posted on March 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm

talking to russell on the phone yesterday
and i thought about the olde days
the mansfield street days
the days of op shop shirts
the days of trying to brew up up opium
out of 10 lettuces
the days of the paddington markets
the days of catching the bus into town
the days of amplifiers in the laundry
the days of four track recorders and freaky conclusions
the days of going on endless tours round australia
once we started in cairns n hit every town with a venue
until we got to melbourne
sometimes we were bloody awful, i’m sure
me n ploogy roomed together in those days
always getting up to some new pot fueled mischief
hugging trees (yes we really did)
haunting record shops looking for the perfect obscurity
records we loved:
nick kents “my flamingo”
richard stranges “rise of richard strange”
chris bells “i am the cosmos”
the monkees “the porpoise song”
mortal coils “song to the siren”
freurs “doot doot”
deux filles
magazines “correct use of soap”
nirvana “rainbow chaser”
dave miller set “mr guy fawkes”
russell morris “the real thing”

one balmy night
we checked into a lovely apartment in surfers paradise
we had run out of dope
and soon the band
n some of the crew were all sitting round our big table
it was 1981 i guess
outside the sea lapped the tropical shore
palm trees and convertible cars sped past
everyone in the band still friends
suddenly steve copeland arrived with a bag of weed
we smoked up
and i felt that lovely warm rush fill up my body
and all the ideas start to percolate in my head
ploogy put on pet sounds by the beach boys
which i’d never really listened to before
it was absolutely perfect
everyone quietened down to listen
to the summery softly romantic songs drench the night
a moment of rare tranquility stole over me
i thought i was hearing the most wonderful music ever made
the final track “lets go away for a while”
was the most heartbreakingly beautiful thing i’d ever heard
an instrumental complete with timpani
it seemed the veritable soundtrack of my life
things werent always so idyllic
ploog was always engaged in situationist pranks
marty was relatively quiet but often sulky
peter was the old pro
having done more touring than us others
he didnt give much away
i….i was the unpopular one
the necessary one
occasionally i’d say REALLY stupid things
but mostly limited myself to just stupid things
i once laughed at martys knobbly knees in qld
and he didnt talk to me until vic
(ie 30 towns later)
the band used to make me drive around in towns
where i’d get lost
(ie anywhere outside rozelle)
and especially melbourne
which baffled me
the way it had baffled my dad
(ie totally fucking bewildered)
once they said to me
“why dont you learn your way around?”
and i came back with
“i write the fucking songs thats my job
not finding my way around…any of you could do that!”
no one spoke to me for days….
we gradually built up friends in each place
and a lot of richards friends irritated the fuck outta me
they were always these lefty feministy types
trying to find fault with my bourgeois ways
they laughed at my make up n airs n graces
but they were always backstage sucking on our booze
as we walked offstage….
they all lived in freezing cold houses in winter
and grew their own stringy dope
they always smelt a bit stale i thought
ploogy would get a brand new girlfriend
and hed be magic
as he showed off to her on the first few nights
he was an incredible drummer if he could be arsed
but sometimes he was just mucking about
marty n peter always played too loud n no one could tell em
hence my tinnitus that i suffer from now
there was very little team playing in those days
it was more like every man for himself
we’d hit melbourne or brisbane or perth for a week
set up shop in a motel
and our days would be spent swimming in the pool
or cruising the op shops for paisley shirts
(i never spent more than 10 bucks on a shirt)
or cruising the record n book shops for finds
or receiving the locals round the pool
at night we’d play at the pubs n bars
there was always 5 or six hundred people at least
and for a long time
we sold out wherever we played
sometimes i had a good night
but most times i had to post experience it
as i stood on stage
counting the songs until i could get back
to the sanctuary of me n richards hotel womb
with our beat up portable cassette player
(the term ghetto blaster not thought up then)
and my sack of cassettes
it was a strange and somewhat lonely life
but we all loved the freedom
the long drives tearing down the highway in a ford ltd
the friends and the pot and the attention
every now n then something super groovy would happen
and i’d think jesus
3 years ago i was a public servant in canberra
now here i am being screamed at
n taking loads of drugs
i was skinny as a rake
from all that sweating every night
and people described me as “angular”
i put black makeup round my eyes
for theatrical effect n to imitate my heroes bolan n bowie
oh god we were the best looking band australia ever had
but i was so arrogant
i was so convinced i was right…about everything
there was only one person i was nice to
and that would be my current girlfriend
anyone else got my cynicism n my self aggrandizing
i was embarrassed to meet anybody
my handshake was limp
and my stare was rude
i wasnt interested in talking to anybody
why would i when i already knew everything
but i could write songs
my aspie -like obsession had paid off
i was writing songs faster than you could write your name
everything was a new song to me
sometimes i wrote 2 or 3 a day
i laughed at the others difficulty with it
coz i’d figured it all out so long ago
my brain was an ever flowing fountain of words
and although not a PROPER musician
i knew enuff to always knock something interesting together
i guess i had enuff of my dad in me to do that
i was a melder
i took from here n there n joined it up
and nobody really knew how i did it
ha ha ha
oh those early days
those olde days
to have an hour back there…..
thatd be fun….

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