Wednesday, 27 July 2016, just before 2pm.
I’d just checked in at the Abode Hotel Woden, and now I was entering my room – where I was greeted by an unexpected sound.
I listened to the music as I wheeled my two large suitcases into my room and closed the front door.
It was a pleasant-sounding jazz instrumental, and it seemed to be coming from the enormous flatscreen TV with the currently blank screen.
I continued listening as I looked around at my home away from home for the next five nights, and I smiled.
I was in Canberra again, and for pleasure, and staying in another appealing hotel room that was larger than my cluttered apartment back home in Sydney.
And the jazz music in the background was contributing to the ambiance.
I unpacked one of my suitcases – the other didn’t need unpacking yet – and soon I prepared to leave for the nearby Westfield Woden shopping centre to buy some supplies. Just before I left, I glanced at the flatscreen TV which was now showing the source of the music.
And that’s how I discovered the digital radio station ABC Jazz.
The second large suitcase I’d brought was filled with the Lego I would be displaying at Brick Expo. The next day, I would wheel that suitcase over to the Hellenic Club and set up my layout.
This was my third year at Brick Expo, and I was looking forward to it a lot.
As well, as I mentioned above, I was in Canberra again, which I always look forward to.
But there was another reason why I was especially happy to be here.
The first half of 2016 had sucked. A crappy four-week work contract from January to February had been followed by three months of increasingly frustrating unemployment, job-hunting and money running out. Those three lousy months had also included a job-hunting visit to Canberra that would fail – but thanks also to (a) the interviewer sending me to the wrong address and (b) not being able to set up another interview until after the Easter long weekend, it would turn out to be an overly expensive visit that drained a big chunk of the last of my money.
(As regular readers may recall, during my past few posts I’ve alluded to a few series I had planned to write earlier this year. The above paragraph is a summary of what these series were going to cover. I may or may not still write these series – but the first half of 2016 was a very difficult time, especially after the great time I had working and living in Canberra in late 2015, so at present I’m still inclined not to revisit that shitty period.)
Finally, in mid-May I landed a new contract within walking distance from where I live in Sydney. There were some frustrations at first, but eventually I gained an extension thanks to my new employer liking my work so that was welcome. As well, I was receiving the same pay that I got in Canberra last year but without the expense of staying in Canberra, so once again I had extra money in the bank.
And now, I was back in Canberra for a brief but very welcome break to enjoy myself.
And during the next five days, the music of ABC Jazz became the pleasant soundtrack to what would become a very enjoyable break indeed.
The only time I turned off ABC Jazz was when I went to bed – but each morning, one of the first things I did after getting up was to turn it back on. I left it playing whenever I left my room, because I always liked hearing it whenever I returned.
And most of all, I enjoyed having ABC Jazz on during my favourite time of the day – late at night during the last few hours before bedtime. I’d long held a stereotype of jazz that it was the perfect sort of mellow music for unwinding to late at night – and now that I was finally listening to it, I found that it was indeed.
Most good things must come to an end, and so it was with Brick Expo and those five nights in Canberra. But I will always have the memories.
And one thing I was planning to continue doing when I returned to Sydney was listen to ABC Jazz late at night.
Which would ultimately lead to purchasing a type of item I had thought I would never buy again in my lifetime – a radio (or specifically, a digital radio).
Astoundingly, though, it took me almost two weeks of constipated thinking and lame-arse umming-and-aahing before I bought my radio. For that fortnight I listened too much to a voice in my head that whined about whether it was worth it spending more than $100 on a device just to listen to one radio station…until finally I told myself to stop being such a nob-end.
And weeks later as I currently type this, my little black Sony radio sits close by and fills my headphones and ears with yet more great late-night jazz.
I have also extended my boundaries beyond ABC Jazz and bought a few albums by different artists. At present, I mostly favour mellow instrumentals.
I have tried listening to jazz at work, but I much prefer to keep it to my late-night oases where it feels just right.
Until next time, stay well and take care 🙂