I don’t really get homesick. Maybe it’s because I’ve moved around the world so much that it burnt out, or maybe it’s that I tend to live in the here and now, not the there and then. But this song always sends me back to the 80s in Sydney, the sun-bleached landscape, to too hot to think summers when I would get a red rattler all the way from North Sydney to Doonside, feeling the temperature soar the further west I got before finally being able to escape the tin can and go home, open the door and pull my clothes off as I walked through the house to the pool, and I swear I could hear the steam hiss as I broke the surface of the water. There’s little wonder I moved to Double Bay.
But I love watching this clip, seeing the funny little platform at Macdonaldtown that I used to see every day, wondering who on earth used it as it was always empty as the trains blew through, and the band (how many times must they have had a word to Robert about his dress sense, and how great that he ignored them) walking the streets of Balmain, a suburb I used to dream of living in after all those nights at the Cat and Fiddle, all the others at the Town Hall with Becky and the gang after screenprinting endless yards of material for a pair of trousers that had the fly backwards, all the telephone poles and brief glimpses of the water between the houses, and that beautiful bloody bridge just there.
I just found out that there’s another clip for this song, all sepia tones and mid-west iconography as they were clearly trying to break America, but I’m glad I hadn’t seen it until now, because it’s just wrong for me, it has to be hazy shots on the inner west of Sydney (even if the song is probably about Brisbane: they don’t have anything worth filming there, clearly). And why on earth did they think it was worth trying to break The Go-Betweens in the US? Surely that’s a fool’s errand, although I saw that Sub Pop, original and best home of Nirvana, The Shins, Rogue Wave etc have signed an Australian band call Rolling Blackouts CF who claim inspiration from The GBs, and they’re doing okay apparently.
I guess everything comes around eventually. I still wish I lived in Balmain. I guess a couple of days on holiday there and a long run around the peninsula will have to do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJfP6G0LSEA