I feel so far away from you - and we're not even locked down yet.
At least we can walk in the fresh air - at a safe distance. Nature remains my life/blood.
The paths along the river, the playing fields - they are all teeming with a careful kinda spirit as folks fill up on the last of these freedoms for an indeterminate spell.
I'm stocked up at home: tucker, dunny paper, timber, meds, etc. Most importantly I've the means to record radio if new regulations prohibit broadcasters from transmitting live from the FBi studios at some stage.
Said station really needs yr financial help right now. Today they laid off an integral sponsorship staff member and even our esteemed program manager. It's unthinkable - yet prudent, as revenues from all sources contract. Please support FBi Radio if you have the means to do so. Our volunteer-run independent media hub will be more vital than ever in coming months. Sydney without it is an abhorrent notion.
I can offer you something for free in exchange, as is my wont. Hopefully this will help tide you over during the calamity to come. It is a recording of my five-hour-long set from last Sunday, my final public engagement and the last gig I knew of anyone doing.
I normally only play at the Petersham Bowlo for 3 hours but I knew the stakes were high and the end was nigh. So I showed early and played til night fell. The news that all pubs and clubs would have to close came through as I spun. There was this surreal sense of gentle disbelief and gratitude throughout. People were well-spaced, outside, under a sublime sky - bereft even of planes. Birds had free reign.
By twilight all of the far-flung staff members had come from everywhere - some with bags of food from their other jobs at places also shutting down - and we sat in a vast circle on the grass and listened to a 50 minute version of Tomorrow Never Knows & more.
I've forked out for a Mixcloud Pro account so that I can share this soundtrack and some other pertinent fare in days to come. I also have plans to provide tailored DJ sets to people of all ages live from my home to yrs - whether for birthdays and other special occasions whilst isolated, or just for kicks! More on that in weeks to come.
Let's dance on together, wherever we are...
Saturday March the 28th ~
Jack Off will continue to air acute audio perspectives on this unparalleled global crisis whilst welcoming yr voices and messages to the airwaves in real time too. This is how we do!
If that 3 til 5PM waltz around the clock seems too temporal you can hear even more of me on proper adult radio nationally (or globally via the stream) sometime later that evening, as I discuss the effects of this social and economic meltdown on those who work in the realm of Nightlife.
I'll also share a few timeless tracks of eternal - and particular - relevance with host Indira Naidoo. Tune in between 10PM and 2AM to chance yr arm.
I'm sorry to proffer yet another bleak missive due to viral impacts but there's no sugar-coating it, I appear to have lost almost every gig I had scheduled for three months in the space of one afternoon.
I remain determined to manifest meaning, music and culture, in public or private, no matter what goes down in coming days/weeks - but allow me this one edition to process a little shock (despite my long-standing impression that this was all headed our way with some desultory inevitability) at the woeful state of play for everyone at present. For so many this will be a desperate battle for basic survival.
Essentially today I aim merely to tell you what is no longer happening in my calendar this week - and what I still (somewhat forlornly) hope might.
Wednesday March the 18th ~
The heroic Hollywood Hotel will open (primarily to provide some final skerricks of income to staff) but it will be without myself or live music until the inevitable lock-down begins.
Thus Neighbour Night will be no longer, at least til the other side of this crippling crisis.
I will endeavour to share a recording I made on one of these Wednesdays (in equally dire - but more personal) circumstances in next week's newsletter.
Thursday March the 19th ~
Bands and deejays at Palmer & Co have also gone the way of additional art at the Hollywood.
It's simply beyond the budget of suddenly contracting businesses (who are staring down the barrel at annihilation all over again, just as the long-promised lifting of the lockouts was providing a glimmer of hope here in Sydney).
Friday March the 20th ~
All DJs at The Paddington have been cancelled for the indefinite future.
Well never let it be said that I let the merest minute go by without an acute sense of both my good fortune and responsibility - at every venue, function or festival I was lucky enough to play.
Neither did I ever buy that disaster of vast dimensions was not likely any time soon. Swings and roundabouts eh?
Saturday March the 21st ~
FBi Radio has instituted strict new protocols: ceasing guest visits; getting staff to work from home (including producers); purchasing myriad new disposable mic socks.
Consequently I hope to continue broadcasting Jack Off until the government orders otherwise (and even then I'll be aiming to enact a remote workaround).
The unmet need for frank and civil exchanges on the reality of what we collectively face was palpable last week (listen back here if you wish, it is more affirmative than frightening).
As someone that has dedicated the bulk of their adult life to voluntary community media I am not about to go missing in this situation, even if there might be minor risks in fronting up.
Please keep tuning in between 3 and 5PM each Saturday whilst the signal endures via FM and online. Encourage others who do not already subscribe here to do so - in order that we might foster more radical solutions to isolation than the usual panicked social media echo chamber does.
Sunday March the 22nd ~
Amazingly the Petersham Bowling Club has not yet thrown in the towel and is continuing to trade.
As the only entertainment there based outside in the fresh air - where there is plenty of space for social distancing - I'm hoping against hope that this (likely my last live gig til perhaps the end of winter) may yet go ahead.
Full respect to those who've already chosen to self-isolate but if you wish to adhere to current health guidelines in a safe yet social context - and share songs to mark both the tragedy of this situation and the indomitable nature of the human spirit - please join us between 3 and 6PM by the greens for free.
Take care everybody. These are unprecedented times however they will make us stronger and more sound eventually, both as individuals and as conjoined citizens of this plaintive planet.
Keep yr ears to the ground and yr hands to the sky. It's gonna be a dangerous ride to the other side.
Pictures of possibility beyond control or crisis.
Wednesday March the 11th ~
Hotel Hollywood's Neighbour Night continues to go from strength to strength - offering a communal conniption in opposition to the isolation imposed from above. Free from 9PM til midnight weekly.
Thursday March the 12th ~
Each Thursday at Palmer & Co we fire up lost artefacts from music's past and illuminate the parallels with the present through story and song. Entry is complimentary. I spin from 10PM til 3AM.
Saturday March the 14th ~
I'm so grateful to Simon Caldwell for hosting Jack Off whilst I was at Golden Plains.
You can listen back to that - including my live cross from the most ideal and immaculate festival ever staged in Australia - here.
This Saturday I'll be back on deck(s) for the first time in three weeks, following a fortnight of drastic extremes - from love, friendship, sincerity and solidarity to familial loss, the beginnings of economic collapse and mass medical meltdowns.
It's probably pretty unlikely that The Pixies will take up my invitation to visit and play but if they do you'd sure as shit wanna be tuned in between 3 and 5PM because they were on fire down south.
Afterwards I'll be dashing off to DJ for Kate and Chris' wedding at the PBC, provided someone can help this poor lopsided torso of mine to hoist a couple of speakers onto sticks. Shouldn't be too much of a stretch, right?
Sunday March the 15th ~
Thence on Sunday we'll reprise the communal joy of the best Mardi Gras in a generation atop the iconic Imperial Hotel - via a six hour sunlit set from 2 til 8PM. Join us to let light (and love) in.
Radical remedies for panic pryers - on shelves now.
Wednesday March the 4th ~
Open yr hearts and minds to the neighbours at our scientifically sanctioned watering hole, the Hotel Hollywood, as clinically proven tunes play between 9 and midnight. This drug trial is completely free.
Thursday March the 5th ~
An evening for which I am clearly medically fit, comprising of a free sunset bracket from 5 til 7 under the Moreton Bay Figs in the Roundhouse beer garden, then a gratis 10PM til 3AM set at Palmer & Co, prior to my 7AM flight to Melbourne. This is how one prepares for the myriad majesties of the Sup'.
Saturday March the 7th ~
Jack Off will be hosted in my absence by one of the (other) elders of Free Broadcast Incorporated - and a dear old mate of mine - Mr Simon Caldwell. It will be wonderful to hear this super-skilled selector stretch his legs in such a free-form slot. Tune in between 3 and 5PM and see what gives!
I'll call in from the beyond at some stage, technology permitting. This precious, ritualistic, spiritual iteration of the unparalleled Golden Plains festival marks a return home for me, as I never missed one for about 15 years or so, until the past couple. It is also likely one of the final vast gatherings permitted by our shit-scared overlords in advance of the latest mutant virus gunning to sally forth via (largely undead) humans.
Regular readers might reasonably imagine I've banged-on about apocalyptic parallels for most of the history of this newsletter - and they'd be right! Not sure if there are many naysayers hate-reading this newsletter but, if so, I must confess that this summer has exceeded even my expectations re multi-faceted domestic and global meltdowns.
The question now, as before, is what do we do with the days and nights we have left? They may be our last - or they may be mere portents of even worse times that we will need to endure and perhaps enjoy.
Are you up to it? Am I?
Dunno but I'm outta here for now.