Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm sorry Mr Pyke

Today, I was that person. That person whom people tut and roll their eyes at. And I'm sorry! I've never been that person before, and I never want to be them again.

I went to listen to Josh Pyke in conversation with Bernard Zuel for The Sydney Writer's festival. Mid-way through the conversation, this dull music seems to be playing. It's not too loud, but it's loud enough to notice. I feel like I'm going mad, thinking it must be Bernard's recording device, maybe he actually pressed play - how embarrassing. How embarrassing indeed! My heart sank as the thought 'is that MY ipod?!' crossed my mind. Jesus, it is. I scrambled to open my bag, and as I did, Patrick Wolf wailed out. I knew Patrick Wolf was a little narcissistic and egotistical, but this was just ridiculous - did he really have to be heard above Josh Pyke speaking about 'Lighthouse'? Shame. My face flushed ten shades of red as I finally clicked off the song. Oh dear. I didn't hear anything for the next few minutes, I was too focussed on not moving a muscle to draw anymore attention to myself. Oh I'm cringing now just thinking about it.

Despite my massive faux pas, I did enjoy the talk. Mr Pyke had some interesting things to say on songwriting but I don't know if I agreed with everything he had to say. I liked Bernard Zuel's take on lyrics being the words you wish you could have said in person. Josh really pushed the 'write what you know' line which is a line I came across during uni days. A lot of me really agrees but there's a part of me that doesn't think this should be gospel for writers. I don't think you necessarily have to have experienced something to write about it well. Before I fell in love, I used to write about love in a completely different way, and now that I've experienced it, I can't get that innocence I used to write with back into my words. This is just a very small example, I know but nonetheless, I don't know if I agree when Josh Pyke said there's a dishonesty to writing about something you don't know. But then I guess he's the successful musician and I'm the girl going to her day job tomorrow morning.

He's incredibly aussie and so laid back. It seems like such a juxtaposition that the poignant, romantic and unique lyrics come from his mouth. He's a grammar nazi and really wants a rapper to remake 'Middle of the hill' - in his dream world, his mc name is double j to the p. Overall, he's pretty dreamy in a casual kind of way, not wanting to break down the magic that happens between him and his guitar.

He also had this moment of explaining how meaning to 'Middle of the Hill' changed when he played it live to a sold out show at the Metro. He was singing that last line: 'I don't pay enough attention to the good things when I got em'. He looked out at the crowd and thought 'this is what I am talking about'. I love that idea - that he wrote lyrics and didn't realise the meaning until years later when that moment hit him.

Once again, I'm sorry Mr Pyke, I wanted to come say hi afterwards, but was too shamed to do so. Guess I'll just keep admiring from afar. Next time I'll sit up the back and in the mean time, I'm deleting Patrick Wolf from my ipod.



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