Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Conversation with Josh #243

Had my usual fortnightly lunch with Josh at the Grand in Healesville. I’ve mentioned him before: he’s the muso whose open mic I went to recently. For a muso he’s pretty introverted and taciturn, so I find I have to initiate a lot of topics. Since this was the day after my Teenage Fanclub gig I was happily giving him the review. (Let me now segue into present tense speech) I mention it was a good gig, but it wasn’t Thin Lizzy at Festival Hall in 1980 (my litmus test for a great gig – coz it was). For some reason this reminds Josh of Billy Bragg’s great song New England. Apparently Billy had once said of the song he thought some of the melody was stolen from a Thin Lizzy song. A pretty lateral tangent, but that’s the way Josh’s mind works sometimes and the way our conversations often go. His comment has me thinking of some Lizzy songs that Billy might have been thinking of. Boys Are Back perhaps? Then Josh mentions Kirsty McColl, how she had done a cover of New England. Yes, that’s right, I brighten. She did it more uptempo. But she died in a motorboat accident. Got hit by the propeller. Might’ve been drunk. (Getting a bit stream of consciousness here. Please go with it!) Josh takes another tangent and talks about how Kirsty’s version of the song did some interesting things with the pronouns, because Billy’s version is very much from a man’s perspective and her version alters it to something like third person. I say that’s interesting because most female singers when stuck with a male pov song usually just change the pronouns over; then I mention others, like Emmylou Harris and Sarah Carter of the Carter Family, who sometimes didn’t. I give a favourite example in Rita Chao and the Quests, a cool Chinese garage band from the sixties, who did a great version of Hanky Panky. I love how Rita sings ‘A pretty little girl standin’ all alone/Hey pretty baby can I take you home?’ as is, giving it a delicious lesbian overtone. Josh follows suit with a reference to Cyndi Lauper’s cover of Prince’s When You Were Mine. It occurs to me that this would all be a great topic for an academic paper on ‘Pronouns In Pop Songs’.

Back at Josh’s place, we sit on the wooden veranda, chugging some Asahis, shooting the bull. It’s a hot day, and the folding camp chairs Josh uses aren’t comfortable (I keep telling him to get some rocking chairs – I love rocking chairs), but the shade is good and the Healesville view of trees and wild life is magnificent. It’s the craic. I blabber on about Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies for some reason. All of a sudden Josh confesses he actually walked out on the first Lord of the Rings films, saying it annoyed him. I’m shocked, genuinely shocked.



Played some more No Man’s Sky. I’m still on my home planet Mina. For this session I just lazily flew my ship back to the nearest base, called Sharon Base. Yep, that’s another Twice reference. Stopped a few times to check out some buildings, load up on some caches and mine some minerals. When I got back to base, Mina wasn’t there, her bed was empty. Sigh. Minari….




Found a nice little channel on Youtube called Dutchsteammachine that deals in lots of retro content. Contained a video of an old shellac recording from the 1930s playing a song called Girls Were Meant To Take Care of Boys. Seems to be part of the Youtuber’s efforts to digitize some old shellacs, a project that has my utmost respect. The song is sung by Rose Murphy and it’s beautiful. A sound slightly reminiscent of early Billie Holiday. Her voice and the instrumentation, oh man…I put it in my favourites.


Still on the retro vibe, I came across a terrific little video called Finding and Digitizing the Apollo 11 Moon Landing on NBC by RetroFreak84. The guy details the adventure of finding this old video reel for sale online, bidding for and buying it. When he takes delivery of the reel, he painstakingly cleans it up then watches it for the first time. Turns out it’s the real deal. We watch as the original animation of the landing is shown, complete with Neil Armstrong and Mission Control’s original dialogue. I know it all sounds pretty boring, but I have to say, I was positively salivating at the tape reel to reel machines the guy had and all the near pornographic details that went into cleaning the reel (at one point he ‘bakes’ the tape to stop it from clinging). I read some of the comments and there was the usual conspiracy nutters who thought the moon landings were a hoax. But some were appreciative.

I’m very fond of old Mission Control, the guy who helped talk Neil and Buzz down to the surface of the moon. He was Charlie Duke, who would go on to walk on the moon himself on the Apollo 16 mission. In the 1990s Charlie was visiting a High School in Victoria as part of a tour he was doing promoting NASA. He required the school’s media teacher to set up some film he had of the mission to show to the kids in the auditorium. The session went well, and Charlie thrilled the kids with his talk and the film footage. Afterwards, the media teacher was thanked by the great man and got to shake his hand. I was that media teacher.

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