Shrinks have (I think anyway) an unhealthy preoccupation with asking people to remember the times that they were happy. This is problematic as they never seem to consider that the answers that they receive may not be entirely honest – especially if the therapy is not exactly voluntary, eg. as part of a rehab program – and that the answers may only be what the subject thinks the therapist wishes to hear (think the Rorschach character in Watchmen). I question the value of such probing and what actual benefit they hope to leverage from it – especially if the probing will impact diagnosis and treatment. But then I have very little faith in the shrink arts to begin with. It’s probably because I have never met one I felt I could trust.
Whenever I get asked these questions, I just say I don’t have any, ask for my scrip and leave. Any answer I could give would be beyond meaningless to them. Without the contextual basis of similar experience in which to frame it, my good memories would have about as much relevance as my writhing on the floor and babbling in tongues.
I do have fond memories though, enough I think to not really complain. Reminiscing about the Valhalla Cinema in an earlier post brought with it a flood of other memories from when I used to call Sydney home, and actually liked it. My wasted youth was spent there in the early ’80s and I think it was one of rare privilige. Left school and home in ’82 into a $30/week room in Redfern. Straight onto the dole, $130/week. Coopers red 750ml longnecks, $1.80; cigarettes $2 a pack; gram blocks of pure black putty hashish, soft as vegemite, $20; genuine, strychnine free, real deal LSD, $10 a tab; kebabs $2.50 – it was all you needed to survive. And a 100 original music venues within crawling distance. It was the perfect life – and it is a tragedy that it is no longer a possible one to have. Yes, it was a privilege.
The privilege within the privilege was living 3 blocks from the now defunct Palace Hotel in Darlinghurst where for close to a year, feedtime had a Saturday night residency. They played ’til midnight and from there it was a lazy stroll to a bar which no longer exists and whose name I forget to wait for dawn with Paris Pink, an eternally changing consortium of free-form musicians associated with the legendary Laughing Clowns just jamming whatever they damn well pleased, and welcoming any audience musos audacious enough to join in. It was idyllic perfection.
The real shit at the time though was feedtime. Just 3 guys from the ‘burbs. Not into the music scene, not really into music. Just what they played. It was pure minimalism – a cymbal, a floor tom, a snare, a bass drum, a slide guitar and a tuned down bass. But it was sublime Zen purity. Low-fi motorcycle engine rumble infused with filthy, dirty blues undercurrents. Raw. No polish. No effects. No pretense. It is what it is, you get what you get. There was no sound at the time that could have claimed to influence them. Conversely, their influence oozed out and cross-infected the globe, forming the sounds of countless others who were usually oblivious of the root. Did they cause Seattle? On their own doubtful. But many musical historians do now acknowledge feedtime, along with The Scientists, as spiritual forefathers. In any case, Seattle can keep “grunge”. There are many folks out there who know better.
Here’s some selected tunes I have lying around –
— ha ha
— don’t like
— I Wonder What’s the Matter With Papa’s Little Angel Child
— I wanna ride *
* – The live footage in the middle of the clip is from one of the final gigs ever at French’s in Darlinghurst in 1986. I was there and stole one of the frog posters. It was subsequently stolen from me.