House wine, Jenga & an expatriate’s playlist

Oct 19, 2015
UNA Grill & Bar
Bryggen, Bergen *

Same bar as last night — it works, why change it.

Four women, two couples, play Jenga at the table opposite.
A stolen kiss before a crash.

The music is maybe even worse than last night… 80s or is it 90s.

What happened today?

I finished part 1, but do I go back and put the Theremin sample in there…
A burst of noise. (Try that tomorrow.)

Then we have ‘Cascade Sun’ with its weird folk inflected feedback finale
Into some big voice (try ‘Dead Dream Resuscitated’)
Then into ‘Surface Dwelling Race’ for contrasting prettiness.
Back out of that into surface textures, whispers, pointilllated voice
It’s decay going to whispers to final epiphany.
Blast full texture, full saturation.

Paul Kelly on the speakers …

…in the middle of a dream
I lost my shirt
I pawned my rings
I’ve done all the dumb things

Into surfaces… susurrations… broken up…

Fucking hell, Midnight Oil, ‘Beds are Burning.’

Back into pretty ending…
That transition needs to be justified
Maybe the Theremin sample broken in two parts

Testing and prodding
The elegant fingers of the Jenga ladies.

Is that Johnny Diesel?
Can’t believe I know that.
The Australian woman I deliberately moved to get away from
talks to the barman about the “cool music.”
I’d prefer Norwegian Metal.

The ladies are co-operative not competitive.
No one wants the tower to fall.

Outside a bus “Gratis buss til IKEA – 10-22.”

Are architects better at Jenga?

What’s the name of that Melbourne female pop-folk singer
who dared to come out?

Familiarity – knowingness.
I know this thing.
This sound.
This voice.
This knowing is owning.

Is it a coincidence that all but one letter is shared?

Another Paul Kelly.

None of the songs do I hate (except maybe Diesel)
but do I want them to represent me?
Do they have to represent me?
Is this too much to ask of a song?

Or is this exactly what a song is for,
especially when it becomes an anthem;
when it makes it onto the Australian Hottest 100.

To stay and listen to the “Aussie Rock” playlist,
have another $15 house wine, or leave…

Crowded House…

Should have left, now its Daddy Cool and ‘Eagle Rock.’

All this music is received, none of it is “mine,”
a second or third-hand experience
from simply being alive at the time.

Something strange about the acoustics –
there are no sibilances,
as if the singer has a lisp or is deaf.
Or is that me?

Of the four girls playing Jenga, I have a favourite —
the least fem of them, the spritely one with the cap,

From little things big things grow – Paul again.

The girl with the cap and the buxom blonde —
their love grows with every Jenga level.

At this moment I seem to have no wants…
No that’s not true.
I wouldn’t mind a steak (as I can’t afford one here).
And to be better at what I do.

Would being better at what I do mean it’s easier.
I’m not sure that works does it?
Isn’t it the struggle that makes it worthwhile.

Lisa S’s bedroom in Eastlakes hearing Australian Crawl’s ‘Reckless’… maybe 1983, end of Year 8. She has a crush on James Reyne and I don’t get it. The light in her room, strange as though the window is too high and we are too low, sleeping on the floor. Going on the bus to Maroubra Beach to sun bake, though it isn’t really that hot. I feel much younger and smaller than her, even though we were the same age.

Would I rather be anywhere else right now?
A simple answer to how your life is going.

The barman last night was Australian,
I heard him switching from ocker drawl to fluent Norsk.
He’s not here tonight but his playlist lives on.

What is it, as a small country, to hear your music internationally?
Does it matter?
Should you be proud?
Particularly when your country’s music simply reflects
a  western global commercial trend….

Missy Higgins! That Melbourne folk singer…

The Jenga girls have packed the game away
and make relaxed conversation winding down to farewells.

I come from a land down under…
The acoustic version without the contentious kookaburra jingle.

The true purpose of this kind of music —
for big record companies to make money
and break souls over a flute solo.

*[This is a reworked journal piece written while I was in Bergen undertaking a 1 week residency at BEK attempting to work out a more fluid live performance mode.]


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