Tuesday, 13 January 2004

Trip to Oz...

Sat 23. Nov.

Strange entering Australia - usually its the flight that plays with my head but this time it was my stomach that was feeling like it was washed out, and it was. On the first plane from London to Singapore I got some food poisoning, went to get on the next flight and my guts got the better of me... oh dear. So I got seen by the doctor and she advised catching the next flight (12 hrs later) so that's what I did. Luckily I slept through most of the second flight to Melbourne - shame really because it's the first time I'd flown with Singapore Air and I was otherwise impressed...

It was really cool to have Nadene and Hamish meet me at the airport and drive me back to their house (where I'm based for the whole trip). There house is beautiful, 10 mins from the airport and 10 mins from the city, I'm in the spare room with the computer and the decks - a situation which I'm sure they are both gutted about :-) . It was 8.30 on a Friday morning - they had to work (they work together) and I had to sleep... So, after a nice bath, settled down to some zzz's. Last night we went out to Brunswick St in Melbourne, a road which looks like a shanty town in any western. It's full of shops and other places, but mainly restaurants and bars... great! Although my tummy was not 100% so I had to take it easy. We met Coco, Cat and Nadine which was great.

Not surprisingly I woke at the crack of dawn this morning, so here I am chatting away to myself. 08.00 Ray x

Sun 24. Nov.

Yesterday was a cool day. We met Coco and a few of his pals at golf course on the outskirts of Melbourne. The weather started off good and just got better - the scores didn't really matter and it was really just as well we only played 9 holes... Shattered? You bet, in fact we all were. Coming back to Nadene's briefly (to change) we saw the temperature was around 35 degrees and you can't really grumble with that. After changing we grabbed some beers and food and went to a park for a bar-b-q, this was very weird for me as I never realised you get barbies already setup in parks for you to use - apparently they usually cost money to use ( as you would expect) but this one was free.. Sorted. So we all sat around and chatted until about 10pm and by then as you can image, the drink had taken effect. One the way back we called in at Belinda’s and it was great to see her after all this time - when she left England we had a party at Sid's and Graham videoed it for my... Her going away present was the video and we watched it last night - for Hamish and Nadene it was the first time - we had such a laugh seeing all the old faces and even a few tears from the girls.

Nadene says she wants a party like that when they come over... Well, it's got to be done! 08.45 Ray x

Tuesday 26:

Sunday was overcast in Melbourne and we went to the beach area ---- St something or other. Had a snack then checked out all the market stalls which overlook the area, I suppose you could call it a prom. Pom on the prom, whatever! It was a surprise bumping into Craig Jon there and then Jane and their new baby.. ?? We'd already planned to go to the house later for a barbie so after we'd chatted for a while we said bye... On the way to Craig and Janes we stopped in Melbourne city and looked at a new building 'Federation Square' which is mainly a museum or gallery of the 'moving image' call it what you will but it's weird, my photos try to explain but there is not much hope - you have to go. Melbourne is full of art and design of future standard bringing the word contemporary into a whole new meaning, it's certainly cool, but I'm not sure if it always works. After losing ourselves for about an hour we boarded the car for Craig and Janes. Craig’s mother and her mother are both over here for the first time - to see the baby, which is only 7 months) and Holly and Fez were also there so plenty of talking and catching up was done... What a lovely way to spend an evening.

Monday (yesterday), I got up early and Nadene took me to the airport where at 11.00 boarded my flight to Sydney. Melbourne was again overcast when I left but that wasn't the case 1 hour later... Sydney was hot, 38 degrees and pure sunshine. I stepped in a cab and told him to take me to Kings Cross (bar and club area in Sydney) and away we went. It didn't take long to find a hotel, which is called the Crest. At $110 a night, it's not bad, and compared to a lot of the condition of many around here, it's a bit of a palace. So I dropped my things and walked down to the harbour. Some things you never forget and this was one of those times.. The gardens I was standing in over looked the bay, the bridge and 'that' opera house - all bouncing light around on the water from the sun... Not to be outshone the city also looked fabulous - towering up to the sky surrounded by greenery, all round a absolute stunning view - this was truly awesome.

Bob and Juanita arrived in town in the evening and we had some good food on the harbour then crashed some Irish bar until I had to leave - just too much for my little head to bear! 11.20 Ray x

Wednesday 27.

Yesterday was another look around Sydney - we started of at the Botanical Gardens seeing a sky full of fruit bats and weird and wonderful plants along the way. Bob and Juan then walked me around to Opera House and we walked all around it - unfortunately not going inside. Next we decided to get on a ferry. There are many of these, which act like buses taking passengers to various places around, we took tourist route to Darling Harbour, which isn't far, but obviously takes in more along the way. Darling Harbour is wicked, placed on the other side of the city, therefore it views the buildings from behind. It has all the museums and other places plus the Home nightclub and Imax cinema. After some food and drink we walked through the city and arrived back at the hotel. Bob and Juan were going to stay at friends for the rest of the week so after eating lunch they left. I was pretty tired so after a couple of drinks, opted for the TV and the room and that, was that. 10.12 Ray x

Thursday 28.

Yesterday I spent $30 on the Bondi Explorer, a bus service which takes you out of the centre and end up, yes you've guessed it, at Bondi Beach. The service is a tourist one and it stops to take in all the sights along the way... pretty cool - but expensive. Mind you, you can hop on or off wherever and although it finishes at about 16.30, you can use your ticket on the local blue buses.

I got to Bondi about 12.30 and about viewing the shops (about 2 minutes worth) I found myself walking down the golden sands. It was windy - very windy, and although this would be great news for surfers, it was great for me. Everyone was taking refuge on the grass bank which was shielded, somewhat, by a hill on the south side - so, I joined them. 2 hours later I left, opting for a quick burger at MacDonald’s (which have the most amazing Hawaiian shirts) and heading back to the bus stop. Bit of a chill at the hotel and I then walked to the harbour where I ate some veal at some self service restaurant... Nice. Got on the bus and ended up in Bondi again - this time to see Marty - who promotes Frantic in Sydney. He had a friend - Joe - who I also know from London, we all went for a few beers and once again, it was good to talk about the 'good ol days'. 10.00 Ray x

Friday 29.

Thursday was your typical tourist photo session for me. I walked all around the city and then some. Had some nice food along the way too. Later, after a rest I caught the ferry to Milsons Point and walked around a bit to find a good view of the harbour, city, opera house & bridge. After a bit of walking I found a good spot and darkness was falling - perfect photo oppertunity! Well, after that I went back to my room and met Bob & Juanita. With my bag of records, we walked up to the Icebox, a club I was to play at. Although my set time wasn't until 2am, we arrived about 11, after drinks in a nearby bar. The icebox is small and long, at the rear, the dance floor opens into a larger space with plenty of lights and a laser for extra effect. The slot went well and all seemed pleased, Marty (from Frantic) also attended and the crowd held well... I finished at 4am and got about 2 hours sleep before being taxied to the airport to catch my flight to Melbourne. And here I am. 11.50 Ray x

Saturday 30.

After a couple of hours sleep, Nadene and Hamish came home from work and it was cool to see them again. Last night we ate some food at the Blue Train in the city, which is right by the river. At 11 o'clock, they showed me these huge concrete pillars which line the river edge, on the hour they blow flames from the top up to about 20 or 30 feet - you can feel the heat from the ground. Madness! After we went to Katie & Katie’s for a party which basically lasted all night - so did we, in fact we only got back about 11 o'clock this morning - awh, I know - my head did take a hammering. Got some sleep this afternoon and now I preparing to go to the airport for Perth. 17.15 Ray x

Tuesday 3 Dec. I arrived in Perth on Saturday, about 8pm after taking 3 hours off my clock, from there it was all go. Kristy picked me up from the airport and on the way back to hers I grabbed some food. In Perth I am staying at Kristy’s house with Matt Clarke, who was there when I arrived. We chatted for a while but I didn't have long, my set time at the club was 11pm - 1am. After changing Kristy and I left for the club, which was in the city centre, we got there about 10.20pm. Blair and Rob were there, they are the promoters, and some other djs and friends etc - who I was quickly introduced to. The night - called Electrified, was great, the crowd, about 600-700, were great, they were friendly, up for it and danced all night. After me, Roosta played a great set and then Matt, who'd been playing at a local house party. Rob played for around 45 mins at the end, then Roosta, Matt and I stuck one final tune on each to finish the night. By now, I was feeling a bit tired. So after the party we went to someone’s house and sat out in the morning sun (it was around 6.30am) until about 9.00am when Blair decided to take some of us back to his place, which is on the other side of town. I lasted till about 11am when the tiredness became too much and I ducked out. Nas took me home and I fell straight asleep - no qualms. I woke about 7.30pm to find Kristy had just come back, so we chatted for a while as we waited for Matt. This house is amazing, many rooms and beautifully furnished throughout. Me and Matt stay in the main house, while Kristy has her own house in the garden... Amazing, but this is not uncommon over in Australia. Matt came back soon and we got some pizza before going back to sleep. Yesterday I woke at 6am and that was that. Unfortunately I had not been shown around the house too much so I was left to my own devices. The other two woke about 11am. Finally, we left the house about 12.15 and we went down to the beach from to get something to eat. It was pretty expensive, but really nicely down and it was good to sit out in the sun and eat. After we briefly visited Kings ?? Park which overlooks Perth and its city with some stunning views. After which we came back to the house for a quick refresh and went down to a reserve on the other side of town in Joondalup. There we fed the birds and some Kangaroos which was great and obviously time to click away with the old camera! Later we got a video out as we were all tired and had an early night. 08.30 Ray x

Thursday 5.

Tuesday we woke to a beautiful day and decided it was best to go and play golf - so we did. We went for 9 holes - as in Melbourne and took off straight away for the course. We got there about midday and it was about 30-32 degrees - hot? You bet. But this was what we wanted - a bit of burn factor and some good fun at the same time. And we did have a laugh... after we grabbed some pies and sat down in from of the river which sits adjacent to the city of Perth, which held yet another nice view. We were getting weary as we left our picnic site so we headed back to Kristy’s for an hour or so before the evening began.

That night we all met up with the promoters and crew from Electrified and had a beer or two in a nice bar called Queens, not far from Kristy’s. It wasn't a late one and we were all back home by about 11.30. Wednesday was the day Matt and I were to leave for Melbourne so we were all up by about 10am. We drove to a cafe on a nearby beach and ate breakfast in the scorching sun - it was amazing - the weather was just perfect and after eating we sat on the beach before driving Matt to the airport. Just 2 hours later in was my turn to go and it only seemed like 5 mins since I had just arrived. Perth had been sun blessed for us - but it was time to pay Melbourne another visit. I got back at the airport at 11pm (you add 3 hours) after the 4 hour flight. Hamish and Nadene picked me up from the airport and like a child at school I let them have the full story.. :-) 01.25 Ray x

Sunday 8.

I'm still coming round after a big weekend but this is how I can remember it as it happened... When Thursday broke I realised that Melbourne, which can they say, have four seasons in one day, was not as blessed as Perth with it's weather. In other words, it was raining. Both Hamish and Nadene had taken Thursday and Friday off so that was cool. So we all hopped in the car, picked up Belinda and Matt and drove into town. We had some lunch while waiting for our time to come up on Ten Pin Bowling, another sporting moment for us. It was another great laugh and by the time it was all over, it was time to go back to Belinda’s to drop off Matt and go home. Friday was Hamish's birthday but we were having a get together on Thursday night. After packing some overnight stuff we got back in the car and went round Belinda’s again. Belinda had to go to work that night but would join us later, the rest of us got a tram down to the restaurant which was a Mexican place called Amigo's. Hamish had about 30 friends there and I was surprised how many I knew and by the end of the meal and a few Corona's later - I knew them all :-) It's a bit of a religion to go to a bar called Revolver the night before Frantic here in Melbourne, so we all wormed our way in and found some couches by the broken pool table. Kane was playing some funky house on the decks and the place had a really cool laid back atmosphere. Much later - we left. By the time we hit the sack at Belinda’s it was 3am. We rose about 9am the next morning with muddy heads and blurred vision - it soon passed and about an hour or so later - we left to find a breakfast bar. After dropping off Matt and Belinda we drove home - it was another cloudy day - but it was Friday - Frantic day - and Hamish's birthday - all good, as they say here.

Hamish and I played for most of the afternoon on his computer while Nadene tried to get some sleep. We left at 5.15pm and took all our things for the party etc. First stop was One Stop Records in town where I had been asked to play a few tunes, so I did for an hour or so - a good warm up for later. After changing at Belinda's we all went out to the Point, a restaurant which over looks a lake. The food, again, was lovely and we had another great chat and we sorted a Mud Pie for Hamish with a sparkler for his birthday. Next stop was Room, where Frantic was being held, it's a two room venue which is very well lit and ventilated - handy for tonight because the party was a sell out. Everything went really well and the sets did too, I was especially happy with mine and all my friends were there to see me as well... It was amazing. Matt also played and Nick Sentience and Paul Glazby as well. Frantic finished at 7.30am with Craig Jon playing the final set. After we went to BPM - the after-party. I played first and then it was Matt - we had a good laugh at each others expense and the party went off - and we.... had to join in. We decided to come back to Nadene’s to finish ourselves off, just to help, we stopped at a liquor store on the way so nothing was missed - what happened next?? Christ knows really but here I am on Sunday morning, the day I return to England, my hands are still shaking and I need some food. This is the end of my holiday here in Australia, it's been a great experience seeing things, meeting people, playing music and seeing old friends... It's going to be hard to say goodbye. 09.50 Sunday December 8th - Ray x