It was a week before I saw the cops again. They tried to kick down the door of my flat, which is on the floor below My Cucumber Natalie and not 800 metres from my beloved Brisbane racetracks. I was listening to the latest Go-Betweens album, 16 Lover’s Lane, and letting the sound vibrate through me as I sat in my armchair. Unfortunately I had to get up, or risk the two detectives breaking my door down and claiming I had assaulted their feet.
The comic detective novel Iraqi Icicle is being released at Pine Rivers Art Gallery Queensland Australia on December 20 in a multi-art event as part of the world-wide A Big Project.
Here is an edited excerpt.
The next track playing on the sixth Go-Bees album was The Streets of Your Town. They had released it twice –once the previous year when the album came out, and more successfully in June of that year of 1989. The band, which had started in Brisbane in the late seventies, was signed to the major US label Capitol, and fans were saying that the guitar-based pop rockers were going to grab the world recognition they deserved. Clouds inevitably darkened any rock band’s horizon and now, by December, rumours had erupted that The Go-Betweens had broken up. If the rumour of a bust-up was true, it was an inopportune time, when even a deeply unhip copper like Mooney could recognise the chorus of the band’s disturbing but radio-friendly single.
Round and round, up and down
Through the streets of your town.
Every day I make my way
Through the streets of your town.
‘That’s that slag’s song,’ Mooney screamed at the record player, his fleshy lips quivering. ‘That drummer, what’s her name, Morrison. Fucking bitch stole my watch.’ Mooney’s great sausagey fist feigned to slam down onto my record player, then recoiled. ‘I’m not listening to that crap any more. When you’re done, Schmidt, I’ll see you in the car.’ He stormed out the cracked door.
Schmidt looked all around the room, like a Teutonic landlord determined to retain a rental bond, before he approached the record player. ‘Congratulations, Hill. You play the only song not recorded by Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin or Kenny Rogers that Mooney knows. And now I have to hear about her stealing his watch for the rest of the day.’
‘What’s that about? If Mooney’s been to a Go-Betweens concert, I’ll have to throw out my entire record collection.’
Schmidt moved away from the stereo and began to rummage through kitchen cupboards and drawers.
‘It was way back in 1978, before Lindy Morrison was even in the band, as far as I know. You remember, the Premier at the time, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, banned street marches as a form of civil protest.’
‘Vaguely, I was only thirteen or fourteen at the time. The nuns in the orphanage weren’t big on breakfast-table discussions of the political news of the day.’
‘I wasn’t much older myself, but the old coppers tell me the uni students and their crackpot mates would call a demonstration at the drop of a hat. After a scuffle at one demo, Mooney charged Morrison with stealing his watch.’
‘And did she?’
‘From what I gather, his watch came off in a melee and Morrison held the watch in the air as if to say, “Who owns the watch?” And Mooney pinched her. Anyway, she got off at the pre-trial committal stage. But Mooney swears black and blue she got away with trying to nick his watch. If you ask me, he probably only charged her because he did not want to be grateful to a twenty-something girl for returning it.’
Here is the Go-Between’s first single, a deceptively fun song with a lot of depth.