Melting Man

Blues N Roots

The man on stage is nearing seventy but he wears the same outfit he has worn on stage for forty years – tight black jeans and no shirt. He is as sinewy as ever but his skin has the weathering of an old man. Think melting wax. He has the energy of someone half his age, younger. There is a brightness in his deep set generous eyes. He loves it, this thing: performance. His stance disguises his ill-made spine and awkward movement. He can twist his legs. He can ping in the air. He can still rock it. His hair is damp dark blonde tendrils. His pants need hitching up again and again. Sometimes his stomach moves as if an alien is about to burst forth. He invites the audience to the stage. His minder, nearly as old and wizened as he, does some protecting. But Iggy is still picked up, hauled around. Where does the lout want to take him? People sense this is their moment to touch him. They reach out. Some are pushed away. Everyone struts their stuff. If you get on stage you want to show off. You turn your arse on the audience and wiggle it. You don’t want to get off either.

I remember how Dylan would not let them put his close-up image on the large screens. He seemed vane, awkward with age. He hid beneath a big hat. Not Iggy. Not a hider. Every vessel under every bit of chest skin is on show. Every arm pit hair. Everything up close. Even from a distance you feel his sweat land on you.

Later Iggy climbs down to join them in their mosh pit. Again everyone is about touching him. Feeling the skin and the hair. You could taste him if you wanted to. He says Bless you and he means it. The audience is his saviour. He asks for the lights to be turned on them. He wants to see them. Bless You. He takes you passenger. He climbs back on stage, his hand down the front of his pants.

But Iggy is punk. Some Blues N Roots fans have wandered home. Too much sun. The audience is thinner. There is space about the lawn. Red cardboard checkers the lawn. Some choose to be witness to this spectacle and watch to say they saw him. A Punk God. Up close it is still heaving. They are the fans that have come for Iggy, despite the other bands in the line-up. They don’t want crooning to by Chris Isaak. They don’t care for Pretty Woman. They would rather die than get Down, Down with Status Quo. They want hard, raucous, real. They want Iggy.



Park Life

fenced out

What do you do if your home is the park and the park is closed off by the set-up that is the Blues N Roots?

You move to outside their house. That house with the Kombis. You bring your blankets and your coke. You wheel your life in a Coles trolley around the corner and into theirs. You leave your rubbish and your toilet paper.

If you can’t take the trolley you stash it in the bushes.

You are skinny with a hacking cough. Can’t run for coughing. Can’t laugh either. The grass is cold at night. The wind too. Your friends are older, but still young. Some of you should be at school. Your black track suit has two white stripes running down the legs, but the stripes aren’t white anymore. Everything you have is grimy. Your girlfriend is seventeen and she won’t leave you alone. Her black trackies hang on her hips and show off her stomach. You made a pillow of her belly just the other afternoon. But today she is psycho. She is yelling, shrieking really, at you, and there is no where to go. Fuck is hers and yours favourite word. If only you had a dollar…That lady thinks you might hit your girlfriend, but instead you walk away. Seventeen follows you down the street and around the corner. She is crazed with bellowing. Her twelve year old brother follows too. You tell her to look after him. What about your brother?

Later you apologise to the lady for all the yelling. Had to break up with my girlfriend. Lady is collecting her mail in her middle-aged, middle-income way, watching the set up on the park. There is a heartbeat beeping of machinery, buzzing of trucks and lifters, clanging of scaffolds. By now thick black plastic covers the rent-a-fence and flaps on the wire fencing. It is keeping us from our home.

Our two older friends have been on the street longer. It shows in their teeth. Both have rotten ones, black ones and missing ones. His hair is blonde and wavy. He has a kitten. He found it on the beach. Now it is theirs. Ours. It travels on Rotten Tooth’s shoulders, its needle claws gripping into polyester track suit. It is on a lead. It drinks coke like we do.

They have a shopping trolley with their stuff. Our stuff. The essentials like blankets, toilet paper, clothes and maybe cat food.

It’ll be loud, you say, when you talk of the Blues N Roots. Yes loud.