12 January 2009

The Go! Team

Thunder, Lightning, Strike
Memphis Industries, 2005

I am writing this week's column from a motel room somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne at three in the morning, after having spent all night ricocheting down the Hume Highway in a steel canister with no suspension. This trip will include seeing The Saints, Laughing Clowns, X and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – all those classic Australian underground bands that appeared in this space last year, after I made a new year's resolution to spend more time discussing local music history. Half of them I never expected to see with my own eyes, until the announcements of the All Tomorrow's Parties music festivals and a new round of the related Don't Look Back album performances. All in all, it's a pretty awesome way to begin the year.

In the morning, we file back into the car and hurtle along the motorway like a ping pong ball down a drain pipe. Dead trees on one side and pale yellow grass on the other slowly give way to green as we approach the mountains and make our way one and a half kilometres above sea level to Mt Buller. My choice of road-trip record is Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team, possibly the best summer party album made since Primal Scream's Screamadelica. It's a thundering mix of cartoon theme music and hip-hop block party jams, with a few air raid sirens thrown in for good measure. It was also the subject of my first ever cover story for a music magazine, four years ago.

I suppose I should use this space to make a resolution for 2009. Reading back over last year's columns, I noticed how often the words I and my appeared. This is a fairly big no-no of recent times, as "proper" journalists seek to define themselves against those filthy amateurs otherwise known as bloggers, who write unashamedly about their own experiences (how dare they!) and, as the pool of jobs for niche writers dries up, budding critics attempt more than they should to prove that what they write about is "serious business". As it always has been, my gut reaction to such nonsense is to do the exact opposite. This year I will write about music in the first person whenever and as often as I damn well please. There is no such thing as an objective journalist, let alone an objective critic, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar or an idiot.

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