It seems that I have been consistently, persistently distracted ever since my return from Adelaide. Not the least of these distractions has been the current flood, which still has me essentially landlocked, with a bit of a question mark over the state of my causeway. Nothing can be known firmly, however, until the waters of Devil’s Creek have receded a bit more. A good time for watching one’s thoughts, and how these insubstantial entities can so capture our attention and our energy.
But yes, Adelaide … a town that has always been good to me, right from the beginning when I landed there with Judith not long after I met her. It’s a town that’s almost quaint in its old fashioned politeness. And its long memory. My Adelaide friends and colleagues of all those years ago are my friends and colleagues still: and now loyal and enthusiastic fans as well!
In part, my Adelaide schedule followed the lines of these old friendships. A concert and talk for the migrant and refugee students of Thebarton Senior College, by request of my friend Sandor, who is a lecturer there. A house concert for friends at Seli-Hoo, a share house in Black Forest (owned by its tenants) that’s been going strong for some 30 years or more, where the art of living communally and of using resources wisely shows a definite stage of refinement. An impromptu set in the front bar of the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler, by invitation from my old friend and wild, stompin’ and blowin’ blues howler Mr Steve Gower, who was mightily holding down the gig on that Saturday night.
And then there was a Candelo connection: via that songstress and fine slide player Miss Jodi Martin (big sister to Candelo’s premier bass lady, Robyn martin. Jodi's month-long residency at The Jade (Flinders St, Adelaide) was entitled The Songwriter’s Stage, a context in which she sat onstage “in the round” with three other singer/songwriters, chatting and swapping and collaborating, all very much on the spot and in the moment. An atmosphere so intimate that the usual boundaries between audience and performers seemed to vanish. I was lucky enough to be invited there for the very last night of Jodi’s current residency (May 25th) and felt very privileged to be included. And I definitely made some new friends! Amongst them fellow singer/songwriters Stan Bastiras and Kelly Menhennett.
On the following morning (Thursday 24th May) I was due in at Radio Adelaide in North Terrace for an 8:30 AM spot with Louise on The Breakfast Show. Not the best hour of the day for a late-staying-out musician, but Louise’s bright attitude and genuinely enthusiastic and insightful questioning quickly had me going strong. I love Community Radio anyway, but the feel around Radio Adelaide that morning was especially warm, friendly and focused. I’d go back there anytime
So, from the Radio Adelaide session it was a cab from the row off Rundle Mall out to Collinswood and that big white complex topped by those massive letters in shining brass, ABC. I got out, unloaded my guitar case, then through the big automatic glass doors and past the uniformed security man at the front desk, who told me to sit on one of the comfortable sofas in the foyer and wait. Paul Gough of The Inside Sleeve (ABC Radio National) would be down shortly.
And soon enough, there he was! All that bouncing energy, alive to the maximum, infectious. I jumped up, skipped the handshake (as I remember) and went straight for the hug.
“I like to interview standing up, walking around” Paul said to me before we began that part of things. “I just feel it’s more natural, kind of allows for a dynamic that's not there when you’re both sitting down. But you’re welcome to sit if you want to.” Taking up that offer never even entered my mind. What you hear when you follow the link below to the The Inside Sleeve broadcast of May 27th 2016 is a conversation between two men who are moving fast and catching impressions on the fly. Attempting to piece together a snapshot mosaic of one person’s life (in this case me) and of the thoughts, and lyrics, and melodies that have wound their way through it. A noble undertaking! And Paul Gough has been there doing this very same thing faithfully, week after week. Bringing all manner of musical artists - many of them independent - into touch with a wider circle of listeners. Helping these artists to touch places within themselves that will in turn touch others. Thank you again, Paul, for your time and your interest and your good company.
Friday night, May 27th at The Wheatsheaf Hotel: Michael Menager in Concert, with Chris Parkinson and John Derek Baker was, for me, one of the big surprises of the tour.. After witnessing Chris and John’s brilliant opening set on the night, I just knew I had to have both of those thunder-and-lightening guitar players up on stage with me. And together - well, we just lit it up. Everybody was having a good time: us, the audience; and (as had been the case at The Jade on Wednesday evening) everything we did - with no prior rehearsal, of course - was so spontaneous and improvised as to be infectious: the highs, the lows, the experimental places, the shimmering and sparking moments. We were all there together, players and listeners. My thanks and gratitude to everyone at The Wheatsheaf Hotel for continuing to provide a space where magic is encouraged!
And … well … there’s always more that could be told, but perhaps it’s good to stop here and to make this the wrap for Adelaide. My home-away-from-home down South. A place that’s as easy and familiar to slip into as one of those I-IV-V grooves in an easy key …