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MIKE NOGA’S ONE NIGHT STANDS

nogawashingtonAs part of the issue of Australian Musician that The Drones guest edited, their drummer Mike Noga wrote a wonderful piece on some of the beds that he has stayed in around the world while on tour with The Drones.

It’s a tough job traveling the world laying down beats for The Drones, and at the end of a hard gigging day, The Drones Drummer Mike Noga is as ‘beat’ as anyone. But before he tucks in for a hard earned kip, he takes a moment to photograph his tour bed. Why? Stuffed if we know! Mike tries to explain.

nogamikesheadBed. The Sack. The Workbench. The Ole Born and Bred. The Uncle Ned. I love it. I have been known to spend whole days lying in it. Taking all my meals upon it. Reading and re-reading newspapers in it, and watching endless hours of bad daytime TV nestled amongst its warm embrace. I could listen to rain fall upon my roof from the comfort of my bed for all eternity. My love for the mattress/doona combination may indeed only be matched by that of my sister-in-rhythm and keeper of The Drones’ low end, Fiona Kitschin. In her quest to get horizontal permanently, she has invented her very own patented ‘Lounge Bed’ system, in which she attempts to somehow transport an entire bedroom of furnishings into the lounge room and as close to the TV/DVD player as possible, in order to view hour after hour of cinematic delights, whilst quaffing red wine and inhaling pasta. Rumour has it she once spent four days straight in this position. Who am I to question such figures?

Which brings us to the problem at hand. I seem to have chosen a career path somewhat lacking in opportunities for serious and re-invigorating ‘shut eye’. A typical day on tour through foreign shores would consist of: drive a very long way; arrive at soundcheck; load equipment; sit around backstage trying to make each other laugh; play concert; pack up; drive around completely lost trying to find the hotel; locate hotel and bed contained within; lie down on bed; close eyes; open eyes after what seems like about three solid minutes of hardcore slumber; repeat. So you see my problem? There is exactly zero opportunity to indulge in any of the pleasures of the bed time ritual. The bed simply becomes a plank with four legs on which to pour your weary bones onto at the end of a long day.

The idea to start photographing each bed I slept in on tour first came to me at the start of a four month European sojourn that will live on in my memory as one of the most hideous experiences of my life. Without wanting to go into too much detail, if someone had of handed me a shotgun at various points throughout the journey, I would have inflicted some serious wounds upon myself with the utmost glee. It was bad. So, in order to erect some form of routine amongst the chaotic existence myself and my fellow Drones were experiencing, I decided it would be a good idea to keep a record of each and every bed I spent a few hours in each night, to provide myself with a little memory of each town visited, and to one day be published in bed-side book form, so that people around the world could lie alone in their own beds, and run their sleepy eyes over my collection of mattresses, before disappearing into a wondrous coma.

As I peruse my collection once more, memories jump forth like springs protruding from an abandoned mattress in a Melbourne alley way. Barcelona and it’s convincing bid for world’s worst hotel. Rome and it’s faux wood panelling nightmare that may well have been constructed around the same time as the Coliseum. Vetlander’s attempt at luring more customers by souping up their beds with an elaborate hydraulics system. All hold special places in the recesses of my mind.

A special thank you must go to my main man and room mate Dan Luscombe, who for four months, graciously put up with me pushing my way into hotel rooms first, camera in hand, imploring him to remove his suitcase from his bed so as to not ruin the aesthetics of my next masterpiece. In fact, during times where it seemed such a fruitless task, he openly encouraged me to keep up my documentation, reassuring me that one day, my Bedside Table Book would appear at the top of best seller lists around the world. If it does Dan, let’s buy one of those enormous sea shell beds and never, ever get out.

So please, go forth and enjoy this preview of my life’s work. And rest comfortably in the knowledge that while you lie there tonight, wound up in blissful slumber, I will be out, somewhere in the world, capturing these magnificent creatures in their natural environment, to present you, on page, for your enjoyment in the comfort of your own, beautiful bed.

Michael Charles Noga.

nogabarcelona

BARCELONA I’m not even sure that this was an actual hotel. We walked into a house in downtown Barcelona to find a few teenage boys playing computer games and slapping each other a lot, and a room full of teenage girls watching the Spanish version of ‘Friends’. No one seemed to notice we were there so we simply found rooms down the hall and closed the door. Fiona’s bed had no sheets or pillows on it.

nogachelseahotel
CHELSEA HOTEL, NEW YORK CITY One of the highlights of my hotel hopping life. To stay in the hotel where Sid killed Nancy, Bob Dylan penned ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ and Dylan Thomas drank himself to death is nothing to be scoffed at. I attempted to create my own special brand of rock n roll shenanigans that night, as a salute to my heroes, and was found urinating off the fire escape, 8 stories up, in my underwear by hotel staff. I wasn’t in trouble at all, they just wanted to direct me to the correct facilities. My kind of joint. If you get the chance…STAY THERE!

nogaBoise, ID

BOISE, IDAHO This doona cover kept me up all night, screaming in my ear.

nogaGraz

GRAZ This was at the Hotel Daniel, which delighted our guitarist Dan … until he saw the room. Just to the right of this shot is the bathroom. A glass wall allows the bed ridden onlooker to view their loved one in the process of showering. Something I imagine would be utterly romantic … if your ‘loved one’ wasn’t the guitarist in your band. After a few manly coughs and grunts, an intricate plan was concocted, consisting of turning on the hot water to help fog up the glass and moving the TV to a the corner of the room. This assured Dan and I narrowly avoided seeing any parts of each other we dared not gaze upon in the early hours of the morning.

nogaJena

JENA I’ve never, ever understood its purpose, but the German maids love that ‘Karate chop the pillow’ thing.

nogaMeinz

MEINZ ‘No, no, that’s fine cleaning lady, I’ll make my own bed…really’.

nogaStockholm

STOCKHOLM. You’d think when they converted this hospital into a hotel they would have … oh, forget it … NEXT.

nogaTromso

TROMSO This photo was taken at 3am. Note piercing shards of sunlight bursting through the window onto place where hapless musician might try to get a couple of hours sleep. Welcome to the arctic circle, my friends. Kill me now.

nogaVetlanda - Hydraulic bed!

VETLANDER This entire bed was built on intricate system of hydraulics that, at the push of a button, would allow the sleeper to convert the mattress into a kind of aircraft, a la’ Transformers’ and fly out the window. It would also rear up and tip you out onto the floor if it so desired. Dan broke his hydraulic system early on in the piece by being a little gung-ho on the controls, and has never forgiven me for not letting him have a go on mine.

And here are a few more …

Dan in Providence

Dan in Providence

 

Faenza

Faenza

 

Fargo

Fargo

Thinnest bed in Germany

Thinnest bed in Germany

nogaDetroit, MI

Detroit