The potluck concert?
We were supposed to have gone to an Aboriginal art gallery somewhere in New Farm. Of course, it was with Gweneth. New Farm has more than just one art gallery – it has plenty. We’d visited one unintentionally, thinking of making it to the Chinese New Year celebrations, which was over a couple of days earlier. Any which way, we visited a couple of art galleries then.
This time the art gallery was further away. Gweneth stopped at one thinking it was it. Didn’t look like it was open for public viewing. I did spot a desktop computer with its screen lit there somewhere in the basement, but we moved a little further on and passed by the place we were supposed to stop at and pulled over. Walked to the place only to find it closed. Rung the bell a couple of times to no one. Headed to the back of the gallery thinking we’d find someone to ask about. Walking there I heard Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper”. For some reason at these times I think anyone who listens to that kind of music ought to have an electric guitar. Some 30+ chap walks out and he had no idea about the exhibition. And I said to him that I hadn’t heard the song in a long time. And there was a smile.
So we headed nowhere from there. At the street’s intersection was an old house and a few guys on the stairs having smokes. One of whom hugged another. They waved at me, and I did too. Before that happened, before we hit that street, I had a look at it and it was lined with plenty of trees with a dense canopy that seemed to suddenly straighten up at a certain height. They made the street look dark, but beautiful. Gweneth pulled over again stopping by the pluck some of its leaves. And I still haven’t gotten to the best part. It’s amazing how much can happen in times that short, it’s amazing how much we miss. Anyhow, she jumped back into the van with a few leaves and gave me one, asking to me crush it to see what it smelt like. She talks too much. It’s something I’d smelt before, some strong whiff that I had a strong recollection of. Her talk wouldn’t let me think of it.
New Farm has a lot of weird, pretty looking homes. We then drove to the Brisbane Powerhouse. The place looked nothing like the usual theater/gallery that I’d seen before. After the parking lot we were parked at it stood. Made of old bricks, standing tall. Stopped by a little paper notice that said there was a free hip-hop session inside. Three folks inside before a large divided mirror dancing and what looked nothing like hip or hop, just tap dancing on metal soles of black shoes. Not so interesting. Out we walked up the stairs to the large remains of what was the powerhouse. Through the glass doors were little lights that made an oval, glittering from the ceiling. Stopped at a help desk inside not knowing what to expect. Gweneth picked up a whole bunch of pamphlets that I so hate reading.
And then we heard the sound of a violin. Walking to it up a flight of wide, dark stairs was a bunch of tall tables with round seats without back rests. A few lines of couches facing a stage. The stage lit up with crisp lights, green. A piano around its back left. A violinist playing music off scores. Left me thinking, of course, of what had become of my guitar playing. Anyway, the chap moved from a stand that held the music he was playing to another one, and then another, and another, and another – Up to the stage with the little violin that sounded so beautifully big. And then I thought he was done. I was wrong. He went on. Backed by some piano that he’d set up. He then sat at the piano. Versatile, I thought. And he sat there for a while and I listened to something I’ve never heard before. He played short notes whispering and gasping to them. And then started with a haunting narrative. I closed my eyes to hear him better and I sat there relating to every little thing he said. Sure, there’s a lot that happened. But knowing me, and how I think to stop or stop to think, I’ve thus lost the flow. Looking at quantity, as opposed to the quality of my writing. That dreaded habit I’m slave to. Communication broken through loss in importance to presentation and impression. The sad state of misdirected concentration.
Getting back though, mustering will…He was emotional as any artist should be, gave me the goose bumps a few times and that clear head I so long for. He was the instrument. Hitting himself on his head, his cheeks full of air, his chest, his buttocks, his arms, his thighs, he made music. And spoke beautifully off flipping pages, telling us a story of suffering and the self’s wallowing in it. Of the life we live, imprisoned. Knowing governments and all their futility in all its forms. Spoke of the aimless walk to self realization. Stopping abruptly only to make more abrupt, strange, beautiful music. A young chap he was. Talented though. Looked like a piece of art himself, walking and moving the stick over his instrument, like a hands of a clock, rhythmic, rising and falling making vibratos and quick touches up the neck. Tickles, I call them. And slides that cut swiftly through notes. I could say little, but hear it all.