Almanac Memoir: Dankness on the Edge of Town


On the right, the facade of the Strachan, Murray and Shannon Limited Woolstore, Cnr Brougham and Moorabool Streets, Geelong. The building was gutted to make way for the large shopping complex inside in the mid-1980s. (Photo by Kevin Densley, 2020.)



Dankness on the Edge of Town


(For this piece, we go back to 1981, when I was nineteen. It concerns a music gig held in the Strachan, Murray and Shannon Limited Woolstore, on the corner of Brougham and Moorabool Streets, near the Geelong waterfront. Most of the woolstores in this area have been demolished wholly, partly, or else repurposed in the last fifty years or so.)


“This one’s called Varicose Veins,” the band’s singer yelled into the microphone.


F***ing hell they were loud! The drummer was belting the bejesus out of the pigskins and the guitars were incredibly heavy and metallic, the sound hammering off the interior walls of the basement room inside the woolstore. Still, the singer’s powerful baritone voice more than held its own.


Listening to the number was an utterly memorable experience, but not at all a comfortable one – it was more like getting 20,000 volts passed through your body but not dying.


The song was about the downside of getting old, and the ‘Varicose Veins’ refrain of the chorus stuck in my brain.


But who were the band? A local punk outfit, from memory. I don’t know who.


This was not the usual gig I went to – a punk band in a dank, cavernous space in an industrial building on the edge of town.


But obviously I haven’t forgotten it. Especially ‘Varicose Veins’. And I remember leaving the show just a few songs in – the decibel level was too much for my nervous system.


I recall exiting into the lane outside, walking back into the light – a little unusually, the gig was on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon – and breathing a sigh of relief for the blessed, glorious peace.


Doubtless I would’ve lit up a dart, too (back then I smoked like a chimney), then it was the fifteen minute walk back to my home in nearby Newtown.



To read more from Kevin Densley click  HERE.


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Kevin Densley is a graduate of both Deakin University and The University of Melbourne. He has taught writing and literature in numerous Victorian universities and TAFES. He is a poet and writer-in-general. His fifth book-length poetry collection, Please Feed the Macaws ... I'm Feeling Too Indolent, will be published in late 2023 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. Kevin Densley says

    Any Almanacker ever heard of a song called “Varicose Veins”? If so, any idea of who the band might be?

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