On the Road.

Daily updates from life in a van.

David Blumberg & The Maraby Band
Queensland and New South Wales, Australia
February 9 – 18.


A red faced man (whose name doesn’t linger long after it leaves his mouth) stands beside his friend at the Great Barrier Reef pub across the road from the Casino. They’re standing at the entrance, haloed by the fluorescent insides of the bar.

He tells us he’s here for one of his boy’s bucks do’s, though the boy’s are nowhere in sight. We finish our beers at the same time and the two men follow us to the gig like a pair of strays, talking as they walk of all the strip clubs they’ve been too in Adelaide. The friend of the red-faced man tells me hes visited the crazy horse 18 times (exactly? exactly.) and I mustn’t have looked real interested and he probably figured I like music so he said, pointing to his red-faced friend, “looks just like Leonard Cohen, doesn’t he? All that’s missing is the hat”.I couldn’t disagree with him.

I don’t know how many Casinos I’ve been in before, maybe none. I remember my grandma Peggy taking me behind the glazed glass partition of the Lismore RSL and giving me two dollars for my first spin when I was fourteen and I remember watching my sister, seven years later, feeding after fifty dollar note after another fifty dollar note into the Indian Dreaming machine at the Gosford pub, telling me she just had to get the first one back. Outside of those two women and their faces lit up by the lights dancing I have nothing much to say for gambling other then it’s always confused me.

The Cairns casino was a diamanté in the plastic crown of the town. LED turtles swam, glitching occassionally beneath the feet of the patrons in the lobby, mirrors clung to each curve of the room and expressionless people sat slumped in front of their machines, limp limbs askew. It was impossible to know what any of them were thinking about or why they were there. It didn’t look like they were thinking about much, but maybe they were all thinking quite a lot because none of them were talking.


Woke up in the Atherton Tablelands in Annie’s house, where half of us were put up the night on couches and mattress-on-floors and beds with pink silk butterfly covers in the rooms of maybe now-grown but not-present children of Annie.

She, too, played. Everyone played, or fiddled maybe. Annie was practising drums for a Battle of the Bands in September, but she told me she wanted to try her hand at bass as well. Annie had a front yard with tamarillos and limes and let us pilfer her tree while she stood by with arms loosely folded and a soft grin which came and went from her face.