Saturday, December 22, 2007

* 25 February 1981 9.30pm

Apologies to Mick Lewis, Ears guitarist & co-founder, over this one.


My entries are slipping further apart now. I hope this journal doesn’t die.

I’ve just made my way out of an infernal depression. It was probably born from tiredness and compounded by irritation at [Mick] Lewis. Gus has done this comic-book detective style piece of artwork for the record cover [Scarecrow]. Mick seemed to like it. I simply hated it. I would prefer our artwork to be artier, more along Birthday Party lines.

We printed many posters and I organised Lyn Nicholson to put them up.

What’s more, Cathy’s back. We went to the Seaview [Crystal Ballroom] last night. She stayed the night with me and Christine.

Our song Green Food For a Queen is coming along nicely. The future of my other song looks depressing. Our first full band rehearsal was terrific fun.

I turned up at the Birthday Party’s film clip shoot at the Hawthorn Tip. There were fires burning in a pit bordered by a murky lake, which in turn was bordered by a great sandstone cliff. Bubbles of methane spurted from the surface of the lake, gallows and crucifixes were set up on mounds. I watched for hours until finally – on heroin and booze – I decided I wanted to swim in the lake. I stripped and Troy covered me in body paint. I made my way out to a bathtub, in which they filmed me, as I danced…

The whole thing seemed like a cheap version of Ashes to Ashes.

I’m getting very nervous about March 6th, the date of our first gig. The Serious Young Insects got picked out by “Sting” from Police for their record label – it makes me sick with jealousy.

christine & I


The sentence in italics is paraphrased – the most sense I could extract from a very strange mess of words. I recall my anger at Gus’s record cover – it was entirely naff and I was determined to at least match the wonderful graphics coming from the Birthday Party camp. The fact that it was even being considered infuriated me….

Lyn Nicholson was queen of the Melbourne poster mafia. I worked for her for a time, but because I was solo and didn’t have a car, it was a nightmare. On my second or third night, I was nabbed by the cops, charged and later convicted. To this day, this bill posting crime still pops up if I get pulled over, or questioned or whatever. I think it’s the only actual conviction on my not-so-brief rap sheet.

The film clip was of course Nick The Stripper, directed by The Rich Kids [Paul Goldman & Evan English]. That film about Frank Sinatra’s tour of Australia – The Night We Called it a Day – is the last work of Paul's of which I am aware.

Nick The Stripper on YouTube

I recall Nick Cave saying something caustic about the tribe of extras in rabbit suits etc - but it did turn out to be a bit of a classic, didn’t it?

It was a filthy night, and the occasion of my most unsanitary injection ever – squatting on the putrid ground of the dump, by the light of one of their witch-fires… Simone was with me. Yet I wonder, where did the gear come from?

To my great chagrin, the bathtub dance never made it into the clip. Apparently, I was too far away for it to be effective … I should just have been thankful that I did not die from tetanus, or hepatitis…

Diary of 1981 - index

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Anonymous said...

I had to do a double take with that pic Sam, thought it was Simon LeBon of whatsitsname-DuranDuran!!!
How did you NOT become a pin-up 80's boy, I'll never understand!
Love Amanda

angel wings and hearts said...

ha ha amanda, sam was a pin up boy for some of us in the 80's except he wasn't printed up anywhere if that makes sense. i remember nick the stripper being filmed at hawthorn tip. that video always brings a smile to my face.


Ann O'Dyne said...

The best thing in that video was unplanned.
A guy just turned up and was brilliant.
I have not seen the clip for decades so I cannot describe him other thasn he was just like one of Shaun Micallef's early characters - goggle eyed loony.
Nobody knew him.
he may have lived at the tip.
The Rich Kids left him in.
They were Swinny students and it was their first gig.
MLink had to purchase ALL their equipment and stock they needed to make the clip, before anything could begin.
Looking back, I think they must have thought MLink had money.
Goldman is on Farcebook.