Geelong 1976 to Melbourne 2019

We’ve always talked about music.

Sure, we talked about classmates and teachers and homework and exams and possible uni courses but they were just preliminaries before we talked about music.

Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, The Eagles, JD Souther, Warren Zevon, Tim Buckley. Van Morrison, Skyhooks, Little River Band. Even AC/DC. Briefly.

Sure, we talked about sport. About those Geelong players back then. And cricket too. The Chappell Brothers.  Lillee and Thomson. Keith Stackpole. Rod Marsh. But they were just the support cast before we talked about music.

Dylan. Springsteen. Jackson Browne.  Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Steve Forbert. Melanie. Fleetwood Mac. Boz Skaggs. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

We’ve always talked. Music playing. Sitting on your couch.

We didn’t walk or ride or drive anywhere. Our summers together were sedentary, upstairs in the coolness of the lounge room.  Afternoons, usually. We didn’t go to beaches or pubs or the cinema. That was with other friends, from different social circles. You and I, we just talked, quietly. Sometimes I’d look out the window, past the balcony, across the rooftops to the You Yangs and the refinery. Looking east.

Sure, family and parents and siblings and other friends would come into the conversation. As did writers, of course. Bruce Dawe, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett. Jane Austen, John Irving, Michael Dransfield.

You would talk of your students and your fellow teachers. I would talk of editors and rejections letters and odd jobs. But then it would be back to Paul Kelly, Cold Chisel, Goanna, Ariel, Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, Jane Clifton.

I moved east, an hour away. The big smoke. On the phone you would talk of your son and I would talk of our children and we would talk of our parents, but they were all, in a way, still preliminaries. A new album by Springsteen. A tour by Browne. An album by Tim Buckley’s son, Jeff. Your years – decades – of quiet enthusiasm.

Driving west, on my way to the coast in summer, I’d visit. Your home has an upstairs lounge and I’d sometimes glance out the window at the houses across the road, at the lawns being mowed, and then I’d return to the music.

You’d talk about long-service leave and pending retirement. I’d talk about editors and odd jobs. I’d ask about your father and your sister and your son. You’d ask about my children and grandchildren. Our partners, perhaps in another room, bypassed the music conversation.

We’ve never emailed each other. We don’t need Facebook to be friends. We hardly text each other.

And then, on the eve of another summer, you tap into your phone:

“I wanted to tell you to find Little Stevie’s title track for the new album Summer Of Sorcery. Turn it up loud and drift away into the bliss of past youthful summers. I haven’t rejoiced in a new song as much as this for a long, long, time. You’re the first person I thought should hear it.”

Thank you, Vasil.


Stereo Story #569


Lots more summer stories

Vin is founding editor of Stereo Stories and director/MC of Stereo Stories In Concert.