Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Going To The Go-Go's

Life as a 19 year old male in Brisbane was pretty grand for Daniel Soames, all things considered. He had deferred the seriousness and dedication needed to usefully attend university in favour of getting a little education from real life and exploring his interests in music and sport.

He rode a scooter, in part for riding convenience and in part to discourage free-loaders. He had met far too many people who wished to take advantage of his good nature and volunteer themselves to ride in his motor vehicle. That was less of a possibility when he rode his scooter, because unless the prospective passenger had their own helmet, the passenger experience was not going to happen.

Friday 25 June 1982
Friday 25 June 1982 was a world away from The Go-Go’s concert scheduled for the following evening. Work had finished for the week and there was music to experience that night. When he got home from work he walked in to the kitchen and had a conversation with his mother.

When she saw Daniel she said, "How are you?"
Daniel replied "Fine" in a very happy voice.
His mother then responded "Yes, you are always fine Friday night."

Rather amused by that exchange, Daniel walked to his bedroom where he turned on his music and proceeded to get ready to go out for the evening. The Go-Go’s concert might be on tomorrow night and Daniel was certainly looking forward to that concert, but that was no excuse to pass up the opportunity to play The Gift, the new album by The Jam. Getting ready was so much more enjoyable to that "ghost dance beat".

To either cut down on beer or the kid’s new gear, may well have been a big decision in a Town called Malice, however the pressing challenge at that juncture for Daniel was of a more sartorial kind: which cravat would resplendently adorn his neck on this occasion? Tonight was definitely a night for some paisley flair. Having showered and redressed, it was now time to enjoy the delights of a pleasant meal with his mother and discuss some of the events of the day, both at home and at work. Perhaps even a little prognostication as to what the evening might have in store might occur. When dinner was finished and no time was scrimped on that experience, it was time to clean his teeth and make sure all was in order for the scooter ride to the city and an evening of some serious nightclubbing and music. Just like in Ready Steady Go! The weekend had started.

Elizabeth Street in the city was kind to Daniel that evening, at least insofar as traffic and parking was concerned, because he was able to park his scooter right outside the Carlton Hotel, his destination. There were another couple of scooters in the vicinity, so it looked like some of his friends may well be nearby. Inside the Carlton Hotel, or White Chairs as it was affectionately known, some of his friends were already in attendance and on the way to what appeared to be an enjoyable evening.

Shortly after he joined the group there was some discussion about whether they would go to the 279 Club in Edward Street and watch one of the local bands perform, or go to the Underground for an evening of nightclubbing. Daniel decided that even though his life was not in a rut, on that night he would be “Going Underground”. So after about 40 minutes of White Chairs revelry it was off to The Underground for the Scooter boys and girls.

Going Underground
The Underground was its usual crowded venue with a fair spattering of Blitz Kids, Mods, Rockers (all Brisbane-Style) and hairdressers all looking to let their hair down and enjoy themselves and the music. There was some discussion about The Go-Go’s concert the following evening, but the general consensus was that Saturday evening was a world away.  Most people were concentrating on enjoying Friday. Saturday evening could wait until later.

Blue Rondo a la Turk and Haircut 100 were entertaining the crowd just as much as The Human League, Duran Duran, The Police, Madness and The Jam. Siouxsie and The Banshees always seemed to fill the dance floor and very few dancers left when the Sunnyboys were played. Spandau Ballet and Prince were no less popular. The Go-Go’s may be visiting tomorrow night but they were getting no special treatment tonight. That was evident when it seemed just about everybody wanted to get on the dance floor when they heard Heaven 17 sing (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang.

After Pigbag doing Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag finished playing Daniel thought it was time to get a drink, so it was off to the bar to partake of the free orange juice and soft drink on offer. Orange Juice was his “poison” of choice.

It was the 1980s so hedonism had a fair amount of wick and candle to burn before societal sobriety doused the flame and this night at the Underground was no different. Young things, not so young things, some pretty, many not so pretty and a few just plain amusing were out for their slice of the enjoyment pie. It was incredibly entertaining for Daniel to watch and it provided him with an interesting and invaluable education in human interaction.

Miss Sweep Him Off His Feet was not in attendance that evening or if she was, she failed to adequately bring herself to the attention of Daniel. So there would be no “I would give you a lift home but I only have one helmet” dilemma for Daniel that evening. In its place were lots of good music, some dancing, some enjoyable conversation and an uplifting feeling about hockey tomorrow afternoon and The Go-Go’s concert tomorrow night.

With his Underground sojourn complete for the evening Daniel rode home on his scooter. The song playing non-stop on Daniel Brain Radio was Billy Idol singing “Dancing with Myself” and Daniel happily sang along. He managed to resist the temptation of an invitation from Grace Jones to Pull Up To The Bumper Baby.

Twenty minutes later Daniel was home in his kitchen getting something to eat and drink and winding down from the evening. The crossword in the newspaper would also help. After about half an hour it was time for him to invest in some sleep.

Saturday 26 June 1982
Five hours of relaxing sleep later saw Daniel rewarded with renewed vigour and enthusiasm for the day ahead. The hockey game that afternoon required his full attention and then there was the date with five visiting young women and their music. After a bright, happy and fulfilling breakfast Daniel realised there was no shopping he needed to do, so he could relax until lunchtime when he needed to commence getting ready for hockey. The Saturday morning music video television shows would entertain him adequately, he thought.

As he watched the music video shows Daniel slowly went about ensuring that all of his gear was in readiness for his hockey match.  He wanted to avoid any unnecessary delays when the time came. By lunchtime the furnace that was burning inside of Daniel meant that the opportunity to re-fuel should be taken and embraced with some significance, rather than pay it modest attention. Eat enough to satiate his appetite, but not so much as to make himself sick was his attitude. It had worked well in the past and there was no reason to think that theory would not work today.

Chasing and Hitting a Little White Ball
With food on board it was time to get dressed for hockey. Focus on the game and the reward of the concert tonight would take care of itself, he thought. Even driving to the game there was little thought of what the evening might have in store. Chasing and hitting a little white ball was where Daniel found his focus and he was happy that there were no distractions. As usual the soundtrack was playing non-stop in the background, but unlike Adam and The Ants where the music had lost its taste and it was time to try another flavour, Daniel was revelling in the moment.  He saw no reason to change the station or the channel or to try another flavour.

Once at the hockey ground it was all business for Daniel. He joined his team mates and started warming up for the game. He paired up with a team mate and they started pushing the ball around to get their respective eyes in. As that process continued they started hitting the ball to each other. Just before it was time for the game to start they were seriously thumping the ball at each other. No one was missing any traps. These boys were ready. All he was thinking about in terms of the concert later tonight was that just like The Go-Go’s sing, “We Got The Beat”.

Game time arrived and the organised fury that was his hockey experience was about to start. There was little time to sing during the game, the pace of the game was too fast for those indulgences. Even the momentary respite opportunities that present themselves during the game seemed to pass without any soundtrack intrusion, unless you count the sound of trying to catch your breath and to find extra energy.

By the end of the match Daniel and his team were three goals to the good. It had been a wonderfully fulfilling afternoon and a score line to match the enjoyment level. A little post match celebration and revelry and then Daniel might start thinking about that concert.

Driving home Daniel started to ponder about the concert and he realised there were no obvious injuries or aches and pains from his hockey match that might complicate enjoying the concert. Daniel had so far resisted the temptation to play his Go-Go’s music in the car and he was not about to succumb to temptation now. Perfect timing, Daniel thought, as the music playing in his car introduced Bow Wow Wow to the moment. “Candy on the beach, there is nothing better. I like candy when it is wrapped in a sweater. Someday soon I will make you mine. And we will have a candy all the time.”  I want Candy, indeed!

His mood was heightening and the adrenaline starting to flow. The prelude to the concert could hardly have been better scripted. Getting ready to go out Saturday night was no different to getting ready for Friday night: there was the food experience, the conversation with family, showering, the outfit selection and of course the absolutely essential soundtrack to accompany the preparation. It had been some time since he had given The Jam a spin, so it was time for a little more of The Gift and some of that ghost dance beat. Once again the soundtrack helped with another important feature of the evening, the cravat selection. Something happy, something bright and positive and rarely did he pass up the opportunity to give paisley a public outing.

Festival Hall, Brisbane: The Go-Go's au Go-Go
Daniel parked his scooter far enough away from the concert for it not to be a novelty or a distraction for those attending the concert, yet not so far away as to need to get a lift to Festival Hall. During the walk from his scooter to Festival Hall he did not see anybody he knew and once inside the venue he went straight to his seat and sat down. With concerts such as this the main attraction is the act for which the money is paid for the ticket and the accompanying acts can be an enigmatic part of the affair. Sometimes they are enjoyable and sometimes you would be happy to miss them altogether, Daniel thought. The early band on this occasion was of little or no consequence, but it did have the effect of making The Go-Go’s an even more impressive experience.

Finally it was time for the five girls to do their stuff. They all gave him a few years, but he thought they were all delightful, particularly the drummer. The set list was largely taken from the debut album Beauty and The Beat, so Daniel was familiar with the material they played. Their playing intrigued him. Whilst at first glance they did not seem to be brilliant musicians, gigging every night had certainly given them the opportunity to hone their craft.  He soon conceded that their guitar playing was clearly superior to anything he could do.  In the eyes of Daniel these girls were cute and talented, just what a young man likes to see in a young woman.

From time to time during the concert Daniel looked around to see if there was anyone he knew in attendance. A couple of faces seemed familiar and somewhat to his surprise there were some of his hockey colleagues, not only present but apparently enjoying the show. As the concert progressed more people seemed to become involved in the experience and by the time the encore was played, it seemed at least half of the crowd were dancing along to the band. The amount of people singing along with the last few numbers surprised Daniel. He did not think The Go-Go’s were that popular. However, he was happy that so many others in the crowd were enjoying the concert as much as him.

By the time the encore had been completed and the house lights turned back on, Daniel thought that The Go-Go’s had put on a wonderful show and were definitely worth the price of the ticket. He was in no hurry to leave the venue. He was happy to continue to soak up the atmosphere and give the people who wished to leave promptly plenty of time and space to do so. Somewhat to his surprise he saw some of his friends from White Chairs the previous evening.  When they noticed Daniel, they walked over and chatted about the concert. All seemed to agree that it was an enjoyable performance and well worth the ticket price.

Park Royal Hotel, Brisbane
Someone suggested going to the Park Royal Hotel down the road to see if The Go-Go’s were staying there and if so perhaps they might get to meet them. It had been something Daniel had done before and he was happy to give it a try on this occasion. So it was off to the Park Royal Hotel for the unofficial after concert party.

Daniel was in luck as The Go-Go’s apparently decided to attend the same party. He noticed them as soon as he arrived.  He also noticed a woman considerably older than him asking the girls for an autograph. That is something my little sister would like me to do, he thought, but he could not be persuaded to ask for an autograph himself. My sister will just have to miss out, Daniel thought.

His friends from White Chairs had managed to find a table and chairs that seemed to both accommodate them all and enable them to see The Go-Go’s. Perhaps a little later when some of the initial excitement had subsided, he might see if he could go and meet the band members in person, Daniel thought. There was no rush and the White Chairs crowd were keeping him adequately occupied and entertained. He could also hear and see a fair bit of what was going on with The Go-Go’s, so there was entertainment aplenty for him.

After about an hour, he noticed that the girls were leaving the bar and probably going to their hotel rooms. Initially he thought nothing of it, but then he remembered that The Go-Go’s were the reason that he was there in the first place. He was amazed to realise that given the opportunity to meet and interact with them, the girls ended up being less interesting and less engaging than his friends. He found that on balance he would rather spend time with his friends, than pursue whatever possibilities might exist with the girls in The Go-Go’s.

The girls of The Go-Go’s left quietly and unaccosted by any fanfare.

Ironic yet appropriate, Daniel thought. Earlier in the night Daniel happily sang along to How Much More and asked the question with the band: “How much more can I take, before I go crazy oh yeah?” As The Go-Go's left he thought of Our Lips are Sealed and how 60 minutes at an after concert party changed the way he viewed performers. He could now clearly see the members of The Go-Go’s as people rather than stars and he wanted to interact with them accordingly.