Friday, October 29, 2010

On tour with John White in the Dominion of New Zealand

No hurry here.

When I took a tumble in Calais that time, as well as smashing my face up a bit I also dropped my ipod and my violin.  The violin is something like a hundred years old and protected by powerful gypsy force fields, so it was fine.  The ipod is about four years old, which in ipod terms means that its been obsolete for about three and a half years, and presents a case similar to your neigbour's blind and deaf eighteen-year-old terrier.  No surprise then that that brush with the pavement was enough to send it scurrying to the Great Consumer Electronics Graveyard On A Beach In China Somewhere.  This week, with the ipod gone to its rest, we had to rely during the trip to Wellington on a bunch of mixtape CDs I made.  This was not a problem, because Ms Millicent Crow came along for the ride also, and making mixtape CDs is still really the only trick I know for impressing girls.  As we passed through Cambridge, a particuarly fine track came on, towards the end of my 'quiet but still awsome driving music' compilation.

'Hey!' Interrrupted I. 'What do you think of this track?'

'It's alright I guess.'

'Would you say you 'like' it, do you reckon?'

'OK, yeah.  Like.'

'Really? Sweet!  Do you know what that means?'

'Sigh. No.  What does that mean?'

'It means you like Led Zeppelin now!  Yess!  My work here is basically done.'

'What? So no.  Is this Led Zeppelin?  I thought they were all denernernerner boom sort of stuff.'

'Yep, this is 'Going to California' off Led Zep four, and you just told me you officially 'like' it.'

'Did you just put this song on the CD so you could put on your blog that I like Led Zeppelin?'

'Wow.  Um... Kind of, yeah.  But also because it's a good song.'

'I think you should stop thinking about things to put on your blog before they actually happen.  It's weird.'

'Maybe it is, but you like Led Zeppelin.  That's actually not weird because they are one of the best if not the best band of all time.  So on average, we're not weird.'

'I'm not going to respond to that except to say it makes no sense.  And I'll be pissed off if you say that I like Led Zeppelin on your blog.'

This got us as far as Putaruru. Money is worth a lot more there than it is further up the line, so I was able to purchase a suit from the Baptists for a very reasonable price.  That night, I left this entire suit behind after the gig at the Frederick Street Sound And Light Exploration Society, which is not a thing I habitually do.  In fact, it occurs to me that over three months of touring around Europe, forty shows and forty-one thousand-odd kilometres by planes, trains, ships and busses; back-rooms, bar-rooms, mattresses in living rooms, heatwaves, thunderstorms, psychedelic rock'n'roll and acid rain; countless metros, tube-stops, u-bahns, s-bahns, stables in the forest, solarpunk vineyards and walks in the park, all I lost was this: a single red patch lead, the sort you can get five for ten bucks down at Surplustronics.  I actually even know who has it, the swine.  BUT: Driving my own car from Wellington to Auckland and back via Whanganui over roads too familiar to even write songs about, two shows only over the course of a single weekend, I mislaid or left behind the following items:
  • One three-piece suit, including the waistcoat
  • A deliciously warm jacket (twice)
  • My actual glasses that I need in order to see properly
  • My hat
  • A tin of tobacco (wasn't mine, don't smoke, long story).
  • Three dollars and change.
My sister asked me how come I never lost anything in Europe, given how uselss I clearly am.  'I had a system,' I replied.  'It's important to have a system.  Also, I didn't change my clothes.'

'That's gross.  I hope you're lying.'

 I know what you're probably thinking:  'Jesus, this is boring.  I wonder if anything cool happened on the weekend, like maybe Sam fell over and hurt himself again?' The answer is well, yes, actually, cool things did happen.  I got to go on tour with John White and Ms Millicent Crow, which was pretty much a Tour Dream Team.  We had picnics and talked about how the fourth dimension works until our brains started to hurt.

Millicent Crow, stealing own soul.

John White with Squizwot.

John White thinking about hypercubes.

Mangaweka: Quiet.  Too Quiet.

We visited the haunts of those denizens of Wellington and Whanganui who have most to do with spiky interdimensional freakout music and fuzzy psychedelic werewolf music, respectively, and when we had finished doing that we drank some wine and sang some songs.

The Frederick Street Sound And Light Exploration Society, Wellignton: 
Interdimensional General Store

Stink Magnetic HQ, Whanganui: Home of NZ's finest purveyors of psychowerewolffreakout surf jams.

In Wellington, we went head-to-head with the Sisters of St. Rupertsberg and Stefanimal, who were playing down at the Mighty Mighty on the same night we were at Fred's.  The Mother Superior of St. Rupertsburg used to be in the Bond Street Bridge Band, and Stef used to be in John's band Mestar, so the stage was set for some sort of teen movie show-down battle of the ex-bandmates.  As things turned out, that proved to be unnecessary: John phoned Stef from the stage during his set, and they did an across-town phone-in duet together.  If there was a dry eye in either house, I'm sure I didn't see it.

John at Fred's: photo by syncretismassociates
We should have a jam sometime, are you busy? photo by syncretismassociates

Yeah, now is good: Photo by Syncretismassociates


  1. Is millicent crow your girlfriend? She sounds like she should be:)

  2. Yeah, we know you guys Gotta Whole Lotta Love.
    We miss youse fullas.
    Watch out for Mr White ( he's knows Mr Pink)
    xx bhbs in the weirdly Riviera