Quaint ramblings and occasional reflections of a journeying Aussie musician...

31 December 2005


While I'm down the road at the local internet cafe, I just wanted to drop a quick note to wish my regular readers the happiest of New Years...won't write long here, as I'm back at my day job on Tuesday, where I'll have LOADS of time to rave on as usual, but I just gotta say that Paris is THE most beautiful city, let alone one of the most beautiful places, I've ever seen. I was totally blown away by the place in the most charming, romantic way, and I can't wait to go back...full report and photos to come.
Still wondering what I'm going to get up to tonight...will probably involve some alcohol along the way....think I'll steer clear of central London, but housemate Phil and I might end up going out into Notting Hill....anyhoo, knuffles (that's hugs in Dutch) and kisses to all my loved ones out there, and I hope to hear from y'all in the new year!

23 December 2005

A Fine Romance

After my last rave, I just wanted to drop a quick note to let y'all know how I'm doin'....holidays are going great, and early tomorrow morning I'm catching a train to PARIS, the City of Lights...a train underwater no less....for a cuppla days with J-Sax, his gorgeous girlfriend, Mr T and some random other crew which should be hilarious fun....I'm imagining skipping merrily down treelined avenues, accordion music in the background, arm in arm with mates, red wine in one hand, cheese and baguette in the other!
Anyway, the title of this particular entry refers to a little somethin' that's been going on around the house lately involving a certain housemate and a certain gangster-keyboard playing great mate of mine...moving along quite nicely I'm noticing...funny how people can just so easily slip back into the whole relationship vibe (laughing all the time at each others silly in-jokes), while incredibly single people like myself try and find things to be annoyed about with them (while secretly wishing I was in their position)....
I was just telling a friend the other day about how well everything is going for me at the moment...so why can't there be a little shomethin' on de shide for me? Yes, lucky ladies of London, MIKE IS HERE!....anyway, best not turn the blog into Mike's own on-line dating service for himself! Oh dear, and I've raved so long again!
So from the bottom of my heart, have the Merriest of Christmases, whoever you are reading this, and the Most Swingingest New Years ever!

19 December 2005

London Calling...

Now things are all zooming along in an end-of-year type way, I think it's time I wrote about a couple of other things, so I guess the first thing I'd like write of is London, this crazy place that I've somehow ended up in.
People ask me whether I like London and I say to them that I like things about it, things that it has to offer. I guess the one that comes to mind first is the public transport, which is amazing. There's loads of it, it goes everywhere, and if you ever want to get somewhere, there's usually at least two or three ways of getting there. Because the street 'system' is so crazy, plus stuff like the congestion charge (it costs £8 just to drive into the city during business hours), public transport is more of a part of people's lives, as having a car isn't necessarily the best or cheapest or quickest way to get around.
Having said that of course, just recently I've decided that when I have to take my keyboard to gigs, I'm only cabbing it from now on. I was taking the tube and buses, and it ended up being a full military-style operation whenever a gig was on! This one time I got called on the day to do a function, which meant that I had to change tube lines three times....on one train I hit some old lady in the head with my keyboard stand, and getting off another train I got my trolley wheel stuck between the train and the platform! And then when I got to the gig, two and a half hours later, they wouldn't let me in the front door...hotel policy they said....rubbish! Most of my gigs lately have been on pianos in town, which is, needless to say, well good (especially for my back and shoulders).
The other obvious advantage to living here is that it's a great base from which to travel across Europe. Aussies get a great deal here...a two year visa where you can do anything you like, earning the strongest currency in the world, and flying FREE flights to destinations across Europe, where in most countries a lot of people speak English! How could you knock it back, really!?
The circumstances under which I arrived here were, let's just say, a little confused, and I guess that anyone's first six months in any town (particularly this place) are always going to be tough in one way or another, but out of all of this have come some great things, not only with the work I've got now and where I live, but also in meeting up with some amazing people and having some great times, which I expect is only going to get better...

So, anyway, "You Know You're In London When...."
1. The pigeons fly at any height they want
2. It costs more to go on the tube into central London than it does to fly to another country (go Ryanair!)
3. Your local neighbourhood has a name that originates from a year with three digits (DJ and I were looking at this book that said that the first version of the name Willesden dates from 939..."Is that a night bus?!")
4. You ask an English person if they're from London and they say, "No, I'm from England"...people from the country have a funny attitude about this place i.e, they regard it as it's own entity of sorts...
5. You can't find decent coffee to save your life!

13 December 2005

What's Goin' On

I would just like to express my disgust and outrage at what has been happening in Cronulla lately. I've only been reading what's been happening on Ninemsn, so I feel as though I don't quite have the whole picture on it, but it sounds pretty ugly, and ridiculous, and closed-minded.
People with no shirts on, draped in the Australian flag with racist slogans painted on them, attacking people who don't LOOK like them? I feel ridiculous just writing this, and knowing that this is going on where I'm from, a place I thought had ascended this, or was at the very least on the way to doing so...and our illustrious PM has said that there ISN'T an undercurrent of racism in Australia...he, the creator of the Pacific 'Solution' in 2001, a totally disproportionate response to an illegal immigrant situation...it's always been there, but to know that there are surprisingly large numbers of people, calling themselves 'Australian', who hide behind and denigrate a national symbol, happily submitting to some sort of mob mentality, that are ACTING upon these feelings?
I've always thought that to call yourself Australian is to EMBRACE multiculturalism, to uphold the belief that someday we might all be able to put aside these prehistoric habits and take the the more difficult path, that is, to love our fellow man, wherever he may come from.
I know I'm saying things that you my dear friends would already agree with, but I just had to get it out for a bit...more hopefully positive entries soon...

08 December 2005

A Swingin' Affair

Just a quick note to y'all to keep you posted....it's all swinging along quite nicely at the moment, I have to say...got about three or four gigs in the diary for the rest of the month ('tis the festive season!), some more teaching on the way, and for Xmas I'm heading off to PARIS for a few days! to go hang out with me old mate Mr T and a whole bunch of other people...should be a blast!
No gigs with the Brazilian dancing girls as yet, but that can't be too far off. Haven't seen too many gigs lately, been too busy doing them! Teaching is about to wrap up for the year too, so I've got a couple of weeks holiday coming up which will be well good, just to take it easy for a bit and shed like a demon! That's 'shed' as in to lock oneself in the shed and practice intensely, for those of you unfamiliar with my so very cool Jazz lingo!
Yesssss, anyway....take care, wherever y'all are (WHOever y'all are, don't know who could be reading this drivel!) and I'll write soon with hopefully some more interesting tales...

02 December 2005


So it's all cruising along all right at the moment, as much as it can in a crazy place like London! After a bit of a murky patch at the start of the year, things have levelled out okay, and my week seems to be mostly covered between two or three gigs a week, a couple of days teaching, my walk-in-the-park day job and probably a bit too much partying! I got Europe at the doorstep, no pressing responsibilities, got my health....the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, more or less - well, not much sun round here at the moment, but you get the picture!
But sometimes, on the tube to the job or between clubs (yes, while drinking), it makes me wonder, what's the next bit? How long is it going to go on for like this? I've been living pretty much the same way day-to-day since I left uni, and don't get me wrong, it's been great, I'm well thankful for many things...it's a charmed life in a lot of ways, but there's something else I'm looking for out there. More career satisfaction perhaps? Maybe I'm looking for a couple of things....
A wise old woman told me once about one of the Shakespearian plays that talks about your life moving in periods of roughly seven years, and I've been thinking about this one a bit...if I look at '98, second year of uni, when I really started to get into my studies, and all the things and places and people that have happened between then and around September this year, when I moved into the place I'm at now, then that feels to me like a certain chapter...so I wonder sometimes what the next seven years will bring.
Anyway, enough of all that...I've just stumbled into joining a Brazilian band this week with LOADS of beautiful dancing girls! Apparently we do a gig about every fortnight, and every gig is with them doing their thing...we all went out for dinner last night and everyone got a bit rowdy so we repaired to the bar upstairs where they strutted their stuff...too much, too much! More importantly (ahem), I've done loads of duo stuff since I got here and that's all good, but it'll be great to do some band work again. And after hanging out so much with Latinos over the years, it'll be great to get to know some Brazilians...the guys in the band are cool, so I think it's gonna be good times! And I guess I'll keep wondering about the other stuff as well...

22 November 2005

Cuidado menino...

Just thought I'd drop a quick note about Vinicius Cantuaria last night....beautiful stuff, but a bit of a funny gig. He seemed a bit reluctant to be there or something...they only played for a little over an hour and that was with encores. Also, the venue was weird for it...I've always found Jazz Cafe to be a bit of a funny one (£20 for standing room only and all)...maybe I should have booked a table...that's how I was feeling it. I would have liked to hear that music in a different place, but not concert hall, still somewhere where I could have a laugh and a drink with friends. Anyway, always great to see the Brazilian thing live, and the drummer turned out to be Paolo Braga, so that was an extra something.
And thus concludes my listening fest....inspiring stuff all round, keeps you going through the murky times. I thought I might get a chance to chill for a while, but no rest for this wicked one...seeing M tonight in an opera, Miss N is coming to stay on Tuesday night, gigging Wednesday and Thursday nights, and then probably a riotous night out on the town on Friday...when will it all slow down?! Or do I ever want it to?...

20 November 2005

The Soul of Things

The sun is getting too low in the sky...I walked up to the corner store this arvo and it was barely above the apartment building on the corner...and it's getting cold round here real quick!
Anyway, I've managed to clock up four of the five gigs on the list this week, so here's some more reviewing action:
Thursday night - Squarepusher - INSANE! The venue itself was incredible, Koko's in Camden...imagine a big old Victorian-era music hall but in crimson and gold, five or six tiers high, biggest mirror ball ever. He wasn't on until midnight, but when it started....without a doubt the most abrasive musical experience I've ever been to. Steel wool and machine guns somehow come to mind....and either side of him were these two huge black screens showing bright white geometric shapes, somehow manipulated by the programming (the only lighting in the room, so you couldn't turn away from it).
While being an overwhelming sonic experience, sometimes electronic music (for me) can be a bit boring to watch....boxes plugged into other boxes...so I made sure that I was in a spot on the side where I could mostly watch the crowd, and they were loving it, with everyone doing that strange little bobbing up and down dance that looks so silly but when you do it feels so right! I came out of there and I was walking down the street spitting out the rhythms without even knowing it! Incredible stuff.
Friday night - Tomasz Stanko / Charles Lloyd - beautiful. I've got Stanko's two albums with the group we saw, and it was great to see the boys stoke it up in contrast to the albums. All the melodies and arrangements wandered along nicely...don't know what I'd call it, but that doesn't matter. And then Charles with Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland - what an open set! with Eric and Charles regularly swapping around between kit and piano. Funnily enough I just ended up listening to Zakir and Eric being a world-class badass percussion duo, with Charles adding a zany old zen master vibe to the show.
So it's Vinicius Cantuaria tonight, which is going to be superb I know, and thus concludes an incredible, inspiring week. And then my friend Miss N coming to stay on Tuesday for a few days...always good to pass on the dossing karma, especially after my great weekend hanging with her in Helsinki a little while back. It just doesn't stop round here!....

18 November 2005

In My Life

So, now I've put out the big group email to my many followers around the world (ha ha), please, my dear friends, don't be afraid for one second to comment upon my random raves and superfluous....somethings! For those of you concerned about my health from the last posting, I am now fit as a fiddle, and all set for a great week of soul-warming, mind-altering music (please see earlier posting for the gigs I'm checking out).
Saw Bill Frisell on Tuesday night...definitely soul-warming. Only the three of them (including the violinist and guitarist from his two most recent albums) doing mostly John Lennon and some Beatles tunes. I kind of drifted off in a couple of places (I only knew about half the songs), but there were some real magic moments, 'In My Life' being one of them.
Definitely one of the most memorable things about the concert though was Bill's little 'display' down at the front of the stage. The trio were centre stage, with Bill facing the violinist, and at all times throughout the ever-changing light show, two spots were permanently set upon some little thing that I couldn't see from my seats, in fact so small that no-one past the first row could have either. So, intrigued, my good friend J-Sax and I went down the front after the second encore had finished to investigate....it was a small collection of pebbles and shells with what looked like a tiny little Star Wars stormtrooper figurine standing on one of them. Whatever gets you going I guess....crazy musicians!....

16 November 2005

...and the night and the music...

Just finished a 10-day bender! I came back from Helsinki and I pretty much didn't stop partying....highlights included running a line of salsa dancers at G-Man's gig at the 606 club (that was Monday night), paying TWELVE QUID for a champagne cocktail at China Tang (Friday night) and sleeping in the basement of my workplace for a couple of hours when it all got a bit messy yesterday. Aside from the deadly combination of colder weather and early evenings, this is a town where people gotta work hard, so they end up partying hard, and my experience lately has been no exception!
So as of today it's dry out fortnight me, and a great week of music coming up as it's the London Jazz Festival...tonight I'm going to see Bill Frisell (incredible guitarist), Thursday night it's Squarepusher (tear-your-face-off drum n bass), Friday night it's Salif Keita and Richard Bona (awesome African megastars), Saturday night it's Charles Lloyd/Tomasz Stanko (heavy hitter jazz stuff) and Sunday night it's Vinicius Cantuaria (Brazilian singer'guitarist with electronics - 'Tucuma' is one of my top ten favourite albums). And then next week it's laying low for a while and baked beans for dinner I suppose!

12 November 2005

Dance of the Newcomer

Once again, back to the end of a day job afternoon and I've got about 10 minutes to hammer something out before diving back down into the tube to go teach some kiddies at their homes. At the moment my weeks are full up of a part-time job, about two or three gigs a week and about five hours of teaching, which is a bit of an organisational juggle at times, but it's all right, and I never have to start too early which is all good.
In my first six months here I felt like London was dragging me along - it felt like it would never end - but for this last little bit, it feels like I've got at least some control over what's going on, like the town has put me through enough and is now allowing me a bit of self-determination.
I've always liked being real busy, but now I've gotten to this next bit, I'm already starting to wonder where it's all going to go from here...planning my next move I guess.
Oh dear, I'm getting too serious again...I've been partying every night pretty much non-stop for the last week, and that doesn't look like changing any time soon. So it's off to teach the kiddies, back home, and then fasten your seatbelts with my mate G-Man for what should prove to be a killer diller!

08 November 2005

Come Fly With Me

It's the end of my big day job day, so I thought I'd drop a quick note about my recent weekend in Helsinki, my first trip to the continent, my first real holiday in a couple of years, and a break well overdue.
What a great, relaxed town! I kind of knew it was Scandanavian Europe meets old Soviet bloc....colourful pretty buildings looking over dark statues, with some amazing churches (I guess that's pretty standard for Europe though).....but it's got this real trendy art deco vibe as well, which along with the trams was rather reminiscent of somewhere else I used to live.
So great as well to just stroll along (look down, even) these tree lined boulevards in the middle of town. Couldn't speak a word of Finnish but that was fine....checked out some amazing CD stores and the main jazz venue in town, spent a lot of time by myself (haven't done that in a while) just wand'ring the streets, as well as hanging with my dear friend Miss N and her gorgeous mates on a four-day coffee/alcohol tour of the superb nightlife....so good to go out after midnight for a change!
The main thing about it all was that it was a real nice place, so much more chilled out (literally) than here...
So now, entrapped once again within the M25 and back to my three jobs, I plan my next move...Netherlands soon? A week in Paris (maybe a bit later on)? Barcelona in the winter? Who knows!...

02 November 2005

Page One

My name is Mike Guy, and I am a musician. I am a musician! It's something I say to myself most days, to other people when I meet them, it's a phrase I write in the box marked 'Occupation' on silly forms I have to fill out...it's just four words, but it's something that fills me often with pride, sometimes fear, and always questions and wonder. How did I get to be this? Where's it going to take me? What is it that keeps me coming back for more, so much more?
So, there's my profound opening paragraph, written far too seriously! After being inspired by a friend (as well as working a hell boring day job, and procrastinating from doing some non-urgent teaching homework), I've decided to give this blog thing a go. I've been a compulsive journal keeper for most of my life now, although these days I don't seem to get to handwrite in it much....typing, although it's far less personal, gets it out a bit quicker and easier.
I thought I'd give it a go because of a whole bunch of reasons. I've always loved writing but I've never done a load of it, just in my own journal to myself. I figure if I get into the habit of hammering it out, then, like writing tunes, maybe a working style that I'll be happy with will eventually appear.
A couple of other reasons too...this past year has been without a doubt THE most difficult yet, but also in a lot of ways it has been the most amazing (in the true sense of the word)...definitely the year in which I have learnt the most about, well, everything! And as a wise 'old man' once said, as long as you learn something, preferably for next time....also, after what has seemed like an interminable period of introspection, it's time to get some of it out there. And not be too serious or heavy about it, hell, maybe even laugh about some of it!
Alas, it's time to go for now, but there'll be more, don't you worry!