Stephen Andrew Yarra River, Warrandyte, 8 December 1980 Word comes from a car radio in the riverside car park. Calling out, surreal, to nobody, “John Lennon has been shot”.
Stephen Andrew Share house, West Geelong, 1983 Phil was divesting himself of all material possessions, man. Fortunately, I was on hand to help him cleanse himself of the most evil of these things, his LP records.
Stephen Andrew A bedroom, Melbourne. Late autumn, 1981 I fell endlessly in love with a girl who had sultry brown eyes and a firecracker laugh. I’d try to impress her with my nascent knowledge of feminist philosophy while trying not to stare at her breasts.
Stephen Andrew St Andrews, Victoria, March 2009 Windows open, I ramp up the volume and feel an intensity in the band’s playing that suddenly seems new to me. This opening of my senses is one of the unexpected gifts of the bushfires.
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.