When All That Glitters Is Not Gold

[Photo Credit: Ashton Mullins]

[Photo Credit: Ashton Mullins]

I often get asked to play at outdoor events. One event that became semi-regular was held by my local community at the local amphitheatre, situated by the beach with a lovely grassed area that stretched out before the outdoor stage. I'd been asked to play with my band and we were allocated a time among the other artists of the day.

One of the other acts was a local dance troupe. Just as the sun started to set, the dance act was announced. As they ran onto the stage they all threw their hands up into the air in a dramatic fashion. They were great dancers and it seemed like hardly any time had passed before the next act was announced.

Soon enough I was announced and my band and I took to the stage. My keyboard had been on stage the whole time and was put in position for me to play.

We rocked! It was a great time, and yet somehow I could feel my fingers slipping a little on my keyboard as I played.

"That's odd!" I thought to myself, however I was so into the music and connecting with the crowd that I paid it no heed.

While the sun was further setting, the temperature was still quite warm and humid, and with the energy I was throwing into my performance, I was continually having to wipe the sweat from my face.

"This is ace!" I thought as I stopped myself from doing a stage dive - the crowd weren't close enough for me to do so without getting severely injured.

Because we were the main headliners for the event, we ended up finishing the concert before the emcee came on to wish everyone a good night and the crowd started to disperse.

People often talk to me about the glamour of my profession. If there is really any glamour, it lasts a few seconds, before you then look around to see everyone rolling leads and lifting heavy objects into their $500 cars. We started the inevitable grind of pack-down.

Someone helpfully found a light switch for the seldom used overhead fluorescent lights on the stage. As they came on, I looked around me in both wonder and horror.

Everywhere around me was covered in glitter. Apparently, as the dance troupe ran onto stage and threw their hands up in the air in a dramatic fashion, their hands weren't empty, but were full of glitter. We'd all missed the moment because of the combination of the sun starting to set and the low lighting budget.

As I gasped and looked around me on stage, I couldn't help but wonder how big the children’s hands of the dance troupe must have been to have thrown about this much glitter. NBL basketball pros wouldn't have had hands large enough to throw this much glitter about like those diminutive dancers had done.

In-between the general glitter dust that blanketed the stage, there were small little shiny piles of it. I saw it sparkling over every surface, covering almost every lead. I looked at a fold back wedge nearby and instead of its usual charcoal carpet it was bathed in sparkly gold.

As we rolled each shimmering lead, glitter came off like hellish pixie dust. It was then that I turned my attention to my keyboard.

Now, my keyboard has suffered a lot over the years. This glitter assault was after the incident of the wayward keyboard stand, yet before the moment of the flying fruit bat. However, as I looked upon my keyboard, I knew that it could never be the same ever again. Glitter sparkled over the white plastic keys. As I looked on, the wind stirred a small pile of glitter and I saw a tiny little landslide sweep the micro-pile of glitter down between the keys and into the internal workings of my beloved keyboard.

I can't remember if I lost consciousness at that point, or if my brain simply ran out of oxygen because of the uninterrupted length of my primal scream. What I did know was that that particular moment changed me neurologically. It was a kind of 'before the glitter went inside my keyboard' and 'after the glitter went inside my keyboard' defining moment of my life.

We pushed on with the pack-down and I shudder now to think what the PA hire company would have made of their shiny leads and speakers. And I look back now and also wonder if the local bird and marine life came away unglittered.

After washing my hands and arms and shaking out my clothes, I finally was able to rid myself of the glitter. Someone suggested we go grab some food.

As I ordered my hamburger, I noticed a strange silence from the teenager behind the counter who had been very talkative as we arrived. As I turned to ask someone something, I caught a brief glimpse of myself in a nearby window. It was then that I stocktaked my actions of the day, remembering my fingers sliding about in all the glitter on my keyboard, and then repeatedly wiping the sweat from my face as I rocked my songs.

I stood there with a face that sparkled and a beard that shimmered each time I shuddered. As I held the hamburger to my mouth, it too was touched by the evils of glitter.

I've searched for that dance troupe mistress every since to educate her on the evils of throwing glitter on people, let alone my beautiful keyboard.

David Willersdorf is a singer-songwriter, traveller and food and coffee enthusiast


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