Didirri & Ruby Gill Explore Brunswick Together Ahead Of BMF Show

7 March 2022 | 2:29 pm | Staff Writer

Didirri has enlisted a bunch of great mates and awesome musos for his Brunswick Music Festival show this Sunday, March 13, with Jess Locke, RAT!hammock, Ruby Gill, Stevie Jean and Wilson Blackley joining him at Gilpin Park. Ahead of the main event, Didirri took some time out to explore Brunswick with Gill.

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It’s a humid evening on a summer Tuesday in Naarm. Ruby Gill has arrived 28 minutes late to her meeting with Didirri near the Trin Warren Tam-Boore wetland in Royal Park, Brunswick. She took a wrong turn after work and drove both ways over the Westgate by mistake. Classic.

D: Going over the Westgate once is bad enough. 

R: I know I’ve had a really bad directional day, haha. Sorry. 

D: It’s totally fine. I am one of those people who doesn’t mind if someone’s late as long as they give an accurate estimation of when they will arrive. One of the things that pisses me off most in the world is someone saying they’ll be five minutes off when they mean ‘any amount of time’.

R: I feel that. Once I did the music for a wedding in South Africa which was supposed to start at 8pm but the bride and groom arrived after midnight. Most of the guests had already wrapped up the party, haha. It was wild.  

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The pair are walking through the White’s Skink habitat at Royal Park – Ruby’s favourite spot for birdwatching near the city. She knows where the frogmouths nest and where to look for pardalotes. She’s also a massive nerd and keeps getting Didirri to take photos of her looking through binoculars. You can’t make this shit up.

D: I was going to ask you that - did you play a lot in South Africa, or was Australia where music kind of kicked off for you?

R: To be honest I feel like I’d lived a whole life already by the time I moved here in 2016. I had already played some of my favourite shows and festivals back home, but there weren’t a tonne of venues when I was growing up. I remember moving here and immediately going to six gigs a week just because I was like, “I didn’t know you were allowed to do this.”

D: Melbourne’s incredible. This place is insane. I mean at the moment it’s, you know—

R: It’s fucked in a different way.

D: Yes. But I felt a bit like that coming here for the first time after growing up in Warrnambool. It’s actually been great to go back in the past few years to see new venues and music spaces popping up that feel really exciting and safe, where, you know, they turn the footy off before the music starts.

R: Ah yes, love to sing during live sporting events.

D: I cut my teeth in those kinds of places – pubs and cafes with the tv blaring above the stage.

R: I actually got locked down near Warrnambool in 2020. Terrible year but the sunrises and sunsets over the ocean were great. I went back for the first time a couple of weeks ago to go on a birdwatching boat. We went like 80km out past the continental shelf looking for albatrosses. I’ve never been so seasick in my whole life.

D: My grandmother emigrated to that coast from Nigeria back in the day on a boat. Five kids, without my grandfather, alone on a ship. There’s actually an incredible story my mother told me about having to stop a drunk surgeon on the boat from doing surgery on her kid.

R: Holy shit.

As they cross the Upfield train tracks, a guy on his bicycle called Charlie recognises Didirri and doubles back to say hi. Then he recognises Ruby and has to say hi again. Everyone says hi and they tell Charlie to come to the gig they’re playing together for BMF at Gilpin Park on the March 13. [Are you coming Charlie?]

Didirri takes Ruby to the “oak” tree he spent most of his Brunswick lockdown sitting under. Neither of them know what kind of tree it actually is, but who cares. It’s enormous, and beautiful. Someone has left a dog turd wrapped in plastic just underneath.

D: This is the thing that blows my mind about this person’s thought process though-

R: They’ve wrapped it.

D: YES. They made it worse.

Ruby and Didirri talk for a while about coping during lockdown. It will probably bore or trigger you so we won’t go into detail but TL:DR Didirri got an electric scooter and Ruby started talking to herself out loud in her apartment. There are like 50 silver gulls circling above while they reminisce.

D: I always get SO confused about the fact that seagulls are essentially only in the city. More chips, I guess.

R: Hey speaking of chips, where are we eating? Do you have a place you like?

D: Green Refectory! I hope it’s open.

It is open. Sydney Rd is bustling and the jaywalking is exhilarating. They order pies at GR, Didirri’s favourite café – yes, it’s open in the evening – and sit outside in the darkening courtyard. Once In A Lifetime by Talking Heads is playing on the radio. 

D: Have you watched the movie of this performance? It’s like a cult classic. David Byrne starts just with a cassette player on stage, but by the end of the show the crew have built an entire stage during the songs without any changeover – like drum risers and instruments and amps and everything. There’s one bit where they all jog in unison for the whole song and they have to take an intermission because they’re so tired.

R: That’s incredible. I love him. I love how normal he is too when you listen to him speak. He seems like this strange mystical enigma but he’s just a human being and I love that.

Ruby says ‘I love’ so many times in one sentence that they start talking about what the world would be like if we said what we actually mean – instead of just using expected phrases.

D: I’ve been trying to speak more truthfully. For example, I’m trying to reserve “I miss you” for actual moments of missing someone, like when I’m on tour. Most of the time I mean “I’m thinking of you” or “hey you’re on my mind.” I want missing to stay that real deep ache of actually pining for someone.

R: I love that. I wrote this poem last year about all the things my best friend says to me instead of I love you – like “look at you there in your blue dress” or “lucky us.” It’s so powerful to actually say the thing you mean.

D: Yes. Just tell the truth.

R: I think we create whole religions out of language, in that you just lean on the hymn book – the phrase that was given to you by society – that you can just recite without thinking.  

D: Totally. When Ro (Didirri’s partner) and I say goodbye to each other these days we mostly say “it’s been great. You can have my guitars. Make sure the birds live a long happy life.” And we’re deadly serious. We’re like, today might be the day you get hit by a car. A lot of people can’t cope with that, but it’s the truth. And it’s so powerful to live close to that. After I heard your song You Should Do This For A Living I actually started writing a song inspired by your weird phrasing and it’s all about how we’re all going to die.

R: Haha. I think that’s the feeling in the air right now. Like five years ago when I moved overseas I thought I was being irrational to think, wow I might not see these people again. But now we actually might not see each other again, because I might get COVID, or jaywalk badly, or get stuck in a flood or a war.

D: I think some of that risk has always been there. But-

R: Now it’s just more obvious?

D: Yeah. There’s this quote that’s stuck with me for a while that says “I’m not scared of the year 2500 the same way I’m not scared of the year 1802 because they’re the same state of me. I will not be one day, the same way I was not back then.”

R: Me in non-existence.

D: Exactly.

After talking more about religion and boring music things for a while, Didirri and Ruby Gill walk through the sunset to drop the film rolls off at Hillvale – a darkroom down an alley off Union St. Didirri takes off his glasses to fill out the drop-off form, and somehow forgets them on the pavement. Rookie error. But get this - when he comes back later, they are still there.