Chadstone Shopping Centre, Gardiner Central School, Melbourne. 1967-68
Gardiner Central School in 1967 and 1968 was a safe place to start your secondary education.
Gardiner had grades from Prep (Year 1) to Form Two (Year 8). It was a feeder school for Melbourne Boys’ High and Mac Robertson Girls’ High School as well as other schools of varying reputations.
I’d come from Glen Iris State School along with other school mates, and progressed well both academically and socially.
I was one of the cool kids and tested the limits of hair and dress rules. Our gang also knew that the girls were observing us, as we them. Sexual tension at 14 is frightening.
Sometimes a few of us lunched just up the road at a mate’s place, a flat, where he lived. Both his parents worked.
We played records, had fags and more importantly attempted to play guitar and sing. My first ever recording was House of the Rising Sun on his mum’s reel to reel deck, terrible. No mixer of course!
Music was really really big for us. The Beatles, The Stones, The Animals and The Monkees. A veritable zoological selection of music.
All was going along with mediocrity until we were hit square between the eyes by the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream. Hendrix and Clapton both gods. Wham bam, hang onto your roach clip!
My musical coming of age arrived after the acquisition of birthday money, scrounging and Nana’s purse. I had to make the leap and buy my first LP and cement my credentials musically and socially.
I went with my mum, Bonnie, to Chaddy. Mum headed off to explore the shopping centre. I went straight to the record shop, trying to look cool with Amco jeans, granny shirt and hair as long as it would stretch and browsed … seriously.
Thumbing through I made the decision to buy Disraeli Gears by Cream.
But then I saw it!
The cover of Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love. A visual slap across the face with its psychedlic Indian religious imagery.
Bonnie returned to the shop and asked if I was ready.
I held both LPs up with a look of indecision.
Mum said, with an authority that suggested she certainly knew her Hendrix albums , “You buy one and I’ll get the other one. Both look good”.
I still have those two albums and a precious memory.
A generous beautiful woman, I know … just ask the Axis, he knows everything.
Stereo Story #609