A story till our manager gets his shit back together.
My insides were seething as I finished it. How could someone miss the point by so much? Clearly he couldn’t play an instrument. He regretted that he’d given up on piano in grade four, but no one else did. And now the rest of us had to shoulder his chip. In bold beneath: RabbidJack – Darlinghurst. He was so typically Sydney – so bitchy, so stylish. Why couldn’t he just rack up a few lines, have a top night out and leave them alone?
And it was the way he had gone about it. The way he had given himself a license to say whatever he wanted, such stuff about a band that everyone loved so much! That with a flippant ‘obviously influenced by the guitar work of Thurston Moore’ or the mention of some hip new things from the West Coast – from Sacramento or Hoboken…like people actually gave a fuck about his blog! I mean, what kind of a fucking name was RabbidJack anyway?
I’d met him dozens of times. I knew his type, always carrying a pen and paper-pad round with him so very discreetly, never lifting his gaze lest anyone look at him for a change. Every show had at least one. I fancied him in retirement, the way his natural gait had come to resemble someone experiencing the infant stages of groin rash, or a bout of dysentery; his ooh-aahing-over-hot-coals walk, his Mr. Plod arms making small backwards circles with each shin-splintering step towards his weekly community radio slot. And his wife – dull and fat. She had no distinguishing features, was like a spy who had been trained to bury any shred of personality deep within till it gets lost. They would cancel each other out at dinner parties. Oh sure, their teacher/ journalist friends would humour them. But they’d all laugh afterwards at the impression they always left behind – like a gumboot print in wet mud that vanishes as quickly as it appears.
I scrolled down the page and felt better with the thought. But what was this…‘My Tracks’!? Ooh, so he did play! This would really cheer me up, I thought. I clicked on the sideways triangle, squirming with anticipation. I could see him now sitting at his 4-track, his head filled with smug wonder at how, like the Strokes in the early 00’s, he’d managed to somehow reinvigorate the entire world music scene. It was the simple equation of right place, right time, was all. Only this time it would be his astonishingly fresh take on Neu’s overlooked second album. Krautrock! Pfaa!
I kept scrolling, reading the comments as I waited for the bar that was dragging so painfully across the screen –
Wow! luv da trax xx
Heyyyy! wen r we gonna do beers?
Thx for the add. ox
Some lame rumour about Lady Gaga that was not even funny let alone clever. I looked at his top ten. 487 friends. Pfff! I skimmed across, recognising a few faces I had seen around, a couple of bands. One of them, a certain ‘buzz band’, I’d seen play a few times. They had more ‘buzz’ than a wasp in an empty solo can. How? I don’t know. But, it was true. Unsurprisingly they had a lot less fizz though. If only they could be slammed down as fast as my beloved friends, I thought. Ha! I began to enjoy my metaphor, thinking about the can’s bright and shiny outside, its hollowness within, how they would drown cruelly in the thin film of liquid at its bottom, when my speakers kicked in. There were no words, only – guitar, synth, bass, and drums. I listened again. I listened to the same three songs for the next few hours. I thought I could discern a familiar drum fill from a now broken-up 80’s Brisbane post-post-punk outfit, but I wasn’t sure. Was I confusing it with something else?
When Tim came round that evening I showed him the review from the show –
- What a fuckin’ tosser man!
- Oh, I know! I can’t believe he’d actually write that.
- It’s so Sydney man.
- SO Sydney! So conceited! You know I bet you he doesn’t even have a bookshelf!
I played him the songs. Given the space of time I could now see that they weren’t actually that good at all. Tim thought the same, and we were agreeing that they were actually pretty shit when he grabbed the mouse from me. In my previous state I had missed it: ‘My Pix’, in the top right corner. The happy squirming came back. I seized the mouse, clicked, and waited eagerly.
There were three of them bunched tightly on a couch – two lameo hipster boys and a frail girl wedged between them. Beneath, left to right was written: Ojay, Jacqui and Brak. I clicked on the next photo. The screen slowly unveiled – Jacqui Warren…
It took less than a second to register. It was torturous! The cut of her fringe, that crooked tooth, those bright dark lips – or was it the lipstick? –, her tattoo… A fucking tattoo for chrissakes!
It was all too much. I didn’t register Tim leaving. I didn’t even shut down properly; just hit the wall-switch, then tried to make out the liner notes to Cat Power as the page swam and the record spun.