Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friday On My Mind

There's nothing more thrilling for a teenager than when their pop idols manage to sneak a coded message to them past parents, teachers, radio programmers and other assorted authority figures and arbiters of good taste. I remember back in second form (or year 8), one teacher would let us play a bit of rock music in class as a reward for being well behaved. A song that was chosen one particular day was the Skyhooks track, "Smut", an ode to the joys of having one off the wrist in the darkness of a movie theatre, while using a Twisties bag as a tissue.
So there we all were, sitting around at our desks sniggering like -er- well adolescents, when the dimwitted teacher finally started to twig that something was up. "What's this song called"? He asked nobody in particular. "Surfie Joe", lied Mark King quick as a flash, amidst more stifled chuckles from his classmates.
Another prime example was David Bowie's cover of the Easybeats classic "Friday On My Mind", which used to get a lot of airplay on 3XY  when it was released in 1973. Back then, dropping the F-Bomb on the airwaves was a big no-no, and perhaps if the producers had listened to the backing vocals a little more closely after the line, "Gonna'have fun in the city", they'd have heard David singing, "Feel like Fucking you".
For the first two verses the line is buried deep in the mix, audible only to the discerning ear. But at the end of the song the profanity is pushed right to the forefront where it's heard as clear as day. It's amazing how many people missed that one. I don't know what was more thrilling to my twelve year old ears: Getting away with this bit of naughtiness, or the fact that my idol was covering an Aussie classic by Vanda and Young, and was actually aware that there was life stirring down at this end of the world. 

Monday, July 18, 2011


The blue, late Autumn moon watched me with its' impassive, unblinking eye as I shuffled my way down the dusty road, and out past the straggly orchards. Arriving at the Era School, I scrambled over the wooden gate, and made my way past the slumbering bus, towards the main buildings.
I had come to the outskirts of Donvale because my go-between Ritzy had told me that Shane, who'd been avoiding me like the plague since he'd  bravely left Jemma to break the news to me of their romance, finally wanted to talk.
Shane was already sitting on the railings of the science block, staring out into the shadowy bushland, as I clambered up onto the decking. "Hello Nick", he said sheepishly. "Listen, I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry about what happened".
"Never mind sorry. It's not too late to stop this", I insisted. "I just want her back".
"Even if I could stop it, she doesn't want you back Nick".
This much I knew. I had tried futilely to reason with Jemma, even confronting her backstage in her dressing room after her performance in an amateur production of "The Rose".
"You know, I tried to help you , and this is how you repay me"? I shouted, stepping right up into Shane's face."You're a fucking swine for doing what you did". Angered, Shane grabbed me forcefully by the scruff of the collar. As I swiped his fist away, breaking his grip, I felt the small silver chain around my neck snap. I reached out and managed to catch it before it flew over the balcony. The chain, which comprised of two little silver tragic/comic masks representing the theatre since ancient Greek times, had been a Christmas gift from Jemma. But when I looked down at the snapped chain in the palm of my hand, I noticed that the happy mask was gone.
"Now look what you did", I screamed at Shane as I vaulted down the stairs to the ground below. The two of us sifted through the grass and leaves for ages beneath the pale moonlight. But we never found that happy mask.