On Tuesday afternoon, while my friend Abbey was down at the shops, the phone rang and I picked it up. "Hello?" I said.
"Hello", replied a woman's voice. "Is Abbey there?"
I said, "No. She's out, but she'll be back soon."
"Well, when she gets in, tell her to call Megan Spencer on 9123 4567."
So I took down the message and, when Abbey got home, I told her about it. "Oh, my goodness", said Abbey when she heard. "Do you know who Megan Spencer is? She's the film-critic for Triple J radio. Oh, if only I'd been home when she called!" and she hit herself on the forehead. "It's too late to call her now – she would have left her office. Oh well, I'll have to call her first thing tomorrow. You know, Stephen, I'm very excited that such a famous person is calling me – this must have something to do with that short-film competition that I entered."
I said, "Yes."
On the morrow I was woken at nine fifteen by the phone. Abbey rushed to answer it. "Hello? Abbey von Erdmannsdorff speaking? Yes – uh huh – yep – oh, that's all right, Miss Spencer, thankyou – okay – yes – thankyou, bye!"
Then, when the phone-call was over, she danced about the room in a whirlwind of merriment. "Stephen, this is great. Megan Spencer told me that the short animated video clip that I made, 'The Girl I Love', has reached the finals of the short-film competition. That means that the film will be shown on the big screen, in three different cities, along with twenty-four other finalists!"
At this news I was very excited for her. "Congratulations, Abbey", I said.
"I couldn't have done it without you, Stephen", she said. "Just think, if I win the competition, that would be amazing. It would be great publicity for my band."
"Yes. 'Cause it's their music in the clip, right?"
"Exactly! Let's go for a walk up the street, to celebrate. We could go to the second-hand music shop, while we're there."
So we walked up Chapel Street. There are a lot of shops there. As we were walking together, Abbey said, "Hey, I think I see my friend Mishka."
"Well maybe you should go talk to her," I said.
"No", said Abbey, lowering her voice. "She's busy talking to that person with a clipboard, see?"
So we kept on walking and went into the second-hand music shop. Abbey bought a CD called "Tripod – About An Hour Of Song In An Hour". Then, as we were walking back the other way, we saw Mishka again.
"Look, Abbey", I said. "She's just finishing her conversation with the clipboard person. You can go and talk to her, now."
So Abbey said, "Hi, Mish!"
Mishka and Abbey were so pleased to see eachother, they gave eachother a hug, which was kinda cool. Mishka said, "You look so healthy, now, Abbey! I was worried about you. And Stephen, you're looking well too."
She was on her way to buy some wine at the liquor store, and she led Abbey by the hand as a gesture that we should both come along with her. Mishka and Abbey like to tell eachother about some of the things that have been going on in their lives. They've known eachother for two and a half years, and I've noticed that they both have to deal with the frustrating and annoying aspects of being aspiring pop-star-singers on the bottom rung of the music-industry ladder. They talked about that, in the store. And Abbey talked about the phone-call she'd received about the film competition thing. When Mishka heard the news, she said, "That's fantastic!"
Abbey agreed, "It is fantastic."
Mishka is very kind – she offered us both a lift home in her car because she was going that way. On the way home she told us about the holiday she had recently in Byron Bay. "Abbey", she said, "You've got to go to Byron Bay. It's great."
"Well, I'd like to", replied Abbey. "But you know how Stephen hates to travel. And I wouldn't want to go without him."
And then Mishka said, for the seventh time that day, "It's great to see you both looking so well."
When we arrived home, Abbey noticed that there was a message on my answering machine from her friend Boris Pink who's the leader of her other band, and he said that there will be a practice tomorrow.
"A practice tomorrow?" she said. "But I'm not ready! I'll have to sit down at the keyboard right now and practise my songs. Stephen, could you do me a favour and pick up my computer from the computer shop down the road? I'm having a new sound-card installed. Here's some money for tram-fare."
"Oh, there's no need for that", I said, waving the money away. "The shop is so close, it's not worth catching a tram to get there."
So I went down to the shop to collect the computer. It sure was awkward, carrying that heavy computer in a box, and I had to carry the sound-card box on top of that. But I was happy to do it for Abbey, because she is such a nice girl.
We spent some time at home testing Abbey's computer with the new sound-card and playing with some of the software that came with it. It's very good – the hardware is mostly in a separate blue box that sits on top of the computer, it's almost like an external sound-module. And there were no problems.
After that, in the evening, Abbey persuaded me to go out to the karaoke again, like last week. "Should I take my camera?" she wondered aloud.
"Oh, don't bother", I said. "You took enough pictures of me last week, and there'll be nothing else worth taking pictures of."
But I was later proved to be wrong. We had not been there half an hour when this nice girl came up to us, someone I didn't recognise, but Abbey did.
"Cat!", she exclaimed. "I haven't seen you in four years. You look so different, I didn't recognise you at first. This is my friend Stephen."
"Hi, Stephen", said Cat, shaking my hand. Then she turned back to Abbey. "Would you like to come and sit with us? I could introduce you to my friends."
"Okay", said Abbey. "Come with us, Stephen."
During the evening Abbey and Cat talked together, catching up on old times, despite the loud music. I got up on stage at one point and sang a song called "Better Man", by Pearl Jam. Abbey got up and sang "Criminal" by Fiona Apple. Abbey's friend Cat got up and sang not one but three songs. As we listened to her, as part of the large and vibrant crowd, Abbey said to me, "Oh, Stephen, this has been such a good day. First the good-news phone call from the famous film-critic lady – then I had that nice meeting with Mishka on Chapel Street – then I hear that Boris Pink is getting his band together – and now, Cat is here and she's on stage singing to me – it's like a dream come true – I'm so glad you're here to share this with me."
Abbey showed me this photo of
Cat – it's from seven years ago, apparently.
The very next day, Abbey's band had a practice. I came along to watch the musicians. Abbey is in two bands, in case you don't know. The practice was held in Revolver Arcade, in Prahran. On the way there, I helped Abbey with her equipment. When we arrived, she said to Boris Pink, "Can my friend Stephen sit in on this rehearsal? He likes to listen to the music."
Boris said, "Sure, I guess, as long as he doesn't get in the way."
Practising is important for any band, and in this case it's an indication that there may be gigs coming up soon. Tonight, I stood in the rehearsal room, wandering around the musicians while they played, examining their equipment and their playing technique. I noticed that they only play major chords, not minor ones. Abbey doesn't play a "major" part in the band, though – in fact, in some songs, she doesn't play at all. So in those songs, when the rest of the band were playing, she was taking photos of me with her camera. And you know, they were so busy playing, I don't think they even noticed.
I recently had a dream about Revolver Arcade – I dreamt that I was there as part of an audience and there was a bunch of middle-aged women singing to us, and Abbey was one of them, and she was wearing some sort of silly costume, or maybe her underwear, I can't remember. Anyway, the meaning of this dream is quite clear – that I want to help Abbey to be a part of the music performance world, and I will always support her no matter what sort of silly or demeaning things she has to go through to get there.
Roll your mouse over the letters and see what happens.
The program "The Bill" is all about police in England. Abbey has watched so many episodes of it, she knows all about police procedures. They're always running after crooks and conducting investigations, and sometimes the detective-seargent has sex with the superintendent. When they use their slang British expressions Abbey likes to imitate them, and we sometimes get into amusing accented conversations that way.
Question of the week:
Why is there always hair?
"Tripod" are a comedy music group. They write funny songs and sometimes they amaze us by writing a song in less than an hour, about topics given to them by other people. Their songs are not only humorous and clever, they're also musically correct and well performed. Listening to their CD "About An Hour Of Song In An Hour", you can't help but get the feeling that these men are so good at what they do, they must be total geniuses. But Abbey is even better – she can do that sort of thing standing on her head.