Prose

I Can’t Stop Talking About Cold Chisel and it’s Turning My Friends Against Me

8 October 2019

The only thing of any importance in this world is making genuine, loving connections with people. We’re all going to die anyway so nothing else matters. Cut out toxic people in your life. Don’t be a toxic person. Go out and love some people.

oh the flame trees

will blind the weary driver

If I can’t stop listening to Cold Chisel will I eventually evolve into a middle-aged Australian dad? Crackin’ a cold one with the boys at the local RSL, crying at Christmas lunch when somebody plays ‘How to Make Gravy’, driving a Ford Falcon to the footy on a Friday night and swearing at the umpire because that was AROUND THE NECK!!!

everything within its place

just makes it harder to believe 

that she won’t be around

Maybe I’m just surprised to find that the songs of Cold Chisel can have such a substantial emotional effect on me, that they’re not all about cheap wine and nothing I want. Some of them have raw emotion that I can’t relate to but, damn

     sure

               feel

                         it.

What’s worse than having a cold? Having a cold on your period. My body leaks blood and mucus while seemingly attempting to cough up my lungs. Valuable organs. Would you like a pair? I can grow them out the back with these stem cells I found on special in the supermarket, down the health and beauty aisle. 

I changed my mind. All that matters in life is Jimmy Barnes, nineteenth-century lesbians, and the three boxes of Cheerios I clutch to my chest in the car park at Coles. Woolworths didn’t have them in stock so I had to drive to the next suburb. I only eat cereal, bats, and forgotten dreams for breakfast. 

Last Tuesday night I told Don Walker that I listen to ‘Khe Sanh’ obsessively, a song he wrote forty years ago about the PTSD of a Vietnam veteran. I can’t relate. He even says it’s only other vets could understand, but whenever I listen to it I feel transformed, like I can understand. I told him this and he asked me if I’d spoken to anybody about that. He was teasing me and I wanted to say something clever but I couldn’t form an articulate sentence, just kept rambling until I ran out of words and realised it was time to make my escape. Before I did he shook my hand. I like to think he appreciated my soft love.

I think I like it because it’s not just about Vietnam vets, it’s about feeling lost and empty and alone. According to Wikipedia, music journalist Toby Creswell said it’s also about restless youth. I am a restless youth. I can relate to that more than any Cold War experience. When Jimmy sings I’m going nowhere and I’m in a hurry I feel it in my core. A sense of dread because, fuck, you know the last plane out of Sydney’s almost fucking gone? Order an Uber and demand they drive you interstate to Sydney airport, or run if you’re a tight-arse like me. I don’t care. I’m in a hurry. M o v e.  I t.

I feel like you’re not with me. You have that look in your eye like, what the fuck is she talking about, who are these people? Look I hear you, let me break down the band for you okay listen now to the wind babe— 

Jimmy Barnes is the lead singer of Cold Chisel, and his song ‘Working Class Man’ makes me lose my god damn mind. Karl Marx would have frothed it too. Don Walker plays piano and arguably wrote Chisel’s best songs. Ian Moss is lead guitarist so he’s instantly sexy, and wrote ‘Bow River’, which I have a religious devotion to. The late drummer Steve Prestwich wrote ‘When the War Is Over’ (the song that sometimes plays on Gold FM in your dad’s car and goes AIN’T NOBODY GONNA STEAL THIS HEART AWAY, yeah?). Have I cried listening to it whilst driving down the freeway? Yes, and I do not recommend. Phil Small plays bass. He’s okay I guess. I thought his name was Paul Small for a while. Maybe because it rhymes, maybe because I was thinking about Paul McCartney. 

Read this journal entry from March 15 and tell me what it has in common with what I’m talking about right now:

In other news, I bailed on my date with [redacted] (not like I stood her up or left halfway through, I just cancelled) and whatever fragmented discussion I had going with [redacted] for a fortnight has officially died. I uninstalled WhatsApp and deleted my text thread with [redacted]. Everything comes to an end, except my love for Jimmy Barnes. 

Is it weird if I request to follow my ex’s private Instagram account? Lol gonna do it anyway xo

If I could go back in time and date Jimmy Barnes I 10/10 would. Do you realise how fucking hot he was in the early 80s? Stunning. Given time travel, I’d also date: Paul McCartney, Sappho, Vita Sackville-West, Ned Kelly and Christabel Pankhurst. I mean, I say this, but I’ve only ever dated two people in my whole existence, so I’m probably not that good at it, probably too socially anxious, probably don’t go out enough, probably uninstall Tinder too many times, probably message DO YOU HATE ME??? to my romantic interests too much.

Haha wow fuck me, aye?

At the beginning of semester I was desperately trying to make friends with this girl, so pretty and so clever and so wonderful, I spent many moments sighing dreamily over her. When she quoted the lyrics of ‘Khe Sanh’ to me I screamed and sent my friend a screenshot, writing omg Lee idk whether I want to be her friend or marry her. 

Would you like a slice of my heart, madam? It’s remarkably tender. 

take a whole life’s loneliness

wrap it up in some tenderness

send it off to some emptiness

with all my love

Flying 20 hours to Portland for a cute boy I knew for six hours but felt a strong connection with, yes/no?

Driving to regional Victoria and camping out in a small country town until someone notices I’ve stopped posting on my Insta story, yes/no?

Should I double text my crush or just eat my hands? 

it’s only you and me

there’ll be nothing we need to see

only one thing can set you free

is all my love

If you went to Safety Beach in June and found Dani <3’s Jimmy Barnes written in the sand, that was me. If you drove thirty or so minutes across the peninsula to Flinders and found Dani <3’s Ian Moss written in the sand, that was also me. The local community need to know.

 

If I get too sad I can just close my eyes and dream about Ian Moss going down on me. Not now but in the year 1982, obviously. Don’t be gross! Maybe I’ll grow a mullet. A woman at work told me that Ian Moss hit on her at one of his shows, I think in the early 2000s, and she said he was a pig and it ruined her previous love for him. Don’t meet your heroes, kids. I was disappointed that a straight white man would build me up just to tear me down like this, but still, I couldn’t help wishing that were me. 

Oh, please leave me here, soaked in Vicks VapoRub, to contemplate the existence of love—love of all kinds—and allow the discography of Cold Chisel to consume my soul.


One response to “I Can’t Stop Talking About Cold Chisel and it’s Turning My Friends Against Me”

  1. Andrew says:

    Khe Sanh makes me cry every other time I listen to it. That’s magic, I don’t know how they do it.

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