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Archive for the ‘Go-Betweens’ Category

Right Here

Right here – The Go-Betweens

I submit that the Go-Betweens were less in love with and an embodiment of the city of Brisbane than Brisbane wanted/wants them to be. Especially at this point in their career. Take that.

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Love Goes On

Love goes on – The Go-Betweens

Maybe it’s the circles i run in, and the pitiful amount of time i spend socially in any circle, but i’ve never heard anyone refer to the person they kiss a lot as their “lover”. I know this song was released in 1988, but does it still happen? Is “lover” the proper pet name to use in sophisticated company, and the use of any other epithet grounds to shun further? Something tells me it might be. If i’m out of touch on everything, those things that seem most ridiculous and pretentious are inevitably those most in vogue. It just seems so ridiculous. Lovers… Oooooh, lovers… My lover and i… I throw my hands up at this world sometimes.

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People say – The Go-Betweens

“You’ve got to improve
Your walk hardly moves
Your holy sailors with their harbour smells
Feed from your broken shells

So that’s how it feels
It’s a cruel God that steals
The things you love, the things you hold
That are priceless but still sold

People say I’m mad to want you
People say I’m mad to need you
People say I’m mad to love you babe

The jobs you cannot hold
The stereo that you sold
You can’t have milk and drink it too
Your kitchen never had any food

People say I’m mad to want you
People say I’m mad to need you
People say I’m mad to love you babe

The clouds lie on their backs
And rain on everyone
But you always stay dry
You’ve got your own private sun

Listen to the doctor’s advice
Nobody’s ever been saved twice
So pack your bags, your saxophone
I’m gonna take you to Rome

People say I’m mad to want you
People say I’m mad to need you
People say I’m mad to love you babe”

People don’t say shit to me. I’m not sure whether to be grateful for that, or long for a relationship in need of intervention, and a relationship with friends who would readily and out of turn give that intervention.

desperate living

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Cattle and cane – The Go-Betweens

I don’t know how long until it dawned on me that this song is in 5/4. I’m pretty sure i had to have it pointed out to me. In a time when odd time signatures convey a forced sense of cleverness and musical proficiency, of counting and pointless sophistry, it is nice to hear a song’s phrasing extended to and based around a simple melody line. All that is “odd” about this song is dissolved completely to what is right, necessary, enough and perfect for it.

It is a reminder that thinking beyond 4/4 is not and was never the domain wanky boys who force a few more beats into a bar and call it mathy. Folk music, (Western-defined) world music, classical, etc. are set in their meter and structure due to what fits, room left and arranged around what was to be said. What is odd about Time Out when the structures and signatures are traditional the the Middle Eastern folk songs that influenced Dave Brubeck? What is odd about Cattle and Cane when Grant McClennen has this much to say, with this fantastic melody to say it?

So it took me a long time to figure something inconsequential out. I grew up with this. Nothing feels as normal as what you grew up with. It is my mother’s music. I have never been sure who mum’s favourite band is, what songs mean the most to her. Through exposure and repetition to us as kids, the Go-Betweens should rank very highly on that list. There’s something about this history that doesn’t sit well in me people of my generation realising, in our time, what a great band the Go-Betweens were. They have been claimed. Appreciation and devotion already defined by my mother’s.

Of course i mean that certain music the rightful property of certain people. And that proper appreciation is an entitlement only a deserved audience has, be it through being there at the time, or rawly open to some cultural experience. Of course i do. No it’s just i see this distance drawn between mum’s ardour of the Go-Betweens and the no doubt equally as passionate and life affirming ardour me and my peers look to them with. That it was happening around her, that there was a concurrence between what was happening in her life, in her heart and head, and the music the Go-Betweens were releasing, supporting and giving meaning, moment and memory to that life, that heart and that head. She, there, waiting, and the Go Betweens delivered everything for her. My own fandom seems so paltry in comparison. The acrimony, bed hopping and the end of the band affected her in ways i will never know.

So what do the Go-Betweens mean to me? With that distance? I like them a lot. I like them a whole lot. From sitting in my mum’s car subject to it, to finding them again in my own roundabout way: A whole lot. One of the best bands this country has produced. Probably the best, if i could make my mind up about it, or could decide such a thing without ever embarrassing myself in front of my mum.

Cattle and Cane is a song of nostalgia, and one of which i am nostalgic. A lone nostalgia, of time and place, evoking everything that was there with everything that is no longer. It’s funny to me how this song recalls (as nostalgia kept oneself often does) memory of sensuous, illustrative, natural things and places, and the distant feelings and emotions tied to them; whereas collective nostalgia, at least in my participation of it, always is drawn back to purchasable, consumable things – toys, TV shows, movies, youth rituals, etc. They are things unlinked to sense, to unreproducible recollection, with nothing ever so evocative applicable to them as “I recall a schoolboy coming home through fields of cane to a house of tin and timber.”

I was all to ready to paint every burgeon of nostalgia of my generation that way. Then i remembered what private nostalgia is, how powerful it is, how we all have it, what it means to us and what triggers it. Ghosts everywhere. “Further, longer, higher, older.”

distant voices still lives

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