Right then...I've begun the 3rd album (the follow-up to 'Speak For Yourself'). I'm going to write a more frequent blog as I did with the last one so you can keep an eye on me and make sure I'm not slacking! I wonder how it's gonna turn out? How exciting! You're very welcome to comment but please don't ask me questions on here or i'll never get any work done. You can email me with any questions you have and every month we'll pick 20 from the virtual 'hat' and post them. Send your questions to: igrill@imogenheap.com

Much much more to come! Love, fluv x i x Wheeeeee!!!


Click here and here to see 360s of my cosy studio in London where I wrote and recorded the last album "Speak for Yourself" xxx

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Doh! Web Waving

Sorry guys. Totally got the DATE wrong on the waving webcam thing.
I'll be there 29th 8am my time in Japan.
I am GMT+8 hours. So UK midnight tonight! x
Love love, wave wave,
immi xxx

Here's the link again.

posted by immi  # 3:24 PM 4 comments


Alright me old muckers. Mega mega blog alert!! Please excuse my absence but Japan is demanding all my sensory attention and blowing my mind again. I just have to soak up and relish every minute of it!!! YUM!

Even though I've been lucky enough to be here 6 times in my life I'm still getting it all wrong. The slippers, the toilet shoes, when and when not to take the slippers off to go into another area and the bathing etiquette when using an onsen (communal hot spring bath). For instance, in my guide book it says to wash with soap before going into a communal bathing area but later I was told absolutely NOT! Just wash yourself with water from one of the plastic bowls supplied then get into the water. Only after do you wash your body with soap. So there we go.

The next time I went into an onsen was last night. I've come up here onto Mt Asahidake (the highest peak in Hokkaido) for a night and a day as some things via email have come up recently which have been kinda stressing me out. I got a taxi up here at the last minute from my lovely cottage on Mild Seven Hill in Biei. The taxi guy at the station kind of looked at me funny when I told him where I wanted to go. He made sure he had his snow chains in the boot. We didn't need them luckily. What a journey. I could spend the whole blog describing how the colours played on the landscape as the sun set behind the hills behind us. The fields that looked like they'd been soaked in a robust red wine feathered with delicate skeletal winter trees. The layers of the view looked like a pop up book with flat patchwork land to hills to pink tipped snowy capped mountains in the background. The multicoloured clouds retire lazily overheard, bruised from the day. Once we start to climb the sky, now orange flashes through behind snow heavy evergreen branches. When we pulled into the log cabin type youth hostel/hotel there was some very confused misunderstanding that involved lots of laughing between myself and the cabby. I asked for a receipt which I got but there was a little space there which he pointed to and gave me a pen. In the end we both agreed that what I should be writing there was my name but I'm still trying to convince myself that's what I was meant to do. I've never had a personalized taxi receipt before! Things are so different here. That's why it keeps drawing me back. So, anyway...the Onsen, last night. I was sooo dying to get in it that I raced downstairs (at a controlled walking pace, coz I don't think I've ever actually see anyone hurry in Japan), took my slippers off at the red (for female) curtain, (mine were the only pair there), got into the changing room, shed my threaded layers (always go naked in these), washed myself without soap and then slid into the "bath". I was just starting to relax, until a minute or two later I realized It had completely escaped by brain to remember to bring a towel! I stretched to open the sliding steamed up door to have a look for towels but no. You had to rent them at the desk. Oops! Oh well...I'd figure that out later. In most onsen i've been to there's usually an outside one too. This one was especially nice. Bracing the cold down the steps between the inside and outside pools I lowered down into the water. MMM mmmmmm! So lovely. I wish I could have bought in my DV camera (forgot my phone hence no pics) to show you what was surrounding me. Natural rocks with an enclosed covering of about 8 feet of snow, branches hanging overhead with big clumps of icy snow, precariously balancing on the tiny arms of the tree above my head. Beyond these the night and darker shadowed trees, stars and a bright moon. There was also the biggest plug in the planet by my feet I realized later. Anyway...a good half hour of thinking of nothing much was just what I needed. When I finally got out and washing (with soap) I then went back into the dressing room. I hairdryered my body dry! Checking for any curtain movement. It would have been so embarrassing had someone caught me!

So...of course there's tons to tell. It's been almost 2 weeks since my last confession. I first arrived into Japan like most people at Narita airport. 1 hours train from Tokyo. Everything takes so much longer than all the other places I've been. You really do need to know a little lingo here. If you remember, at the beginning of this trip I mentioned learning Japanese before I got here? Well....I kinda...didn't. In the first week I'd do 3 or 4 hours a day and managed to get to chapter 5 of 30 in "Japanese in 30 days". I decided it's just not practical to try and learn a completely alien language to my own, while writing a new album, while going out and seeing the place you're in for that time and doing all the other things that go on in a day. I learnt enough to get people to start talking back to me in Japanese but then of course I'm done for. Thing is, I have a good ear (thankfully for all of us with regards to music) so my pronunciation is quite convincing I'm told, which leads to all the more difficulties arising in trying to back track and explain I don't speak or understand Japanese. I didn't realize also until recently (after reading another language book) that I've been saying "Goodnight I'm going to bed now" instead of "Goodnight" after a meal at a restaurant to the staff. Tra la la.

Eventually I got into Tokyo after getting my JR (japan Rail) pass. While on the train I relaxed and began to get sooooo excited! The only place I knew for sure I wanted to include on this writing trip was Japan. I've always come away from here being inspired, healthy, and craving for Okonomikaki. The people, the taxi doors that open by themselves, the clothes, the culture oozing out of every corner, the smells from the street cafes, the trains and the carriages 30% full of people nodding off (the station master has to wake them up at the end of the line!) all this flooding back to me as the neon signs of Tokyo whizz past against the night in Kanji (chinese ideograms), Hiragana and Katakana, which are phonetic syllabaries, one used for Japanese words and the other for "loan" words taken from Western languages (I of course just copied that from my guide book). There's also Romanji (the roman script used to spell out Japanese words) which is what my guide book's japanese words is written in and also used in adverts and magazines sometimes. Thankfully numbers are written the same so I can tell time, but it took me about 30 minutes to decipher which was the seat number and carriage number my JR ticket.

Like I said, you need to give yourself plenty of time because being late is just not an option in Japan. You can set your watch to the trains here. A late train would probably make headline news! It just doesn't happen. A taxi then was needed when I got to the station in Tokyo proper. I pointed to a map and said something in Japanese. It worked, kind of. We spent a good 40 minutes driving around trying to find the place. One thing I knew was that I wasn't staying in a coffee house so thankfully i didn't get out the cab the first time. The family run Japanese Inn, Yoshimizu, I was staying at was so lovely. I wanted to stay in Japanese style accommodation. 4 out of 5 times in the past, record companies would put you up in these fancy western hotels that could be anywhere. When I came here the last time it was for a traditional japanese wedding for Alex and Hi (mentioned in my Sydney blog). We stayed in a Ryokan and it's so much more, well, japanese surprisingly. The hot tea when you arrive, tatami (rice straw matting) and sleeping on a mattress on the floor with a rice husk filled pillow and bedding that you put back into the cupboard once you're done sleeping. Breakfast usually consists of some kind of miso based soup, some cold fish, pickles and rice in the communal eating area. Believe it or not...that is actually really tasty and sets you up great for the day ahead. Yoshimizu is in the Ginza district which happens to have some pretty fancy shopping going on. Not the reason I chose it honest.. it was because in the basement of this little inn was a gorgeous grand piano in what was their own miniature concert hall! Only in Japan! If you can dream it up it's probably here somewhere. I'd like to thank Yoshi Haru for a fantastic time at the inn. When I got there, I was of course...running late. They closed the door at midnight and I knew I'd be out after that so he gave me a key to let myself in through the comedy tiny side door. My first night I met up with a friend of a friend, Daniel. An englishman who's lived in Tokyo for a year now. We went to an Izakaya (japanese pub) and got a couple of cold beers and some great nosh. Though...I didn't have another go at the chicken neck cartilage once I realized what It was I'd just eaten. More the idea rather than the thought. Now though two weeks on I'm not batting a lip at snails and food that comes in boxes with weird and wonderful morsels in them to eat on long train journeys. The next morning I went into my mini concert hall. The first thing I played on the piano evolved into a melody for a song and a lyric I found myself singing "The great wall of china, the scale of the line you crossed". Whilst I was recording the idea into my laptop I heard a strange wheezing sound through my headphones. It was my hard drive! Uh oh! BIG trouble ahead. I packed it up like an injured kitten and rushed it down the the vet. The apple store was only a couple of minutes walk. I clocked it on my way to meet Daniel the night before. Anyway....very long story short... we cloned the hard drive onto an external one and I left it with them to put in a new one. When they looked up to see if I was still under warranty, I was. With three days to go! Usually it's the other way around and it's 3 days too late. So...without my laptop and in this area surrounded by fantastic little boutique shops and goodies I of course followed the urge and bought stuff. Remembering to take your shoes off before you go into the changing rooms and putting a muslin type bag on your face to not dirty up the tops when you put them on. Shoes of course, even though I knew before I got here, were too small. Even the largest of largest..just not happening. It didn't stop me trying of course. Maybe one pair was freakishly big and I might squeeze into them? The next few days were a fluffy of meeting up with friends and new friends. Mostly beginning our evenings at Hashiko the dog. A big thanks to Chris, Daniel, Ian, Taeko, Ryuji and and Jim for some fun times. I really wasn't expecting to see anyone I knew in Tokyo but it turned out some friends were there at the same time. I also hooked up with a couple of people from Sony Japan who I met seens as I was out there. We were trying to figure a way to sell some albums out here so I have many more excuses to come and visit. I'd like to thank Noriko who's actually translating this blog from now on for any japanese people that may want to read it. I did warn you it'd be a lot of work! I really really hope to be back to do all we talked about. We did take a picture of the three of us but I just look so ghastly I couldn't bring myself to post it!

The weirdest coincidence was meeting up with Jim Bianco from the hotel cafe tour of dec 2005. He emailed me out of the blue saying hello from Okinowa (next time I HAVE to go there) and I emailed back saying I'd be in Tokyo 2 days later. So we met up! it was great. We went to see this guy called "Moth" who had been recommended by Ian and Daniel as a good gig not to miss while I was there. I'd never been to an underground music night before in Japan. Been to big shows but nothing like this. I can honestly say it was the best gig I've ever been to. Moth was crazy insane sidesplittingly brilliant and so were the bands that played either side. Hopefully Jim's going to send me some clippings of video he took that night so you can have an idea what it was like. Moth was running about like a dog on heat, diving into the audience (of 20) with his megaphone, breakdancing and then racing back onto stage to join his totally inebriated bongo playing buddy in a bunny mask. He sometimes has his sampler strapped to him and he'd fly off anything from hip hop breaks to piano driven lullabies to something I can only describe as death metal-tronic! That was my favorite bit. He really had me jumping out my skin with sheer pleasure! Here they are if you can make them out in the dark picture.

The band before were two girls, one on drums one on guitar. Both smiling ear to ear singing in japanese and english. Sometimes I use those translator text programs to try to get some lyrics that sounded half as cool as the way they misinterpret the language. I can't remember now what they were, should have written them down but I wish they were on our radio. The last band were sooooo hilarious! Thing is, there were 20 people in the audience max. I hadn't ever seen anything like this band and I was LOVING it but the rest of the audience were used to this! How I would LOVE to be used to that kind of night out. Going out to see bands anywhere else in the world will always pale in significance to that night. So...the last band, had 3 members. Each donning a bright yellow, blue or red semi-see though anorak and head torches. The guy in yellow was a chubby fella but he didn't care one bit! Got his top off and was jumping about doing 80's style running man. The whole nine yards. Had something painted on his belly which i couldn't quite make out and playing some customized, circuit bent gadgetry when at his "Station" where he'd burst into star jumps while making heavenly angular noises effortlessly I could only dream of. The lead girl singer was in a very very short skirt and was crossing shouting her head off that would make Meshuggah's vocals like they were whispering sweet nothings into your ear. The remaining member was just pulling some mental licks on his cyber guitar. He had some very cool hair I remember. In fact..cool hair is something you see a lot of in Japan. When I was auditioning back in the day for my first band, I began to laugh really hard when this drummer came in. Not coz he was so bad it was funny but because he was so darned good. That could be quite off putting I discovered when the person you're playing for starts to double up, tears running down her face laughing. Anyway...that's what I was going at this gig so I hope they didn't think I was rude!

While Chris and I were wondering about one night we came upon this. It looked and still does like a half a candyfloss heart. They put it up there one night and it was gone the next. Sometimes people came out from a door at the back. Very strange!

Chris took me to this great little wooden house in amongst the windy back streets of Shibuya near "Love hotel Hill". All it served was coffee and an endless long play supply of classical music on the ancient record players. What more could you want? The lady who worked there would come and get your order of coffee, then she'd get back to introducing the next piece. There were of course men in there who'd nodded off to sleep. It was a glorious oasis of calm in the most intense city I've been to so far. The night I also did a little DJing at the request of Daniel who also runs a night at the The Ruby Room which after about 10 minutes of walking about we found it was actually pretty much above the wooden classical music dwelling. I was panicking all day. Hee's a pic from that night taken by Chris from his phone.

A - because it was an English Indie night and there was nothing on my ipod that could count as that apart from 2 albums from Cable and
B - because I've only ever DJ'd a set once in public before and that was at some fancy artist's party at Coachella one year. I swore never to do it again!

The most difficult thing is not the playing records it's the talking to people who want to know what the tunes are while you're doing it. it's amazing how quickly a minute can go by when you're trying to queue up the record. I thought I'd kick off my set with some German electronic pop. Barbara Morgentern's "The Operator". I LOVE that song. I got some Cable in there (the lovely RIchie was their drummer when they were still together), some Avril, IAMX, Soulwax, James Figurine and clocks from Thom York's solo album. Different people would slip on and off the dance floor with the genre shifting per song set. I had a great time up there and played for way longer than I thought I would. I probably messed it up completely at the end by finishing with Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Coro". Not because he's Japanese but becuase that song sounds like he (though this is most definitely not what he did at all) had a song, then he decided it would sound better through some mentally distorted effects. I think it's fantastic. I had to. For me that piece personifies the Tokyo I'd spent most of my hours in on this trip. I listened to it time and time again on my ipod walking through the streets of Shibuya past Takoyaki stands (octopus filled eggs balls, with mayonnaise, special sauce and bonito flakes), past cute giggling schoolgirls with their hugs white rolled down socks, amazing gadget stores, love hotels, pachinko halls (a game they play I will never understand), a man with a souped up yellow porche and poodle on his person, a blacked out shiny 4 x 4 with a TV screen playing music videos facing the passers by, not for anyone in the car itself and lots of umbrellas. I have to be quite careful when it rains. Mainly for my eyes. I am quite a bit taller than the average Japanese person and when their umbrellas go up, the points are at level with my eyes.

Ok...I just have to let you know where I am now...continuing on writing my blog. I was in my little tatami matted room and now I'm at the top station of a cable car, on my own with my laptop typing away. The view is clearing up ahead revealing the mountains I was just lifted over. The cable car was full of japanese in full ski wear and there was I with my hiking boots (not very good for walking in snow), little wooly gloves and laptop bag. A cheery song came up in the car that had the lyrics "I don't mind if you don't mind" and I thought that was rather apt. I just wanted to come up here and see the view. The good thing is I get to go down in the cable car on my own so I'm going to wait until it's all cleared up outside.

Each morning In Tokyo I'd wake up dreaming I was in a movie like Bladerunner, to the sound of tannoys blaring out something. I later discovered when I saw one, these were small minibuses or cars with boards stuck to the roofs and speaker cones attached at every corner, cruising round the city usually with 4 people all dressed in one colour (I saw yellow and blue), waving to everyone with white gloves on. It was coming up for local elections and so they were telling people why they should vote for them. I'd love to see that in London. Ken Livingston or someone, going around in a camper, waving, wearing white gloves in a yellow suit.

Each place I've been in has really affected me differently in the kind of song I wind up writing. In Tokyo I went down another moody route even though I was so incredibly happy to be there. Perhaps it's my way of balancing things out. I had 4 days in Tokyo and they went by faster than I had time to really soak in I was there. I hardly did any writing as there was so much to do and see. I had to give Tokyo all my attention. Just to catch the metro and get the right ticket for it took me 20 minutes. In ordering food (coz I always choose these places with no english menus) I say a few things like, chicken, vegeatables, noodles or fish in Japanese and out comes a new surprise every time and it's always delicious. I'm going out for monja (will take pictures!) with Coppe on 30th when I get back to Tokyo and I am SOOO looking forward to that.

I have always wanted to go to Hokkaido, where i am now. My friend Aya helped me organize places to stay in Japan because it was so hard to find anything other than western style hotels on the internet. Pretty much everything else was all in Japanese. I wanted to try and get a piano and some self catering accommodation. That's not easy in Japan. it's just not done nearly as much as it is in the West I guess. Aya found this place just outside a town called Biei. It's on a farm amongst rolling hills next to the Land Cafe which is where I had a very tasty couple of boiled sausages. Tractors are all over the hills, churning up the wintered soil and the roads are mainly for them it seems as I've been cycling about and have only crossed a handful of cars. The picture at the top is one I took coming back from an onsen in the mountains. Desperately trying to race the sun setting as I had no lights on the bike. I was breathtakingly beautiful. Cycling into the setting sun. The farmers were burning off stubble on the fields. That's the smoke you can see.

I got up to Hokkaido on the train. I love traveling by train and when i heard I could get one up here that took 15 hours and you can even have your own room then I jumped at the chance. The long part of the journey was from Ueno station in Tokyo to Sapporo (where they make a great beer!). I was transfixed at the window with my widescreen view to the world. Laying on my little bed, the sun setting outside sipping on some complementary sweet white wine. I just gazed and gazed and wrote a lyric or two. There was a little shower room (which gave you 10 minutes on a timer) also. I didn't realize it had a toilet and a wash basin until a good few hours. They were disguised as a wall you see. You flipped them down and hey presto you had a toilet or a sink. So compact and nifty. I could either have dinner in my little room and go to the restaurant car. So I did. It was all done up in white tablecloths. Each table had its' own little brass lamp and upholstered chairs. Here's a picture of dinner.

Yummy. Notice the snail? I don't really know what about quarter of what I ate was but I've begun not to worry. I've never been sick in Japan. On the ceiling of my room there was a sweet little painted image of a farming scene that lit up under UV. It felt like my play den. Would have been nice to have someone in there with me though I have to say. It was rather romantic. I wrote a verse, bridge and chorus for this new song. Title so far is "Raise your right hand".

After another trip I got a taxi up to the cottage. It's kind of like an alpine cottage. All wooden interior. I'm getting along famously with the rice cooker and have been trying all kinds of things on my camping gas hob. Stefan, who owns and farms the land here also, gave me a box load of tasty vegeatables. The other day it started to snow outside and I made a soup with the carrots, onions and potatoes he gave me. I really enjoyed cooking the food knowing it was the product of something in my back garden. There's a japanese style bathroom here too which is basically holds the same amount of water as a western style rectangular bath but it's shorter and deeper. You can really submerge. Sit up and read a book.

They brought in the piano from the Land Cafe (which the owners also own) so I have it in here with me (am now back at the cottage writing this bit). It's a good little upright Kawai. I love the sound it makes with the soft pedal on. You can hear the hammers hitting strings and the tapping of fingers on keys. The pedal squeaks and the high end notes have a delicious character of random tunings on some of the strings when dampened. Now here in this little cottage in between cycling about on a bicycle I've borrowed also from them, which admittedly is a little small but gets the job done, I have really been on a writing roll. I seem to be starting lots of songs though and not finishing them. Just flooded with ideas. The next part of my journey is Hong Kong where I won't have a piano so I can finish the lyrics off there. That's the plan anyway and I'm sticking to it. There are 4 new ones! Yes...4! One is called "Bad body double" which is now in my top 3 favorites along with "Little bird" and another new one I'm writing that I think is going to be called "tidal". Bad Body Double is a song I've been meaning to write since i turned around in the mirror one day and saw a body that didn't look like it did the last time. I went into the studio to write "Speak for Yourself" and came out a year later. That's when it hit me. Exercise! Little greys had crept into the hairline and some facial creases that must have stuck one day after one smile or frown. Don't worry I'm not freaking out about it. Our bodies change and I have met very few people who are entirely happy with how theirs look in broad daylight. I've also written one called "wedding song". I bet you can't guess what that ones about! So many of my friends are getting married. I get an invite through the door and I know what comes next. A phone call and a "we would love it so much if you would...." you know the rest right. I just can't get invited to a wedding these days without being asked to play a song or two. Thing is...in my catalogue there is not ONE song in all of them about pure joy and happiness in love. If they're on the subject matter they're usually about breakups, or unrequited love, or loss, our not wanting to be in the relationship. I always find myself making up lyrics on the spot as I realize how unfitting they are when I sing them! So I've written one now. it's sung more from the angle I look at it when people get married. The "why would you do that???" angle. Marriage is so not for me. I am of course very jealous that they have found someone who they really believe they can be with for THE REST OF THIER LIVES! I mean...how are you supposed to know that? That could be 80 years. Each cycle end on a you must really love each other to have to go through with it. I just have never felt that about someone. So it is celebrating their love but also pointing out that they must be MADly in love with other to do it. Which of course they are and that's great. The other song is "not now but soon". Still very embryonic stages for both this one and "Tidal". Only verse/chorus written for them. So I have 3 to finish off. Not now but soon, Raise your right hand and Tidal and the new finished ones are, Bad Body Double and Wedding song.

I doubt Wedding Song will end up on the album but is certainly a good b-side. Maybe it will. Who knows. It's in waltz time. A real send up number.

I also went to Asakusa on the day I got the train here before I left for Hokkaido. It's an amazing street market that's so huge and wide with many rows of stalls it's quite easy to get lost but so much fun. I thought this was a good example of the variety of things you could find here! Fluffy stuffed dog shop and samurai sword shop opposite each other.

I just wondered about and in trying actually to just grab some lunch got lured into the little shops and bought some lovely things for people back home. Eventually I did find what I was looking for. Takoyaki! Oh my do I love those little balls of love. Here's an excited immi phone video clip when I finaly find a stand. MM mmmm...you don't really get a good look at it though, sorry. My camera skills are much to be desired plus I was excited and just wanted to eat it all up.

I'm going to try and get one more day of cycling in before my train tomorrow. I've really enjoyed being up here. The locals think I'm quite a spectacle and when i cycle past they wave and shout "gaijin!" (foreigner) to their friends to come and have a look. They don't see many of my type round these parts!

At 8am my time 29th April, which is GMT +8hours I'll be in front of one of the webcams here. Hopefully it won't be raining. So if you'd like to wave to me back (even though I won't see you, it's the thought that counts) I'll be on the link below. It takes a picture every 20 seconds. I'll be there for about 5 minutes. Hopefully with their lovely dog accompanying me.

EDIT: Watch a short video of Immi's webcam adventure here!

Love fluv to you all! xxxxx
Much more to come still!

p.s. Sorry for the lack of decent pics and videos from Japan. Phone doesn't work out here so kept forgetting to take it with me! Have taken some footage of the area I'm in now too except it's on my DV camera. I can't get it on this computer because the only firewire slot is busy with an external hard drive keeping my laptop alive until I sort out severe laptop headache. All will be well. The wonderful delectable world of Apple especially here in Tokyo is being very helpful indeed. Thank you guys!

posted by immi  # 8:21 AM 11 comments

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Soul Mama

This is the first time I have ever named a blog after a burger...but OH MY is it worthy. It could quite possibly have been the best burger in the world. I found this place on Charles street here in Launceston. I started coming to this area as one of the cafe's had internet (and of course...little strong cups of coffee) and then my eye began a wonderin', glazingly to the burger place across the road. I could stand it no longer...I wasn't exactly hungry but...I could certainly eat. If somebody asked me to go out for meal and i've just eaten, I will. I say i'll eat a little something and end up eating a full meal. Anyway... I LOVE food, which is a very good thing as most of us need to consume it or we die (I say most, as I've heard, not convincingly at all, that there is a woman on this planet somewhere who has trained herself not to eat....she claims she doesn't need food at all...WHY would you choose do that?). It took me about 10 minutes of looking gormless at the menu board before I could decide. In the end I asked the waitress which one between the 2 equal first choices. She said...the Soul Mama. As it was a nice day (everyday here has been) and I perched on one of the tables outside. Anyway...in short, it arrived I sank my teeth into it and my heart followed. This was yesterday. I've just done it again. I have been thinking about it all day. I got some good work done as I promised myself, I wasn't allowed to leave for the burger until I'd sorted out the verse melody.

I went round a ton and eventually settled on exactly the melody I had in the first place. Sometimes...most times, it's the initial idea that pops into your head that stays. At least with me. Which is why I never try to listen to things for the first time with an aim to writing for it unless I have a microphone infront of me. It's like you 'feel" where the opening note wants to be against it's harmony and where in the rhythm it wants to sit....then you just follow it down the lane. It must be the subconscious...throwing all the things you've learnt in and out of the pot before you've even felt as If you've thought about it. I read Malcom Gladwell's 'Blink' and it started ringing bells with me.

I really like this street. Lots of nice big dogs pid padding around, taking their healthy owners out for an evening stroll. You don't see many big dogs where I live because it's all built up and people live on top of each other, more than side by side.

It's almost dark now. The sky's the colour of the bedroom walls I postered Dali prints and Michael Jackson pics on as a kid. My mum could tell you exactly what colour It was but to me it's a pinking lilac bleeding like wet ink up into the night.

Sooooooooooooo.....the picture you can see here is where I've been staying for the past couple of weeks. Launceston council have an artist's in residence program which you can apply for, which I did, crossed my fingers and got. People go there to paint and be inspired by the Gorge. I must have been...as even last night, the last night there, I almost wrote an entire song. Working title is "Jelly Legs". You remember I said that I was going to record some sounds of the Gorge and of the pedestrian crossings, possums etc? Well..I did.

1st sound - Recorded from that spot at the Gorge I'd adopted, sampled, spliced up and looped
2nd sound - that's the signal to wait for the green man, each blip taken from different points so you get various cars going by.
3rd Sound -Is the crossing letting you know you're reasonably safe from being run over. This is at 128bpm and it's around the C above middle C.

Everything after that is a mixture of possums rattling around above the kitchen ceiling, my mouth and hands on knees.

listen, let me explain

It's gone on quite a way from here now (most austrailian's will be glad to hear I imagine!) but you'll have to wait for that recording ;)

The lyric for this song is inspired very much by the actual cottage itself. People I guess had figured out or heard where I was staying. I got many hand written letters at my door, in the gate and even woke up to a bicycle leaning up against the inside of the fence left for me to use while I was there. So thank you everyone for your lovely notes and invites for coffee, tea, beer and nights out. All this did come as quite a shock to me. I wasn't expecting it at all. I've had people smiling at me on the street and buying me drinks and coming to say hello and things, which I love but I've never had people know where I live before. Now I know...that all intentions were only good but my head threw things all out of proportion and me and my duvet had one terrifying sleepless night at the cottage!! Possums squealing, rattling noises outside the bedroom window. The house is quite old and makes many sounds of it's own accord. My mind played many tricks on me and i actually for that night, was really scared! STUPID or what?! Just because the cottage (as you can see) is out on a limb there I guess. If I was in a hotel the notes wouldn't have got me thinking like that. Please don't feel bad if you're reading this. It's just my overactive imagination, which, I welcome most of the time, especially for those "holes" in songwriting. All turned out well in the end as....

When I was humming along to the bare bones track I'd made from these recorded noises that night came to mind. I also grew up in a creaky old house (which I adored). The verse is basically about seeing things in the shadows, monsters under the bed, that type of thing. It's really quite frantic sounding. The chorus is me humming to myself things you'd say to yourself like...you know there's nothing there...all in your head...it's fine, la de da de da...mm mm mm... Hopefully the m8 will put a twist on it. I'm thinking some kind lullaby-esque idea that gradually gets more and more twisted and out of tune. So there we go! Jelly Legs, from pedestrian crossings, possums and little notes.

So there we go. Thank you Launceston and your beautiful big tumbling water garden, for your hospitality. I'm going to celebrate being nearly 6 songs in while cuddling up to a movie and a glass of wine now.
Tuesday morning I'm off to Tokyo. What a change of pace that will be! My brain is going to be turned inside out again by Japan and I can't wait.

Love, fluv

p.s. I wrote down the ingredients to the burger incase you're feeling like cooking

Soul Mama @ Burger got soul
100% lean beef patty, Roasted capsicum, dill pickle, tasty (that's very important) cheese, tzaziki, salad, chilli relish, harisa paste all happily married inside a wholewheat bun.

MM mmmm!!!! I want another one....

posted by immi  # 9:04 AM 15 comments

Thursday, April 12, 2007

World Population Refresh

Just here catching up on emails and out of nowhere just wondererd...
"how many people are there in the world?"

Google answered with this page
I love google and I love this planet!
It's amazing. Nearly 80,000,000 more people on our big ball speeding round the sun than this time last year.
That is so incredible.
Anyway..back to email.

posted by immi  # 2:00 PM 6 comments

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The next day

Hello peeps,

Sooooo...the next day...after "Click joy" I trotted down to the basin of the Gorge reserve with my ipod, notebook and pen. I nestled on the wall, legs dangling amongst scattered children and lovers in the sun. This is where I wrote the 2nd half of the 1st vesre of Click Joy so I went back to see if there was anything still there for me I may still be able to squeeze out.

Here's a clip of me at the spot.

For about 6 months I've had the makings of a song's melody and chords I really like lolling about in my head. On the last US tour I would keep coming back to it and playing it during soundchecks. It's pretty dark and heavy. I've been eager to finish it as I really loved what it was already. When I was in Maui, I settled on the key and structure and recorded the idea with my one mic on the piano so I could work on it out here, as there's no piano at the cottage. So I was listening to it and listening to it...and before long it started pouring out. The chorus sings "Things are not always as they seem". With references in the verse to the world view that once the earth was flat, that we may not actually be at the centre of everything and that our big ball of beautiful matter spins round the sun. This is at surface level. The undercurrent is something that's been bothering me for a while, so I guess my subconscious has been busy at it while I've been doing other things. I love songs that just seem to pop out like that. Not many come about like that. Speeding cars and Hide and seek did...so you can see why i'm excited about this one. I haven't exactly nailed the title yet but the W.I.P title is "Polyfiller". Surprisingly that does make sense when you hear the whole song but I'm not convinced that it makes a good title. We'll see.

So then yesterday...I was feeling like I was on a roll and decided...if I can write a whole song in a day surely I can place the last remaining pieces of the "Little Bird" puzzle. And low and behold....one bowl of cereal at 10am, turn on the laptop and before you know it, you're starving, it's 6pm but...you've cracked it!

I love making lists. And here's the latest

Wait it out
Little Bird
Click Joy

Completely not expecting to have done all that in the last few days I am kind of at a loss as to what to do next. I was thinking I may get my field recording get up and go sample the sounds of Launceston. My favourite are the possoms in the roof above my kitchen ceiling. What a racket! I was really worried that something was dying in there but I've been reassured this is quite normal for them and people here just put up with it. They make a HUGE, terrifying sound for something so seemingly fluffy and cute. I also love the sounds that the pedestrian crossings make. I think that could be the beginning of the next song. Just as the ceiling fans in the Fijian appartment became the start of Click Joy. Then there's the "night sounds". When cars quieten down and make way for other noises. I will also go and get some Gorge samples. Especially that spot I was in. Maybe just the sound of it will work if I listen to it again? Worth a try for the next lyrical dry patch crisis.

Love, fluv to you all.
Be in touch soon. xxxx

posted by immi  # 3:48 AM 13 comments

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Click Joy

Hello you lot.

I'm in an a bar at the moment with some wine listening to the song (on my laptop with headphones, I'm not that confident) that I was stressing over in the last post. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it now. All day yesterday I parked myself up in a coffee shop for no less than 6 hours non stop. I was their longest customer ever (so I gave them a S4Y CD), though they have only been open for about 6 days. I decided to see if the "Glittering Cloud" formula would work. Basically drinking macchiato after macchiato with tons of suger in each (because I don't actually like the taste of coffee) and knuckling down to it. The outcome was 2 verses that evolved from about 40 pages of scribblings. I went back to the house and sung them in. I then took out the one thing that I was SO hung up on. The original title that I was so chuffed with was "qwerty love" about being in love with my laptop basically. Being dependant on it. Anyway. When I thought about it I realized that, that didn't make any sense at all. What about all the other things that make up a computer/internet etc? i was being really stupid and protective over it too.

So there we go...the problem lay in the thing I most believed in. I ditched it and the lyric breathed into life. Hooray!

I'm so happy to have won the wrestling match...for now as I was coming up to a week of fighting with it.

That's about it for this entry. I'm back on track. As much as I was downhearted about it all the day before yesterday...I'm jumping about and skipping down the boardwalk here in Launceston to it today. Imagine what I'm like to live with. Goodness. Moodswing queen. Up and down all over the place. The high's are worth it though.

Thanks for all your emcouraging comments on my website. I know I have to go through it. It's a process but I can't help to moan every now and then.

It's called "Click Joy" now btw.


Love fluv to you all.
Immi xx

I don't really have a photo to go with this post...but here's a (not very good taken by camera phone) picture I took the other day while walking through the beautiful Gorge here by my cottage.

posted by immi  # 11:01 AM 20 comments

Friday, April 06, 2007

hiccups and catamarans

I've hit a stumbling block today. It seems to be a mixture of very short attention span and also the uncanny ability to talk myself out of any idea, direction or lyric for the song I'm working on. I can't help seeing both sides of the argument and am fighting equally for each. I'm not sure why this is...or how to get out of it. The answer doesn't seem to be in countless cups of tea or nearly a loaf's worth of toast and butter. I had to get out of the house before I started on the rest of the fridge. I'm sure i'll figure it out. Trying to decide whether to work through it tonight or to go to a birthday party I've been invited to by some guys I met the other day. It's a Doctor Who themed party. I could make some dalek noizes when I walk through the door but that's about as far as my Doctor Who-ness will go.

Maybe it won't be there first thing when i wake up. It's just a state of mind but when you're by yourself it's a tough one to get out of. Ahh the ups and downs. I was soooo set on this idea. Maybe i'll like it again tomorrow.

I'm sure If someone else was having this hiccup I would offer them lots of ideas on how to get out of it...but today, quite frankly i just can't be bothered! I'm in a mood. Maybe i need some new shoes or something? It's Easter friday and there's nothing open. Which is also not helping. And as It's Easter I should wish you a happy one so...Happy Easter. I haven' had a chocolate egg yet! That's what it is...I need a chocolate egg. I wonder if they have Cadbury's mini eggs. They are my absolute favourite. YUMMY. So small, so crispy, so full of sugary chocolate.

I'm in an internet cafe. There's a man next door to me who seems to have been eating sweets from this super crinkly packaging for the past half hour. They just keep on coming out. It's only a small bag. I wonder if he's got a tube coming from out of his sleeve from a big barrel of them concealed beneath his jacket somewhere.

Yesterday I went on a boat up the River Tamar. I wanted to find out a bit more on the history of the place and of course...go on a nice boat trip. Lots of big jellyfish in the water. They're not harmful to us.

The skipper told us when he was a boy, he and his brother used to throw them at each other! My brother threw me in the River Cam when I was 13, but that's another story. I'll just say I was being a royal pain in the posterior and I deserved it. I had to then go eat in a restaurant with my family all smelly and sopping!

I sat out on the front of the boat. No-one else came out because it was pretty windy (got up to 30 knotts). I was scribbling down bits and taking in the veiw. They have black swans here. So beautiful. I like that Thom Yorke song, "black swan" from his solo album.

I kinda wanted to get up to Beauty Head just north of here as today is the start of a competition called three peaks. They have to sail to three different destinations and then run up a peak at each. They don't sleep and it takes them 3/4 days. If they get to the peak in the middle of the night then they run up with torch on head, in sometimes -20 degrees to the top and down again. Nutters! I wanted to see who would be crazy enough to do it...but then I didn't go because i got stuck into not getting anywhere with this song. Rrrr...

Right...I'm off to find some chocolate.
Hopefully next blog I'll have won the wrestling match (with myself..).

Love fluv.
immi xx

posted by immi  # 7:42 AM 9 comments

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm in love with Gorge

Hello possums! (there are also some in my larder. At the moment they're heard and not seen).

I'm in a cafe/bar on the waterfront right now in Launceston, Tasmania as I haven't got the internet going in the cottage yet. This is more out of choice as it gets me out and about come evening time (and drinking some nice one while I type). Let's begin shall we?

As soon as I got in the taxi from the airport I knew I was going to be OK.
The hills, the clouds, the traffic jam. (only coz they're were doing road works just outside the airport. Definitely not the norm out here.) And thankfully, I was going to be staying here for a while.

After I'd got to the cottage and met up with Gina (who had the keys) I did the usual settling in drill. Unpacking, setting up my portastudio. Hanging up clothes and shopping for a few small bits of breakfasty stuff. That night I went to dinner at a place the cabby (who used to be a roadie in the UK back in the 60's and toured with Eric Clapton) recommended called "Still water" (the old water mill), close to where I am. I went and booked myself a table for 1. I wonder if they assume I must be a reviewer from a guide or something as service is always fantastic for me whenever I've do eat alone.

The bits "in inverted commas" are taken from my writing book....

"Tonight I felt like a real songwriter. Not an impostor. Which is how i usually feel. Like I'm kinda busking my way through all of this somehow. That I'm fooling you all into thinking I'm any good. I was rabid with with ideas. Strong themes. Frantic with the pen. In between uncontrollable hysterical laughter thanks to the book I'd bought at Sydney airport - "Salmon of Doubt" by Douglas Adams. He's just so so funny. I can't tell you. If you want to find out what makes my sides split and my body crumple in laughter...then read. Fantastic. This is what spurred it off I'm sure of it. That coupled with grassy hills, gorgeous Gorge and a high street busy with walking talking people, coffee shops and bus stops.

I'm staying right on the Cataract Gorge. This seems to be where all the joggers come all through the day. It makes me feel like I'm exercising just by watching them. Sometimes I'd go to the gym and just use the sauna and be around really fit people hoping that somehow being fit would magically rub off on me."

I've just noticed my keypad had a little mouse in it. It's started to squeak as I type.
Also..a little note-let about Sydney...I met up with an old school teacher of mine in Sydney, which was really nice. Always is to meet up with someone who knew you back then, in your brat days. We were talking about Second Life as he designs stuff for it sometimes. I was thinking it may be nice to have a little island or something on here for us all to hang out on. Do a virtual concert and stuff. What do you think?

I've attached a map here for you. I've even done my own key too. How organized is that? You can tell I may have a little more time on my hands these days. This is what I did yesterday.

"I've just been walking the trail from my lovely cottage that's by Kings Bridge (built in the late 1800's. Swatted up at green dot no.2, see map) to see what I could find. I had no idea what was in store for me. After about 5 mins of walking amongst the water and rocks I could feel my brain soften. Sometimes it's too hard. You know? Like it's protecting itself from the outside. Shutting it out. I can't believe how good things are right now. Launceston must be one happy town to have this fantastic wonderland on it's doorstep. The river begins to tumble more over the rocks as you go upstream. I love being by the ocean but there's something about a river. I think it's coz it's really going somewhere. Not just landing on the shore after it's long journey. A river is up for bigger things. Soon enough I came upon the completely unexpected victorian garden tickling the edges of the basin. At one end a suspension bridge. I love bridges too. Especially these ones. The more people that walk across them the more you have to hold on. I wish sometimes that women dressed the way they did in those times (sometimes I guess I do kinda), in their huge, intricate domed and boned dresses, corseting their ribs to within a pinch of their cage. Protecting their rosy skinned faces with ornate and fringed parasols. Completely the opposite of today with flesh on show, baked in the oven.

It really hit me today that I was in Australia when a bush rustled up a wallaby from behind it's back! I tried fumbling to get my camera phone from the depths of my trick bag but it wasn't there when I needed it."

I had lunch, read more of the "burst out into fits of giggles" book and then walked about the basin. I sat for about 2 hours on the little low footbridge there. The river squeezing it's way through beneath it. Legs dangling. Listening to my ipod, song on repeat. It's the idea I came up with in Fiji. I have got an idea for a song I'm so excited about. I'm not actually going to tell you what It's called or what it's about though. Crap ha? It was probably a COMPLETE coincidence that The Feeling's song "Sway" had the lyric "Heart in a headlock" but I was still slightly suspicious. I don't want to feel suspicious again. it's not nice. Plus...I know Dan (the singer/writer) and it was kinda awkward for me. Anyway...! I'm well happy about it. You would have seen my tapping my dangling feet, humming out of tune random lyrics for a couple of hours here. This place is having such a nice effect on me. It's green and peaceful but there's still humans here that I can interact with (been talking to geckos mainly). Even just to watch us helps. I guess it just comes down to...if you're writing about people, you need to be around them!

After hours of this I took my return trip on the chair lift. I love being lifted about ground. Smiling to people going the other way. Both parties knowing that it's slightly silly what we're doing but so are many things pleasurable in life. I listened to "little bird" on my way. I really got a sense of how I want the track to go when I get into the studio. In the same way that "Flight of the bumblebee" totally makes you imagine you are on the back of a bee through wild mountains, I want little bird to make you weightless. More like a sparrow than an eagle though. Flitting up and down with the breeze. So all in all I think you can tell, I'm feeling pretty positive at the moment. Which is a slight change from Fiji from a writing perspective anyway.

And so...today. I walked and walked and walked. Much more than I had planned! I only took an apple with me to eat as I'd imagined I'd probably come across a small kiosk or something. This is what made my journey a long one. I didn't want to turn back until I had...and it never happened. Lots and lots of soft spongy brain action all the while, soaking it all up. Eventually (6 hours later) amongst the trees and rock formations I came upon a nice lady and her dog patch. They gave me a lift into town where I sat, read and scoffed down some sliced meats and stuffed cherry tomatoes. I started off the same place but went via the zigzag track on the other side of the river, passed my wallaby sighting and then continued off the page...by a very long way! I'm going to catch up on the song writing side of things today. I have quite a satisfying aching of the legs under the table at the moment.

Oh..saw lots lots more wallabies today. Big ones little ones. Here's a little one for you.

Right...Love to you all. Will catch up soon.
immi xxx

p.s. pic at the top was taken from this spot It's very tricky to take a good picture of yourself. The sun seems to have shaded in my eyebrows to give them a "pork chop" effect. Making me hungry...

posted by immi  # 10:55 AM 11 comments

Sunday, April 01, 2007


I'm still in beautiful Fiji for one more night but by the time I get to send this out to you I'll be in Sydney. Reason being, just now I went to the desk at this place I'm staying at in Nadi to ask about internet here and the girl told me "The bees are in there".... so there we go! You've just had to wait as the bees are doing their thing in the internet room! Right now I'm sitting waiting for dinner with my laptop tapping away. Usually I wouldn't bring my laptop to the dinner table. A book would suffice but there's rugby blasting from the 10 foot TV screen at this place I'm staying in for a night and 3 cats circling me waiting to get some tasty fish from the meal I just ordered. I don't know how they knew but...when I ordered the dish "Ika Vakalolo" (a fijian dish of white fish cooked in Coconut milk- today the fisherman caught Walu just off the beach here) they came prancing right up. Ok...so i've just eaten dinner and I probably should have given it to the cats but the local rum punch is very good and my camper than a row of tents waiter, Aisake, is hilarious. Just here in Nadi for a night to catch my Australia bound flight early morning.

Anyway...for the past 4 days I've been floating on the "garden island" of Taveuni. It is so beautiful. The flowers just hanging around at every turn are enough to make any gardening enthusiast green with envy! Such bright and brilliant colours. So of course there were a bazillion things I should have done on the island namely SNORKELING! I know...don't hate me...I just didn't do any. People come from all over the world to go snorkeling in these waters. I messed up. I know. Total wasted opportunity. Bad, bad me. Big fat Homer DOH!

Let me tell you what I HAVE been doing though! There is so much to tell. Even just the flight in was amazing. In a small 16 seater winged tin for 80 mins over pristine many shaded blue pacific coral friendly waters. When I arrived at the airport on Taveuni (just caught the connection as my flight was so badly delayed from Honolulu) i was greeted by the lovely Buna who had a taxi waiting to take me to my new little home for the next few days. So we drove out the airport home to 4 plane visits a day to the house and literally...the opposite side of the street was the entrance! Rather funny. I was gearing up for at least 20 mins in the taxi, taking in the sights, smells and sounds. But...Nand (our driver) did show me the local shop so I could go by there later and get some food for my stay. When we pulled up by the house, Sepo burst into traditional fijian song accompanied by his guitar. That's what I call a welcome! He was in a band over here called the "Maravu Band Boys". Great harmonies. I had a listen to his CD.

Then the house. Well actually, the view. coz that's all I could look at. I couldn't take anything else in. it was just so breathtakingly gorgeous. I've just realized that I didn't take a picture of it! Shameful. Here's a still from my video camera. I was taking footage for, well, I'm not quite sure what yet...but I'm shooting it anyway.

After unpacking, I biked down on one of the two functional, but teeny bikes that belonged to the house, to the local shop to get provisions. Gathered in some canned goods, rice and some apples. Lots of apples as this was the only fresh matter I could find. When I cycled on from the shop to explore I realized why...because this is another place in the world where fruit is just dripping off the trees. Never mind being knocked down by a car (I think I crossed paths with one in an hour) it's the coconuts. You're a gonner if the world's biggest nut collides with you cranium! I carried on the road after it turned into dirt and cycled up the hill a bit (not easy on a bike that small!). People here seemed to live well. Healthy, cheerful. well fed, coz if you're hungry, look to the trees! The road toads however, don't do so well. There were quite a few steamrolled casualties. Some looked mummified. I guess not even the wild pigs fancy these guys. All on one side of me, the still, glassy ocean outstretched to the earth's curve, dotted with paradisal islands. Fishermen catching the dish of the day. I was calm again.

That evening, I decided to go and check out this place a couple of doors down. It was a restaurant and I entered in true Heap style...by slipping onto the freshly laid cement path and completely ruining it! In my defense, there wasn't a sign to warn unsuspecting people like me. i apologized profusely and all was in true Fijian style, totally cool. There were 4 guys seated on the floor equipped with 4 guitars, one was a Ukelele. Little bit of trivia for you...Ukulele in Hawaiian translates as "Jumping flee". Liam told me that (read Aloha! to find out about him). They were seated in a circle around a big wooden bowl containing some murky brown liquid I soon discovered to be Kava. A customary drink. As far as I understand, It's made by taking the root of the Kava plant, drying it, pummeling it and then putting it in a muslin pouch. Then I think you just soak it in water and hey presto! I should read up on it really...as soon as I get to somewhere where the bees are not. I didn't take any pictures that night sadly but here's what looks to be an ornamental Kava bowl in the entrance of the resort here.

We shook hands, they offered me a drink out of the little wooden cup everyone shared, I of course accepted (have I ever not?!), besides...it would be rude not to. All 4 clapped about 3 times each, slowly afterwards. It gave a slight tingling in the mouth. A little numbing. I had a large smile on my face after that...could well just have been down to the gorgeous harmonies that were mingling among us. They sang and played all night. I almost didn't want to go and sit down to eat coz it meant I'd be 10 feet away from them. The food here was mouthwatering. My favourite was Rourou soup. mm mmmmm! I ordered it for starters as I had no idea what it was. Always a good start. The lady told me it was like spinach, It kinda was but it had a more bitter, chilli type taste also. Hard to describe. I'm going to hunt it down in London and try to cook with it. Apparently it can make your throat itchy if you don't prepare it correctly though. A nice New Zealand couple offered me a seat at their table as I was dining alone. At first I politely declined
A. coz i'm a bit shy,
B. coz i don't mind eating alone at all and
C. coz I was feeling guilty about not having written anything substantial or a few days and had my notepad and pen at the ready.

But after talking to them anyway from across the paving I decided it was silly and went over there to "quiz you on Taveuni and find out what I should be doing". It was a good chat. They'd done a lot of traveling by the sounds of it.

After dinner, we went and sat down with the boys again, they call themselves the Quelu brohers named after their village. I couldn't help it. All that beautiful music just really made me want to sing! I asked if it would be ok to join in and "jam" with them. The result wasn't my best but I had fun whilst making a mess of it. Their phrasing is so different to what I'm used to singing in my own songs. We stayed right to the end. I shared out the rest of my bottle of wine from dinner between the boys.

I was so whacked, I went straight to bed after that. Lot's of traveling, Kava and half a bottle of wine did that to me. Before I fully got under the covers I got out my field recording mics I bought for Tanzania. I wanted to record the sound of the night. The frogs and crickets. I plugged it in, put my headphones on, put it in record and instantly fell asleep. I woke up with lights on, fan off, all geared up. I was actually really excited about the thought of hearing myself go to sleep. You never remember "just" going to sleep. That exact moment. I really wanted to listen to it...maybe I said some cool stuff..but I didn't actually have it in record. There we go. Can't get it right all the time. :) I got some recordings of the night another time.

The next day, I wanted to go kayaking. Part of the reason of me choosing this little house in particular was, it was on the water and had kayaks. So, off I went. Factor 25 head to toe into the blue. I was out there for ages. I saw the couple from the night before around the way a little. They were collecting coconuts amongst the freshly beached collection of pumice stone that had washed up overnight. I saw it from the air coming in and wondered what these long trails of brown were on the ocean beneath. So it turns out there's been a volcanic eruption somewhere in the pacific and this is what's come from it. Amazing to think that only a few days ago, these stones were lava bubbling beneath the earth's crust. It was fun to kayak over patches of them. They made a nice crackling sound against the plastic bottom. Once I'd paddled about a bit close to home, I was beginning to feel a bit more adventurous. So...you see those two similar sized islands behind me in that image, well beyond that there's a pearl farm. When I saw it flying in and thought it was someone's house. I wanted to go and have a look. As I was heading over I heard splashing sounds in the water around me. I thought it was just my paddling but then when I stopped and looked around a huge fish leaped out the water and continued to skim and jump along the surface. Amazing! About 20 skims. It had a really sharp nose. Then another, then another! I was a little concerned one may fly into me by accident. I think i'd probably be worse off but they may have some trouble reversing out. This got me to look down. Into what I was paddling over. Amazing electric blue and green fish. Scurrying around in the other world. I really wanted to get in...but...i didn't have any "boat shoes" and coral may look pretty but it has weapons to make sure things keep off. Plus I had my mobile phone with me so I could take pics for us, like these.

As i was kayaking toward it I was thinking wouldn't it be amazing if there was a gorgeous man, just waiting for me when i got there. Some young, handsome pearl boy in his shack on the water. Obviously that's not gonna happen right? As I got closer I noticed a motorboat leaving and two figures in it. By the time I'd got to the shack they'd made there way back and...guess what! There were two really gorgeous pearl hunter boys! Now a lush body is not first thing I look for in a man at all but these were two very fine specimens I must say. They were enough to make me blush, say Bula and make a sharp left turn like I had somewhere else to be. Luckily for me there was an island dead ahead of me now and I made my way toward it purposefully. I was in a right fluster. Isn't it odd how just somebody's body can make you behave? I felt really silly that I couldn't at the very least have had a small exchange of words.

So there I was now...heading for this island. Further away from home now. If you look on the picture again at the top the island is the smallest one to the far left. I saw it had a tiny golden beach and thought not such a bad place to end up. Closer still I clocked a straw roofed, open sided hut with a table and 2 chairs underneath it. I figured it must be someone's private island and kayaked around it (took about 3 mins) to check for signs of human habitat. I couldn't see a house, so thought...why not? and parked up on the beach. What a find! And weirder than it being there in the first place, this perfect island ready for writing with a table, chair and shade got me 5 bars of signal on my mobile phone! I hadn't had signal anywhere on the mainland. So I rang my mum and dad to say hi. I didn't realize it was 1am though. I made a little movie...i am red faced and my right eyebrow does what it always does and curls under...but hey.

and i found this one also...

So i did go back there quite a few times. Here's a couple of other videos I took. I think I'm a little bit overly worried here about my red face as I've mentioned it three times and it doesn't even look that red.

So...wow...it's only 1pm on the first full day in Fiji. I can't carry on like this! I'm in Sydney now...I think i'm going to have to let the pics and movies spell it out. I've got dinner in 30 mins with some old pals, Alex and Hi. Also meeting Aya who's been helping me get together the Japanese part of the trip.
I got back for 1pm as I'd ordered a taxi. William (my taveunian taxi driver) took me to a few places. We came upon this church which was rather bizarre. It was the first building i'd seen over 1 story high anywhere on the island. Surrounded by green cut grass. I felt like I'd walked into the village green by where I grew up. I lucked out as the kid's school were doing a rehearsal for Palm Sunday. So I got to hear 500 kids sing! Good timing William. They were reciting bits from the bible. Some of them only about 5 years old. I always find that odd. At that age, reciting passages from the bible. I could only just understand playground talk at that age never mind that big old book. I doubt somehow they understand what they're reading too. It pleases the parents though. Plus, reciting in English. The singing was lovely though.

Then we went to the international date line. Here I could be either -12hours of back home or +12 hours ahead of them. I could be in both yesterday and today. Exaclty 180 degres from London GMT.

Then we went on from there and i bought William some nice lunch. He took me to his cousin's cafe and we had a rather tasty chicken curry. He talked to me about his faith. He was very open minded. Also about Ratulala, who's the chief on Taveuni. Also about his wife, who ran away with another man. Poor guy. He's cool though. Time heal's and all that. We past "the first shop in the world to open"...just in case you were wondering what it looked like.

Erm...ok. So i'd really better go now. As far as writing on this beautiful island I've discovered, apart from Paradise, that it's also not so good for the old creative juices! Something about that big wide canvas with no edges alive and well in the big wide blue (If you're scratching your head...this was explained in an earlier blog). Not to worry though. I came up with a really happening musical ditty to write something into. Started off by me "jamming" to the crickets of the night before. There was a hum of the generator in the distance that was a low Eb (E flat) so I started to play along. I've got melody and feel but just no lyrics. There's time enough though. I recorded a little bit of me going on about this lyrical no-thing...but I'm not going to show that now. I want to put it all together for you once I'm done with the writing of the album. I did however see a little lizard crawling on my laptop as I was recording in the footage I'd just recorded into imovie and wanted to talk about it. It reminded me of an earlier lizard encounter....I saw one who'd obviously been scared by a predator...here's the rest. It's super bad quality as I'm in a rush now...I had to crank up the brightness as i recorded it at night with only a little light.

Here's one last image from my last night on the ocean just before putting the kayak to sleep. I was sad to leave but am looking forward to the next stage!

Right. Love fluv and all that...I've gotta get a wriggle on. xxx immi xxx

Oh I lied...
Here's one of Buna at the airport on my way out of there yesterday.
And after that an aerial on the way out of where I was.

p.s.There's probably loads of spelling misteaks as no time for spell check!

posted by immi  # 9:10 AM 6 comments


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