Archive for 1999-04

Last Australia Show 1999

01999-04-30 @ 15:04

That was the last show of the first leg of the ‘Innamorare’ tour and we were clearly inspired by a warm and sunny day here in Perth. The playing felt effortless and we all clearly enjoyed ourselves… a night like this, my friends, makes all touring worthwhile.

However, I wasn’t so happy with the publicity photos Epic had here in Australia – they had my last name misspelled… I should offer to proof-read.

The next adventure for me will be to drive a rental car on the left side today – for about 600 miles… I’ll let you know how I did in a few days, when I can get back online.

Four more

01999-04-28 @ 15:04

1) There is less sugar in candy and soft drinks in Australia. Tastes better… and makes me wonder – why do the same manufacturers sweeten their U.S. products so much more? Do we really prefer sugar over flavor?

2) One reads a lot of magazines while waiting in airports or on the plane and I noticed that a lot of lifestyle magazines depict modern apartments and houses without any soft surfaces. What I mean is that there are no rugs, carpet, wall-coverings, window-coverings… looks nice and clean, BUT – they must not like music, because in a place like that music would sound quite awful… too much reverb and echo.

3) Fitzroy Garden, next to the Hilton in Melbourne, has a very large and very cute possum population. At Night one sees many hotel guests feeding them bread. I wonder how many generations it took for possums to learn to run towards people instead of away from them. Interesting factoid: there is no rabies in Australia.

4) I am told by a crew member that a ‘nude nut with a Seattle toilet seat’ is a bald man with a goatee…

Four Points

01999-04-27 @ 15:04

1) I heard somewhere that the reason the British, and also the people in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan drive on the left side of the road is that the Roman army used to march on the left side… it obviously left a deep impression on the English that the invading army walked on the left. The Roman army marched on the left side for the same reason a man is supposed to walk to the left of a woman: the sword is usually worn on the left side and is drawn with the right hand and it thus is faster and easier to defend something that is to the right of the man, whether it be a woman or a street…

2) Most toilets in Australia appear to have two flush-modes. A half flush and a full flush, indicated by two seperate buttons. Seems very smart to me. Does that exist in the USA? Have I overlooked that?

3) Heard on the radio in a taxi this Morning that the Premier of Victoria has been sued numerous times, because of remarks he has made while in office, and was fined 7 times… fines that had to be footed by the tax-payers every time…

4) Our Aussie tour manager took me around Albert Park in Melbourne the other day, because I wanted to see the Formula One race course… amazing, to imagine cars reaching speeds of 200mph on those roads…

April Fool

01999-04-26 @ 15:04

I received this message. Whether it is the truth or just a joke I do not know. The question for me is: Are we talking about a new Sony OS or just a modified Microsoft OS? Hm, my guess is that it is an April Fool joke…

Sony has announced its own computer operating system now available on its hot new portable PC called the Vaio. Instead of producing the cryptic error messages characteristic of Microsoft’s Windows 95, 3.1, and DOS operating systems, Sony’s chairman Asai Tawara said, ‘We intend to capture the high ground by putting a human, Japanese face on what has been – until now – an operating system that reflects Western cultural hegemony. We have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with our own Japanese haiku poetry .”

Tetsuya

01999-04-25 @ 15:04

A few Nights ago 4 of us had the pleasure of enjoying an unbelievable meal in Sydney, created by a culinary genius. It was a dinner prepared by Tetsuya Wakuda, whose restaurant Tetsuya’s is in Rozelle, Sydney. When we arrived by cab we looked around for the restaurant, which has no obvious signage on the street… 12 or 13 main courses followed by 4 dessert courses. It was perfect: we didn’t even see a menu, because Tetsuya picked all the food and wine for the evening… Champagne followed by 3 kinds of wonderful Australian white wine, including a lovely Riesling and a very nice Gewuerztraminer, Australian Pinot Noire and Shiraz, and a dessert wine.

The negative space on a painting, or the silence or pauses between the notes in music, are the equivalent of the pacing of a multi-course meal… and this meal was orchestrated masterfully… every time we thought that we might be ready for another morsel – there it came! The unagi, which is eel, was the best I ever had, the pasta would have made the best Italian chef proud… and those are just two items out of too many to mention… let me just say it was one of the most amazing meals of my life. I shall always remember it…

Tetsuya’s
729 Darling Street
Rozelle
(02) 9555-1017

Guns and Bridges

01999-04-24 @ 15:04

The other day I did an interview on Australian talk radio. The news about the Littleton, Colorado killings had just gone ’round the world and the show’s host said to me that it was typical for the USA to have this problem since there are too many guns there. While I agree with that sentiment in general, I disagree with the particulars and told him so. Violence will never be limited to guns… kids can throw rocks onto cars and buses from freeway bridges and kill people… or, in this case me and my band experienced in Brazil: somebody loosened the lugnuts of one of the wheels of a van taking us to the airport!! Luckily many drivers pointed at our wheels and our driver stopped and noticed that one wheel was barely hanging on by one lugnut only.

In 1996 I learned that Colorado had slashed funding for music and art classes in schools by 30%. You tell me what better way there is for an angry child/teenager to deal with anger than the arts? To learn to transfer the anger into music or onto a canvas?

Hornet’s Nest

01999-04-23 @ 15:04

I guess I stepped in a hornets’ nest the other day. Here is what I received after my note about the Victoria Premier’s School Girl talk… in order to give you a balanced view:

As a Victorian I was extremely upset to read your last email. The PREMIER of Victoria (we have a separate and distinct political system from the US, know as the Westminster system) was, as usual, taken out of context in the interest of cheap, sensationalised ‘news’. I find it offensive that you can come to Australia and immediately start criticising our leaders. Jeff (Kennett, the Premier of Vic.) was merely discussing the fact that Australia is facing a reduction in population, a good or bad thing depending on your point of view. He did not tell these school girls to ‘go forth and multiply’, as the media would have you believe. He merely joked that these girls will need to get busy and procreate if we are going to maintain steady population growth. The reality is that Victorians are used to Mr. Kennett’s joking ways. I can understand that you would be shocked upon hearing the carefully and cunningly selected sound bites offered by the nightly news, or the quotable quotes offered by our newspapers. I can only hope that you can look into a matter at some depth before making any snap judgments. Nothing annoys me more than criticism based on everything but fact.

Whoa, as Keanu Reeves would say… It’s only a politician after all and I simply quoted the Melbourne media… I do think that Australia should deal with their projected population reduction by allowing more people to immigrate to this beautiful country rather than encouraging school girls to reproduce. There are a lot of people in this world…and many would love to come here… In any case I do love the city of Melbourne and we are all looking forward to spending half of Sunday, and all of Monday and Tuesday there.

Elections + Breeding

01999-04-22 @ 15:04

How does Australia get 80% of the population to vote in elections – compared to about 40-45% in the USA? If you don’t vote you get fined $100, that’s how. Not a bad idea really.
Now this, however, is a bad idea:
The Governor of Victoria told 16 year old school girls at an exclusive school in Melbourne to ‘breed for Australia’ last week. Those were his words! Australians
apparently don’t reproduce enough in his opinion and instead of letting people immigrate he would prefer for Aussies to ‘breed’ more…

Tasman Abel

01999-04-21 @ 15:04

This is what I learned:
The first European to see New Zealand in 1642 was Tasman Abel, a Dutch navigator. Zeeland is a province of his native country, The Netherlands. Tasman named New Zealand after that province, and named the island of Tasmania after himself…

New Zealand

01999-04-18 @ 15:04

Why is it New Zealand? Where is Old Zealand? Why Zealand instead of Sealand?

Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch

01999-04-17 @ 15:04

Performed in Auckland on Tuesday. Review in the local newspaper was very favorable I thought. It’s so hard to read these reviews. Many critics seem to try to cover themselves in all directions. Maybe they should just use a rating sytem from 1 to 5 like most movie critics do. That reminds me of home…
The newspaper in SFe uses chilis for the rating… up to five chilis… and an onion for a stinker of a movie. Did loads of promotion on Wednesday. Flew to Wellington and performed there last Night. Wasn’t terribly thrilled by our performance, but met a guy who had driven 500 kilometers to see us… he had enjoyed our show very much, which made me happy.
Today we are in Christchurch. Read a fantastic new book by Bruce Sterling: ‘Distraction’. Discussed Ken Wilber with Jon and Ron over lunch. Tried to download photos from my electronic camera, but failed somehow. Photos of the Auckland arrival hall and of the band and crew and of a storm in Wellington will have to wait until I get home – or figure out why the program I have used so many times is not interfacing with the camera.
Very cold here… only 35F when we arrived. Warmer in Australia we hope. After lunch we made a beeline to cafe Roma, which we remembered from our last trip here in 1996. The hot chocolate was excellent, but the cappuccino was not at all what I remembered…

Coffee in Auckland

01999-04-14 @ 15:04

The highly recommended Allpress cafe on Victoria was disappointing, but the Jamaica Blue near the Heritage Hotel made good coffee This Morning we also found a lovely little cafe in an alley off of Queens Road called Firello & Rossi.
The Atlas cafe on Ponsonby Road roasts their own coffee beans and makes excellent coffee. In the early Afternoon Daniel and I perform some songs at an instore appearance nearby.
Headline in the NZ Harald today: The Immigration Minister wants to ban entry to New Zealand for any tourist with HIV. Hm, politicos are the same all over the world.

Immigration Theater

01999-04-12 @ 15:04

Immigration and Customs as Theater! The arrival hall in Auckland has a large LCD screen that shows people leaving customs and making their way through a hallway to the arrival hall. There are about 200 seats mounted in a half-circle for friends and family or whoever is awaiting travellers. Three or four isles lead through the half-circle of seats to the exit…

Jazz in the Fifties

01999-04-09 @ 15:04

Here is a story I heard:
In the Fifties many touring Jazz bands were playing arrangements of show tunes and local amateur musicians would often bring their instrument to the club and ask to sit in with them. I’m sure the club owners also pressured the bands into letting their paying customers play. Anyway, some of the Jazz bands grew tired of having to let amateurs mess up their music and began developing more and more complex music, with so many chord changes that an amateur would not find his way through the forest of changes… and out of that developement Be-Bop was born.

We are leaving for New Zealand in 5 hours and I haven’t packed anything yet…

 


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