We've set up and now I'm out the back of the Caravan Club drinking a softy and waiting to sound check. We're home! But we're still on tour. A strange position. We popped into PBS yesterday to do a pre-record for the Breakfast Spread with total legends Crispi and Maddy. Melbourne really turned the weather on for us. It was pissing down, the sky the colour of pounded steel. Puddles hugged the roads on the way from JClo's house to Collingwood. I suddenly felt like a touring musician visiting instead of actually being a resident. 'What do you do when you're in Melbourne?' I asked myself as we drove through the sheets of rain. The same question you ask yourself anywhere. Sydney? Eat Thai food. The Central Coast? Find good places to swim. Canberra? Count roundabouts. In Melbourne the answer suddenly came to me. COFFEE! A strong soy flat white was my impeccably Melbourne order, greeted by the measured hipster nonchalance bordering on rudeness that I have come to associate with being out and about in the city I love. I sighed as I walked back to the car, 'Melbourne is totes awesome'.
As we entered through the back door of PBS like complete rock stars (I didn't even know there WAS a back door until yesterday…) we were greeted by Maddy and Crispi who had been there since 5am. Respect. We set up around the microphones and they very cutely shared what appeared to be only one chair, leaning in over the other to get to the mic to ask questions. These two have such an obvious rapport, on and off air, and share an indefatigable love and enthusiasm for music of all kinds. It's warm and welcoming in there, as it usually is in community radio station buildings, and we feel comfortable to be ourselves and let the crazed head spaces that we all occupy after no rest for three weeks spill forth and be recorded for eternity. I can't even remember what I said. I'm sure Tim would agree with me, though, when I say that it was bound to have been wit and charm at its very zenith.
We then braved the drive to Ararat, cruising past Ballarat, completely obscured by cloud and sleet, and finally arrived at the Hotel Ararat. Ararat Live, an organisation run by passionate locals, has been a staple on my tours for some time now. They're an amazing crew. Friendly, helpful and world leaders in piss-taking, particularly David, who I warmed to immediately years ago and who was there to greet us. The back room of the pub was packed by the time we hit the stage and the 80 people who had made the journey from far and wide were animated and festive to the very end. It was so great to see some people there that I consider to be friends now after so many visits. Carly and Parso, whose house my band, Van and I have stayed at so many times, awaking on the morning after the gig to a Parso hot breakfast and great coffee, arranged a babysitter so they could come to the show. So much love in the room, not least our adoration for people like the Ararat Live mob who spend their time and energy (for free) to bring music to their town and provide a welcomed venue outside of the major centres. It was a beautiful way to start the Vic leg of the tour. And tonight the Caravan is sold out and we look forward to playing to our home town friends and family for the first time on this tour.