Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Return.

I don't like goodbyes. I'm not so great at letting go. I guess some people from my past can attest to that. I try and carry the memory of things as much as I can. History is important to me. I never understand people that don't feel that way. Strange though, for in all practical senses, I travel light. I have a bag and a guitar. I try to leave Hope where ever I go. I try to love as best I can. I like connecting with people. Deeply.
But like I said, I'm not much of a one for farewells.
Each time I've left a city here I've been maudlin, but the very feeling of movement has kept me sane. Watching the countryside through the Amtrak window. Landing alone and not knowing where I am, what I am doing, where I am going. It's made me more alive than ever. It's made me friends I never knew. And I've discovered things. Things I was looking for, and things I was running from. Where will that leave me when I return home? Returning from Paris, I felt stronger than I ever had before. This time around, this time around I feel sad and old. Just like someone once described me. Just like two people have described me.
But I never felt sad and old before.
Right now, on a couch in Brooklyn, with the grey rain muting the sounds of the city, I feel tired of all this movement. I feel weary as all Hell. But I also feel something so deeply that it frightens me.  I feel I no longer have a home to return to. This Road has become my home, and the thought of returning to Life in Melbourne, with all its small pond comforts and traps, well frankly, frankly it makes me feel sick. I don't want to see those names. I don't want to be around those places. I have nothing left to lose.
Janis, you were so right.
I was Free.
Here, I was free.

I've seen a lot. A lot more than I bargained for. And if I dig deep enough to find The Rock within, things become clearer. In the last seven weeks, I have drunk more than I ever have from the Well of Life. Take for example -

It's raining harder than I've ever seen. North West Rain, on the road from Seattle to Portland. I'm being driven by the National Chess Champion of Bahrain. He's got one hand on the wheel and he's smoking crack pipes with the other hand. My knuckles are white. There are huge road train trucks screaming past us. The rain covers all sight. The road could be anywhere. Each time a truck passes us, the monstrous wheels casually toss oceans of water over our car, and visibility becomes Hope. We are doing 75 miles per hour as Ibrahim, the driver, casually begins eating magic mushrooms and offering a bag to me to do the same. I don't take any. But I begin to laugh. I begin to laugh because this is the craziest fucking close to death experience I have ever been in, and I feel Alive. I came looking for Life, and I feel Alive.

So there's bound to be a hangover. I have said this whole trip that when I finally get home I will lock my door and sleep for a week. But I will not do that. I will try to remember this feeling, and I will try to translate it to a New Life back home.

But the goodbyes are sad. The goodbyes to my Birthday Brother, my Gypsy Queen, my Lonesome Artist, my Penguins, my Australian Journeyman, these are hard to stomach.

I guess that's why I'm already planning. There will be no sleep when I get home. There will be straight back to the 8-Track, straight back to work, straight to the Travel Agent, and straight the fuck back out of there.

I left San Francisco in the middle of the night. I'd organised a sleeper cabin for myself. And a bottle of red wine. I lay down by the window and drank myself into a misty half sleep. Half aware of stopping at small North Californian towns. I passed out sometime and awoke in Klamath Falls, South Oregon. It was a service stop. I stepped off the train and smoked. I drank in the thick small town feel. The air was cold. The walk up and down the train was invigorating. As the whistle blew I took a snapshot, and climbed back aboard. Within five minutes my hands were pressed against the cold glass of the window as we sped by a mountain lake, ringed with mountains, actual mountains, mountains the like of which I'd never seen. Birds stubbornly sped across the water to escape the intruding hulk of metal which we rode. We were in the clouds. Clouds which caressed the waters of the lake, two lovers in morning embrace, unwilling to part for the day's activities. I cried. I cried like I cried in Paris. I cried with pride in myself for somehow making this happen. I was unashamed.

There are plans. Plans to record in Melbourne. Plans to record in Oslo. Gigs in Paris, Prague, Berlin. A return to Portland, Seattle - the whole trip again. This whole fucking thing, again and again, year after year. Never caring. Never chasing the ugly seductive beast of fame, but merely living the joyous freedom of being alive, and being on the move. Playing to 50 people, 3 people, 70 people, 2 people. Playing to yourself in an apartment on the Lower East Side. Playing to 8 people sitting cross legged around you in a circle, and then hugging and knowing each and every one of them after you play. That's the magic. That's the trip.

It's the second last night. I'm standing on a rooftop, in a garden, in Brooklyn. The lights of Manhattan burn seductive all around me. It whispers things this city. Depending on where you walk, where you are. You can hear the minds of the people you pass. You can hear the sensuous calls of the high buildings. But I'm standing across the river, safe above an apartment and I'm smoking a cigarette and that's when I notice on the roof of the building across the street another man, leaning in the same position. Smoking a cigarette. He turns. He's doing something. Music. Music starts and it's Radiohead and it's LOUD and I see him climb upon a chair and stare out where I'm staring and he punches his fits in the air with glee and I throw my arms out and scream, FUCK YEAH, and we both dance in the fire of the moment, beneath the Power of New York City, and the song nails that moment in my head forever as I close my eyes and let the intoxicating feeling of being alive carry me across the sky.

Like never before.

These feelings like never before.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pit Stop.

I haven't had time to write. I still don't. Right now, let's just say arriving in New York with no money, no phone, no plans is about as close to the edge as I've been. Nothing you read or write prepares you for it, until you actually stand amongst it. So I close my eyes and send it out there. And somehow, eleventh fucking hour, things fall into place. Of a sorts.

I'm playing a show tonight. Everything in The States has happened after I play a show. All the doors, from my gypsy soul mates in Portland, to recording with the Foo Fighters engineer in Seattle...everything has happened once I play a show. One week to go. So I close my eyes and let The Universe do as it will.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Interlude: A spell for happiness.

Dance three times around an old oak tree
then go tumblin' down into the golden leaves
make the one wish that you don't believe
then lose that cynical stare
that's keeping you there
and the stars
will burn bright in your heart.

Strip off your clothes and jump in the sea
then dance like a child and sing like you're free
find the one place where you want to be
then use your natural charms
it can't do no harm
and the stars
will burn bright in your heart.

And you can change
and turn your old mistakes
into a fate
that you can take
to mend
your old dark broken heart.

Just dance three times around an old oak tree
then go tumblin' down into the golden leaves
make the one wish that you don't believe
then lose that cynical stare
that's keeping you there
and the stars
will burn bright in your heart.

Monday, November 8, 2010

3.



















Of course it was always a Hope that I would find a family. Truth is I stayed out of sight all year, because I knew I didn't belong anymore. That somewhere out in the world were my tribe, and I needed to transmogrify myself in order to find them. So I waited, watching the stars from time to time, choosing my actions carefully. Well, most of the time.

Here in Portland the first moment happens. I sit outside a diner with a musician from NYC who lives in Oslo and a Norwegian film maker and we talk as brothers. They talk about my songs. They say, people like you and I, and the oak leaves tumble and spin around us and my heart flips and shudders and I phoenix, right there on the street. I am now people like You. I have made a complete reality swap. I am an International Gypsy, and I am Home, and it all hits me until I struggle to hold myself down. I feel as though I am lifted beyond all that I ever was. Everything that is said is right.

Later that night I am in a bar, in a photo booth, and I am drunk on champagne. Mark and Jessy whisper to each other, and begin to tell me of other family members. In Paris, in New York, in Berlin, in in in...and everyone is a part of each other, and I can see the World I had only dreamed of finding, right here, sitting in my hands. They smile as we drink shots of whiskey, and they say - welcome to the family.

We sit up singing songs in the apartment until 5, 6am. There are no barriers. Every story is open to everyone. We sing. We plan. And I know, that these plans will come true. I know honesty now that I have found it.

I am stretched across this world into a new Universe.
And I am Home.
The Road is Home.