Zoë Krupka’s four very fine Stereo Stories are studies in contrasts and subject matter. All, though, are set on the firm foundations of considerable reflection.
Her first piece, based on Going To A Town by Rufus Wainwright, looked at September 11.
Isn’t it both funny and beautiful how a song, like a painting, can hold inside of it all the complexity of an entire period in history, and at the same time can say things that if you were to try to write them out in longhand, would forever be off the mark? I never wanted to write about that day, although I had both opportunities and encouragement.
Zoë’s second story was a million miles away from the Twin Towers. It was a very amusing and wry remembrance of her first months in Australia, a teenager from Canada making sense of summer down under via the song Senses Working Overtime.
When we hit the tarmac in Sydney, my parents, my sister and me were greeted with an honour guard of insecticidal spray cans to stop us from bringing in foreign bugs. Landing in Canberra on a Sunday was something else altogether. You could have landed a spaceship in the centre of Canberra in the 1980’s and no one would have noticed. I sat by the pool in our hotel for a blazing 15 minutes, jet lagged and freaked out, and proceeded to get the first of many heart-stoppingly severe sunburns.
The story became a staple of our concerts, with the band weaving the lively XTC song throughout Zoë’s dry narration. You can listen to Zoë and the band on Soundcloud.
With A Good Year For The Roses, Zoë contemplated separation, refrigeration and roses in a study of taut emotions.
It’s been years since you last spoke to me. I mean there have been little interactions on front porches, the occasional school event or mediation room, but not anything you’d call a conversation. Occasionally I’ve had to explain it to people. You know, the ones who say give him my regards, or how’s he going? Or worse, how are things between the two of you now? What things, I want to say.
The 10 minute combination of story and song proved quietly mesmerising when performed on stage in Albury, Footscray, Geelong and Williamstown.
The most recent story of Zoë’s is via John Cougar Mellencamp’s I Need A Lover.
On the night of the party, unfashionably late and mildly inebriated, I stood outside her house, freezing, too scared to go in. Cases of beer sat on the front porch keeping cool and upstairs I could see the light on in what she liked to refer to as our den of iniquity. When I heard John Cougar Mellencamp’s I Need A Lover Who Won’t Drive Me Crazy blast out of the speakers, and a drunken singalong tide rise beneath it, I turned to leave. No way. That song. I could not deal with that song. I called her the next day and told her we had to break up. I was young and stupid and unconscionably mean and I had no idea how much I would miss her.
The stories of Zoë Krupka vary in topic and theme but they are all united by a strength of narrative voice and a sense of open-hearted honesty.
Thank you, Zoë.