After that moment where life seemed beautiful, my father had a visit from the sherriff’s department and ended up serving a year in county for elder abuse (though forgery and theft charges were dropped in the plea deal).
If you can mark your steps in the grooves of your favourite records – and we can, of course – then there will always be those songs that guide you in your leaps of faith until you land, safe and sure footed, on the other side.
This was my music. It sounded like the musical equivalent of Attila The Hun sacking Rome. If punk hadn’t come along I probably would have willed it to appear anyway.
By the time of the opening strains of Shipping Up To Boston (best known in these parts as the soundtrack to an Australian Rules football advertisement), the crowd is in raptures. It is the cue for my son John to enter the mosh-pit, and at his urging, I bravely follow.
Nathan Johnson Edinburgh, Scotland; September 1997 Chumbawamba was in my face. Far from being a pop band that sang only about pissing the night away, they were, above all else, anarchists with a deep suspicion of government, politicians, the Church, landlords, bosses, union leaders and other forms and figures of authority. While I didn’t share all of their extreme views, their music and lyrics awakened something inside of me.
Colin Ritchie Bluesfest Byron Bay 2012 It was stinking hot, humidity overwhelming with sweat dripping from our bodies. The lights were low and the expectation ever so high. Would Shane actually be there on stage or would The Pogues perform without him?
Maria Majsa 93 Edgewater Drive, Pakuranga, February 1982 It was right after the funeral that things began to happen… the lights cut out and the music drained away like water leaving a sink.
Maria Majsa Back bedroom, Pakuranga, Auckland 1978 I held the popsicle to my left ear while my brother stabbed away at my right. It was a warm day and I could feel the popsicle oozing down my neck. Blood and raspberry, an indistinguishable mess.
Ethan Andrews The Standard, Darlinghurst, Sydney January 17, 2013 To clear my conscience I needed to make amends and I had to do it the only way a 19-year-old searching for an anonymous stranger knows how. On Facebook.
SJ Rowland Suburban Auckland, mid-1980s Most of the time I didn’t know what to think or how to act. I was always grateful when musicians or anyone else I looked up to could provide a few pointers. Or better yet, provide some strong opinions I could pass off as my own.