Wangaratta, July 2020

In March I got my driving licence back after some 18 months of not driving due to a stroke.

Returning to driving was a goal of course but not as big of a deal as some would imagine. I’d become quite familiar with our local bus service in Wangaratta, with the bonus of a stop virtually on our doorstep. I have also been riding around on my battery powered trike a lot, which has been a step up from a mobility scooter.

The first COVID-19 restrictions took a hold and any dreams of a longer road trip fell by the wayside. At least I could get in some practice by driving to allied health appointments.

Getting my driving licence back was tedious and a bit of an exercise in hoop jumping. After any brain injury there are a lot of boxes to tick and that is a good thing, all considered.

Having support via the NDIS has been critical, as they stumped up for all the driving lessons and occupational therapy reports. The costs?  Well, it is worth more than our car.

We have an old car, it’s OK, low kilometres and in good nick for its age. Being rather older it has only a cassette radio player, so it was great to take some forgotten tapes for a spin too. Cassettes only get played in the car these days as the tape players in the house died, one by one.

All manner of music has had a run recently.  It’s been a while since we’d been in the car. Cass, my partner, snuck in an old Marcia Hines album from the 1970s, most likely an op shop find.

Marcia Hines Live Across Australia. A pleasant surprise, the band is amazing and Marcia’s vocals soar, a wonderful and emotive singer. Her voice is instantly recognisable and distinctive.  An excellent recording and a double album all on one cassette.

There are some great songs on the tape, all of the hits from back in the day. I do recall some of them playing on the radio when I was in my mid-teens. Marcia Hines was the queen of pop and very popular back then. And still. The songs are good and the band is in the most part very funky, with the late Jackie Orszaczky  (the band’s musical director) playing amazing bass.

The track that grabbed me was Trilogy, written by Robie G Porter. Having never heard the song before it stuck out, with lines like these:

Sadness is just another way of life
That I’ve grown accustomed to by now
I close my eyes on my empty world
And I’m with you once more.

Somehow sad songs resonate at times and this is perhaps such a time.

Now, the old tape player in the old car is refusing to eject tapes.

Marcia Hines Live Across Australia, circa 1977, on continuous play it seems for now. Things could be worse. A lot worse.

Stereo Story #531

Luke R Davies and the Recycled String Band won the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia Folk Recording Award 2013 for their album Not A Note Wasted. A Wangaratta musician, Luke joined The Stereo Stories Band after seeing them at the Newport Folk Festival in Melbourne in 2014..