Quick rant about tourism

14 October, 2002

The tourist operators in other states complain about the lack of tourists coming their way, and in particular the lack of repeat tourists. There are repeated campaigns to get them not to stay at home, but they do. I wonder why?

As one of the determined few who goes to the non-mainstream sorta places like SA, Tas and ACT, I've found out the tourism infrastructure (with the exception of SA, which has an excellent infrastructure) just doesn't exist. You have to deal with public utilities which are downright rude to you, you can't get to anywhere nice without paying a packet unless you have a hire car, and nothing seems coordinated. In fact it's the picture of chaos! You go to tourist agencies and they try to sell you their particular tour, which of course only goes to the places they want to go to and is a whistlestop tour, only long enough to take a quick photo. Or, like Canberra, nestled right next to the Snowy Mountains, there are *no* organised tours from Canberra to the Snowy Mountains – you have to get a regular coach to somewhere else and then do it from there. The tour I'm going on around Tasmania is probably the best, and is very well run, but once you're off the tour you're once again at the mercies of the local conditions. I was trying to get to Longford and Perth (about 18km out of Launceston) but have now given up on that as an impossible prospect given the times I am there – which is silly considering I could drive there in under quarter of an hour if I had a car. So basically, self-paced tours are impossible, unlike in WA, NSW or VIC in particular where I've pretty much gone anywhere I've wanted to go within 100-200km of where I am.

In Canberra, the cafe district seems to practically shut down at 6pm in the city, and if you're lucky, after walking around for ages, you might stumble on Happy's Chinese Restaurant, which is hopelessly overcrowded (although nice decor), but actually has really good food (once they serve you). Canberra Airport services do not run on weekends and the public transport system (which is ridiculously expensive for a city of Canberra's size – roughly $10 a day on weekdays and $6 on weekends) does not extend to anywhere near there. Apart from the parliament houses they don't go to any of the tourist sites (telstra tower, space research centre, etc) – you have to get a horribly overpriced taxi to it, which may or may not come, depending on whether the taxi service operator feels helpful or not. This was particularly a problem when I nearly missed a plane and the taxi operator just wanted to sit there and argue over which suburb I was actually in. Just imagine if I was a tourist from England or somewhere.

Oh, well. Their loss.


Tea Party concert

9 October, 2002

Well, I mentioned I was going to Tea Party. I have to say (sorry Tool fans!) that this was by far the best concert I’ve been to. Three guys enjoying themselves with a bunch of really interesting instruments as well as standard ones, playing a range of music in a way I can only describe as the “wow” factor, and they even threw in a few rarities. Apparently the lead singer’s girlfriend is from here and they spend quite a bit of time here, so they aren’t intimidated by the Perth crowd like a lot of other bands.

As the West Australian will probably comment on and take seriously the lead singer’s non-serious attempts to be mystical, give a list of songs they didn’t play and describe them as ferocious metal-rockers or something (totally ignoring that most of the tracks were slower or even acoustic), I thought I’d do an extended set-list.

Extended Set-list with comments

Most won’t make sense if you’re not a tea party fan, but I highly suggest if you’re not, listen to the “Tangents” and “Interzone Mantras” album and get the songs not on those which are on this list.

1. Samsara intro – band walked onto stage

2.0 “I think I can say with moderate certainty that I’m the only Canadian rocker who can say, with total sincerity, It’s nice to be home.”

2.1 Interzone
2.2 Bit more of Samsara (“please would you tell me, my friends…”)

3.0 “A few years ago I met a beautiful girl from here, from Perth, and we spend a lot of time here. She has inspired me so much … kind of like a … fire in the head?”
3.1 Fire In The Head (with gentle intro)

4.0 “If you don’t have any place to go, any place to stay for the next 2 hours, the next song is… well, there’s a bit of irony there. You just don’t sing this to kids at night. Well, if you want them to get to sleep”
4.1 Lullaby (with almost Korn-like heaviness in parts)

5.1 Psychopomp (last 1.5 mins was a full-on jam where the musicians were feeding off each other for inspiration)

6.0 “And with all the makings of a great epic”
6.1 Apathy (lots of added lead lines)

7.0 “As she walks… through this endless maze, through the edges of twilight … I think you’ll know this one.”
7.1 The Bazaar

8.0 “So far so good. Well, some of you might know of a guy called Mr Ryan Harper. He’s an old magician and some people have given him the nickname… The Badger…”
8.1 The Badger

9.1 Walking Wounded (acoustic version – acoustic guitar, piano, drums)
10.1 Zahira
11.1 Halcyon Days
12.1 Angels

— Short break —

13.0 “This guitar tunes itself” (complete with demonstration which showed it, in fact, didn’t, although the pedal roadie had lots of fun)
13.1 Save Me (bowed intro)
13.2 Save Me (got crowd to sing chorus)
13.3 “Our daddies taught us this one. I think you’ll know it”
13.4 Kashmir
13.5 Ending of Save Me

14.1 Mantra (full song)

15.0 “This is our 11th tour of Australia. There’s a lot of rumours and you’ve probably heard them. Most of them are true. But we’d never want to lead you into temptation.”
15.1 Temptation (including synthesised drums, without intro, extended)

— Short break —

16.1 Messenger
17.1 Heaven Coming Down (heavier and more cut back than original)

18.1 Midsummer Day (intro+4 lines, in key of C)
18.2 Winter Solstice (first half)
18.3 Sister Awake (including extended transition)
18.4 Paint It Black (in C, more like Rolling Stones original with the drums, extended)
18.5 Heroes by David Bowie
18.6 dramatic return to Sister Awake (similar to Sandjob MP3 if you’ve heard it)
18.7 “Thank you very much, Perth. Have a good one till next time”

— Short Break —

19.1 Release (got crowd to sing “I want you to be free, want you to be free from me”)

20.1 Jam (I think they were trying to decide what to do next! there was a long pause)
20.2 The River (full song – stopped at two points as if going to a transition but didn’t)
20.3 “Thank you very much Perth”

— The end —