Nothing Ever Happens (Thankfully)
Posted on March 27, 2015
Just after I turned 16, my family and I moved back to Victoria from Darwin, to Northcote, Melbourne, not to Bendigo from whence we had left. I wrote about that strange time here. I was floundering in lostness that year, but I hopped from island to island in a bid to stay afloat and in amongst it all, there were some funny, strange times, surreal to look back on now.
In 1989 a Scottish band called Del Amitri released their second album, Waking Hours. It enjoyed success in Australia, especially in the following year, and anyone of my vintage would recall the single “Nothing Ever Happens”. I heard it in Woollies just this afternoon, at least 25 years after it was released. My friend Ayesha and I were 16, and we were just a little bit obsessed with Del Amitri. Ok, we were more like crazy people fans. It was the weird year of Almost Famous-esque groupie madness, albeit of a pretty innocent kind.
I read this interview with lead singer Justin Currie tonight, and he mentions that the Australian tour in 1990 was a highlight of the bands career, as it was the first place that they were really treated like proper rock stars. Yeah, I like to think that the Ayesha/Dani treatment was a part of that.
We went to all of their Melbourne concerts, at the Palais and the Palace, and even some far out suburban beer barn (I can’t remember how we got there or home). For the first concert, Ayesha insisted that we frock up, that that was what people did when attending rock concerts. So she wore a black, beaded stretch mini, with her long blond hair, and I wore an electric blue crushed velvet mini and lots of red lipstick. There must have been heels too. We thought we looked pretty hot.
We went to the concert, utilising borrowed non photogenic ID (those were the days). We didn’t do anything too crazy, although I think that we must have tried to cosy up to the sound guy, because I recall speaking to him again at the next concert. I know that Ayesha bought a t shirt, because there is a photo of her with it on top of her black dress, holding her ticket up, on a tram.
I went to the next concert alone. Ayesh lived outside Bendigo, working as a strapper at a race horse stud, and she wasn’t able to make the second show. It was at the no longer existing St Kilda rock venue The Palace, next door to the infinitely more elegant Palais. My fake ID did the trick again. I am pretty sure that it was a week night. I was alone, and had no idea how I was going to get home, since I didn’t have enough money for a cab and the show started late. Teenagers do some dumb things, and I must have made up a story for my parents. Luckily I made friends with a pair of sisters who went to LaTrobe Uni, and they gave me a lift home after.
Next we were planning on attending the Ringwood show, so, as-you do we penned letters to the band, mostly to the singer, Justin and lead guitarist Iain Harvie. I couldn’t tell you what we wrote, but I recall it being rather more awestruck and fawning than any serious attempt at seduction. I’m sure that they were as subtle as bricks. We were at the front at this concert, and we tossed the letters onstage. Better than undies I suppose. Members of the band picked them up and Justin Currie made to read one of them out to the crowd. Mercifully heeding our mortified faces, he stopped short. I blush recalling it, and wonder where our chutzpah derived from.
Of course, it didn’t stop there…..
The morning after that gig, we headed off to the hotel where the band were staying, Rockmans Regency (don’t ask me how we came by that nugget of information, I’d have to kill you. Actually, I have no recollection). We sat down to a breakfast and waited for the band members to hopefully descend from their rockstar labrinth above, which eventually they did. Ayesh and I whispered and tried to look cool whilst stealing not very furtive glances their way. I remember that they ordered Bubble and Squeak and drank whiskey from a Del Amitri branded bottle. When they had eaten, virtually undisturbed by us, they took pity and one of the band members graciously delivered the rest of the bottle of Whisky to our table.
And, aside from one late night at a phone booth on St Georges Rd, Northcote with a very large pile of silver coins and a Scottish phone book, that was the end of our innocent experience of stalking groupie-dom for Del Amitri.
We did get a bit of a taste for it, and had beers in the penthouse suite with the band EMF (who sang one-hit-wonder “Unbelievable”) the same year, but that is another story, about some pretty un-rockstar British lads, and that was the true conclusion to our teenaged Almost Famous adventures.
Did you ever do anything nearly as embarassing as this? Or do you have some rather more exciting stories where something actually happened?
Ayesha and I both think that Justin is still pretty cute and that we should mount a campaign to entice the band to extend their current tour to Australia. What do you think?