Friday 16 December 2011: Peake Hill, Oodnadatta

Everyone has been predicting rain since the beginning of the week and apparently today it was finally gonna come pouring down. The prospect of rain is fascinating here in the Outback. As all the roads are unsealed, it doesn’t take much for them to get closed down. Not that a 4WD wouldn’t be able to handle a bit of rain on the road. The problem is the damage the road surface suffers the next day when the sun starts burning.


So rather than taking unnecessary risks we decided to drive past all the things to see and listen to between William Creek and Oodnadatta. We did go to Peake Hill along an amazing 4WD only track. I would have loved to record all the ruins but a heavy sky and light drizzle made us rush through the place. I did try to use the studio microphone, but the wind was too present.

Ezra got great recordings here though of me fighting with the wind or flies.

We spent the evening in Oodnadatta. I kept recording as we entered and had dinner at the Pink Roadhouse, but in hindsight, this was not interesting at all.


We did do some great golden hour recordings against the backdrop of a children’s playground. The local aboriginal community had a christmas party a little bit further along and when that ended everybody had to cross the playground to get to the pub on the other side. One of them, a guy called Donald, came up to me and we spoke for the longest time. He was my age and said I travelled too much and that was why I had so many grey hairs. He had never been outside Oodnadatta and was living off a pension after having been diagnosed a schizophrenic. The conversation was at times hilarious, weird, confronting, and very candid. Not sure how we can use any of it ethically but I hope we can find a way. Great encounter.


Wednesday 14 December 2011: Farina, William Creek


A short drive from Marree, Farina is a ghost town. Once full of potential, until everybody gave up and left. Now it’s heaps of stones. There was hardly any wind, so I recorded quite a bit with the studio microphone. Needless to say there were flies and the Neumann was sensitive enough to pick them up, circling around me, sitting meters away. The experience was one of stillness and quiet, however. I hope the recordings reflect some of that.
Also stuck a microphone into bits and pieces of metal scrap. Not sure what that will sound like it.


On the way back to Marree, up the track to William Creek, we came across a big emu. Or what was left of it. We held our noses and moved in closer. As it had been decomposing for what looked like a while, its stomach was producing a veritable symphony of gurgling, slurping, popping, bubbling and other disgusting sounds. It was truly hideous, disgusting and skin crawling creepy. I used the stereo microphone to get as close to the – uh – action as possible. It was very windy unfortunately so the recordings might need a bit of editing. I really hope they will get under the listeners’ skin as much as it got under mine.


The evening ended at the William Creek Hotel, population two people and a dog.

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