Sunday, 22 October 2006

"Rocked Out" published October 22, 2006

The fact that Graham Brazier is hot is not a new concept. I first heard it 25 years ago as Graham was then the quintessential rock god combo: tall, dark and drug convicted. But never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear it in 2006. Because when you’re young watching rock bands at the Gluepot, you don’t pause for a moment as you puff on your ciggie to transport yourself 25 years into the future where you’re standing in the St James among a strangely spherical crowd of bald-headed and pot bellied middle-aged men receiving texts about Graham’s supposed ample package.
So this is middle age. We all take a few decades out to work hard, buy a house, have children and then regroup at the St James to pick up where we left off watching Hammond Gamble and Hello Sailor as if nothing ever happened.
I’m not sure I ever spent any time in my youth wondering what I would be doing for amusement in my mid 40s but if I had I’m sure it would have gone something like having dinner parties, discussing politics and listening to Handel’s Water Music.
How lovely that Graham and Hammond were kind enough preserve themselves so marvellously for me and my texting friend’s pleasure. At the St James we took cautious looks at each other, we couldn’t believe our luck. Hammond and Graham still sing like angels. It was almost like the old days wasn’t it?
Well not quite. I’d forgotten what you do.
At the Gluepot, Windsor Castle and Mainstreet I used to stand at the back bar affecting an uninterested air. Unless I was pissed in which case I would dance like a loon. All these years later at the St James there was no bar to lean on to do this, so you stood near the front, sipping your bottle of Lindaur (which had an off putting thrush-like yeasty odour) and watched other couples solve the problem of what to do by holding on to each other and swaying.
And then we went home for a cup of tea and Marmite on toast which we used to do in the old days, only at 2am not 10.30pm. Wasn’t our fault, who knew the bands started on time in this middle-aged dream time?
We are, of course, part of a world wide phenomenon which sees the huge bubble of our age group eagerly encourage the likes of the Rolling Stones, The Who and the Eagles to perform for us. And this time around we’re not nearly as demanding for new material. All the old hits will do us very nicely thank you.
Personally I don’t ever want to see the Knack reform because hearing My Sharonna again would be just cause to slit my wrists. Talking Heads would be good, and I'm wondering about buying a ticket to Carole King, but by the time I discovered her I was 15 and spent far too many hours in my bedroom listening to Tapestry than was healthy for a girl. So no, we won't be reliving that little uncool period of my life.
On a local level I send out a plea now to Ric Salizzo’s Plastic Pegs to never reform. Same goes for Russell Baillie’s Bitumen Waltz and Andrew Snoid’s Coconut Rough. The Mockers, The Swingers, Screaming Mee Mees, Peking Man, Citizen Band, Blam Balm Blam, The Chills and the Verlaines, please feel free.
Because the reality is that money talks, and at the moment there is a big bubble of us mooning around inner city Auckland, tired of lattes, lunch and laughing at each other’s expense. We have bored ourselves stupid talking to each other about our worthy and materialistic lives where cooking duck three different ways, painting your house interior the exact shade of white – not too grey, not too yellow, and sipping "pinot", gris or noir from stemless wine glasses has us all a bit glassy eyed and over it. We want to be entertained again preferably in a pub, by a pub band. We want to gaze at Graham’s long lost package, be amazed at a guitar solo and lean against a bar getting slowly inebriated.

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