Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rockaway Beach

This weekend in Sydney was, well, sweltering. In many ways.

Saturday was just a nice stroll through Newtown, which reminds me alot of Berkeley. Little cinema playing the indie films, a couple nice record shops, thrift stores (didn't find anything good though), boutiques, and about a million Thai restaurants. And cafes. The main drag, King Street, goes on for a while and there were plenty of folks milling about. Hipster couples, lesbians that look like 12 year old boys, babies with Ramones t-shirts on - you know.

Saturday night though... Well, that was some trouble. Probably because I was hanging out with my other friend Nick, an absolute wild man who knows anyone in any band in this country (I'm convinced). We started out at the Hopetoun Hotel, which had a room perhaps the size of the Silverlake Lounge crammed packed with people. (Keep in mind it had been nearly 100 degrees this day.) We checked out a band called Belles Will Ring, who were pretty amazing. Anyone who is a fan of that current wave of dreamy popsters who have a touch of 60's to them (think Rogue Wave or Fruit Bats) would dig this band, and they tossed in a little shoegaze as well. Fantastic.

They were followed by Dappled Cities Fly. This was a band a friend had emailed me about earlier... "Since you're in Australia, Mo, see if this band is playing." Then Nick mentioned, the same day, that they were playing. "You know, they recorded in LA - with someone from Grandaddy." "Really?" I said. "Was it at New Monkey Studios, perhaps?" It was. My friends own that studio. Formerly Elliott Smith's studio. Go figure.

So the band was fun - they came in with giant balloons and proceeded to nerdrock hard with occasional new wave keyboards. (I kept thinking of the Shins, although that isn't totally right.) I wasn't as into them as the other band, but they were still fun. To be fair, though, by this point the entire party I was with was well under the influence of drinks and a few mind altering substances, so we left and went to Vegas.

Vegas is a "secret" club (I stopped into it the night of the Twilight Singers show, but couldn't stay) which is tucked away within a totally gross dance club. I guess you have to wind your way through the Euro trash to get to the cool kids? Regardless, we went there with a guy named Bo who it turns out was in a band of note whose name I've completely forgotten at the moment. Damn drugs! We were joined by his bandmate Nick (everyone is named Nick here!) for a while. I was introduced to the DJ - a sweet young thing named Owen - who was doing mostly garage rock and actually had my Mummies request. This means that when it was played, I got up and yelled a bit.

Once the "influences" wore off, I was wiped out and wandered home. The next day was a beach day, my last full day in Australia...

I took the bus to the Waverly Cemetary - one of my favorite places in Sydney just because it's so beautiful. An old, and old school, cemetary, stacked with marble angels and crosses, on a beach cliffside. Since it was a gorgeous day, the blue sky and the blue sea behind these bleached white memorials just wowed me. Like last time.

Then a short walk to some other beaches before landing at Tamarama (which I hear is nicknamed Glamarama), a beautiful and sundrenched beach. Today I actually took a swim. I couldn't tell you how - perhaps it was just that hot - because the water was fucking freezing. I'd been cooling off in the water on previous beach trips, but today it seemed positively arctic. (At a lifeguard tower, they had noted: "air temp: 97 degrees. water temp: 57 degrees. Can't remember it ever being that cold!" So there you go.)

After Tamarama, it was a walk along the cliffs to Bondi, where hung out and read for a while before meeting with my other friend Nick for dinner. This Nick I've known since about 1994, a silly and vibrant person with, truly, a heart of gold. Talya couldn't join us, but we had some great quality time before saying goodbye. We even drove around and tried to find a place to view Comet McNaught, a comet in the Southern Hemisphere visible to the naked eye (thanks for the info, Dad!). I'd been thwarted by tall buildings and city lights all week, this evening it was a hazy sky and no stars were visible...

And that's it. I'm on my way home. The whole time I've been here, I've had one song running through my head... The Church's "A Month of Sundays." The tone of it is so beautiful, the sound of it reminds me of this place. Find it online and give it a listen if you can.

Bye, Sydney...

A Month of Sundays

Badmans woman with that look in her eye
You stop to wonder as she passes by
Something inside you is never the same
Something outside you is always to blame
Follow her home where she lives with some friends
They have some good things to add to the blend
The games expanded, invaded the place
Youre the only one whos forgotten his face

Youre saying no no no I must be on my way
But it really has been a pleasant night
And you go so slow hope they'll ask you to stay
And indifference gives you a fright

Walking outside you come to a door
You go inside and you wonder what for
At least its good to be out of the wind
You turn around and the clocks all begin
Just like the winter your memory thaws
Just like the ocean your memory pours
So many pieces to match or to find
So many doubts to have in one mind

It's hard to see how the tables have turned
It's hard to see how the people have learned
It's hard to watch the past drizzling past
It's hard to watch them picking the cast
And it stacks up badly that it never makes sense
You sense that sensation is whos paying the rent
And she beckons to you with her fingers and lies
She says: cant you slice the price of your paradise...