The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.
Where: New Orleans
When: 23/4/2015 – 29/4/2015
Lyric: You make me know who I am when you’re around
Quote: “Fucked” / “She’s a singer-songwriter and you’re a drug addict” / “I’m all about that” / “Miami” / “Are you going to the hospital or Jazz Fest?” / “what do you mean the witches aren’t working because of the weather? get on your broomstick it’s only a tornado man”
1. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun
“There is a house in New Orleans they call the Rising Sun”
There is a hostel in New Orleans they call India House and it’s been a ruin of many a poor boy, in Beau I know I’ve won. There is a lot of blanks to fill in for this soundtrack whether that be due to memory loss or that I would not want my Dad to read the content.
I arrived in New Orleans and managed to soak up some culture on an extensive walk in the rain around the French Quarter pausing in a park with the hobos to write some lyrics to reflect my love for Denver. I returned to India House hostel and from then the downward and magnificent spiral began.
This track was everywhere in the blur of watching, listening and performing music during the 5 day massacre and, quite frankly, I could not pin point where and when if my life depended on it. The first gem I met was Beau from Canberra (where I now know is the capital of Australia) who had arrived from 3 weeks in Miami, a city he is head over heels in love with. We purchased our first of many bottles of Vodka and perched with Rick and Jeff who are a hilarious couple from Maryland. Rick is from planet Glutonite (celiac) and shared some delicious snacks as I watched an Irish girl named Kit wolf down some spagbol. It was in this moment that I realised we were born to find one another.
The dream team of myself, Beau and Kit hopped in for the most bizarre car ride around what seemed like the entire of New Orleans and the suburbs with two poor German girls attempting to get to the bus station and the anti-feminist male driving, supping on beers at the wheel and quite clearly having no idea what was going on. We got out the car momentarily as I turned to Kit and asked “did he just piss on his own car?”. Eventually we arrived back at the hostel to polish off more voddy and expand our group before heading to Bourbon and Frenchmen Street to see some live music and be all round wreck-heads.
The Spotted Cat bar has this piano in the loo which I had a few plays on during my visit. I managed to find Ben, an Aussie I met in San Fran, in the same bar for a catch up before he headed to Mexico. People partnered up and dwindled apart until the wee hours of the morning were spent with Kit, a homeless guy and Charlie on the Mississippi river. Charlie is an Aussie from Melbourne 11 months into his adventure who scored high on the “most off your tits” scale. It is a funny sight to see someone so tall incoherent and unable to walk.
2. Nick Drake – Riverman
“Oh how they come and go”
Charlie and I breakfasted on red wine and Supernoodles and we played Gin Rummy with Gitte from Denmark, who was hostel bound with a broken ankle and Luke from Knoxville who wasn’t actually staying at the hostel but joined the parties. I was shit at the card games but we also listened to some great music (Nick Drake) and shared our own songs. Here is Charlie and Luke jamming just before the storm.
I could hear my brother’s voice laying into me as I ranted away about Nick Drake’s latest film “20,000 Days on Earth” and how great it was, only to capture a sober second and click that I was referring to Nick Cave, a mortifying mix up that you are annihilated for in the Kelly family. We also heard some music from Tetsu Mineta and I did a CD swap with him in hope of being big in Japan.
During the day I believe we made 3 trips to the run down liquor store on the corner, one with Charlie bare foot and incredibly alike to Mowgali. Over the course of the NOLA whirlwind we had “the usual” order of Taaka Vodka bottles and fruity chasers and fruit flavoured voddy for Beau. Here’s Mowgli in the rain probably a couple of bottles of Taaka down.
All sorts of additions joined and lost the booze infused crew such as Taurean, Peter, Grace and many more all probably there the night before just not to my recollection of points of arrival and departure. We grouped and managed to get the Streetcar down to the French Quarter when Charlie and I bailed and went straight back to the hostel and somehow lost each other in the space of 10 minutes.
3. The Who – Who Are You
“Who are you? Who Who Who Who”
Who are we? Every one of us questioned ourselves as morning came and we tucked into more Taaka and wine preparing for a day in the rain at the Jazz Festival. The air was humid and we were hot messes as we managed to get to the festival eventually, losing some stragglers along the way.
Kit and I managed to catch The Who after slipping and sliding in the mud and love and here’s the photo to prove my attendance, and also my dire yet fabulous state.
It came to the point where too many people were kindly whispering in my ear, “getting a little late isn’t it?” which translates to “GO HOME LOVE” so I found a magic coach which dropped me right at India House’s door and I hopped in the pool, covered in mud to rediscover Rick who had been avoiding us for 2 days, believing he had done something unforgivable on the first night. This was far from the truth and we floated around in each others embrace as Charlie returned after being taken by the police to hospital for being too drunk, bragging that he had tested negative for HIV.
We believe it was around this hour that Charlie fell down the stairs from the pool and onto a previous wound he had suffered in Ecuador thee weeks earlier. I had also slipped on the wet wood and Rick had cleaned up my bleeding, swollen knee. There was a moment where Charlie, Gitte and I were hobbling in a line down a path and we realised we may never make it out of New Orleans alive.
Charlie quickly returned to Mowgli state and was carried to bed and I was to pass out a close second later. NOLA got the best of us and we missed the night out which was special as it was then my partner in crime Kit’s birthday at midnight! I let her down but kudos to her being an even bigger trooper than me.
4. Nick Cave – Into My Arms
“I would kneel down and ask him not to intervene when it came to you, not to touch a hair on your head, leave you as you are”
It was the Sabbath day, a stormy Sunday, Kit’s 23rd birthday and the day when the serious question was raised – “are you going to the hospital or Jazz Fest?”. Charlie is a Hemophiliac and his fall the night before had resulted in excruciating pain and a bottom cheek double the size of the other. He was shouting out in pain and offering me money to bring him some water but it took me a while to understand the severity of the situation. We still managed to fit in another daytime drink session and a denim photo shoot before we headed to the hospital in the evening.
Here I am with my two favourite people I have met. One thing I have learnt is how I thrive surrounded by other functioning alcoholics. Kit is the Irish, Brunette, brassier version of me. Charlie could be the male parallel to my life from the other side of the world except for he writes blues music about chickens and, as crazy Grace from the hostel told me, I write songs that cut out a section of my soul. Think I’ll start a song about chickens.
I stayed with Charlie in the hospital listening to more music, Nick Cave’s “Into My Arms” accompanying our old married couple scenario quite fittingly. We watched crappy American TV, shared hospital food and the next day got a wheelchair to get outside for crafty fags. I’m almost certain everyone in the hostel thought we were homeless people looking for a bed for the night as I tottered around in a cropped top and Charlie’s ripped items of clothing covered in bruises and bites. Aside from Charlie being in tremendous amounts of pain, the nurses not giving him strong enough painkillers for hours, a moaning man post knee surgery named Mack in the same room and doctors entering every 15 minutes, I actually had a fabulous time. The calm after the storm in New Orleans literally and metaphorically from the weekend antics. He also had a lovely window view to watch the tornadoes.
Everyone in the India House fucked up family was concerned for Charlie. Benoit another musician from Canada kindly drove me to the hospital with Charlie’s bags and told me stories of his NOLA experience including finding his soul-mate which is dead nice, init? They look pretty soul-matey. I don’t really believe in soul-mates but I feel there is a reason I met such a great group of people in New Orleans and I feel blessed to have had such an amazing time and to have survived until the bitter end.
5. The Cure – Common People
“‘Cause everybody hates a tourist especially one who thinks it’s all such a laugh, yeah and the chip stain’s grease will come out in the bath.”
My true love Kit was the first to depart and the goodbye was devastating for all (but particularly me). Kit, Rick, Jeff, Sarah and I visited the Hurricane Katrina memorial repeating the word “fucked” as we looked at the still apparent ruins. We drank drive through Daiquiris, ate tacos, ran through the buckets of rain and partied briefly on Frenchmen Street. I played some songs in the hostel as more liquor topped us up for the final hurrah.
We went to some bars but my last hours with Kitty-Kat were spent on the street screaming “Common People” and dancing like lunatics. I serenaded her and Jeff and obnoxiously signed a CD for him and Rick to sell when I am famous. Kit did not enjoy the music as much as she said “I thought you were just a mess like me but you had to go and be talented”.
Sarah, another Aussie, was on top form all night and hilarious entertainment along with Beau’s final serenade for Kit. I was heartbroken as we waved goodbye at 5am to our Irish sweetheart but nothing could compare to Beau shouting “I’M GONNA MISS YOU KIT”, chasing the shuttle bus down the street and getting his arm stuck in the door as the bus pulled away into the distance, returning Kit to New York where she is working.
Mind boggled as to why I am the last man standing in New Orleans as every crackhead companion has departed.. Sat on the Mississippi attempting to write songs reflecting the time of my life…