Just come back from a fun night: the launch of the new Casey Chambers & Shane Nicholson CD, Wrack and Ruin. They weren’t the curious aspect of the night; you couldn’t find a more natural couple; they were just totally brilliant and unpretentious. I know nothing about country music and was there on false pretences, this time being a reviewer for Australian Stage Online. But my curiosity (read nosiness) gets me into some fun events. I went by myself tonight; at first I wished I had brought someone along but sooner or later you find someone to talk to. Casey and Shane are the real thing. I had that confirmed by a bloke called Ben who runs a syndicated online radio country and western show. He should know. You can get onto his radio show via the web: www.RealCountryMix.com
Anyway, this Ben said that these two put Australian country music on the map, or something, and that they were totally good. Me, I got stuck into the free wine, ate the finger food and enjoyed the music. I told Ben about my wonderful sad-core doom-core country crooner/songwriter friend, t.k. bollinger, and about Basement Discs. I feel a slight pain when I don’ t make it there on a Friday lunchtime. When I do go, I am astounded that there is still room to breathe.
What’s nice for me is that the combination of sheer bloody ignorance, lots of white wine and the ability to ask questions leads me into the best conversations. I talked to Casey Chambers for a bit until her publicist came along and told me I should set up a proper interview; I talked to the lovely couple who own Basement Dics (yay, yay and yay!!), I talked to the chick who was babysitting Casey and Shane’s newest child, I talked to the radio bloke Ben, a bloke called Warren, and even met Michael Gudinski, sort of, briefly. Had a good chat with the Warren bloke about how our kids are into the same music we were 35 years ago but they don’t want to know what we think of it; they want to discover it for themselves. We agreed that the best thing was to step back and shut upski. My 15 year old put all my Bob Dylan cds onto his i-pod last night. Is there a way of expressing to him what Dylan meant (still means) to me? Tell you one thing: he doesn’t want to know. This kid isn’t a reader and has no interest in what I think of Dylan as a poet. But hey, he’s listening.
A year or two ago I took my sons to a Snuff Puppets party with my friends Mel and James (they’re in their mid-30’s). We were all, three generations of us, rocking away to the same music.
But the venue tonight… You come off Flinders St and find yourself in an odd version of a ye Olde Englishe Country Hunting Lodge. But an utterly eccentric, displaced bluestone version in Melbourne’s cbd. You walk in the front door and are confronted by a lioness and a polar bear. I took pictures – lots of people did. Have never seen so many animal heads in one place before. And how friggin huge are moose!!! There were two massive mooseheads dominating the room upstairs where the performance took place, in the company of various deer, boar, warthogs and even a cheetah. Odd, very odd. Downstairs with the lioness and polar bear were peacocks and some brown bears, one with a kepi cap and a sash from the Franco-Prussian war or the Boer war or WWI or whatever. Heaps and heaps of dark wood panelling, big carved cupboards, untold paintings of hunting scene, more and more paintings, and huge mirrors in gilt frames.
When I arrived I thought it must be some gentlemen’s club or some such but no, it’s a private residence owned by some dude called Peter who is currently nursing one or four four broken ribs. That’s what I overheard. I also heard that while the Chambers infant was being looked after in a big room downstairs that Him Upstairs turned the light off, plunging the posse and the baby into complete darkness, as a way of saying that he didn’t want them down there . Someone else said he (the owner) was old enough to remember when India was still subject to the British.
Love my life!
Let’s see if I can put the photos from my phone here … I’ll do that later