Today is Livid, Brisbane's annual festival of rock'n'roll. Linkin Park and The White Stripes are headlining, with loads of local punk and hip-hop bands in support. If you like punk and garage, Australia is the place to be, hands down. It's been like this for at least five years.
Today was also a rugby world cup game, apparently. After i got off the phone with my mother i walked into town, passing countless yellow-and-green clad supporters heading back to the stadium by my house. I stopped at the 7/11 because my phone had run out of credit. Bought a $20 refill and helped out an American woman who had bought her first international calling card. Funny to be stuck here...
It was warm, you know. I had spoken with one of my roommates before i left, the sky was cloudy and i said it looked like a 50/50 chance of turning into a tropical storm. Very humid. It hasn't stormed yet, but it's sticky and may yet tonight. There were a lot of people in town, far more than i expected given there was a rugby game and rock festival on.
Down in the main shopping street a folk/blues guitarist was doing his thing, flying off on some dark strumming tangent that didn't fit the usual style of bands they have there on the weekends. Storm music. McDonalds for lunch, then i wandered into the music store.
Never seen it so busy. Never seen so many synths plugged in for demos. I was looking for a MIDI splitter to try to stop the lag one of my drum machines is suffering. I had to wait about 20 minutes to be helped, people were buying guitars, synths... We had the hippie psytrance guy standing at the Novation making evil swirling sounds while his girlfriend tapped her foot. We had the tall raver dude, trained pianist, jamming on the Korg workstations while his girlfriend wandered around trying to get a quote. We had the older pianist dudes experimenting with all the analog revival patches and arpeggiators on the latest workstations. I didn't even know there were that many musicians in this town interested in electronic music.
I finally got my splitter box, and asked the price of the Audity they've had in the rack for months. $2200 list, or $1600 for me. Give me a break! I could've bought a Triton for that. Unfortunately E-mu have no distributors in Australia and their synths are only really purchased by rich professionals doing movie scoring and the like. There was a sale on.
Next to Rocking Horse, my favorite little record shop that i haven't really frequented since 2001. I didn't feel like looking at all the modern and indie music they stock, so i just picked up a ticket for the Halloween rave next week.
And then Record Exchange, my other favorite little record store. Record Exchange is like the dream record store - thousands and thousands of records, thousands of CDs, everything is at least five years old, hundreds of 2nd hand Docs, punk and camo jackets, old Gameboys and 8-bit game consoles, cult movies, old porn magazines, guitars, 80s metal tee shirts, odds and ends of all sorts of junk. Maybe it's not so uncommon to see a place like that in the States, but here amongst all the Virgins and Sanitys and HMVs and JB Hi-fis it's something else.
Grateful Dead on the system, prog rock, weird funk albums, new wave, the whole bit. And my number one reason for going there - a pinball machine from 1974 that only costs 20c a game instead of $2 like the new ones. If you get the high score you get a free CD. I used to be a lot better than i was today, but i spent about half an hour not even getting close to a million points. Then flicked through the hundreds of old dance compilations from the 90s, bizarre old CDs, had a few laughs at the disco remixes of Star Wars on 45... picked out two CDs to listen to and bought one. Pat Benatar "Live From Earth". Filling another little hole in my collection. Actually the lack of "Love is a Battlefield" has been an extraordinarily large hole.
Then a quick spin through the grocery store, the music following me again... first The Doors then some strange funk tune. There were still some people on the shopping street, sitting with a laptop using the free wireless internet... Coffee shops... I went to the little candy store that imports Butterfingers and bought two. They also had some little Halloween baskets they'd made. No American candy, but little bags of orange and black Australian candies.
Four hours in town, i must have spent at least two hours just wandering around Record Exchange. I haven't done that for a long, long time. Sometimes i can forget i'm in Australia because i'm just sinking into this little world of record store bliss. It doesn't work at the commercial record stores... and it doesn't even really work at Rocking Horse that plays mostly weird hip-hop and punk (surprise!) It must be the ghost of Jerry Garcia swimming through that record store. Did i ever mention? That's the same store that has a sister store somewhere in southern California. Some day i will ask the owner where it is and go visit.
Noone is going to read this far. *sigh* I want to disappear into my little circle of music and dim lighting and smoke cigarettes. I need to get a copy of "High Fidelity" to watch and drink coffee and get all bitter-sweet lonely and stuff.