Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

4.5.08

Twenty Years After.

I spent 20 minutes of most mornings in 1988 standing at the bar in University Cafe. Ham, cheese, tomato croissant or sandwich; strong latte. Maybe two, if a really busy day was in store. This was after dropping my children - William and Thomas's much older sister and brother - at school and before hitting the office. They were busy days. It was a good time. And we were younger then.

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No, I was never a fan of eighties mainstream pop music, much of which was complete rubbish. But sadly and somewhat ironically, amidst the Stock Waterman Aitken dross there was some great stuff.

And so this year is the 20th anniversary of Under the Milky Way by The Church. If there is a better pop song ever recorded, let me know. Or at least wait for the bagpipes solo. You'll never sneer at bagpipes again.

The Saints' Grain of Sand and Just Like Fire Would came out around the same time, maybe a year earlier. And 'golden oldies' radio plays Farnham and Barnes ad nauseam?

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A review appeared in the paper this morning, prompting this post. The review is of a new album by Robert Forster, one half of the Go-Betweens. Grant McLennan died a year or so ago. Their song, Streets of Your Town, was recorded in 1988; a sad, haunting, melodic pop confection that has that uncanny ability to strip the years away and recreate, just for three or four minutes, the place where you were then. Place being more than geographic.

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And so, back to Lygon Street. These days I hang out more often at Brunetti but University Cafe is still there and the same as it ever was. Here's Lygon at Faraday on Friday, just prior to lunchtime. We had had coffee at Brunetti and were browsing some new books, first in Readings and then in Borders. Thunder boomed, lightning crashed and we came out to almost flooded street. Rain was pouring through a downlight just inside the sushi bar next to STA Travel. I haven't seen a rainstorm like it for years.

8 comments:

Lesley said...

Under the Milky Way...my favourite song of all time. I almost tear up every time I hear it...I certainly cried when they played it live at the Commonwealth Games...
The 80's bring back some great memories... some cheesy ones too, but mostly great...especially when I hear The Church.

Lucy said...

Under the Milky Way...so beautiful. Streets of Your Town still gives me goosebumps.

The rain was marvellous, wasn't it?

kitchen hand said...

Yes, Lesley, there were some gems in the '80s. My experience of mainstream '80s music was scarred by having to write publicity material for Bros, Mel & Kim, Rick Astley and the Chantoozies.

Lucy, Streets of Your Town was truly great. I even liked the sampling of it in Italian dance band Milky's Just the Way You Are.

And yes, the rain was wonderful.

kimbofo said...

In 1988 I was a first year undergrad at Melbourne Uni ... it seems a lifetime ago now!

Under the Milky Way is one of my favourite songs. I heard it played live this time last year -- whenever the Church tour the UK I always make sure I go see them. Awesome band, with a great sense of humour.

Another Outspoken Female said...

Seeing the Go Betweens for the first time was a memorable gig. I'd not been living in Melbourne long and I saw them play, with a group of friends, at Melbourne Uni. It was a pleasant night and as I peeled off from the throng, to walk past the housing commission in Lygon Street to head home someone asked if I felt ok to do so on my own. "I love Melbourne, it feels so safe here" I said, full of the joy for humanity that a great gig leaves you with.

It was August 9th, 1987 and just a couple of kilometres away Julian Knight was doing his thing.

The Go Betweens always give me shivers these days but that's for an entirely different reason!

Marie said...

Funny we think the music of the 80's was forgettable and then we hear Boy George singing Chameleon or some such and it all comes back and we realize it was not so forgettable after all! Mind you, mine was a North American experience and not at all entirely like yours. I shall hav eto go look up those songs you mentioned now as I don't know them at all, or perhaps I've just forgotten!

kitchen hand said...

Kimbofo, in 1988 I was pounding around the track at Melb Uni - Rawlinson Field - as a member of their athletics club. Small world.

AOF, I remember that night as well. I heard wailing sirens and choppers from Glenlyon Road where I lived at the time.

Marie, I think we're all just angry that people bought Rick Astley records in the millions and ignored scores of excellent artists.

MLK said...

I played a gig with The Church's Steve Kilbey a few weeks ago...if I hadve known I wouldve sent you an invite. Piccys here to show its true (still cant believe it myself)
http://www.allindiaradio.com.au/steve%20kilbey%20photos.html