Showing posts from 2015
I was sitting there, up in the loft, the little studio-office where I do most of my work, and I was trying to explain the art of guitar practice to Eric, one of my students.

Next to the wall, at my right hand, stood the new electric piano which had arrived yesterday in two enormous boxes that scared the living shit out of grandma when she'd answered the door.

Grandma was over cos little Bonnie, eight years old, was sick as a dog for the third day running.
When I heard the doorbell and then BarnBoy the dog going crazy downstairs I knew it must be the new electric piano.

I expected it to be the same size as my little electric keyboard that sits between my typing keyboard and the computer screen on which I'm now watching these letters appear from left to right…

My little electric keyboard has 49 keys. It's lightweight. Maybe two kilograms. Piece of cake. This is more or less what I was expecting the new electric piano to be. We got it so Bonnie can practice piano cos she jus…

Leatherbacks and Syrup

I never considered myself a troubadour, or a traveller or a restless soul. I always felt I was a solid, down-to-earth dude with his roots firm and deep in that part of the earth upon which I happened to live at those times when I had such thoughts.

I don't just write sentences that way... it's the way I speak, too.

Only thing that's removed with the written word are the often-times very long pauses in between thoughts. That sentence might have taken a week to write. That’s the majesty of the written word. You can figure it out over time.

That's why I often use so many dots. Some people hate little dots. "Over-punctuation"  they call it. “Sloppy, juvenile.”

To me they are essential.  At their most powerful they are like punctuative footprints walking across a literary gravesite.

You can hear the silence in them ... 
Sssshhhhshshshsh ... hush ... quiet ...

They are made of sheepskin ...

I remember when I wrote certain songs because I remember which putrid, h…



She appeared as if through a tear in the fabric of time and space, plonked her gorgeous ass on the front bench, reaching distance from the stage, and took it all in.
The concert. The opening act. The nods and hellos.
She was unshakable in how much she did not fit in.
Everyone else, pretty much, was a silver-hair. A gramma or granpa.
Their handclaps were light and ineffectual and full of self-preservation. You could hear the lack of strength in their bones and ligaments and tendons. When they applauded after each song it sounded like a stack of dried out, fifteen-year-old rubber bands falling down a wooden staircase.
It didn't make you want to do better, up there on the tiny stage in the corner.
It made you want to cut a swathe through the field of them with your hollowed-out acoustical guitar.
Her eyes sparkled and shone rainbows of greens and blues in great arcs from wall to wall.

The Necessary Accessory

Mexican four-piece flamenco guitar bands confuse the living daylights out of me. 
Not because of any flamenco rhythm they got going on, or the wild Disneyland-Zorro-Exhibition-tourist-office hats or anything like that. 
No. It’s none of that.
It's the short dude with the handlebar moustache and the jumbo guitar. He blows my mind, every single time.
I'm like: "Is that guy really short, or just a long way away...? And if he's such a long way away... why IS that?  And why is his moustache so... so... present and enlarged?"
And then I'm like: "But his guitar looks so much bigger than everybody else's guitar. So maybe the guitar is like real real close, up against the camera lens, with the moustache, and the dude himself is way way back."

And then I'm like: "But how can it beeeeeee???"
When you live in a country in which you don't speak the language a wonderful wonderful thing happens.

You don't understand advertising blurbs at all. They become parodies of themselves.

There is no need to prick up your ears. A pricked ear in an indecipherable language is like a periscope on the Dead Sea. There's nothing there.

You don't understand newspapers, magazines, street signs, police directions, shop keepers, cashiers, spruikers, beggars, children, the elderly, telemarketers, gypsies, casual conversations, round-table discussions, phone messages.

Here in Germany all is not lost on the new comer. In Germany, moreso than other places, English is the go-to language for pithy, sexy slogans. Except that they get it wrong much of the time.

I'll never forget the first miss.  It was a bicycle shop in Berlin. The sign, so proudly shouting the name of the shop from the rooftop was "Little Johns' Bike!"

As if there were only a single bike inside. But yo…

Mum Drove Getaway

I went to a family reunion once in 1982. You might wonder about what sort of lack of cohesion there existed in my family that we needed to have a reunion. Most families, after all, are never so disjointed that they need a reunion. Like the cast of Gilligans Island or the Brady Bunch. Now they needed reunions, but us?
We had the reunion because somebody realised how many of us there were and most of us had no clue about the extent of exactly who we were related to. The winters in my home town were legendary and there were few distractions from the task of populating the planet.
At this reunion in 1982 the organisers, who I assume I was related to, hired or took by force the show grounds at a town called Crows Nest. It was an outdoor event and no non-family members were invited. In excess of 2000 people turned up, all related by blood in one way or other to me and my mother and my brothers and sisters. They weren't blood relatives of my father - that was for another reunion which wou…