A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
April 2021
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Counterflows: Melbourne – days 1 & 2



Arrival and The Stupor

There is a palpable collective relief as our Qatar Airways flight bounces down on to the tarmac of Melbourne airport. Remarkably for such a long flight we are on time. There is a sort of draining group stupor that pervades the metal tube that has got us here. It is so wrong this flying lark but how else could you get to Australia from Scotland in 23 hours. Maybe that’s what is wrong. Why do we need to get to places so quickly?

Through customs and Winnie is actually waiting for me. Not that I doubted he would be but it still is amazing. It is not long before we arrive at the Flynn and Humphrey’s residence. Madeleine and Tim are incredible people and artists to boot. Both are musicians who have now taken music as only a starting point to develop ideas that engage socially and communally with questions around what really is our function in this world if we are to escape the greed and ineptitude of capitalism’s ugly grip. And their house is yet another aspect of their art – A splendid hall of living.

The first couple of days are a bit hazy as my body tries to gain some form of equilibrium. But things happen. Highlights are: talking to Winnie (Madeleine and Tim’s youngest son) and his girlfriend about the band scene in Melbourne from their 19 year-old perspective. Acacia is a huge Joan Jet fan and she is playing in Melbourne. Unfortunately it is the night (Wednesday I think) that their band are playing in Totes. Totes is a legendary Northcote rock bar; going for a long walk along Merri Creek which legend has it is where Melbourne began and my first bird watching (red wattle birds, crested pigeons, magpie larks, willie wagtails, noisy miners, Australian magpies, butcher birds of some description); Lam Lam’s for great Vietnamese noodles and jasmine tea.

Day 2 – The Spirit of Tasmania

And now it all begins in earnest, off to Tasmania to the land of the Thylacine. I’m going to Mona Foma a festival in Launceston. The sister festival to Dark Mofo. Madeleine and Tim have their 6 AI seesaws there. But first it is the sailing and heck it takes an awful long time to get started. My Uber cab does arrive which is a relief. The driver is from Tanzania and I, in vain, try to talk to him about Tarab music. Why would he know. He lives in Melbourne but thinks its Ok but a bit boring. He wants to go to the US. Why do people want to go to the US? “The land of the Free”, that myth still permeates the politics of today. Aw well, I wish him well and board the ship.