Holy mackerel, it’s August already!
I can't believe how much time has gone past since I wrote my last news. I swear I must have been travelling in the Tardis!
A lot has happened since that last post.
Firstly my trip overseas this August/Sep/Oct to UK and Ireland has been postponed till next year. After I got back from my trip to Sicily, I realised I had hardly spent any time at home in the last year. My dogs were on the point of disowning me! I also felt I was rushing into a tour that I hadn't really dedicated enough time to organise and promote properly. Plus I wanted to spend this dry season in Darwin, getting out bush and enjoying the beautiful weather, not stuck inside on a computer planning for another trip.
That can wait till the buildup!
So last month I took my Southern Handsome Devils, Richard Grace and Ian Morrison along with Graham Ring and Ian’s partner Michelle, out to see a bit of the Territory. They’d never been before and had made a few remarks last time I saw them at the National Folk Festival over Easter (where it was freezing) when I said “seeya, enjoy winter! I’m going back to the tropics and the warm weather.”
I had a couple of texts a few weeks later saying “we’re coming to visit!”
We started out this Top End adventure by doing a couple of shows in Darwin - Dinah Beach and Mindil Markets, to ease them into the warm weather and to acclimatize them to the Territory way…drinking beer by the pool, afternoon naps, drinking beer on the beach, good Thai food, playing music and drinking beer. They seemed to slide into this lifestyle rather effortlessly.
Then we ventured out of town for a day trip to gear them up for travelling in the outback. Litchfield national Park – waterfalls, giant termite mounds, swimming, scorching heat, hoards of tourists, gourmet lunch, beers…altogether a really tough trip. I must say they handled it well (I on the other hand had a small mishap falling down the rocks at Wangi Falls, ending in blood and bruising of the leg and ego) and the general consensus was that they were ready for the BIG TRIP.
We left at sparrows belch (around midday) on Sat morning and drove to Daly River (where I have a 20 acre property) and introduced them to my mates Phil Stipani and Pete Polishuk – a couple of local ratbags who soon left no doubt they were real Crocodile Dundees. We split up, as we all couldn’t fit into the one boat – Michelle and myself in Pete’s small 10 foot tinny that sat 6 inches above the water, and the guys in Phils fully decked out fishing trawler complete with rods, elevated seats and a full esky of beer! After we’d had our fill of croc spotting, (and the boys half an esky of beer) we saw about 50 or more with some well into the 4m category, Phil decided to show off to the boys his fishing skills by casting out and catching… a 2m croc by the tail! After some attempts to get his lure back, Pete suddenly became animated and was yelling at him to reel it in so he could wrestle it. This is something Pete has done on occasion, but as Michelle and I were in the boat with him, we were more than keen for him to leave it where it was - not in the boat with us! Just as he’d made that remark the croc flicked the lure off and both of us girls heaved a sigh of relief.
Next day we headed off to Mataranka, (on the way out nearly collecting a VERY large wallaby, who was thinking of jumping into Ringy’s passenger seat) home of Bitter Springs thermal pool where we camped out for the night. Some of the guys had never slept in a swag before so were a bit nervous. I assured them nothing would bother them if they kept the zip up. There’s nothing like camping out under the stars and waking up to the beautiful sounds of Butcherbirds and…TV. Bloody caravaner’s that can’t leave the mod cons at home need to be put in a special place, like the suburbs where they came from!
Anyway, got everyone over to the thermal pool and calmed down in the beautiful opalescent waters of Bitter springs. That was until a young German boy lost his Go Pro in the water and then it was on for young and old trying to find it. Amongst the screaming and stirring up of the mud we decided it was time to leave. Gotta love these tranquil places out bush.
My good friend Chips Mackinolty has a great idea for a t-shirt – “if they call it Tourist Season, why can’t we shoot them?” I agree.
Next stop Katherine and Nitmiluk National Park where we were booked on a sunset gorge tour complete with 3 course fine dining. I always love this cruise. Last time I took Christa and Vashti Hughes and the 360 Allstars crew. That was even more spectacular with a full moon guiding the boat back. This one was just as awesome. Everyone had a great time, though I think they need to find another artist to play on the stereo other than Gurrumul. Kind of had enough after 3 hours, and it was the same music as a year ago! Gotta be some local Jawoyn music surely.
We spent the next few days camping out at Nitmiluk, swimming in the river, doing some walking trails and hanging with the wallabies in the campsite. Those wallabies are certainly not shy. I had one rather large male come up to our camp nosing around. I’d just made a cup of tea and set it down on the esky, steaming hot, when the wallaby stuck its nose in it. Needless to say he jumped quite a way back rubbing his nose with his paws. He came back over so I thought he was thirsty. I picked up my water bottle and trickled some water out near him. He came over and started licking at the water for a while then grabbed hold of my water bottle and wouldn’t let go! Bloody cheeky bugger. Now I know why they say don’t give the wallabies anything! Got it back but only after a bit of a tug-a-war. The evenings were spent drinking beer, playing music and sharing Chindogu (un-useful inventions) and fart apps. Haven’t laughed that much in a while! Ian was particularly taken with iFart, so much so he bought the deluxe version, which allows you to record your own) and proceeded to wander the campsite letting it off by other campers tents.
After 4 days of chilling out, it was time to pack up camp and get in the cars for the 7hour drive to Kununurra and our gig at Gullivers Tavern. After not much sleep the night before (the 3 piece snoring ensemble at full volume) I was exhausted by the time we pulled in, and on finding our salubrious accommodation consisted of one room with 2 bunk beds, I cracked! I left the boys to it and went searching for an alternative place to put my swag. I walked back over to the pub and asked Dave, the very friendly and helpful bar manager, holding back the urge to burst into tears, if he knew of anything else. He told me that as it was show weekend all the accom would be booked but to hang tight and he’d go ask. He came back 15 minutes later and said he’d found a caravan for me, belonging to a friend who was out of town. Yay. Sleep tonight! Thanks Dave! Thanks Jen and Andrea!
The gig was great fun – after we managed to piece together a non-existent sound system, well almost. We had 2 FOH speakers and 30 mic stands. Thanks to Richard for being such a wiz at making it all come together. Even without foldback we had an awesome time, as did the crowd. I even got to catch up with a very old fan from the Cowgirls days, Gibbo, who I hadn’t seen since the days of the Timber Creek Races!
Next morning we were up early for the drive back to Katherine to spend the night at good friends Don and Annie Walsh’s place on the Katherine River. I hadn’t seen these guys in years so it ended up being a great night of food and stories and music. I hope it’s not so long till I get to visit again.
All good things must come to an end and so we said our goodbyes at Emerald Springs Roadhouse, where Ringy took Ian off to the airport and back to Katoomba. Rich got to stay on for another 2 weeks of beers by the pool, afternoon naps and good Thai food, as well as a trip to Kakadu for a gig and some more sightseeing. He can tell you all about that one!
Right now I’m just enjoying being in Darwin. Going for a swim at the beach, walking my dogs down the creek, hanging at home watching reruns of Doctor Who (new series starts Aug 24th) and having sunset beers with my friends and visitors, who seem to be coming and going in a steady flow. Life is good.
Plans for the next few months are about the same as above except for starting to organize myself for festival season down South and the trip away next July/Aug/Sep which hopefully will see me back in either UK, Ireland, Sicily, Germany, US, Mexico, Canada or all of the above! If you have a venue in your neighborhood you’d like me to play at, let me know. I’ll see what I can do to make it happen.
Have a few local shows here in Darwin coming up (see below). Be great to see you at one if you’re in town. Otherwise, hopefully I’ll be in your neck of the woods in the coming year.
Thanks for supporting my music by buying my CDs, coming along to shows, requesting one of my songs on your local radio station and spreading the word amongst your friends and family. I really appreciate it.
Cheers and beers
Wed 27 Aug – Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Club 7-10pm Free
Friday 26 Sep – Casuarina Library 12-1pm Free
Wed 1 Oct – Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Club 7-10pm Free
Sun Oct 19 – Nightcliff Markets 10.30am-1.30pm Free
Wed 5 Nov – Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Club 7-10pm Free
15-26 Nov – VIC Tour
Jan 9-11 – Cygnet Folk Festival