Minding my own business waiting for the first train home at a late night bar after a wonderful gig at The Corner Hotel in Richmond watching childhood heroes still tearing it up, a man came up to me and started chatting, we had a mutual love of Deep Purple, though he had his facts wrong with albums, we had a laugh and shared a drink.
We talked a while about music and the local scene, I had time to kill and didnít mind.
He bought a drink, I bought a drink, it was late, we were both killing time.
Other people joined the conversation, a beautiful young woman chimed in with a happy spirit. It was three am and it was three having a laugh after three respective big nights out.
We shared our company and laughed.
Time for my shout, I only had a fifty dollar note, engaged in a lovely conversation with a lovely girl, my erstwhile friend said no worries and heíd go up to the bar.
Two drinks were placed on the table at some point, and at some point the lovely young girl and I realised that it was back to just us two ... my Deep Purple friend with his facts wrong was no longer there.
Neither was my change.
For the sake of two drinks at $10 each, a prospective new mate placed a value on our friendship and goodwill ... the change from a $50 note.
I think I might know how a refugee feels, wonderful talk of a new life but at the end of the day I am worth exactly thirty dollars. No matter what I have done throughout my life.
It is now Saturday night and I dedicate this piece of music I played today to him.
I laugh at how cheaply he valued people. Small change. Thirty dollars.
I played this piece of music knowing that I have been in this place, Melbourne, my place, my studio, here in the west, longer than some of my students have been alive, that the music I listened to at that gig at The Corner Hotel last night was the music that defined my life.
I played this piece of music today knowing that some people refuse to forgive and take their anger out like a spray gun.
I know that anger, but generally I have a handle on it, I apologise for it, I also forgive, love and honour and freely give credit where credit is due.
To the Grifter I met last night, I dedicate this piece of music to you.
I had a piece of music prepared that needed a purpose, you gave this piece of music purpose.
The value of this piece of music to me far outweighs the small change you took when you disappeared. It is worth far more than thirty dollars to me. Yet I will still post it to YouTube for free.
I hope you find what you are looking for within the reasons why you decided to steal thirty dollars.
I donít need to forgive you.
I thank you.
I hope one day you will find a peace that suits you within your anger, cynicism, screwed up facts about Deep Purple and shallow opportunism.
Best of Luck.
Chris Quinlan 12th April 2014
Chris Quinlan f.dip.a is a musician, drum and guitar teacher, and producer of Melbourne Musos - The Drum TV Show and author of the MMDC Drumset examination syllabus used throughout Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia. He has written for Beat, Mixdown and Drummer Magazines. He was nominated for the Australian of the Year awards in 2013.