Monday, February 6, 2012

I have gone...


For those of you still subscribed to this wonderful blog, I am here to inform you that, as I am no longer travelling, it is DEFUNCT.

However, you can still follow my musical goings-on(s?) at my NEW site, If you get there quick, there are couple of early mixes of my soon-to-be-released tracks on the front page just waiting for you to listen to.

So, thanks for subscribing – there are links on the right panel of which will allow you to subscribe to that, which would be nice. There's also a mailing list you can sign up to. How exciting!

Thanks again.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's another Friday afternoon

And we have another gig tonight, so I am posting here.

Is that too cynical?

I have been busy building a room. Here is a photo:

Note that when I say that I have been building a room, I mean that in the loosest sense possible. I am trying to help and lift things and generally getting in the way while Ivan (pictured) actually builds.

Cool, huh? When this room is built I will be able to set up a studio thing of sorts and get BUSY! Like a bee.

In additional you're-reading-Jacob's-blog-about-things-that-Jacob-does news, last weekend Kanchana (of Fat Gold Chain fame) and I played at WOMAD in Adelaide with Ash Grunwald. There are some photos and videos floating around and I will put some on here when I get a chance. It was good. I hit some things on stage in front of lots of people and may have even clapped my hands a few times.

So, that gig. Tonight at The Edinburgh Castle Hotel, on the corner of Albion Street and Sydney Road, Brunswick. There are three bands playing, Penelope Knight (my lover) is doing a solo piano and vocals set, Brother Nature will be pumping the room full of all sorts of electronic passion and Fat Gold Chain will do that thing we do. Should be good – $5 entry. If you come and pay $5 to get in, we may even give you a CD or sell you a T-shirt. Or give you a hug.

Thanks for reading, I may eventually stop spamming this blog with Fat Gold Chain things. Maybe. In the meantime, if you are reading this blog and putting up with my shameless plugs, you are probably the sort of person who should go to and sign up to our email list (if you haven't already). 

Thanks again.
Love from Jacob

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh, I'm back, by the way.

Hello. Been quiet here, hasn't it?

I'm now back in Australia and glad to be so. In the last week and a half I have basically been running around trying to work out what I'm doing with myself. So far I'm still not sure. I know that there's a Fat Gold Chain gig coming up on Sunday week (February 20th). I'm sure information about that will be available later, either here or at

That's about it for now, I'm not sure if there's much more to say.

Here's an video that someone made based on Steve Reich's composition 'clapping music' that I found so as to make this post slightly more interesting:


Thank you, as always, for reading this.

And this.

Ok bye.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Adventures of Jacob's Last Day in Ghana


You know how I said I would be able to write another post before I leave? Yeah, well. Sort of. I'm sitting on a plane typing this into my phone waiting to leave Ghana. You probably won't be able to read this until I get home, or at least after I have had access to an Internet connection.

In short, today (the day I am leaving Ghana – Saturday the 29th) was/is a pain in the arse/nightmare.

First of all, I woke up this morning to find out that we were out of water- so much for getting clean before travelling. So I washed out of some buckets that a small boy filled by climbing into the tank and gathering what was there. Somewhat indulgently, Penelope and I had arranged for someone to come and give us pedicures before we left. This person was meant to come at 10 but came a bit after 11. That wasn't too bad, but threw my timing out a bit.

We still got pedicures, so there. My feet are clean as.

As I had finished and while Penelope was getting her feet done, Ayiku brought me the completed shirts. This was the best thing that happened all day - the shirts are all done and look sick!

As mentioned in an earlier post, Tettey was meant to have picked up my talking drum on Friday. Also, I understood that he was going to drive me to the airport at 3.00. On Friday night, I found out from Mercy (one of the girls in the house) that all the children, who we wanted to see and give presents to before we left, had been taken to Rita's (Tettey's wife) mother's house for the weekend and that we wouldn't see them again. Upon ringing Tettey to see if this was true and to try and organise a time to go and see them, Tettey told me that he was in Kumasi (over 5 hours away) and that he wouldn't see me again either. This messed up my plans a bit as I was relying on him to get my drum and take me to the airport. He told me that he'd organised for Adotey (who has a car) to pick me up at 10.00 Saturday morning and take me to Nima to get the drum, which he hadn't picked up. At 10.00 the next morning (the time at which the pedicurist and Ayiku were also meant to be arriving) I found out that Tettey hadn't actually organised anything and that Adotey was busy and wouldn't be able to drive us anywhere. So, somehow, after giving Tettey money to get the drum and having thought I was organised to get to the airport I found out, mid-pedicure, that I was in slight organisational trouble. Silly me for thinking everything was organised and under control.

So, I had to work out how to get to Rita's mother's house, give presents to the kids, meet up with and give things to people who I now wouldn't have time to see, get to Nima to pick up the drum and, as I naively hoped, somehow make it to the dutch hotel to steal a shower.

As it happened, I realised I would only have time if I caught a taxi to Rita's mother's house, then to Nima and straight to the airport from there. So Penelope and I packed all our bags into a taxi and set off. When we got to Rita's mother's, Rita said they she had a friend who she would call that would take us the rest of the way, so we unpacked our bags and got rid of the driver. As it turns out, the new driver wasn't around so we had to wait for about 30 minutes while we tried to find someone else to drive us. Time was running out.

Skipping ahead, we got to Nima, got the drum and made it to the airport only about 40 minutes later that I was meant to be, which was pretty good, given how the day had gone.

Then the big problems started happening. Until this point, writing about it here, it probably seems as if everything worked out ok and it was 'just Ghana' - charmingly inefficient. Actually, it was infuriating and incredibly stressful - instead of being able to be organised, calm, cool and collected and instead of Penelope and I being able to spend our last day together (for a month, anyway) in a less-than-furious state, my whole day turned to annoying. It also meant that what followed was especially difficult to deal with, due in part to having a build up of shit all day and in part to being a lot later than I needed to be.

Bear in mind that I'm used to 'normal' Ghana 'annoying' - this was a special, especially negligent kind of annoying. It annoyed me very much. I am trying not to use too many naughty words on this blog.

Anyway, the airport.

I got to the airport with two bags to check in: my rucksack, containing clothes and my sabar drum, and a big plastic bag with a zip (like the ones you get in $2 shops), containing the Fat Gold Chain shirts and my djembe. I went to get the plastic bag wrapped in more plastic so as to hold it together - I'd had several violent fits of swearing earlier in the day as Ghanaians mishandling the bag (as well as it being shitty quality) had caused the zip to split.

After getting my bag wrapped, I went to check in. At check in, I found out that I had 20 kilos over my allowed limit and that it would cost me $2000 to take it all. This was more than my ticket cost. I certainly didn't plan for that – I thought I had less weight and more allowance than what I did.

So, after talking to officials and trying to find out the possibility of air-freighting my stuff, I was running out of time and starting to panic. The next 20 minutes or so were really awful and stressful and I can't be bothered typing them out on my phone. Penelope is the most wonderful person in the world and helped me very much. In the end, I took some of the shirts, some cloth I had bought for my mum and my two drums out of my luggage. As an added bonus, this meant I had to pay another $10 to get my bag wrapped again – that was the end of my money. I then tried to call some people to ask them to come to the airport to pick up the excess things with the desperate hope that they can send them to Australia via the postal service – I have no idea how much that will cost but I would transfer money later. I'm pretty sure that it will cost less than $2000.

In the end Aflah was nearby and came to help me. I don't want to swear too much here (even in a good, enthusiastic way) so I'll just say that he really helped me out of a tight situation and I am very thankful to him. I checked in just as the check in counters were closing, said a too-hasty, frustrated, apologetic and tearful goodbye to Penelope, who flies to Europe a few hours after me, ran to the gate and finally got here, on the plane.

There's a Ghanaian child in the seat in front of me and he's screaming. A lot. His mother is ignoring him completely.

It's going to be a fun flight.

That's all I can write for now on this phone. Thanks for reading.

Ok. I'm in Dubai airport and I have wifi so I am posting this now, 9 hours after what's written above. Sorry for the inconsistencies in tense and phrasing – I was typing on my phone in a still-frustrated and scattered state and didn't care much for grammar or tense. Hopefully it still makes sense.

In short, the day was shit and I'm pretty annoyed at Tettey for pissing off and screwing up my plans. I'm also incredibly frustrated at my own misguided assumptions as to my luggage weight and allowance. I have no idea what I'm going to do about my stuff still in Ghana – I think Aflah took it to his house in Nungua. I'll have to call someone when I get back on Monday and try and organise for them to post it. That will be fun. We'll see.

Anyhow, I'm pretty tired. The flight on Emirates from Accra to Dubai was ok. Pretty uncomfortable – I think I am just a bit too tall for planes. The food was really good though – that could be due to me not having anything to eat for the night and the day before I travelled.

Yeah, that's probably it.

Home soon. Well, in 19 frigging hours or so.

Bye again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've been neglecting you, haven't I? Sorry.

My humblest apologies.

Well, two sleeps to go.

I haven't been up to much the last couple of days – the T-shirts are pretty under control. Ayiku showed me the first ones that he pressed today and they are really good. The rest should be done tomorrow. Regarding the shirts, when I said 'let me know if you want one', I meant to buy, not just, 'who would like a free shirt?'.

I'm talking to you, Abbie (you'll get one anyway).

So that's pretty under control. I also had a bunch of trouble getting my talking drum fixed, having been told by Theofo that the guy who repairs talking drums had died and had my drum and he couldn't get it and oh bother gosh deary me. Turns out the guy's not dead and, after tracking down the guy's number and location, extracting the drum from Theofo and arranging for Tettey to take it to the Talking Drum Repair Man in Nima, my drum is being fixed as I type. It should also be ready tomorrow.

On Tuesday Penelope and I went into the Arts Centre market to pick up a couple of items. That went well. Everything seems to be going peachily, yes?

In fact, the only mildly annoying thing that has happened so far this week relates to us 'missing' Australia day. Tettey (who I'm staying with) was invited to a party at the Australian High Commission to celebrate Australia day. Unfortunately, the courier bearing the invitation couldn't find Tettey's house (the postal service is interesting here. Street addresses pretty much don't work), so Tettey would have to go into the High Commission to get an invitation. Penelope and I were excited at the thought of eating barbecued meat – real, butchered meat where we know exactly what animal it comes from. As it turns out, we found out on Tuesday that the celebration wasn't on Australia Day (Wednesday) but was on the Monday. We missed it. Tettey tried to blame it on us, suggesting that we didn't know when Australia Day was. We did, apparently the Australian High Commission didn't.

So, instead, on Australia Day, we went to the Dutch Hotel and had a cheeseburger.

Today we had chicken and chips. That was nice but very much and filling. I don't know that we'll have anything else. But we might!

Isn't that exciting? SUSPENSE!

So, in preparation for my leaving, I've got my bags organised, worked out what stuff I'm taking home and what I'm giving away, packed what I can and wrapped foam around my drums. I feel like I'm pretty organised to go home now, assuming that the things I am expecting to be done by tomorrow actually are – this is an assumption that I should know not to make but am making anyway.

We'll see.

Tomorrow I have to say a few goodbyes, hopefully have a final couple of hours of lessons with Adotey and buy a couple of things from around Nungua, as well as give away many of my possessions.

I fly out from Ghana at about 7pm Saturday (GMT). I'll post again at least once before then.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The power went off for a day. Then I was here.


Jacob here. Writing on Jacob's blog. Who would have thought?

It's Monday night here on my last week here. This time next week I will be home in Australia. As such, this means that I am quite busy trying to get things in order here in Ghana. Today was spent waiting and trying to go and see someone to get my talking drum fixed (In the end, I didn't. It will get done tomorrow. Maybe) and having a lesson and training with Afotey – the last one (although I'll probably go on Friday to say goodbye). Yesterday I went with Tettey and a bunch of others to Nii Boye's (aka Atta Boye) mother's funeral party. It was ok – I hung around for a couple of hours and then went home.

Actually, now that I think about it (and try to write about it), I have felt very busy in the last few days, but I'm not sure what I've achieved.

Oh yeah.

That's because I'm in Ghana. I've basically been running around trying to organise and get things done by other people. The simplest thing, like getting a sample T-shirt so as to check sizes (I am getting a bunch of Fat Gold Chain T-shirts printed. Hopefully. Let me know if you want one) can take (and has taken) about 4 weeks of me asking, getting the response 'ok, it's coming' and then not seeing anything. Tomorrow, though, I have been assured that a small, a medium, a large and an extra-large shirt will be provided so that I can check the sizes.

Actually, that was meant to be today...

Anyhow, I am struggling to fit in much drumming but have pretty much learned all that I hoped to – now I'm trying to squeeze in some more practice time, which is proving to be tricky, despite the fact that I spend most of my day waiting.

Also, the power went off.

That's it for now. Let me know if you want anything. From Ghana, that is. Not just 'a car' or 'a holiday' or 'happiness'. Or 'fish' because I will have trouble getting it back into the country. Last time I came back I tried to bring some Fan Ice, which is local ice cream sold by boys on the street for 40 cents a packet. The Australian customs officers were not too impressed.

Oh well.

From Jacob