The Pope, a tiny baby, a winter tour

August 1, 2008

To say my mini tour was a memorable one would be an understatement. I managed, with great skill, to time my tour to coincide with not only the coldest time of year in Melbourne but also the largest gathering in Sydney since the 2000 Olympic Games…World Youth Day.

With my eight dollar pure wool, fully lined, knee length jacket from Vinnies – I felt quite prepared for the cold of Melbourne's winter. The fact that the guy in first coffee shop I walked in to actually allowed me to use the loo without buying a beverage made me believe that despite the cold, Melbourne was a place full of warm and kind people (every city must pass the pee-without-purchase-test if they are to be given the tick of Ange-approval)

Adding to the warmth, the musicians of Melbourne – talented, kind, witty and welcoming. In particular Mick Hazelman who not only gave me a roof over my head whilst in town but also stepped in as my unofficial guitar-tech during my gig. You are the best Mick!

I was blown away by the performers who took to the stage at the Melodica acoustic music festival which was organised by Undercover Music Lovers and held at The Wesley Anne. If you haven't heard of Hazel Brown and her band OTOUTO then look her up. She's ridiculously talented for someone so young… and is beautiful to boot…some girls have it all!

The audience at the festival was generous with its silence and a pleasure to perform for but I think that has a lot to do with venues like the Wesley Anne which offer acoustic live music an intimate space, great sound system and magical stage.

My second gig was at The Empress with the delightful Kate Rowe whose comical song about breaking up with a man she's never met ensured I took to the stage with a smile on my dial. My set was followed by the always captivating Young Werther…and if all goes to plan these two songwriters will be helping me launch my album on the Sunny Coast in October!

I left the calm of Melbourne suburbia for a crowded airport full of pilgrims in their hundreds - gathering to fly to Sydney. (To paint the picture….yellow and red backpacks, big white WORLD YOUTH DAY passes flapping around necks….big smiles on every happy face, praise the lord, our lord)

Now I am usually the way-cool muso chick at the airport who carries her guitar with pride as she walks up to the check-in counter but given that every second Filipino nun had a guitar strapped to her back - I was not feeling my usual rock star self!

I will try to avoid cursing the Pontiff and sending myself to hell at this point but I will say that I hold him completely responsible for my guitar going MIA on the flight from Melbourne to Sydney.

By the time I touched down, Sydney airport baggage handlers had gone into meltdown. Chaos reigned amongst the carousels and conveyor belts thanks to more than 100,000 people having flown into Sydney for the religious occassion.
There were piles of unclaimed suitcases mounting in the hallways. More concerning - the guitar cases scattered like musical dead bodies around the terminal.

When my baby didn't turn up at the oversize baggage section I searched through these piles, despite the man in the luminous yellow vest yelling at me "you won't find it in here love, these guitars and bags arrived on a flight from London this morning". Joy!

I was told by the lost baggage lady that my guitar had most likely gone on to Honolulu. As you do, when you are a guitar that has flow from Melbourne to Sydney.

Three days later, one day before my Sydney gig, my beautiful guitar was hand delivered to my parents house by a Jetstar courier dude who remarked "you must be here for the Pope ay, gonna play a few tunes in the guitar for the pilgrims ay?".

Special mention must be made of Nicolle Lane…the creative beautiful young woman behind Undercover Music Lovers who helped organise both Sydney and Melbourne gigs. A true problem solver, she'd vowed to find me a guitar - come Papal rain or shine for my Sydney gig....but thankfully the Maton returned unharmed.

Another musician I must mention is Brian Campeau who, thanks to Miss Nicolle, was part of my Sydney gig. Not only is he Canadian (I have such a soft spot, as some of you may know) but his name also starts with the letter B (another soft spot) AND he's a guitar songwriting genius!

Despite a beautiful gig, I can't say that Sydney – with its Kumbaya singers on every corner and cold southerly winds – offered me much 'love'. As the mini tour wrapped up, I began counting down the hours and dreaming of warm Sunny Coast air.

Life changes so quickly. From counting hours to counting contractions on my sister's hospital monitor in Canberra. From worrying about my cold feet in bed, to looking in disbelief at the tiny toes of her newborn baby who decided to enter the world three months before her due date.

And knowing I would have traded all the warmth in the world for her to have stayed inside the womb for a few more months, a few more weeks, a few more days.


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