Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...



How is it that I never really had too much time for jazz before but now that I'm in Sydney I seem to encounter it everywhere. Loud and coarse, flowing fractured and smashed I seem to see it in every form except, thankfully Dixieland.

Fittingly I never seem to see Jazz whilst sober, as I am lead to believe, neither did some of its' greatest proponents. Not that I would advocate someone like Charlie Parker as a role model for anything other than musical proficiency but there is definitely and an intoxicant nature to jazz, even if it is buried deep under layers of post-ironic Hammond organ.

One of the more notable features seems to be that it makes any group of people almost completely unable to keep still. If you go out on a night with about five people in the presence of music and alcohol it is a statistical certainty that one of you will dance, a 20% likelihood for any one individual. When you go out to jazz event this seems to go up enormously to about four out of five, an 80% likelihood of dancing. This seems to be completely independant of the quality of the music and no fear of peer rebuke or criticism of technique will stop it. In fact it seems the presence of good dancers seems to discourage people. Half the fun is looking a bit silly.

Another feature of the Jazz I'm seeing is that it is played and enjoyed by an extraordinarily varied age range. The band I'm watching whilst scribbling this in my notebook are in their late twenties and early thirties. The audience is somewhat older and I am beginning to suspect that this might be a pickup joint for over forties singles, and they all seem to be casting glances in my direction. Thank God I didn't come here on my own.


  1. Saw a jazz concert at Salford University, about ten years ago (where did my youth go?)...was sitting on the back row of a downward sweeping lecture hall/colliseum type hall, privy to a veritable sea of heads, nodding along with the bass. Don't fight it...

  2. With only one minor lapse some decades back, I seem - thank god - to have had a lifelong immunity to the 'attractions'of this form of musical endeavour. Whatever the tune playing, to me it will without fail sound like Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey - and that's really all that needs to be said about jazz.