I've got my car!
I get the weirdest looks when I'm interstate and I tell people I have my car with me. Like driving across state lines is the most insane thing you could possibly do. I know it's not for everyone, but I genuinely love it.
I was a 40yo P-plater, so the first time I did it, I felt like it was something that needed to be done at least once. Ever since, I have actively refused airfares to drive to interstate gigs. Here's the list of pros I felt outweighed the convenience of flying:
1/ It doesn't take that much longer. I know, I sound like an insane person. A one hour flight Syd/Mel or Syd/Bne versus eight or nine hours in a car. Think about that one hour flight for a second. Does it really take an hour? How long does it take you to get to or from the airport (especially in Melbourne)? What about the time it takes to shove everything you can into your carry-on luggage, because it costs nearly half the air fare to stow a big bag? One of the airlines at Sydney airport doesn't have an automated bag drop facility, and I have spent an hour in that queue, as flights are called, and people are pushed to the front. I was once in the queue so long, my flight was called, and I had to push through the disgruntled people ahead of me. So, if a flight, in real terms, takes 3 or 4 hours, that's nearly half the drive time.
2/. Free hire car. Well, it's your car. It's hardly free, but regardless. How much does it cost to rent a car for a fortnight when you're interstate?
3/. Cost. I know airfares can be pretty cheap, but I can get from Sydney to Melbourne on one tank of petrol. That's about fifty or sixty bucks, depending where I fill up.
4/. Timetable. There isn't one. I get in the car when I feel like it. Also, I'm not liable to have my trip cancelled for unspecified reasons, and have to scramble around looking for another car to drive.
5/. Luggage. I mentioned it earlier, but I can put ANYTHING in the car. Playstation, pillows, doona, dressing gown. When I'm working nights, I have all day to go and do stuff, like shop, and I don't have to think about what I buy, because I can just sling it all in the boot. No excess luggage costs in a car boot.
6/. Entertainment. I can't look at a little TV obviously, but I can listen to podcasts and radio plays and talking books. I figure I would happily spend 9 hours plonked on a couch binge-watching Doctor Who, with occasional pizza and toilet breaks, so why not do that and be on the way to somewhere?
7/. The view. We live in one of the most spectacular countries on this earth. There is not a single interstate drive I have done where I have not taken more than one moment to say, often out loud (even though I am alone in the car) "that is beautiful." There is so much sky, and it seems at times that you can see forever. Trying to capture the stunning beauty of the country skyline in words is impossible. It's like the smell of sunshine. You forget how joyous it is until you experience it again.
Speaking of driving, I'm doing it this week. Sydney to Brisbane. I'll be at the Sit Down at the Paddo, the Gold Coast Arts Centre and many other places in between. Details, as always, at adamrichard.com
Don't forget The Shelf in Melbourne for Comedy Festival! Also, I've been working with Dilruk Jayasinha on his show The Art of the Dil. It's shaping up to be quite a challenging show (as well as hilarious, you know, it's Dil, he's wonderful).
Book update: I'm travelling well with my New Year's resolution of reading a book a month. The Three-Body Problem set an unreasonably high bar, so I thought I'd take things down a notch and read a crime thriller. Well, I thought it was going to be a crime thriller, turned out to be a bizarre pastiche of Twin Peaks, The Wicker Man, and The Prisoner. Not in a good way, however. Pines by Blake Crouch has taken all the intriguing ingredients of those TV shows, and turned them into a nonsensical novel that reads like a treatment for a movie script. (It was turned into a TV series by M. Night Shyamalamadingdong called Wayward Pines. I haven't seen it, and after reading the book all the way through, I have no desire to). The writing was so dreary. One word paragraphs. Sentences spaced out over a whole page.
Ugh. It was an easy read, much like the Sweet Valley High books that I read a dozen of in a fortnight, as a teenager, staying with my cousins in the country. Unlike SVH, apart from a desire to know exactly what was going on, Pines was not in the slightest bit enjoyable.
The next book I read was an ACTUAL crime thriller. Set in Manchester, with a lesbian protagonist, so I could imagine I was reading something approaching the brilliant TV series Scott and Bailey. It approached it, but only in stifling police procedural detail. The Pick, The Spade and the Crow by Bill Rogers is competently written, but feels desperately in need of an editor. Whole chapters about getting in the car and starting it seem entirely unnecessary. Also, while it tried to set up some inter-agency rivalry and jurisdictional jostling, it all just seemed there as a means of exposition, rather than any actual conflict.
Okay, I need a good book to read. These were blah. What are you into at the moment? Horror, fantasy, classics? I need something to put in my eyes when I'm chilling out in Brisbane this week.