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The Art and Arrogance of Youth

Do you remember this song? 

It came to mind some place, probably in the crapper and I realised that it had been thirty years since it came out.

That realisation got me thinking about youth and promises and time slipping away, coupled with the life of a band, many bands actually, and it kind of got me to this...

The future is what was

They sang
Where will we be in thirty years?
A minor hit
Some band members laughed
‘Who gives a fuck anyway?’
Tomorrow never comes.
They put out the album
Toured and partied
And rested
Some fighting began
While writing new songs
With mild success
And suddenly there was more to lose
So they dug their heels in
And eventually delivered
Their sophomore work
Not without its stresses
And cost
Financially and otherwise.

A year went by
And their sound was
Not as fashionable
Nor their unity
So they split
Eager to begin anew
Which they did
With new members
And work was produced
More mature this time
More satisfying
Yet could not raise an iota
Of public interest.

The following occasion was similar
Their fourth album disappeared
Without ever being visible
Their career languished
As family requirements grew
Unawares a decade and a half
Music had become
Garage indulgences
Until the kids were old enough
To comprehend
Coupled with the urge
To re-impress
As life is never ‘over with’
Even if their career was
So the talk of reunification began
Exploding a can of worms
Which took legal
Two years to quantify.

By the time they hit the road again
They could answer
Their own initial question        
Back where they started from
Yet somehow
Much worse off
The suburban circuit
Paling in comparison.

After five months
There was no need to ponder their future
Like they once had
They could already see the end

The rest of the tour
Was without speculation.

On a side note, I once worked with Brian Mannix,  lead singer of Uncanny X-Men. It was on a film clip shoot for another band he fronted called The Atomic Dining Club. it was in Melbourne during a freezing winter's night under the West Gate Bridge. The encounter probably found its way into the poem too. The follow up band wasn't bad, but pretty much disappeared without ever really surfacingBrian also helped produce the Countdown Musical that was out roughly a decade ago. The Uncanny X-Men are still around but haven't released any new albums since the eighties.

At any rate, this poem could be about any band, or any youthful endeavour. Happy to hear your thoughts that it may have brought up.

NB: None of the photographs are of the Uncanny X-Men.

More Poetry


  1. I remember the song, I saw them live once, can't remember their set, so they were not great and not terrible - I remember Icehouse because they were terrible, so bad I walked out, and found out later that Iva Davies collapsed from drugs a few moments later. The life of the band reminds me of the Angels and all their troubles after Doc Neeson got injured. The Angels should have broken up then. They came to Wang but because Doc was no longer the front man I didn't bother going to see them. It's a strange song, because as a young bloke and they were probably mid-20's you don't tend to think too far into the future, I didn't. I do like the quotes at the top and bottom. The more you know the more you know you don't know. Probably part of getting back together was a hopeless attempt to recapture the spirit of their youth. Personally I think back to how ignorant I was back then, and mostly would not want to revisit it.

    1. That's a great comment Graham. I would have loved to have seen Icehouse in the day. Didn't know that Iva had a drug problem. Once upon a time bands simply called it a day and that was really it. Seems the past decade or more has seen every spider hobbling back from under the rocks. Most for the worse. But some bands are still putting out good work. Ah wasted youth. How we'd all like to do it over 'the right way.' Best not to think about it too much. Cheers

  2. Sad but, yeah, that typifies the artist's journey.


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