Needed First Aid

I had one of those moments tonight where I had goose-bumps at a live performance. I was watching the Swedish band, First Aid Kit, play their first-ever gig in Sydney.

They’re two young women who play indie/folk/blah blah blah kind of music. They did a modern-day cover version of the song, “Universal Soldier” by Donovan as their encore. And rather than stay on the stage, they came into the audience. “Could you please make a circle for us?”, one of them asked. And the obliging crowd did so almost immediately. Looking at the audience near the front, there were quite a few obvious Swedes watching the show. Lots of blonde hair. Perhaps this wasn’t so unusual for the Swedes, but for the Australians watching it was very unexpected, as First Aid Kit came right down into the audience for their encore. The song was modernised with references to Iraq and the Middle East, and I was truly moved.

I would review more of the show, except I hadn’t seen all that much. It was a day of travel from Hobart to Sydney. At the end of about three days of almost constant chatter, I went for a walk around the water in Hobart at lunchtime today. Although in the background there was a slight traffic rumble, the only sound which stood out was the sound of seagulls.

I’ve been in Hobart for an ABC conference, which I helped organise. The forums and awards part was twenty four hours of constant chatter. Talking to friends and colleagues about matters both important and trivial from lunchtime yesterday through to lunchtime today, including a reasonably late night last night.

I hasten to add the chatter was always stimulating, and I was never once bored. But there’s something about talking and listening so much which can also be so incredibly exhausting.

Mid-afternoon with a couple of hours to kill until our plane back to Sydney, I found comfortable lounge in a quiet spot in a quiet room away from everyone else and had a 20 minute nap. Or perhaps “meditation” is a better word to describe that brief moment where you close your eyes, close your mind off to the world, and try to get a little bit of equilibrium back. As we waited at the airport, I chatted with some of my former colleagues from Western Australia: three women who I genuinely like as people as well as colleagues.

On arriving home, I had a brief couple of hours at home on the couch before heading off to the Oxford Art Factory. As I arrived at Oxford Street I was amazed by the length of the queue waiting to get into the Oxford Art Factory, as it spread right up to the nearby traffic lights. I was further amazed by the conversations of those in front and behind me. Mostly “emos”, they spent a lot of time talking about their sex lives, and the “bitches” they had slept with. It was a little too much for a bloke like myself. Closer to the front of the queue, I began to wonder if I’d joined the right queue. As I arrived at the door and secured a wrist-band to what was apparently an “emo” club I realised I’d joined the wrong queue. “Shit”, I thought to myself. The giveaway for me was when the security bloke swiped me for drugs – ala the airport – assuming the only reason I’d be in this queue was to sell drugs to the emos!!

Thankfully, I made my way into the Oxford Art Factory and caught the last few tunes by First Aid Kit. Finally, the Swedes out-numbered the emos, and for that I was truly grateful. And I was pleased to see a fabulous band play a few songs. I’m left wanting for more. Next up in Swedish pop… Robyn. Yay.

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