Geelong, early 1980s
On The Friday Revue program earlier this year, co-host Brian Nankervis introduced this Dick Diver song with a description of the posters that used to adorn his bedroom wall when he was a teenager: The Rolling Stones (from the Let It Bleed album), Bob Dylan (at the Isle of Wight), the cover of a surfing magazine called Backdoor, and the poem Desiderata.
I can’t recall if my wall had posters. It did, though, have hundreds of small articles about music, cut out from newspapers. Album reviews. Profiles. Gig reviews. I didn’t know that at the time (mid-1970s) I was effectively mapping out my future as some kind of music-loving journalist.
When it came time to move out of home and study in Melbourne (1980) I removed each small article and stuck most of them in a home-made scrap-book: The 1974 Colac & Geelong Districts Telephone Directory. You won’t be surprised at the roll call of musicians in between the pages: Springsteen, Dylan, Van Morrison, Ariel, Joan Baez, Melanie Safka, Steeleye Span, The Bushwackers (I briefly had a fling with folk music), Linda Ronstadt, Roberta Flack, Skyhooks, Ayers Rock, Split Enz, Mike Nesmith…and dozens more.
A review of Springsteen’s Born To Run says: ‘Solid rock’n’roll that affirms what urban folk poetry is all about…the album could be interpreted as a day in the life of a punk kid.’
The telephone directory has 464 pages. It’s travelled with me these past 40 years, not that I’ve travelled far. I did become a music journalist for a few years. The newspaper Juke. The magazine Rhythms. Still am a music journo, in some ways, I guess. A chronicler of memories. An editor of memoirs.
The Dick Diver song appears to be about the end of a relationship:
Reading all the warning labels and vaguely
Hoping they’ll be true
Empty house, yeah I can be true
Tearing the posters down from the walls
The narrator of the song is not simply taking down the posters, but tearing them down. Anger. Frustration. Realisation that things are over.
My childhood home in Geelong was emptied a few years after I headed for the big smoke. Mum and Dad moved up the road with my two younger siblings. I was too caught up in my own selfish life to offer to lend a hand to help. I could have at least offered to give the bedroom wall a fresh coat of paint to cover the hundreds and hundreds of marks left by the sticky tape, the Blutac and all the articles.
…And now? In my study are posters of Paul Kelly, Springsteen, Dylan, The Mercurials, The Blackeyed Susans. Plus land rights, scoreboards, milk bars and footy jumpers.
Stereo Story #542