Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Oct 11 2022

Weiwuying Gig

So the Ramblers played a show in Kaohsiung on Double Ten day, at the Weiwuying Arts Center, taking the bullet train down from Taipei at noon for an afternoon soundcheck. David had shown us photos, but nothing prepared me for the actual sight of the place we were to play. “That’s no stage…that’s a space station,” I couldn’t help but whisper as we were ushered into a giant atrium that looked like we were hovering underneath an upside-down starship. Hard, curved surfaces everywhere. Surely the acoustics were impossible? But somehow they made it work for the soundcheck. And they provided bento meals, which we took back to our hotel, which was about a half hour’s walk away. Once outside, I pulled down my mask for a moment to inhale the mix of small- and medium-sized industry fumes and scooter exhaust with just a hint of coal and thought, yes, this is Kaohsiung alright. Each city has its peculiar scent. Take out the coal and humidity, and then add a bit of incinerator smoke and you’ve got Taichung. All of these take me back to the days of my youth, inevitably.

I sampled the free hotel ice cream and took a nap as night fell, before heading back to the arts center for the actual show. I took a circuitous route through the park and around the large outdoor stage with its pop show and screaming fans. The show went well enough, but, possibly because some of us had consumed way too much caffeine, we played nearly ever song about 20% faster than usual, resulting in a rather frantic pace. Afterward some fans came up and told us what they thought of the show, and it was mostly nice things. Then back to the hotel, putting instruments away, plugging in whatever needed charging, relieved at wrapping up another gig. Some of our foreign fans had come to see the show, and everyone ended up in front of the nearest 7-Eleven, drinking, chatting and sampling questionable convenience-store versions of fancy cuisine. I didn’t stay; I was tired and not feeling talkative, so I went to bed, actually sleeping better than I do at the Water Curtain Cave.

Of course that might just be a function of traveling, of being in a different city with the prospects of the kind of discoveries that only aimless, solitary wandering can achieve. Even just a few hours of this can do wonders for my mood. Would it be so hard to just take a train south for the weekend, just to decompress and unwind, spending a night or two in a cheap business hotel? I used to do it; perhaps covid has thrown a wrench into such things, but I miss doing that kind of thing. Chenbl loves to plan everything Just So, with itineraries and restaurants and things to see all at certain times, but my ideal day is just open and unplanned. Perhaps this is why I have failed to accomplish so many things I otherwise might have, but I can’t help but brighten at the thought of what might happen if I just allow the space for it. But yes, that does usually involve some amount of planning.

The next day dawned bright and warm, and I went out for a walk around the area, crossing across parks and alleys in the areas and exploring the interesting Guandi Temple with, for some reason, statues of large-eyed Europeans in crusade drip at the foot of its stairs. Inside were huge, marvelous god statues, though. But I had to get back, have some hotel breakfast and a shower before we caught a mosquito-ridden cab back to the High-speed rail station at Zuoying where our train departed just before 11 a.m., speeding north through brilliant rice fields, towns and, eventually, mountains. An hour and a half later and several degrees colder we were parting ways in the grey, indefinite climate of Taipei Main Station, them to who knows where, and me back to the office. We’ve got lots of shows coming up; it seems that many of the gigs that were put off during covid are coming back now, and October is always a busy month regardless. At least I’m playing so much that practice is virtually guaranteed.

As per my last post, I did sign up for TinyLetter for a newsletter-type setup, but for some reason this has made me extremely hesitant to post. It all still feels pretentious to me; I feel that if people are waiting for me to write things, with Expectations and all that, they will most likely be disappointed in the random rambling accounts that have dominated this journal for the past two-plus decades. Then again, everyone has a Substack account these days, so is it really all that different from the original blog era? Perhaps, but in any case, screw it; I write what I write.

posted by Poagao at 3:37 pm