There’s far too many people in the world / For everyone to be just background noise

This is one of those don’t-know-where-it’s-going posts, par­tial­ly because my life is in such tur­moil and upheaval at the moment.

I have this ridicu­lous life­long habit of find­ing a com­fort zone — in this case, a won­der­ful life in a won­der­ful, vibrant, sen­so­ri­ly excit­ing town in the glob­al epi­cen­tre of East Asia — and then turn­ing it upside down. I’ve done it for years and each time I tell myself to stop: this time I’m to be sat­is­fied with my lot, this time I’ll ignore the twinges.

Bangkok is home and I want to be. I’ve nev­er lived in such an exhil­a­rat­ing place, one that sat­is­fies almost every part of my needs as it does: the human inter­ac­tion, the intel­lec­tu­al, the visu­al, the unpre­dictabil­i­ty, the artis­tic, the per­son­al and, yes, the food.

So why? Why turn it upside down one more time and take on a project that may or may not gob­ble me and could — if it went wrong — trash the world I’ve built slow­ly for myself (with my won­der­ful Brigid and the gath­ered off­spring — human and hound)?

Of course, I just don’t know. I did the same when I went to Asia in 2005. Both Brigid and I had built our lit­tle empires in Auck­land. We had lives full of work and a leisure and we had — if we’d sim­ply car­ried on as we were — a like­ly secure endgame in a home sur­round­ed by the nest of objects we’d gath­ered over the years, myself not least a huge col­lec­tion of books and music.

And then we did it again when we went to Bangkok — divest­ing a life there and arriv­ing in the new town with lit­tle more than a few box­es, hav­ing pushed yet anoth­er house­hold into garage sales or storage.

I find myself back in Auck­land. I tell myself I don’t live here — most­ly because I don’t. I guess I live part of my life here but the heart is now in Asia no mat­ter how many weeks or months I’m in Auckland.

Or so I tell myself — until I go to the APRA Sil­ver Scrolls last week. And there I feel as if I’m back home again.

I’ve been to count­less music awards over the years. I count­ed 21 Tui Awards, with the first being a din­ner for 100 or so at Logan Park Hotel in 1981. That was a fun­ny one — I sat next to Prince Tui Teka. Out­side I shared a spliff with the Prince and a young band I’d just writ­ten a live review for a few days back — their first review — called Herbs.

The odd, or per­haps not, thing about all the awards is that the least flashy, the least pre­ten­tious, the most low key, have always been the best. For­get the Vec­tor or even the Aotea, those ear­ly RIANZ par­ties at the grot­ty, dat­ed even when brand new, Logan Park — which is hap­pi­ly being pulled down as I type no doubt to be replaced by anoth­er hor­ri­ble visu­al blight as is the nature of the Auck­land ‘burbs these days — were the best I’ve ever been to, and the Sil­ver Scrolls.

That the Sil­ver Scrolls don’t have a red car­pet, have at best a hap­haz­ard sprin­kling of press lens­es, and most­ly revolve around heart­felt, some­times clum­sy, speech­es from peo­ple who are often unac­com­plished at such things but thor­ough­ly accom­plished in the art of con­struc­tion — the con­struc­tion of a pop­u­lar or per­haps not so pop­u­lar song, and are reflect­ing on that rare art to their peers rather than an audi­ence of star spot­ters or squeal­ing fans make them all the more engross­ing and enjoyable.

So, yes, I’m cyn­i­cal — maybe less than patri­ot­ic, far more so than most of my com­pa­tri­ots allow as accept­able in a land where peo­ple still imme­di­ate­ly ask ‘how you do you like it?” decades after we began mak­ing fun of such ques­tions, but I under­stand the pull of the musi­cal arts, most­ly made for and by peo­ple who seem to feel as I do.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

George D
September 26, 2012 at 7:34 am

I could take a few guess­es about the kind of thing you’re aim­ing at. But it’s not fair to spec­u­late. Good luck, what­ev­er it is. 

Though I hope you stay in Bangkok — I’d rather vis­it you there!

September 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm
– In reply to: George D

Heh, don’t wor­ry George i’m not going any­where. I’m Asian at heart now…

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