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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About

Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His work has appeared in print in Australia, the UK and the USA, as well as on many online venues. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, will be published by Ginninderra Press later in 2020. 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.

Comments

  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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