|Location: JP & Lorna's|
|Local time: Sunday, 4:42pm|
|Music: Island 92FM (Justin Timberlake... ugh)|
I guess that could sum it up for me these days. Life is busy, to say the least. A vast change from the low season of a few months ago, when it seemed tumble weed wouldn't be out of place rolling past the house. But now it's all go. The cruise ship season is upon us, and the true Caribbean high season is just around the corner. There's upwards of 3 major ships in each day, which brings maybe 6,000 (predominantly American) floral-shirt-clad, camera-touting, skin-so-pale-it's-see-through, tourists descending upon our little cheeseburger in paradise. And whenever a ship is in, I'm diving.
Thankfully today the trip was cancelled, so I have a WHOLE DAY to myself. So I'm here at JP & Lorna's, (finally) burning all the photos to CD off my 512MB camera memory card. Tonight I have to work again however, at (the Sicilian Italian) Mezzanotte restaurant, doing the Mariarche-style thing with Les. We just walk around the place, strolling up and down past the tables, Les on guitar and singing, me swapping between the guitar, Djembe drum (this momma gets tiring to hold under one arm and play while walking, I'm telling ya), egg shaker, and either lead or background vocals. This is such a crazy new experience for me, coz we have to walk into these people's little personal dinner space, smile and play good music, yet without being too encroaching or overwhelming for them. Thus it means constantly reading the crowd and their reactions etc, all the while trying to avoid the waitresses with plates of food, and remembering all the lyrics and chord progressions. We are fed and watered very well there (this is a rather well-to-do restaurant) every time, and the money can be great. So that's three nights a week - Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights. Then on Monday nights, straight after a full day of exhausting diving, I have to try and organise the borrowing of somebody's vehicle, so we can go pick up the rental PA system, get all our gear to Sunset Beach Bar, and turn on the music and the charm again for the tourists and locals who hang there. Les and I do the same thing here as we do at the restaurant, but sit on stools on a stage, with microphones and amps etc. I still swap between all my instruments, and lift the djembe drum (or shaker) up to the microphone to get some surprisingly good percussive sounds (and am sometimes left with swollen fingers). I even start some background vocal beat-boxing sometimes, much to the crowd's delight. We're a rather unique act I guess, and receive only positive comments. This is our highest-profile gig so far, and we're now listed every week in the newspaper. Oh yeah, we had our photos in the paper the other day, playing at Mezzanotte, holding our instruments, with the crazy Italian stereotype head chef holding his guitar that he can't play. It's a great shot, and I'm gonna get a colour copy.
Oh, back to my new djembe drum for a sec... this isn't some wood and animal skin thing made by a tribe in outer Botswana - this is the real deal amigos. Made by percussion company Remo, it's got tuning keys n' everything. I've learnt how to get many sounds out of it, and it has a nice fat bass note to it as well as a high stocatto 'kack!' if I want. Paid US$300 for it, through JP & Lorna's Canadian friend. It's a doozy, but sure is gonna be hard to travel with!
Last night I drummed at the Lagoonies jam night, with Les on the guitar, and a new musician dude that's befriended us, Joel, on bass or guitar. This was our second time playing together. And we rocked out. Many people are now saying that we're THE new fresh sound on the island and how we have to go out and do great things etc, but the problem is a) no drum kit for me, and b) no bass guitar! We shall see though. The biggest band on the island now (Four Twenty - working on their second album I think) (with Iguana John) is desperately wanting me to be their new drummer, but I honestly don't have the time or the drum kit for it. They keep on harping on about how I need to buy a kit etc, but, well, to be honest, that's a lotta money, and means a vehicle as well, and we're doing really well with the acoustic thing for the time being.
So yeah, life is pretty damn full at the moment, and I try and grab a nap whenever I can. But I'm happy. Really happy. I'm fit and healthy, have some great friends from ALL walks of life, have an amazing day job and am a well-respected and sought-after musician at night. I don't have to shop for food because I'm fed everywhere I go. I live with beautiful beaches, beautiful women and beautiful yachts, and party with all of the above. I'm definitely not meaning to brag nor to rub anything in, and those of you who know me well enough will know this. (But hell, this is my site anyway!) Life is just so completely different from 8 months ago that it's kind've mind boggling. I know I can't live here forever (one year on this island is gonna be way long enough) but while it lasts, I'm sure as hell gonna make the most of it.
I've had some bad toothache as of late - I think another wisdom is on it's way. It comes and goes, but is sometimes like a knife in the side of my head. One mild ibuprofen seems to ease it well though. Hopefully that doesn't stick around too long.
Les was on the radio last night. Every Saturday night Island 92FM does a profile of some local musician. He happened to be in the right place at the right time, and being a great musician, managed to get the spot for a couple hours. So he got to play and sing live a bit, play some of his original music, mention me and give mad props to my skills and our band. Next time we're on together which'll be a blast. I'll be there with the drum and guitar, as usual.
The other day at work, I had all my people ready and geared up, waiting to jump into the water once I was in. So I stood on the edge of the boat (about a 4 foot drop to the water) just like I've done hundreds of times before, with my scuba gear on, and stepped off with the 'giant-stride' technique. Unfortunately my SPG (submersible pressure gauge, on a 2-foot hose) caught on the boat's rail and held fast. I ended up being yanked from mid-air and swung hard against the side of the boat, hanging there in my BCD (jacket), tank on my back, and gauge holding me tight to the boat, dangling with only my ankles in the water. I couldn't help but burst out laughing at how damned stupid I must've looked. I had to reach behind and hoist myself up, and one of my divers pulled my SPG out so I could drop into the water. Sheesh. Grazed my elbow bad, but otherwise it was just a small blow to the ego. ;o) Funny stuff. (Mum, I'm sure you're giggling about now, remembering me hanging off the bow of the ski-boat all those years ago).
Well I'm gonna go help JP put up the www.pizzagalley.com stickers I designed on the Pizza Galley building. (PS. they came back from NZ loaded with some great business cards and fridge magnets of my design too, so that's kinda cool).
Peace and love and big fat hugs to you all. I'm sorry if I can't email you all, but you're all in my heart and in my thoughts. And I miss you all. (and PS... it SUCKS about the rugby world cup!)
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