On the way up to Darwin, I rode in a plane next to Texas Rose, a local country musician, heading up to a three day music festival in Katherine. Lou (her actual name) is a big woman with tattoos covering her arms, and who assured me that a night with her in Brisbane would see me fucked, blown, and tattooed, was a pretty decent travelling companion. She had funny stories of friends losing bets and eating crow, and photos to show of that, and she had a pretty solid outlook in life for a woman who was getting her shit back together after aneurism on the brain, one that cut down the amount of touring she could do. I was kind of hoping that I would be able to find a sample of her stuff on the web, but haven't been able to dig up anything yet, except for some local gig photos from a few years back, and the blurb she probably wrote for the Katherine Music Festival site.
I had never, before Friday, been to Darwin, or the Northern Territory, so I was a bit unprepared for the heat, and the sticky sweat that coats you after ten or so minutes of walking around outside, day or night. I did learn pretty quick, however, that Darwin as a city itself isn't a whole lot to look at, which everyone local I met agreed with. It was a real shame, in fact, that I didn't have more time up there, enough to head out of the city and into the parks and down to Alice Springs, but that's how it goes sometimes, I guess. L and R had their wedding on a boat that cruised around the harbour for the evening, and that, in my current country tour of weddings for other people, has got to be my favourite so far. A nice breeze picked up off the ocean, the sea wasn't rough, and the sun sat around the whole ceremony. I'm not expert on the way that this marriage stuff works, but you can't ignore something what was really elegant and simple.
However, there is a funny story from the cruise that night, which at least made me laugh, so I'll share it.
The sun has just about set by now, the ceremony done, and we're mingling on the boat. I've met teachers, cops, musicians, and reporters. I'm up there on my own, and outside L. and R. I don't really know anyone on board, so I'm making friends, talking to everyone, repeating a lot about myself as you do in that kind of circumstance. At one stage, I end up talking with S., who is the brother of L., and who is planning to do his PhD in nanotechnology, and we bond a little over that. He tells me that he knows a guy in Melbourne who is doing his PhD by writing a science fiction novel, "Andy," he says.
"Andy Macrae?" I ask.
"Yeah. You know him?"
No, seriously, what I said was yes, I did. Andy (andrewmacrae) was in the local SF scene, and I'm about two steps into saying what sort of guy he is when S. stops, excuses himself, and grabs his girlfriend. Turns out, this girl is Andy's cousin.
She's pretty stoked to find someone who knows her older cousin on a cruise in Darwin Harbour, but informs me that, really, she meets people who know Macrae's all round the world, including a woman who worked in a hostel in Germany. This woman didn't know Andy, however, but I figure at this stage, I have to top that. It has been a year or more since I spoke to Andy (at the least) since I don't have a lot to do with the local scene these days. I completely forget that I have his number stashed in my phone, and instead, I send a text to Rjurik Davidson, who I figure isn't doing anything of importance on a Saturday night, and ask him for Andy's number. I must be right, cause Rjurik replies quick enough, and I decide there, in the middle of the harbour in Darwin, to call Andy.
Poor, poor Andy.
He answers his phone with that cautious tone you reserve for people who call out of nowhere asking for money, kidneys, and a place to crash while hungover, on the run, or just plain fucked up, and the line, being kind of faint, means I have to shout over the boat, the fan, the music and everything to say in a very cheery way hello. Obviously, this doesn't reassure Andy, and when I tell him that I'm on a cruise with his cousin, his reply of, "Which cousin?" which leads one to believe that there are those in the Macrae family that it is good to go on a cruise with, and those who it is not.
At any rate, there in Darwin, I toss my phone to Andy's cousin and force the pair of the them to talk awkwardly while half a boat full of people listen in, thinking that the world is no longer big enough to hide anywhere from the extended family you have.