Vital signs are still present: Beating heart with an appearance that I am awake and alert, and my fingers are still able to hit the keyboard. Yep, I believe I still qualify as living.
That said, of late I feel my quality of living has been a little questionable. About three and a bit weeks ago I found myself rushing off to Queensland for a flying visit. The tour was a whirlwind, and company was crazy. By the time I set foot back in my home, my head was feeling light, and my wallet was feeling decidedly lighter.
It was around this time that a particular molecule appears to have become airborn in a bluster of someone’s coughing, then found itself drifting aimlessly through the air where it passed other tiny little molecules – such as the pollen from flowers and the particulate matter from a very stinky fart. Unfortunately this tiny biological element soon found a home in my throat, where it bedded down and got to work.
Soon my throat was swollen and aching. It felt raw and stripped – like a dried creek bed that had cracked under the sun, exposing fleshy tones underneath. I couldn’t swallow, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop complaining.
Then I copped a dose of hay-fever. Soon my raw throat became itchy and irritated and my nose began to run. I sneezed and sneezed again, before taking some anti-histamines, which seemed to knock it on its head temporarily.
Foolishly, due to commitments I continued to work, and regretted every moment of it. Before long my ears filled with fluid and I could no longer hear, and my through felt like it had split open like the Grand Canyon.
With a head full of muck I sneezed. With so much pressure behind my ears, my balance center was off, and with each sneeze I threw myself into a spiraling hallucination. My world literally appeared upside down to me, before it rushed back into correct orientation only to flip upside down gracelessly again.
I suffered through this for about a week and a half with only small improvements. I couldn’t drive, I felt drunk when I walked and nothing seemed to give a satisfactory amount of relief. Every day I simple got home from work and collapsed in a heap in my bed. But last Friday I arrived home to a couple of visitors that were going to be staying with us for a while, who had two dogs and a massive trailer of ‘we’re driving across Australia and camping our way’ gear. They’d been on the road a while, and their tired smiles showed it.
I meeted, greeted and gave directions for a cafe before I faded off to bed again.
About an hour later I started to run a bath, but was startled to hear other voices downstairs calling out to see if anyone was home. I rushed some clothes on with a lack of co-ordination, and went down to be greeted by nothing less than a group of rock-stars. Andrew, the front-man of the band ‘The Sons Of Mod’ and Amr, the bassist from ‘The Polydevlins‘, were standing in my lounge along with Ruth – VJ, artist and just generally cool person. Most Australians my age would know Amr from the band ‘Ratcat’, which I still vividly recall watching them as the support act for INXS during the 90’s.
Or was it late 80’s.
Tired greetings were given, coffees and teas were made and I felt like I was very inadequate company for this group while I sat there wearing my thrown on miss-matched shaggy attire. But before long the house filled with family, visitors and a couple of dogs who’d scared Cookie the cat into reclusiveness. All of which were able to take care of the entertaining duties.
Once the house filled, I showered instead of bathed and soon put on my best available party face and poured myself a glass of Scotch. The Scotch went down smooth, and I felt it start to melt away my throat infection.
For the first time ever, Cookie the cat curled up next to me that night to sleep. I guess the idea was to look for the largest yet most familiar male available, in the hope getting of some protection from the dogs circling down-stairs. And you know what? It was kinda nice to have her purring company while I was sick.
The next morning a peculiar parcel arrived on the kitchen table that had name on it. It was an ebay purchase that I had made in my semi-delirium earlier in the week, and I just pushed the memeory of it aside. Later, when I opened it and played with it a little, I decided to research online about it to find out more about it. It is a typewriter related item that I clearly knew very little about but thought I had seen hundreds of times before. However, the more I read what little there was about it, the more excited I got about the item that I had in my hands. But that’s the subject of another blog to come soon. However, here’s a bit of a hint:
Both the Sons of Mod, and The Polydevlins were playing a gig at the Gasometer Hotel on Sunday, along with another band – The Grand Rapids. So we went to support them with clapping hands and heads that could nod to the beat. On the way we got word that there had been a minor equipment failure that was posing a major problem to the visual element of the Polydevlins performance, and that not everything for the gig was going entirely to plan.
We arrived just as the The Sons of Mod were hitting about the middle of their set . Andrew was playing away beautifully and making ample use of his Scouse-like accent to give that Liverpudlian rock’n’roll feel to his music. They sounded sharp and wonderful, and Andrew’s love that particular not-so-long-passed era of music just bled through. It was clear that he was hugely passionate about what he was playing.
If you can’t guess the era by the name of the band, it is time to hit the search engines, my friend.
Later at the bar I had a chat with Andrew. “People keep telling me to smile” He told me “They say listeners will like me more”. I said to him that I thought that the people who would like his music wouldn’t care for his smile. “I don’t care about smiling” he replied as he cocked his shoulder back with John Lennon style confidence. “Because I’m serious about my music”. To that, I unreservedly agreed.
Between the Sons of Mod set, and the Polydevlin’s set I leaned over the side of the bio-box and asked if Ruth needed help with the problem. We had a bit of time, and as the situation hadn’t been fixed, It couldn’t hurt to see if I could come up with a solution.
I was also informed that it was called a ‘tech-box’ now, but I didn’t seem to catch onto that.
So I stepped into the bio-box. It would have to have been 18 years since I last stepped in one, and I somewhat felt it all rush back to me. I slipped past the narrow space behind the sound engineer who was twiddling on the console, and I sat down next to Ruth. Before long I was trying to get my head around software that I’d never seen before that was running on Ruth’s Macbook, while I tried to figure out both the particulars of the problem and where the problem lay.
The clock was ticking, but we didn’t feel too pressured as Ruth had a back-up plan. The plan it wasn’t what the band wanted, and it wasn’t how Ruth wanted to be seen professionally either. So we pushed on. As I started to get a sense of the software, I started to feel confident that we were close to solving it. I fidgeted, fiddled and a few things failed. On one occasion things went even further backwards when a projector failed, which required some drastic action. It even felt like the back-up plan was at risk – which started to get hearts racing.
The clock ticked, tensions rose and the band started to get up on stage. Seconds were finite, but I still felt strangely confident that a solution could be found. I could feel my my pulse in my clogged ears and my palms begin to sweat.
And then…. it appeared that the problem was just magically gone. Things worked. I stepped back with a sigh and a smile and stepped out of the Bio box.
But it wasn’t so. One problem was fixed, but a second and bigger one had now arose. I jumped back in as the band started to introduce themselves. The lights were up, and it was show time. My pulse buzzed and a thousand possible solutions second ran through my mind. I took a deep breath as the band started to fire up, made a couple of adjustments and then and hit the ‘Okay’ button on the screen, hoping that my hunch was right. The projector fired to life, and the visuals just…. worked exactly how we needed them to. I pointed at the Macbook and just said ‘We’re go’! and I got out of Ruth’s way as quickly as possible so that she could do her job.
The band were now in full swing, and as I stepped out of the bio box again I felt inspired. Everything I loved about my past career was there, and I was buzzing with excitement. There was that… down to the wire problem-solving rush, along with the tension and the quiet drama that comes with it. There’s nothing like being in a box filled with thousands of amps of electricity, just a moment’s grace from impending professional death while contributing silently to the performance.
I felt a sudden urge to dress in head to toe black and get backstage again.
Ruth looked happy, but I just kept an eye out over the side of the bio-box incase something else failed. It didn’t, and everything else went smoothly. The band played great, and the performance was incredibly tight. It was definitely worth the cover-charge to get in to see them. They were releasing a new single that night, and they were putting everything that they had into the performance.
After that the band ‘The Grand Rapids’ got up and started to play. We listened for a little, but we’d heard everything we’d come to see. I was still sick and a bit exhausted, but feeling so very much alive.
Indeed. I am. Very much alive, my friends.
Oh, and by the way – a couple of months ago I wrote about a trip to Geelong where I hunted down a few typewriters. I forgot to mention – the machine I picked up was indeed the Olympia Traveller. It wasn’t exactly cheap by the standards of the machine, but considering it had a script typeface, which was faintly visible in the photo I uploaded, the resale value after a good service is pretty reasonable.
Thanks for reading. I’ll try and get up to date with everyone’s blogs soon.