Stephen Andrew Somewhere along the Hume Highway, summer of 1982 I catch myself staring too long at the sunlight on her hair, or laughing too loud at one of her jokes, and feel the sharp pierce of an unbridgeable distance.
Stephen Andrew Central New South Wales, circa 1987 By the time the bus hit the Queensland border, I was a changed man, hearing things in a new way. It was a conversion of sorts, or perhaps, a mini musical epiphany. From that day on, country music made sense to me.
As James and I quietly reflect on the day’s pedalling, we are interrupted by the sound of something akin to a squealing, stuttering dentist’s drill a few thin tent walls away from us. Before you can say, ‘Hand me my hair gel’, Jon Bon Jovi and his Jersey boys are bellowing the song’s chorus, sixteen seconds in, no beg pardons.
Stephen Andrew A funeral parlour Please play Oscar Peterson’s Hymn To Freedom when I’m done. For me. For you. Send it into the silence after all the talk has stopped.
Stephen Andrew St Andrews, Victoria, 2 April 2009 Inside the music I am offered something like the grace I am going to need if I am to rise again tomorrow and face the fire-blackened landscape of my town.
Stephen Andrew Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Rocktober, circa 1975 Sometime after that Rocktober gig I upgraded my tennis racquet guitar for a battered old five string acoustic guitar from a jumble sale. I picked out a few tunes, added the missing sixth string.
Stephen Andrew The Palace, St Kilda, 2003 I reckon that I, one of tens of thousands who would have seen that Wilco tour poster, was the only one who shed tears upon viewing it.
Stephen Andrew High school quadrangle, Melbourne. Lunchtime, 1975 On my fourteenth birthday my best mate, Peter, presented me with two gifts, one of which I still hold close to my heart.
Stephen Andrew Student hostel, West Geelong 1982 I didn’t get a Mohawk, nor cut up and safety pin my clothes. I kept my phlegm to myself. I was a part-time punk.
Stephen Andrew The Gershwin Room, The Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda, February 2013 Three or four times, as promised, Julia Zemiro makes mention of the neck brace. It’s become a prop, a point of identification, a punch line.