I was born in Brisbane. Nice. ‘Up The Wallabies’!!!! Welllllll, people say ‘Up The Wallabies’ a lot now and maybe they did when I was born too except I don’t remember much of anything because of being a very small human who couldn’t form memories and experiences, or could form memories and experiences for other people but not in a concrete way that I could remember myself. Nice. Well this whole piece has nothing to do with that. Hehe. So thennnnnn, when I was two, we moved to Canberra. Well, we lived in a place called Wanniassa Hills. There were lots of kookaburras. They would fly around being kookaburras. They did that hell cute laugh thing that kookaburras do. Hehe. How good is it when they laugh? Well, I would say it is very good. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. But this piece also has nothing to do with that either. Something that happens in Canberra is that it gets really cold. So now let me tell you this: we had this heater vent in the floor that we would sit on before school. It was a fairly solid before-school activity choice IMHO. Sometimes my brother or sister would be sitting on the vent, which would mean I wasn’t sitting on the vent. ‘I’m heaps cold aye,’ is something I would think and also say sometimes when this happened. Okay, so what is the point of this you are asking? Welllllll, in our living room there was also a CD player. And if there’s one thing you need to know about that CD player, it is that it played music all the time. But it also generally just played one musical artist. So when there were no heater vents free I would dance to the one artist in my living room. That artist is why I learned to shoulder shimmy. That artist is how I kept warm. The album was called Spark To A Flame, and his name is: Chris de Burgh.
Wellllllllll, now you have heard his song ‘This Waiting Heart’ and maybe you are thinking ‘god damn this is good’ or ‘hehe my heart feels warmer than usual hehe’. Welllllll, you only need to type it into YouTube to see that you are one of 88,160 people who probably think that. Maybe you are feeling the need to reach out and tell someone about this waiting heart that you have that doesn’t want to wait anymore? Well I would encourage you to do that too! Truly, what a nice thing to do but also v scary hehe! What a life metaphor music and even life can be sometimes! Or maybe you are looking to comment on the YouTube vid itself to share with other like-minded people your feelings? Well ‘Shotgundolphin’ already did and said, ‘I wake up to this every morning for my alarm. Just a really great song.’ The honesty. But, like, that’s what Chrissy does to you. PS. I am calling Chris De Burgh ‘Chrissy’ now. He breathes into your ear that warm devil air and he makes you believe. Buttttttt. He can also be just a devil too! Oh no! Badness! Welllll, we’re all a little bad sometimes aren’t we tehe. For example, when I was nine we moved to America. And fast forward even some more time and I was 22 and back in Australia. Well I really wanted to get on a CityCat in Brisbane but I couldn’t afford the CityCat ferry ticket. One of my favourite songs I had been listening to by Chris de Burgh was ‘Don’t Pay the Ferryman’ which is also one of my dad’s favourite songs FYI, PS. shouts out dad hehe, and so anyway I just listened to Chris de Burgh’s song ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’ like three times and then I got on the ferry and I didn’t pay the ferryman.
Wellllll, now you have heard Chrissy’s song ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’. Okay, but life isn’t all hahas and lols, no way. Nope. And Chrissy knew that. Sometimes life is full of searching and yearning and hoping. Sometimes life is full of like the idea that people are trying to meet other people so badly while at the same time being so terrified of meeting new people. When I was maybe 16 my grandma died. Except we couldn’t call her grandma. Nope. She’d say, ‘Do you see any grandma’s here?’ and even though she was technically a grandma and standing right in front us we would have to say, ‘Nope’. Her real name was Hazel but we had to call her Hazo. Or Haze. She was a very tough woman. She smoked since she was 13 and died when she was 80 and never got cancer just lots of emphysema and refused to be called a grandma and didn’t give a lot of shits about much except for things that mattered. Welllllll, she gambled away most of her savings on the pokies because ‘It’s my bloody money and I don’t give a shit!’ but she did leave a little to my mum. Soooooo we went on this sailing trip to the Whitsundays. There was a CD player on the boat. Nice. We, like, listened to lots of Supertramp and Phil Collins and Chris de Burgh. Anyway I was going through a fairly hard Goo Goo Dolls phase. I was like 16. Well, one night me and Dad were drinking beers and everyone had gone to sleep. ‘Lady in Red’ by Chris de Burgh started playing and Dad told me how this was his and my mum’s wedding song. Super beautiful, I thought but didn’t say. But then I did say it: ‘Super beautiful.’ I liked how it was just me and Dad. Often he was just teaching me things about the world, like how to pack a dishwasher efficiently and the most effective way to sweep a floor after dinner on account of me maybe kinda having some kind of ADHD that I was never medicated for and also a severe lack of attention to detail. But this was different. Me and Dad were just having a couple of jars and there were many stars above and the water was all black and like lapping at our boat in a beautiful/cinematic way that was beautiful because of the movies I had seen but also because of just being there. I felt really calm because of life and the lapping sounds and I was just smiling hard. Yeah. I was smiling like this: :) So anywayyyyy, dad finished telling me about the wedding and Chrissy and the dancing and we grabbed another beer and he said, ‘Wanna take the tinnie out?’ Turns out a ‘tinnnie’ is the little boat that’s attached to a bigger boat. Wellllllll, I said, ‘yeah!’ and dad said, ‘nice’ and then it was just me and my dad sitting at midnight on the lapping water in a small boat staring into the dark. Me and Dad. Hanging out. Oh man. I was thinking: oh man, this is so good. But then I started thinking about Rachel, this real Christian girl at school, and how I liked her, but how I was nervous to ask her out, because of rejection and being dumb and nervous. And then Dad said, ‘I think it’s time we had a talk.’ And then dad said, ‘about sex.’ And then I couldn’t go anywhere because of being in the middle of a large body of water in a small boat and dad told me how I should make sure I really loved the person first and he told me to always wear protection and then he hugged me and touched my knee and told me he loved me. Welllll, I felt a little uncomfortable then. But then I thought how I really wanted to love someone. How I really wanted to be loved in return. I thought how the whole thing, how the idea of love seemed dumb but how I wouldn’t mind feeling dumb too. I said, ‘Maybe we should go back to the boat’ and Dad leaned back and said, ‘naa, it’s nice out here.’ And I looked around and it was nice out there. And I looked at my dad and imagined him when he was younger. I imagined him as me. Foolish and nervous and dumb. The same stories repeating over and over and over. And we paused together. And we looked at each other. And I thought how nice it was to be with my dad in the middle of nowhere just sitting, listening. I said, ‘I love you too, Dad.’ And we smiled at each other in a way where we looked at each other but we also didn’t. We were smiling in ways that we understood. Every person on earth thinking and feeling and trying so hard to give something to themselves and also maybe to other people. Trying not to be lonely. Me and my dad. The Queensland night sky. Smiling because of everything. But also understanding how it could all mean nothing. But we were together. My dad and I. And that was all that mattered.
Welllllll, now you have heard Chrissy’s song ‘Lady in Red’.
In summary, I have truly listened to Chris de Burgh so many times throughout my life and like my parents he has become a huge part of my life. I’ve learned things from him that at the time didn’t seem important but that looking back seemed very important, or maybe he was just the soundtrack to important things. Something I’ve thought a lot is like what about a double header between Chris Isaak – or should I say Chrisak on account of him singing beautiful and emotional songs about love where he always loses – and Chris de Burgh would be like. Well, I don’t think I could handle such a powerful concert so I won’t speak to that. Okay. Thank you for reading about Chris de Burgh and small parts of my life but also larger life things. The end.
This piece was originally performed at the Kill Your Darlings Nerds Gone Wild event at the Emerging Writers’ Festival.