2007. It’s two years since I slouched back to Brisbane from a stint overseas. Luke is the last of my best friends to remain here, in this oversized country town that shaped our university days. I’m surprised he hasn’t yet taken flight: he emerged from our pizza-scoffing college-dorm chrysalis as a rake-thin, moustachioed ladykiller, looking more Brooklyn than Brisbane.
Luke gives me my first taste of LCD Soundsystem. Their irony-laced dance-punk points out how world-weary I’ve become at 27, and I hunger for friends who can pull me from this mental ditch. My social circle has become mostly a smattering of workmates past and present, which means the job that’s destroying my soul is also smearing my leisure time. On hearing ‘Losing My Edge’, I know that the edge I’m in danger of losing is Luke. He moves in with some shiny new friends, sprites who play board games and dress-ups and have too much fun for people over 20. With my social anxiety in overdrive – my frenzied inner monologue threatening my nonchalant veneer – I don’t like my chances of impressing them. But Luke’s my Golden Ticket and I clutch at him with desperation. Then one night at a house party, we world-weary and shiny friends mingle in delighted dance to ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House’, sharing smiles over the tickets we hold for Daft Punk’s imminent Australian tour. This song is the first shovel of cement that will bond me to the Shiny Friends.
2008. The cement’s still wet when, in a synchronised Transformer-style movement, the Shiny Friends strip down their Brisbane lives and rebuild them in Melbourne. Lonely in Brisbane, I play ‘Someone Great’ and reminisce about the previous summer, when we’d all gathered in the humid soup of the Big Day Out’s Boiler Room for LCD Soundsystem’s set. James Murphy’s spoken vocals escalated to a howling crescendo that matched the height of my joy to be on the edge of the Shiny Friends’ cluster, as we bellowed the lyrics to ‘North American Scum’. Now my voice feels fragile without a chorus of support.
2009. A siren song, a ‘Sound of Silver’, wafts on the breeze from Melbourne: the Shiny Friends have discovered the Greatest Music Festival of Our Time. My boyfriend and I think it reasonable to fly and campervan almost 2000 kilometres to join them. We spend three days lolling in a green field, entertained by bands and friends in turn. My head argues that life is not one big music festival and the Shiny Friends will soon return to the prosaic routines of work, as everyone does. But my heart beats a furious retort: perhaps life could be one big music festival if I lived in the right place with the right people. My heart tilts the balance when my boyfriend and I cut some Brisbane-dwelling friends from our wedding guest-list to make room for the Melburnian Shiny Friends, and ‘All My Friends’ ranks highly on the celebratory playlist.
2010. One of the Shiny Friends blogs about the new LCD song ‘Dance Yrself Clean’. I stare at the screen long after I’ve finished reading his post, transfixed by the notion of dancing to shrug off the dust that’s been settling on me as I lurch towards 30. ‘Drunk Girls’ materialises as if to prove that I can carry myself with the exuberance of an 18-year-old without losing the hard-won insight of my twenties. This Is Happening.
2011. My husband and I quit our jobs and move to Melbourne, ending up a few doors down from a hub of Shiny Friends. It’s strange at first, this cultivation of real, everyday friendships after years of being music festival buddies. But I should know by now to give music its due: not simply a foil to the silence of the universe, music calcifies once mixed with sentiment, forming the emotional backbone to our failures and hopes, our lost loves and found friends.
2012. We dance in socks on a bed to ‘All My Friends’ as the sun comes up, and now I’m having too much fun for someone over 30. I’ve adopted Melbourne as my ‘Home’, and these friendships will endure despite LCD Soundsystem’s trip coming to an end. At the Melbourne International Film Festival in August, I nestle between my friends to watch the film that documents the band’s final concert, paying tribute to the music that made me feel both worse and better about myself than any other. I can continue my soundtrack from here.