to simplify 2.0    notes from a life on the open road

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Curious Beasts

There are several down here – koalas, roos, wallabies, and wombats to name a few, but none compare to the touring big band – perhaps the most curious beast of all. Loud, lumbering, ponderous, indiscriminately criss-crossing the countryside, and seemingly without regard for anything resembling efficiency. Behold, in its natural habitat:

Only a giant wheeled canister full of musicians could view the prospect of driving 400 miles in the wrong direction at ungodly hours just to play a single matinee for six or seven hundred people as a perfectly sane idea. Or at least a not entirely insane idea. 

In any other line of work, this sort of thing would no doubt be seen as sheer lunacy, but the touring big band is a glutton for a whole host of generally avoidable punishments. Such are the perils of choosing a profession based on what one actually enjoys doing, and with little regard for financial rewards. A curious beast, indeed.

It makes frequent stops, but barely long enough to eat, sleep, excrete, and/or play a show before saddling up and moving on into the night. Always at night it seems, which isn't really the case, but the beast's generally sleep-deprived state does make it feel that way.

Arriving at the above, a place called Surfers Paradise, the beast lingers for a well-earned day off. "Paradise" is a bit of a stretch to this nomad, what with the crowds, noise, and overpriced everything (which is saying something in this country), but by all indications, the 50-weeks-a-year rat-race types feel otherwise about it. Another curious beast altogether, this one not limited to such far-flung locales.

Interesting that as the touring big band – one of a few lingering vestiges from a bygone age when music was still made by real musicians – goes the way of the dodo throughout much of the world, the rat-race drone thrives in increasing numbers. Might there be a connection?

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Shin-deep into week two of this itinerant big band circus, and the suboptimal wi-fi situation has led me to spring for an Australian SIM card armed with a few gigabytes of data. In theory, this should improve the frequency of updates, but only time will tell for sure. In the meantime, a few sights from the past week:

Monday, May 18, 2015


It has been said that a personalized version of Hell awaits each of us in the afterlife, and for a long time I joked that mine would involve eternity in an elevator with Kenny G. Then I had the chance to meet Kenny several years ago and found him to be a really nice guy, so my Hell changed to eternity in an elevator with Kenny G's records looping in the background. Nice guy, sure, but that doesn't change the fact that he'd be hard pressed to play his way out of a thoroughly wet paper bag.

Door to Hell?