette reds through to yellows, white and grey. At first I interpreted it as a woman helping another woman off the street, but in fact it was a woman helping another out of a pile of furniture and kitchen items. Both of these have their place in a general utopia of equalities becoming manifest. As soon as I realised what the day was, starting from a facebook post from Matthew Aitken about his great Greek grandmother who was the first female bus driver in WA, I felt good. Because, truly, sometimes being a female is actually fucked. And somehow, having this day where lots of friends made posts about their female heroes did achieve something, at least in my own heartbrain.

The thing the Russian poster taught me, via wikipedia, was that the day was initially about workers rights, and I thought – even for Coolperthnights – imagine if me and Lyndon got paid differently just because of being peeny or vageeny. But of course, there’s still a billion direct ways and vestiges of ways that living in patriarchy and often misogynistiarchy in Australia or France 2016 sucks balls.

All day I revelled in the feeling of “Make it count”, “Think differently”, “Do things differently”. Alex Griffin interviewed me for some project where he asked lots of questions about women in music and directly asked the question “What can we (men) do?”. He asked this question several times and I tried to answer, but the thing is, we’re taught from really young ages to not say what we (females) really want, to swallow our own desires, to put ourselves second. Putting oneself second is a wonderful way to go through life if it’s done the right way, but when it’s a symptom of systematic small and large oppressions and violences from when you pop out to when you get dug down, it’s not wonderful.

Anyway, five nights before that I was in my usual heartbroken state, not having been re-engergized yet by a day just for my downtrodden sex, and I was contemplating bailing on the King Gizzard show. I had wangled free tickets though, and had a friend who wanted to go for his first time to the Flèche d’Or, so I rallied. Every time King Gizzys play in Perth I seem to miss it. Never again. Thanks to RTR I had heard them in bits and pieces on the radio and from the radio their music somehow intrigued me but somehow also seemed like a cypher of itself, of its own genre. But seeing them live the cypher was filled in, the Lacanian hole was made replete and my little heart was sewn up again song by song, drum fill by drum fill.

So yeah, we got to the Flèche, I wangled the door lady, said a quick hello to Ambrose whose keyboards we’d hardly hear but can wait til their Perth show, told my friend “I’ll just watch two songs and then leave, ok?” except in French, and then headed to the closest possible place to watch amongst a full room of initially reserved and soon stage-diving French people. It was so beautiful from the first moment and then all the way through. Beautiful in the way that unconsciously my mouth blurted out quiet “Fuck yeah!“s many many times through the show and I could actually feel the tears of the day quick-drying as if the two drum kits and closest amp were emanating a delicate form of liquid nitrogen. On particular middle-tier of the musical podium (that means GOLD rather than MEDIOCRE) was the guitarist closest to us. What is his name? I shall “phone a friend”. Only four pedals and one of them was a tuner – what a tru boss. It seemed like there were guitars everywhere, but his was the closest amp, and his were the most delicate tones that floated my way, stuck in at every point by the simultaneously tight and humble bass and those two drummers. Oh how I eat up the double drums when it’s not a curly affected mannerism but impressive and necessary.

It’s hard to distinguish ones own feelings from the spirit of the crowd – in a way this is good, a reminder of all being one one one one one – and in another way it sucks because I don’t know if I’m right or egotistically interpreting the mood of the night to say that the more languid songs were more loved, where the drums swung, where spaces were left. I did the usual thing my mind does with Melbourne boy-bands for some reason, which is imagining what each member would be like as a father, and what jobs and hobbies each have outside the band and which one is an architect or barista, who learns piano concertos on the side, who mainly plays video games, immobile and slouched as both a complement and inversion of their role as psych musician on stage.

Well, it was wall-to-wall bewdiful and the full crowd of Parisians, and one guy from Sydney who we found out after the show had met his girlfriend via their shared love of the Gizz, were all heaving in joy, creamy breasted red-heads and overly zealous drunkards expressing admiration in their own ways. I’ve never heard an encore call as long as that – it was left unanswered and we all spilled out into the smoking section. There I met Eric, maybe drummer, maybe architect/barista, who was being accosted on all sides by tru-fans and beery-eyed moderately lovable douchebags. My friend asked me, laughing, “Do you remember all the songs they played to write in your review?” and I laughed back “I’m lucky if I even remember any of my own songs,” but magically enough another friend happened to be one of the tru-fans with a brain of titanium. And so this first ever set list to grace a Chronicle comes direct from Pierre-Jean’s phone to mine, to Coolperthnights for those of you who care, along with the name of my favourite guitarist because of proximity on the night: Joe Walker, and photographic screen-proof that P-J has listened to the song “Am I In Heaven” from the album “I’m In Your Mind Fuzz” 292 times just on his computer. Emoji hearts as original in text message.

Set list for King Gizzard, La Flèche d’Or, Paris, Jeudi 3 Mars 2016 (thanks to Pierre-Jean)
Robot stop (Nonagon Infinite 29.04.2016)
??? (Probablement une chanson de Nonagon Infinite 2016)
Nonagon Infinite (Nonagon Infinite 2016)
Gamma Knife (Nonagon Infinite 2016)
Hot Water (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz 2014)
Trapdoor (Paper Mâché Dream Balloon 2015)
River (Quarters!2015) <3
I’m not in your mind (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz 2014)
Cellophane (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz 2014)
Head On (Float Along – Fill Your Lungs 2013 <3)
Am I In Heaven? (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz 2014 <3 pour l’original)
Head On reprise (Float Along – Fill Your Lungs 2013 <#)

Pierre-Jean’s caveat:
“If you listen to the albums you’ll see that Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, Quarters!, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon are often variations on a musical theme. It’s very probable that there are other songs which were played together. That said, I’m pretty certain about my tracklist.”

So anyway, King Gizzard show ended with a salmon pizza, a reconstituted heart and an introduction to the French version of Aesop’s tales in the metro on the way home, and International Women’s Day ended with me sitting with three men discussing their trips to strip clubs in Pigalle (the strippy part of Paris where a few days later I’d meet great Australian actor Noah Taylor), and then a few moments of awkwardness as I made my friend say in a louder and louder voice “Today is International Women’s Day!” and then my final interjection at the end of the strip club story of “You know, you can’t buy a woman!”

King Gizz 10/10
International Women’s Day 8/10

HOLDING HANDS WITH EVERYTHING: Tame Impala at Zenith, Paris.

Andrew Ryan

I’m jumping out of bed with one cat slipper on to bring you this little review of Tame Impala playing at Zenith in Paris. Yes, white boys from private schools* (fact check) playing successful music. This is a reference to Triple J’s hottest 100 – if you’re not from Australia, don’t look it up, look up the photographer Jean Gaumy instead – but really, that particular night – Sunday – if world justice wasn’t possible, then music from white boys was just what I and thousands of Parisians were in the mood for.

I nearly made Cam late for the show by spending too long drying my hair but when I got to dinner he and Ash told me I looked beautiful. That’s pretty nice if you’re someone who doesn’t feel like they look good most of the time – is that everyone? What does it mean to look beautiful? Where do hairdryers go when we die? Fuck. Anyway, Cam put bits of steak in my mouth with the fork, jiggled his leg and talked about projects, Ash be-d lovely and a small dream of soft-heartedness, I tried to think tough to not be on the heart-break mind train and just soak up some pleasure.

The taxi driver was real nice, Ash and Cam were going song for song on their phones, us three in the backseat – I checked if he minded us playing music but what I really meant was “Is it annoying to have three rich white people in the backseat just having fun as every single day and night and seeming to not know what real work is, what long shifts are, what putting up with shit from strangers is?” It’s not exactly like that, but it’s just that here it’s in your face, every bar you go to it’s all white people having a “good time” inside and the only not-white person is working on the door, sorting through who can get in and who can’t. Pewk. Everyone has their troubles and hardships, but the general sorting of who gets in and who can’t is the layer of weird injustice over everything, all the time.

Well, we made it, those two went through the backdoor, Cam with ten minutes til he was meant to be on stage, and I collected my friend from the front, who put his hand in the middle of my back making me dream of true affection and inside all the boys had already started playing “Let it Happen”. This song is magical, so many of the songs are magical. I didn’t come by to this music via music, but by personal familiarity, but all the songs have been working on me day by day since the first time I really had to listen when I was interviewing Kevin for Oyster magazine. Sometimes “everybody” is wrong about what they like – coffee in takeaway cups, Australia Day, formalised religion/atheistic agnosticism, Rubens/Hoops – but sometimes they’re right, and this is the time.

They played a million great songs, ‘Let it Happen’, ‘Apocalypse Dreams’, ‘Cause I’m a Man’, ‘The Less I Know the Better’, ‘Elephant’, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ – not in that order, and not only those, and usually I’m not the kind of person to care song for song, but I dunno this was something different, they are all hits and they were all hitting into that right spot for being in heart-break but moving you into uplifting abandon to the possibility of a happy ending despite all the signs to the contrary. And right in the middle of all of it was ‘Eventually’, the most perfect song for me personally right then and there, but also like I said before for several thousand Parisians. Everyone seemed to believe the words. I hear those words for my own heart and for the whole heart of the whole world – eventually, eventually, eventually. And maybe music by white boys from private schools is a wonderful part of that eventually. I believe it is.

Anyway, the whole crowd seemed to rise up in this song, and I didn’t know if it was just me but afterwards my friends said too, in his French accent “Eventually!!” Yes, the big spirit flowing through that song.

And yeah, the sound, nearly perfect, a little on the mud side, a little on the bassy side, the drums always take over but so they should, always simultaneous homage to Julien in the present and Kevin in the creation past, the most ‘Perth’ moment for me being when Kevin stood for a few moments longer than maybe even he expected just playing notes on the guitar to the oscilloscope, letting the notes and the shapes created ring out – like really ring out – creating stars and Lord of the Rings and splitting time and joining light and sound back together in green lasers on the big screen behind him.

Well, so it was a great show. Afterwards up in the room where the boys were there was Nicolas Godin from Air (I didn’t know who he was till they told me), with his gentle lovely teenage son fanboying on Kevin, Kevin and Gum fanboying on Nicolas, me fanboying in friendship on Dom who I only get to see every six months. Ringham who looks after gear talked to me about matters of the heart and possibly mathematics, Noemie who looks after tour managing gave me a true hug, everyone just moved along in their own worlds but at the same time taking care of one another, me included, even though truly they’d all already healed me a little bit in the show.

I could tell you about the rest of the night, but that will happen another time, when I’ve got both slippers on.

Proximity Festival Opening Party

Andrew Ryan

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we were standing out the front of the soup kitchen. last week one of the men standing smoking on the footpath had a joey with him, in a little pouch around his neck. he was all soft that night and told me everything. but this night there was no joey, so he stood off smoking with the other men, only nodding once or twice instead of telling the whole story.

the joey’s mum had been shot by his friend. they ate the mum and he bundled up the joey in his arms. its face was marked like nice icecream, vanilla, caramel, but you know, furry. it calmed him. it calmed me. i sat there for a lot of the night with the warm little skippy in my arms, heavy nice warm feeling that comes from feeling the heat and fur of an animal through material. you can pat a dog with a coat on for this feeling, or be in the melbourne cup.

proximity is a festival where all the shows are just for one person, but the opening night it was a general opening that allowed many people to be there at once. it was in the back outside parts of the art gallery, the steps and concrete terraces and carpark, and it was laid out with a bar, dj booth, a few hundred people in dress ups, sparkling or bloody, or the best one a robot dolphin – my friend loren – with a face veil and chain mail and underwear made of large hologramatic shards of thick plastic to cover just nips and tips.

there were vans in the carpark. the kind people work in as prostitutes around the big parks of paris, where i’ll go back to. inside these vans tho it was just music. tourist kid, soft loving hearted rory, was playing to the inside of the van, steel benches, room for only ten people. i looked at him and listened and then wandered round outside. going in and out through the art gallery, and everything, made it feel like being in the carpark of a blue light disco, going through the school offices at night, the weird feeling that would come from that, dressed in a way you’d never be for school. seeing everything a new way.

when i played a woman sat very close to the PA by my feet. she asked me what it was going to be like and i told her as best i could, by pointing to the casio and the loop pedal and also telling her she was ‘very close’ to the PA. she kept asking questions so i asked her ‘what do you want a song about’? ‘mother nature. and the aztecs’ she replied yelling, so that’s what i played, plus a looped cover of ‘when i was a sperm i had a lot to learn.’

catlips played next in our one little van. i felt like a creep dancing in there with four or six other strangers, just looking at katie the whole time. it’s ok, she understands i’m not a creep, just respect and like all her music. we all danced. we all danced too when mei (saraswati) played – it got wilder. loren was singing along to all the words of particular songs. i always feel like this is the best thing that happens when bands from our town play – other people singing along with the words, when there are words – no singalongs to mudlark, but people can nod, shake, sway.

hamish djed in overalls, lover jin island by his side. stephen was in stolen pants from target, dressed – for this was also halloween – as a real thief.

the best thing though was the mini magnolias. it’s hard to describe this but i’ll try. i tried to describe it to the person from another country who i love, and that was hard too but i managed. i was lying in bed under a cream doona and between cream sheets and he smiled at me as i told him about the night, proud of doing improvising with a casio, proud of all my friends, heated up from being all mixed in with different groups of pals all muddling together in another perth weird thing.

magnolias is usually a talk show that happens in my friends’ shed, or sometimes in public places. there’s all the normal tv talk show things, stand-up from the host, theme songs, segments. so matt and tristan did this talk show in a car in the carpark. people had to put their names down on a list and at some point in the night they got a call, and got led over to the car and ushered into the backseat and into a sparkling dark lit otherworld with matt and tristan as their hosts. matt had hooked up a small screen in the front seat on which to play ‘the matrix’ on repeat. they had a spin-wheel the guests (two strangers, ten minutes at a time, ushered into the backseat) had to spin to choose the theme of the questions. ‘a.m or p.m?’ matt would ask, and the guests would make their pick for a soundtrack. each time it would be ten minutes of laughing, scintillation and confusion, pre-made jokes, writing postcards to send to the guests’ place of work, and improvised personal banter, and then at the end matt says ‘it’s time to go but there’s a gift for you in the back seat of that car over there. take these, you’ll need them’ and hands the people a pair of scissors.

how do i know what happened? i visited as a guest once, and then with stephen bellair, six of us – hosts, interlopers, strangers – all crammed into the little camry (potentially). and later stephen bellair moving round the outside of the car shining a torch in for special lighting.

proximity, yes. up close, i love all the friends and strangers more. up close, the art gallery seems a small thing too, even if it’s our big one for western australia. up close joeys are calm, calming and feel like a warm cake you just want to hold in your lap on the way to a family friends’ place.

5 stars. 5 close stars all sparkling their way into the past, via vans, joeys, caramel, postcards, friendship, landing in your lap tired out and happy, tucking under the covers with the face of a love on a tiny screen very very close and far far away.

CAMP DOOGS 2015 - Utopia in the Water Parts 1 and 2

Andrew Ryan

how do you create a utopia? apparently it takes about six months and a lot of meetings, but it’s possible. some of my friends did it and it existed for one weekend down near nannup. the utopia happened before, in 2014 and 2013, and each time it was two and a half days where no-one got bombed, everyone washed themselves in the waters of the blackwood river under ‘the tree’ at spliffton, with music only for love and music’s sake, and hundreds of faces of hundreds of friends deep-smiling at you through the bush and across the big ditch of a dusty dance ground, nose getting full of black soot and spirit getting full of yellows and browns and greens of all nature and the clear idea that this is actually what life could be/is/was/will be.

well, we drove down for four hours, listening to mississippi records cds from jake from when we were true friends, and mixtapes from my old love with many tracks to jump over. a big fire had arced up over the country and we saw a tsunami, an actual tsunami of biggest smoke of all colours we’d ever seen, a big storm cloud coming, dark as doom to white grey of death bones, and then all the colours in between, oranges and reds covering and uncovering houses and weeping willows til i thought there was no way the whole world was not ending. the sky was black, fire orange, purple. we stopped and took photos on our phones at the edge of the world and i sent some to my love in france hoping for apocalyptical sympathy.

and then i was over again, we were through the smoke and fire and out the other side, and in fact later we learned from nick it was a ‘controlled burn’, but truly, i never saw a thing like it. the whole world up in orange, the whole sky turned to vapoured lava.

so anyway, next driving, with that memory behind, came the part that’s always the best, between balingup and nannup where hills come straight out of the ground all green with pines dotted across that has made me think the exact same thoughts each year. and sections where the road is all tree lined but the trees were there before the road and have the energy of their hundreds of years and the thousands and millions of years of the soil they draw from and the endless energy of the infinite waters they call into themselves and breathe back out again.

when we go through those trees i think already about all the people who’ll be on shrooms and ecstacies and mdmas and think how they’ll get to feel this thing that’s already there waiting for them, the shimmering of every leaf and every tree, the endless love that can flow from and to them from each face they see.

well, when you arrive it’s tent time, finding the perfect place, reacquainting with the river and beginning the stream of greetings that will last two and a half days and then into the community life that’s changed forever afterwards: nat, tera, joni, first three women to draw their smiles up and outwards, knowing special things about each to already feel thankful for…

kids already, tents already, food vans already, a newly flowered stage, CAMP DOOGS proclaimed in wood and fluouro tubing waiting to be lit, and vines and flowers wrapped all round it, and a million art pieces waiting to be lit or touched or listened to or moved across when everyone was finally in place for the weekend’s wanderings.

and so started the weekend of everyone choosing their own adventure, and everyone’s adventure mainly ending in something wonderful. mine took me back and forth from the stage, missing some of my favourite friends’ music and catching others but always moving with whatever felt like the persons or places to be at the time. missed hootenanny but took a special photo of hootenanny’s nan with her tiny child and bigger man behind her grinning face. saw methyl ethel, eyes open, eyes closed, some of the songs bringing me shivers, letting my mouth follow all the words to all the songs i already know and have deep down in me. missing mathas but smiling at him too each time we passed in the campsite, hiphop town boys under gum trees and beside only just waterproof tents. and big sounds from mutton and DEAD but i was in the zone of moving, swimming, tenting, watching boys jump from the highest branch over the river, taking photos of amber b and axel kissing with half their bodies in and half their bodies out of the water, ellen’s face lighting up and breaking into laughter at them hamming up the aquatic romance.

that first night i wore lipstick, ruby woo, big red, like essential tomato sauce on a hotdog. i was in the tent of ash baroque, drag queen, and his friend aaron, who became a friend too. the next night they’d both be in g-strings, spreading their cheeks toward amber bateup’s camera, ash whirlying his willy and little grey nuts and ginger hair across the stage and flying at me off the stage to dance me into the dirt. he took the fall though, flinging his white bodyback to the ground first to protect me from the impact. loren chastised him but he said “i protected her! i wouldn’t let amber be hurt!”

this is part of the freedom we were afforded, in this paradise made by the hands of friends – to be sexy one night, lipstick, lace, and the next day to walk along the forested dirt paths with dust encrusted bare feet, dirty tshirts, dirty shorts, sun-red noses. mei, finally making it to a doogs, and with her band it was the first moment of many to look out over a night-time crowd, CAMP DOOGS spelled now in pink light over us all, and see everyone together, dancing for the joy of pride of our place, time, sound, love. mmm.

i danced to brett murray djing and then wandered again with matt, him leaving me mid-d and m to make me go dance in the party van, and in comes laura, kucka, to get down lo together, gyrating and putting our hands to the ceiling which for once in this tiny club bus we could touch. and past deep doogs, which would go all night, all the next night, but which i’d pass by like a thousand other possible treats and conversations. but like i said, every adventure leads to wonder.

and so also with lipstick on we watched kirin callinan. i stood at the side with my friend shannon to bathe in kirin’s emanating heat and unbridled giving. when he sang the words “and god is in the water” it made my whole spirit shake at a fast and tiny pace, like it did when he played that same song at the Death of the Bakery(RIP). he asked if everyone knew donny benet and one boy did and started shaking visibly and so kirin got him up on stage. the boy kept shaking as kirin did perhaps a cover, and then called for all to come on the stage and so everyone rushed it, even shannon and i from the sides, til eventually kirin made us all hoist his glistening body upwards to the scaffolding of the tiny stage, and he hung on the railing posing for photos with the wild mess of people he’d created almost taking care where they were treading below and also spilling beers and happiness all over the stage.

i think i’d been dancing that night near little alby from shit narnia, in his long overalls, grinning like a country banshee, gentle and wild too, like almost everyone seemed to become. overflowing love, overflowing gentle spiritedness, overflowing baccanalian ecstacies where it’s all glow and glitter rather than vomit and tears.

there are always tears too. my friend told me about taking shrooms and crying for his mother, sick with dementia, and crying for feeling alone, even though his friends took care of him, whisking him kindly into some first aid arms til the shrooms were gone.

little rory too, shroomed or mdmaed or ecstacied, coming up and telling me his true feelings, his overwhelming love feelings of gratefulness, which made tears choke up into my own throat.

i felt toddy’s beating heart too, holding him close on saturday night as his body tried to work everything he’d poured inside it out without dying, the fastest beating heart, drooping eyes, words of affection and a body dripping into give-up.

…….but all the rest of that will come later, part II…..

SATURDAY

well, that part one was way too fruity, so this time i’ll just do you the highlights.

nick odell of alzabo brought his children, and his children brought everyone joe. little cuddle-pie zen masters, being cool always as in, being in the moment always. me, nick allbrook, and tiny archer walked around the grounds like a little glowy family. archer fell asleep with his tiny arms around my neck. we walked to the river, sharing holding him and nick stripped into his little undies and i stripped to my little white undies and we took turns swimming and watching over the tiny sleepypie daytime child of archer. boys were jumping off the big branch again, this time i think leigh from flower drums did a back flip off it. what is it like to have a family? i don’t know. but having a 2 hour pretend family is just grand.

nick had arrived earlier. the odells picked him up. i was waiting for a hamburger but then i got the feeling in my spirit ‘nick is here’ so i left the little burger ticket with some friends and ran to where i thought in my spirit they would be and there was nick, all glowing and ready for a day of wandering round as a pretend family and later playing one song with me by the river for the bigboy river set and later again getting up on the shoulders of steve summerlin of alzabo and me up on the shoulders of will stoker of will stoker and the embers and the bachelorette and half dancing half shoulder ride wrestling and nick getting so turned up that he jumped on stage after ben protasiewicz of pat chow played such a beautiful set of songs with his lovely eyes darting round the people up in the deep energy-brewing van he was playing in, people watching from inside and people like us watching from outside up on shoulders or down on haystacks. yes, great songs just him and his eyes and the guitar and his beard being great. and after nick got up and sung one alain bashung song called ‘osez josephine’ on ben’s nice guy borrowed guitar.

anyway, back to the very morning i was sleeping alone in my tent. friday night had turned into saturday morning and i had turned into what i am, a woman alone in a tent with dirty and clean clothes and batteries and musical instruments and a toothbrush somewhere and a little light hanging from the top of the tent, all this in a tiny sea on top of a body and a doona and a sheepskin jacket as a pillow.

then outside the tent i heard “AMBER FRESH, where is amber fresh?” and it was my two adopted brothers, jacob and matthew aitken, who helped put the whole thing together, and big burly emlyn johnson of emlyn johnson and kirin callinan of kirin callinan all wide and fluffy eyed and talking like charred steaks around the camp fire. i crawled out and there was talk of the river, but instead we went and go coffees and kirin and i finally became friends because he wasn’t able to talk having got heavily on all the pills and powders offered in the evening, night, early morning (this is just hypothesis).

everyone was wandering round, some people would have seen leure and erasers and sui zhen and alzabo and injured ninja but i was wandering and swimming and having stephen bellair help set up some little amplifier on top of the big leg root of the big special tree down by the river. i was so tired and slept in my tent while kitchen people played, but from my tent i could hear how great they were. it was just the same as last year when big blondey dean’s other band hideous sun demon played. that year i was laying out flat in my tent too and hearing too how good they are, always good in tiny places but even better with big boy speakers and out in the woods with nothing stopping them from being 100% real. yes, i like them bands, and they like to play great music it seems. all that big bass coming all the way down the sandy paths through the trees and to my tent by the river.

outlordz i got to on time, and stayed long enough to see hamish throw a can that hurtle struck beautiful toby in the nose and cut him open, big drops of lovely bright blood jumping straight out of his face and hamish feeling sorry and toby feeling surprised to suddenly be opened in public like a can.

then i had to run to the river. people came and sat all around and i tried to wait for stephen bellair to arrive but then had to just start playing, the river flowing just like it had when emlyn played the year before and when peter bibby played the year before, and everyone listening like then too as i sung, for once with my eyes open, hoping to give something very good to people and sipping on vb and nick coming down to sing one song in the middle about his grandmother gone and underground at karrakatta cemetery. it felt very special in the way that it seems like a glowing dream, a sea of faces and a big tree under us all.

i went to see that tree on sunday morning. i had almost forgotten how good it was, even though it’s roots stretched all the way out across the weekend. when i looked at it, with the river behind and it stretching all the way above everything, it started sparkling again and giving power. all it takes is to be by that tree for a moment, free, and it talks to you in a way you didn’t realise was possible, like extra ears opening up inside your body for a new kind of music.

and, missed lots of the other bands, even dear catlips, beautiful katie campbell who i like to just smile at as well and hope she thinks nice things back. she had dancers, but i missed them. and tim richmond band with the boys in it who became friends but i got to see them five days later at mojos all great songs like melbourne without sadness, just the good bits and tim the singer teaching me how to make beef stroganoff just by explaining it. and superstar – missed. and scott and charlene’s weeding – just two minutes of seeing them to make me in love. strong songs, the blonde man real and sweating out reality and true words and everyone in the band rising up like an australian castle. and then grace barbe. oh grace barbe. the doogs people did the right thing, to give honor to Real Musicians and to have someone humble and a star and making the crowd actually do dance moves at the most special time of the night. we all danced a lot, during the bands, between the bands. when i wasn’t dancing it felt like “i can’t possibly dance another moment” and when i was dancing it felt like “i can’t do anything but dance every again”.

when no zu played i was by the side with dom from injured ninja and with chloe from true dreamz. we couldn’t help our bodies moving and didn’t want to. at one moment the beautiful boxer shorts singer with a face like george foster from moist oyster sung the words “one touch and i live forever” and the words actually shot through me like a true shooting star and my hands went straight up in the air as if i were on some great drugs that made my body move in shooting ways to music, and i looked and chloe’s arms had shot straight up in the air at the same time. my mind wasn’t strange with anything except the music and the moment, and it shot my arms up like that. woh. NO ZU everyone loved it.

well. i could tell you a terrific number of things more, but there’s a tiny taste, of one person’s choose your own adventure of doogs. if you don’t like it, you can spit it out. if you do like it, you can take it to the river and make a little sail for it and send it out across the water and see if it comes back next year.

photo Aliza Caruso

A Lasting Tinder Date and CellF, from Reabold Hill

Andrew Ryan

Amber walked up Reabold Hill to see the city and listen to birds. On that highest point of the Swan Coastal Plain in the metropolitan area she reflected on David Craft’s video single launch, a Tinder romance that lasted, and Guy Ben-Ary’s recent CellF project through Symbiotica, where he grew an ‘external brain’ and taught it to play modular analogue synthesisers, culminating in a improvisation with jazz drummer Darren Moore at the Nedlands Masonic Hall.

You can listen to her review here.

Amber in Paris #5 Tame Impala at Rock en Seine, Paris 30 August 2015

Andrew Ryan

Pretty much every morning I wake up with songs of one of my friends or acquaintances in my head. At the moment it’s the last 135 seconds of “Let It Happen” by Tame Impala, or, as it’s affectionately known in my mind “Let It Happon.”

I got to see this song played to a billion people in Paris on the weekend. Like, to a sea of people. I tried to get them all into my eyesight at one time but it was impossible. A sea of people all loving the same music. This was the thing that was beautiful about it. Friends’ faces a billion metres high projected beside tiny normal them, hair bouncing, playing these special creations to a whole sea of humans.

While they played we stood in a little loose group, Nick, Ash, Anne, Julie, dancing, grinning at one another. But yeah, the biggest thing was that – that these songs are inside so many people now, right inside, and watching them pour the songs out over this sea was what my mind called over and over ‘The Biggest Treat.’ After dancing the normal way for a while, except always with my hands in front of me in the air, I closed my eyes for a very long time. The new songs – I didn’t understand them the first times I listened… ‘What is Kevin doing!?’ I asked myself – and then after one moment, a simultaneous moment with another friend who was on the other side of the country in Australia, I understood them. We wrote to each other on Facebook, like ‘Ooohhhh, now I get it!’ Suddenly it just happoned.

So yeah, I closed my eyes and put my hands out in front and felt the gathering into my hands of all the good feeling of this whole sea of people. I wondered if we were glowing, the sea and my hands; and then I put my hands down into the waters of the Seine – it was a long way away but with my eyes closed it was right there in front of me – and I shot the good feelings out of the ends of my fingers into the waters, pouring healing into the river that makes its way continually through the whole city.

There’s a story in the bible about some river where people go to go put their bodies in and get healed. There’s enough bad things in the world that something like that could possibly spontaneously happen, a river turning into a river of healing and everyone takes their heartbreak and depression and war to dip in it and be fixed. So, while Tame played that’s what I was doing, making the river with every good feeling around. And then the sun went down slowly over the top of us, and Nick and me had many hugs which meant ‘We’re so happy our friends are so amazing,’ and also meant the joy of being with these tens of thousands of people who had the same tastes some amazing how.

Out the back Nick tried to explain in hilariously great beginners French to a French boy how AFL works, our version of football, and I laughed when we were making crude semen jokes and a French person joined in the conversation and within two minutes it had traversed to Molière and how French and English and German diverged as languages and how much of a role various playwrights had in this process.

~ ~ ~

The next day Jodie said to come to a place called La Géode, so my temporary sweetheart took me there on the tram and left me in sight of the big silver ball (http://wfiles.brothersoft.com/l/la-geode-france_106375-1920×1200.jpg). I didn’t know what was going to be happoning, but I took a few steps after the goodbye kiss and then heard those magical songs again. Down below all tiny and sweating in the sun were the boys, I waved and the security man let me in. They were filming for Blogothèque, a French website. Kevin had apparently chosen this massive beautiful landmark to film in front of, and again as the clouds and the sun moved over the sky, the ball lit itself and the boys up in beautiful ways, the water of the moat below playing its own frequencies and making a million waves of glowing light, and it was exactly the cover of the album as well.

They played the songs over and over, and I talked to Jodie about album business and love and I almost broke a coffee machine, and sweated with all the other hangers-on. The boys were listening back, Cam folding and stuffing as much pizza as possible into his body, and Dom said to me ‘Aren’t you getting sick of hearing the same songs over and over again?’ But I told him the truth that I hadn’t realised til then: that these songs are like a place you can stay for a very very long time, and perhaps that’s why they’re special for a whole sea of people all across the silver globe. Like, right now, I’ve been listening for an hour to those 135 seconds of the end of Let it Happen over and over, and I’ll be fine for another hour still. I said to Dom that it’s like how you never get sick of looking at the clouds, right? And, yeah, that’s the way I feel.

Nick had brought me Vegemite and gave it to me, the boys kept sweating and recording til the power died, and Ringham and Joe and I played the game where you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger on your own body and if the other person looks in it and doesn’t stick their finger in it you get to punch them pretty hard on the arm or the chest. It’s not Molière, but it’s a pretty fucking great game. Dom gave me sunglasses that some shop had given the boys, new beautiful sunglasses like the quality of things I never have because I never buy anything and am not a rockstar. My hands and heart were full. Cam and I made a deal that he’d also get me sunglasses, we spit in our hands and I made him eat it after. So gross. But we are Australians. And Gum was getting deep into Instagram and we tried to convince him Peter Cole is the person to follow if he only wants to follow one person in the Instagram world, as he started unfollowing people and then had to unfollow everyone else to not offend anyone, golden boy that he is.

Anyway, all of this to say, Tame Impala at Rock En Seine were a thing to behold, tiny and enormous, and all the more tiny and enormous as we caught the train home and heard French people discussing the songs, humming them, glowing a little bit in their faces from having seen something they’d been waiting for, dipping their bodies into it, coming out a little bit better for it, some magical how.

Mark Ronson at Metros City, 22 July 2015

Andrew Ryan

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one thing i like to do is have two musics playing at the same time. today it’s a song called ‘the gold hall beckons’, by a local band, and an album called ‘pensée d’automne’ by jean lumière. you just put two songs on pretty loud and let them slow dance together, or just let them be in the same room with their own thoughts, perhaps unaware of how they’re affecting one another, but definitely affecting one another.

i was thinking that maybe that’s what he likes too, mark ronson, putting two musics together. this morning i woke up with the words “what is a ‘mark ronson’” in my head, and a bruise on my nose, and i’ve been turning both things over in my mind. it’s fine to not know who someone is or anything about them, in fact, it’s very normal. so yes, when i went to the show last night, i didn’t know what a mark ronson was. i was lifting my body to see what was happening on stage, but the man singing had long curly hair which was a surprise to me. i’d seen a photo of ronson on my friend’s phone and his hair was slicked back and not like this at all. who was this man with a high slung guitar and what had he done with mark ronson?

so this morning it reminded me of meeting a no-home man from deep in the wheatbelt who taught me how to throw a spear – crack a stick to make the animal move, then throw. and he mentioned eating ‘bardies’ to me, and i asked “what’s bardies” and then he had a funny look on his face and we both started giggling and i said “is that like asking ‘what’s eggs?’” and he nodded and grinned. i’ve told this story before.

so i don’t really know what happened at the show, except that a beautiful man with slicked back hair who apparently is a type of soft genius sat up on top of a big screen, words flashing over, as in big lyrics, and underneath him people sang in the way of him putting music together, weaving the thought of someone’s voice into a song by some other one, and a glorious sound coming out. at one time when kevin parker was singing, and kirin callinan was playing guitar and mark ronson was puppetteering them, or more like life coaching them from the side, i danced so ferociously that i banged my nose on one of metro city’s many shiny silver poles that hold the whole place up, hold all the people in, away from each other, close to each other.

so that’s really my review, to sum it up: “i have a little red bruise across the top of my nose from mark ronson.” i showed kevin, to prove that i’d enjoyed the performance, but really, a few thousand people glued to his voice and the rest of the band is proof enough of something special, this time.

it was a lovely thing, just floating around in that room watching people watching the stage. everyone singing along – that was the best part. a whole crowd of people who didn’t seem to be sleazy or fucked up, just very glad to be there. and a stream of famous singers and players who were like bardies to me or eggs to a martian that hasn’t spied on us for long went on and off the stage being energetically optimistic and wonderful.

i went upstairs sometime, right, right upstairs, to some sky bar that was just a big open space of tiles and the night sky, wide open, and you could still feel the music lifting you up up there and so i went running and sliding on the tiles with my friends jules and freddy, dancing across the big black space with no-one to bother us, except the hundredth person of the night going up to freddy to ask “how tall are you?” or to make the unbelievably vapid comment “hey, you’re tall”. being tall or being famous, it’s a daily small burden until you’re on a desert island, or maybe deep in the wheatbelt where everyone knows who you are but in a very different way.

up at the sky bar The Big told me ‘go now, find your friend, he’s downstairs outside’, which was very helpful as the friend didn’t have a phone. and that’s the main thing i think about these days, how there’s these two songs going on the same time, getting helped to find my friend by a large cosmic voice, and all sorts of nasty things happening to lovely people everywhere, every moment. like, maybe one day you just have a tiny bruise on your noise from saucily dancing into a pole, but then the next day someone from the next town who wants to live in your town comes and smashes you and all your family and burns down your crops…

well, the last thing is, at soup kitchen this week i met a man who was really hanging out to talk. he had the big grey fluffy hair of someone who has no-one to look after him, and the real sad look in his eyes. but we got talking about music, and he can play everything, guitar, mandolin, piano, harmonica, some drums, but found it hard to make his own songs. “i’d get to a certain point and then at the end, it was just really hard to finish.” he lived at a place called ’55 central’ that sounds like something from a book about down and out people, but is a real place that real people actually live. anyway, we talked for a long time and he told me about his real dream he’s working towards, even while things are rough, and it’s some way to help kids on the street in malaysia and also developing an app to help people start their own small businesses, people who are down and out, a real comprehensive but easy way to get things going. i asked him why he cares about kids on the street in malaysia and he said how he’d once watched a program about children in rwanda, after the genocide, and just seeing one little kid crying, alone, parents gone, and he decided on that spot that he would do something for children who are in that predicament. malaysia is closer than africa, so he’s planning to start there.

try not to be cynical. listen to some mark ronson over the top of some mendelsohn, and just see how it all fits in. mark ronson and pond at metros city, 5 stars.

If On a Winter's Night a Traveller Gives You a Book List

Andrew Ryan

i’m very love sick. it hits me at 4 in the afternoon, sometimes earlier. i wade my way through it til sunset and then i pop out the other end. after that i can cook, think about the future, do soup kitchen, luxuriate in the shower. before that, i’m a mess. him him him, my mind hums. him him him.

last night at soup kitchen one of the men started talking to me about nabokov. i don’t know how we got there, but we got there. “the problem with nabokov,” he said, “is once you start reading him you can’t stop.” once i start anything i can’t stop. except yoga, and quitting smoking, and swimming and learning swedish and all the rest. “is it such a problem, to not be able to stop?” i asked. “56 novels, yeah it’s a problem.”

anyway, the guy made me a list of books to read in his lovely curly font, curly like all the tattoos up his neck and onto his face and the big glossy spacers in his ear lobes and his manner to me, all curly, all lovely. all the young guys were at one table last night, giggling, asking for toasties and teas and ice cream and giving me and each other funny looks. curly cheekily threatened to not finish his sentences if i stopped his flow again by getting up to get something for someone. i like all these men. i don’t know if they’re dealing drugs under the table (‘junky’ by burroughs just put fresh ideas of what happens outside my vision into my head) and laughing when i walk away, but i’m pretty sure what’s happening is just that week by week we’re becoming friends.

these are the books curly told me to read. i’m going to read them in order, except nabokov who i’ve given up on already. maybe we can have a bookclub except we never talk about any of the books or know who’s read what. (like moss growing in iceland. it’s probably happening and that’s a nice thing, but you can’t know for sure):
“desperation” – nabokov
“boredom” – alberto moravia
“contempt” – albert moravia
“if on a winter’s night a traveller” – italo calvino
“the island of the day before” – umberto eco
“white noise” – don dellilo
“satanic verses” – salman rushdie

nick allbrook gave me ‘if on a winter’s night a traveller’, which is convenient because i’d like to tell you about a show he played at. similarly convenient is the fact that louis, a guy who played in the ‘darling rangers’ who i’d also like to tell you about just walked by where i’m sitting, and we shook hands and met for the first time, him wearing a wonderful woollen jumper from someone, me wearing a wonderful woollen jumper from, well, nick.

i started ‘if on a winter’s night a traveller’ many times, maybe even on my way to france, but never finished it. but like moss i’m going to persevere.

nicholas allbrook gave me ‘if on a winter’s night a traveller’, which is convenient because i’d like to tell you about a show he played at. similarly convenient is the fact that lewis, a guy who played in the ‘darling rangers’ who i’d also like to tell you about just walked by where i’m sitting, and we shook hands and met for the first time, him wearing a wonderful woollen jumper from someone, me wearing a wonderful woollen jumper from, well, nick.

i started ‘if on a winter’s night a traveller’ many times, maybe even on my way to france, but never finished it. but like moss i’m going to persevere.

so those two and a bunch of others played on friday at the oddfellow. the oddfellow is down some stairs and into a wide limestone and wood cave, carved out by men maybe even pre-hi-viz. i went down there and sat with nick, him in a great outfit of big dark blue overalls and a black long-sleeved shirt. clothes don’t really matter but if you’ve got food and freedom it’s nice to look around and see people wearing the exact outfit you’d also like to be wearing – this is what happened in this case – or an outfit that brings your eyeballs pleasure, like stephen bellair in sportswear with two cute buns for his hair to nestle in.

anyway, we talked about france and all the other things, and lovely andrew campbell, smelling like a man and with a secret look that says “all pleasures belong to me” came and sat with us too. i was looking round the room trying to see all the men from darling rangers – i’d been waiting to see them play, and almost seen them a bunch of times, but always left whatever place it was too soon. drage, one of the kings of songs here in perth, and strawberry pete gower, who i’ve told you about before, everyone acknowledging his talent and waiting for him to either self-destruct or play a million great guitar songs on their backporch til 5 in the morning, were both maybe late for their own show, but in a way that’s all part of the show.

so then it happened, they all were there and started it up, straight into drage pouring his organs through the sound of his voice and wild in the eyes, and redhead felix who gives me free icecreams sometimes at the movies being perfect on the drums, and ash who is the groomed lynchpin of the ungroomed, grimey 208s, home to the darkest, heaviest shows we get even when the music isn’t that dark or heavy, where drage sleeps under the staircase, and their great bassplayer with his elbows up high, and lewis, the best person to watch going nuts on his keyboard. all their friends were watching and also a few little scatterings of marines who were all in town to eat kebabs and look at women’s asses in between playing cards on the ship and learning to kill things. poor guys. i felt happy for the ones down there, seeing drage sweating away at a similarly bizarre game, violent in its own way but violent for creation rather than destruction.

in between sets i was up the stairs outside on the pavement, watching marines flow by. nick sung me ‘war pigs’ because i couldn’t remember how it all went, which he was going to cover in his set, and i laughed as he sang and remembered being 14 listening to that song and holding hands with my friend’s cousin very softly and surely, me on a couch, him laying next to the couch, with black sabbath on tape and surfing stories as the backdrop to a non-fatal holiday crush.

that holiday we all floated in a fat black tyre tube out across the deep waters of king george sound, all the way from bombie rock to goode beach, me seeing sharks everywhere in all the weedy shadows, and the boys pushing us off at intervals into the water, everyone tight in their wetsuits and loose in pleasure, all the days stretching out before us to be filled with weed and black sabbath tapes and that big ocean, salty frozen hands and faces getting warmed back up again in front of fires on the couches and carpets of someone’s grandparents’ house.

so yeah, then hamjam played and nick played, great as every time i’ve written about them. i went off walking in between, feeling lonely but still happy, joe and ben arriving at the right time to buoy me, and stephen bellair giving me a hug at the right time to buoy me, and i didn’t watch hideous sun demon even though it was their special show, but whatever they did couldn’t have made me love them more than i already do (lots). but dean, singer, feature-film star in the waiting, poured cool, gentle water during the week over an internet drama involving some raging family, hurt at life and at the fact their son/brother got beaten in a band competition, and that made me love him more. cool water to let them fizz away their anger and get back to loving their family’s music, to the exclusion of all others.

so there you go. time to read.

Microbial Universe and a little Tired Lion at the White Star

Andrew Ryan

Whenever I go away, I never go to see music. See, when I’m away, down the south way, I drive for five hours straight into this womb. It’s a womb made of cute parents, heaps of granite, cold blue-green water flecked with seaweed and moonlight diamantes, If You Are the One episodes, and a bed that lies on top of suitcases full of love letters.

By the way, something happens between when we are an embryo and when we shoot out of the womb, (a lady squeezing the hand of her friend and screaming swear words with sweat all on her brow and wearing a big rainbow coloured poncho even though the nurses tried to get her into white scrubs too, as the exit strategy), wherein we are “seeded” with a whole heap of microbes that stay with us for our entire life. My friend, a hot partly red-headed doctor with a well-cut fringe, told me over breakfast. I’d slept on her and her boyfriend’s couch, and soon I’m going to room-share with their housemate. Me and the housemate talked about having bunk beds, and about making a movie with him (from Methyl Ethel), Drage (from Drage and Darling Rangers), Jake Suriano (from Hideous Sun Demon and Kitchen People) and Lochlan Gibbons (from being a DJ). All the hot tall boys in the city with striking faces. Me and the housemate talked about that tall boy movie, but me and the doctor talked about microbes.

So, we get this universe of micro-organism planted into us. My friend’s finding out the source – the lady’s vagina? The lady’s butt? The lady’s gut? Some alien implantation. In three years when she gets the answer I’ll pass it straight on.

So yeah, usually down south I don’t go to shows. I’m in that womb, seeding myself on the past in my childhood bedroom, with the bed-on-suitcase scenario.

But this time I sent my friend Amber (yeah, same name) a message to say “Want to go to the Earl?” So we went to the Earl of Spencer (corner of Earl and Spencer streets of course) and drank some wine and listened to her friends complain a little bit about Bali. Amongst the conversation pieces she said “If you feel like you should do something about something, then you should listen to that voice and not silence it.” This was her summary of her and the friends talking about Bali and poverty and everything else, and it made me very very proud that we are highschool friends She’s seeded three babies with microbes for their life, she started young, as a teenager, one of my favourite teenage mums.

So then we went down from the Earl of Spencer, old Albany pub with nice lighting and leftovers of people’s pies dying slowly again on their plates, a real fire in the fireplace, people talking about their coastal town real jobs and swilling red wine and beer, to a babies’ pub, the White Star. Amber works at the drug rehab place in the town and I could see her recognise and not acknowledge people who come in to get help, protecting them by looking out across the room and not stopping her gaze for more than the tiniest moment. She knows how to protect people and how to seed them, as I told you.

Well, yes we were at the White Star. What a name for this bright beacon of just drinking and some music. It’s brighter than it would be in the city. The music made my ears bleed a little bit inside, all the interior universe running away from the sound. A local band played first, earnest, with their own neon sign of their band name chewing up power on the stage as they played. The music was not good for my taste, but they were still beautiful, sweating away, so many cables, so many pedals, their own mixing desk. Too much, but I still watched the bass player with a happy feeling in my body, swinging his glittery green bass around and jumping in time to the lead singer. I wondered if they played in church as well, with all the jumping and all the enthusiasm. If they sang with their own accents I could have loved it too.

And then the PERTH band, all the way from PERTH were almost ready to play, Tired Lion. I was a tired lion (oh shit, they probably have that said by people all the time), but I was very much wanting to see some songs, we were bored in the White Star and it was all too too loud even in between, but I wanted to see what would come out of the body and mouth of the beautiful singer, swinging her own interiorly glittery self through the room, humour and disdain all mixed together it seemed to me from her spirit. When they played what came out was beauty and glitter too, her beautiful voice strong and grungely and clear and wiping lipstick accidentally over the microphone and back over her face, her hair going all ways, she acting and being like someone where people look and know “She’s a star”. But then mainly I listened to the guitarist. So measured and true to what was needed. It was like other music, so I couldn’t float into it and away, but it was a powerful, skilled version of the things it was like. The other Amber loved it too.

Well eventually I had to get back to the womb. Climbed up on the suitcases and put the covers over my head because it was actually the Winter Solstice or one day off, and talked on facebook into the night to my friend Ben about poetry and video clips and family matters and all the other things. And then floated out into sleep. Me, my microbes, the image of the Tired Lion girl’s face all strong and pure, the image of my friend Amber’s measured summary of all of life, the forever thankfulness for warm things and knowing up in the city there’s a couple hundred interconnected friends, microcosm, all making things, loving each other, symbiotically growing some good, real thing, even if it’s just for a little while.

Peter Bibby and his Bottles of Confidence at Mojos and Some More Reflections on Dirt

Andrew Ryan

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bibby was back again. but that’s not a miracle. this is a miracle: on tuesday night at the soup kitchen a man came in, right at the end of the night. he had a shirt and a vest and washed hair and nice pants and nice shoes and a big fat smile on his face and A JOB. everything has changed, his body said. how many times has this happened the year we’ve been going there? only once.

saturday night: mei and matt and i were walking to mei’s show. we saw a man on the pavement, very scab-ridden and very dirty and very smelly. ‘hiiii amber’ he says. ‘hiiiii jason!’ i say. yes, i take pride in my friendships, especially with the dirtiest people on the crust of the earth, because people only become dirty if they had some big lack of love. if someone pushed them into the dirt as a child. or they had some loose bit in their brain that made them annoying to love. when they get dirty and scabby and full of drug holes they need more and more love to make up for the lack, but they get less and less because they’re covered in a layer of ‘go away’. jason met mei and matt a few weeks before when we were all on the street with my mum too, and everyone did hugging both times. human touch. that’s what we learned in first aid is the thing that actually starts the healing process. the teacher was talking about head injuries and car accidents and heart attacks but she was a legend and reminded us all: human touch is the thing.

jason told us good information too. “all the old men out here are hurt and don’t trust anyone because they’ve learned not to.” it was simple information, the kind that he lives inside every day. who turns to alcohol and drugs? all my friends. who gets turned to dirt by alcohol and drugs? mainly people who learned that the world is mean from when they were tiny.

anyway, you want to hear about a rock show? it was pete’s album launch. at mojos of course. me and sam were running late, because of my indecisions about everything, but we got there, and me, he, and nicholas played one of those very enjoyable sets where you don’t mind if no-one liked it cos you all liked it. it felt special. we played ‘hot date’ because it’s about pete, and some new songs pete hadn’t heard yet, and one of his songs ‘cordial’ where i changed the melody and changed the words but kept ‘mother fucking’ in it for comic effect. it was mainly all for him, cos it was his show and we love him. the set took a little dive at the end, but it didn’t matter.

hamjam were next. i saw them play as a two piece once at bar 459 and it was one of those times when you see people that never do anything wrong play not as perfectly as usual. but that place is hard to play unless you’re doctopus or borty torty (ed: aborted tortoise). 2 piece hamjam is more contemplative. more smooth. anyway, this was the 2-version as perfection. the crowd was pleased, the connoisseurs were pleased. like, it was special. there was a row of beautiful girls dancing at the front, so beautiful i was looking around at all the mens faces to see if they understood that this was one of the greatest sights that could accidentally be before their eyes. (apologies for heteronormativity.) sometimes one of the beautiful girls would turn to me and i’d be overwhelmed. but yes, these two: hamish’s songs which i’ve always loved, and just james ireland, who everyone knows is musically untouchable, effortless. he reminds me of the bboy from jandakot who i loved and went ice skating with once at the rink at cockburn, where no-one i know has ever gone, where it’s all dark and rough and a nice place to hold hands with someone in a tracksuit. this is what instruments they had: guitar, keyboards, drum machines, pedals. everyone in the crowd was turning to one another during the songs and saying ‘this is sooooooo good’, and everyone turned to one another at the end of the show and said ‘that was sooooooo good.’ hamjam, play forever.

hmm. then i got bored and nearly went home. then i went in the bandroom and did ridiculously silly dancing with nick to a whole song, being wild with our limbs each and cracking up laughing at ourselves and one another. i was glad i didn’t leave. i was glad to see my friend be free.

but back to that saturday night for a moment… we were still on our way to mei’s show, when we saw brandon who comes to soup kitchen. he hardly said hello and looked very very sad. he was sitting on the ground with a group of people and one lady said with her hand to come close and sit, so we did. brandon was crying! he said he wanted to kill himself and run out in front of a car. all his things had been stolen earlier in the week. all his good clothes and his bad clothes. ‘come see my friend play at the bird,’ i said, even though i knew it would be too hard. ‘i don’t have any good clothes’ he said, and he was in a dirty tracksuit which is perfectly reasonable clothes to wear at the bird. but i didn’t insist because of the divide. he is used to being outside, asking for money, hanging his head low, and we are used to going into the bird with our heads high and having money for whatever we want. ew. me matt and mei were going to have pasta at a place i’d never been before. ‘it’s not fair!’ my brains insisted.

well, the lady who had become brandon’s mum for the moment offered mei and matt a blanket. they didn’t know what to do with it, neither did i, and then we all realised she was offering it to sit on instead of the ground, because i guess we didn’t look like people that sit on the ground and also because she is used to sharing. she had a snaplock bag of lollies and made sure they went all the way around the circle. this sharing is a special thing that happens with people who have less things, and it’s a very good thing that also sometimes comes to bite them when the sharing is not just lollies. or maybe sharing can never bite you. i dunno.

anyway, we went and had our food at the nice slightly posh place. brandon and his ‘mum’ were just around the corner, at the back door of another bar. every now and then brandon would come past and make a funny joke to us, or pretend to scare me by grabbing my shoulders and all the other clean people would look at him a bit askance because what was he doing round here? and i felt the ‘it’s not fair!’ the most strongly it can be felt, when you are eating a big bowl of delicious pasta in a chair and have a bed to go back to after a glass of wine at the show, and just around the corner is someone who cries just the same as you, has the same feelings but maybe from different experiences and is going home to ~~ NOWHERE ~~ with no bed and now NO BAG because someone stole it.

i always write about the same thing. but it’s just a brief moment in time, and it’s fine. and these are the things i’m trying to work out.

so, pete, nick and johnny played. pete was completely mesmerising. he’s still surprised that strangers know the words to his songs but he writes classics and has “it”. usually whenever pete plays with others i wish he was on his own – this time, no way. they as a three piece were perfect, and when lyndon joined as a four-piece, were perfect. people were talking some of the time, but mainly all the eyes were just on pete. and yeah, people know the words to the songs, people call out the songs they want to hear. “red xf falcon!” they demanded. “cunt!” they demanded. last year in october pete had never been overseas. he talked to me about being scared to go on the plane such a very long way. but now he’s been to america twice and as i write this he’s in that little england place. travelling round with his shirt undone on the back of a flying body of songs which in my imagination looks like the body of falcor from neverending story. he goes country to country now, holding on tight to falcor’s fur, and then sings out the songs. through this process falcor goes to visit many people in many countries in their rooms at night after the show, half-sleeping by their beds (they all have beds) and warming up the room with his big white body. pete was captivating, the other boys held him up. at the end of the night for the last kylie minogue cover hamish joined pete to sing and i juggled heavy whisky glasses behind them on stage til the glasses broke and i had to use emu bitter cans. i’d promised pete i’d juggle, so it had to be done.

my drummer sam had just been to see sufjan stevens play at the opera house in sydney the night before. he was still all aglow and said it had been the most incredible musical experience of his life. this mojos show wasn’t that, but it was very special and very fun and i watched faces of pete’s fans enraptured from the moment he started til the moment he sung the last la-la-la by kylie with ham at his side. blah blah. much love. hope you get a visit by a falcor, and some extra miracle happens so someone has enough money to have a soft place to rest their head.

Griffith Review Reading in the Wetlands

Andrew Ryan

i was on the front porch just now. just talking to my friend about the universe, like, whether it’s all illusion (we don’t believe so) or whether all the delicate things we feel are very, very important (we think so.) like whether if you throw a glass over your shoulder, and it shatters on the other people, it matters (it does), or whether it’s all illusion, see?

there’s something nice about being alone. about having ten days to meditate, on an empty stomach, without speaking. that’s ok, but even more ok is looking out across trees and birds and letting the deep speak to you, and speaking what you hear out into the ears of your friend.

i went to a night of readings. i was sad because a rock had hit my niece and because one of the indigenous ladies at the soup kitchen got angry at me for not speaking to her first. she felt it as a pain, i didn’t mean it that way. my niece felt the rock as a pain, and all my family felt it too. so i was sad, but then went to a room full of people who talked about western australia. about saving the wetlands here. about all the indigenous football players and how them playing football changes everything – like, everything. and about music here and how it gets to flourish in the desert, the cultural desert.

it was good to be back there, in one of those rooms where people just stand up at a microphone one by one and read you things from their heart. and you enter in through their words, into their heart and into the spirit of the world. a room full of people with the right kind of intelligence, like, maybe they even went to university, devoting their life to keeping life alive. devoting their life to keeping trains on a railway because it’s better for people to be all there together in the carriage, travelling in one large ship that fells less tress and means everyone is with one another, even if they’re on their ipods, or better if they’re looking at books, or better if they’re looking into one another’s eyes and saying “oh, you’re so the same as me” and “oh, you’re quite different to me and i wonder how you understand water – are you scared? and why? do you swim far far out into the ocean? and why? do you walk on the water, and why?

so i was at the reading. my friend read little parts of an essay about music here in WA. some fans came over and wanted to meet him. and some lovely middle-aged women came over and wanted to meet him, just because he was younger than the other readers. many routes to a loving gaze.

my friend nandi read about the wetlands. i tried to tell her i’ve been thinking about her and sending good thoughts, but that seemed very pale. i said “sorry i haven’t been involved” and she said “maybe you can write a song about it”, and i told her “yes, i will”. and a little bit later i remembered my friend mei has already written a song about those wetlands. the place the land and water meet together, falling through the cracks, as nandi said. how many songs can be written about wetlands? well, these places hold up all the species that float and swim around, and walk and jump around, and fly and shimmer in the sky. all of them eventually need these places that filter everything through, so, i can write a song about it too. so could you.

i’ll call it, “mud pack for a magpie”. i’ll call it “splashing with a cockatoo”. i’ll call it “a shrimp, out of the barbie and happy”. i’ll call it “you let me breathe, so i wrote you a song.”

hmm. on the porch my friend said “we all come from the dust, and go to the dust”, and that’s kind of true, but we’re from liquid too. all from the wetlands. write me a song about the wetlands, and i’ll write one back to you.

Yardstock in Backyards/ Whalehammer Reunion Show at Rosemount 21 March 2015

Andrew Ryan

in my dream a boy was playing piano. some classical piece recorded on old paper and he looked sideways up at me as he played. a tiny boy. and he added in notes in between all the phrases, heaps of notes. we were making this music together, this tiny dream child and i.

i did recording a few weeks ago, sitting at pianos, sitting at organs, sitting in a little wooden room with big headphones covering me, with leonie’s and cosi’s tshirts on me for luck, with leaves and flowers and seedpods hidden around for luck. who even makes music? we all do. everyone was there, playing through me. i was someone else’s dream, all my friends’ dreams, the world’s dreams. and that’s what’s in the special music of my friends – the dreams of the world.

something lame is happening here in the country where we grew. the old people who lived here forever, as much as we can dream forever, are getting moved again, ignored again, beaten down again. some of the old people have gone to an island near where i live. a tiny island in the river of the city. they’ve lit a sacred fire. they’ve set up camp.

we’re going to go there. andrew who runs the record store told me about it last night in between when i was dancing, said saturday nights from now on we’ll go and get people who play music to go and listen to the elders. this is the right kind of way to move in your life, an opening move, a strong and strange move, a move toward strangers.

when people play you can go to a place to prepare yourself for moving the right way through life. some music makes it easy. rupert was playing in his own backyard for yardstock, under the name ‘leaving’. we watched him through the grass, and the grasses and trees played along with him. everything moving. loren and toby tied my legs and arms down to the ground with long grass that was growing up. little bowties of green to hold me there in deep appreciation, my eyes still able to move even though the rest of me was tied, tied to freedom, looking over rupert’s handsome kind face as he sat and played electronic organs.

this was the beginning house of yardstock. all these bands all playing in yards, a tin going round bound for people camping out under trees to protect these big old things that let us breathe but mainly rely on us to stand in front of each other if someone has a big axe. have you ever stood between a tree and an axe? some people call them ‘hippies’ as if it’s an insult, but camping, protecting, singing – these are the things we’re made for.

hmm.

dreamy advice column over.

best thing about yardstock? apart from getting tied with grass and stroked by loren and toby, was when matt brought me a green tea icecream. and seeing the old guard of perth music playing in new bands and being real. they never say ‘we’re such-and-such band!’ at the end of a show, as if the point is that people know and remember their name. they just PLAY for pleasure and maybe even necessity.

this theme was continued at night, when i bailed from yardstock to go the whalehammer reunion show. whalehammer, alzabo, craig mcelhinney, tsvoim, bamodi. everything dark and heavy, everything uplifting. please just look up all these bands. lie on the floor and listen to them. see what happens. nick odell put the show on and it was all people making music in the purest way – music for music. seems crazy to say that, but sometimes there are other factors mixed in. radio play or something? i don’t know, but this was special.

renee sat next to me feeling better by the minute with the dark energy helping her. i closed my eyes and let all the doom fill me with good plans for the world. little nick raised pretend goblets in the air and let his body be washed in it all. hayley beth, who’d played an actually mind blowing show a few weeks before, stood at the back, i imagine her also being drawn inward and backward to the memory of when these type of shows were the ones that always happened.

i remembered whalehammer playing a show in dave egan and nick allbrook’s old sunroom lots of years back. i think me and dave and peter cole’s old band triangles played too, and a set of drums fell down on top of us during the set. whalehammer in my memory were weird, sincere, and great – just dave west and ringham on acoustic guitars. this time it was a billion leads from dave into and out of guitars and keyboards, and steve summerlin back on bass after alzabo, and ringham sometimes down with the others and sometimes up on the drum kit. still weird and great. still purest of pure.

after the show little allbrook played me songs on the keyboard in my room, beautiful new songs, and in between we talked about how great the show was, and jarlmadangah, . i guess it was like my dream in a way – maybe the dream was just a memory. and maybe some of the purest times of music here are just a dreamy memory too. but these dreams only go back 8 years or so, not 40,000 years. so for the next few saturday nights i’m gonna go to the island instead of shows i reckon, and see how those old people are tied to the ground.

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Laneway Fremantle 2015

Andrew Ryan

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Laneway. I went to Laneway once when it used to happen at the Perth Cultural Centre – this place in the middle of the city where our little Art Gallery and little State Library and little Contemporary Arts Institute all nestle together. For some reason I was at a stall that time, I can’t remember why, and for some reason I was selling a thing I made called “Lol Bags” where you paid a dollar and got a bag full of lollies (candy) and then I whispered a joke in your ear. Daniel Johnston played, and it was when someone I knew had just been on tour with him and told me about him wandering around whatever place they went to, far and wide, and him being very sweet and they’d just find him, gather him back when the time came for a show.

So, this time it was in Fremantle. Fremantle is becoming more and more a magical place in my mind. This time again the evening involved riding in the moonlight over the traffic bridge, where I’d seen those gutsy tiny teenage girls jumping off to fly far down into the river below… But that happens later.

I rode my bike to the train in the city, jumped on, and spent a lot of the journey to Freo thinking about “fame” and what it brings. I was looking at people who seemed like they might be going to the Festival too. One boy had delicious denim overalls on, and a tucked in t-shirt and a teeny cap way back on his head, and big black boots showing nicely with the overalls rolled at the bottom, and a box of cigarettes nestled into his turned up tshirt sleeve, held there by soft fabric and his dedication to looking cool. Anyway, so there we were, near one another on the train, and I thought how if someone else on our carriage was one of the people he was going to see an “indie rock star”, he’d be sneaking looks at them all the time, maybe sidle up to them and say “hey, I don’t want to be that guy, but I just want to tell you I really love your music, and can I get a photo?”

So I was looking round our train at all the people, and imagining how things would be if we gave everyone the attention and honour we give to “famous” people. I tried to look at each person on the train as if they had some amazing secret talent, I turned an old man into a jazz piano legend, heading back on the train from his big show to drink whisky with all the other legends. I turned a middle aged Vietnamese lady into the lead singer of a droney punk metal band, older than when she was touring every day, but still able to make a massive crowd go “WOH” as she screamed from stage.

Anyway. The festival was full of music I wanted to see: Dianas, Peter Bibby, Pond in the overlapping friendship-and-music-i-love bracket, and Connan Mockasin, Angel Olsen, Mac Demarco in the just-music-i-like bracket. Connan Mockasin was the main one I was itching for though, and he was playing at the same time as the mate Pete, so I abandoned Pete after a few songs for the Connan stage. My friend Edd showed me the song “It’s Choade My Dear” when it came out and I must have watched Connan floating down that river a hundred times with those lemon slices on his eyes and pouring out music that seemed completely familiar to me even though I hadn’t heard something really like it.

Well, Connan and his band were just how I’d hoped, weird, good at everything, kind of quiet, kind of glittery – in attitude rather than appearance. They were joined at some points by Mac Demarco and members of his band, Mac pulling up Connan’s shirt in a very very slow reveal which later I was told had become a normal part of their respective sets – shows of semi-comic intimacy and long make out sessions beside the microphone. Anyway, this was very early in the day, and just the true believers were there, and honestly, just this one act satisfied me because I felt pretty lucky just to see them.

Angel Olsen was also my favourite, managing to draw the crowd into her even though the venue seemed so wrong for her. I see her in my mind in lounge rooms and dim bars and churches and bookstores and theatres playing, but not in 40 degree heat in the sun, sweating in her black jeans and everyone in the audience melting in the daylight and her music just drifting outward across a big lawn. But she and her band managed to gather the feelings in and create a room out of their music, themselves, and the huge crowd witnessing them.

And Courtney Barnett was also my favourite. I was set up to like her even more this time, after Pete told me how lovely she is from knowing her on tour, and also I’d seen her before, being powerful, real, generous. This time she seemed even more generous to the crowd and everyone was 100% on her side and even still she could win over an extra section of each person’s heart. It’s so strange to say but her song “Avant Gardener”, her big hit, gives me shivers! There is something deep in that song, especially in the “I’m having trouble breathing in” chorus that has spiritual and energetic power. I got all goosebumpy and wondered about it – is this because so many people have listened to this song, while having a hard time, and it’s lifted them up – saved them – that it’s got this power? Who can say.

And Pond were my favourites. I made sure I was right up the very very front, where I always am when friends play, and all completely squished into the bodies of many young men, my friend Simon making a place for me because he knows my devotion, and just getting to bask again in their greatness, looking personally like a young man in my friend’s Evil Knievel cap and trucker shorts.

Mac Demarco played after Pond and all the Mockasins and others were seated at a banquet alongside them, and Connan got up for the long make out session, and Gumby (Jay Watson) got up in his red leather jacket with nothing underneath and just some lil black shorts on and sang along to one song. Oh Gumby. We had him as a guest at our Late Night Talk show a few nights after and I got to sit on his lap and ask him “The Love Seat with Amber Fresh” questions like whether he ever faints when he looks in the mirror and what romantic things he does with his girlfriend. Anyway! Born to perform, like Mac Demarco, and all his band and like Mac’s mum who introduced him and told us she was gonna stage dive but then backed out because the audience were just not frothy enough for it to seem safe. But they were frothy. Just more quietly frothy.

There were many more bands of course, in between, and after, but it was time for a break. 40 degree heat! I found Nick and gave him his presents – a shirt and a singlet, because he never buys clothes, like me – and found Ash and decided it was time to swim. We went down to Bathers Beach and dipped our bodies right into it, that salty saving sea, and a few minutes later Joe Ryan and Jamie Terry arrived at the very same spot and dunked themselves too and Joe and I made spas for one another by pumping our legs in the water, and they said “Come back into the show after” and we told them “We can’t! There’s no pass outs” but of course, they couldn’t understand, because they are the rock stars, and we are the people on the train, with no chance to go back in once we’ve left the show, but still Access All Areas passes to the best thing around that day which was of course the sea.

Even though we couldn’t get in though, we knew something good was still to come. Some of the Mac Demarco people were set to play a little after show at Mojos, and this turned out to be the musical highlight for a creep like me. See, I like it when you don’t know when the songs are going to end, or what’s going to happen. That’s why I liked Connan the best, and why at Mojos when Walter TV and Andy Boay got on stage an hour late and without half their band, I was most excited.

It was GREAT. Walter played some sad lovely songs on his own, while Andy was all crumpled behind the drumkit, on the floor. Then they tried playing together, Andy without a drum seat and staring in his great way at Walter and all things kind of falling apart. And then, somehow, a little beam of light emerged from the crowd in the form of George Foster, of Dream Rimmy and Space Man Antics and all-round-amazing-guy fame. “Are you a drummer?” Walter asked, and with a humble nod, George was integrated for one night only into the band, taking the place of Mac or whoever usually would have taken the task.

So they all saved the night together, not that it needed saving, but finally assuaging all the people who’d paid good money to see famous people do something. They all kind of locked in together, George keeping up and adding his own flavour to it all, and the other two grinning and grimacing as they made their way through a weird, shambolic set that was simultanously great and shabby and sounded to me like the worm Alice in Chain’s rooster was eating. Yeah, it sounded like a great worm enjoying the dirt and it’s own fruity imagination.

So Laneway, I give you all thumbs up, even though you’re a festival, for bringing all things we could love closer to us, close enough to adore on and off the pedestals, in and out of the big ocean of things we’re all swimming in.