tour diary

Bluebottle Kiss in the "EL DODGO TOUR" By Ben Fletcher

Woke up to the whiz bang of urban machinery. A billion cars, sirens, the whirl of a saw, a kid screamn' somewhere, the pitter-patter of rain out side on this black and white colored day. The world welcomes autumn quite rudely with drizzle and a cool breeze down my back. Lungs and liver feel like deflated beach balls, stretched to the limit then quickly let down. The past week, full of bars, Richo and I at the last show at the Annandale Hotel (one of Sydney's' last great venues), clubs, smoke, staring at the floor, biting my lip with Gin and Tonic: the lonely mans drink. I bet ya a dollar if the sad old Hyde Park bums could afford it, they'd drink gin. It'll make ya cry out to the street for no good reason, it'll make your belly warm yet your heart.... Let's just say your heart will need a good microwave defrosting the next morning.

Slowly but surely we all meet at Richo's to prepare ourselves for the long haul up north. The back seats out of the hire van and were all ready: Jamie Hutchings with his 1970's looking flask full of some anti-alcoholic alchemy he swears is a liver tonic, Richard Coneliano packs the Tarago like no man hath ever seen, fitting things in places no bigger than a key hole. The Tarago van pack is (as many other bands will agree) a fine art usually reserved for the most logical thinker in the band, in BBK it has always been the drummer who holds the prestigious title of: 'Logical Anti-space Tarago Packer'. Wesley 'Adam' Crusher stands around proudly parading his 'Flock of Sea Gulls' style hair cut, our guitar tech, and on tour masseur Wesley comes from Australia's' great Bonnyrigg and enjoys leather pants, fishing and loves the great outdoors. I'm last in the van full to the brim with gear and humans. On goes the stereo that won't have a seconds rest the whole way up, we throw ourselves on the road and into another "Dodgy" tour. (The word dodgy will be used many times in the following recollection of thoughts on the 'El-dodgo tour' -ed.)

The sun slowly setting in my vision to the left. Central - crane - city - claustrophobia - chaos with every bird flying over the top of the Harbor bridge or the Opera house, a crow or a spineless cold blooded city vulture bringing bad news or sleepy eyed, drained, disappearing sensations. The yellow clouds give way to the blossom night of autumn. Speeding north back over old highways and sleepy towns, doing 140 up the Pacific, silent bullet Tarago van, shooting upward, it seems, to Byron. Blank expression outback fields, each cow with its bird, chatting of the days predictable void in this gray evening, and I've fallen asleep in the back with The Dhama Bums on my lap, switchen through black and white and sepia-toned dreams (don't dream in color, never have). A paranoid dream of the red, burning crash up ahead, fire trucks first on the scene, carnage and body parts strewn about the two lane high way like a scene from a late night drink driving ad on telly, my belly drops away and I'm shear. I'm lacking all today, tired like a nine-to-fiver, hung over like a lowly angle bum sitting in central station waiting for the night ride, the ‘Mid-Night Ghost’ out to somewhere, past something to someplace to sleep the morning away.

The suns going to sleep for the night down over there and its lighting up my eyes with pinks and sharp reds making everything burn and seem on fire in this solemn evening. The huge brilliant golden-purple star going down in between those two hills. Looking over and you'd swear there was someone over yonder, just over there west of Lismore, breathing up windy distant clouds, and wispy life into the land. Finishing off a day with a light show like the last splendor of the end. Then I look back west after scrawling this out and its disappeared, it's gone, now the sky's just a dull white, a fitting end to a day: musing over my under indulgence of sleep and my over indulgence of red, clear, and amber colored liquids.

Night One - Gurgle, Gurgle

We decided to have a day off in Byron before the tour to ready our selves for the evil Bris-vegas nights. It was already late when we got there so there was only one thing to do... The night starting out with pizza and beer at the Great Northern Hotel, long talks with Wes, Richo and Jamie about old Aussie bands. Jamie leaves for bed due to his frail health and before you know it..... Gurgle; Gurgle the night down the drain with Byron Bay Ale (beautiful). Heat and the main street, the only street in Byron it seems, with pubs, all the guys eyeballing the girls in their short skirts and silly boob tubes. A thousand surf brand T-shirts, and a hundred thousand of those Hawaiian floral shirts. England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales tourist everywhere, all burning up the night with cool accents and an amazing resistance to ale. We walked to the beach to sit and stare at the parting waves and at the old light house (my favorite part of Byron) spinning with flashes in my blurry eye, each flash: twelve seconds, I count them: one Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc. We go back to the Australian bar with sweating roof and twirling fans for loud incoherent conversations with strangers about anything at all. And at about three we crawl back through the night to the hotel where poor sick Jamie is huddled up in sleep, and after much hum-drum and silly laughing my eyes close and off I go dreamn' of the past, always dreamn' of things past.



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