October 9th 1983

posted in: The way back | 0

My night was miserable.  It was too hot without the ceiling fan whirring, but with it not only ws the noise like trying to sleep in a moving helicopter, but it blew up a gale as well.  Plus, of course, I was not exactly on top form.  However, the night passed – they generally do – + with the arrival of morning, I felt considerably better, particularly after a shower + a couple of aspirins.  And food + drink always helps in these circumstances, I find.  Coffee, tea, muesli, Ribena + cheese sandwiches, spaced out during the morning.  Shane too was in need of revivification – it was a good job we hadn’t waited for him since he returned very late + very much the worse for wear. The weather certainly did nothing to cheer – it just chucked it down, the storm finally breaking.  It was just our good fortune that when the rains did come, we were in a sheltered, not to say luxurious, situation. 

Generally the morning was fairly relaxed.  Chores were performed – washing, wiping, generally making the place presentable for its owners once again.  And it being a modern place, really that wasn’t difficult.  So we sat + waited to be picked up.  The guy who looks after the place for the owners also runs the guests to the place in to + out from the airport in the Land Cruiser.  And we, as guests of the guests, were included in the deal too.  Which meant that once Shane + Rose were dropped at their terminal – with exchanges of addresses + promises to keep in touch – we were delivered to the door of 123 Esplanade.  Service, eh?  (Especially since it was raining.)  We booked in – they had no double room available, but could give us 2 beds in a 3 bed room.  The afternoon we spent lazing, much like last Sunday, much like every Sunday, writing my diary + a letter or so.

In the evening, tho’ we really didn’t feel that much like it, we dragged ourselves into town to go to the Folk Club.  It wasn’t the most exciting of evenings.  First of all it took place in what looked like a converted church hall.  Second there was no booze.  Third there was a very small audience, + finally even fewer performers.  Partly because of this, what performers there were sang too many songs.  At first it was just a guy + a girl, who were alright but workaday.  Then they were relieved for a while by a French girl, who sang prettily but nervously. 

Then, when it looked as tho’ it would have to be the first couple on again for the rest of the night, but, like the US cavalry, reinforcements arrived in the nick of time.  It was a couple, + next began the most extraordinary pantomime.  The girl played guitar, + the guy accompanied her on a bongo drum, but at the same time was desperately trying to set up his own equipment, so that as soon as each song finished, he would immediately dive into a large cardboard box, + drag out some electronic spaghetti… + all for a 20 min folk club stint.  He had his own speaker, his own amplifier, a wow-wow, a drum machine.  The funniest thing was seeing him fighting desperately with a knitted mess of extension lead.  He was good, in a weird sort of way, but like everyone else, turned out a bit samey.

The next guy on was the best – he started with a couple of classical guitar pieces, then played some contemporary number, playing really well, + singing, or rather performing, beautifully.  But he went on too long.  And then another guy came in, + started to sing some blues, + it was getting on for 11, + we were exhausted, so we gave him one song for politeness, then left.  It had been OK, + some of the performers had been really very good indeed, but the spark + camaraderie that is the mark of a decent folk club were missing.  There hadn’t been even a touch of audience participation.  Still, provided we can get a couple of songs up to half-decent standard, we’ll treat them to our performance next week.

And so back to relative civilisation – Cairns, anyway – and the cultural gift of a folk club… even if it was not the most exciting of evenings. It would be a while before we would get to experience such an event again, so it was as well to take advantage.

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