Hume Highway, Victoria, Easter 1989
Easter – a time for faith, resurrection….well, not quite for me.
When a bunch of footy teammates decided to take their wives and kids away for Easter 30 years ago, their varying degrees of commitment to their Catholicism was not a priority.
There were three major priorities: an open fire, music and plenty of fluids to keep the adults hydrated. A sub-priority was the temperature of these fluids.
And that was about it. So much so that a group of children grew up believing the Easter Bunny visited on Thursday night and you woke up Good Friday with Easter eggs. This was due to the sub-priority. It was explained to us kids years later: “We weren’t going to waste Esky space until Sunday.”
The music became important too. Is there a better place to listen to old music than in the dark with a fire going, beer in hand, a cassette tape blaring out of a car stereo? Yes there probably is, but it kind of made the 60s touchable that way, like you were listening to the wireless in a dark bedroom like so many 60s kids did discovering pop music.
My first memory of this annual trip was travelling up to Rushworth via the Hume Highway in 1989, the soundtrack being a mixtape in Dad’s car that would form one of our playlists for the weekend. I was excited, Easter was the highlight the year.
The Small Faces’ Tin Soldier came on and it stuck with me.
I am a little tin soldier
That wants to jump into your fire
You are a look in your eye
A dream passing by in the sky…
It was (and is) the perfect mod tour de force, remaining tough and not going psychedelic with its chorus explosions. The greatest argument for the drugs of choice of the mods as opposed to the hippies. It wraps the 60s for me: there was a build-up, a freakout and a cascading finish.
Maybe the ‘tin soldier’ refrain gave me a connection to something that sounded childlike, maybe that soldier jumping into the fire made me think about the open fire that we’d all be sitting around. And maybe it was just a cracking song and I had taste as a kid.
When you sit around with a beer in front of a fire and listen to music (we include 70s, 80s and even 90s these days) an urgent, uplifting, garage rock explosion all done within a couple of minutes is just what you need. Tin Soldier is perfection.
I probably prefer Itchycoo Park, but Tin Soldier remains the Small Faces song, and indeed the song of the entire 60s, that has the greatest emotional pull.
Which reminds me, I’ll put Tin Soldier on the iTunes playlist this year.
©Brutas Mudcake. Brutas has also written about songs by Josh Pyke, INXS and LCD Soundsystem.