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

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

I

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 post-traumatic stress disorder of an Australian veteran of the Vietnam War. I can’t relate. He even says it’s only other vets could understand but whenever I listen to it I feel like I’m transformed, like I can understand. I told him I felt an emotional connection to the song and he asked me if I had 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 on about this one specific song 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 the song is 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 can sometimes feel it in my core.

Here’s some context because 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 was the lead singer of Cold Chisel but has since had a terrific solo career and his song ‘Working Class Man’ makes me lose my god damn mind. Karl Marx would have frothed it too. Don Walker played piano and wrote Chisel’s best songs, arguably. Ian Moss played guitar so he’s instantly sexy, and wrote this other good working-class tune ‘Bow River’, which also makes me lose my damn mind. Steve Prestwich played drums and wrote ‘When the War Is Over’ (the song Gold FM will play sometimes in your dad’s car that goes AIN’T NOBODY GONNA STEAL THIS HEART AWAY, yeah? Have I cried whilst listening to it in my car, driving down the freeway? Yes and I do not recommend!). Phil Small played bass. He’s okay I guess. For some reason 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 the 15th of March 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.

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. Some other people I would date if time travel was accessible: 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, which means 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.

At the beginning of semester I was desperately trying to make friends with this girl, so pretty and so clever and so wonderful that I lost focus on my thesis for a while. When she quoted the lyrics of ‘Khe Sanh’ to me I took a screenshot and sent it to my friend, 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.

Flying 20 hours to Portland for a cute boy I knew for six hours in Strahan over the summer 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?)

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 the situation ruined her previous love for him. Don’t meet your heroes, kids. I was disappointed that a straight white man would let me down like this (am I surprised tho?), but still, I couldn’t help wishing that were me.

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.

Oh, please leave me here, soaked in Vicks VapoRub, to contemplate the existence of love – love of all kinds – and deeply appreciate the genius of ‘Khe Sanh’.

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