7 May 2011

1984- "If you want to know the meaning of meaningless . . ."

This is a long post- 5 songs and plenty of ranting. I think I will have to revisit 1984 again- I could have immersed myself in the Flying Nun pool and never returned, there was so much stuff that I loved realeased that year. But 1984 was not all black jerseys and winkle-pickers . . .

A comment from the Supercoach to last weeks post led me straight to 1984. He tells us that in 1974, Elton John realeased his first “Best of” album, and wondered who might hold the record for the most “best of” albums through the years. I don’t know the answer to that, but can say it appears that the very same Reginald Kenneth Dwight himself has at least 7 or 8. Including the execrable 1986 album “Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.” Terrible singing; worse arrangements and god-awful wigs.

But . . . in  February 1984, I travelled to Christchurch from Dunedin to see Elton play at Addington Showgrounds. He had started working with Bernie Taupin again; and for the first time in years had most of his early 70’s band with him. The 25000 stong audience, (including me and the pierced, mohawked, leathered punk standing and singing at the top of his voice next to me) loved it.

(Unfortunately could not embed this clip, but it is worth following) From the brilliant 1975 movie, “Dog Day Afternoon” (directed by Sydney Lumet and starring Al Pacino)- this is the opening sequence, with Elton John singing “Amoreena”

I am sure it is not that often that an Elton John track is followed by the Tall Dwarfs. This fantastic Chris Knox video was watched over and over at Liam’s house in 1984 (Liam was my best friend; had great taste in music; and was the first person I know who had a video recorder. It was another few years before he and I got to see them live- described in the comments section at the bottom of this review)

Tall Dwarfs- Phils Disease (Day 1)

I have been in meetings where people have suggested meeting on the 7th of May. I always want to say only if they want to know the meaning of meaningless.

Brilliantly, I got to see the DoubleHappys play in 1984 at an “underage” venue in Dunedin. 27 years on, whether with Dimmer, “The Adults” or on his own, Shayne Carter is still a genius.

DoubleHappys- The Other’s Way

(Shayne Carter was only 20 when this was released. Look at this live clip of them- truly rock gods even then) 

Alastair Galbraith fronted the Rip, one of my favourites of this time. Two wonderful E.P’s, a myriad of superb performances- including a gig at Chingford Park (at which another band, EOE- who, despite only having 3 or 4 songs written- arrived in a stretch limo driven by the guy who chauffeured the Beatles when they visited Dunedin- total class)  Alastair Galbraith is worth checking out nowadays too- an “experimental” musician of international repute; a total artist.

The Rip- Holy Room

1984 wasn’t all Elton John and Flying Nun though. The Smiths released this, their second single, in 1ate 1983, but was also a bit of a summer anthem for us in 1984. This clip is a “fan video”, because I first heard and loved the “London” version of the song- and the official video is “Manchester.” Lovely.

The Smiths- This Charming Man


  1. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh slugbucket and I remember that gig

  2. And fantastic it were too! Still makes me smile whenever I remember it.
    and that bloody low stage at the Ori- I had bruises all over my shins from banging into it.
    One of the best gigs ever. I distinctly remember Chris Knox launching into Bananarama's "I'm your venus" at one stage.