Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dear Osama....

Dear Osama bin Laden.

I hope I find you well. I’m sorry if I repeat things I’ve said in previous letters, but as I haven’t got any replies from you, I guess it doesn’t hurt. So grab yourself a cup of tea, because we have a lot to catch up on.

When I contacted you last time, I was thanking you for doing that thing you did so well. Watching those plans fly into the buildings made me reassess everything in my life. I almost lost my job because of something I wrote on a website about you, but that was ok as that formal warning worked as a catalyst to many other things. I guess I was wrong about people not paying attention to the silly interweb. So, after this I focused my cynicism on my work rather than my personal life and for the first time since my fairly tricky teens I began to open up emotionally. I fell in love with photography. I started to make real close friends. I contacted my dad after not speaking to him for six years. And I even think it contributed greatly towards me returning to study and getting meself edjucated. It was really a pivotal point in my life.

But now after being emotionally burnt a few times, losing friends, discovering my dad is still a cunt and studying a fairly shitty degree, I’m trying to work out if it was worth coming out from behind my wall. Considering I’m typing this email to you from Vienna, I think it was. I’ve now have a better relationship with my mum and sister. I know that university isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I still like taking photos. I know that even though my dad had a bad life, he still had the choice not to be a cunt. And I’ve found that not knowing what to do with your life can be both shit scary and exhilarating at them same time.

Not that I condone violence or war, but a billion out of ten for getting the world’s attention with that plane stuff a few years back. Wow, is it almost five years ago already? I was reminded of you a couple of days ago on a tram journey while I was tossing around another solid steel resolve in my head (“OK. This time, it’s going to be different”), and shit like that. As I disembarked in a fairly vague, day dreamy manner I was nearly hit by a VW Golf with the numberplate W AR 911. The "W" stands for Wien if you were curious. Not as good as the WTC911 I saw on a Mitsubishi Magna a couple of years ago, but still worth a mention. No, this isn’t me getting delusions of reference here, but we all receive messages from the universe from time to time. And number plates seemed to have been a constant in my life. When I was growing up, there was a game my sister and I played while driving on our many journeys to visit Victorian relatives. After the excitement of driving past Eagle on the Hill and the monster 24/7 servos (which, apart from the one near the airport, were the only 24/7 anything in Adelaide at the time), we would press our faces on the windows and make up amusing acronyms matching the number plates on the passing cars. Funny family stuff which I’m sure we got from our maternal uncles. After my parents broke up, my uncle Jamie, who was always a bit of a drongo, made the clanger comment about my mum’s number plate VEM – Which he stood for “Vinnie’s Ex Missus”. Classic in-joke that I’m sure is lost on you. I know it seems like a bit of a bogan thing to do, but it passed the time and stopped us kids bothering the olds until we got to Keniva, where we would always ask dad to stop the car with cries of “Kaniva wee dad”, even if we didn’t need to go. Anyway, with the introduction of personalised plates (which I was also a victim of), and the onset of puberty, the fun of this childhood game lost its edge.

So do have a family? You know, wife, kids or are you hanging out for that Martyr = 77 Virgins thing the western media likes to ham up? Maybe you’re gay? Imagine that, the big bad boogieman from the Middle East is into other guys. Wow, George W and his minions would have a field day. They could then lynch a whole other group of people they don’t like with assumed permission and have themselves a big ol’ fashion lynchin’ party. I’m not exactly worded up on how Islamic faith looks upon our pink brothers and sisters, but going on how other religions interpret homosexuality, you guys probably don’t dig it either. I'm not sure what the problem is as I’ve had some pretty fun times with gay friends. They really know how to party. There’s a few other things about Islamic faith I don’t have an idea about. Is it like Christianity, where there are several different versions, all claiming to be the real version? And what’s with the beards for men and covered heads/faces/full bodies for women? I was in Vienna during Austria’s nastiest heatwave since records began, and I saw an Islamic women in the full get up (covered head to toe in black, with only a small slit for eyes), walking around, breathing heavily and stopping every few metres to rest. I can imagine that in the Middle East, people would be more acclimatised to the heat, but still, shorts and a t-shirt would probably be more practical. Then again, people in western society are fooled into thinking they need to look a certain way just to be accepted. Just look at guys with their collars up and girls with their eating disorders. I guess if I had the choice, I’d prefer to be brainwashed by something that wasn’t as insidious as Cleo, TV and “the right thing to do”. You do have a very nice beard though. Well contoured and very distinguished. When I grow beards, they’re bad for a few reasons:
  • My beards are red, when my head hair is clearly brown
  • Mum says I look like “you-know-who” (no, not Voldermort, someone worse)
  • By about week two my neck itches so much I just want to shave the thing off
  • Beards don’t really do it for the ladies
But dude.. if I was going to choose a beard to have, yours would be up there with Radz and Karl Marx’. But I guess the whole societal influence thing is a construct and not something we actually require to live. Sorry, I used the word “construct”. I must have been wearing my Marx beard.

While I’m writing this, I’m listening to some tunes on the mp3 player my sister gave me. Really quite the perfect gift, next to Vegemite and Tim Tams for a random traveller such as myself. The gesture of music from home is appreciated, but the Kasey Chambers and Missy Higgins had to go. I’ve now got a mish mash of old and new on there. At the moment, one of the tracks from Thom Yorke’s new solo album, The Eraser is playing. The track is Harrowdown Hill, and the rest of the album is a bit like the more out there Radiohead stuff which came along on with Kid A and Insomniac. I saw them perform in Hungary a couple of weeks ago and you could tell they enjoyed playing the new stuff a little bit more than they did the old. But only a tad. Street Spirit still did it for me (with the help of a low flying jumbo), and Just – I danced around singing along as loud as could. Strangely, if it started raining, I would not have minded.

If you don’t have a family, then do you have a lady friend? You know, are you someone’s gentleman caller? I’ve been having love hurts for the last few months, but I recently started hanging out with a girl and it looks like we might travel together for a bit, check out Eastern Europe for a month or so before her life has to start again and I keep on travelling. I’m a little cautious about the whole thing, because last two times I went travelling with a partner, it didn’t go so well. The story is I met this girl a couple of years ago. She is, or at least was a cool geeky chick, with fairly broad music tastes (you need it growing up with a staple diet of Adelaide live music), good looking and a bit of a nutter. My type huh? We tried the relationship thing once, then broke up for a while, got back together and tried it again. It felt better this time. We had the same friends, our families liked their new pseudo in-laws and everything was rosy. But there was an issue. I wanted to go travelling and she didn’t. But not wanting to lose our relationship (or contradict guilt trips plans made in former times), rather than being straight with me, she said it was cool and joined me. Big mistake. Now we hate each others guts and it looks like we can’t even be friends without doing something dumb to each other.

I got a DVD of music from one of the girls I’ve been living with here in Vienna, and there was some good stuff on there that I haven’t heard in ages. Do you have an iPod like gadget with you? You get into Pink Floyd? I remember going into Student Radio one night where some guys were doing their late night show. The studio stunk of dope, which I couldn’t care about, but knew that if the station manager found out I would get my arse kicked. Anyway, they were playing a track from Wish You Were Here, which is chock full of Doctor Who synths. These guys are both well versed in music, but one of them had the “I’m so cool because I like music you’ve never heard of” attitude. They started talking to me as if had never heard of the band and that Pink Floyd was their own magic discovery. They were taken aback when I told them my parents were pseudo hippies who brought me up on the stuff, and listed off some of my favourite tracks. I’m not trying to dance around here saying that I’m cooler than anybody else because of this, I just hate it when people assume you’re an idiot because you don’t dress a certain way.

Ah.. the song cut short. Must have been some shit on the disc when it was copying. Next track.

The Police. No, not the real ones. You know, Sting and the other two guys. Sure, they’re daggy, but most pop music is. Walking on the Moon is such a good song for when you meet someone new. Even better if it still means something when you’ve got some history behind you in a relationship. Roxanne. I did this at karaoke once when I was quite drunk in the Unibar (That really narrows it down to a specific day). I got bored in the bits I didn’t know, but screamed the "Roxanne" bit with my best Jimmy Barnes voice. What is your favourite karaoke song? Mine’s November Rain. All 8:57 of it. You can sit down and drink your beer during the four (count them, 4), guitar solos. This is closely followed by anything Australian. Maybe something from Whispering Jack (Don’t laugh, they had it in Japan), or AC/DC. There’s a club here in Vienna that offers a practice page on their site, so you can hit the stage knowing all the words to your favourite “indie” hits, having practiced in your jarmies at home first.

Oh. And now Sting is singing about politics in Russians, a song about the cold war tensions during the 1980s. You know, kids growing up these days only know the Middle East as the place where terrorists come from. My grandmother still doesn’t trust the Japanese. Do you guys still hate the Russians? Isn’t that what Rambo III and James Bond: Living Daylights were about? US and UK government agents helping the Taliban fight the nasty commies? Oh how times have changed. It’s funny that when united against a common foe, differences are thrown aside. But when that foe is defeated, you turn on each other, scrabbling to be on top. I guess that war with the Russians was more about land than it was about ideology. This song is a fairly deep for a pop track. Sounds like something news services would put under slow-mo, black and white video of little orphans in Chechnya. It makes reference to the cycle of violence in the world and how if you don’t think of the kids, they might just grow up hating the same people their folks did. Like the number plate thing I talked about earlier, it is really surprising when you realise just how much your childhood influences your adult life. Just recently I figured out that the reason I feel weird while swimming is actually an irrational fear based on a couple of near drowning experiences when I was a kid. Same with drugs and conflict. The only thing I remember of my parents when they were together was that they were either fighting or stoned. Now I avoid conflict to the point of bursting and don’t smoke drugs to the point of appearing like a straight edge. Learning from your parents mistakes is really important for evolution. How was it for you when you were growing up? From what I’ve read, you come from a fairly wealthy Saudi background, with its roots in oil (der), and construction. This is all getting a bit Freudian, but do you think teenage rebellion is more about the evolution of society than it is about zits, boobs and wet dreams? Is this why you hate capitalism so much? No, not wet dreams. Your family relying on cash from the whities to buy the same shit they think is important. Rolls Royce and Gucci don’t come cheap you know. How much do you value respect? I guess it depends on what kind of respect we’re talking about. If it’s the type where you respect your purported religious beliefs, you would been up there flying one of those planes instead of one of those other guys.

Hang on.. If there was one thing I have learnt at uni, it was typing while lying on a bed only leads to a sore back.

Ok.. better. Where was I? Bugger. Lost my train of thought.

That paranoid bit of my brain was thinking that maybe, just maybe, the whole September 11 thing was all a big conspiracy, and you are actually in some underground bunker in Area 51, hanging out with ET and Elvis, getting wheeled out when ever GWB needs to poke some fear into his people. If this isn’t the case, do you reckon that forth plane was brought down by the passengers or was it shot down by US fighter jets? And that website showing close up pictures of the Pentagon after it was hit. It doesn’t look like a plane was there at all. I guess you don’t want to share your location with me anyway. On that, how do your cronies know how to contact you? I’ve heard the terms “activity” and “chatter” used on the news when referring to suspected terrorist cells, but I never really worked out what that meant. My logic says if the Feds are listening in on some “chatter” and people start talking about putting bombs on trains, you think they would have some idea where they’re at with all that spy gadgetry you see in Spooks and the like. Surely there are other methods you guys are using to talk with one another. There can’t just be radio silence. But at least with silence, there’s no chance of miscommunication. Imagine that. You send your dudes off into the wilderness with the intention of recon, only to fuck up the original plan by passing confusing messages between one another, thus losing them in action. I guess the problem is with radio silence is that you never quite know when it ok to start the “chatter” again.

It is a little ironic that the weapons, training and money given to you by western governments is now being used to attack them. Maybe it’s to do with your team taking its situation for granted. You sit there in your cave sending out guys with bombs strapped to their bodies, disguised as just another Joe Blog, blowing themselves up in public places to cause maximum carnage. Do you reckon it a bit hypocritical attacking the system where you got the majority of your strength, or is it just poetic justice? It’s a funny old world. Though I do agree with you that the west needs a good kick in the pants occasionally just to remind them how good they’ve got it.
Do you get to see the news much? Does your mum still record Aljazeera every time one of your tapes gets played? You’re clever to use the old analogue stuff, as most of the digital gear carries serial number information on the recorded media. For no particular reason of course. I read about how with most old school magnetic tape you can tell roughly where in the world it was recorded by the slight variations in the position of the iron oxide particles due to the different magnetic zones of the earth. Crazy stuff.

And seeping through the headphones is Please Bleed by Ben Harper. I’ve liked Ben Harper for a long time. Shit, I remember giving a Ben Harper – Live at the Tivoli poster to an old flame. Now he packs out the Entertainment Centre. Did you ever go to the Tivoli before it turned into The Tiv? I never really got into Ben’s recorded stuff, but he’s a fantastic performer and his live shows are always impressive. Lately I’ve grown a bit tired of his stuff, but it’s not the music that has soured. It’s that pious, ‘I smoke pot and have
camped lived in Byron, therefore I’m holier than you’ attitude that his fans carry that really gets on my tits. Have you ever associated something negative with something positive thus spoiling the good part of the experience? It can really fuck with your good/bad differential, causing you react to a good something in a bad way. Sure, he writes good music, but I just can’t listen to it anymore without getting annoyed. Can this be fixed?

So, I’m sure by now you’re asking yourself, “why the fuck is this guy emailing me again?” Well, I feel I need to explain myself. I’ve had friends and family emailing me about a comment I wrote earlier in the week about an old girlfriend. You know, the one I was talking about earlier. We broke up.. blah blah blah.. Eventually people move on, which is all part of life. And when people tell each other, there is always an emotional pang inside, signalling the real end of things. I know for me, a dose of sexual healing (it’s a Marvin Gaye song and not Ben Harper you dredlocked fuck), is good for the self confidence and through some weird plutonic love/romantic love confusion, good for the soul. Figuring I’d be a good sport, I told my ex about meeting someone new, using the most sensitive language possible (taking it slow, being cautious, making me realise what an arse I’ve been), which roughly translates to “I’m having fun with someone new but I still care about your feelings”. I’d assumed she had done the same, with her having a very similar plutonic/romantic confusion as mine. How the news was made official to me was not as gentle as my version, it was quite the opposite. It was fairly personal information which tore me apart. But it was just that: Personal. It was not something you share with everyone, and certainly not something you share with you most recent ex boyfriend. Sure, I have conversations like that with an ex girlfriend and I do find them funny, but there’s eight years between our relationship and her amusing anecdotes. I was going to tell you what she said, but I figured “no, that’s her personal stuff”, So if you want to know what she said that was so offensive, you’ll just have to ask her yourself.

Tomorrow I head to Prague with Thomas and Barbara, where I’ll hang out with Martine from Adelaide and check out some of the secret non-bridge sites of the city. I’ve already been recommended a skate park, cocktail bar and café to peruse, so I’ll let you know how I go. I’m planning on heading through Turkey and Iran after
Eastern Europe, is there any place you recommend I go? And more importantly, after those bombings in Turkey recently, is there places you recommend I don’t go? I know I’m white and take my global position for granted, but I really like Turkish food (if you’re ever in Melbourne, check out Alasyas in Brunswick), and I would love to see Iran, as I feel it hasn’t been getting the best press lately. Maybe if I make it near where you are chilling, I can come over and cook for you. So far, it’s been a really good way of sussing out the locals when arriving in a foreign city. I’ve met so many cool people this way, and I have a completely different impression of Vienna then what is presented in a guide book. Maybe you should consider having your enemies over for dinner rather than blowing them up.

Take care and make sure you get some sun.


Dan Murphy

Sunday, August 27, 2006

six months in a leaky boat

Last night I went to the Gurtel Night Walk, an annual event promoting a group of clubs and pubs which have been built into an old train station. It wasn't too bad, with bands performing on either side of the elevated platform and overcrowded bars underneath the tracks. I met up with Petra at Mezzanin, a place where punters can stand under the stage (where a ska band performed ska covers of Don't Worry, Be Happy and Just a Gigolo), and afterwards we went dancing at the sardine expereince that was Chelsea until about 4. I ran into someone I had played poker with in a random, hidden away club at 3am the other night and the feeling of being in Vienna for too long started to creep into my mind.

I now have a whole bunch of fresh music (courtesy of Petra), and something to listen to it on (courtesy of Craig), is working for me.. Having grown up on a staple diet of Pink Floyd, Hoodoo Gurus and Crowded House/Split Enz, it's really good to hear this stuff while I'm so far from home. Later this week I'll be making my way to Prague to hang out with Martine, who has been studying there for the last couple of months. Another person I can hit up for some music in exchange for a Vegemite sandwich. Or even a Tim Tam.. Thanks again Jo & Craig. These things are like drugs in a prison. You'd be amazed what they can be exchanged for.

On a totally unrelated subject which doesn't involve the exchange of Tim Tams, I've met a nice Austrian girl, who is just finishing up a four year stint as a nurse and is looking to take a break before going to art school. This opens up several new possibilities with travel, but we'll see how things unfold over the next few days before rushing into anything. Very exciting though.

However, through some misguided sense of loyalty and heeding the advice given to another bicycle loving chum after he met a new lady, i decided to tell my ex about meeting someone new. This was followed by some fairly piss poor behaviour, and after a chat with a random person at the bar last night, I've come to a few conclusions:
  • When a person is apparently unaware of the psychology motivating their actions to the point of crudity, disrespect and tactlessness, it will come as no surprise that their hobbies include luring you closer under the cover of friendship just to hurt you. Totally by accident of course.
  • A person who drags you down to feel good rather than pulling themselves up will never be happy.
  • Not all things in life are a competition.
The question remains: What exactly do you owe someone who always seems to upset you? Anyone?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

GERLING - no, not really

Massive Attack, DJ Shadow and TV on the Radio
Munich - Zenith - 22 August 2006

In Munich, I used hospitality club to find a place to stay. After spending one night at a hostel (where I hung out with the Irish girls), I ended up staying with Carol and Walt, a couple who is soon to depart on their own version of a world trip. Thankfully the hostel had supplied me with a shitty but free bike for getting around town. I met up with Carol and we returned to their house to dump my small bag and prepare for the evening of beer and karaoke at a local Irish pub named Günter Murphy’s, which is funny for a couple of reasons. 1) Murphy is my last name, and 2) Günter was the name Sally would use when booking a table at the German Club back in Adelaide.

The Karaoke went well, with me paying tribute to Peter Adams’ Mildy Mash effort, singing a super rock n roll version of AC/DC’s Shook me all night long. I’m not going to fuck around with modesty here, because I brought the house down and the crowd to their feet. Photos will soon follow. My singing efforts earned me some stripes and almost made up for me infecting my hosts computer with a virus on the following day when I plugged my USB stick (which I used at a net café earlier), requiring a reformat and reinstall of Windows. First time in about 7 years I’ve broken someone else’s computer like that, and had me frantically trying to find the “unfuck” button for a few hours in the hope of fixing it before my hosts returned home. I left the house to retrieve my big bag from the hostel with the rear break cable snapping as I pulled up to some lights. When I finally got to the hostel, I explained the defect to the person at the counter, pointing at the bike, and they just said “that’s not one of ours”. What is with Munich and free bicycles? The ride back to Carol and Walts with the added weight of my pack and nonexistent breaking power was certainly a hair-raising affair.

On the night of the concert, one of the people I had contacted through hospitality club had invited me around for tea and biscuits. When I got there, I realised I only knew the street number and not the apartment number. This was made even more difficult in only knowing their first name started with a “K”, but I took a punt and rang a bell on the top floor. They buzzed me in and I scanned the letter boxes for any clues, but got nothing. I ventured up the stairs a choose a door with a postcard on it, in the hope the people inside would know where this K person lived. It turned out to be their apartment, and after some awkward introductions, we sat down and had some tasty coffee, talking about music and life in Munich, sharing the yummy chocolate cookies I brought.

After leaving, I jumped on the U-Bahn, headed for the gig. The venue is located next to Munich’s Fleamarket, where I purchased various bits and pieces for Frankenbike, so finding my way there was no problem. When I was in Munich about 2 months ago, I remember getting excited at seeing the posters for the upcoming Massive Attack tour, but conceded that I would probably not get to see them. Oh how things change. I read about the gig in a magazine while I was in Salzburg, and on seeing the support acts promptly sorted out an online ticket, not caring for the surrounding logistics of getting there, accommodation or getting back to Vienna.

TV on the Radio

A tight schedule and bad sound didn’t affect their energy or ability to explore their music, even if it was limited. I would much prefer to see these guys at a gig where they are the headliners, and the sound system is tuned for their sound. Disappointingly, they didn’t play Ambulance or Staring at the Sun, which are my two favourites from their album, but it meant they could play different versions of the other songs and play a couple of songs I’ve haven’t heard. They give the impression that given a better suited venue and more time, that they could really fire up that prog-rock exploration and get more into their music.

DJ Shadow

I was a little disappointed by his set, which suspiciously seemed to be coming straight from his laptop (a brand spanking black MacBook for you nerd trainspotters out there). He pressed a few buttons, and mixed (badly), a couple of beats from a few records. As for his new stuff, the metalbaby says it best: wtf? You need to get your head around that it is DJ shadow and not just some no name rapper from the states, but you know, if a musician takes their work in other directions, the faithful will always follow. It worked for Radiohead, but not for the Prodigy. How it will turn out for Mr Shadow remins to be seen. He brought out an English geezer to sing a couple of tunes from the album due next month, and that was quite pleasant. But overall I wasn’t impressed. Again, I think he suffered a bit from being in the shadow (ha!), of massive attack, and therefore didn’t pull out all the stops. The visuals where impressive, but nothing like what his shows are like when he headlines.

Massive Attack

Wow. What an act. Certainly making the leap from electronic music to live performance successfully. I saw them a couple of years ago on the 100th window tour in Adelaide, and it still is one of my favourite gigs I’ve ever been to, up there with the untouchable Tool. I remember being really impressed with the sound of the Adelaide entertainment centre and the visuals brought by the band. The Munich performance suffered a bit from the venue, but still, from my front row position I was able to get the full force of their music and the show. It appears the band has disassembled the big LED television used on the last tour and rebuilt it with large separations between each row of lights. No samplers or drum machines to be seen anywhere. All live. All real. Two drum kits, with a bass guitarist, two normal guitars, a keyboard player, 4 microphones and a simple turntable setup. They played all the classics plus some new stuff. Angel, which is in my top 10 songs of all time, did my head in. I wore earplugs, but was tempted to take them out just for the experience and to show the band I am willing to sacrifice some of my long-term hearing for their music. The set went for 2 hours and after a quick applause filled break, they returned for a three-song encore, which concluded with a 15-minute version of Safe From Harm. Nice one. One of the cool things about the venue, was the return path to the change rooms was suspended above the exits, meaning as the crowd dispersed, they were able to give the band a rousing round of applause from below. I hear one of the guys from TV on the Radio is producing the new album, so that promises to be interesting.

Totally worth the money and headfuck of getting to Munich, which was an adventure in itself. A real bummer I wasn’t able to get a photo pass, but considering the short notice I had, I was lucky to have made it to the gig.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Great Australian Breakfast

My sister is the greatest.. and Craig isn't too far behind. I picked up my parcel that has been patiently waiting for me at the post office for the last week. I was expecting a tube of Vegemite and a cheesy letter, cheering me up with its familiar hand writing and we-both-know-what-we're-talking-about humor. What I got was the best thing since the automatic bread slicer. Two tubes of Vegemite, a packet of Tim Tams and Craig's old MP3 player chock full of classic Aussie music. Fucking nice one Bruvva. I've never been so happy to hear Powderfinger and Missy Higgins before.

Thanks guys..

You've really made my trip so much better. I can't wait to see Jo & Craig this December in London where I'll enjoy my first White Christmas and meet Craig's new niece. I wonder what the Russians made of the Vegemite I left on the train back in St Petersburg? Petra, who has been to Australia, has been eyeing off the Tim Tams all morning, and Irish Clair says that Tim Tam Slams are her fav.

Dinner with the creators of Cuntstunt. I promise I wont drink as much wine as I did at Wednesday's dinner party. I really didn't know I could drink that much without falling over. I think the last couple of weeks has increased my tolerance somewhat. But as every good Aussie knows, Vegemite makes a Fetzen (Austrian for hangover), go away nice and quickly. That and a meat pie, which, thankfully was not in the parcel.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

who needs cheering up?

According to my new fangeled counter, I've been travelling for 200 days now.. and today is a very good day. I think I might curl up on a blanket in the sun and eat some fruit.

Later today I go pick up the packages (!) waiting for me at the post office and spend some serious geek time with my laptop.. Oh it's been so long. It will be an emotional evening. Last night's dinner party went swimmingly and I now have earned some new Austrian buddies. So much beautiful food, but not much videoing. Oh well.. Alles Klar. More photos soon.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Belle & Sebastian fans

Ok.. I do have clearer pictures than this one, but you know.. there are kids watching..

I spoke these guys while they were putting their clothes back on after the show, and I asked them why they decided (of all places), to dance nude at a B&S gig. Their response: The music was all hippie like and they wanted to be free to feel the vibe. Fair enough. Surprisingly they were Austrian. Unsurprisingly they were super stoned.

I'm still in Munich eagerly waiting for the Massive Attack gig tonight. But tomorrow I have to somehow get back to Vienna before the evening to make my first cooking stop. Should be an interesting and possibly expensive adventure.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

another reflection

Ok.. I'm sitting in a smokey, Counter Strike farm opposite the main train station here in Munich and I have found some nicely priced net time. Trouble is I have no way of uploading the photos I have left over from Frequency, so I'm just going to have to wait. I spent today looking at the bits of the Deutsches Museum I missed the first time around... and I still didn't see it all. But at least it kept me out of today's shitty weather, gave me a good walk and taught me how solar panels work.

I met a couple of delightful Irish girls on the train from Salzburg and after some chatting, they recommended I stay at their hostel. We met up later on, had a few laughs and ate some tasty German food at an old Munich brewery. I think I got Schnitzel poisoning and I didn't even order the schnitzel. I must have got it through osmosis from across the table. However, if you're in Munich, hunt down Augustiner Largerbeir Hell as it is quite delectable and relatively cheap. The side benefit of meeting these guys is I now have an invite to Dublin after Christmas in London. Nice.

You know that crazy cooking idea I detailed
here? Well, I have my first random dinner date this Wednesday night in Vienna and my host is so excited, she has invited a few friends around and it is looking as if it'll be a good old fashioned dinner party. I've suggested that everyone could bring a plate of something, but they don't need to as I'll still be doing the majority of the cooking. Not sure what I'll prepare yet, so I'm open to suggestions. It needs to be tasty, relatively cheap, vegetarian and feed about ten people. I'll be filming the results and uploading some edited highlights from the evening later in the week.

I owe you guys a wrap up of two music festivals, so I'll have a shot at typing those when I'm reunited with my laptop later this week. We might need some private time together first as it has been a while.


Ok.. now I'm really missing my laptop. It's only been two weeks and I have had access to other computers along the way, but shit... I'm having withdrawals. But that's cool.. It didn't get smashed or stolen at the two music festivals I went to and is safely sitting on a shelf back in my room in Vienna. But now that I'm back in Munich, I want to go sit in my favorite wifi spot in the park and soak up some nerd time.

So just quickly, while I pay through the nose for this net time:

I lost my little note book at frequency, which I've been using to write down thoughts, band reviews and email addresses. If you're reading this and you gave me your email address at some crazy festival... I don't have it anymore. But you'll have mine, so email me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Hmmm... I think I have a problem.

I only arrived last night at the Frequency Festival here in sunny Salzburg and I'm already planning my next trip to Munich for a MUST SEE gig this Tuesday.

the line up:

Massive Attack
DJ Shadow
TV on the Radio

If you were to stop me in the street and ask me "hey dan murphy, what would be your ultimate gig?" The answer I would give would closely resemble the above list. All of these acts have music which caves my head in with musical bliss. I have been listening to Massive Attack and DJ Shadow fairly solidly over the last 7 years and since Sara introduced me to TV on the Radio two years ago, my life hasn't been the same.

Perhaps Tool, Portishead and Radiohead would get a guernsey as well.

Sziget and Frequency stuff soon....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

silent disco

I got back from Budapest last night, slept the first 12 hour sleep I've had in a while, washed all my clothes and in about 20 minutes I leave for Salzburg where the Frequency festival is being held.

More info:

I will write a more comprehensive wrap up of my time at Sziget and fill you in on the fun of Frequency when I get back from Salzburg.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Ahh radiohead. Certainly in my top 5 bands of all time list. And last night I got to see them. But someone famous once said that writing about music is like dancing to architecture, so I'll spare you the emotional diatribe and just let those who know what I'm talking about imagine for themselves. If you are a radiohead fan and you have seen them live, I don't need to explain the magic to you. If you haven't seen them live or you haven't given them a listen, I recommend it. Even my mum likes them. Getting a spot in the photo pit was a lotto this time around. I got to go in during the third song. Many people with much bigger, more expensive cameras missed out.

Special moment: As the opening acoustic guitar bit of Street Spirit played, a low flying jumbo jet cut in and out of the clouds above. Really eerie to watch the lights blinking in and out as they past through the varying thicknesses of clouds. I'm getting shivers up my spine just thinking about it.

Afterwards I joined up with a Finnish radio journo and three French music press types I met earlier in the day and we made our way through a few of the dance stages, burning up the floor until the wee hours and buying rounds of nasty smelling shots for one another. I met a couple of guys from Adelaide (Modbury and Blackwood), who came to Australia in the 80s as Hungarian refugees and we chatted for a while about all things Oz. They were having fun exercising their fluent Hungarian combined with their Australian charm on the local ladies, and I got a little jealous that i too wasn't a Hungarian refugee when I was a kid. Some people have all the luck.
And it is good to hear that AC/DC is still used here in Hungary for sound check.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Yesterday, thanks to the rowdy Irishmen in the next tent, I got fuck all sleep and spent the majority of the day wandering the 20 hectare site in a bit of a daze. Seriously, if I was Britain, I would have left Northern Ireland years ago on a count of the noise. Well, it isn't that they're noisy, it's just that for the first time in a while I'm overhearing English conversations, which are pretty funny, so my attention is distracted from falling asleep. I did however stumble onto a nice little chill out area with bean bags and classical music around 4pm. But as I was drifting off to sleep, an abridged, rather loud Hungarian version of the Vagina Monologues kicked off on a nearby stage, making sleep no longer an option.

Before going in to take photos of Scissor Sisters, I met a Hungarian guy who can't have been older than 18, with a huge Nikon studio camera set up, pro lens and massive flash. At least ten grands worth of gear.. and this was his first act at his first festival. Ever. I wonder where his tent is? I getting the idea that this whole rock photography pass time has been flooded with peeps who have bought a DSLR and a fancy lens off ebay and are having a crack at doing it for a living. There is probably 100 photographers here, with about $500,000 worth of camera gear between them. I can honestly say that while I've taken a few nice photos in my time, I just lack the extra umph needed to be an excellent rock photographer. Hopefully these other camera types work it out that they are crap as well and quit so I can have a chance of getting some work. Oh well, it's getting me into music festivals for free for the time being, so I can't complain too much, but it would be nice to earn a living from it.

What I am enjoying is the eye that all photographers share and the identical moves that they make. I just came out of the camera scrum of dEUS about 10 minutes ago, but not after witnessing a few cool moments in photography:

1. The moment - In a performance there will be a particular moment after a lull where all photographers lift their cameras to take the same shot from all their respective vantage points.

2. The check - This is something restricted to digital photography, not that film is used much these days. Photographer takes shot, then curious to see how it turned out checks the shot on the screen. Looks good after "the moment" when it is the check is performed by about 30 people at once.

3. 3 songs, no flash - I've mentioned it in previous posts, but it seems to be pretty much the standard. This does tend to have a tolerance determined by the bands popularity. The more popular the band, the more likely it is that you'll get kicked out earlier. Example: Franz Ferdinand, about 50 photographers are in the pit. It was chaos. as a result, we all get kicked out about 1 minute into the second song. But the other night at the Meduza tent, where it clearly says on the back entrance that my photo-pass does not allow me to enter, I got in and onto the stage, where I took some nice shots of the crowd and did a bit of a dance with the DJ.

One of the absolute surprises and most enjoyable things for me so far at Sziget was running into a little side market stall last night that pumped out screen printed shirts and badges. The thing that caught my attention was the TV playing old school Hungarian adverts from the 1970s and 1980s. And if anyone can remember the Student TV stuff I did a couple of years ago, we used these adverts in a few episodes of Local Noise. I ended up sharing a few drinks with Tom, the guy who ran the stall and talking about designing badges and t-shirts. I'll write more on this tomorrow after I meet up with him tonight and talk about ironic cool stuff from our childhood.

The Music:

Thanks to the terrorism scare at Heathrow yesterday, Gomez had to cancel because their flight was delayed. If the same thing happens with radiohead today, I'm declaring my own world on terror. I'm all for giving the US/UK a good kick in pants occasionally for being imperialist bastards, but when stopping the deaths of a couple of hundred people inconveniences me, i get understandably irate.

Before they came out on stage I overheard a British guy asking his mate "how are they going to fill a 90 minute set with just a few songs", and only knowing about 2 songs myself, I was a little dubious about seeing the Scissors Sisters perform. However, these New Yorkers are one of the more entertaining acts I've seen for a while. The same sort of irony used by the Darkness for Hair Metal has been used by Scissor Sisters for Glam Rock. Rather than leaving the crowd waiting they kicked of their set with Take Your Mamma, and kept the pace going for the next 40 minutes. Taking their influences from Elton John's upbeat back catalogue (and wardrobe), these guys bounced around for the hour and a half knocking out fun, poppy songs which were about the frivolous things in life. Real entertainers.

Tonight: Radiohead.

The Venue: I still haven't seen all of this magical island. Tomorrow I will rent a bike and attempt to give a run down of all the different tents and places

Friday, August 11, 2006

blue skies

Imagine a festival where ALL the major music and visual arts festivals in Australia were held at the one place, at the one time. Big Day Out, Womad, Blues & Roots, Falls, Vibes, Livid, Festival of Arts, Splendor, etc.... Then imagine that one place is on an island in the Danube river in the middle of Budapest, Hungary with camping facilities and what appears to be a GDP of fun and hangovers. Crazy huh? Well this pretty much describes The Sziget Festival. 250 Acts, 25 stages and 300,000+ people attending over the course of a week. Just check out the website for the amazing line up of performances. And you hear people describe music festivals as an experience rather than just entertainment, and Sziget truly lives up to this. Week long camping, long periods without sleep and loud repetitive music. A couple of amazing head line acts, but as with any festival like this, the gold is to be found in the less known about, more underground acts, particularly when the Hungarian cultural ministry has applied their influence and made sure that the majority of performers are Hungarian.

Today: Gomez, Scissor Sisters, Coldcut and a whole bunch of Hungarian madness.
Tomorrow: Radiohead - I don't really care about anything else, regardless of how fancy their
pirate ships are.

I haven't seen much of Budapest or the country, but the people are super chilled and great fun to talk with and it does seem that every Hungarian between the age of 14 and 30 are here right now. Hungarian sounds scarily like Finnish, with all of its pixie-ness and child-like magic. I know the two languages aren't compatible with one another, but I wonder if "laptop computer" sounds just as cute in Hungarian as it does is Finnish?

Props go out to Scott from Welland for recognising my old skool "SA Great" badge (which is sewn on my bag), in the Meduza dance tent at 3am this morning, and the friendly, funny Irish guys who are camped just next to our tent who think when the festival music stops between 6am - 10am is a cue to turn up their shitty boom box.

The next few days the forecast looks pretty ordinary. Thunder storms, rain and general nasty weather should be rolling later tonight and hang around until lunchtime Sunday. I can't be too long on the computers here thanks to intermittent black outs and other journo types wanting to use the internet for slightly more legitimate reasons. More reports from Fantasy Island soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Heading to Sziget

In about 4 hours, I get on a train to Budapest to attend the weeklong Sziget music festival, which includes such acts as Franz Ferdipants, Iggy, Radiohead, and The Prodigy. The bad news is that thanks to some fairly heavy rain in the Danube basin in the last few days (before and after), the island where the festival is being held may be subject to “minor to serious” flooding. Not sure how you measure a tolerance like that, or where the tipping point of “minor” and “serious” is, but I guess I should take my gumboots. Thankfully, Dominik and I have access to the camping area just behind the stage, which is located at the island’s highest point, so maybe I wont pack my floaties. According to the Sziget website, there is internet access somewhere in the press area, where I hope to upload photos and check email, but I can't guarantee anything.

Last night, through the wonders of technology, I visited a couple of Serbian students studying here in Vienna. We drank some wine, listened to some cool music and shared stories from our home countries. I was keen to hear about life in Belgrade, as it’s one of those mysterious places you only hear about via a BBC voice with the words “refugee” or “bombing” attached. The last fifteen years have been pretty crazy in that country, and these guys have the attitude of “Serbia is an old country, so it should be left to die”. Curious. While the subject drifted from Nick Cave to civil war, nicotine patches to churches, Tuxedomoon to Belgrade’s plans to build the tallest building in Europe, one question stuck in my mind: How do other nations help a country regain stability without drastically or adversely affecting the identity of the country or the people in need? The country in question was Georgia, which recently went through its own revolution of independence. According to Wolf, a guy visiting from Berlin who was in Georgia at the time of the revolt, said that it caused a power vacuum, leaving army personnel (who were politically and professionally out of their depth), in charge of large cities. This inexperience has led to inconsistent leadership, causing instability and anxiety in the population, of which one million people (20% of the population), have now emigrated elsewhere. We talked about what a mess many of the surrounding nations have made of Serbia over the last 1,000 years, and how the Milošević years have affected the global perception the country and the Serbian people in the 21st century. It is hard to obtain visas, foreigners don’t like travelling there (but have no problem with buying Serbia’s assets at post-communism bargain basement prices), and mainstream movies portray its people as terrorists.

At some point I realise that this trip is more of an educational experience than a holiday, and decide to not only spend time with one group of locals in a town, but also one group of immigrant. This way I can get an inside and outside view of the culture, and also get an idea about which country I should visit next. By the end of the night, and a couple of bottles of wine, the consensus was that at some point in the not too distant future I must: Go to Prague to see the town (and hang out with Martine). Go to Berlin and dance a week away in the many clubs. Go to the Croatian coast and check out the best beaches in the Europe. Follow the Danube with my bike through Serbia and visit Belgrade and maybe even try some of Rastko’s parent's home made brandy.

And finally, from the saucy pages of my sordid personal life, there’s this debate taking place where an ex-girlfriend is telling me that I shouldn’t limit the amount of trust or chances I give to my next partner, and that I should unconditionally give them chances no matter the circumstances. I disagree. If you continually give away chances, you allow your trust to be abused, end up being walked over and eventually loose respect in your partner and yourself. What do other people think? I might be completely wrong on this one, and it may go some way to explaining why I haven’t had much success with this whole relationship caper. The problem I’m having right now is finding a balance with my anger, disappointment and sadness so that I don’t end up bitter and twisted. Hopefully we can avoide the "Good lovers make great enemies" scenario. But the one thing I have found is that if you break up with someone because they lack respect for you, do not be naïve like me and expect it from them afterwards. I guess if someone doesn’t respect themself, it’s harder for the person to respect those around them.

Monday, August 07, 2006


On Friday, I went into headquarters to get a haircut. When I made the booking on Thursday, I was told the cost would be 20 Euro, fairly steep for this tight-arse traveller. But the place was strongly recommended by Petra, who herself had returned from the salon earlier in the week with a rather smart do. I figured what the hell, I really needed a cut as my last experience with the white-nosed Mongolia had not gone so well. I showed up for the cut and sit down in front of the mirror. Anna, My hair artist, greets me with a smile and ornate eye make up, and we chat about what it is I want. We agree on a plan of attack for my hair and while she washes it, we chat about my travels and her life in Austria. The haircut went really well, with better than expected results. One of the trainers told me about his plans to return to Malaysia and open up a European style salon there, offering me an invite to come visit while I’m in that part of the world. Cool. Payment was not the 20 Euro I expected, but a suggested 5 Euro tip that I paid straight to Anna. On the way out, I am asked to return on Monday (today), to help another girl learn how to shave a guy’s face.

After my hair adventure, a small group of us ventured to Steinakirchen, the village where the girls I’m staying with grew up. Here I met Petra’s family and got treated to some home made apple and pear most. Be careful with this stuff, as it has the alcohol content of wine but the taste of Apple juice. After a light dinner, we ventured to the local pub, where we met some more of the locals and had a few more drinks. From there we went to a small club about 15 minutes drive from the first place, where we drank some more, danced badly and talked about how this generic club could be anywhere in the world. I chatted to Petra’s brother Berhard, and he told me about his plans to go to an enduro dirtbike meeting on the following day, and we drank a few more beers. At some point on the way back from the bar, a Beach Boys cd found it’s way into the car stereo and all of us started singing, “harmonising” the parts of songs we could. Apparently, Marianna shouted most of her lines, while I stuck to the lower key stuff, with Petra and Verena making up the rest. I can not confrm nor deny if Martin (Petra’s older brother), who drove, was also singing.

On Saturday I woke up with a cracker hangover, was treated to a fatty breakfast and afterwards taken out by Martin on a motorcycle adventure across the family’s property. This was a lot of fun, but the vibrating of my post-booze brain and the thought of tight-fisted travel insurance companies limited my enjoyment. We returned to the house for a big fish lunch with Schnapps. Entertainment came in the form of me wincing with every sip of Schnapps and asking where each ingredient of lunch came from:

Potatoes? – from the garden
Schnapps? – from the cellar
Bread? – from the oven
Pork? – from the farmer up the road
Fish? – from the supermarket

Ah so.

Then it was off to the Enduro meeting for some fancy KTM action. Not that it was a condition of entry, but 18 of the 20 bikes were bright orange, Austrian-built KTMs. The track was made up of a large square section around a disused paddock that led into a small wooded area and then returned to the main track. In the wooded area, a makeshift track marked by red and white tape weaved it way through some fairly tight places. Two races took place. Bernhard raced in the first one, Martin the second, with the brothers swapping safety gear over in between.

Afterwards, Martin delivered me to Karti’s family house where I was greeted by some more friendly Austrians and a nice cup of coffee. Karti gave me the smallest of 3 home grown zucchinis , which was still really big and a bag of apples from the family tree to take back to Vienna. She then dropped Petra and I at the train station and we spent the next hour nursing our hangovers, occasionally laughing at our drunken adventures and Beach Boy sing songs from the night before.

Now this is when it really gets weird. Today the weather has been shithouse, with rainy, cold winds reminding me of what Melbourne can sometimes dish up during winter. I headed over to headquarted to fulfil my shaving duty and go through all the usual salon protocol. “Over here? Ah ok. With milk and sugar thankyou.” But if you want a truly surreal salon experience, find a trainee who is learning how to shave someone else for the first time, make sure English is their second language and that the person teaching them demonstrates and explains everything in a language you don’t know. On top of that, imagine being seated in front of the mirror in a rather uncomfortable position, and asked to “fake paralysis” in an effort to reduce the likelihood of blood. Thankfully I survived, making the occasional but nervous crack about whether or not my travel insurance covered any mishaps in the salon.

It’s easy to forget that I’m in another country, now that us whities all seem to live in such an homogenised western society and want to speak English. I guess I should suggest to Petra that her birthday party should have the theme of Austrian traditional dress. Oh wait, I already have. Here's one of the photos from the invite.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

hands up....

  • if you're male
  • if you're between the ages of 15 and 40
  • if you're Austrian
  • if you're from a small village in the country
Well, if you put up your hand to all of the above, chances are that you also own a bright orange KTM motorbike and like to use it to tear up paddocks on the weekend.

More on my visit to Steinakirchen later. But let me tell you, riding a motorcycle with a hangover while distracted by the thought of voided travel insurance is enough to convince you not to fang it through the trees. It was such a sweet bike to ride, but I wish my brain wasn't floating in last night's Most.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

cooking & time travel

Today I had planned to take the 2 hour train to Bratislava to scope it out, but unfortunately the cold, wet weather disagreed with me. This forced me back to the flat to retrieve my ice breaker and loose valuable train catching time. So instead I found a warm cafe and read the Herald Tribute front to back. The cafe didn't have the latest copy of Cuntstunt, but if I find one, I'll flick through it at this snooty tourist cafe around the corner. I had some nice coffee (not too much this time), got a few digital prints made up and made up some postcards. If you would like one and I haven't already got your address, email me your street deets and I'll send you something nice.

Speaking of posting stuff, now that I have a place to call home for the following weeks, my sister is sending over an Australian aid package with Vegemite and frozen Farmers Union iced coffee. Hopefully it wont melt on the way. This isn't the only good news though. She is coming to Europe with her boyfriend (sounds so schoolyard), in December, and they are planning to do some touring around Frenchy and then spend Christmas in London. So I guess this little Aussie battler will be joining them in the UK for his first White Christmas. Alles Leiwand. And this also brings a bit of structure to my somewhat formless travels. I had a rough plan to go East after Austria and check out some of the more recent countries, but after that was at a loss with what to do with myself. Now I know what I'm basically doing in 6 months time, so all I have to do is fit in some of the Middle East and Central Asia in between now and Xmas. Then I should have a nicely recharged Schengen visa and get to see the other parts of Western Europe I've missed out on this time around.

I read somewhere that Bill Drummond of KLF fame drew a line through a map of England, travelled along said line, knocking on people's doors and offering to cook soup for them. I think this a really cool idea. I enjoy cooking and travelling, and have really loved the Couchsurfing/Hospitality Club experience because it has allowed me to enter someone's house and use their kitchen without having to explain it to a magistrate afterwards. So in the next few towns I'm in, I'm going to follow Bill's lead and draw my own line on a map and randomly knock on people's doors and ask them if they would like a home cooked meal prepared by me. Hopefully this rough trajectory I follow will keep me a few steps ahead of the loony police that my family will undoubtedly send, but you know I have to do this because that's what I do.

Tomorrow morning I go in and get my permanent bad hair day repaired at a fairly trendy hair cutters. Since Nicole moved to Melbourne and I went travelling, I've missed the skilled hands of a good hairdresser. My creeping forehead and strange shaped head needs to be cleverly disguised by a nice cut, so I'm hoping these guys can give me something that will at the least be better than the cut I got in Mongolia. In the afternoon, I'm off to somewhere near Amstetten to hang out with the girls at their folk's houses for the weekend. There I hope to try some tasty homemade dried fruit and sunflower bread. The country side I've seen in Austria so far has been really fab: a collection of patchwork plots of land, squeezing in half a dozen little plantations to feed the local villages.

As for Vienna, it is a really cool place. Austria in general is worth a look and a listen. Some of the music I've been hearing is awesome. While I type this, Mauf is performing an impressive live set on FM4. Lots of top notch electronic music is consumed in Austria and some really well researched '70s funk gets played at the local clubs. Haven't watched much telly, not that I'm missing it much. However, I recently fired up a couple of the later episodes of Spooks - series 4 and it does redeem itself, albeit if they are just ripping off old episodes for story ideas. Some really clever (but slightly overused), camera angles and editing choices though. I will steal
be inspired by these tricks when I actually pull my finger out and make something with video.

Another raining day tomorrow. Between my hair appointment and country excursion, I might catch a foreign flick at the local international cinema. Something like Superman Returns or Poseidon Adventure should do the trick. Hey, It's all relative. Example: In Britain, VB is an imported beer, and therefore wankers drink it, mistaking the horse-piss flavoured beverage for an elixir that instills sophistication within their soul. I'm hoping to get the same effect from the latest Steven Segal movie.

And my new toy continues to amaze me with how well it works.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Grosser Hund



It looks like I have a travel partner and camping buddy for the Sziget Festival in Hungary. Dominik, (the guy I stayed with in St Polten), and I look set to light up the place with our pair of SLR shooters.

And I also made myself a new way to pick up wireless internet from the moon.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

jumping glockenspiel

I spent today laying low and sleeping, nursing my shabbiness and avoiding what potentially could have been the hangover from hell. Karthi taught me her mum’s apple strudel recipe and showed me how cheap goon bag white wine can be used in desserts rather than something that just makes you spew.

Last night I cooked a big dinner for the girls as thanks for letting me stay and made the deal that if all members of the house were home, I would cook for everyone. We polished off a bottle of wine and joined a group of Viennese go-getters at the Naschmarket for a few bevvies. Topics of conversation ranged from snowboarding to James Bond, but failed to reach the logical conclusion of a snowboarding James Bond. Oh man, that would be cool. After that, a small tangent of us peeled off and headed to Flex for Monday night dub. On the way there, I discovered the French girl who had joined us is also couchsurfing and we discussed how the people who talk the most about CS not being a dating site are usually the ones looking for a root. things were made clearer when I explained what “root” means. We got to the club and thanks to our fabulous personalities (and knowing someone who worked there), we got to hang out in the VIP room, use the staff toilets (accessed by the tightest spiral staircase I’ve ever seen), and dance on the stage if it was our thing. Our host armed us with generous sized Redbull and Vodkas, and the night disappeared into the wee hours of the morning with dancing and drunken philosophical discussions with the club owners. My shirt stayed on and the stage was free from my fancy footwork, but rumour has it that I was bopping around like an idiot amongst the commoners for most of the night. When we went to leave at around 5am, we found the French girl out the front of the club where it was clear that she had got the bad end of the drunk stick.

Sunday was a fun day.. Well not really. The plan was to pack up my stuff and move over to my next host’s place and had sent an email on Saturday to find out the plan for Sunday. I still hadn’t had a reply by 2pm, so I packed up my stuff and copied down what I thought was his number from an email. What I didn’t do was read the whole email and ended up writing down the number for one of the other Couchsurfers using his house. So when I was calling my next host I was actually calling the other traveller. Stupid right? When I worked out the mistake and finally got hold of my host, he told me that I couldn’t stay as planned, and suggested I find a new host for the night. This was at 5pm that night. Poor form dude. Next time you plan a big Couchsurfing sleep over, make sure you ask your parents first.

This extended the time for doing tourist stuff with Tal (the Canadian), which included looking around the Schönbrunn, catching Running Sushi (a surprisingly unpretentious modern dance performance), and then grabbing pizza. I was still in a bit of a stink about being put out by my host, so rather than going to a CS party where I could have easily met an alternate host, I stayed at Wombats, a hostel that came with good recommendations from Tal. There I met a bunch of pissed Australians doing a Contiki tour around Europe, but choose a group a few American student who were much more chilled to chat with. In the morning, I had some humorous chats about Schmittens and Antarctica with a couple of Seattle girls and am expecting an email asking whether I’m in India any minute now.

I headed back to the flat to sort out my stuff and explain to Petra what had happened with my other host, only to end up with a place to call home for the next month. The girls have a tiny little spare room use to store cleaning stuff, extra clothing and a small mattress and they were totally cool with me hiding there for the next few weeks while I go to Sziget and decide where my journey will take me next. So if you are up for making up a mix cd or sending a postcard, email me and I’ll give you the address.*

The plan as it stands at the moment is visiting the Austrian countryside where I'll meet the Petra and Karthi's parents and enjoy some tasty home dried fruits. Then on Saturday I'm venturing to Budapest for next Wednesday's Sziget Festival, giving me a few days to see the city and check out the Chuck Norris Bridge. Please Castro, don't die. I need to visit your little island before you drop off the twig. I will post an explanation in the coming days of the ImPulzTanz photos I uploaded a few days ago. If you take a look in the right hand column of this site, there should be a little counter showing the amount of days I’ve been travelling for. If anyone knows how to make a java script counter look a bit funkier, let me know.

*I would just like to quickly comment that over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a few ideas about what to write in my blog, only to find that had beaten me to it not once, not twice, but four times. I wanted to talk about my freaky dream about a snake with two heads, the cool hair ties and fridge magnets I found at the MQ, how song lyrics influence our lives and today I go to make the above post, only to find I'd been pipped at the post (oh the puns), with Ms. B opening up her mail box to your post cards and mix CDs. Another example of note was my plans to use the phrase “3 Songs, No Flash” as the title for a rock photography book, only to find one of my Australian photo type heroes will hold an exhibition under the same name later this month. Scheiße mellone.