niina.amniisia » bits, pieces and photos from sydney, australia and elsewhere

hemingway and time out (Sunday April 4th, 2004 - 23:59)

category: mmhuh?

Friday night at the Cruise Bar, taking time away from the tunes and the suits to stand outside and admire the Opera House and the Sydney skyline around Circular Quay, a discussion with a work friend moved on to literature and writing. From his bag he pulled out a battered copy of Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro insisting I take it home and read the first story.

I’ve been lent a lot of novels over the years and there’s nothing more exciting than a loan eventuating from a particular discussion and realising how right they were in their recommendation. One particular instance that sticks in mind most was George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying (another very well read copy) arriving through the post after an evening with a friend during a time when I wasn’t working and didn’t have a lot of money nor direction in life. I was feeling shockingly sorry for myself. The novel kicked me back in to gear.

Tonight I curled up in my arm chair and read the 27 pages of The Snows of Kilimanjaro and I’m impressed by how much is provided in such a small number of words. The scene is laid gradually, answering questions at the precise moments I took my eyes off the page to think “But who is..?”, “But why..?”. And it provided me the one quote that I’m always searching for whenever I read; the quote that a lot of full length novels fail to deliver.

    Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting. Well, he would never know, now.

On to other things.. on recommendation from an American friend I went to check out the Dirtbombs at the Gaelic Club on Saturday. Three bands on of whom I’d not knowingly heard anything of before and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed them all.

Support came from the Cops who really got me going with a sound I could describe as typically Australian garage rock ala the Stems crossed with the current new rock of the White Stripes.

The Pictures were great with a lot of energy however less stand out tunes than the Cops to my ears. By their stage time the crowd had grown and many were busy chattering away causing one of the singers to make a few too many derogatory remarks about the audience for my liking.

The Dirtbombs were mind blowing. Tune-wise they definitely had memorable ones and others I’d heard pieces of before however not all of it made me nod along. The exciting thing was their performance. Energy flew out of them and caught the crowd, spinning them in to a frenzy.

Two drummers synchronized working perfectly together made for mesmerising watching. My drum technique knowledge will let me down here but during one particular song they were both tapping a fast paced drum stick horizontally across the edge of one drum, keeping another beat going with the bass drum. They kept this up for what seemed forever, I’d say atleast 6 or 7 minutes, in absolute unison.

I spent a lot of time watching the two bass players varying from traditional simple bass methods to attacking their instruments in fury, fingers flying. It was truely inspiring viewing.

The singer’s vocals were initially a little limp but after a few songs he seemed warmed up and was sounding better. By the time of the lengthy encore, I was still thrilled and they were sweating and rocking.

On to more happy things… Today I opened a package from my brother and his wife containing two Tom Robbins novels – Skinny Legs and All and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates – and the most fantastic and lovely Kimi Raikkonen cap which I’ve been wearing all day despite dull clouds hovering over Sydney.

I was hoping to give Kimi some luck by wearing the cap to watch the race but with the delayed broadcast it seems to have not helped at all as his engine has blown up again. Hmf.

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