Music / with that r’n’b flavour to get it across

I arrived back in Bali last week rather laden down with lug­gage. I’d man­aged to exceed my weight lim­it quite sub­stan­tial­ly both in check-in and car­ry-on. The woman at the Malaysian Air­lines counter at Auck­land Air­port looked at my exces­sive­ly heavy bag, paused and then smil­ing­ly said, it’s not a very full flight, you’ll be fine.

The next hur­dle was the jour­ney through the immi­gra­tion area and past those ladies in their red frocks and fun­ny hats who insist on weigh­ing your car­ry-on, and writ­ing down offend­ers’ names on a sheet. I guess you go into a data­base and may end up as a ser­i­al over-7kg offend­er, and ones name passed on to the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, or its Welling­ton equivalent.

From expe­ri­ence, there are reli­able ways to slip excess (we are always way above that dread­ed 7kg – the bag alone is almost 5kg and toss in a copy of The NZ Her­ald and a tooth­brush and you are bug­gered) weight past these peo­ple but even apply­ing those sneaky fix­es, I was wor­ried that my main car­ry-on was going to be a problem.

For­tu­nate­ly, as I tried to merge into a much larg­er group of Japan­ese tourists some­body caused a ker­fuf­fle else­where (one too many tubes of tooth­paste or some oth­er affront to the War on Ter­ror) and I was able to use the dis­trac­tion to rush past.

Of course, once past the car­ry-on ogres, car­ry ‑on is not a prob­lem – nobody in the world beyond Auck­land gives a toss and you won’t find your car­ry-on weighed again.

Yep, as said, we always push the weight bound­aries and Brigid has been seen extract­ing large steel cook­ing pots and print­ers from a bag at check-in to keep them happy.

This time, how­ev­er, it wasn’t com­put­ers (although I had two lap­tops in my car­ry-on) or kitchen hard­ware, or glass­ware that offend­ed, but sim­ple round plas­tic laser-read audio discs: CDs.

I’m hap­py enough with my dig­i­tal bits and pieces but wean­ing myself from the phys­i­cal for­mat is hard. If I’d had the space there would have been sev­er­al thou­sand bits of black plas­tic in there as well.

I’d had to put my CDs (a wall of them no less, but you get that I guess) into stor­age as we moved out of our NZ stu­dio space and felt dri­ven, nay obsessed, to go through them one by one. I end­ed up with some 200 I felt I could no longer live with­out, and looked long­ing­ly at these. I knew my 20kgs wouldn’t stretch quite this far. So I edit­ed again, and then I edit­ed again – into must-take, must-take if-there-is-any-room and, final­ly into next-time.

And so it was I end­ed up with a large red suit­case with six shirts, a few socks, a book or three, and a mass of com­pact discs.

fb1 I stag­gered across three bor­ders with this and had night­mares about burst bags. I also looked at the Indone­sian cus­toms forms. Whilst the kids are absolute­ly on to it here, the gen­er­a­tion before and those that write many of these bits of paper and the reg­u­la­tions that they attempt to enforce, seem to be in a no-mans land cir­ca 1988. So, the form asks whether I have any records – no I don’t. And any laser discs? Good god, now that’s a for­mat liv­ing some­where in DCC and 8 track hell. So, no I don’t – and I hope that the tech­nol­o­gy that perus­es all bags arriv­ing in Bali hasn’t led to a big white chalk X on my bag. The guys at cus­toms, hands out wait­ing, love those chalk marks.

But no, no chalk, and as with Auck­land, some­one called out, dis­tract­ing the guy, as I rushed past the green desk and I tossed my form at him. They always seem bemused that I don’t smoke – what male doesn’t smoke, or at least try and smug­gle cig­a­rettes. It’s a point of much bemuse­ment here in Bali.

Hence I man­aged to get almost 100 bits of my musi­cal past to Sanur.

It’s fun­ny how you crave these things when you don’t have access to them. There are things here I prob­a­bly will only play once or twice, but at least can now if I do want to. Not that it’s enough, but I do have my Nuggets box, and my Joy Divi­sion box (which I’ll like­ly not play but at least I can look at it), and my var­i­ous impen­e­tra­ble live Miles Davis albums from the ear­ly sev­en­ties, which I can lis­ten to for­ev­er but no-one else gets – they’re not friend-friend­ly; and my much loved Dr. Ali­man­ta­do album; a Carl Craig set that I lis­tened to over and over for at least a year; an LKJ anthol­o­gy; Joey Jay’s fab old school Tro­jan selec­tion; Coltrane’s Cres­cent; the Andy Weather­all Fab­ric mix; a killer dou­ble Fat­back and god knows how many more.vl

I was like a kid in a lol­ly shop… touch­ing, look­ing, shuf­fling.. all that…

And play­ing too of course. I played the Miles things sev­er­al times until Isabel­la opined that I had shock­ing taste in music, and had like­ly lost touch. I sat and thought about the gen­er­a­tion gap for a moment or two and they decid­ed, first­ly, to scoff at her, and then, think­ing bet­ter of it, let it go and delved into the rather good Ricar­do Vil­lalo­bos Fab­ric 36 mix which in its min­i­mal, stut­ter­ing and almost, dare I say it, world music-ish way, is maybe my album of the year – this week any­way. Not, of course that I’ve heard them all, but in my year. And then there is the Nomum­bah album, Love Moves, which a cur­rent day­time repeat, and is very much that love­ly thing that we used to call deep house in those slight­ly messy Cal­i­bre 98 days, the sort of thing labels like the once great Guid­ance used to toss out with such ease. Warm, a lit­tle bit slight, moody and quite cosy.

It’s all about the now anyway.

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