Thursday, May 11, 2006

the waste memory-wastes

"I can still remember the night you sang 'Moon River',
The way the moonlight fell, like a bracelet on your wrist"

Somehow I missed this and just found out yesterday afternoon. I can't believe that Grant McLennan is dead. From the Guardian obituary,

"The Australian singer-songwriter Grant McLennan, who has died aged 48, would have recognised the irony of his own death - while taking an afternoon nap prior to holding a party - because his keen, literate songs always observed the nuances and mysteries of life. McLennan was half of his country's most critically acclaimed rock group, the Go-Betweens. With his songwriting partner Robert Forster, he pioneered a strong, subtle musical style that was lauded by critics and a discerning public."

McLennan wrote some of the purest, most idealistic, passionate songs I've ever heard. I don't think there's a better song anywhere than 'Cattle and Cane', nor a song which better evokes a sense of time and place. It should be the Australian national anthem.

God, the Go-Betweens were great; like all the very best bands it was about the dynamic between the individuals at the heart of everything - Robert Forster cool, elegant and detached, noting that "Hair is important. Hair is placed fairly and squarely upon your head, to be admired and cared for", while McLennan was naive, wistful and easy-going. Most songwriters would wilt in Forster's shadow, but that never happened with the Go-Betweens. This morning, sleepy and melancholy as I always am when I have a hangover, I listened to Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express on the train. Tremendously beautiful, if you've not heard it.

Over at A Cool Noise, there was only ever one band.

"So began a love affair that has never quite ended. More reliable and constant and long-lasting than any other love affair I've known. The Go-Betweens were a combination of two of the finest songwriters of my generation. In my pantheon of taste, there is noise, aural assault, depressive epics but only One Great Pop Group. One band who wrote the best melodic songs of hopeless or inspiring love. One band that with a couple of guitars and occasionally with a violin, could create atmospheres of spring rain, hot dark nights, stillness, and how a broken heart can heal."

I'm so sad and surprised at the news, and sorry that I'll never hear a new record or song by a tremendous writer and - by the sound of the eulogies I've read - a thoroughly decent man.

"When the rain hit the roof,
With the sound of a finished kiss,
Like lip lifting from a lip,
I took the wrong road"

The next beer is for Grant McLennan, agreed?


Anonymous said...

wow. yeah, agreed.

Cool Noise said...

I'm drinking that beer now