The Long Wait

When the woman who I thought was doing the sound-check came to the stage, announced she was going to sing, and declared “My name is Pikelet and I’m from Melbourne”, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Actually my instinct was to laugh.

But since I’d been waiting for close to an hour to see Frida Hyvönen perform, and since I’d already had two glasses of beer at the pub across the road while I waited, there was a feeling of melancholy also.

When I arrived at the Paddington Uniting Church tonight at the advertised time of 7pm, there were two or three others waiting outside.

“Are you here to see the gig?”, one woman asked me, also seeking assurance that she was in the right place.

Locating someone with a name badge, and therefore looking quite official, who assured us we were at the right place, we grabbed a seat together and chatted, before making the collective decision to move to the pub across the road to have a drink as we waited.

“They were still doing the sound-check”, someone told us.

The Piano awaits Frida Hyvönen
The Piano awaits Frida Hyvönen

Closer to 8pm, the doors opened and it was then that Pikelet came to the stage.

A multi-instrumentalist who told us three times she had left her keyboard behind in Melbourne, she performed a range of lovely, ethereal sounding songs, often with quite obscure names. “This is a song about a guy at sewerage works”, she told us at one point.

She sang with a haunting kind of voice – a bit like “This Mortal Coil” at times – and I think she impressed the audience.

I kept looking at her foot though, as she used a delay machine to create sound loops which she sang or played over the top of.

After a further break at the pub, and closer to nine o’clock, Frida came to the stage.

I first discovered her work through Swedish pop charts, and in particular her song, “Dirty Dancing” which she performed tonight as her final song before the finale.

It’s quite a pretty song, and it introduced me to her work which I’d best describe as “piano based folk pop”.

“Are there any Swedes here tonight?”, she asked, with a few responses in the affirmative.

But who else was there?

I got to chatting with a woman who worked at IKEA, but who told me “that’s not the reason why I came”.

And the rest of the audience ranged from Newtown-types through to quite a few people in their 40s/50s who would have enjoyed her singer-songwriter style of performance.

By the time she came on stage, I’ll be honest, I was feeling a little grumpy, since it was two hours since the advertised time on Moshtix.

Phoebe Alexander, Guo Jian, Kate Croll
Phoebe Alexander, Guo Jian, Kate Croll

Nonethless I enjoyed the show, though perhaps not as much if I hadn’t needed to wait so long for it to happen.

Doubly disappointing was that I’d left an exhibition opening early to make the show on time.

Kate and I went to the opening tonight of a new exhibition by Guo Jian, an Australian-Chinese artist now based in Beijing.

Our art group owns a really terrific piece by Guo Jian, and I was thus keen to see his new works.

Unlike the colourful piece we own, this current series is black and white.

The imagery is both Chinese and Western, with Pamela Anderson, Arnold Shwarzenegger, Stalin, Jackie Chan and Chairman Mao all featured together.

It’s a really lovely exhibition currently at 4A Gallery in Sydney.

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