Listening to: Private Universe – Crowded House

When I was twelve, in the summer between Years 6 and 7 (about a week before we started high school), my best friend P and I went and stayed at our friend S’s mum’s property in rural Tasmania, about an hour out of Hobart.  We stayed for three days and slept in a tent in S’s backyard.  We had the days to ourselves, because S’s mum and stepdad were at work.  We picked blackberries and practiced what we would do if one of us was bitten by a snake; kept a tally of the different kinds of roadkill we encountered on our walks down to the beach; played cricket; had a wedding for the characters from the imaginary game that had kept us occupied for all of the second half of Year 6; had burping contests and made a chocolate cake with apple and Coco Pops.  They were three perfect days, and P and I referred back to them as a shorthand for all things good for years afterwards.


Anyway, that was also the weekend I first heard Crowded House.  S had Woodface on tape, and it was all we listened to, and we knew all the words to all the songs by the end.  Crowded House were my first real band; my first step out of the limbo of being too old to be a Madonna fan anymore (between the ages of 6 and 10, I was devoted).  I bought my own Woodface tape on lay-by at Myer; it was $15 and I paid it off in weekly $2 instalments.


Part of me still feels completely happy when I listen to them.  Warm.  We got a car when I was in Year 7 (they’re generally pretty unnecessary in most of Hobart, if you live on the right side of the river; ours was a late-‘70s yellow Mazda station wagon that Dad bought from a friend at work when we were moving house), and I would listen to that tape on our weekend drives – it’s all apples and conifers and convict brick ruins and coconut ice cream and security.


I am listening to Together Alone, and I am on the home stretch with this assignment at last.  It feels pretty great.