Monday, October 18, 2010

#217: Space Invaders

And a good time was had by all. Don’t mind me, I’m starting at the end of last night, that way you can get the happy ending straight away and can now leave if you don’t want to know what went on, you pervert.

It was another night amongst the aging meerkats, men of dubious reputations with no hair on the top of the head but plenty hanging down the back and women of a certain vintage as we went and caught the reunion of Boom Crash Opera at a dingy pub. I think the last time I saw BCO (as they’re known amongst people of a certain vintage) was back in 1989 when they released the still excellent These Here Are Crazy Times album. Before that I’d caught them in Melbourne in 1986, second on a five band bill at the St Kilda Palace supporting headliners The Church and Icehouse. To say that they were crap back in 1986 would be doing them a favour, but at least they were better than James Griffith and The Subterraneans who were then next band up that night. The opening act was someone so horrid that my memory has blanked them out entirely, but I get a feeling it might have been a hippy reading poetry and dodging flying Twisties. I know that BCO were slight better than Griffith because the girl I took slept with all of BCO over the next few months, but when Griffith dropped his pants she merely laughed and went home with a girl instead. I can’t tell you then name of that girl for obvious reasons, but I can tell you this, she was a lovely young lass who slept with almost every rock star and wanna be rock star in Melbourne back then (including the Cockroaches, who later became the Wiggles), was a good friend with benefits to me, was present with me during the legendary Octoberfest train riots of 1986, told a certain Neighbours star that he’d have to pull his own dick as she wasn’t going to go near it, did the nasty with me after the gig on St Kilda beach* and appeared as a dancer in Kylie Minogue’s Locomotion video (and no, I won’t tell you which one). Brushes with fame, I love ‘em.

As it stood we bought tickets for two of our finest pals for last night’s event, as birthday presents and caught up with two other brilliant pals inside. So it was that we found ourselves with Moo, who attends most retro evenings with us, The Wick and his partner and Zee German, who, like most Zee Germans, sang along lustily to Cold Chisel’s No Sense, danced up a storm to Dancing In The Storm and offered to lend Dale Ryder some favours. I’ve never figured out why Chisel was big in Germany, but hey – Mak show! Mak show! Achtung baby! Zee Germans love Cold Chisel. You can almost hear that classic line; “Yo, fuck this shit man. I asked for a blues band and they gave me a Jews band!” Mind you Zee Germans also liked Hitler, Visigoths, invading France, cabbage and Vlad the Impaler at different times, so figure that out.

As it stood BCO proved to be a lot of fun, and, more importantly, very self deprecating. I can always admire a band that really don’t take themselves all that seriously, but do take the fact that they can both play and entertain very seriously. I can remember seeing a certain ‘80s band about a decade or so back who spent the entire evening telling the audience how shit we were and how fucked the ‘80s was. All the time they were promoting their new album, which I didn’t bother buying. I’ve since seen and met the lead singer who is a damned nice guy and must have realised that its people of a certain vintage who help him butter his toast in the morning. Playing to nubile young lasses in 1986 is a far cry from throwing your skinny arse about on stage to a pack of old cabbage who wants to flash their stretchmarks in 2010, but then again it works for Brian Mannix who is probably happy to see any flesh that’s not his these days.

My evening was great. Excellent pals, cheap booze, several drunken hecklers entertaining us between songs** and a good band to dance to as they played their hits, and then some. Plus they were very open for photos and conversations after the gig, with no pretensions and no airs and graces. What more could you want on a Sunday evening? Well, good food would have hit the mark, but some places just don’t live up their much vaunted reputations. Your curly chips were cold and really just a lump of spud, the steaks were tepid and the service not much better. But, a good time was had by all. And, to top it all off, God love him, Dale ran off stage, around a group of people, high fived me, gave me a man hug, drew me close and whispered the immortal words, “Man, do ya know where the toilets are?” Good for him, and the band, that I knew. That’s gold man. Brushes with fame, I love ‘em.

I’m happy to see some retro acts, and I’ll happily pay money for the privilege to do so, but don’t get too excited, I’m not shelling out any hard earned to see shit like Player 1 or The Ferrets.


*Not entirely recommended now, and indeed even then. Looks and sounds romantic in movies, but then the movies don’t give you an indication of how much grit and sand you’ll be picking out of your chocolate crackle for a while to come, nor the unpleasant sensation when, well, sand gets on one’s private parts during copulation. It looks romantic when Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr do it; the reality is that salt water rushing up one’s nostrils at the point of not is enough to put one off their stroke, not to mention a sensation akin to scraping ones nuts with sandpaper.

Once we had hair...
**You have to wonder about the sanity of someone who spends money to get into a gig, spends money to get sloshed and then abuses the band. I once saw some woggo clown begin to heckle Marty Wilson-Piper during a Church gig. Steve Kilby ran over and screamed, “You paid money to see us you fucking dickhead, so sit down and shut the fuck up or fuck off!”

A good retort I thought.

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