Today I traveled two and a half hours to the Southern Highlands to conduct a 30 minute interview. Logical, I know. Why couldn’t I just do it over the phone, right? Well because my tutor insists we can only have one phone interview for this audio assignment and I’ve used mine up already and this talent/interview was too good to pass up in favour of someone closer but less suitable.
What was meant to be a 6 hour round trip ended up being an 8 hour ordeal courtesy of Sydney Trains. But actually, it was a really nice trip. I really appreciate how many towns south of Sydney are serviced by Sydney Trains. I really appreciate how quickly and easily (and cheaply) you can get from the city to southern regional towns ($5 as opposed to an $40 trip home up north jfc) . It was relaxing being in a small town again, surrounded by nature and easy-going, friendly people again, if only momentarily. Interview went really, really well, and I saw three towns in the Southern Highlands, and drove through/by a few others. Beautiful, beautiful scenery (didn’t take any pics, sorry), including the location we recorded at.
Then came getting home. Oh sweet Jesus, trust Sydney Trains to fuck everything up. My interviewee drove me to a different station to the one I arrived at, because he’d driven us to a recording location closer to it (I literally can’t even remember the name of the town now) and the train master informed me the next train (they come hourly) had been cancelled and would be replaced by a bus (pretty much standard for Sydney Trains). The sun was setting and I’m an idiot because I didn’t bring a jacket. I didn’t really think about the fact it might be colder down south and it was fucking hoooot in the city today so I thought my two long-sleeved shirts would be enough, but nope. After over an hour of waiting in the cold with the local wildlife (scooter and skateboard-riding teenage boys smoking and spewing lovely poetry like “if you do this I will cream my pants”), the bus finally arrived. I have never been more grateful to get on a bus.
And it wasn’t actually bad. Something kind of offensively nice about your phone being dead, not knowing where you are and facing the vague prospect of being stranded but then getting on a quiet, warm bus and riding through blackness, occasionally seeing a distant settlement of twinkling lights pass into and out of view as the bus’s radio plays softly. Similarly, there’s something nice about fighting the cold blanket that is weariness and hunger by listening to music in a brightly lit, empty train carriage - which is what I did when the bus finally dropped me to the changeover station and I got the train to the city. I was too tired to get any work done on the train, and I was alone most of the way home, and so I indulged in my university’s recording equipment to listen to music. And let me tell you, the brilliance of The Dandy Warhols and Nick Cave’s most atmospheric tracks are taken to a whole new plane of clarity and potency when you’re mentally exhausted and hearing every subtlety of sound through expensive headphones. Though, I’m not going to lie, despite how good Godless, Good Morning and The Ship Song sound in those circumstances, about 3 hours into my extended trip home I wished I was showered and in bed more than anything. And now I am. Happy days.