July 23, 2009, 11:51 am
Filed under: CHAFF

People often enquire “what do you guys do when you’re not on tour or recording?”. The short answer is: “rewatch DVD box sets and sink further into alcoholism”, but also, 3 or 4 times a week I take it upon myself to WORK.

I work with my Father at a nearby cemetery cutting grass, tending graves, cutting back hedgerows and that. ‘Gardening’, basically I suppose.

I really enjoy doing this, for a number of reasons. Flouncing around onstage (and boy do I flounce) can be more than a little emasculating at times, so to come off tour and wield chainsaws and all manner of petrol driven machinery makes me feel a little more macho.

I think my preoccupation with death and human decay became reasonably apparent on WAB,WAD, and for our coming record, a lot of lyrics and song ideas were conceived whilst working on the cemetery. There’s one whole song that takes place in the graveyard amongst the headstones and undergrowth. I’m unsure if it’s cathartic or destructive to spend time in this environment. But if it’s creative, who am I to argue.

One notable thing about the graveyard I work at is that it’s the burial site of some ancestors of Nelson. Often people will find their way here looking to fill in some historical gaps. I’m from a pretty small town and a lot of the stones bear very familiar surnames. Of people I went to school with, or family friends. Until about a year ago the cemetery was completely untended and allowed to become completely out of control, with a lot of the graves completely covered. It was also a hotbed off syringes and used needles. It’s pretty rewarding to come away from the cemetery, it looking a whole lot tidier and more peaceful than when we arrived.

So, yeh, just a small insight into the glamorous life of an off duty popstar. And a slight glimpse into one of the lyrical themes of our coming record.


20 Comments so far
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This blog has made me really want to hear you cover Sukie In The Graveyard.

Comment by Alex

wow, the weather up there is so befitting for a graveyard! I’d love to hear more of what this place has done to the music.

also, i’m sure the absurd title is a reference to something, and obviously i can’t worship all the things you do, so, out of curiosity, would you mind pointing out the source of such a quirky combination of words?

Comment by Trung

Based on the first picture, I actually thought you were going to say that you worked as a riot cop. I suppose you would be our first line of defense in the zombie uprising, so I’m a little bit correct.

Comment by eric

You can’t have a job. You’re supposed to be rolling around in money and sniffing cocaine off Peach Geldof’s thighs or something.

Comment by Rob

I wasn’t thinking riot cop so much as crossing guard. I am trying to imagine how interesting my life would have been if a member of a cool band told me when to cross the street every morning before school and I am having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of it.

Comment by Garrett

also I think we have the same headphones?

Comment by Garrett

I agree with Rob. As I saw the first photo, I think of the same thing, being a part-time riot police…Why do people need to wear that helmet for cutting grass ?!

But this is the first time that I heard of this kind of interesting job…

Comment by Tim

Trung – Gravedigger Blues by Beat Happening
Rob – No words. If you can make that happen though, let me know.
Garrett – Bose ones. Not sure of the model. I like them though. On about my third pair.
Tim – It’s not a helmet, it’s just a face mask. There’s no head protection, but when using a chain saw, or even just cutting through brambles it’s pretty likely you’ll have something painful fly at yr face, so best to be safe. I usually end up changing into goggles as if I sing (which I inevitably do) it fogs up the whole mask.

Comment by Gareth

I do envy your graveyard job. I love making up stories about the lives of people based on their tombstone, or maybe the giant obelisk or marble structure they chose to sit over their bones. Mausoleums creep me right out, on the other hand.

Comment by Julia

I also do so when I ride my scooter, and the scooter helmet with face mask would fog up as well.

I used to think that no one would hear of what I was singing, but actually they could… I realized that when one day I saw another man did the same thing, and I can hear what he sang really clear…Then I knew why other riders would show their frowned faces when they’re around me

But I’ll still do so.. but not so loud as the past! so embarrassing!

Comment by Tim

For some reason (perhaps its because I just woke up) after the first photo I imagined that you were a beekeeper tending to massive hives on a part time basis, in hopes of one day creating your very own Los Campesinos brand of honey which could be sold in ornate jars at gigs or county fairs.

Comment by Chris

Wow. Just wow. This is only a bit morbid.At least now we know some of your inspiration for lyrics.

Comment by Victoria

I can see how working in a graveyard could produce a wellspring of ideas. Nice post!

Comment by Jordan

I love the fact that u “work” in this cemetery. I actually love cemetaries like the one you work in coz it has a lot of grass. I think it’s very inspiring because of the peaceful atmosphere that you can find there and also because of the combination of death and life. I admit it’s very weird what I’m stating but it what I feel.
I’ve been to a couple of graveyards here in Argentina but I don’t find them as pleasing and the ones in Europe or the US coz they are pretty grey. They are like a small city full of bricks and concrete for dead people and actually they tend to be very crowded :S The one that is in Recoleta is quite famous and its very arty. Here’s some pics:

and this is in Chacarita (Gardel -the most famous tango singer ever- is there):

Comment by PauLie (paula)

Think you’ve inspired me to visit our local Graveyard.
I don’t like treading on graves mind.

Comment by Alex

Oh, one of the great mysteries for me as a kid was “who makes sure the graveyard looks tidy?”, I never found out, but now I know. It seems like a more enjoyable job than mine (receptionist)…

Comment by Erik

yeah mine are bose but so are everyone else’s I guess. I’m about to need a new pair cause everywhere the wires join into something (both ear pieces and the jack) it has come stripped and frayed a bit so I lose sound sometimes. is that what happened to yours? I got em wrapped up in electrical tape and i’m thinking about just doing that when I get a new pair so that I don’t have to see it slowly deteriorate

Comment by Garrett

That’s pretty cool actually. I work at a library and directly adjacent to the back of the building is a small graveyard. I sometimes like to go out there on break and walk around. Yours looks a bit larger then the one near me though.

Comment by Johanna

This is what I did for my summer job. Personally, I hated it. I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are in the summer, but high 80’s low 90’s (Fahrenheit) here in PA. I dislike heat greatly.

Comment by Rob

even this summer, Rob? North of you in Ontario it has been pretty mild. I don’t miss the humidity (curly hair, you see), but I wouldn’t mind 90 degree swimming weather.

Comment by Julia

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