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 07:09 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 03:09 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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