to simplify     notes from 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?