Microphone Man and the "Lecture"
Perhaps one of the most craziest experiences I had on the 2016 China tour was when I received this email. It was to deliver a "lecture" and this was the detail provided.
I even received an obscure request to B-Box?
So this was the level of detail provided. So we set off for the appointment. Down the University Boulevard. I started chatting to Ben about his fear of public speaking and joking that he will be getting up for the ‘lecture’ (which we thought would be in a small classes room) when I looked over and saw a bunch of these posters with the Horse Called Freedom band! Hell they had grabbed the image off the net and turned it into a poster. They were pretty damn big also. Starting to think this quick talk maybe a little more?
As we neared the lecture room there was a line of Chinese students either side standing to attention.
We walked in to claps and a 500 seat theatre nearly full.
My name was in neon lights. Even more remarkably they had blown up about 50 balloons and written my name on one balloon in Chinese and in english each alternate balloon. I was pretty freaked out!
We were whisked to the back. They had a whole show planned. Dancers, performers. Do you ever get the giggles? Because of the whole situation and knowing that Carl and Ben (after our earlier chat on public speaking) were in the audience. When I was asked to walk out on stage you can see in the footage I was cracking up. I didn't think I could get it together. The whole situation was just so bizarre. I am even wearing my silver hotel slippers which were way to small and blistering my feet. I was interviewed and had to give more responses slowly as each line was translated. I thought it would be a short interview 10 mins maybe. I kept asking is it finished soon. I had the microphone thrust into my face to continue. An hour later I had finished! I was asked about Australia, our animals and music. I used an analogy of the famous Chongqing hotpot to describe the process of producing music like cooking. In another twist they invited students down to ‘interact’. No-one came down at first but then one and then about 10 others. One of the boys was visibly sweating and shaking. They had met very few westerners! They even asked me to compare Byron Bay girls with Chongqing girls for prettiness. I used all my skills of diplomacy to nebulously answer both are beautiful. Just different! Here is a movie mashup of the concert they put on in my honour and the bits and pieces mentioned above!
After a crazy few hours Jay and I got to perform on stage. They had no microphone stand so to improvise they elected an upstanding student to hold the microphone to my mouth and as I moved he followed.
Absolutely bizarre experience and to this day I don’t know why I was the only person out of the 100 international acts to talk and share. No idea why this happened. That night was capped off with an intimate performance in one of the university ‘live-houses’ as they call them. A two tiered box like room. It was crazy performing close and personal to these students. They seemed to love it. I am sure they were taken by the powerful drumming of Carl. The good looking Asian-Australian Jay on guitar and the cool grooves and pads of Ben and Paul. It was a day to remember.
Getting ready to play in the "Box" i.e., Live House
The obligatory selfie - Chinese love the selfie!
Obligatory hotpot. Some cheap Chinese wine. Signing out!!