TOWARD A NEW FULLY IMPROVISATIONAL APPROACH TO EVERYTHING 101
So we’re living here in Allentown
And they’re closing all the factories down
DEEP BLUE SOMETHING
Yes truly madly deeply tis I, Ras Trent, back again for the last newsletter of 2019. I am stumbling towards the imaginary finish line. The weather does not know what in tarnation is going on, it is bloody freezing and last night it snowed apparently, down to 500m apparently, apparently it snowed. I have been back “home” in Tasmania for the sum total of 49 hours. I have another 16 hours and then I will board an aeroplane, John Denver style, bound for Adelaide and the first show of my tour. I will be in Adelaide a day early because flights on Fridays are relatively expensive. I’ll hang with Dave, catch a pick up from DK, maybe catch a pasta, eat some Meatbeaters, stare at a South Australian ceiling.
The astute amongst you may note that while the first show of my tour is ostensibly on Saturday the 7th of December at the Wheatsheaf Hotel with Cookie Baker tickets available from www.bensalter.com.au, I have indicated that arriving on Thursday is only one day early. That’s because I’m doing a sort of secret show at The Golden Wattle on Friday night under the pseudonym “Enstabler”. I am tossing up/off how to approach this set. I’ve long toyed with the idea of becoming an completely improvisational act and perhaps The Golden Wattle gig could serve as my improvisational debut. Either that, or I’ll pound through some covers and drink a million White Knights and cry because I really miss Julie. Maybe both. Anyway I shouldn’t encourage you to come as I desperately need people to attend my show on the Saturday night at the Wheatsheaf, that we’ve already mentioned. Please come to that show. Are we clear? Oh also there’s a house concert up in the hills on Sunday. If you’d like to come to that please send a colour photo and resume to email@example.com and we’ll see what we can do.
14 hours and counting. I feel like I have a lot of stuff inside of me that needs to come out, and I’m not talking about vomit lol no I am just in a peculiar mood. I’m actually really looking forward to this tour. I’m just stressed out about money as usual, having to borrow money off Julie is not a nice feeling. But we’ve been through this. We’ve already been over this. Hey where am I going with this. It’s a new improvisational approach. I have just completed three weeks away, although I am sure I’ve even been over this. Just got back from the last bit which was accompanying my good old dear friend Conor Macdonald on his Captain Fighting Machine album launch tour. Also on the tour were Angus Agars and Adrian Stoyles of the Gin Club. They did the glamourous bits. Conor and I went down the guts and through NSW.. Sydney Gooloogong Canberra Beechworth Ballarat Melbourne. In fact we did ten shows in eleven days. But it’s not a competition. I got excited when I heard about Sturgill Simpson and his transition from country to anime edm business but I’m listening to the edm business and while it’s passable it’s far from a new improvisatory approach and features no jazzy chords or lurching time signature changes which I guess is what I’m looking for. That or more Koto music. We came down from a gale in the blue mountains, squalls and smoke and 30 degree heat in the rain, into the dustbowl of the central west and I started snapping like a man posessed cause it was like a martian landscape. I’ll put some photos in after the fact in a motion towards a more fully improvisational approach.
Hey so I picked up my new albums from Zenith on Monday. My records. They’re ready. They look great. They sound okay I guess. I have reneged on all my ardent fervour and now the album will depressingly be on all the things so you can stream it to your hearts content on Spotify and they’ll pay me next to nothing or on Bandcamp, you can do that for free forever and they won’t pay me anything. Hey do what you like, I am not trying to guilt you or make you feel bad, I’m just saying it how it is like, like. Or you can buy it on record or CD or pay for the digital version at all the usual places, bandcamp included. I feel like I have let you down Jules. Thanks so much to everyone who ordered it on vinyl or CD or paid for it. Unfortunately I already spent that money which is the peril of these sorts of arrangements but never fear I have started mailing out the records with fresh money what I have earned or borrowed, another branch from the stoopid tree. Another branch reaching outwards towards the fully improvisational approach. I am still listening to this Sturgill Simpson album and there was a song called “Mercury In Retrograde” which was sort of okay. It’s all pretty good but it’s sort of that late period Queens of the Stone Age muscular psychedelic modern Led Zeppelin sort of thing which I am frankly a little tired of, I am searching instead for an increasingly improvised
Hey so if everyone who gets this newsletter came to my shows this month I’d quit bitching long enough for us to all get some quiet time over Christmas. My friend has Serbian Christmas called Slava or something like that where you’re not supposed to refuse anyone who comes to your house. Or something like that. Just a tid bit. I should be hanging out with my Father In Law To Be right now but instead I am scribbling missives to nameless shady operatives (that’s you) being rather more frank than perhaps is prudent but it’s what you’ve all come to expect from old Slats and I can no more stop over-sharing and self-sabotaging than I can stop creeping inevitably towards an more fully improvisational
STREAM OF COCONUTS
Now he’s gone full country with some electro rock trimmings which reminds me of the country singer in that second trilogy of Gibson novels, except he was just fully country as far as I can remember, and Willy G wrote those books before the resurgence of country or even the emergence of what we’d call alt-country or what not, what I’m trying to get at is he’s something of a visionary hey google what’s an aubergine god how good are advertisements, there was one for V energy drink also that was pretty irritating. Advertising revenue. Anyway yep new albums are out and we are all shambolically stumbling like so many fashionable undead towards slava when we will welcome all the ghosts into our house whether we like it or not and sit with them at the table, feed them snacks, get our halloweens and christmases mixed up, our solstices swapped out, double tracked harmonised slide guitar will play in the back ground along with Come Fly With Me on endless repeat.
Today I started mailing out the records to the people who had ordered them. Did we already cover that? I have started mailing out the records, I acquired a rich stash of LP mailers in a deal brokered by a man with a long grey trenchcoat, closely trimmed beard and a single earring. We met with his cardboard contact yesterday afternoon in New Town, by the Brooker Highway, a man with an interest in obscure metal grind and hardcore. Judging by the mailers he bequeathed me he orders from all over – France, Poland, Japan, Greece. One of the mailers even had a 7″ in it from a band called Breathalizer, which I think I shall have to return. Today I packaged up as many of my LPs as I could, using all the mailers, and even crafting some from mid-strength Corona cartons . Duly I went to the post office at 4pm. It was busy and I had to keep letting the lady at the post office serve other folks in between weighing my records. Depressingly I discovered that around half of them were over-weight, that is, over 500g, which puts them into a different bracket as far as Australia Post is concerned, an extra $3.25c or so per package, which when you start to send heaps of records really starts to add up. So I put the ones I didn’t sell into our newly acquired 2002 Hyundai Excel, fresh off the boat from the Mainland, which has thus far only been used to go to and from church, has only 90,000km on it. It complements the Skyline, we are a two shitbox household now, except neither of them are really shitboxes, just old and tired but both legendary in their own way, Steve tells me that like Skylines, Excels are quite sought after.
So tomorrow I fly to Adelaide a day earlier than I need and then on it goes over the next few weeks until I get back here on the 21st of December right before Xmas. I think I’ve shared all these dates with you a million times already but here they are again, please try and get along to one near you. I’m sorry Perth and Darwin that I’m not coming again, I’m really stretching the whole sham a little thin, a little tight, and now Tourettes is talking about a tour in March which I feel might be taking the piss, going back to the well too many times, is that the expression? Taking the piss from the well until no one is laughing anymore. Although if I fully develop my improvisational approach perhaps it could be a thing. Anyway here are the dates then. All the tickets where applicable are available from www.bensalter.com.au
I need to pack my bag again and fold my washing and figure out how I am going to transport all these records and CDs without going insane/damaging the stock. It’s all unutterably sad but despite this I am really looking forward to the shows. We’ve been through this. We’ve been over this. I haven’t even shewn you any of the photos from the highway, from the last little while, I shared some with the Patreon recently and I made Fritha cry apparently, I didn’t think it was that much although the Australian landscape can be rather overwhelming, especially when it’s all on fire and covered in dust. Still we must go on. Tomorrow I fly to Adelaide a day earlier than I need to be and I will stick around until Tuesday when I will fly to Sydney a day earlier than I need to be however I will attend a play with my Aunty Pat, which will tick the cultural box on the life list that Bridge invented, a list of things you should try to do every… day? Week? To stay sane and stay in step. I won’t tell you what the others are but I think one was drinking ten cups of tea a day and another one was try not to eat any KFC and yet another was don’t be too hard on people at airports. Actually I made those ones up.
HERE’S WHERE THE STRINGS COME IN
Everyone is just out there trying to get by, many of them victims of some terrible malaise or the ultimate one. Doomsday preppers whether they know it or not. What an inconsequential business. But I love playing, I love performing and I love singing for you all. Who am I demonstrating to and for what. What the hell am I talking about, here’s the damn dates:
Friday the 6th of December 2019
The Golden Wattle, Adelaide
Enstabler will be joining Emlyn Johnson and the Jess Johns Band at Adelaide’s newest day drinking establishment for a night of white knights, fully improvisational approaches and brief trips to the Cranker to get around the Meatbeaters and the Hard Ons. Oooft. Entry to this one is your very mortal soul. Any performance will be improvisational as we’ve discussed and/or covers based so there’s really no reason to not get a ticket to the following night’s performance on
Saturday the 7th December 2019
The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide
The original craft beer pub where they even have Morris dancers, it’s such a deep Adelaide scene, I love it. Been playing at the Wheaty for many years now but this is the first solo show in quite a while. Only sold 15 tickets so far so I’m hoping we get quite a few walk ups, it’s known for that sort of vibe, this will be a proper conventional show featuring a lot of songs from my new album and a support act, Cookie Baker, whom I have known for many many years also.
Sunday the 8th of December 2019
A House In The Adelaide Hills
Due to the number of White Knights ingested on Friday night, following a period of relative sobriety, this will be an emotional affair with a close knit community of wine lovers and family men. Expect highs, lows, confessional mood, not for me I have to drive, a not at all improvisational approach.
Wednesday 11th December 2019
Frank’s Wild Year’s, Thirroul
I’ve never been to this tiny record store on the close south coast, and I’m not hugely into Tom Waits, but my friend Luis’s email address is also Frank’s Wild Years. Make of that what you will. I have a really good feeling about this show. Entry will be via donation which, in spite of the entreaties of the venue, I will ruthlessly police, making anyone who puts in less than my recommended amount feel small and miserable, until I engender an atmosphere of such dismal negativity that middle aged couples will be seen openly weeping, unable to endure my new improvisational approach, but also unable to leave for fear of not getting their money’s worth. All in all it will be a satisfactory commentary on end times capitalism and eco terror. Support comes from Nicole Smede who will recite poems and try and placate the inconsolable crowd. I’m not sure that’s how you spell inconsolable. Improvisatory.
Thursday 12th December 2019
The Union Hotel, Newtown
Ah the Union, scene of many victories past, I reckon this will be an absolutely stinking Sydney smokey asthma night, I will do three encores and probably drink too much tequila. In support will be Lisa Caruso who is excellent. It’s a free concert cause that’s how it works in Sydney. I will hug my friend Chris a lot, and along with our friend Nick we will propose solutions to a lot of the world’s problems.
Friday 13th December 2019
Home Of The Arts, The Gold Coast
Stifle those guffaws, the Gold Coast has of course gifted us with many art such as Gaslight Radio and The Greys. For this performance at the sparkly new home of the arts, the gold coast, I will be joined by my old buddy Moreton. In another reality we may have run a florists together but alas a man from the Underground stole her away. Someone told me the Queen has her own private tube line which is really not that difficult to believe. Black Friday.
Saturday 14th December 2019
The Junk Bar, Brisbane
Two sets again on Saturday the 14th at The Junk Bar, Ashgrove, selling bras with the lady who’s brother works at the butcher’s shop up the road. You’re kidding. Your brother? I am not allowed to perform anywhere else in Brisbane, Jamie and Mia won’t let me, last time I accidentally did I got in trouble. First show is sold out. Late set still has plenty of tickets left so please come and don’t make me feel like I’m drinking too much piss from the well again, barrell scrapin’. Will end up playing every second Sunday at the Lewi tavern, I can feel it. I can feel it.
I’m back into Facebook again, I’m not sure what that says about me, just when all this new horrendous news about what a prick Mark Zuckerberg is comes to light. But really aren’t we all just a product of our environment (no I don’t know where I am going with this) I mean if I’d invented a social media platform to try and shame women on campus and subsequently made a bajillion dollars don’t you think I’d be a bit of an arsehole who gives repugnant alt right voices a platform? I mean what if the alt right are right? Ever thought about that you small ell liberals and small g greenies. What if Rupert Murdoch is trying to protect us from something? What if he knows something we don’t? Well he definitely knows something we don’t. I’m so tired. But anyway I have Facebook down to just two pages, “Useless, Unsuccessful and/or Unpopular Memes”, and “Truly Bad Memes”, as well as a handful of friends who either promote their stuff (me) or bitch about people they have unfriended recently for saying things they don’t agree with (also me). It’s great.
Yeah as I said I got a lot on my mind that keeps spilling out, could be the multiple Coke Zeros I have consumed today. I am not sure if Coke Zero is much good for you. I really don’t want to pack my suitcase again. But I get so much luggage that the process can be made easier by just putting more stuff in than you need. It’s getting late, I am gonna have a break from this and go and pack.
I did a pack and now it’s late and I have to wrap it up or I’ll get in trouble, Julie is as sick as everyone else (and me) of my stress head/road warrior/sad sack routine.
Thursday 19th Dec
The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine
Its the morning after the night before and I am seated at the HobHobart airport depdeparture lounge clearly struggling with mornings, life, $9.50 ham and chcheese croissants and the nailchimp mobile interface (provisional) i mean hell i know what a croiasant and a piecpiece of ham and a pieve of cheeae costs .. around $2.50 max assuminh you buy in bulk. Maybe $3.00. but you gotta take what you can get, gouge out the eyes of your customers and leaveb them blind. Blind. Blind. ClearClearky yhis is gonna be a SisypheaSisyphean tastask getting this done on my phone but like Sisyphus I will perservere who would win a fight out of Sisyphus and Pyrrus i am sire THERE’S aan H in yjyjeee somewhere, Pyhrus Pyrhus anywayBridge hotel CasCastlemaine a fine little pub meeting place for the disaffdisaffected inhabitants of Northcote and North Fitzroy I haven’t played there for some time but I’ve sold nine tickets already so I’m optimistic. Still looking for a support. Bridget will be with me on Cello as she will in Brisbane and the Home Of The Arts. Maybe she can do an improvisational cello set first. Or maybe I can.
friday 20th December
The MerrMerri Creek Tavern Melbourne
Im baaaack MeMelbourne its a big night with regular reader DarreDarren Hanlon doing his Xmas party at theNSC and MickThomas doing his at the Spitted Mllard but of course thethey havent gota chance aginst old Slatsh
Sat 21st December
Altar Bar Hobart
Have you eevereever seen somdinesomdisomdinesomsomdinesomdisomdine someone have a full meltdiwmeltdiwn on stage? I think the couple opposite me are gonna have a fight soon. You can’t stop the rot as Dank says. AnyAnywaAnyAnyway come an see me Hobart I have beebeen good to you don’t turn on me. I’ll be joined by
The last show is at Altar on Sat the 21st of Dec with Hayley Couper, Meres and Tuli Morris. Three exceptional performers.
Here’s the records:
You know how to get em by now? www.bensalter.com.au/products-page/
Take it easy out there. Join my Patreon so I can have self righteous exchanges with the Guardian and not care. Get a singing fish. Don’t use too much water. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, or don’t, I am not sure it makes that much difference. I do know that I love youse all, every singles ones ofs youse. see you out there. Hold on.