May 12thMonument Valley (Arizona-Utah)-Needles
Good pillows here at Kayenta , good beds, very snazzy indian blankets as well and nice and quiet. OK the wind and sandstorm outside were dueling it out but as you know I sleep much better during such wild weather.
Our breakfast is included in the room cost and all I want is some cereal and fruit-a simple request. The TV is on and breakfast news is showing. Miss Homophobe California was on with dick head Trump. Trump keeps on pointing out that it's the 21st century, maybe Miss Bimbo 2009 should try living in it. I don't think she's even pretty not on the outside or inside. All this fuss when there are so many more important issues in the world like people starving. With that in mind I steal and extra apple. maybe I can throw it at Miss California?
Kayenta is very close to Monument valley, in fact the town is surrounded by mini-mesa's, so when you leave it's a bit like another planet.
We seem to stop every 1/2 a mile to film, we find some great spots. Within 5 minutes German tourists pull in' Diz iz a very good spot yeah?" "Yeah'. I've never seen so many Germans, not even in Germany- just odd. The valley is pretty cool, you kind of expect more in some ways as it doesn't seem like there are enough mesa's or weird rock formations. But the amount of times we pulled over to film places like the Sentinel Mesa or Mitchell Mesa tell me otherwise. That red desert sand, a different red to the Australian outback. I loved the 'Valley of the Gods' name for part of it, so fitting we feel like ants. It suits this area. Head on up past the wild cat trail to the Utah border. We find the big rotting "Welcome to Utah" sign...next to it tied on a barb wire fence are several dozen small American flags. They are decaying and torn.... I unwind some so they blow in the wind. Quite a nice shot, I seem to enjoy the US flag when its ancient and has some history beat into it- hate the big fluffy new ones. Let these flags reflect their country...anyway snap away. I climb the wire fence and head off into the sand dunes for more scenic photos. Mark sets up the tripod and does his thing-all focused. I'm hopping around the dunes like some big eared bunny.
Of course when I return a car with, yes you guessed it, German tourists pull over. They totally ignore that Mark is filming and one walks straight into the camera. Grrrr. They spot me climbing over the wire fence and start to do the same, for more good shots. "Oh be careful of the rattle snakes' I say ' two of them big POISONOUS vicious'.... they stop one leg in the air on each side of the fence, 'Just there' I point. They stop, turn face and walk rather stiffly to their car and drive off. I laugh, I am evil..Marks says 'god you lie'. Only when it suits me I say. We enjoy the next 10 minutes of filming, I feel mean and vow to be nice to the next lot of German tourists.
Just around the corner from the Utah border is 'Gouldings'. Seeing how that is Marks surname I make him pose in front of the massive 'Welcome to Gouldings' sign.... we head down to check out the place, and in the hope of grabbing a Gouldings postcard. Well the Gouldings have taken over everything, the hotel, gift shop, the petrol station, air strip and even a Gouldings Museum. We get a chuckle at the sign about Gouldings which says established in 1924 by Harry and his wife 'Mike' Goulding. We want to know how Utah had same sex marriages way back in 1924! *GRIN*. Mark tries to buy a bottle of coke at Gouldings fuel station, but they have no way of opening it-not even a Goulding bottle opener amongst the souvenirs..I guess desert real men use their teeth!
We drive further down the highway through Utah and stop several times. Mark fulfills his bet and poses for a few snaps with the ol' Gryphon near 'Big Indian' and 'Sentinel"...the ground is covered in what looks like moon rocks or Mars rocks giving it this we're no longer on earth anymore feel to it. We film and photograph for awhile and decide to head to California a day early. It's a serious drive but we have no accommodation for tonight so we can pretty much stop when the Mustang or myself gets tired.
The drive is long, and the Mustang has a habit of veering to the right, but it's enjoyable driving it. We finally cross the border to California. I figure the more I drive today the less tomorrow for Los Angeles. We reach the town of Needles (didn't Marilyn Mansons guitarist have a song called 'Needles California'?) and there are a few of those 'just off the road' hotels and Inns. Mark picks one, the Travelers Inn, I'm not convinced and we drive around the car park. Two suss looking dudes are out front eyeing us off, or wanting to steal the car. I'm feeling fried, so say it will do, these are our digs for the night. I book us two rooms as the rate is cheap, I'm not expecting much. One of the guys outside was the manager (opps) and he is ok, well I think. I leave the air con on, it's stinking hot in Needles. I have some fruit, the shower is really good, hits all those aching spots. See some of Farrah Fawcetts doco and it was just too sad to watch, so I didn't. I didn't want 'sad' today, hell I'm in Needles California, some may say that is sad enough! I look out the window a dozen times that night, checking on the Mustang. I parked it under a very bright light in the car park. Some young guy with his hand bandaged is working reception and he is a miserable dick, worlds worst attitude- in the end I thought- 'you are stuck in fucking Needles for god sake at some crappo hotel'. So I ignore his royal Moodyiness and chill out. I can leave tomorrow, he can't.
May 13thNeedles- Los Angeles
Weird not having Mark in the room, wake up uncertain where I was and who really killed Kenny (in my dream) and where is Mark and why does this room smell like this...oh Needles that's right. Mark is awake, we check out. 'Should we eat here', he asks. 'Like NO' I say. We check out and general manager Betty Van Ness is at the desk, she's ok, far better then 'Troubled Youth #5". She asks how the rooms were. I say fine and I don't ask about the strange smell... or the guy with the attitude.
We call into the Needles petrol station for gas. The first two machines break down, the third needs to have excess fuel removed..... eventaully we get some fuel in the Mustang- and I ignore the guys offer to add air to the tyres, we just want to escape- it's starting to feel like some strange scene from "Deliverance 2009". I drive, the car is in a good mood and it too wants to escape Needles. We call into Seligman, just wing the car off the #40-93 -Dennys will do fine. have some sort of salad. Mark spots a Kmart and ventures out while food is being done. He is Blu-ray hunting, and South Park dvd discount shopping.... he tells me the Kmart was totally empty. At the dvd-music counter a beeper goes off and a sales person runs at him,all excited they might have a sale-they don't-nothing he wanted. Meanwhile Kaz the waitress gets me a paper, she can't complete the crossword so I finish it for her. The people are nice here, they talk about the recession, have that fear in their eyes. They like Obama they tell me but don't believe the future is very rosy. A strange sadness, bums you out a bit, and they deserve better. Kaz gets a chunky tip... I leave feeling sad for them, just the look in their eyes, life should not be full of such worries.
Back on the freeway, Mark spots a turn and I'm back with the pack..... and we lock in the navman. It gets us all the way to Hollywood. I must of been driving warp factor 8 as we are very very early. It's about 3 hours before check out. Once again back at the Holiday Inn on Highland. The surprise is that it has moved AGAIN. Only one door down but fully renovated. I wait 10 minutes and our room is ready- which is excellent. The staff here are really good, they just make it happen. I thought it might be a bit average- open the door and the mini suite is pretty good- very clean, new- lounge area, small micro kitchens, excellent beds and it seems quiet. We are on the business centre floor so that's handy-free internet (yey) in case I need to check flight schedules. Mark still can't believe I got us to LA this early. Go for a walk-Starbucks across the road so a coffee-freeze my throat again but that's ok. We head straight down to Amoeba- that boyfriend of mine buys me the latest Pansy Division CD I'm spoilt. We grab some discounted dvds, I look for some Ike & Tina Turner vinyl for Greg Skyhook but nothing, all gone, even second hand copies. Ameoba is still a great store, love the one in San Francisco too.
I post a few postcards, didn't send many, was hard to do. I call into one of the clothing stores, look at a top but don't like it that much, so out I go-somehow setting off all the security beepers- it's my Amoeba sales I think that do it.
We head towards the drug store as I want to buy some Ritter Sport marzipan chocolates and I know they have them. As we approach, this tallish skinny rather odd looking woman walks out. She hesitates, stops completely. Turns her head and kind of sniffs the air. She pushes out her chest and stands on her toes... she makes some odd breathing noise. Good god it's the Roadrunner from Bugs Bunny! I expect her to jump side ways and zoom off- "Beep Beep'! We love it, Mark thought she was going to attack me, I almost got into some street fighting protection stand....LA I love you and your freaky freaks. I'm glad our door has double security locks on it..... but wish we could film the Roadrunner woman.
May 14thWell today is Terminator day, some talk of being on that red carpet for the opening at Mann's Chinese Theatre- but we have the whole morning to ourselves. Mark wants to go to Book Soup so I get the valet to grab the car and I head out into LA traffic-I can see the fear on peoples faces. I go to our old hang out-Ralf's Rock and Roll Supermarket on Sunset. It's changed, more cleaner and up market and the sections have been swapped about. They have fresh cherries so I am stoked, but no Star Trek cereal. I am looking for a box for Jayne in the UK but cant get it anywhere-sorry Miss Jayne.
Book Soup still exists and is one of the best book stores in America. Is that Marcia Brady, oh my god- Mark scores a signed Marcia Brady book- now that will be a fun read-yeah it's the one with Marcia's lesbian experimental stage with Jan! ("Marcia Marcia Marcia"... in a more sensual voice!) It's the first time I didn't buy a book here, the one I wanted was gigantic and was heavier then my suitcase so no...the other was a very limited edition Crumb book and was about $800!!!
I take a drive to Melrose, last few times it has been really lame, today was no exception. Melrose is SO DEAD and so boring. Shops are boarded up, some open but no people... the 'cool' has left this street. sad, a few decades back it had some great shops. We park and I have to get some change for the meter...we put in the few coins we have and cross to Johnny Rockets for a bite but really just to get change. I pay up front and dash out while Mark sits. I'm at the lights , NO traffic so I bolt across, stick money in the meter with 5 minutes to spare, once more no traffic so back across the road. "Sir, Sir SIR'..I see them on their little bikes, those cops on bikes....I pretend I do not hear them 'SIR HALT'. I keep walking' and turn ' Oh meeeeee' Sorry jet lag ... yes officer. 'Do you realise you crossed the street illegally not once but twice'. In my head I think ' oh get a fucking life'...... but of course my response is tame dog line #1.
'Sorry no what do you mean I looked no cars anywhere...' 'You crossed illegally not once but twice' he repeats. (is this scripted I think, and what silly bike pants you have on, they make your penis look square).... "Sorry you mean I can't cross if it's safe' ( picture of innocence little old me) .... ' sorry no I didn't know that, I didn't see any signs' (now taking the stupid Australian tourist approach). 'There are no signs'. he says. 'Yes I can see that' I say. "Do you have ID?" he asks? I cough up my drivers license. 'Is this address on the front where you live' 'Argh no where it says TURN OVER FOR CURRENT ADDRESS' is where I live. " I tell him- (thinking 'did you not learn to read' in my head). 'Kalli urumee, Kalirosa, Kalee' ('Fuck is this guy a weird human parrot that failed school, is he about to lay an egg with all these kallo clucking noises'). 'Argh Kalorama' I stage whisper to his now smiling female assistant. 'Oh god I exclaim, I've been illegally doing this for weeks, in about 4 states'. (dramatic pose #6) I am so so sorry. I'm not only a repeat offender I'm up for illegal crossing award for 2009'. He doesn't even know what to say, so I get my knuckles whacked and I am good and respectful and promise him not to do these illegal crossing ever again... today'. Of course I'm really thinking 'fuck man, there are people being mugged, murdered,terrorists,, raped and forced to sleep with George Bush and all your care about is crossing the road'. A part of me knows he is also doing his job and I get that, I am in a foreign country, hell in Melbourne jay-walking is illegal too and we also have silly police men on bikes with square penis's. It's this extreme bullshit that makes America a wank though, but after the really nice and fun Americans we have met so far some poor bugger on a bike doing his job is easily forgiven.
I walk back into Mr Rockets and have a chuckle with Mark, I turn just in time to see one of the bikes hit a pot hole and the poor guy almost goes flying. Ouch, now if he spent more time watching the road instead of Aussie moronic tourists he could avoid such disasters. We depart Melrose, probably for the last time-ever... such a sad shell of what it once was..... and I'll always jay-walk in America. Sorry, if it's safe I'm crossing.
Back to Hollywood by 1.30 pm as we have a private screening of Wolverine. With the Terminator red carpet this evening and all the set up the public think the Manns Chinese Theatres are closed today, they are not, so we have Theatre One all to ourself. It's a chance to see Wolverine on the biggest screen, best sound and great seats...... it's also insanely freaky. NO ONE, well a girl doing her homework but she left. Now Wolverine, we love the Xmen movies but Wolverine still didn't do it for us, even this second viewing. We liked it not loved it and we were left asking- how many times can Wolverine fight his brother Sabretooth? Hugh was Hugh, gorgeous and cool and that hair and those pecs- and he can act but something is missing from the movie and we think it's the lack of the group dynamic. Xmen has that. Still at the time of writing it has done 165 million at the USA box office and for someone who loves such movies I'm happy for them and Hugh. Wolverine is OK but it's by far no Star Trek. The ticket sales will prove me right on this.
Back by the evening for the red carpet, this is such a fluke.... Mark runs into the Virgin store that closes any second now..I tell him they have no virgins left -he just grins. Meanwhile I'm in the shuffle with the media and people on the carpet, near the carpet, kissing the carpet. Huge rustic metal structures are everywhere adding that futuristic apocalypse look to a closed Hollywood Boulevard. 5000 movie fans are in the stalls or leaning on the fence yelling at us... who the fuck do you think we are?. Maybe they want to hassle me for jaywalking? Mark is still away, and as I turn and ask someone a question a camera crew hears my accent and suddenly what is the worlds biggest tv camera is in my face- asking where I am from (I am always tempted to say Japan, it is such a lame joke of mine) and what do I think of this special event. I give some standard Hollywood supply- and thankfully I am wearing a VERY good shirt. 3 other people are 'interviewed' and this is for the LA news I think. The others seem to scream and bounce up and down... I am calm even though Christian Bale is inches from me... with his very short short hair cut. I want to tell him that I LOVE 'Velvet Goldmine' (he played rock fan-journalist Arthur Stuart) but I know it would probably bum him out and his tough John Connor-Terminator- Batman image. Lets face it he does tongue poke Ewan McGregor (sexy and saltry Curt Wild)....but I let it ride and tell him I wore a Batman suit to school on my first day. He finds this very funny and winks. I now escape as Mark walks out of the Virgin store (carrying 3 virgins under his arm....ok he really has a Blu ray disc)... I start to tell him about the camera and don't even get to the Bale bit as he is stressing over the crowd. I look over and I think i see Aussie Sam Worthington arriving- I control my inner fan and don't scream 'Hi Sammmmmm."! and bounce up and down like the other girls!
Sam plays a pretty cool cyborg and I wont say that he steals the show from Christian B , my new bat suited mate but he does well. All this set in 2018 not very far away..... maybe the future is written in stone.
Finally we make it to dinner, just in the Grammy centre area, some Pizza place, my accent gets us the best table, I do love America. The girl is way too cute, and her teeth are normal, not that horrid over the top fake white, just nice clean healthy teeth-killer smile- someone will discover her, cool hostess. A coffee place is next door and these very creepy people turn up, for some reason every alarm (in my body)goes off and I get this feeling like they have killed people for drugs. The worst vibe in a long time... I just wanted to go. They never hassled us probably never even noticed us but every minute I could almost feel this dark ,evil seepage, this is the only time on this trip where I have felt this vile underbelly...they'd kill you for a nickel and probably have. I was glad to go, Mark noticed them and just said they were 'creepy scum'... see he can sum it up in 2 words or less! A bag lady that could of been Rosemaree if she was homeless , older and a bit grotty (sorry love) asked us where the Post Office was and she was standing next to it's door. I pointed she nodded and we bolted to the safety of our room. What a day, the terminator stuff just felt like it was Hollywood showing off to us- see visit Hollywood meet a star.... god I loved it. I wasn't wet the bed excited, just felt like a nice ending to the trip- we left the desert and ended up in Hollywood.
May 15thLos Angeles- Honolulu
We eat our healthy Granola again, it's all gone. Pack our dog bowls away in our rather full bags. I worry as I know mine now weighs more then it did when it was full of mail. Opps, well that's what empty bags are for- to fill!
We walk down to the Virgin store that closes any second and there it is, the new Green Day album "21st Century Breakdown". Mark buys it for me, another birthday present- my second Green Day album this trip. Yeah they are more commercial these days but I don't care , cool band- good lyrics- they deserve success. We collect the HD cameras and head up to the Hollywood Bowl to film some of it. We were hoping that the dirt mound behind the Bowl was still an easy access as you can film the whole of LA from that spot- the views (and smog) are incredible. Sadly they have put up a high cyclone fence covered in green tarp so it's a no go. Mark is filming and a school group is on a guided tour, kids are running everywhere. I read some bits on the Bowls history, stuff I didn't know. It's a great spot, wish Crowdies would play the Bowl. The Morrissey gig here was one of the best shows I've ever attended. The hotel gives us an extension on our room, they are so good to us, and it means we can head to the airport at some reasonable time. We check out and thank the staff, a really good stay- the car pulls out into the traffic, the Mustang seems to enjoy the new Green Day cd , ok a lady nearly side swipes us... I can't believe we survived America and nearly taken out by some hopeless LA driver in the final hour. Thankfully I spotted her in time and we were a near miss.
Drop the car back, and the shuttle drops us off. The usual airport paranoia. I hate that you can take a knife on board but not certain size hair gel- god talk about fucked up. There is no reason to have a knife on a plane!!! Shoes off, I take all my clothes off and walk naked through the metal detector- ok I pretend I do in my head. Shoes can no longer go in the plastic trays. Of course they can't. Sir you have to take your computer out of your back pack. No it's not a computer but a DVD player- so I do anyway just to avoid holding up the stressed members of the public. Mark rolls his eyes, I just smile.
Check in is fine, Hawaiian airlines ignore my excess luggage and assure us we are seated together. Seats 2G , 3G. We get a map to the freaky flyer. It's all Bamboo and flower curtains, well it's Hawaii-ish. We are spoilt in Australia, the frequent flyer areas have quite a bit of food, magazines, newspapers, but a few snacks and cookies and the odd juice. I'm happy to sit and read till the flight is called.
Our flight to Honolulu is only 5 hours and 30 minutes. No ice water dropped on me, the staff are more serious on this one and no cool tats (that I could see). The food is excellent again- I think Hawaiian may well have the best food I've tasted on a flight. We both compliment them and we know we will use this airline again. A shuttle arrives within minutes and takes us to the Ohana Airport Hotel, we have a flight in the morning so it's just somewhere to shower and crash. I don't even open my bag, I carry a clean shirt etc. My bag is packed, and packed perfectly why would I bother. I think i slept?
Wake up at 5.30-I am excited about getting home. Shuttle guy tries to keep us at the hotel longer but nope we are going baby, even if it means I am driving the bus. I usually like Honolulu airport but one airport guy was wearing the Mr Paranoid Hat...we just went through the procedure. As I pointed out to Mark, we are lucky, this section is Business class, there are 4 people in line, the line going out the door around the corner is economy- count your blessings, we do. Well this is annoying, we are not sitting together... the airline lady seems confused, we wait at the official desk and in the end decide we will try and swap with people on board. I have a coffee, meet 2 mature ladies and a very foxy Canadian gal... we give them our US coins so they can get some coffee. We head to the flight gate after frequent flyer visit and you know something is wrong when MY name is called- not Marks just mine. I have that 'please tell me I am on this flight' look...... The airline girl smiles, 'it's ok, we've fixed it, Mark and yourself are seated together'. Seats 1A and 1B is that ok? Wonderful! Leg room, and they said no one is behind us....so no one leaning on you when they go to pee. 'yes truly wonderful" I beam. between the stillnox tablet, my DVD player, my best friend and a final bar of Ritter chocolate the 9 hour flight or whatever it is will be fine. We are on first so Mark can store his precious Indian collectable art creations. Soon we are in the air- homeward bound. I wave to the people in Hawaii below us, Honolulu is waking up and on it's way to work.
The flight is ok, but we hear the sad news that Australian actor Charles 'Bud' Tingwell passed away. He was 86 and prostate cancer related. I just watched The Castle on my portable and Bud was in it- he was just this classy old guy with a wonderful actors pedigree. I wish I could be that classy at 86 but I sadly think that won't be the case. Anyway he had a good innings but Australia will miss him-sad news.
The flight, ok, the pill wiped a few hours out, Mark is lost in his Rolling Stones book-the guy who did the Stones fanclub wrote it (why is it that all fanclub people end up writing books, egotistical wankers ...oh...) Food was passable, and filled the whole in our stomachs. Our area in business was only half full or empty depending which way you live your life-so that's always nice. No screaming babies.
May 17thWe land in Sydney. Almost home I tell myself... one more flight.
'Ladies and Gentlemen, unfortunately this plane is now quarantined. A passenger onboard looks like they could have swine flu so the quarantine people are coming on board'.
Oh hell I think.... this is horrible, will we be stuck for days, so close to home but still so far, I'll have to call Pet Hotel for Banshee and Martin next door, our families..... I try to stay calm. I say to Mark, he we are seats 1A and 1B, when the door opens for Quarantine we could make a run for it!!!!! I think i could be partially serious. Damn In unpacked the B2 flu masks before I left.
Only 10 minutes later- "this is the Captain we are free to to let you embark". Of course he says nothing about the swine flu person, the quarantine people are still somewhere on board.... do they have swine flu, are we all carriers?
When we get home to Oz you will see Marky and myself lead the pack, we almost power walk to immigration and customs, we are usually first through. This time they are setting up the body scanners and did not expect these 2 guys walking at 100 kms an hour..wait wait...now we are ready... they dont stop us, we must be all clear on their machines. Customs is fine, we declare Marks freaky creations and my death skeleton figures and they are ok to bring in. We re-deposit our bags and a bus takes us to the domestic airport. Some kid is just horrible, everyone wants to send this horrible American child back on the first flight- his parents have no control and he pushes into old ladies and is so rude to people. He is running riot on the bus and approaches us- I give him my most nasty HISSSS and he yelps to the front again. The passengers around me applaud. It's nice to be home.
Qantas flight QF459 lands in Melbourne at 7.30 in the evening, it's pitch black outside. We lost a day somewhere, but we are home. I leave Mark to get the bags while I go to the long term and recover the 4WD. It takes me a minute to work out what side of the road I am driving on again.... I cant go down the bus lane so I illegally park and Mark, god bless him, carries these heavy suit cases across the road and passes them over the fence-he then climbs it himself, what's a fence after you have just escaped swine flu quarantine!!!
I call Pauline and she is fine about us picking Banshee up... normally no one can at this hour... the 3 security gates are opened and she takes us into the cat area..a siamese lets out some horrid noise, and Miss Banshee just runs to the door of her area-so happy- big tears well in my eyes, I think it's too much visine on the flight, god I'm a softy. Mark gives her a cuddle and she purrrrrrs. Pauline says she will look after the cats that are all awake (sorry)...and we head out, through the 2 security gates..but arghh gate #3 is still locked. I go looking for Pauline but she is nowhere to be seen, even the door to her house is open but no one inside...this is so weird. Have all the cats rioted and killed her? Hope not. I do spot several milk crates..so we make this tower and climb up over the security gates. I'm glad no one was driving past as it must of looked like we were breaking a cat out of the pet hotel. Banshee gives me a look of , what are we doing so high in the air on these wobbly plastic things...... we make it. We head home.
The mountain is pitch black, but we get to Ailsa Craig before midnight. The house feels cold and has that weird smell-the one you only notice when you are away from several weeks. All three of us go to bed and I think it's called exhaustion.....I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
May 18thIt's weird we wake up at some normal time- I almost feel refreshed. You'd expect us to be worn out. I look in the mirror and I notice my face and arms are a bit tanned-what a stud- move over Mr Pitt.
It's nice to sit down and read the paper, I've missed all the Aussie news while we were away.
I read the fish report on the Bay and Yarra (well parts of the Yarra). The fish stock is very healthy, ok to eat and healthier then it has been in years. The Bay dredging did nothing to harm them- just another bit of proof that Blue Wedges group are a bunch of paranoid flakes. I love the environment but please idiots like Blue Wedges are so fearful and paranoid- I'm glad the State government and Garrett stood up to them- because in the end Blue Wedges was wrong, the Bay looks great and obviously with healthy marine life that is one of the best signs you can have. Every so often the government does do the right thing. Some activists just protest because they are sheep...some because they think they are doing the right thing, some because they are conned into it, and some because they ARE doing the right thing. It's never easy being Green!
Miss Banshee wont let us out of her sight, she follows us everywhere, the odd meow. I buy her some expensive steak, our parents would freak if they knew that our cat got the good steak!!! I think I'm trying to cover my guilt that we had to leave her.
May 19thOur office isn't open again for a week or so, but I sneak in to do a little bit of work, just to catch up and stay on top of it all. Today I spent 2 hours signing and number copies of TRIP , the fourth diary book. I thought book sales had slowed for this one, but this week has been the largest order of this diary book, since we had it printed. I signed a full box full of books and got them all ready to be posted out. My first copy of TRIP to go to Africa-I love that.
The weather is so amazing, it's 11 days till Winter and you wouldn't think so, almost a mild Summer outside. Sure it's cold at night but you can wear a Tshirt outside during the day. The golden leaves continue to fall, the big circular drive is covered in them, I'll wait till the trees are naked before attempting to clean all of these up.
We watch the Bud Tingwell Tribute on the ABC tonight at 10.00, our slight jet lag sets in around 11.00 we are like two old buggers on the couches nodding off, In bed by 12.00. (snore)
May 20thI go out and start shaping and trimming the hedge, how normal is that. While the weather is good, they border the full walk way all the way up to the house and down to the drive and office. I really charge the clippers and go for it, my arm is aching by the time I finish. I saw an article on this guy who must think he is Edward Scissor-hands, he shapes all dinosaurs and elephants out of hedges, some take 2 years, I guess that is to get the m to grow in the right shape. I'm happy having a boring old long square shaped hedge, but I do have a hankering for a giraffe shaped hedge creation somewhere at Ailsa Craig. I can see it now, next bushfire season I'll be worrying my hedge giraffe will catch on fire.
May 21stIt's Sharon Finns birthday today and guess who forgot-again. Shame on me I do suck around birthdays.
I'm working at the end of the yard and I hear the door bell security system go off. I wander down and it's our neighbour Jodie and the kids. As I approach they pull out this wonderful chocolate cake and sing Happy Birthday to me.
We missed your birthday but here is a cake. I'm speechless. This is cool, amazing really. Sit and chat for awhile. Things like this I love, those small moments that you don't expect. I don't mean surprise parties or any of that, just someone giving me a card or even a belated birthday Email- good intentions do matter.
I hear from Tim, and he's working soon with Eddie on a new song or two for the upcoming CD. Do some work on the Poor Boy Sydney show,. Previews start in July, here is the ticket link: www.sydneytheatre.com.au/poorboy
I have a whole stack of positive Emails around the Melbourne show, so I should forward them onto Tim at some stage, hope as many people in Sydney get to see it as Melbourne.
May 22ndWe call into Morrisons and Sheridan is not in, so we just have some toasted sandwiches on this very chunky bread. People just come up and say 'welcome home' every few minutes, I feel like we have been away for years.
Pinks 3 month Aussie tour started tonight in Perth. Only Pink could leave the stage during song #1 and zoom 60 feet into the air with some serious wire work. Flying high amongst the punters. Apparently she will be handing over her $250,000 cheque to the Bushfire fund when she reaches Melbourne. Now that's putting your money where your mouth is. She has also added The Divinyls "I Touch Myself' into her stage set. What a great song.
Bec calls tonight and we have a long chat, and we disturb Marks 'Prisoner Cell Block H' marathon. Sorry hon!
May 23rdIt must be that copy we bought at the Hollywood Virgin Mega-store. Green Day debut at #1 in USA...also UK, NZ etc. I know the record company here spent a lot of money on Eminem's new release so I wonder if that will pip Green Day at the post. I don't like Eminem, just white trash with a budget. I'm not suckered by his groovy clip either, still trash underneath. I am stoked for Green Day- they keep some sort of rock and roll heart beating.
Swine Flu paranoia runs rampant. I'm sure people are ignorant to the number of humans that die every year from regular flu. By adding the word swine in front it suddenly seems worse. At the moment it's not, but hey time to invest in a good surgical mask making company on the stock market....not to mention antibacterial hand wash makers.
May 24thThe '7 Worlds II' doco is on in NZ on TV One, it's annoying Tv One's link wont let the rest of the world (apart from Australasia) watch it on line.
The NSW north coast is flooded again. I hear from the girls and Allie and mates and thankfully all ok. 20,000 people remain cut off and 16,000 to evacuate. What a tough old country Australia can be.
Wow the Aussie PM's wife Therese looks great-whatever diet she is on has certainly worked , she looks very healthy. I like how she always looks happy no matter how chunky she was.
A very sad call today. The lovely Wednesday the cat passed away. I adopted her out to two dear friends of ours when Paul died. For the last 4 years our lovely mates have given Wednesday the most amazing care and a lovely home- but above all an abundance of love. Apart from our Banshee she might of been the most loved cat in the world, even with those cut little ears. Such a sad departure leaves such a hole in ones heart, but I'm forever grateful that it was the right decision for them to have her be part of their family, even for those 4 years. Sad times.
May 25thAC/DC tickets for Oz show selling fast. They sold 110,000 tickets for their 2 Melbourne shows. The scalpers had a dream day as there wasn't a ticket number restriction-which sucks for fans. Mark and myself are stoked we got to see the brilliant Bon Scott AC/DC (when we were at school)- the only AC/DC line up for us. The Sun newspaper just tries to push this AC/DC agenda saying they are the most popular Australian band. Giving that none of the band live in Australia (well i don't think they do) most joined after AC/DC went overseas and are not Australians, do they even pay tax here? Anyway if you want to vote NO to this line up of AC/DC being Australias greatest band click heer and vote (right hand side column) : http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/entertainment/music/
The Star Trek movie keeps doing the business. By the time you read this it would of clicked over the $200 million at the US box office and in their top 100 movies of all time.... and the biggest movie for 2009 so far- bumping off Monsters & Aliens. Good to have some Sci Fi back at the #1 spot.
I put in another order for more Split Enz MENTAL NOTES, still need to move 1592 for this baby to go Gold. Maybe it will in time for it's 35th year since release. With Gold status being 35,000 units here that's 1000 Mental Notes a year *GRIN*. How hard can this be to go gold.... the support from fans has been good. I suppose when an album is down to moving 10 units a month, sometimes less , in the stores- to actually move several thousand over a few years is quite amazing. Nice that a couple of the band members seem to appreciate the efforts.
Hey cool, Warwick Thornton the Aussie director won one of the film prizes at Cannes for 'Samson & Deliah'. Nice to see.
I look outside the office window and there is Belinda the black chicken- clucking and making a major commotion like the sky is falling. I go and investigate, it's raining at last- so she was right the sky is kind of falling, all wet! Rain, finally, wish it would just give us a solid soaking instead of this mild stuff.
Check the charts and yes Eminem came in at #1, Green Day #2 -urgh! Boring. Shame Australian music lovers.
May 26thIt's nice being back at Lilly Pilly- we delay our morning so we can catch their lunch menu. They still can't believe we have gone and returned from an adventure- time seems to move fast up here on top of Mount Dandenong. God the coffee is good, so nice to be back to the home of decent coffee.
We are all still trying to find our old work mate Michelle Becker- Spence. Her ears must be burning as 4 of us during the same week asked about her. She worked in the Enz office with us, gorgeous lady, I'm hoping someone in Queensland will know her or read this so she can email me.
So Mark and myself are off on a hot date with Greg Skyhook- *GRIN*. Actually we three are all going to see seventies rocker Suzi Quatro at The Palais Theatre at St Kilda on September 12th. The seats are pretty good, will be fun to see Suzi Q playing again. Quatro and Slade I just loved when I was a kid and then came along Skyhooks. One of my favourite snaps of Greg Macainsh is in the Hooks Million $ Riff book where he is wearing the Suzi Quatro fanclub tshirt. I remember the first time I saw that photo, I thought,this guy is so cool. So it's great that we go and see the wild one together, the venue too where Skyhooks did that insane farewell concert (before heading to America) with kids going absolutely nuts. Love it.
I take snaps of parts of our kitchen this afternoon, mostly around the massive chunky oven. The indian tiles are going to go around the edging and I want the DIY girls at Bunnings to go through the best way for me to dig out the squares for these, and chisel sizes etc without destroying the wood. It should look rather brilliant when it's done.
May 27thNeil turned 51 today, I just sent him a quick email. At least I remembered, and I guess he's having lunch with the Crowdies boys and family.
I use my Mastercard to purchase the infamous squirrel undies, Miss K the lovely one is helping me out with shipping, god bless her. The things our friends do to keep our sense of humor active!
Speaking of Greg Skyhook he calls in for a quick visit. Gives me a brand new turntable, this store in Melbourne were selling them extra cheap- so he grabbed one. So I can play all those vinyl Bsides without having to re connect our old sound gear. Just fun really and sweet that he did this. We head to Lilly Pilly for coffee cake and gossip, just kept us in hysterics.
I almost had to blow out 3 interviews because of family stuff, but decided I could juggle things around so said to them all-well one DJ spot I think I'm away so no to that one. I haven't really checked what stations or what they are for but happy to do them, it only takes 30-40 minutes so what the heck.
May 28thOff we go to Mountain Gate, banking and grocery shopping. I see Australia Post have finally got their act together with recycled padded bags, just one size I think but it's a start. Of course they are 15c more. The day that a company releases recycled at the same price is the day that the multitudes will really start buying them and supporting recycled products.
We turn and head to Knox city and this dick in a car just stops in the turning lane and starts talking on his phone. We honk the horn him and he gives us the finger-what a jerk. He refuses to move, even though he is blocking traffic and almost causing an accident. So we eventually pull up next to him and he gets such a serving- christ he's an ugly bastard. What a dickhead, all that driving in America and so few arseholes on the road, home to Australia and instant wanker. Should of just rammed him but road rage isn't really our style.
Nice to see Pink visit the Royal Childrens Hospital today, the kids had such huge smiles. She handed over a cheque for $250,000 towards the bushfire relief fund too- I'm sure that made many others smile too- like her, hate her, what she did today was good.. Of course the cynics (you know the people who rarely donate to anything) will find some way to make it all dark- 'she's doing it for publicity' you can hear the cry- really with 15 Rod Laver Arenas under her belt she so doesn't need the publicity. Who was it that said 'secure in her own skin'.
I am still attempting to get the office totally running on green power. I figure we need about 4 more solar panels to make that a reality. For a whole month I'm thinking of reducing the price of some of the Rocket Pocket Books and using every cent to buy some solar panels to make this a reality. It's such a positive thing to do if we can.
May 29thSub Zero temperatures hit the high country last night and they creeped down to Kalorama too, let me tell you. Brrr it is cold. Banshee was fed, went to the door, turned and ran back to bed and climbed under the covers. So I let her stay in bed, she spent nearly the whole day all snuggled up. I didn't have the heart to disturb her.
Article in the newspaper that home prices in the capital cities in Australia rose by 2.8% in the last quarter. In Melbourne house values grew by 4.5%, so this puts houses back to where they were before the recession. That's not too bad all things considered, this country has weather it quite well, so far.
I spend the morning mailing out another batch of those limited edition 2 CD Rootin Tootin Luton cds. So glad we can offer this double release, what a beauty, after all this time I keep playing it- for the moment it's my favourite Enz album. I check with Warners and we only have 248 copies left in the warehouse, once they have gone that is it. No plans on more being pressed, so just the single version from the stores.
Our mates Boom Crash Opera are playing hometown Melbourne tonight. The Corner Hotel, how many shows have we done their.... and it looks like (for once) it won't rain.
Mark is filming with the HD camera, not sure what I am doing, I'm sure something will spring up. Did some extra media push over the last 3 days (secretly) so I am hoping on some sort of last minute ticket sale and walk up. I got a host of emails from people going so it should be a decent crowd.
We lock Banshee in her room, she gives me that 'you are coming back...right?" look... she gets a pat and some extra treats to eat.
As we arrive at The Corner we spot our friend Spock who plays keyboards for BCO...just good timing. We all park illegally at some industrial building car park just down from the venue. Walk up and see Bungie having a smoke outside...I refrain from saying 'are you still smoking' as we know he has a song on his upcoming solo release called just that. He told me has has brought a copy of the CD along for me. I'm stoked as I've heard some roughs of songs he has sent like 'I am not an object' and 'I'm sorry'. The CD is called "Maybe this is normal' and I know it will easily be my favourite independent release this year.
Spock ushers us into the band room, Sean Kelly from The Models is onstage as we speak, getting a nice reaction from what looks like a fairly decent size crowd. Dale and Maz are in the band room and I think some of the Taxiride guys. Tilso shows up, his shaved cranium bouncing light around the room like a human mirror ball. Dale shows me some snaps of his kids, this is family BCO, but they are frothing at the mouth to play. The next 30 minutes I could of happily stayed in the band room, ignored the show. 30 minutes of BCO warming up with covers- The Smiths, The Byrds and numerous other stuff- this is why I love my job, this is what I adore... when an artist picks up a guitar and just plays and sings, classics.... the scene from 'Almost Famous' that bus bit again... strangers walk in the room at The Corner, everyone is singing.
Mark talks to the sound guy, I follow Maz and check out his camera, a 2 camera job tonight. I decide a static BCO shot won't work so I take the small stage camera, it's HD too so will be ok. Just means I'm onstage (yieks) and we all know how much I love being onstage (NOT). I head out to Marks spot, some old people are trying to put up a fight over 2cms of area in the end I just pull rank nicely. We have a security guy with us, he's a young en don't think he has seen much security action, which is ok. Bec turns up and she's off to get a spot to dance and will return to Marky later. The crowd has indeed grown, walking my way through and run into the lovely Sarah Morgan, one of the best PR people I know, a good mate too. Deano's not here and I know he's going to miss a great show.
I climb the stairs to the stage and pull on a beanie , zip up the coat so my purple bco shirt is hidden , I step back and fade into the curtains and darkness. The guys wander up (the curtains are closed),- a few squeezes and good lucks and it's on- curtain flies open- they bombard the crowd with "dancing in the storm' - a favourite- the audience loving it. The one thing about filming tonight, the show itself is blurry in my brain... all I remember are huge audience sing alongs, big smiles from the band as they make contact with the crowd. Lead singer Dale, his voice has never been better, such a surprise. I take Maz's camera off the tripod, the snare drum and feedback is giving me some 'bounce' and even as I cushion it, I realize this is my first major problem. So from song #3 I am doing free hand work, elbows in nice and tight to the waist. It's ok as I can get some cooler shots, I'm hoping Marky can use some of my footage. The small cameras isn't as good as our mega giant but it should be ok, the zoom more touchy, so takes awhile to get use to it. It's not a long set, just under an hour. The encore has Sean Kelly and Taxiride people up for a sing with the BCO boys a bit of 'Instant karma' and a few other pieces of songs. I'm still onstage so rattle a tambourine and in the end it's more practical filming through it-arty old fart I am. The crowd is satisfied, just really happy- one of the best BCO shows I've been to.
I pack up Maz's gear, a quick hop into the band room and out front to see Mark and Bec. It's kind of dark on the dance floor, a few people say 'Hello Peter' and I honestly can't see them, and it could be another Peter? Mark is ready to go. I mention BCO etc are signing at the merchandise table, it's a bit too dark to film so it's time for us too. Tell Bec to come with us and we'll walk her to the car via the band room. I see Peter Farnan and he grabs me and takes me to his bag where he pulls out HIS NEW ALBUM. After all that he remembered so I'm happy- new music. say our goodbye and head to our car, which hasn't been towed away (Phew). Drop Bec off at her car and we start the long drive home. We eventually crash into bed at 2.30, Banshee happy to see us.... what a cool gig.
May 30thCold snow winds are blowing through the hills, it's about 3 degrees and that's inside !!! Our heating is on and I carry in some fire wood, think we'll need it. The ski seasons started about 2 months early this year- the world weather patterns are certainly messed up, and it's still not Winter in Australia.
Nice to see that many of the bushfire Koalas were released today. New areas for them all as their old habitats have been destroyed. I'm trying not to think about how many didn't make it, such sadness. At least the ones that we let go today are healthy and happy and a bit feisty ... think they have been spoilt a bit too long- so it will be good for them to go back to the outdoors before they get use to this domesticity.
Playing Pete Farnan's 'Maybe this is Normal' for most of the day, enjoying it so much. His myspace site is myspace.com/ peterfarnan check him out and his music too!!!
I head out to the yard in the afternoon and start filling up our numerous compost bins with leaves. At one stage I stop and watch the clouds overhead. They are moving so fast-clouds with jet engines- incredible speeds. The leaves are flying around in circles captured by the wind.
May 31stI dreamt way too much last night, intense dreams too- not frightening just vivid. That sort of dreaming usually leaves me feeling tired, like I'd been playing an active part in the dream itself. I stumble out of bed and head to the bakery for some lunch. The Verandah looks full so I avoid having a coffee. I see Jason raking up all the leaves, as people are burning small piles of them today.
I get back to the office by 1.00 as Jackie H is doing a phoner with me. She is running late so I delay it till 1.30. It's ok, I think I waffle too much on this one, I need someone to wield a big stick and scream 'make the answers shorter'.
Phoners are always easier for me and enjoyable, anyway I hope I give her some good answers to her questions.
DR Who is on again tonight- 'Planet of the Dead' with David Tennant. Michelle Ryans in it, she was in the remake of the Bionic Woman wasn't she? I hear this Who episode isn't very good, but I'll wait till I see it to judge.
That's it for another diary,
For those in Australia stay warm, Winter is upon us!