I ended the last update with the classic words “the thought of any more alcohol is making me want to cry”.
A few hours after typing that, I was rolling around on the floor in hysterics after drinking copious amounts of beer, wine and vodka. I do recall some rather dubious photographs being taken of me just seconds after I nearly drowned myself by laughing up water through my nostrils.. you had to be there I guess.
This was the start of Week 3 in Australia and my farewell to Brisbane. The intention was to record a rather civilised podcast where myself and the guys got together to talk about their early days on the club scene and some of their favourite records. I will be putting up the recording shortly once I edit out all the filth and bad language.. actually there might not be much left when I’m done ! We started out quite well behaved, although it rapidly turned into carnage of the highest order and was an awesome way to say goodbye to everyone, but boy.. did I pay the price the next day !
My flight to Melbourne consisted of me mainly playing Angry Birds on my newly acquired iPhone (thanks Brett) and occasionally bursting out laughing at the thought of what had happened the night before. I can honestly say this whole trip has been an absolute blast from start to finish and I have amassed memories to last me a life time.. once again a massive “Thank you” to all the Brisbane crew for an awesome week or so.
Arriving in Melbourne, I was collected by my good friend Dave Ferris. His first words were “I saw your sneakers before I saw you”. Indeed, my lovely limited edition Nikes do stand out some what, although as a friend stated on Facebook “You’re a bit old for them kicks, Fam !” – Up yours, Ali !
Dave is a good friend who I have played for on several occasions as part of the Yum Yum collective, and I was to spend a couple of days with his lovely family in their home. Hanging out with his wife and daughter was a great way to get over the antics of the weekend before, not a drop of alcohol past my lips for the two days I was in Melbourne.. although the same can’t be said for some great food ! Alongside the fun and laughter has been some lovely meals, all of which is very apparent by my ever expanding waistline. One time I stood up, pulled my T shirt tight across my belly to show how it was growing to Dave, and his daughter said “Look, Andy’s got a baby in his stomach”. Way to go Kezia.. I feel a million dollars now ! Needless to say, I’m not about to stop eating and drinking until the tour is over so I’m not too fussed about it yet, rest assured once I get home there is some serious sweating in order !!
While in Melbourne I had the pleasure of visiting a studio with Dave’s wife, Joys, and assisted in mixing down a couple of demo tracks for her outfit. She has a great voice and I am sure we will be working on some projects in the not too distant, check her out on Facebook here – Joysoul
Thursday of last week I was collected from Melbourne by another good friend, Paul Riley, along with his friend Tony who drove me out into the country to my home for the final part of the stay down under. The 3 hour or so drive out of Melbourne started as I expected, with some crazy story telling by Paul and Tony with non stop laughter.
Paul and his wife Pippa are from back in Birmingham and in the early 90’s they used to rock to my sounds every Sunday morning at Marco Polo’s. After travelling the world and a library of stories and adventures to keep any dinner table entertained for hours, they ended up in a tiny place called Katamatite, population of just 300 (yes, I said 300 !) Last year, upon hearing about my visit to Australia, they got in touch and arranged to meet up with me in Melbourne at a gig I was due to play at. It turned out that a silly little man called Aaron Kaufman had been talking out of his ass the whole time and in fact no gig ever materialised, leaving me with a massive whole in my 2010 tour and problems with finances and travel arrangements. Pippa came to the rescue and spoke to a small club in nearby Cobram, hooking up a gig at the last minute.
So back to this year. We arrived at their very secluded house in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by cows, flies, horses, flies, spiders, flies, snakes, flies, spiders, flies, spiders and flies. Did I mention the spiders and the flies ? On the evening, after a lazy day sun bathing and swimming followed by curry and beers I lay by their pool under the awesome night sky and gazed at the stars. A little of the total nerdy’ness of Zach and Brett had rubbed off on me and I drifted off thinking how insignificant we are on the grand scale of things… I then got a life and started thinking of beer again. Spotting my first satellite fly over head is another of the amazing memories I will take away from this tour.
Friday night saw more beers and me cook a nice Thai Green Curry. It so happens that Paul and I are exactly the same weight, although I look a lot better for my 86 kilos ! I don’t understand it… I am the same weight as when I left home yet I am a lot fatter !? Can you tell I’m a little bothered by it ? Anyway, I’m not really bothered but Paul and I had fun constantly giving each other stick about it all weekend. Fat tosser !
So to Saturday, and the day of the gig. An afternoon BBQ with P & P’s friends set me up nicely for the night. Mojito’s and Chicken burgers… I’m full of class me !
Cobram has a population of 5500, so you get an idea of how small it is. While I am not exactly stadium tour material, to a small town like Cobram me coming and playing here is quite a big thing, and after smashing the place last year the anticipation was growing once more for my return. The newly refurbished venue looked great and the equipment was a thousand times better than last year, although I still had to play on a pair of battered and bruised CDJ 100s (yes, 100’s) and a small pioneer mixer.. sufficient to get the job done but not exactly equipment allowing me to get too technical.
The night started off with me playing a demo mix of the next in the series of After Ours mixes that I had put together (Volume 5 coming soon). The doors opened at 10.30 ish but we didn’t expect anyone in until 11.30pm so I had a chance to have a few drinks and watch as the crowd trickled in.
When I started, the dance floor was already bouncing to the sounds of some very stripped back music, so I was confident I could do more or less what I wanted. Now let’s put this into perspective… there is doing what you want as a DJ or doing what you want within reason, “playing the game” so to speak. This was one of those gigs where I definitely had to play the game. NO deep or soulful stuff was to be played, but a selection of some Tech house and more recognisable tunes mixed up with outright club bangers.
Let me give you an idea of the crowd and venue. So I’m told, usually there is a very young crowd with young DJs who play pop music that is on the radio continuously, you know the sort ! They also quite happily allow people to pass their iPhones to play their tune of choice and take requests. After the third time someone tried to hand me their iPhone I decided enough was enough and got on the mic. “Right Cobram, we are here to have a great time, and we WILL have a great time. I have to just say one thing.. I haven’t travelled half way around the world to play requests all night and I definitely am not playing anything off your phones, so stop asking me”. That was met by a cheer from most of the crowd, while a few young girls walked off the dancefloor calling me a wanker under their breath. You have to love it ! I played a set that isn’t exactly one I’d be in a rush to share on my podcast but one I enjoyed and the room rocked all night long, at the end they were all shouting for more, so a job well done I’d say !
Sunday morning I woke up a little delicate and prepared to do it all again, although this event was to be a lot more subdued. The town started years ago with three pubs, Top, Middle and Bottom. I was due to play a “Chill out” set in the grounds of the Bottom pub from 4pm. As most of the town was still suffering from the night before I started off with some great 80’s classics while I enjoyed some ice cold Coronas. As the day progressed in the blistering 35+ degree heat, the beers went down way too easily and the people started to arrive. It appeared to be a mixed crowd, totally different than from the night before, with not many younger people there. I was under the impression that many were sitting staring at me, with that “here’s that superstar, when does he pull the rabbit out of his ass” kind of look on their faces. I got on with playing 100% music I wanted, without having to try to make anyone dance, something which I really enjoy doing. Needless to say, as myself and the rest of the crowd got more and more “at one” with the Coronas, we ended up at 9pm after going right through my CD wallet from style to style with a nice little crowd in front of the decks clapping and dancing, cheering for one more as the fire jugglers did their thing (don’t ask !) The party could have moved indoors, but to be honest after playing for 5 hours I was wacked and just wanted to get back ‘home’ to get in the pool… the fact that Paul had gotten me a nice kebab to take away had nothing to do with it, honest ! Watch out for a recording of the whole day soon.
All in all Cobram, as before, rocked to sounds they are not used to and the invitation to return next year is already on the table. I would like to thank all at The Cherry Bomb for a great night and Paul and Janine for having me. Ryan and the staff at the Bottom Pub where wonderful, thanks guys ! We even talked about another gig next Sunday as I am still around, but let’s see how this week fairs.
As I type this I am lay by the pool, listening back to the 5 hour session from yesterday and calling the flies every name under the sun (did I mention the fucking flies ?) I am slightly overwhelmed again by a sense of sheer gratitude for having such great friends and support over here, or maybe I’m still a bit drunk ? Tomorrow I make the 3 hour drive back to Melbourne for another gig I am looking forward to and a late addition to the tour, with my final gig this Saturday in another small town in Victoria called Shepparton at the Bullion Bar, full details to come on my final review next Monday.
I finish this blog with a few choice words to my good friend Paul Riley who has taken such good care of me this week… YOU FAT BASTARD !!