Monday, November 4, 2019

Cronulla Beach | Lefsetz Letter

They’re treating me like a rock star. As in shuffling me from place to place for publicity. Tomorrow is radio, today was photography for the newspaper interviews I did last week. You can see how relationships matter, at least in terms of promotion. A team of pros build you.

First we went to Geoff’s venue, the Brass Monkey. There were posters all over the door, even one of me, but what struck me most was the tribute bands, the seventies have not died. One was a doubleheader of Eagles and the Doobie Brothers…does the promoter know Irving manages both? And speaking of Irving, there was a Steely Dan tribute, and last Saturday they had Fleetwood Mac. Then again, Amy Winehouse plays too, it’s not all oldsters. People are fans of the music.

And then the photographer for the “Australian” showed up.

He came with a suitcase full of gear, even a bag of lights. And he started shooting, all angles, changing lenses, I kinda cracked up that out of all these shots, they’d probably only use one.

But as John was setting up his umbrella, I asked him about his gig. He was the last photographer left, they’d all fallen by the wayside in the great internet crunch. He shot everywhere, like…Iraq.

Yup, during the war, they got ahead of the Americans. It was John, a reporter and an interpreter. They got accosted. Had guns pointed at their heads…talk about feeling alive.

And then we went downstairs into the venue and John shot even more. I was digging it, it’s good to be the focus of attention, then again, I’m sure it gets old and overwhelming, assuming you’re on the rocket ship to the top.

And when it was all done, we walked down to Geoff’s office, killed some time, and then Don and I went down to the beach, for a shoot with the “Sydney Morning Herald.”

Now you’ve got to know how beautiful the beach is. It’s green and then blue and the surf today isn’t that big, but there were people out there, albeit in wetsuits. I asked what the flags were about, figuring they were warnings not to go in the water, but actually it was just the opposite, you’ve got to swim between the flags, to avoid the rips, if there are no flags, don’t go in.

And Cronulla Beach is…a resort town. Little did I know I was coming to Australia on vacation. Then again, like Donna Summer, I’m working hard for the money. A podcast tomorrow, two radio shows, and then podcasts and panels, sometimes twice a day, until I’m gone.

So we amble down to the beach and there’s a blonde woman with one camera. Yup, she’s got a Canon similar to John’s, but that’s all. I figured we got the B-team, after all, I’m B-level talent at best.

And this woman Kate has me walking down on the beach. I’ll tell you, I was wondering whether to take my shoes off, there’s nothing worse than getting sand in your shoes, then again, that Dido song said just the opposite:

I’ve still got sand in my shoes
And I can’t shake the thought of you
I should get on, forget you
But why would I want to
I know we said goodbye
Anything else would have been confused
But I wanna see you again

“Sand In My Shoes” is about a vacation romance, you know, a fling to be forgotten, only the protagonist in this song cannot, forget that is. Isn’t it funny how what we think is the sideshow becomes the main show.

And I got into Dido because of hearing “Life For Rent” in my mother’s car, with only FM and no satellite. Repetition builds bonds. And when I got home to California I looked through hundreds of CDs until I found that one, and then played it over and over again, discovered “Sand In My Shoes,” even went to see Dido at the Wiltern.

She recently put out a new LP and it didn’t even make a ripple in the water. The paradigm shifted. Funny how you stay the same and times change and you’re done.

So after leaning against rocks and standing by the lifeguard shack, I asked Kate about her gig.

She just came back from Syria. She started telling stories of the Kurds, of going to funerals. How the Kurds hate Trump and no one in the world trusts America anymore. These were not the words of a talking head on MSNBC, Kate had been there, she’d felt it.

Had she been shot at?

“We all have.”

And it soon became clear Kate was part of the fraternity, of journalists.

Recently she was in the Congo. She’s not an adrenaline junkie, she just needs to tell these stories, people need to know them.

And I’m standing there talking to her knowing she can’t get rich, but her life is richer than most of the people who are.

And I asked her what was going on.

Kate said it was about resources, that’s what everybody in the world is fighting for. That Trump’s troops made sure the oil flowed, he was in the process of making a deal with Chevron for its distribution.

And I can’t stop talking to Kate. You see most people are uninformed or unable to tolerate contrary opinions. Then, there are facts. She’s talking about Erdogan’s movement of Turks into this tiny strip, with little infrastructure. She showed me pictures of the Americans leaving, with their tails between their legs. But somehow, it’s all about abortion, identity politics, anything but the real issues.

Now thereafter I went in search of Coke. As in Coca-Cola, caffeine-free, the diet iteration.

I eventually found it in the IGA.

And now I’m back in my hotel room contemplating.

One thing I like about my heavy schedule is the excitement of interaction. As I like to say, walk out the front door and you have no idea what will happen.

And the truth is to a great degree the media is a disinformation society. I’m not talking about Fox and fake, I’m talking about perspective and holes. Unless you have boots on the ground, unless you’ve been there, oftentimes you don’t know. Kinda like the reporters pontificating on what the people want without knowing them.

Everybody’s got a story, and I want to know it.

What are you willing to risk?

Kate doesn’t want to die on the job, but fear won’t keep her from doing her job.

This is who she is.

Who are you?

“Sand In My Shoes”



P.S. After our first date, I told Felice I was listening to “Sand In My Shoes,” I told her “I wanna see you again.”


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