RIP Warren Zevon, Johnny Cash, Robert Palmer, Slim Dusty and now Elliot Smith, 34, found dead in his Los Angeles home yesterday, apparently from a self-inflicted fatal stab wound to the chest. He made some fantastic records but I was looking forward to the next one he was going to make. Joni Mitchell said depression is the sand from which the next pearl comes. I guess Elliot didn
Eddie and Jo are not car salesmen. This was my first assumption, having met them on the first of 2 nights of this shindig we were hired to play at, to launch a luxury car. No, Eddie and Jo, who introduced themselves to me as I muddled my way through the 500 strong crowd in Port Melbourne on Wednesday evening, were in the $2.00 shop business.
Eddie: Deborah, Deborah Conway? I am a huge fan, you
As I write this I can hear from the other room the deep mellow twang of a double bass played by Shannon Birchall – moonlighting with me, his real gig is with the John Butler Trio. A fine player with a beautiful sound. We
I’m back and I’m recording. Outside the sky is blue but I know the wind is cold and the temperature is closer to 10 than 20. We’ve been here at this as yet undiclosable location, since Monday when we loaded in the gear. Tuesday the band joined us to start pre-production.The fire in the living/rehearsal room roars but does not burn the logs made of some indestructible substance.
We have 18 songs although that’s a bit of a cheat as one of them is It’s Only A Dream from MTH. This band does a fine version of it which I’ve wanted to record but also I liked it on my list cos it helped to fill out the new songs in the preliminary weeks of writing. Don’t need it anymore. I’m full of songs and full of cheer.
Daylesford beckons with icy winds and warm crowds, tonight we play in the Palais at Hepburn Springs. Last time we played, there folk were doing strip tease dancing on the laminated table tops, as Mark O’Meara is my witness.
And my excuse for not doing this more often? Hopeless, truly hopeless, but I blame the computer. I know, the good workman never blames his tools, but I always thought that was bullshit, how can you make a good sushi roll with a blunt knife and how can you sit down to blog when all you want to do is hurl your Macintosh Powerbook 5300c out of the window!
Anyway this is the last blog, it is the last dying breaths of the show. We are still at Sydney s Star Casino, for those who ve just joined, and have been here 5 weeks. We ve clocked up well over 100 shows over 6 months, made lots of punters weep, laugh, tap their feet and buy copies of PC, Exquisite Stereo and even MTH. I have added at least 2 notes to the bottom of my register, (look out for them on the next release) made a bunch of new pals, imbibed lots of margheritas and sparkling shiraz (I m over that phase now); read piles of books; seen a few movies (all Australian I realised yesterday); swam or walked miles, depending on the facilities; slept 8 gorgeous uninterrupted hours every single night no matter what time I went to bed (that will be the hardest thing to relinquish); and have become very accustomed to Housekeeping and the Please Make Up My Room ritual. Plus I ve been lauded and applauded in 5 states, who couldn t get used to this?
But now the party s over, time to call it a day, la la la la la la etc.
There will be an awards night on Sunday with everyone getting an award for something. I nominated myself for Most Improved In Heels, I think I m a shoe in. It has been my greatest challenge throughout the season, how to carry myself gracefully in monstrous 6 inch heels, while traversing the stage in the emotional walk halfway through Crazy. Yeek, I can t tell you how many times I ve nearly toppled. I think the answer is speed, you can t slow down past a certain point or all is lost, kind of like the famous film noir piece (forgotten the name of it) about carrying a load of TNT across a rutted road, the trick was to go at a speed that carried them over the ruts more or less like a hovercraft; so now that s me, Hovercraft Conway, smooth but rapid.
There have been a few moments when I ve wanted to kill someone, (no names) but they pass, and a few shows when I have been bored out of my tiny Cline mind, but I worked them out, threw myself back into the songs, buried myself in the emotion of them and it s impossible to be bored, the show whizzes past. Now there are 3 left, 2 of them today and I have a virus, fallen at the finishing line, q elle bore (as Mr. Ratti would say). But I power on with the assistance of chemicals and force of will. Anyway maybe it s a blessing since I m so busy concentrating on summoning my voice to do my bidding that I have no time to mourn this passing.
God save Cline, long live Conway….
Thankyou bloggees, especially to Mr. O Meara for being the willing conduit
My lovely dresser has left to do another show with this company, “Oh What A Night” otherwise known in certain circles as Oh What A Nightmare. Anyway he’s gone with a big send off, a BBQ and party that apparently lasted close to 23 hours of solid alcohol consumption. (I had dutifully flown home to change bed linen etc so missed out on the collective hangover.) He will be sorely missed; a man at the centre of every post show gathering and an impeccable source of information for those unable to attend. His raised eyebrows, and ear waggling will leave a large hole in my nightly routine.
A well kept secret from even locals was last weeks CHOGM cultural gathering. Yes even though the heads of state all stayed home, the ancillary event took place as planned. All us Patsies breathed a sigh of relief when CHOGM got called off, it would have meant running the security gauntlet of Brisbane’s finest and we all know how scary that could be. You see the theatre and the hotel are in the same street a short walk apart, but in between is the CHOGM building. Even with a few folk running about in grass skirts and exotic head gear, the boys in blue were gathered in numbers, the real thing would have been like being stuck in an episode of Miami Vice.
One day I wandered in there with one of the Curvaceous Bobettes (Ginger, for those in the know) in tow. We checked out the wares from New Guinea, Fiji, and The Bahamas, I had my photo taken dozing off at The Women In Action stand and Ginger and I played with all the toys in the science section. Hearing music form the other end of the hall we got down to the stage area where we were treated to a Tongan traditional song about what can happen if you’re up a creek without a paddle.
Today the sun shines again after a full on rainstorm yesterday, Brisbane is looking very glamorous and I’m going for a swim.
Patsy’s in Brisbane, at the Playhouse Theatre. We opened last week to more rapturous reviews and packed houses. This is the longest season so far, we’re here for 5 weeks; it seems a bit excessive to me but I guess Queensland is the country music capital of Australia.
I had two weeks off in Melbourne after Adelaide wound up, and plunged back into the real world of bottom, floor and nose wiping, school lunches, school drop-offs, early morning wake-ups, late night wake-ups, later night wake-ups, tidying up (always the same things ad infinitum) and washing on an industrial scale. I’m telling you it’s a shock going from that to the red carpet treatment I’ve been getting since I got up here. Maybe this is the real Cinderella syndrome! Who waved that magic wand that suddenly put me on a business class flight to a sunny warm climate, with a 2 bedroom apartment to myself that someone else tidies up, a complimentary Mercedes, an Olympic pool up the road with no one ever in it, adoring audiences who hang on my every note and as much sleep as I can handle. Thankfully, every Sunday after the show I bundle back on to a plane and fly home to do some washing, bottom wiping, not much sleeping and a bit of hugging. It’s like a decompression chamber to readjust to civilian life when the clock strikes midnight on the 16th of December.
We’ve just done our 50th show and everything’s running so smoothly I barely notice I’m on stage. We have 3 new Jordinaires, local Brisbane boys who fitted into the suits. And the other big news is the poster dress got dropped! Yes folks, the pink sparkly, glittery fitted frock I wore for the finale and that is currently gracing the eastern wall of the Performing Arts Centre in the 2nd biggest photo of me I’ve ever seen, has been booted out in favour of the opening gold number, apparently it’s more flattering, i.e. I don’t look so fat in it.
So that’s it, the world has changed since I last blogged, but the show must go on. The 12th of September was a particularly difficult performance, one woman down the front wept for almost the entire evening; we played our bums off anyway. When we got to Patsy’s plane crash I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. But we kept it together for the sake of music lovers everywhere. Then we got to go home and weep too.
Gosh its been a long time since I sat down and blogged. There is a simple
explanation for that. I was in Melbourne. Ah yes you may recall that heady
missive I tapped out after the first preview and before the big opening
night; and then nothing more
We previewed tonight at the State Theatre in Melbourne and it was huge.
Packed to the rafters with happy punters, feels real good to be home
too. They were a perfectly irreverent audience, unafraid to call out in
the quiet moments, cat calls and whistling and yes, finally a bit of a
standing ovation. Hey, I’m very grateful, you lovely people who stood up
tonight saved us from our producer who’s been chomping at the bit to
change the ending, which I’ve always thought was just fine.
It’s bigger than Ben Hur now with the addition of 4 Jordinaires (they
always travel in fours) and a ten piece string section that all seem to
pop out of the cupboard when I sing Crazy in Louise’s kitchen; I guess
they’re all squashed in there with the 6 piece band and the girlie
backing group. Aahh poetic license, it works though, nothing like real
strings to get me going.
And it was excellent to see a Bitch Lister right down in the front row
centre! Any closer and you would have been up with me. Well done Julie.
Tomorrow we open officially. They’ll always be a tougher crowd, the ones who don’t pay for their tickets, but, there will be champagne later and lots of flowers and all my family and friends and love in the room.
Until then good night and sweet dreams
We have migrated north to Newcastle. Canberra was excellent for sliding into the routine, though I
I should have posted days ago, God knows I tried, really I did, but the server was asking for numbers that I simply didn
A grey wintry day in our nations capitol but in my world the light is blinding. Dear readers I didn
Good morning everyone, it’s another fine day in our nations capitol, blue sky, dew still white on the grass outside my window, long early shadows and just a few heavily dressed people going about their business.
I know I’m digressing from the real plot but Canberra really is a peculiar place, confused maybe. It kind of wants to be a village but with the dimensions of a suburban sprawl; then it has all the trappings of the seat of power of a small nation, but no buzz like anything actually happens here. For instance there is nothing that betrays the existence of a major shopping centre to anyone more than 30 metres from it’s portals. I mean perhaps I’m just hopelessly unobservant but I’ve been to this town a zillion times and stayed in this hotel on a number of visits and I’ve never noticed the Canberra Civic shopping mall (with Grace Bros AND David Jones AND a serious supermarket, not to mention all the other mall standards) literally across the road, so carefully is it camouflaged. Is this where modern capitalism is heading? The circle is being drawn, it all feels strangely reminiscent of my visit to East Berlin in 1986, without the bullet holes of course. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, it challenges my preconceived ideas about prerequisites for fun.
Blah, blah, blah…
But back to the theatre. We knocked off at 11.00 last night and my feet were mashy pieces of pulp. I am in the service of rampant shoe fetishists let loose on this production who tell me that Patsy wore heels even when she was doing the ironing. But I put my foot down (excuse the pun) when he wanted to put me in high heel slippers; I
Howdy everybody! I sure am happy to be with y’all and blogging at last; big thanks to my tremendous technical team here for getting me this far.
And so begins the adventures of Deborah the thespian, Patsy the singin’ cowgirl and the unfolding dramas of life on the road with the musical extravaganza that is “Always… Patsy Cline”.
We have been rehearsing in Melbourne for the last 3 weeks, not so long in the scheme of things,and are about to be let loose in a proper theatre in our nations capital. We open on Thursday and between now and then we have to jump many hurdles. Whether to inner ear monitor or not, how to handle heels, coping with wigs, costume changing in 75 seconds, not to mention dealing with my now infamous lyric forgetfulness. Comfortingly I have proof that the singin’ cowgirl was not perfect in this area either. (Hmm, perhaps I should add that to the list of things Patsy and I have in common in my next interview.)
I’m enjoying it all. I am a tourist in the world of employment, resting from the harsh brutalities of self-employment, hiding behind another character but still standing on a stage in a spotlight.
Even the hotel windows open and the pillows are feather. Life is almost perfect, if only I hadn’t discovered I had lice (courtesy of Alma) an hour and a half before I got on the plane… damn I hate sharing the spotlight.