Punk’s rising tide lifted a lot of boats, not all of them worthy but once all the Pistols marketing hoo-ha had drained back out we were, as I now heard, left with some gems. XTC, The Jam, Elvis Costello and The Clash were all great but no one, as I discovered, was quite like Ian Drury.
There were only so many times you could listen to Hurricane, Just Like a Woman, Lay Lady Lay and lots of other songs before the tape ended, was turned over and you get it all again. This went on for about three days.
Although he was from Sydney he wasn’t from my part of town. He was wealthy, connected, lived in a suburb where people had tennis courts, and he wore fashionable corduroy, high-waisted flares.
After Stevo so kindly triggered my discharge from Riverside, I settled in happily with a foster family and went back to school. I told no one about my summer, but I played And She Was nonstop.
If I wasn’t listening to the cassettes via my Walkman, then I was insisting we play them in the car. I didn’t know much about Elvis at this point. I hadn’t seen any of his iconic moves until a kid impersonated him during a segment of Red Faces on Hey Hey It’s Saturday. I figured if that kid could do it, then so could I.
We met for school holiday screenings of La Bamba and Dirty Dancing at the same tech high gym where we painted thick black circles around our eyes and teased our hair until it looked like Jon Bon Jovi’s – ahead of our Rock Eisteddfod pilgrimage to The Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.
As I leaned against the rail, trying to keep my skates under me and wishing I could do what my older cousins Greg and Gary could do, I became vaguely aware for the first time of the importance of music as a soundtrack to your life.
Like arc welding, I think lyric decipherment, when it comes to micro grindcore, is quite a specialised skill. There’s possibly a TAFE, or adult education course in it.
Given so many Stereo Stories (or stories in general ) are about rites of passage, and formative years, it’s no surprise we have a collection of short music-memoirs about schooldays. Just over 20 stories, including contributions from noted authors Tony Birch and Melanie Cheng, and our RocKwiz colleague Brian Nankervis.
At weekends they hung around the eastern beaches, working on their tans, the warm bleed of Fleetwood Mac or The Eagles seeping from car radios. I imagined they’d all marry each other and never leave.