Collected by Toby, co-conspirator, dude, hell of a musician (plays in Flywheel), looks a bit like a young Boris Karloff, and his fiancé named after the actress Susan Hayward, who received (deservedly) an Academy Award in 1958 for ‘I Want to Live!’, a prison movie. Incidentally I texted Suzie, as she likes to be called, the other night after I got a bad reaction to cream cheese spread. “I Want to Live!” I wrote. Suzie enjoys a good Susan Hayward reference.
No Gordon Gin & Tonic cans anywhere in Melbourne. We leave town empty-handed. It’s very upsetting. We arrive in Meredith around 2pm carting a bunch of those inferior Smirnoff tins and a lot of beer. It’s stinking hot. We set up camp amongst some trees on a slope in an area that has the prestige of Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs. We camp near some dudes who took bad acid last year. They hope to maintain good vibes all weekend, so they are really nice to us. They offer us beers and turn their country music down, so we can hear our dire little unit pump out stuff like The Decemberists.
The Sand Pebbles open the show and class it up with an eleven piece band including Dave Graney, a turbaned snake charmer, a gypsy wearing black braces and beefy pants and two Chartreused chanteuses singing back-up. Subsequently I skedaddle up to the Pink Flamingo Bar and knock back three Pink Flamingos (Pink Lemonade and Vodka) waiting for Wolf and Cub to start. The Pink Flamingo is located above the stage on a hill. The sound is still pretty good from up here, but the further away you get the worse it is, sometimes worse than imaginable (Macromantics=Sir Mix-A-Lot; Dallas Crane=Dallas Crane). Wolf and Cub’s first song sounded better than the smell of a Magic Marker, but their grunge act turns stale the minute they bring out the smoke machine. I head back to camp and get loaded as night falls and come back for Band of Horses, who are overwhelming. They play my two favourite songs, Great Salt Lake, Weed Party straightaway, which allow me to peak far too early in the set. The crowd is tight near the front where we stand. Some guy passes by and steps on my Eski. He looks down indignantly. “You brought your own Eski?” He then asks me where I intend to piss, which so happens, I am relieving myself on his shoe. Band of Horses cover Otis Redding and the detuned guitars ring like Pavement. The singer’s voice is Grand Canyon-esque. He is very charming. He streaks twice during the New Pornographers’ set. We return to camp and play tunes from a small portable unit, loud enough to attract visitors from camps nearby. “Isn’t one David Bowie enough?” a female visitor asks, during a Stephen Malkmus song. A Motley Crue number attracts a fine fellow named Mick, who takes to saying outlandish things just to be provocative. Mick looks a bit like this guy. We drag him to watch The Presets and I have never had so much fun. The Presets are perfectly awesome given the curious state I was in and the laser light show was outstanding. I also admire the number of people Mick insulted in a very short time.
We lose Mick and hit the Pink Flamingo for another drink. The bar is nearly empty. Meredith is really splendid in the wee hours we find. We bump into a couple friends and shoot the breeze until daybreak. My final activity is using the men’s in absolute quietude at 6.30am (the program is a fine read). Sleep proves to be a disastrous proposition. The heat is unpleasant and disgusting and it hasn’t cooled down nearly enough.