It's heading towards winter here in Bucharest. Gone is that short burst of heat. Now it snows in the Carpathian Mountains and the winds blow the remnants of those icy peaks down upon us in Bucharest. I am heading on into the last few weeks here, with four new songs recorded, others 'in transit', and video footage of the 'process' to make those pieces. The documentation continues to bring with it its own set of experiences, and at times, it seems like the complete creative force is being totally consumed (see: composer, musician, cameraman, sound recordist and trumpeter, blowing his own horn).

Romania has changed a lot and yet little in ten years. I even went for a swim at the pool, where I kept fit ten years ago, the receptionist was the same person, as was the guard and the chief lifesaver. And there in the darkened sweaty corners of the sauna was a patron I previously recognised as the rotund businessman, now appearing as the thin tanned man.

Capitalism has thumped its cursed way into the alleyways where communism and socialism once lived, marking them with previously unknown demons like massed unemployment, poverty and people driving around in lolly pink Porsche cars.

Meanwhile I have recovered from the loss of important possessions (at least they were previously thought of as such) and have written a new story. Indifferent to my last quickly penned story of theft woes (see One Pair Of Underpants in Prague), this story has evolved from many hours researching the Latin language, meditation and finally writing....


Enlightenment

peripheral Latin translation: In the light of the moment.

Three Latin components: en, light, enment.

en: from the Latin root 'ensu', which in transition to English became insu. To be enveloped within, containment.
Insu/rance: to be totally consumed by the concept of making money for shareholders from a. nowhere b. nothing.
The odds stacked heavily in their favour, we (the consumer of insurance policies) are all consumed (latin:insu) by the need to secure ourselves from the many all-encompassing destructive forces of the world.... like tsunamis, disease, theft, even death it seems (in the event, they will fly your rotting flesh back to Aus!). We spend the money on a policy and live in that suburban sprawl as happy as llamas in spit!

But that day arrives. Someone needs your belongings and decides to take them. They have not read my insurance fine print and neither have I. Just there on the thirty-seventh page, eyes strained from looking through the magnifying glass, we find that it says..... expensive items that are stolen from an unguarded car in central Prague at midday, midweek, with people all around, are not covered. In fact, even that little clause which says we might fly you home in an emergency (well I thought losing all my instruments would be seen as such.... I certainly saw it like that at the time).... when read slowly, emerges as.... "only if you have caught the ebola virus will we.... ta!da!blah!". There is also that small logistic of (unless you were silly enough to bring all your receipts along with you) having to return to Australia to submit an insurance claim.

It should be known here that I was but three days from returning to Perth, from London, as the theft had left my budget in tatters. Then, from the gaping black vastness of the internet an email emerged, from some friends who offered to loan me the money to allow me to continue the 'saga'!!

En/insu/insurance/.... in fact I would have to say that anyone who takes out QBE travel insurance would be better off by living safely, in the only really insured way, and that would be not to leave their house.

light: vt. lait, milky, sweet success, feeling of a beam of light (inspiration) striking you on the temple. Front and centre. Kaboomba! That moment of complete comprehension, levitation, lightweight, luminescent.
Sitting, staring into the vast crevices and valleys of my own mind. Meditation. A feeling of lightness, of weight lifting from my shoulders. I have seen and felt the pain of possessions lost, but also the strain on my back, neck, knees, ankles, feet from a near-to-bursting-backpack. The constant recognition of 'things' (possessions), having to guard them, watch, care for. The list of contents which made up that synthetic and instant house on my back (nb. Santurkson 1989) were as follows..... jeans, four shirts, four jockettes, two socks, jacket for the cold, two skivvies, one pair of shoes, saddles, sleeping bag inner liner (for times when the soiled bed I was to sleep on deemed that I needed protection against the bed I was about to commune with..... sort of like a full body human condom!), a sketchbook which contained all my notes, drawings, ideas, cartoons and addresses from the U.S. and Bolivia stops, four sets of plastic pan pipes, one expensive bamboo pan pipe, four prized Vietnamese mouthbows, South African lekolilo flute, a quenacho (bass Bolivian flute) especially made as a parting gift from Juan Vera in Bolivia, CD master copies of a newly created and recorded song from Bolivia which was to be added to by Romanian musicians (the backup of this CD backup has travelled its own amazing journey from Bolivia-Adelaide-Perth-China-Perth-Romania), a PVC collapsible didgeridoo (not stolen), electronic tuner (which I had had for fifteen years), my big backpack (which had been traveling with me for nineteen years), headphones, recorders, videos, cassettes, leads, cases, etc. etc. etc.

So, as the many stages of enlightenment filtered through me in these post theft days, I simply became attached to the idea of being detached with 'things'. A lightness. So, I hardly replaced anything that was stolen and instead have re-invented myself as "The Musician With No Musical Instruments". It has, and is, producing some confronting situations. Try explaining this story, the concept of 'enlightenment', in the Romanian language to a musician you have just met!?

enment: in the moment. Incorporating both when something happens, as well as the periods of time before and after the event. Directly inspired by that event. ltlm.enamente; imminent, moments of time; captivated and distinct points of recognition.
It is that in this moment I travel with almost nothing (except that is for about 14 kilos of affiliated documentary making gear); nothing compared with a pack 'chokkers' with assorted and prospective music making apparel. It is a challenging world full of fantasy and frustrations. Real enlightenment, it seems, does not come without its pains (see: yoga position no. 45), constraints and learning.

  "Man cannot live on pan pipes alone"
It has meant that the didgeridoo has become my 'tool of choice' (from Whak tour of Kimberlies 1994: ie. this is a term of reference which relates to being bogged to the chassis somewhere in the Litchfield National Park, and the implements used to dig ourselves out) and the basis for all the compositions. A piece for four bassoons, nai and didgeridoo for example. Then together with Cornel (my nai teacher of ten years ago, and a virtuoso of the instrument, who fronts various orchestras in France as a soloist) we improvised a piece for nai and didgeridoo. And too, with an inspired jazz meets Romanian traditional vocalist, I recorded an improvisation with Maria Raducanu. Being in this moment, with what I have and can do, and relieving myself of the baggage of my pre-planning, possessions and pan pipes.