Yesterday we went to the 80s exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum- something for the mums and dads. I was surprised at how much paraphenalia from the alternate scene was part of the exhibition.
It reminded me that I was right in the thick of what was happening then.
I saw Michael Jackson at Parramatta Showground. I saw Killing Joke at some venue at the Cross that isn't there anymore. The Damned at the Trade Union Club. Bowie at the Showground. Springsteen at the Entertainment Centre - I paid a scalper $100 and it was worth every cent. I went to the NYE Rat party at Luna Park. I went to the Sleaze Ball, just by chance (was living at Paddo, went out for milk in the morning, ran into someone I knew, went off somewhere, then somewhere else, and ended up at the Sleaze Ball). I scarred my hand outside French's on Oxford Street, where turning on the tap in the bathroom meant washing your shoes - there was no pipe under the basin. I saw Billy Bragg as the date of a journo for On The Street (his flatmate was Tim Freedman). I went to the Kardomah Cafe, The Manzil Room, the Evening Star, The Hopetoun, The Phoenican Club, saw X at the Strawberry Hills Hotel, hung out at the Evening Star and The Civic when I had blue hair, dropped into the Bourbon and Beefsteak for breakfast, heard jazz at Soup Plus, the Harbourside Brasserie and the Basement. I saw drag shows at Stranded. I walked from my house in Surry Hills to the Taxi Club one day, in my dressing gown, because I went to get the mail from the mailbox and the front door slammed shut and I needed to get the keys from my flatmate who worked there. I saw James Brown and Nick Cave and Screaming Jay Hawkins.
Man, I was cool.
And I remember what I wore to everything!
I hung out with punks and goths, and avoided skinheads. I lived in sharehouses for most of the decade. We always had enough money for a night out, even when we were on the dole. And every night out ended up at a sharehouse, which was where we met to watch The Young Ones, drink beer and eat pizza. Sharehouses were open houses.
I regularly went to the theatre too.
In the 90s I saw Prince, Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull.
Now, I wouldn't pay $100 to attend a concert or go to a play. Especially anything outdoors. I don't like crowds. I don't drink. My back hurts if I sit for more than about half an hour. Or stand. Or walk for hours on end. I like to be in bed by midnight. I'm probably the only woman in Australia between fifteen and fifty who didn't see Pink in concert. I couldn't be bothered.
So is it a bit sad that I don't have my finger on the pulse like I used to? Or is it just the way things should be? I think it would be a bit sad if I was still into the scene I used to be into. I've outgrown it. If you still live like that at forty, you've got a problem. Now I'm happy to see who is playing at the Festival of Sydney, listen to them on youtube and, if I like them, I'll buy the CD. Enjoy the music in a controlled environment. Mine.
I am happy to support local artists. We see the amateur productions of musicals, and I'm keen to support local artists, musicans and writers. Locally.
No, I'm happy to stay at home. I just need to make more of a scene at my house, where we can talk about art, film, philosophy, literature and life, listen to music, and drink lots of tea, or even make our own artworks - I have in mind something like a Swiss finishing school or a French Salon. We can look after the kids. And perhaps remind each other how cool we used to be. The kids would never agree. Even Nick Cave's kid thinks he is uncool, so what hope do we have?