West End Street musicians Stunn.
You’ve probably seen Ray, River and Oits (members of the band Stunn) jamming on Melbourne St in West End. I stopped by for a chat and discovered that the three indigenous musicians are enchanting and charming. Ray told me a little about the band.
“We got together to produce ethnic and cultural music that’s selected from our various cultures. All three of us are from different backgrounds. Our ethnic backgrounds include Eastern-Polynesian, Samoan, Aboriginal and Malay cultures. We combine that with modern music and our own style. We try to create some sort of fusion and identity based on this.”
“Do you think there are any other artists or bands draw on various cultures like you guys do?”
“Well if they don’t they’re limiting themselves. They should do it and explore what’s out there. The collaboration that we have is pretty good.”
“Do you think music is a big deal in West End?”
“Music is one of the major spiritual forces in West End, without a doubt. West End wouldn’t have the commercial success that it’s enjoying today without music. West End has boosted from music. It’s a street energy. The business people here should take note. Without the freedom to creatively express on a street level or at any level really, you have a dead street.”
“Do you think other suburbs in Brisbane have as much street music as West End does?”
“We’ll we’re from outside the West End area but we play here because it’s already been created for us. We hope that other musicians take advantage of what West End has to offer.”
Three weeks from now Stun will be hitting the road. However there are no concrete plans for the tour.
“We don’t have a plan as such, simply because we don’t believe in planning. You can only live life for today, not tomorrow or yesterday. You can only live right now. I cannot tell you what’s going to happen tomorrow. In the present, right now, I’m doing music and that’s all I can guarantee. That’s all I can give.”
Ray’s advice for life: “Create your own culture and become yourself. Seek a wider perspective rather than an individual one.”
There’s no place like home
Brendan Barclay was born and grew up in West end. After a long time away from the area, Brendan has returned home.
“I moved back to settle down. It’s the best place in Brisbane. There’s a real community vibe, there are gardens on every corner. Everyone is really friendly and lovely. They like bringing everyone into their homes and sharing their lives with everyone. It’s the best community around, easily in Brisbane.”
“There’s no place like home. I think West End is one of the last places in Brisbane that still has culture. I like the Valley and New Farm, but West End still has a lot of old culture. It’s still holding onto it, whereas new development has really changed the city. West End is the most amazing place.”
“What’s your day been like so far?”
“I had some coffee and breakfast at Blackstar. It’s a cafe that’s tucked away in Thomas Street. It’s serves amazing coffee. Now I’m going to buy a lantern at Dandelion. I love that shop. I’m like a kid in a candy store there.”
“Later on I’ll go out for evening drinks at Rumpus (Rumpus Room). It’s happy hour for all of Monday. It has a really nice evening feel too. It has a garden outside and a lot of the locals will gather around that area. You can drink and smoke at the same time. It’s a nice little place to hang out.
Brendan’s advice for life: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
West End’s movie buff
John Swain has been a West End resident for only 12-months and says he loves the location, restaurants and shops.
“Saturday and Sunday is very busy around here. I lived near by a while ago. It’s changed quite a bit, there used to be trams, double-decker buses and steam trains. But we shouldn’t be losing our hospitals and although we have some good police, we need more.”
John’s a trusted local around west end with close relationships with restaurant owners and the South Bank cinema.
“I’m waiting to go to an Italian restaurant across the road. They’ll give me a meal today and let me pay them tomorrow.”
“You must be a pretty trustworthy person, for them to believe that you’ll pay them back.”
“I’m pretty good that way. I’ve known them for a while.”
When I ask what John’s plans are for the rest of the day, I discover his great joy- going to the movies.
“I’m going to see the Titanic, they reckon it’s pretty damn good.”
“Have you never seen the Titanic?”
“Not yet, I also want to see the new car racing movie, The Fast and The Furious. I get a good deal at the South Bank cinemas; I’ve been going there since the place was opened. I sure do love my movies. The South bank cinema is great, the Imax screens are terrific and it’s real cheap too. I’m also really excited to see the new cartoons they have coming out. The new Superman movie looks good too.
John claims he sees at least two movies a week at the local cinema.
“Who’s your favourite actor?”
“Mel Gibson.” John’s advice for life: “Wear sunscreen.”