Last night was Twilight Sounds at Sills Bends. This is an annual event, held at my favourite place in the world- well, Melbourne anyway- Sills Bend by the Yarra in Heidelberg. I’ve written about Sills Bend before. The Yarra Flats were my childhood playground; now as an adult I just love the deep shade of the oak trees, the old fruit trees and the sense of connection with an older Heidelberg.
Last night felt particularly nostalgic as Cotton, Keays and Morris were performing. I spent probably two years of my life between 14 and 16 desperately in love with Jim Keays and the Masters Apprentices.
Their album was the first full-priced album I’d bought- my pocket money only stretched to K-Tel albums with lurid limegreen and orange psychedelic covers- and every afternoon on the way home from school I wondered if there would be a newsletter from ‘Denise and Di and Mrs G” from the Masters Apprentices Fan Club (it was, let us say, a sporadic publication). They had played at the Scots Church Hall in Burgundy Street for my high school social when I was Form 2 at Banyule High School.
I know that ‘real’ historians are not supposed to admit to such sop, but I’ve always been attracted to time-travel stories. I wish that I could come up behind that fourteen year old girl, screaming and sobbing at Jim Keays’ feet as, wreathed in streamers and poured into black leather pants, he endured what was probably another dreary school gig. They sang their new song, 5.10 man and I bought the single the next week.
I wish that I could tell that 14 year old girl that forty years later, she’d be watching this same man. She would still be the same person deep down, but she’d end up doing many of the things she wanted to do. She’d live a suburb or two away; she’d have a career; she’d have children (who would not deign to accompany her to Sills Bend to indulge such nostalgia). She mightn’t know it at the time, but she’d find other people who liked the things she did. She’d do well at school and go to university- yep, she’d STILL be at university forty years later!! She’d fall in love properly and people would fall in love with her. Forty years on, she’d say that she has a very good life.
And he, too, would live a life that he probably couldn’t have foreseen on that stage in 1969 and I wonder if he’d say that he has a very good life too. I hope that he would.
Anyway a good night, a good gig. And the excitement goes on today too…..