I've just been reading Dr Le Skip's latest.
Huzzah says I!
It's only 9.00am in the morning but I'm already on my third Cognac to celebrate.
It is an interesting (if you're interested in that sort of stuff) question about the current crop of musicians.
There does seem to be a "You do it for me.." attitude as if the template of rebellion is rather like a check list to be completed before Mum lets you go on Scout camp (Tight pants- Check, Disillusioned eyeballs- Check. Band t-shirt from the 70's (coz lets face it, you're grandparents rocked) - Check. Bad piercing- Check. Dodgy pill- MUM! Did you wash these pants???????? (Why, yes Dear...)
Indeed I'm not sure you can blame it all on the Howard.
Lets face it,he was the Queen Victoria of rock, refusing to sign legislation to ban it because he couldn't comprehend it actually existed (Unless we're talking about that lairy fairy of boopa croon, The Farnham. I bet old Howie really let his hair down while that wild man of Rawk banged out a version of the national anthem with an electric drumbeat and a Kiwi bass player with a pony tail........heavens is it hot in here?......my pants seems awfully tight.......no dammit Jeanine I'll pull my socks up after he's finished singing...you knew I was a rebel when you married me...)
No, I think it's more to do with the fact that certain social strata and musical Wetlands ( or perhaps Wetspots is a better term) have vanished, places that were once the breeding grounds for new music.
As The Bald Avenger, P.Garrett would yell from Goat Island, you can't sustain the Bandicoot of groove if the poor bastard has nowhere to nest and risks getting run over by a fuckin' Rav 4 everytime he's crossing the new ring road for a slice of Missus.
I therefore submit several endangered environments that I'd put as nearly non existent and in desperate need of reviving
1) The Greebo Sharehouse.
Once these cheap houses in inner city suburbs/country towns satisfied the two essential requirements of the Musical types being that they were a) cheap and b) a house.
These places, with their rich mulch of discarded clothes, shattered underwear, posters of support acts, stolen road signs, empty pizza boxes and littered with various can based life-forms provided ideal shelters for your musical types.
Here the creative types could frot and dance and come home at al hours, eat some dry pasta from various parental care packages and exist in what amounted to large cubby style living, which as we all know, is vastly superior to a traditional house.
Experiments in all facets of modern living (Sexual, chemical, olfactory etc.) could be conducted, giving arty types what is technically known as the "The Creative Horn".
Risks with various utility payment could be undertaken. Various marathons of illuminating endurance could be undertaken (Televisual, Genital etc.) with no judgement other than occasional request by a fellow traveller on the road to the outside dunny for condoms, five bucks or a name on the door.
In this rich and freewheeling atmosphere creative types could meet with other creative types and root like cubist rabbits, popping kittens of new music out into the greater paddock of culture.
Unfortunately these habitats have almost vanished due to the fact a burnt out wardrobe in Nunawading is now $450 a week, by straighties slumming it in these areas so they can giggle about it on FA(r)CEBOOK and by the general smell of the joint.
2) The Local
Back in the day (and we're talking 80's money here) a pub was a place to drink beer.
There was no rooty tootery. (well that's not entirely true. It was more rootery than tootery unless it was Trad Jazz night. Then it was about 50/50)
But there was beer and if you were lucky and had a good lookin' sort on your arm the Barperson would show off their cultural expansiveness by hooking a bottle of Malibu off the top shelf (Blackberry Nip and Marsala having gone the way of flared trousers at the time).
Then one day, some usually quiet guy at the end of the bar looked up from his 26th pot (and second mushroom sandwich) and said "Fuck It's quiet in here. Why don't we get some music going? (the lingual hiccup, "Man" and it's American burp cousin "Dude" hadn't quite occupied Australia like a cipherous Cane Toad, so he might of just said "Mate" at the end....anyway that doesn't matter).
Glasses were dropped.
A piano player set up, played for a while and then stopped (admittedly missing his cue, but there was no music in Pubs at the time. A true pioneer.)
People looked at each other and laughed, this having been the biggest revelation since Gough Witlams "Pants down to Poo" speech of 1054.
Transistor radios were stolen from Fathers sheds. Dust was blown off Hollowbody Matons and Japanese knock off drumkits.
Saxomaphones were shortened to the cooler "Sax" moniker and wild eyed singers fashioned microphones from the inside of a bog roll and the inside of the Sennheiser Grandpa won in war.
Bands of people who wanted to play music so they didn't have to talk about who was boonting who anymore, started yelling about how crazy things (and everyone they knew) were
The audience started off as relatives, then freaks, then freaky relatives and people who were relatively freaky.
But most importantly, the Pub still served beer and one inspired publican (who should be on the $20 note) came up with the revolutionary idea of giving free beer to people who played music (The Wright Brothers can kiss my ring. You can't get an aeroplane on your beer can't ya? Nuff said.....)
The whole thing became like a Tuesday Netball night on Friday or a game of night footy, where everyone could have a kick and it was better than watching Daryl Somers play the drums.
It started on Saturday night and ended on Sunday morning.
A bizarre cross between a kind of standing-still drunken sport, a kind of blasphemous immediate church and a free beer.
And..(and this is the important bit) you could say anything you liked coz you didn't really expect anyone to really listen.
That was cool. You could write and play whatever the fuck you liked coz the next day everybody involved in the evenings entertainment would be thinking either
a) My skull is about to explode
b) How do I get out of this bed and where the fuck am I?
c) I fucking truly hate working Sunday or
d) Dude, the wallpaper is STILL laughing at me,....
rather than deciphering your massive contribution to contemporary culture
Just like Sport, The Church (and beer) it's now all about the money, the profile, the Next step and Unit (loose and otherwise).
You can't just pop down the local for a Parma and a howl, because professional types who want to see themselves written about by terrible writers in cluttered phone books of music are launching a Cd so they can get a spot on Triple Q's "Flirt in the Dirt" program so they can apply for a grant to get to the "North by Northwest Fest" and get signed by DiscoPoop labels so they can tour japan with the "KIngs of the MuffinAge" and release a follow up album recorded in Botsilvania so they can establish a a fund for Aboriginal techno and get nominated in the "Most Organised" category at the Aria's.
Or, the Local has decreed that they want to Art, but could you leave the Artist at home?
Is there anyway we can have music but not have to put up with musicians, with their semen encrusted pants, staggering about the stage looking for another rape victim?
Is there anyway we can make gobs of cash to pay for our insurance, which goes up $200 every two days, without having to scrape people's eyeballs of the roof for them?
Hmmm...and older crowd.....with lots of cash and who are bored stupid with life.....if only there was some sort of machine we could entice them with....
So now, instead of the crazy, snuffly old wombat of anything goes The Local we have THE VENUE.
This means if you want to play music you can do it in THE WHITE ZONE only.
Everything here is regulated and the only surprises will be the one's we advertised.
The sound will be good. The drinks will be expensive. The tickets will be crisp. The band will finish at the appointed time. The Taxi ranks will be empty. The NIght will finish at 2am. The flirting will be done via SMS. The write up will appear next week. The Website can be visited at ww.letsplaynicely.com. The bouncer's will loom like guys too fat to fit in Stormtrooper suits. The bar staff will not know your name. The punters will demand value for money. The support band will be adequate. The band will play to people who know what they sound like. The Cd's will be for sale at next to the innocuous t-shirts. The real estates agents will sacrifice more children to their Dark Lord and bide their time.
3) The Party
O.k. here's the quiz.
1)When was the last time you went to a party, rather than just a bunch of dickheads standing around getting drunk?
a) Last night Dude! I was off my head! I whizzed in the fridge and everything!
b) Oh I don't know......a month ago..maybe...I'm a bit over parties..I've gained weight.
c) I heard about these "parties" and watched one on YouTube.
d) The Lord doesn't say anything about parties in Genesis.
2) When you think of the "A party" you think-
a) A band playing loudly, people flinging themselves naked down a homemade water slide, while knocking back pretty colored alchohols, dropping a something somewhere, and standing up at the end of the night saying "I'm alive goddamitt! I'm fucking alive!!!!!!!!!!".
b) Filling the chip bowls evenly and making sure people know they can't touch the good furniture
c) Everybody arriving on time, talking about things we can all agree on, drinking responsibly and going home to compose thank you notes.
d) Getting online and playing "FuzzyKettles non-stop Party House Karaoke" with Kenji and Vishwan (time zones permitting).
3) If money was no object what sort of party would you have?
a) I'd charter a jet, fully decked out with waterbeds and a Ferris wheel and fly around the World, kicking the fuck on, out of my skull until I was dead.
b) Look, to be perfectly frank if I had that sort of money I'd pay off the house and maybe invite some co-workers round for a drink
c) Ummm....I dunno...maybe.....get a cake or something
d) I'd get plastic surgery so I'd look pretty enough to have fun.
4) What's the best time for a party to end?
a) When the coroner signs the forms and they fire up the oven.
b) Around midnight. That's enough fun for anyone, for heavens sake already.
c) When you realise that no is going to turn up to your Bon Jovi themed Milo blow out.
d) When your Mum knocks on the door and says "Get off that bloody internet! I need to ring your Aunty to organise Christmas!".
5) The best party I ever went to
a) Changed my life, fired me up so I wouldn't become a soulless drone, got me spastic, a root and gave me a twinkle in my bloodshot eyes that's never gone away.
b) Had a pony and friends in pink dresses and I got Cinderella Barbies's magic Zucchini coach as a present.
c) was when our Pastor came back from the Sudan and we all fasted for 48hrs and I donated a Mars bars to Oxfam
d) was when I finally killed the dragon on level 68 of Fugnuggles Quest.
If you answered anything but a) to any of these questions then it's all over.
If you answered a) to all of these questions then I'm amazed your still here.
Kudos to you.
Til next time
Mick "Off to blast my lats!" Dog