OK, Firstly apologies for the Dramatic title of this blog. But things did get kinda crazy during the next chapter of my musical travels.
The departure bus leaving Bangkok was alarmingly empty when we set off on the 12 hour drive North to Chaing Mai. I felt nervous during the load on as the dodgy looking men assisting took my guitar and suitcase (containing effects pedals and clothes) and put them to one side assuring me they would be loaded safely on to the bus. In my head I was convinced they were being shifted else where to be sold at some dodgy market of former tourist gear. My paranoia turned out to be just that, as I checked at the first rest stop and saw it was safely tucked into a corner in the luggage section.
I`m always unable to get a good sleep on buses and trains and so I entertained myself for the trip by reading listening and watching the following.
Reading: The Autobiography of Frances Farmer
I picked it up in New Zealand. Frances Farmer was a famous Hollywood actress during the golden age of Theatre in the 40`s. She was also a rebel and was locked up in a mental asylum (despite being sane) for 11 years by her mother. A more recent Cultural reference of her can be found in the Nirvana song `Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle` taken from my personal favorite record `In Utero`
Listening: The Wilco back catalogue
Jeff Tweedy and co are an alt country bunch who have put out 6 records. I find his delivery and lyrics wonderful and like any minor band obsession i go through. I get geeky over progression and line up changes. There`s heaps of both here.
Watching: (Music Doco film) The Devil and Daniel Johnston
Again with a Nirvana link. Daniel Johnston found fame first for his music and second for his art. Kurt Cobain took to wearing one of his T-shirts for photo shoots. He`s a real interesting character with a unique voice and a brutally touching songwriting style. A very very compelling movie.
Thanks must go out to Greg from Napier for making me a copy of that film.
So anyway very early the next morning the bus arrives in Chaing Mai. From there I am shipped onto another bus and driven 45 mins to a hotel. It`s pissing with rain but I`m pleased to be out of the smog of Bangkok. I decide (almost out of spite) not to stay at the hotel I`ve been dropped at and attempt to find something cheaper. Eventually I succeed. The following first days in town are spent trying to figure where to play. A few nice folks in Bangkok point me out some good spots but they all seem to be booked out way in advance. Eventually I find one place that lines me up with an audition the next day. So the following day I turn up Play for an hour and then get told I have two more shows in place before I leave town. They also say they will put me onto other spots and maybe there is the chance of me doing different venues in the same night.
The next day I take a break from the working route and decide to be a tourist for the day. I wander the town and somewhere along the line i get talked into renting a motor bike. Now I knew I was not comfortable with this idea but everyone around me seemed to assure me with such confidence of it`s ease I guess I let my weakness of persuasion win. Lesson 1: Never do that.
The roads in Thailand are madness and there are no concessions for nervous tourists. I guess I must have been going only about 20 when I felt someone close behind me and I lost focus of the road for only that short moment. But my Bike spun and I went over the handle bars and felt my limbs grind against the tarmac. Fortunately for me the traffic behind me stopped in time and I was able to pull myself to my feet and get myself and my bike off the road. Those few seconds became a horrible series of flashes that cycled round my brain for the next 48 hours. My body had a few bumps and bruises but it was the injury to my right hand that bothered me most. I had landed on it funny and I was unable to even hold a guitar in place let alone play it. These were worrying times. I cancelled the two shows I had scheduled to play and booked my return ticket to Bangkok that night. The bike company fined me for damages (They had possession of my passport) but they did give me some useful advice on taking care of my hand. I was feeling a little down trodden but very lucky to be in one piece. I set off on the 12 hour trip back to Bangkok and reassures some nervous english tourists that there bags are probably fine and not being lined up for Ebay. Then I settled into another session with Frances and Wilco.