Thursday, 26 March 2009

Cracking Safes at WOMADelaide

Matt Connell continues his reflections on his experience of WOMADelaide 2009. His previous account can be found here.

Friday 6th March: 'No worries, we'll be able to use an oxy-acetylene blowtorch to cut into the safe tomorrow in time for your gig'

Was I dreaming? No, what a bizarre day this was for me, dominated by 'DJ Disaster Narrowly Averted.' Having locked all my valuables, including my precious CDs, into the hotel room safe, I was perturbed, but not unduly, when on Thursday evening I couldn't open it. A few hours later, when two duty managers and an engineer still couldn't get into it, I really began to worry. A pointed remark to the effect that I'd travelled 12 thousand miles for this gig and now my CDs were sealed in an reinforced metal box resulted in the 'assurance' about the blowtorch. So, I spent the night tossing and turning with nightmare visions of an Ocean's Eleven safe job resulting in a pile of melted plastic and DJ egg on my face. But, thank goodness, the next day a locksmith cracked the nut without any blowtorch and delivered my tunes into my shaking hands. The Hilton gave me a champagne breakfast and some drink and taxi vouchers to make up for the stress. Thus fortified, I was able to go ahead and played a blinder using all the loverly equipment that was installed in the Picture Palace without a hitch by the site crew. The soundsystem was really tasty and sounded sweet. It was a real pleasure - and a great relief - to finally get some sounds on!

More importantly, the main attraction - the painting of the hoarding - proceeded apace, and as the public flooded onto the festival site we began to get a steady stream of interested people staying to watch the painting for a while. Many people were keen to chat about their experiences of India and of Bombay films, and enjoyed reading all the exhibition information and looking at the collection of original film artworks. It was particularly interesting that people of Indonesian or Malay extraction (of which there are quite a few in Australia) had fond memories of these films, and of painted hoardings, because the films and the culture associated with them were exported all around South Asia, not just within the Indian sub-continent.

(Photo credit: Matt Connell: all rights reserved.)

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