About to model in this amazing space. @tasmuseum @TMAGgots (at Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery)
home is where you fully understand how the shower works
oh my god, so happy to be home. Showers in America are weird as balls
Playing on #circus things for the first time… Aerial silks! I am a lucky girl who gets to stay in this Oakland circus warehouse with beautiful fellow magicmakers.
Me when I’m on holiday in a new town and I should be exploring but I’m just super tired and want a lazy day
On the train from Seattle to Portland. Despite it being pricey, I’m glad I got the train… It’s much more relaxed and comfortable and pleasant than a bus… With some beautiful sea views!
For my first few nights in Seattle I stayed with friends to my stepdad, a couple named Julie and Carl. They live in a small but lovely condo downtown with amazing views… And the swimming pool was convenient too! I went to Pike Place Market (had a fairly unsuccessful busking attempt)… Bought many awesome things and saw many awesome buskers. I ate plenty of yummy food. We went hiking, I don’t know where, but not a very long drive out of town… Yet we seemed to be in the wilderness, with the incredible tall trees and… Not a lot of wildlife, but two or three very cool slugs!
I went out one night to a karaoke night at a very ornately decorated bar called Unicorn in the queer area of Capitol Hill. Sat down at a table with a bunch of people, made some new friends, sang some MJ (second time I had ever done karaoke!) and had midnight bacon and eggs.
I moved to Renton, affectionately known as “Rentucky” for its apparent redneck-ness (I only saw one redneck though) for 2 nights with more friends of my stepdad (he is from the states and used to live in Seattle) Maureen and Mark. It was a long way out of the city, but I had a lot of trouble finding couchsurfing hosts in Seattle, and Maureen was very welcoming & helpful. And for my last night I stayed with a couchsurfing host.
On the second last day, I arranged to meet up with two girls from couchsurfing to explore Discovery Park. When morning rolled around, I felt groggy and exhausted (as usual recently…) and resolved I’d meet them in the Starbucks and say hi, but probably not go to the park. But when I met them, I realised how awesome they were and decided I’d come along to the park after all. Their names were Cliona (an Irish girl here for 5 months on a student working visa) and Francesca (a Seattle local). We had a great time, despite my whinging about the fact that I was wearing thick stockings and a woolen skirt (kilt) for hiking in the sun… Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to go. I was very hot and itchy. But I survived.
Today, my last day in Seattle, I got to catch up with the lovely Jason Webley (who stayed at my house in Tasmania last time he was there playing a gig) and saw his GORGEOUS houseboat. He showed me a bit around his area, and took me to Gasworks on the way back to collect my stuff before I headed to the train.
Well. Seattle was nice, but my energy was low. Spirits are high as I head towards Portland, though, and I look forward to seeing one of my best friends, Brianna, and Jase, a friend who I met in NYC! This weekend is Pride and I look forward to meeting lots of awesome queer folks (as I have tended to in most cities I’ve been to). It’ll also be good to kinda settle in a bit more, as I plan to stay there for 2-3 weeks.
USA Stats so far:
Bagel count: 4
Pizza count: 2 slices (both in NYC)
Starbucks purchases: approx. 5 (all of which were peppermint teas)
Up days: since leaving New York & Boston, about 3 out of 7
Lonely/meh days: since leaving New York & Boston about 4 out of 7
Anticipated ratio of Up Days for Portland and San Fran: MUCH IMPROVED!
Awesome people I’ve met: a zillion
Amount I’ve missed my James: indescribably immense
Time til I come home: 5 and a bit weeks
Amount I will appreciate Tasmania on my return: OH GOD GIVE ME FRESH AIR AND FRUIT AND MY LOVELY PEOPLE BIFARBOHRHBBKUNJOSVKNJDBHSRVBH
Okay, so I am now in Seattle, but still catching up on the recap, so let me write about Canada.
After Boston, I spent one week in Montreal. This was an unfortunate week for Montreal & I to meet each other. For the most part, the weather was abysmal; pouring with rain. And the weather inside my head was bad, too… I felt anxious, depressed, and crappy about my body. So, sadly, I really didn’t get to see much of this lovely city.
But here are the positives: I stayed the whole time with a lovely lady I found on Couchsurfing, her name was Christine and she had an adorable five year old son named Élie. It was a lovely place to stay! I enjoyed practicing my (limited) French in this city with lovely French speaking folks. On the two sunny days, I wandered around the areas of Mile-End and The Plateau, which were lovely and full of quirky shops.
On my final 24 hours in Montreal, I hung out with a gentleman named Philippe, who was a friend of someone I had met in New York (yay connections!) He took me up the mountain (which is more like a large hill, really) and we walked around foresty areas and got soaked to the bone with rain, but it was warm and more fun than anything! It really made me realise how I was kinda sick of city areas and really hankering for some nature! And that evening, Philippe drove me around to all the lovely areas of the city which I had missed out on, making me kinda sad, but determined to come back again some day!
So. That was my downer of a week in Montreal. It had to happen somewhere, I’m sure - travel can’t always be amazing 24/7!
At the end of the week I flew to Vancouver. We didn’t get off to a great start either, I was attacked by a crippling headache as I got off the plane, and had to spend an hour curled up on a bench in the airport waiting for heavy painkillers to take effect. When I had mostly recovered, I headed into the city and met with Cheena, my host for a few nights. Cheena was an acquaintance of my friend Robin, who also lives in Vancouver and whom I’ve been Internet friends with for about 6 years! I got the keys and headed to her apartment, which was lovely and full of great art. She had a fort bed in her lounge room, a deliciously comfy mattress surrounded by sheets hanging from the ceiling, giving me a cozy little hidey hole to relax and readjust in!
My week in Vancouver was lovely - the weather was generally gorgeous. I walked around Stanley Park and got a nature fix. I got to hang out with Cheena and her friends and make some crazy art… I got to finally meet my longtime online pal Robin, who showed me around some great parts of the town… And I met up with a couple of other Couchsurfer folks - one of the best things about Couchsurfing iThe couchsurfers were Matthieu, who had recently moved from Montreal to Vancouver, and who I became firm friends with - we were both wearing Vibram Five Fingers (those weird and awesome toe shoes) and shared many favourite books, philosophies, and generally felt our meeting was more than coincidence. There was also Julia, originally from Taiwan but now living in San Francisco. Together we had a gorgeous walk through the Lynn Canyon area, taking in the fresh air, beautiful trees and river sights. A couple days later, I met up with Matthieu again and went to a beautiful brach area… Whose name I have now forgotten… And had many good chats, food, coffee, and I spent the rest of the afternoon there, swimming, absorbing sun, reading & listening to music.
And that was it for Vancouver! The next day I got the bus down to Seattle…
Now en route to Seattle after 3 nights in Boston, a week in Montreal, and a week in Vancouver. It’s been a while since I’ve written, for various reasons, but I’ll try to keep the recap interesting!
Boston was exceedingly lovely, as you may have gathered. Thanks to the invitation of the kind and talented young pianist Tristan Allen (whom I have been Facebook friends with for a little while, was hoping to meet, but ended up missing as he was out of town at the time) I stayed for my 3 nights at the magical abode known as The Cloud Club. Home to a variety of artists over the years, most famously perhaps to one Miz Amanda Palmer, and mot steadily to the welcoming, cheeky & encouraging Lee Barron. I arrived to find Ryan, a friend I’d met one evening in New York at Aubergine (Brian Viglione’s place) was also staying there, and he was my company & tour guide of sorts for most of my time there!
After a downpour on the evening I arrived, the following day was sunny & warm. I awoke to the sound of Amanda practicing piano on the floor above, which was rather surreal. Way even is my life?! I am the luckiest lady on the planet. Ryan & I walked around Boston, checked out a park, a great little record/pop culture store, and various other little points of interest. This was pretty much the extent of the exploring I did of Boston. My impression is that it is quite a lovely, old, and relaxed city. I love different kinds of buildings in different places, and the beautiful smooth red brick “brownstones” of Boston were similar to the regal, more brown brownstones in New York City. There were also plenty of what I, with childlike glee not quite understood by others or myself, call “American houses!!” Tall, in a variety of colours, with peaked roofs and white outlined doors and windows. They delight me, I’m not sure why.
That evening, I went with Ryan and Lee, (who is a film-er of many things and was holding that role this evening) to a reading at Porter Square Books by C. Anthony Martignetti. If you’re a fan of Amanda’s, you’ll know that she recently (or perhaps not recently anymore, but it seems not long ago) rescheduled her entire Australian/NZ tour due to her best friend’s illness and her desire to be with him while he underwent treatment. That friend was Anthony, who I loved at first sight. Glasses, long curled hair, black clothing, long silver chain around his neck holding a few pendants which I am sure hold some significance which I’m excessively curious about, and a classy walking cane. Although I really heard him, reading an excerpt from his book Lunatic Heroes, before I saw him, being fairly far back in the audience behind high heads. I loved his voice, measured yet transparent. I loved his writing, honest, blunt, and fascinatingly human, and I knew I loved the person.
My first approach to Anthony was slightly awkward and, as often happens when my occasional shyness takes over, I reverted to little girl mode. I shook his hand, said something stilted about how I’d loved it, and proceeded to run away because I didn’t want to annoy him. I turned to say hello to the ever-lovely (he really embodies the word, to me, as much as it’s inadequate to describe him) Neil Gaiman, who knows me from meeting me in Tasmania, and who has always been encouraging and sweet to me about my music. Neil had helped introduce Anthony, along with his chameleon wife Amanda, and I asked if he knew if there was a digital version of the book, wanting to read it but not keen to add to my luggage for the rest of my two and a half month journey. In this quest, I ended up talking to Anthony’s publisher, Paul Trainor, who is also a delightful fellow.
At this point, as at many points in my life, I stop to marvel at all the different beautiful people who I have been fortunate enough to meet, hang out with, be involved with, hug, make music with, stay with… So many of whom, and particularly the top-notch ones, seem to be one degree of separation away from Amanda. I’ve inherited so many friends, and even fans, from her… I’m lucky that I discovered her so long ago, watching the “Oasis” video bemusedly and wondering who the heck this chick was.
Anyway, during the course of this evening, Neil suggested to me that I ask Lee if I could host a mini gig in the beautiful upstairs room at the Cloud Club. So when we went home, I did so, and he graciously said yes! I wrote up a little invitation, and Ryan sent it out to all his known Cloud Club and AFP world friends in the area.
So the next evening, after a pretty chill day, several lovely people arrived at the Cloud Club. I played and sang, there was wine, and we streamed the whole thing live online - feel free to check out the recording, it’s at www.youtube.com/tilleysong ! It’s pretty long, and the first few songs weren’t the best, but it settled in to be a lovely evening.
Amanda snuck up the stairs halfway through a song, and I had to use all my gumption to stop from getting nervous. After I finished the song, we had a little chat, and she stayed for two more songs - which I pretty well failed at not being nervous for. Therefore, they were a little messy. But it was so lovely to be in this incredible space, playing for beautiful people including someone who I have greatly admired for a few years.
You can find photos of this evening over here: Facebook.com/tilleysong
That night I went to bed with my headphones on, listening to Amanda’s music, thinking about how many of the songs had been written in the room above me. I stayed up way too late, and felt like death for my early flight the next morning. But I had such a magical time for this short stay in Boston. Thankyou Lee, thankyou Ryan, thankyou Anthony, thankyou Neil, thankyou Amanda. Thankyou everyone who came to my mini gig. I love you!
In about an hour, we will be broadcasting video live from my little mini gig at the magical Cloud Club in Boston. There may be special guests! Please feel free to reblog and tweet and share the link around! <3
En route to Boston from NYC. Two and a half weeks in the big apple was a great amount of time. Got plenty of sightseeing done, as well as meeting amazing people, partying, absorbing art, and also absorbing a bunch of yummy food.
I loved New York. Really, truly loved it. Though I’m ready now to see a new town and keep moving. First let me tell you some about one of my new favourite cities in the world (after Hobart and maybe slightly ahead of Melbourne).
When I first arrived in NYC, I was almost disappointed. I walked down Broadway into Times Square and, although I didn’t believe I was having the thought, I did - “…is this it?”
Stephen Fry had said in his autobiography, which I had recently finished via audiobook, that New York is everything you expect it to be. It seemed anticlimactic at first.
But maybe it was that I didn’t quite believe I was there yet? Or maybe my mind couldn’t quite comprehend the size of it all. But slowly and surely, over that week the city seemed to grow up around me like stone canyons and forests of people. Though it was still not as fast-paced and hectic as I had expected. I have the feeling that somewhere like Tokyo might meet those expectations a little more accurately, but we’ll see.
NYC is definitely BIG. I got lost just in Central Park several times, which serves its purpose as tranquil oasis perfectly. I loved the bizarre huge rocks rising out of the ground like whales, I loved the cherry blossoms and watching two businesspeople in suits kiss on the grass. I loved riding through on my borrowed bike going the wrong way down a one way path (oops). I even loved it when I came back to the bike later that day to find its tyre flat, and had to cart it on the train - a cheerful pedicab driver put me & my bike on the back of his cab and took me across the south end of the park to my subway stop for free!
It was like that a lot, actually - things failed me (bikes, maps, my sense of direction mainly) and the beautiful people around me caught me and lifted me back up. I had been told that New York was friendlier than Sydney, and Sydney isn’t too bad… But I was still expecting that in the big smoke, people would be rude and pushy and unwilling to stop or help. I found it to be quite the opposite. People are kind (mister pedicab), helpful (the multiple gentlemen who helped me carry my suitcase up multiple sets of subway stairs) and friendly (everyone I made eye contact, and then conversation with, on the trains, in bars and cafes, and at parties).
I never felt scared being lost in the city. I could ask any passerby with an iPhone to help me figure out which direction to go in. And New York is so easy to get around! With the numbered streets its a total breeze, and if you do get lost you can just jump on any train going towards a major station and find your way home from there. I wish every city had numbered streets. I hear Boston is kind of a rat maze, no neat grid there… So me and my hopeless sense of direction will most likely get lost there. But I know that wherever I end up is always where I need to be. I meet amazing people and have incredible experiences wherever I am, lost or not.
The food I was scared of. But it’s easy to make smart choices and buy from quality places instead of dodgy street vendors (though there are good street vendors too). Sometimes I had to settle for a slightly less healthy option than I would’ve liked, just not knowing an area I was in and nowhere good being immediately visible. But for the most part I was impressed! There is a lot of yummy to be had in NYC. Special mentions: The Westside Market near my first abode on the upper west side - like a Hill St store, lots of yummy quality stuff, pre-made meals, and OPEN 24 HOURS. The hot chocolate at the MoMa cafe was incredible. A mini waffle with speculoos (gingerbread) sauce from the Waffles & Dinges van made me very happy even though my tyre was flat. Pizza from Two Boots in Hell’s Kitchen. The mind blowing breakfast burrito from Urban Rustic in Brooklyn - OH MY GOD. And the surprise breakfast bagel in bed that my host Jase brought me yesterday morning, with scallion cream cheese and tomato… I dunno where it was from, but that shit made my day. I’m still drooling thinking about it.
Downsides: Craving yoghurt for the fat and the store not having any full fat yoghurt (all non fat but full of sugar. Sigh). Shitty fruit from the vast majority of places. When I can eat a Tasmanian apple again I will be a very happy girl.
I was fortunate to meet a lot of really wonderful people during my stay. Fun, friendly, honest, open, communicative people. I feel like maybe everyone in Tasmania/Australia needs to be temporarily forced to hang out with extreme liberal types in NYC for a week or two to get them to open up a little more and be a little more clear about what they think and feel! It’s refreshing to be around people who really speak their minds, in a caring and compassionate way, and not have to guess. It definitely helped me, I feel like my communication has already become clearer and I feel more comfortable about expressing my thoughts & opinions.
Couchsurfing is THE BOMB and I don’t ever really want to travel any other way. My first two weeks were at Aubergine, the beautiful home of mister Brian Viglione and his various awesome housemates including (but not limited to) David Bilmas, Emilyn Brodsky, Noah and his girlfriend Siena… It’s a very big house (a narrow, tall brownstone) and I got lost a bit at first but quickly felt at home, both in the house and the city. I then moved to stay with Michelle Suconick and her flatmates in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for two nights, which was also a cool area, close to the very hip Williamsburg (and my beloved cafe Urban Rustic, mmmmmm). I then stayed with the beautiful and gracious Erin in the East Village for one night, and partied with her & her awesome friends, and then spent two nights with the wonderful Jase who traipsed around Williamsburg and the lower east side with me, buying things and eating yummy Japanese food!
No other way to travel. Grody hostels and expensive, lonely hotels can bite it. Couchsurfing is the only way to go. And not only for accommodation - I also went to a Couchsurfing meetup and met loads of great folks from all over the world (including one dude who knew one of my friends in Tasmania…!) as well as finding cool people to hang out with and see the sights - like the lovely Chinese-Canadian Jacqui and German backpacker Henrik! It was so great to have fun people to hang out with while exploring the city and doing touristy things like the Rockerfeller Centre, the Statue of Liberty and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, haha.
NYC definitely made a good impression on me. Of course there are not so great parts - homelessness, doorways and subways that smell like piss, the occasional thing you don’t want to see as a privileged white middle class Australian. But there are also incredible subway musicians, young kids doing incredible hip-hop dance performances on the trains, and so many other things I don’t have the time to write about. Go to New York City. Just do it.
I’m now coming into Boston, having enjoyed seeing a whole lot of lush greenery on the sides of the highway, some swamps, some of those inexplicably American rocks, and some lakes and rivers. I also love the American style houses, I don’t know how to describe them, but they’re just like in the movies.
I’d better go now. Will write again after Boston. Xox