Des lead us into the balloon shop owned by his friend; an Aladdin’s cave of kitsch delight. Yet-to-be-inflated plastic hearts and spheres stocked neatly on shelves, feebly capturing the tenderest of human moments; ‘I Love You” and ‘It’s a Boy’. He claims several connections to the shop, he has supplemented his income over the years with stints as a balloon delivery driver, and recorded much of his recent album ‘On the Surface of Solitude’ in the shop’s basement.
We turned off the glaring overhead lights and he and his partner Lucy nestled themselves in the shop window under the golden glow of the night-time display lamps. They chatted amongst themselves, sorting out how to best perform his songs without the usual heavy arrangement that characterises the recorded versions.With their backs to the snarling traffic humming past on Parramatta Rd, together they played a couple of the standout melancholy romantic ballads from Des’ latest album. Des usually plays with a full band, creating a boisterous and energetic country rock sound.With only his guitar and Lucy’s gentle harmonies to accompany him, Des’s performances for us allowed the textures of his baritone voice to come into their own.
On stage, “Knife Edge” is usually bursting with all the pleasure and vigour of a precarious passionate relationship. In the shop window, he and Lucy evoked the tender pain of lovers on the edge. For “Borderline on Fire”, they sat down amongst the floating balloons to again bring a quiet warmth and intimacy not afforded by regular venue performances.When we had finished shooting we kept the cameras rolling as we milled around the again luminous balloon shop, the couple continuing their playful banter. Check out Des Miller performing a Kate Bush cover in a tree house in DES MILLER #2.