Candy Royalle met me at the train station fresh from the airport. I looked like a hobo, and she said as much as we hugged and I lumped all my stuff in her car.
She drove me to her place where I was going to stay until I took the bus to Canberra in a few days time.
Rounding the bend, I glimpsed the ocean, a deep emerald contrasting the vibrant blue of the sky.
Oh I had missed her.
Sometimes you forget where your heart really lays until you see it.
It gets better.
Candy took me to her place, a little shack overlooking Tamarama (right next to Bondi) that I swear was built specifically for poets. She showed me my room - yep, I had a real room and a bed and everything! (I was crashing on Randall's couch for my two week stint in Melbourne, which was great, but damnnnnnn a REAL bed!!!)
Putting all my stuff away (poet talk for exploding my clothes in my room), I looked over the balcony at the view which was to greet me every morning and was soon to give me views of joggers, lovers walking, tourists scoping the sites, surfers waiting for the next break and whales migrating.
I was in heaven.
And Candy was the mentor I never knew I needed. She could relate to my journey and my frustrations and my excitement. She helped me put this tour in perspective - that, as a first time actual "tour, I had done marvellously and should be proud of myself. Once people catch on, she said, there'll be no turning back. You'll get your big crowds, people just don't know yet.
There was no need to justify WHY I wanted a great big audience, a loving vibe and to be able to show my art to the world. She knew that it didn't matter.
Candy Royalle gave me the permission to be an artist, struggling or successful, delighted or upset... just an artist trying to push through and make something of myself.
She got it.
And without her I think my Sydney experience wouldn't have taught me half as much.
I got to perform at the Outspoken finale on Wednesday night and when Ray asked me to finsih the night off, I was anxious, because these events tend to go for a long time and I was worried people might filter out after Luka and Omar had their stage time. Didn't happen. What DID happen is one of the coolest things I'll ever have in my experience bank.
I slayed em.
A packed house.
Most of them unaware of who I was and why I would be the final artist for the night.
You should have heard the roars, the laughter, and the pin-drop silence...
It was nice to be given that kind of status and to not only own it, but smash it right out of the park.
Luka asked me to peform with him the next night at his show on Broadway which I obliged. A great show, one which introduced me personally to The Tongue - an artist whose career I've followed for a while and have always admired. For him to tell me he was really impressed and hint at a future collaboration was awesome.
If the collaboration never happens I won't mind. It was cool to just connect.
The Roar Poets gig was great, if somewhat smaller than anticipated due to the heavy week of words it had been. Outspoken + Luka's surprise gig meant people were worded out and probably pretty broke. So we had an intimate night of words at 107 Projects - the BEST and most supportive crew of people I think I've ever met. They made the night so amazing with their professionalism and understanding of what the night could be. The sound, the lights, the seating... everything was perfect.
What was amazing was Candy Royalle proving that this was a night to be celebrated. Her introductory performance was inspired and incredible. She lifted us to the point where I knew that we were going to have a fantastic evening.
And the attendees agreed.
Every single one of the people who came were blown away by the craft they had witnessed.
Some even suggesting it was the best gig of the week.
Hey, I'll claim it!
That Monday we took the bus to Woollongong where some of Angela's relatives live and got spoilt with food and beer for a few days before our Canberra trip.
I could tell you about all the crazy gigs we went to in between Outspoken and our bus away.
But I feel like I've rambled long enough.
Let's just say that there was an art gallery opening with a packed crowd and we were the only slammers who entered.
Let's just say that jazz + poetry in a book shop isn't a new idea, but was a lot of awkward fun.
Let's just say that the Art Party crew, with their incessant hugging and weed and food have possibly restored my faith in what it means to be a beautiful person.
What a blast.