posted on June 14, 2008 at 10:50 pm

started like any other year in canberra
things were getting stranger in the music scene
the beatles were beginning to mutate before our eyes
but for me
it was the beginning of high school
it scared and impressed and baffled me more
than anything thats ever happened in show biz
the kids in 5th n sixth form seemed like unreachably cool adults
they had sideboards and smoked cigs n drove cars to school
they had black duffle coats and black suede beatle boots
they had long hair …i mean long long
the teachers were so much different to primary school
we had separate teachers for each subject now
we had mrs alexander for english who was kinda racey
she was about 22 and wore mini skirts
there was a rumour she was often knickerless
(tho i never saw it)
she spoke in a sarcastic husky voice
and said things like
“oh, really darling…!!”
to smutty little grubby boys like me
she seemed plugged into some groovy current
that woulda been unimaginable back at lyneham primary
which there it was across the meadow
but now a million miles away….
actually the idea of cool
the concept of grooviness
really entered my consciousness at this point
i wasnt born spouting rimbaud and plucking a geetar
up until this point a part of me had lain dormant
that part of me that was all about fashion n looks n coolnesse
and clothes and haircuts n rock music as a hipness index
into my life came a character called neil genge
genge was the same age as me
he’d been in the b classes at primary school
i hadnt had much to do with him
he was slim and about my height
but i’d seen him dish out whippings to the best fighters in our class
at high school genge came into his own
if youve seen the virgin suicides he was like trip fontaine
genge was so good looking and so fucking cool
he had a big sister who must have tipped him off
he always had the latest and best clothes
he always had or knew of the best music
and 13 he already had a string of ex girfriends behind him
clothes hung off him just right
he surfed and was an amazing fast rugby player
he had that sixth sense where he was already always there
the ball flew into his hands and zigzagged down the field
effortlessly avoiding all the oafs and never got hurt
he always knew all the grooviest or heaviest kids from the other schools
he was a all round jack the lad par excellence
and as i watched him in action for 4 years
he influenced me profoundly
we were never really friends
i was too fussy and uncool to fit in with him
he came round my place once
i heard him say the next day
it was the most boring thing he’d ever done
i went round his place once
and it was fabulous
his mother was impossibly friendly and groovy
his bedroom was like an inner sanctum
he had loadsa records i’d never even heard of
even his little brother was another groover in the making
but genge would change
one day your friend next day he’d be leading a bully attack
as his friend you’d spill the beans about such n such
and the next day horror of horror genge’d walk to school with him
double metalwork periods were a scary thing
i was absolutely hopeless at metalwork naturally
and genge n co hounded us mercilessly
he might punch me in the face
or humiliate me in front of girls
or “get” me afterschool
one time he hit me in the balls with pencil case randomly
as he walked past in the corridor
but whenever he was friendly to me
i’d be so relieved i’d act like nothing had happened
but genge could turn on you just like that
i wasnt the only one who he was doing this too either
genge could turn nasty just like that!
genge smoked dope
rooted girls
rode motor bikes
drank in pubs
and had pubic hair
long before anybody else
he was an authority on chicks surf and music
the whole universe seemed to whirl around him
all the girls were impressed (even if they didnt act like it)
all the boys were envious
this close range hero worship
of a kid
sometime friend
sometime persecutor
did my head in
i wanted to be like genge so badly
i’d be walking through canberra on friday night with my dad
and hes nattering away with his olde routine
suddenly genge would appear in all his sartorial elegance
with a bunch of kids i never seen before
a bunch of pretty girls
my dad couldnt understand why i suddenly got angry
and didnt wanna talk to him anymore…
ah genge..what an enigma
i had suddenly apprehended my own nerdiness
i was desperate to emulate genge in every way
but i couldnt never get the right clothes
they never fitted me like him
i could never say the right things
i was just in awe of him
he had probably had more impact on me
than anybody before or since
of course
sgt pepper came out halfway through the year
and everything instantly changed
my red velvet epaulette shirts hit the bottom of the wardrobe
and paisley and floral came in
people in 5th n sixth form grew floppy mustaches
and the whole world seemed to warp into a beatles song
suddenly you were either hip or you werent hip
what was wrong with me?
never content to be me
striving to literally be other people
i hated my clothes and my hair and my records
i mean
they were better than most
but i wanted to be
but never ever could be
some kinda ace face
sgt peppers changed the world not just the music biz
suddenly we started hearing about pot n acid
the very idea of pot n acid changed my world
acid as exemplified by walrus, strawb fields n lucy in the sky
a fucked up technicolour alice in wonderland warping dream-mare
this was where i felt at home
not playing rugby
or doing algebra
nor walking round town on friday night with me dad…
and free love to boot!
gorgeous free love chicks who didnt want oldtime muscle men
they hung off skinny pale english blokes…..
that wont be too much trouble, i thought
the school dances were of such importance
it seemed like colossal events were taking place
when arthur cook jumped up on stage
and danced with the go go girls
one of the go go girls was from our form
called megan
oh she was the epitome of 1967 youthful grooviness
as she did the frug or watusi in her floral clothes
and her hair shook to the frenzied pulse of
the limit 5
a local canberran band
oh wow live loud music
its all too much
i want it
i want this
i want it all
i dont want my pre 67 life of short pants n riding bikes
i dont want to play with my soldiers or any of that
i want clothes and loud music n chicks n pot n acid
and free love and within you without you
and the hole in my shoe was letting in water
and i wish i was in london
in carnaby street
or in san francisco with fucking flowers in my barnet
my mum n dad couldnt dig this trip
us kids were on our own
i looked at our parents ww2 sensibilities
it seemed so blacknwhite
a thing of the past
the beatles were pointing the way
everyone was turning on tuning in dropping out
love love love love love
it was so easy
it was so simple
flower power man
we love you
just ask alice

17 Responses to “sixty 7”

  1. avatar
    kat | 15 June 2008 at 12:30 am #

    you really captured 67.. i was just years later with my beatles craze. whatever became of genge i wonder?

  2. avatar
    Anonymous | 15 June 2008 at 12:53 am #

    and HOW!!!…we love you too .me thinks neil was the one with the hole in his shoe,was he not?m glad that the music affected you in such a glorious way…all you need is love!x 🙂

  3. avatar
    veleska1970 | 15 June 2008 at 2:20 am #

    such a pivotal time in your life. a rebirth, more or less.

    i guess we all experience this at one time or another.

    lotza love….

  4. avatar
    markobears | 15 June 2008 at 4:15 am #

    Boy times have changed. During my teens the guys who got all the girls also got a rash.

  5. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 15 June 2008 at 6:27 am #

    oh god, i was in high school in the ’80s and it was still the same kinda shit happening as in the ’60s, either you were cool or not cool, either you belonged to some kind of group or not, if you didn’t you were in this kind of wilderness of hanging around in the outskirts and fringes of things…i kinda belonged to one of the outcast groups, but even there i was an outcast because i just fucking didn’t know how to act around people and i ended up just being this weird kid that didn’t fit in anywhere…oh god i hope high school’s better for my daughter than it was for me, took me years to get over it, no joke…i tell you, if grace cops shit at high school i’ll be onto the principal so fast it’ll make his/her head spin…never mind the fucking bullshit that my mother tried to feed me of holding your head up high and ignoring it, just doesn’t work…
    isn’t it strange that the top groups of the pecking order, the ones that you loathe and give you a hard time are also the ones that you secretly crave to belong to, god, just to belong to anything in high school…
    yeah, well, water under the bridge, so they say…
    love always…

  6. avatar
    iseult | 15 June 2008 at 8:12 am #

    all the best for the little dallaiance sk

  7. avatar
    princey | 15 June 2008 at 11:33 am #

    And didn’t the groovy, hip chicks start burning their bras? Or was that u and the matches let loose again haha!


  8. avatar
    Peer pressure? Pah! | 15 June 2008 at 11:33 am #

    I refused ‘cool’. If it was perceived as cool, then I wouldn’t do it. “I’m not cool. I have never been cool. And I will die having never been cool. Fuck you!” (Iggy Pop, 1994). Thanks, Jim.

  9. avatar
    Tony Pucci | 15 June 2008 at 5:05 pm #

    a very enjoyable story, killa
    coming of age
    makes me long for the early days
    of mtv

    thank god mtv was still playin’
    when utmw came out

    and here we are today
    hope you and yours are well

  10. avatar
    restaurant mark | 15 June 2008 at 6:30 pm #

    hello…just got back home yesterday from working…so hard being away from my wife and kids. just finished catching up on my reading. thanks for all the stories and memories. ’67 was obviously an important, life changing time for you. i think of those first cool records, first cool clothes, probably ’83 or ’84 and this guy jason who was a couple of years older and was just a little bit more edgy, hip, and had better hair. he was kind of leader of the freaks at the time. looking back he was probably more attitude than substance, but it worked for him.

    take care

  11. avatar
    veleska1970 | 15 June 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    today is father’s day here in the states….happy father’s day, steve.


  12. avatar
    Anonymous | 15 June 2008 at 7:17 pm #

    Could this be what became of Neil Genge…..?

  13. avatar
    knot | 15 June 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    I was in San Francisco in the late 60’s..mind you that was late as before that I was a wee Fridayish, 13thyish twinkle in my Daddy’s eye.

    I was 3 or 4, and my Dad took me down to the Haight and I don’t remember much, just being impressed by the color and Peter Max prints and a beautiful hippy lady with long flat red hair, wearing orange and purple together. Oh my! I have red hair, but as a kid I was only dressed in blue, green or white. Even pink was too racy for a redhead.

    All the colors…

  14. avatar
    Alice | 15 June 2008 at 9:27 pm #

    Yep! We love you .xo 🙂 good morning SK.hope last night n yesterday were Fantastic! peace ,love,n mung beanz.

  15. avatar
    fantasticandy | 15 June 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    we went through that together killer!
    traffic came from my hometown….
    chrisy’s dad bought an old radiogram from ’em for ten quid….they had been using it as a bass amp!
    they threw in a copy of ‘hole in my shoe’ in a special limited edition sleeve….
    we still have it to this day!
    andy L.

  16. avatar
    Miss Nicholas Alexander | 16 June 2008 at 6:57 pm #

    “Ooooooh,Mr Humphries!” hee hee!;-/ ;D x

  17. avatar
    Anonymous | 18 June 2008 at 6:08 am #

    isnt ella hooper from violet town?…where was paul kelly born…market st?or darling it hurst!;)

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