posted on December 17, 2007 at 4:20 am

flew into melbo on a dreary sat afternoon
raining dark and cold
weather in sydney: perfect
and yet
melbos denizens had always embraced us more warmly
than sydneys golden children
right from the word glow
when we were beginning
they could more easily dig our trip…
the forum is big old ballroom or something
a warren of corridors backstage
leading into mysterious darknesses
that i did not care to check out for myself
when i arrive at soundcheck
the divs are playing
they certainly “rock”
the church played their s/check with en-rikko mi-ami
on drums
hed also filled in on bass when i was absent with dying ears
(its ok ma, theyre dead now)
him and jorden brebach our soundmixer
could probably replicate anything we ever did
when these guys offer some advice we listen
wheres tim?
my more astute fiendss are asking theirselves
well my little pigs
timmy-bouy was dubble booked
appearing at the spiegeltent
with iota
an important and prestigious gig
booked before the divs thing came about
he finished there
fifteen minutes after we were s’posed to s’tart
he leapt off stage at the tent
ran down the main drag of melbo
carrying his cymbals
one moment hes playing in the s/tent
have you heard iota fiendss
a cat with an amazing voice
currently doing well in the musical circuit too
and i can see why
rocky horror
hedwig and angry inch
and now
a ballet thingy
you can imagine the tent
and the crowd there
tim playing his gig
(and he loves this gig as much as the church, i’d say
much less stress)
then the gig ends
not really sitting back and relaxing
and getting over the sheer physicality of playing (drums)
he runs off stage hot and sweaty
grabs his cymbals etc
and legs it down this lovely boulevarde
past museums and galleries
some street comic busking a gig spots ‘im
hey runaway drummer hes stolen those drums !!!
tim runs past flinders station
and down that street to forum
(lucky these gigs were in running distance)
its a clammy wet warm night
people drift pass
its surrealistic
if you just jumped offstage
how many of you have ever trodden the boards?
you dont think doing yer thing up on a stage
while people watch and clap and cheer
is an addictive hit?
a gnawing nagging desire for more
you get clean of the feeling
you dont play for a year
2 or 3 gigs
you start getting the hankering again the yearning
anyway tim pushes through saturday nights people
through another door
then everything changes
hes entered a world
of 2000 people in a big room
drinking and laughing
me and the other 2 standing round
anxiously waiting for timbo to show
suddenly he appears
we gonna leave out a song to compensate the lateness
ricki runs out and starts playing his rogini
an artificial indian drone
the band mosey on out
church fans scream out
and divvy fans remain impassive
whats it like
walking out on stage
well its always different
sometimes im nervous
sometimes im calm
sometimes im tense and shivering and shaking
sometimes im so fuckin’ blase its a joke
tonight i stride on confidently
all i eaten today is a mini-strony
i am eating very little food at the moment
i dont think its necessary for us olde guys to eat too much
a bowl of soup
a good smoothie
maybe some toast
thatll do me for a day
i aint gonna grow any taller
i dont believe my energy is all generated by food
you may sneer at that
but im a bit like a prius high-brid
half running on the olde badde stuff
half on clean energy
thats why i have more energy than one could believe
particularly given my advancing years…
do you think if i was scoffing meat n potatoes
and gallons of plonk n booze
that i’d be able to keep it up?
(sorry to be a bore)
but the yoga and swimmy swimmy and chi gong
and meditation and the beach and the great ozzie bush weed
and the happy herbal highs
have transformed me
i stride onstage a proud old battlescarred warrior
no longer the snotty arrogant poseur of yore
which was good for yore
but not now
who am i?
what the fuck am i doing up here?
as i begin to spit out all my words
as i begin to pull notes out of my most beautiful fen-dah
as i start to heat up and sweat
as the music starts to work its mojo on my doo-dah
the guitars are like orchestras
the sound during some songs is so intense
so concentrated
focussed in so tight
im playing much better than syd
the crowd is bigger n better
the venue ditto
the thing begins to levitate
we dont wanna make you dance or whistle
or tap your foot or nod and say this is nice
as i stand onstage
i want to obliterate the audiences mind
i want to replace it with churchworld
where its all angular and pulsating
its loud and urgent and confusing
my bass now weighs nothing
my voice effortlessly projects
i can push it out or withdraw it back in
tim pounds the kit
already warmed up with iotas gig
fit and ready to punish those drums
the bass and bass drum lock in
playing in and around each other
when they sync up to a groove
you just hold on and it glides of its own accord
the audience is just a mix of individuals
the only thing they have in common
is they are in this room tonight
i look down into em from my vantage point
all ages
all types
all in varying degrees of like or dislike for the church
yes there are those who aint that fussed
despite myself i am amazed that they bother resisting us
if we played this gig in london or new york
they would go beserk
but these children of the vast suburbs
these sons n daughters of the eighties
these products of their times
they aint interested in our jive
they came to see chrissie
and they dont need anybody else
quite frankly its fine by me
they stand n listen politely enuff
they dont loathe us
but neither will they let themselves be drawn in
they cannot be bothered expending the thought n faith
i know we were quite good that night
and most of em there liked it
strangely enough
the following night is very much a repeat of night one
we walk on
and we hammer at em
till we walk off exhausted
i have a long cold shower
people tell me chrissie talks about us onstage
about the time she screamed at us cos marty said hello
gee tempermental types them showbiz types or what?
i come off drenched in sweat
i generate heat when i meditate too
i heat up incredibly
what is this heating process?
i am nothing like me
from 20 years ago
that one had more youthful dash, i grant you
but somehow
the most artificial boy whoever rocked
became the real man
i surrender to the music
i let it take me
and all those other cliches
i laughed at when i was a groovy fop
i have stripped myself back
no more frills n bullshit
i am so real its unbelievable
sorry to rave on about myself again
but i have changed and it feels so strange
the bass reveals more of itself
my voice grows in all directions
my face morphs into its original angular configuration
the energy available onstage seems limitless
my words in my mouth still feel good
they still throw up new interpretations even to me
there have been better wordsmiths than i, no doubt
but not too many
i have tried to bring a fresh intelligence to rock
yes i rock and i’m smart
they are not mutually exclusive
the words are hardly ever just tossed out or off
i put so much love and life in them
but i will not dumb it down
so a fair chunk of crowd does not really grokk us
they dont know what space rock is
and they dont really really wanna find out
they want their cars and girls and fightin’ and drinkin’ songs
they want their love songs but they dont care much for space
i know we were good
if i’d seen it
i woulda liked it
lean n hungry like the wolf (mother)
a good collision of all the good bits i could think of
a good time had by all
maybe made some new converts
ah who cares?

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