Monday, May 15, 2006

melancholy guitars and Australian narrative

The Australian edition.

I've been thinking of The Go-Between's Cattle and Cane all week long. I woke to the news of Grant McLennan dying last Monday morning, and this probably should have been my post then but I had already done one. I've been listening to Cattle and Cane all week long, at first inadvertantly through radio tributes and then coming across it through conversation or in print. By the afternoon it was already engrained in my head. It's one of those songs that I go back to every so often anyway. I don't really know whether it is quintessentially Australian. The phrase is something I tend to cringe at but I guess it is. It's funny, I've never been to Cairns - or walked through a "fields of cane", but I know what this song means to me. It really is one of those beautiful songs. Maybe you will find a little bit in there that means something to you as well..

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Now, let's move it down a few cities along the Eastern shoreline to Melbourne where Paul Kelly is a sensation and not just because he sang about the AFL in Leaps and Bounds (who hasn't looked to see whether it's 11 degrees while crossing that bridge, eh?). Paul Kelly is a teller of tales and this is a country of personal stories. We don't have those darn kings and queens beheading everyone. We've got the tale of him or her or them - that's it. That's us. I highly recommend to her door if you're a romantic, but I digress, the song that fits this particular moment is a world away from the Cattle and Cane of Northern Queensland. From St Kilda to King's Cross is an urban love story and I know this because before dx went down this blog was strictly meant for only an urban love stories...

I've done both of the things in this song - from "everything shines just like a postcard" to "where the palm trees have it hard" (for non-Australians Kings Cross is in Sydney and St Kilda is in Melbourne). For the record, I pick the same one that Paul does.

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I contemplated Nick Cave (Melbourne) but he didn't fit and really needs his own entry. Though as an interesting piece of trivia I read somewhere that McLennan wrote Cattle and Cane on Nick Cave's guitar. Kelly and Cave have also collaborated. There ya go.

And so with two songs I've covered the Eastern States (does Tasmania really count?). I hope you like them. They are two of my favourites.

ps: if you have trouble with castpost being crappy it means you need to let the song load first (play/pause...wait a while) - the reason for this is that it's free and that I'm cheap :P