I understand that Cold Chisel is playing in town tonight. Somehow in my bones I knew this before I knew this, I just felt that Don Walker was near. All through today an elegiac tone droned behind and below me. It took a while for me to figure it out. I made a number of musical selections this evening to cook with and couldn’t settle on any of them but when I heard the bitumen buzz rockabilly of ‘Rising Sun’ I knew where that mournful keen was coming from.
Foreshadowing this I had listened to Don Walker’s we’re all gunna die last night as I did the washing up, wallowing in the rampant mythomania of Walker’s bluntstone bohemianism. Chisel, and more directly Walker, was already doing elegies when they were in the zeitgeist singing their hymns to fallow masculinity, doing a kind of kingswood macho matched with a miserly Kerouacian sensitivity.
These canticles were songs of praise to the blokes who believe the ‘long forgotten dockside guarantees.’ That there are fewer and fewer of that particular kind of men doesn’t seem a big deal, they were disappearing in the seventies when blokes like my Dad stopped going to the pub and did their serious drinking at home.
But I love the elegy, the in-a-churchyard seriousness of the nostalgia, the faith in the promise.