Thursday, November 23, 2006
As I have already said on this national treasure of a site, I am politically a bit of a utopian dickhead, with (I haven’t said this but it’s true) a Mike Leighan understanding of the upper classes (Lady Farquhar with the protruding front teeth and collies and pearls) although in my defence no particular Ken Roachian idealisation of the workers. But two events, one being my attendance at an absolutely brilliant show last night at Gertrude’s, and the other being reading a story in this morning’s Age about a maverick trader who is being prosecuted for placing a dummy bid, made me think about my friends.
I immediately reached for a stereotype to understand dummy bidder, that he comes from an environment with no cultural interest but the culture of money and its accumulation, and that he and his pals only talk about $$$ in various forms and would sell each other for the price of a… whatever an expensive thing might be. A sex on the beach or a rolex or something. Mia and I, on the other hand, walk a perilous, threadbare tightrope between financial recklessness (many weeks, we spend more than we make) and eschewing any kind of breadheadism. So, in refusing to let money control our lives (maybe I should just talk about me – Mia costs a lot less to run than I do) I make a lot of dumb spur-of-the-moment money decisions that I end up working longer and harder to pay for. Damn society!!!
Going to the Dear Nora/ Kayla from The Blow/ Mia Schoen/ Bianca show last night was however exactly the kind of thing that Go-Set reporter Wendy Saddington would have described in 1971 as a ‘flash’, except Wendy Saddington wouldn’t have liked it, but Wendy Saddington 2.1 (me) was over the moon about it. It was a night of people playing (mainly) their own songs in an either acoustic or at least just guitar-and-vocals format, except Mia who had loops and Katy Dear Nora who had some bass-n-drums-n-recorder assistance. It was pretty much a perfect show. Everyone was genuine, everyone was audience-friendly, put something of themselves into their music but in an aware, unwallowing way. And not only were there tons of people there I love in of course the unromantic sense, and I had good conversations and even if I do say so myself advanced the cause of civillisation a little bit further in our way, there was also extremely good – dare I say even cutting-edge – art being made there and then, on the Gertrude’s stage. I even got my ego stroked by a stranger.
I am not going to tie any of this in well at all. But earlier in the evening I had dinner at Peta and Greg’s place, thanks again Greg, and Greg and I did more of our dissection of the indie community economy; G was talking about a particular individual who incidentally I respect (so does he, probably) but who was a penny-pincher when it came to getting all the dosh ever owed for indie records, etc and who felt that Greg was letting the side down when he gave his CDs away for free or generally refused to participate in the indie music economy. And Greg’s argument, which I endorse, is that if you totally ignore the financial side, which is almost always going to be negligible (unless, presumably, you make a lifelong commitment to expanding forever and aspire to being The Lemonheads) it frees you up to worry only about the creative side. And this is really how I feel. G&I agree that in the main, the way bands we know tap into the ‘real world’ of the ‘music scene’ is only in the potential, kind of like the assumptions parodied in the end of Wayne’s World where if the major record company could only hear the group they’d realise they could rule the world, but they never will, ‘cos of the man or something, but meanwhile every live show at the Old Bar is a throw of the dice and maybe Michael Gudinski will wander in off the street because his car broke down and his mobile broke down and he, er, wants to hear a new band, and sign them to the label he doesn’t have anymore. OK I’ve gone too far. What I mean is, most of the people in bands we know play pretty much exclusively to their friends, with maybe a 5-10% smattering of newbies and sometimes these people are positive, and we are all part of a scene though to most outsiders it probably looks awfully exclusive and it is a bit like commandeering the Old Bar for a party on a Friday night. It’s not a private party, but it certainly has that ring to it. Know what I mean?
I don’t mind making money, though I’m pretty bad at it, but I don’t regard money per se as a devil. But I do appreciate being part of a social circle where money, even the other supposed barbecue stoppers of our age eg mortgages or even rent, are (it astonishes me when I think about it) are not the prime topics of conversation. I like babies but babies or children or school fees or whatever else are not, either. Sensationalist news headlines aren’t either. I mean I suppose we talk about music and related things or social activities or in some cases even books or tv or films, or other art including fine art, or even sometimes politics, all these topics that some might see as indicative of adults who refuse to grow up, but which when you think about it, are really mostly what’s important. And so I am very keen on my friends, they know who they are, and I am also keen on the people who I consider friends though I rarely see or have contact with them, and on the people who I seem to have inadvertently fallen out of touch with but will at some stage soon renew, and I am just grateful, because I have this excellent life. It’s not even shallow.
Mia scored a record deal with hot indie label last night.