Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jun 26 2006

Another busy weekend. I spent most of Saturday fil…

Another busy weekend. I spent most of Saturday filming in various parts of the city. By the time I got home and cleaned up it was time to head out again for a Muddy Basin Ramblers gig at the Huashan Culture Park just off Bade Road. The last time I took a cab to that location for a gig I got an incredibly stinky cab. So, since I am a complete idiot, I decided to take the MRT, hauling all of my stuff through the steamy heat, while wearing our usual formal attire, across the bridge to a crowded train, up to the main station, where I switched trains to the Shandao Temple Station, from which I walked to Huashan. Inevitably, every part of this journey was a battle to break through swarms of the great oblivious, the mouth-breathing public. By the time I arrived, I was, once again, in a foul mood.

The former warehouse where we were to be playing was filled with more noise than people. This doesn’t, of course, mean that the band was bad; it was just a horrible venue for loud bands. Apparently they just couldn’t hear themselves. The remains of many snacks lined the wall, and some computers were projecting Li’l Rascals videos on one side. I stalked through the crowd, glaring at people until I found David and stowed my gear.

Slowly, the other members of the band arrived from wherever they’d been hiding, and we had a quick warmup session before going on. With the first song we found that it was indeed quite difficult to hear oneself play, and all of the instruments kind of melted into one big, mushy sound. The crowd seemed to like us, though, especially Sandman’s sax, which was the one instrument that sounded really good in that setting. They seemed to like the trumpet as well, though it was difficult to fill the space.

After the show I talked with a few people; apologies if I seemed distracted and short with anyone; the bad mood was still wearing off. Sandman was entranced with the sound of his sax in the echo-ey room, and we continued to play off each other’s riffs for a while, until they threw us out. We ended up taking taxis back to Bitan and Athula’s rhotis, where we played yet again, until past midnight, when Athula told us to knock it off before the neighbors threw us on our asses.

The next day, Sunday, was the day of the Hoping for Hoping Peacenik Fest, down in Longtan at the Kunlun Medicinal Herb Garden. Slim, Chris and I squeezed into Sandman’s car, with wife Jojo at the helm, for the ride down, only stopping at a 7-Eleven on the way to pick up supplies and food. There I saw a mysterious cracker/cookie thing called “Natural Brown”. The rest of the packing was Japanese, though I could tell it was 5 percent something. Turned out it was a kind of cheesy-lemon flavor affair.

Storm clouds were brewing overhead when we arrived at the site of the festival. It was just like last year, except muddier. One band in particular, The Minstrals, really stood out as I walked around the stands. Again, I was tempted by the “Healing Hands” tent, but I decided against it. Thumper, Slim and I took a walk up a nearby trail, only to find a smelly garbage dump at the other end. Later, we did a warmup session behind the temple which I didn’t really contribute much to, and then we were on stage.

I’d purchased a bigger basin, 28″ instead of 24″ as before, and I was happy to find that it works very well. Thumper had commented on my use of many different kinds of plucking instruments over the months since I started playing the bass, and I replied that I’d finally found one that wouldn’t break. Apparently I jinxed myself when I said that, because right after we got on stage, ink started to leak out of the white pen I’d been using to pluck the string. Fortunately, Zoe managed to get it open so she could thow away the inside portion. I wiped out the shell as best I could, but as I played it still managed to spray ink all over the new basin, as well as my hands.

Other than the ink fiasco, the show went well. We could all hear each other, and David only broke one string. The audience was out there dancing and jumping as usual, a heartening sight.

Just after we got off the stage after a too-short show, it started to rain in earnest. The last band up was a drum corps deal, led by an enthusiastic band leader. I stayed in the temple for that, taking pictures of things like stage lamps and the lotus leaves in the pond as well as the burnt-out incense sticks in the urn out front.

It was getting dark, and the rain hadn’t stopped, so we all piled back in the car, the huge basin mostly covering Chris in the back seat, and set off back to Taipei. A brilliant lighting show entertained us as we sat in stopped traffic on the elevated highway for an hour or so. Sandman passed out in the front seat, so his yearnings for more rhoti went unheeded, and we ended up at a nice Chinese restaurant near the Xiaobitan MRT station. We got there just in time before closing, and the food, including fried shrimp with pineapple and mayo, green beans, “Da Lu Mei”, and fried egg tofu, was great; we were all hungry after going most of the day without eating.

Then, after we’d stuffed ourselves and staggered back to the carpark, it was back to Bitan, and bed in our comfy, respective apartments, safe and dry.

posted by Poagao at 4:39 pm  


  1. wow, had no idea that your pen burst open and i never noticed any ink. i’m really bummed about my sting breaking — fresh set of strings and I love that guitar. I think it was mad b/c I hadn’t played it in so long.

    Comment by David — June 28, 2006 @ 9:36 am

  2. Yeah, I wonder if they’ll include that song with the string breaking in the CD.

    Comment by TC — June 28, 2006 @ 9:43 am

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