Tarago Diaries #21 – The Gam

Mark Seymour on touring Mount Gambier with Hunters and Collectors.

Author:  Mark Seymour.

Date: 10 January 2020.

Original URL: https://www.facebook.com/MarkSeymourOfficial/photos/a.325867430852936/2382351168537875/?type=3


Article Text

Irish whiskey perched on the road case, side of stage, glinting in the lights over Her Majesty’s Prison..

Mount Gambier.

Stanley’s vocal elixir. Charisma in a bottle. For those overwhelming moments when the voice box feels puny, even when it isn’t. Suddenly I’m gesturing from the centre.

“Yes. I need it now.”

But I don’t. Not really. It’s a figment.

I’ll need to curb it though. If I’m going to survive the next 26 gigs and come out the other end with my dignity intact. Otherwise there’ll be repercussions.

Awkward things said in front of thousands. Volatile thoughts that should never see the light of day.

I look out at the faces and think,

“If you only knew how much my brain isn’t here right now. It’s still buried in some news app I was reading shortly before Stanley pressed ‘go’.

“Put that bloody thing down and get the fuck out there.”

Country football meets Instagram.

Just a little sip.. then

“Hmm.. Ooh look. There goes an interesting thought. Wouldn’t it be nice to share?”

Dear oh dear. Don’t fuck with the smoke and mirrors boy.

See, the mouth ‘runs off’ from time to time. I’m known for that. Not often. But there can be carnage. It’s been noted. Things have tipped over, especially when the elixir lets loose. There’s that blind moment when actual thought vacates the premises and the tongue starts moving of its own volition.

The stage is not facebook.

The bigger the crowds the more diverse opinion is likely to be. You can speculate about anything really. Like wondering mid-song who voted for Scotty-boy and who didn’t. This is a very silly idea when you’re out riding with Stanley’s elixir.

My job is to hold a guitar and croon about loneliness. Not win elections.

These are two very different things.

There’s a lot to be said for knowing your limitations, staying within them then carving when the opportunity presents itself.

I remember a night in Caloundra in 2007. It was a Jimmy Barnes support. I made some limp remark about being ‘careful who you vote for’. Fairly vanilla you’d think. It didn’t go down well. Someone told me to ‘fuck off’..

I remember thinking later, ‘Hmm. Doesn’t take much’.

Problem was, by then the Irish had kicked in.. so I responded in kind. Big mistake. There were audible gasps. And thus, I allowed some beach dick-for-brains to ruin my mojo..

A bloke came up to me in the pub afterwards and said
“Hey Mate. Look.. I’ve been a unionist all my life, so I’m most probably on your side but let me tell ya. You don’t mix music and politics.”

But see, I don’t entirely agree with that. It’s not an either or. You can pick your moments. If you’re smart. Just don’t try it while the bottle of Irish sparkles on Stanley’s road case..

on a barmy night in Mount Gambier.

So when I feel compelled to speak mid-gig, about something serious like what deep shit we’re in right now, given the season deserves it, it’s best to be truthful.

Speak of what you know and walk the line.

But the truth is tricky.

And the weather is telling us something. For better or worse. Much as we’d prefer it not to, much as we’d prefer to disengage, summer is no longer the haven it once was.

Which is why Scotty-boy himself is madly scrambling.
‘He’s made the cardinal political error.

He thought he’d nailed down the truth.

But nobody can do that. Ever.

See, despite every public statement made by conservative pollies to massage some kind of disconnect between the climate change, the weather and bad shit that kills people, well, the weather does in fact, kill people.

And that’s what makes these fires so politically dangerous.

‘Cos everybody’s involved. Even the quiet ones.

Best to point out the fundamental goodness in people. Our willingness to protect each other in crisis. Our profound courage and resilience when we hear the call for help.

And who knows? In the face of the enormous statement nature is making, there may be a leap of faith, between our better nature and our place on earth.

While the Irish glistens honey-gold on Stanley’s road case..

on a balmy night

in Her Majesty’s Prison,

Mount Gambier.