You would think, knowing me now, I would have jumped at ANY opportunity along my path to position myself closer to those in the music industry that I respect and admire. That's the smart thing to do right, if you're an aspiring artist wanting to "make it" in your chosen field.
Of course. So why would I turn down an opportunity to work with one of Australia's most influential and iconic bands of the 20th century? I'm almost embarrassed to tell you this story, because my actions surprised even me, but looking back, I can only explain it as perhaps the right opportunity at the wrong time. You know, like when you meet someone you're really into but the timing is all wrong? Who hasn't had that happen.
So here's what went down.
I was 20, fresh from the country and now living in a beautiful beach suburb of Sydney. I was looking for work and had an unconfirmed offer to work at a travel agency in the city, which I would have liked. At that age, all I wanted to do was travel. In my Geography classes at school, I used to stare out the window and dream about seeing the world. I just couldn't wait to leave school and get on a plane or a bus or a train or whatever as long as I was going somewhere.
I went down to the job centre one day and noticed a card saying something about a position vacant in the Entertainment Industry. Of course I inquired about it, since music was definitely a part of me even if I wasn't in a hurry to follow that path.
The guy in the job centre told me that he was about to call me regarding this position as he thought it would suit me down to the ground with my musical bent and all. He explained, "just quietly", that Midnight Oil were looking for a personal assistant, and they lived in MY street! "Holy Cow", was pretty much all I could say hehe. Not really, I'm sure I was very composed and behaved in a professional manner at all times. :)
So off I went for my interview with the Oil's manager Gary Morris, and yes, I did meet the very awe inspiring Peter Garrett with his piercing blue eyes and very bald head which he had to lower to get through the doorway that wasn't quite tall enough for him. Gary offered me the job at the end of our chat and what did I do? I said I'd have to get back to him!!! Oh dear. I can hear your gasps of horror!
My issue was, and believe me, I understood the enormity of the offer, but in my heart I wanted to travel. I remember Gary saying in the interview, and I'm sure this was the defining moment for me, "we need someone who can handle the incoming media calls with discretion while we're travelling around the world". But hang on I thought, I want to go with you!
I could have done that job and I would have done it well, but I didn't want to be left behind.
Anyhow, before giving Gary my answer, I rang the boss of the travel agency just to check if his offer was going to come to fruition, and he said "yes, can you start Monday?" Aaaaaargh. I was happy and disappointed at the same time. It would have been easier if he'd said no, and then I would have gladly taken the Midnight Oil job, even without the travel. Clearly, for reasons I still, to this day, have not been able to fathom, that was not my destiny.
A year later, I rang Gary to inquire about something for someone, and he asked me how my job was going. I said "oh I love it". He said "well, the girl we hired has just left so the job is yours if you want it". I couldn't believe it. He was torturing me, and he was serious. I had to turn him down! AGAIN! And it was just as difficult as the year before. What the hell?
I did mention that I'd love to see their show though, and what a guy! He said "come to the office and pick up a couple of passes" So I did! I LOVE him! And what a rocking show!
I worked in travel for a few years and enjoyed quite a lot of travel opportunities. In the end, I became restless and realized that working in an office was not for me. I packed up my stuff, got in my car and drove north. I had no idea where I was going, I just needed to get on the road and go somewhere.
Next week I'll tell you where I ended up.
I hope you've enjoyed my story this week and as always, I love to hear your thoughts if you'd care to leave a comment, and be sure to join the mailing list for a free download of my Chasing Cars recording.
Below is a video of one of my favourite Midnight Oil songs.