I am, as some of you may know, a flag-flying, gold-medal technophobe. My friends at MOJO will confirm that when I walked into the office they would hug their computers close to their chests to protect them from my destructive analog energy. And my nine-year-old mobile goes to a special school for un-smart phones. So I suppose it was a bit ambitious to buy a mini i-Pad. So far I’ve managed not to break it (though I did break something digital – my big toe!).
Since I seem to be getting along better with taking photos on its camera than typing words on its little keyboard, may I present, as a tribute to my new device, a mini Phlog.
Starting with a mini video, a few seconds from the gig ‘The Night Before Leonard’ at the Marsh in Berkeley, the day before Leonard Cohen’s show at the Paramount Theatre. That’s Matthew Szemela on violin, Colleen Browne on bass and colour-coordination, and me being pale and mysterious on the uke.
— oops, just as I was feeling confident, my first failure. It won’t upload.
So let’s move straight onto: Sylvie (plus Julie, Perla and Ronee) Goes To Austin!
En route to the airport: We really must address the disturbing issue of suicidal instruments before it’s too late. At the subway station I spotted this tragic recorder just after it threw itself at the live rail.
Here we are in sunny Austin, brilliant sunlight, a perfect day. Greg Ashley and I have arranged to meet up to run through a few Leonard songs together the day before my gig at South Congress Books. Since everywhere in Austin’s mobbed with people during SXSW, we drove down a back street, parked and set off on foot to find an empty sidewalk where we could sit and play, and we spotted this place on the way, which was selling a PA system. One of the songs we did was True Love Leaves No Traces – from ‘Death of A Ladies Man’, the album Leonard Cohen made with Phil Spector. Greg’s band has recorded a cover of the whole album, released in cassette-form, perfect for technophobes.
And here’s Greg in the bookshop’s parking lot the following day. In the doorway, John Barton, my old friend from Austin who arranged the gig. Thurston Moore was there too, but I forgot to get my i-Pad out for that.
Same parking lot but me this time, with my uke and a free pair of sunglasses promoting something or other, which I’ve fallen unreasonably in love with.
This is the poster for the gig Julie Christensen, Ronee Blakley and I did at Austin Java, a cool cafe on Barton Springs Rd. The acoustics were so sweet and warm – which I credit to them having a huge tree indoors, too big to hug, growing up through the floorboards and out through the roof.
And finally… I Want You, one of the newish US TV pop idol contest shows, has seen sense and become I Want Uke!
Well, thanks for watching. Next stop: New York City!
Tags: Austin, BART station, Colleen Brown, Death of a Ladies Man, I Want You NBC TV, Julie Christensen, Leonard Cohen, Matthew Szemela, perla batalla, ronee blakley, South Congress Books, suicidal musical instruments, Sylvie Simmons, Thurston Moore, uke, ukulele