Great Southern Land

One: Great Southern Land – Icehouse (Number 19, 5 December 1982)

I haven’t been to many rock concerts, but I went to see Icehouse.  I should then go on to say that I am Icehouse’s greatest fan.  Not so.  I have no idea why, out of all the bands that came to New Zealand in the 80s and 90s, I ended up at an Icehouse concert at the Michael Fowler Centre, but I did.

It’s not that I don’t like Icehouse.  I do.  In fact I very much like this song, and Hey Little Girl, and a couple of other tracks by them, but it doesn’t make any sense that I went to see them.  It’s  also unfortunate that they were at the Michael Fowler Centre which is a pretty uncool place for a rock band to perform.  In addition I (a) never know what to do at rock concerts, and (b) had terrible, terrible seats.

(a) I don’t know what to do at rock concerts

Actually I do.  I just want to stand there and “feel it”.  The problem is I sense this enormous social pressure to “get into the music”.  This seems to involve waving your arms around and dancing.  I don’t want to do either of those things at a concert.  Nowadays I don’t give a shit and I just stand there and soak it in, but in my youth I did what was expected.  I stood up and rocked out at Icehouse in the Michael Fowler Centre.  Unfortunately the Michael Fowler Centre (as previously mentioned) is pretty lame, with fixed beige seats and not much leg room, so rocking out involves sort of self-consciously bobbing about trying not to get in anyone’s way, and feeling like a dick.

(b) I had terrible, terrible seats

They were up in the stalls, to the side.  I was actually more or less to Iva’s left.  If he had looked left and up a little he would have seen me awkwardly shuffling about and clapping looking a lot like I really just wanted to sit down and didn’t really like Electric Blue anyway. The thing was that my seat was right next to a MASSIVE bank of speakers.  Not only was this very, VERY loud, but it was also only half of the sound –  because the other half of the speakers was across the hall deafening some other poor sod –  so we tended to get a lot of treble guitars and not a lot of grunt.

Which has always sort of made me have mixed feelings about Icehouse.  Which is a shame really because their early singles were great, and Iva was one of the few men in the 80s who actually pulled off the mullet and still looked hot.

Two: Smash Hits


I went roller blading once.  A group of us hired them from a caravan on the waterfront by Frank Kitts Park.  It was very much what you would expect from putting wheels on your feet: 90% of the time you feel like you’re going to fall over, and 10% of the time you do.  I ended up with somebody else’s girlfriend (she was as crap as me) in a car parking building trying to maintain my sense of dignity with some wheels strapped to my feet while the rest of the group hooned down the corkscrew exit ramp for cars.  Both dignity and having wheels strapped to my feet came to end right after I lost my balance and lunged out at the first thing on hand to keep my balance.  Unfortunately this turned out to be somebody else’s girlfriend’s left breast.

She was jolly good about it, but we did decide to take off the roller blades after that.  The great thing about feet is; you hardly ever feel like you’re going to fall off them.

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2 thoughts on “Great Southern Land”

  1. Recommended reading: My Bass and Other Animals by Guy Pratt. He’s a session bass player and toured with Ice House (among many others) during their peak years. He’s also a very funny storyteller. I like a good rock bio, and this one is really choice.

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