BONUS! READING SERIES #2: FARGO ROCK CITY

Imagine, if you will, growing up in isolated, pre-internet far western NSW.

So isolated that the closest capital city, 500ks away, is Adelaide, and not the actual capital delineated by that future spear-cushion fuckwit James Cook back in 1770.

That's Sydney, for the record, which is a lazy 1200ks east of Broken Hill, which, of course, I am talking about, because you're lovely and know me well.

Also I talk about being from there a lot.

The mid 1990s are getting harder and harder to recollect as actually having happened at all.

It was an era of pure unfettered ignorance on a personal level, lazily encouraged by the ignorance of our education system, reinforced by the prevailing sports-centric culture of the town and hammered home by lack of access to any fucking information whatsoever.

Every cultural moment was filtered into our brains by two telly channels, an AM radio station that we taped the hits off every Friday night - Triple J arrived the year we finished school - and the newspapers that our dads fist-pumped over,  delivered the day after publication.

We heard news of the defining event of our generation - Kurt Cobain's suicide - from Molly Meldrum on Hey Hey It's Saturday, ffs.

How quaint.

Chuck Klosterman's 'Fargo Rock City' was published the same year as the defining event of the 21st century (to date) - 2001.

No glib jokes here - yes, I mean 9/11.

I'm pretty sure I encountered the book during my second tilt at finishing uni in Adelaide (the first, in Sydney, ended in an extreme Nintendo 64 malaise), immediately identifying a kindred pop cultural spirit, albeit one with serious ginger accountant energy. 

9/11 I first heard news of via the David Lee Roth Army forums (sadly defunct).

Under different circumstances I might have written an Antipodean version of Klosterman's debut. There's a UK parallel, 'Hell Bent for Leather', by a journo called Seb Hunter, that's mildly diverting, but I feel like I had another 10-15 years of witless, idols-parallel debauch to engage in before I could put my spin on the concept in a satisfying way. 

Hence: Home Brewed.

Same, but different.

The project accounts for a bunch of concerns addressed in more straightforward form by the above gents, sort of.

Anyway.

Way out west our primary musical inspiration came from mates' dopey older brothers' record (CD) collections and the suspect musical curation of the legendary Gary Bowden, who was out and proud in small mining town NSW and more than open to ordering random weird shit in for us dorks in big shorts, LA Kings jerseys and hand daubed camo pants.

We weren't, of course, as fully metal as Aspro and Pinky and Grant with his home-inked 'ACID' tattoo ("We're going to be huge, man!") , nor were we as true to the cause as Dazza and Yort Yort and all the other slightly laughable metal devotees, complete aliens in their earnestness. 

This is coming from me, the kid who (unintentionally) dressed up like Yngwie Malmsteen for most of 1991.

Man-blouse, vest, boot cut jeans shrunk to suit.

The cowboy boots  were at least easy to secure out there*.

To be fair, I was going for more of a Jani Lane from Warrant vibe (third from left, front), but wasn't game to go the full bleach job for a few more years after that.

We scoffed at grunge and its lack of good outfits, weirdo units frozen out of reality by geography, completely adrift and blissfully naive**.

We trolled each other across a parallel cable playing networked Doom 2; ganged up on the thickos we lured to join us on heavily skewed D&D campaigns; fought over shithouse comic books; drew utterly vicious cartoons, torturing one another to an extent that would require police intervention these days; snuck over to Matty's place to watch Robocop and Predator and the odd fuzzy porno via his brother's secret VHS stash, and spent our weekends concocting shit out of the Anarchist's Cookbook to test out in the back streets and scrub land on the outskirts of town.

It was a time of swapped cassette tapes, manly Hot Metal magazine pinups and "taste" acquired randomly via the vicissitudes of Rage's programmers. Of being utterly innocent to the Reagan era cock rock we were choosing to marinate in, produced primarily by misogynists, rapists, racists and, as we now now 25 years later, a whole bunch of Trump fans-to-be.

We voted for the first time in 1996 and were crushed by the Howard victory, for reasons we couldn't quite pin down. It was all so far away.

A year later I'd finally end up in Sydney, all 1200ks away - a full 24 hour train ride - and spending the majority of my first uni semester's budget on CDs from Utopia, a bewildering forest of musical choice on George Street, back then.

It's now 2019 and my taste in music is reliably shithouse, tbh.

I think Chuck Klosterman likes Radiohead now.

Typical.

xxG

* Ladies:

** An old mate and I used to do bodybuilding routines sourced out of FLEX magazine, set to Judas Priest, in the bedroom he shared with his brother.

The reason for his dad insisting on being “on the computer” in the room at the same time was completely lost on us.

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