The Neil Young collection of Stereo Stories is quite small – just seven pieces so far – but each sings its own tune, so to speak. And two of the contributions are from two of Australia’s finest writers.
There are childhood memories, a short poem, a glimpse into depression, some friendly advice, a sharehouse that is a pigsty, an answer to writer’s block, a slice of fiction…
Photographer Eric Algra usually tells stories via his camera but he put pen to paper to tell us about his lost copy of Zuma.
Our mutual love of Neil Young prompted Jeff to present to me on my 21st birthday a copy of Zuma, a great album with a distinctive cover. Among the pen drawings on the back, inside a cloud, Jeff had written ‘To Eric, Happy 21st, Jeff’. This personal touch made this record precious to me.
Aidan Kenner’s ten line poem about Old Man refers to
a savage angel
outside my apartment window
Chords clanging in the sun
Sophia Irvine has two Neil Young stories. One is a tender piece about mental health and the song Til The Morning Comes:
I’m lying next to my mother on our family couch. This would appear sweet if I wasn’t 27 years old and we are not so much lying together as she is holding me, my only connection to the real world.
The second piece is more a friendly advice column:
If you have a dad, don’t have a dad, like your dad, hate your dad, heard a story about a dad once … DO NOT EVEN TOUCH Old Man.
Damian Balassone celebrates Powderfinger via memories of a share house:
The house is a pigsty: multiple leaks, gathering mould, mice pooh in the breadbox, possum arses sticking out of the walls to block out the sunlight while they sleep, empty pizza cartons, cheap wine bottles. Dessie, one of my housemates, has the distinction of discovering a decomposing mouse while he is watching TV with his new girl.
Markus Zusak needed a blistering version of Crime In The City to kick-start his writing mornings:
All around me was this rubble, the toaster was over the road – my book was blown to bits – but somehow the oven and my headphones were still intact, and Neil Young (ever the unfuckingkillable – the rock n roll cockroach if ever there was one), was STILL singing…and I still hadn’t got to the best bit – because then, then, at the 3:49 minute-mark
Favel Parrett’s 2014 novel When The Night Comes mentions a certain song:
Heart Of Gold comes on the stereo. A group of young men in the corner sing along, happy drunk. It is their song. I drink my beer, my heart beats fast. The harmonica plays, the guitar keeps time, keeps strumming, then the chorus starts up again. When I close my eyes, I can hear Soren sing along too. Loud, out of tune, heartfelt.
Reckon you’ve got a Neil Young Stereo Story? Drop us a line sometime.