Danger Down Under

And Some Good Times…

Once again UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) recommends the Great Barrier Reef world heritage site should be listed as ‘in danger’ as Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets have not changed since 2015. Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has resisted international pressure to adopt a firm net zero target by 2050 on greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s all about politics and money as you can read in this article from yesterday’s Guardian.

So reading about this reminded me, of course, of the Great Australian/New Zealand Tour of 1999. The Mollys (Nancy McCallion, Catherine Zavala, Dan Sorenson, Kevin Schramm, and Mike Wolke, our booking agent who now lives in Adelaide) were gone a little over a month, mostly in Australia, and winding up in New Zealand to cap the tour. Here was the itinerary:

Oct 2 Narooma Blues & Roots Fest Narooma, NSW, Australia
Oct 3, 4 Folk Festival Victor Harbour, SA, Australia
Oct 6 Flinders University Adelaide, SA, Australia
Oct 6 Crown and Sceptre Hotel Adelaide, SA, Australia
Oct 7 Adelaide University Adelaide, SA, Australia
Oct 8 Arts Council Renmark, SA, Australia
Oct 9 Geelong University Gelong, VIC, Australia
Oct 10 The Grand Hotel Warrnambool, VIC, Australia
Oct 12 Flannagan's Irish Pub Mount Gambier, SA, Australia
Oct 14 Beachport Institute Beach Port, SA, Australia
Oct 15 Irish Pub Bendigo, VIC, Australia
Oct 16 Community Arts Center Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Oct 17 Mingling Waters Cafe Nowa Nowa, VIC, Australia
Oct 20 James Cook U ??? Cairns, QLD, Australia
Oct 20-23 Johno's Blues Bar Cairns, QLD, Australia
Oct 23 Tableland's Folk Fest Atherton, QLD, Australia
Oct 24 Court House Pub Port Douglas, QLD, Australia
Oct 25 MacQuarrie University Sydney, NSW, Australia
Oct 27 University of NSW Kingsford, NSW, Australia
Oct 27 Caledonean Hotel Katoomba, NSW, Australia
Oct 28 Folk Club ???? Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Oct 29 Merry Muse Folk Club Canberra, ACT, Australia
Oct 30 The Three Weeds Sydney, NSW, Australia
Nov 4 Plymouth Int. Hotel New Plymouth, New Zealand
Nov 5, 6 Tauranga Fest, Spiegletent Tauranga, New Zealand

Later in October when we were playing some dates in and around Cairns, a few of us ventured out for a snorkeling tour of the reef. It was several kilometers from Fort Douglas, about a half hour boat ride, and so worth the effort. I was planning on snorkeling around a bit as I’m not generally a water guy. But when we arrived at our destination, we were offered the opportunity to actually suit up to scuba dive. Damn! It only took me a few seconds of brain activity–when am I going to have a chance to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef again!–to raise my hand and don the rubber.

There were perhaps 4-5 dive masters on board so we paired up in fours and they slowly showed us the basic ropes; breathing, paddling, the gear, etc. We got to go down for an hour or so in the morning, took a lunch break, then, for an extra amount of bucks, we could go down a second time, this time not as tightly chaperoned as the morning dive. Yahoo! Take my money (that I had virtually none of but fuck it)! It was damn lovely and serene…and the fish!

Keep in mind this was before the advent of serious digital photography and I had more or less put my film cameras away a few years before this. I bought a couple of ‘waterproof’ cheap-o cameras before we went out and glad I did.

Our final gig was in the Famous Spiegletent at the Tauranga Festival in Tauranga, New Zealand. Wikipedia states that this tent is perhaps the most lavishly decorated of all and was built in 1920 in Belgium by master craftsmen Oscar Mols Dom and Louis Goor. Over the decades it has hosted some of the world's greatest performing artists, including German singer Marlene Dietrich, who famously performed "Falling in Love Again" in it during the 1930s.

It also says on Wikipedia that the current owner, Australian jazz pianist and theatrical producer David Bates, bought the tent after a successful visit to the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2000, which would have been shortly after our appearance in New Zealand. Supposedly, word was that the Tauranga Festival was the first time this particular tent had journeyed south of the equator. Good Times!

And we would not have had the good fortune of photo documentation if it weren’t for limell’ lawson surprising most of us (I was in on it) by flying to New Zealand and hanging out with us. Thanks, limell’!!

Catherine Zavala rocking the crowd.
Nancy McCallion and Catherine Zavala.
Nancy McCallion and Catherine Zavala and me.

Lastly, thanks so much to all of the new subscribers to this little ol’ blog, twenty-two in the last week! It doesn’t appear that any of you have run away screaming so maybe that’s a good sign…welcome aboard.

Now it’s time for your plat-o goodness…