Over the course of the year Arijana and I saved countless bus fares hitching a ride to uni in the green Volvo, chatting away, distracting the driver who ran the odd red light.
Dicko invited me to a concert at the Mooroopna Mechanics Institute. On a Sunday night. To see Slim Dusty. I had heard and rejected Slim and his music.
Throwing protocol to the wind I even joined the exhibitionists in standing and swaying in something akin to dancing.
I worried the distance would be a death sentence as I found myself alone in my best friend’s mostly empty new living room, 1681 miles from any possibility of weeknight concerts, impromptu G&Ts and sushi, Galentine’s Day, movie marathons, holiday gatherings, city adventures, beach birthdays, and drop-everything post-tragedy afternoons of comfort TV.
A piano is broken. Burnt, seemingly. A harp is stranded, unplayable. Chairs in a once lavish dining room are rotting.
I was pleasantly surprised that the family recognised the importance of Countdown, setting up a tray in the loungeroom so I could totally absorb what everyone would be talking about in the next few days.
As the band was setting up, Johnny’s manager arrived and, handing out sheet music and a running list, said there would be no rehearsals or sound check.
When I’d be driving, and one of ‘our songs’ came on schmaltzy radio station 2CH, I’d crank it up, sing along and think of you. I’d flash back to moments in our childhood – just the good times – imagining you in the passenger seat, singing too.
The next time Razor’s Edge played he loudly sang the line about getting a letter from Davey. I usually shut up for a few minutes. It was that line that cut me up a bit, it still does.
Delson and Boyd Stokes perform this song as a tribute to Elder Josie Boyle (RIP), who documented the Wongatha language for all to use, respect and share while bonding together.