We went for a swim south of Kincumber a few weeks ago. The sea was sparkling, lapping at the warm sand, the sun a glaring streak of luminous silver. We dived beneath the waves, washing the long drive from our bodies and, for a few seconds submerged beneath the surface, we let our ears fill with water, all sound folding away after weeks of relentless noise. It was as refreshing as it gets. Along the sand were dotted the bodies of large black migratory birds, the ones that didn't survive the long journey, who fell exhausted from the sky and died at sea, their bodies eventually being washed to the beach. A couple of days ago I found myself clutching a coffee and staring into the middle distance, remembering this scene. I started imagining this tour as a migrational journey. Would we make it? Who would be the proverbial feathery corpse on the beach by the end of the last gig..?
I knew when I booked the flights that it was going to be a brutal day. We had to get from Hobart to Tanunda, north of Adelaide, before 3pm. That's two flights and an hours drive. We had a choice. Either fly at 6am and arrive in Adelaide at 11am or fly later and risk not getting to Tanunda until 5pm. We chose the former. And we were suitably broken by the time we got there. It's really been, despite my melodramatic start to this diary entry, an incredibly easy tour travel wise. I think the longest drive we've had is 5 hours (if you don't count the NT run), which is astounding considering the number of gigs we've played. It was just this day. This 'getting up in the dark after four hours sleep' day. This 'arriving at Hobart airport and being denied a big trolley for all of our gear' day (denied by a supervisor with an appalling hair cut, might I add, only fuelling my anger about the situation). This 'finally making it to the hotel in Adelaide and having to wait outside in the car for an hour while the officious young man at reception reluctantly sorted out a fucked-up booking' day. But we survived. A few coffees, a laksa, and some Dyson organisational skills later (Dyse is the mum of the group) we arrived in Tanunda to begin our weekend of four SA gigs.
The last run. Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia. I love Tasi, I really do, and I'd been looking forward to the Tasi gigs for some time. It's just a beautiful place to visit. The air's clean. The food's good. Van grew up here. In Hobart we coincidentally parked right outside an old house of Van's, one in a row of tiny 180 year old convict cottages nestled into the side of a steep hill. And there are many steep hills. As my friend Kath said, "Everyone in Hobart who doesn't have a car has great legs". We played at Red Hot Music in Devonport on the Wednesday night. It's an ex camping shop, a massive warehouse sized room with two mezzanine levels and rows of guitars down the side wall. As I said on stage that night, this is the place where you want something to go wrong with your gear. Not in Tennant Creek at 8pm on a Saturday night. I bought some strings there. Not because I really needed them. But I felt it criminal to not take advantage of these tools at my fingertips. Thursday it was back to Hobart for a gig at the Grand Poobah. There was a bit of a convergence happening that night, friends from all over the country happened to be in town. It was a fun one.
We're getting to the pointy end now. Only three more gigs and two more workshops to go. Time continues to behave as a bizarre beast. We are finding ourselves more often in fits of uncontrollable, over-tired laughter, scaring flight attendants with our tears of mirth and deranged shrieks. We're going to Perth next. For some reason I've often finished tours in WA. Off we go again.