Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Close Encounter With Bon Scott

Just up the road from two of the schools I attended as a kid, Burwood Heights Primary and High Schools respectively, were the Nunawading studios of Channel 10. Sir Reginald Ansett's helicopter used to buzz our playground regularly en route to his private landing pad. The dreadful soapie "Neighbours" used to be filmed there. Ramsay Street was somewhere in nearby Vermont South. Of course, prior to 1980 Channel 10 was known as Channel 0, and they used to frequently visit my Primary school to film segments for such shows as "Architecture Today", in which my 10 year old self could be seen being interviewed, babbling incoherently  about building domed cities under the sea. Channel 0 also filmed a lame station promo in our Grade 6 classroom, where the teacher is writing on the blackboard and accidentally mis-spells Melbourne with two O's. At which point, little Johnny pumps up his hand and says, "Sir, sir. There's only one O in Melbourne".
Great gag huh?
Many shows were taped live before a studio audience at Channel 0, and the security surrounding the ticketing for these events was pretty lax. Once a show had been taped, the producers would just dump hundreds of used tickets in gallon drums out the back of the building. So after school, my mates would forage them out of the bins, hand them out in class the next day, and we'd simply change the dates (which were just stamped on with a purple ink stamp) using our textas. Then we'd surreptitiously front up to the next taping of whatever show we'd scored.
Okay, so the appeal of  Fred Bear (Humphrey B. Bear's equally retarded cousin) was limited even to an eleven year old. Except for the fact that every kid who attended the taping scored a free show bag full of chocolate bars, chips, comics, lollies, and other goodies.
Anyway, this underhanded method of sneaking into live tapings was still going on a few years later when we all graduated to the nearby High School. So it was that, as a 14 year old in 1975, I found myself in the studio audience for the taping of a short-lived music show called "Rock'n'Roll Circus", where a relatively new band called AC/DC, fronted by Bon Scott, were set to play. I can't remember which song it was they performed, or more likely mimed. Though I'm guessing it must have been one of their earlier hits like their cover of Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go", or maybe 'High Voltage Rock and Roll". But what I do remember is that Angus Young was already doing his schoolboy shtick, and that Bon Scott came out shirtless, but with a black leather vest and tight black leather pants, which the Sharpie girls that surrounded the stage tried their damndest to pull down.
These girls were not your shrinking violet little Roller Stroller-wearing knicker wetters that you might find collapsing in a blubbering heap in the presence of their heroes at a Bay City Rollers gig. They were full-on demented rock chicks who wanted a piece of Bon by whatever means necessary. I couldn't help thinking to myself as I watched him calmly negotiate his way through the song and their clothes-tearing fervour, "now there's a good job." 

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