Music makes mood magic
SBS news presenter Janice Petersen on wild elephants, the magic of gospel choirs and the benefits of flexibility.
A few months ago my partner Julian and I went to MONA in Hobart – it’s like Disneyland for grown-ups. The accommodation on site was beautiful. Each pavilion is named after an Australian artist and features a work of theirs. We stayed in Arthur so were lucky enough to live with an Arthur Boyd piece for a couple of nights.
You have to be flexible and to ease up on your expectations. If something catches your eye, go for it. We had a wild night out when I was travelling with Julian while he was touring Mexico with his band, The Presets.
The promoter took us to a bar which, of course, had all manner of tequila. Then they drove us to what seemed like a suspiciously quiet, rather scary looking part of town assuring us we would have fun. We ended up in a city square teeming with life.
There must have been about 30 mariachi bands and lots of tiny bootleg bars. There was singing, dancing and bucketloads of wild energy bursting out of that place. Such an exciting and unpredictable night out.
When we were exploring a game park in South Africa, we were charged by a juvenile male elephant during mating season. The size of it was awe-inspiring and absolutely terrifying. I’ll never forget the sight of its ears flapping in fury as it stomped towards us. Fortunately, we were able to reverse quickly and Dumbo lost interest.
A Mexican hotel called Habita Monterrey. It was so sleek and modern and had an intimidatingly cool bar that overlooked the city and soaring mountainside. The guests looked like they were about to be photographed for some upmarket lifestyle magazine. Not exactly a laid-back, comfortable vibe but it was great eye candy. Centre, New York City. Julian and I don’t often do touristy things but this was a spontaneous moment. I had a floral kimono on and Julian said I looked like a crazy, big bird gliding around on the ice. It really feels like a scene from a romantic film when I look back on it.
I remember visiting a gospel church in Harlem, New York, where I was utterly overcome with emotion when the wall of sound hit me from the young singers. It was so pure and passionate and the talented youngsters so confident and full of hope. I didn’t just wipe a few tears away, it was a full-blown howl. The power of that moment was unexpected and resonated deeply.