I turned 69 years young mid November, am fully retired now that I left SXSW as their Pacific Senior Regional Development Manager of 17 years in July. I wintered in Hawaii for a couple of months, planted new crops in the spring (chilli, okra, collards, eggplant and others) and am shutting down my Facebook Page (December 1, 2019) having previously terminated Linked In, Twitter, Instagram and any other social media. I’ll no longer update that page, will not respond to any messages or posts on it and am frankly glad to be rid of the distraction, tracking and other intrusions from it. I’m happy to stay in touch with my ‘friends’ though through this blog and of course by phone or text.
After decluttering my life and also the House On The Hill overlooking Coffs Harbour and The Pacific Ocean, my life is split between being up here happily hanging with my 21 year old Eclectus Parrot green guy and traveling/writing. Yes that great big book “What A Long Strange Tripp It’s Been” is close to being finished, finally.
But the news of me suddenly changing my status in the world of employment in July alarmed a few of my friends who thought it might be health issues like diabetes, circulatory or cancer, and caused a ripple of rumour among my former industry acquaintances that it might be worse, like a stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrest or other diabolical disease. But rumours of my imminent demis are grossly exaggerated. Disappearing from Facebook (and other social media like Linked In, Twitter, Instagram plus Google+) may produce the same fearful reaction so this blog will be updated monthly to keep in touch with friends and the perpetually curious without the distraction of a feed, timeline or story.
It’s also 1375 days since I last died of an atrial fibrillation (a form of cardiac arrest where the heart stops due to the power in the body being shut off, not a clot-caused arterial heart attack) in the Alamo Rental Car terminal at Honolulu Airport and was revived with all my senses intact after 10 minutes on the Dark Side. I have a lot to be thankful for.
In 2010, by selling my media mini-empire, conference and books business and online presence of TheMusic.Com.Au, I was lulled into the idea that I really was retiring. It took me the nine years of building SXSW as its rep for the region and the annual pilgrimage to Austin and The South to age with me. Not that I was going to play lawn bowls with the white-suited retirees, go fishing, play golf (never have), hang out at the pub, go to the TAB and gamble or play the pokies, join a garden club, buy a mobility scooter and tart it up. With the vast array of music on my iTunes server, added to by the streaming of huge libraries I’ve assembled on Amazon Music and Spotify all coming through superb audio systems, I had a lifetime of music to catch up to. And probably irritate my neighbours from afar
I’ve gotten my four guitars out of storage in the house (Les Paul Sunburst, Precision Bass, Pro Hart Telecaster copy and 1949 Gibson Acoustic Electric prototype), re-jiggered my Macintosh valve amplifier and JBL AXE speaker cabinet and am playing badly from my balcony but thankfully for any neighbours I am 500 metres away upslope.
So for the foreseeable future (until February 2020 when a friend takes over the house while I am away in the US) I’ll be here in Coffs Harbour and happy to host my friends. From late Feb to early April, I’ll be taking the ‘Big Boys Tripp’ to the Southeast for a last round of music from the Blues Trail to Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta, Savannah, New Orleans and Cajun Country before returning home. You can keep up with me as I’ll be updating this blog regularly as I change the software and WordPress structure to make it more intuitive. Until then…
Or as Hunter Thompson put it in the book “Hell’s Angels”
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”