My good friend Oldie encouraged a starfucker* habit in the late eighties and early nineties by procuring for me the signatures and scribbles of so-called famous people (what celebrities used to be called) while bartending at one of Perth’s theatres, or seeing them at other cultural events.
It was actually a bit of a game, being daggy, and starfucking with tongue firmly in cheek. I remember receiving a Leunig mug with a lovely scribble on it, which my flatmate in St Kilda inadvertently washed off while doing the dishes. I also had an almost intelligible and very strange comment from Aussie actor Ben Mendelsohn, who I thought was very cute (and obviously enigmatic) at the time.
I was so removed from these people – they were never that real that you would ever imagine meeting them under equal circumstances of social and cultural standing. That was sort of the unofficial rule of the game.
In the ensuing 20 years, and having given public life a nudge during my brief time as an ABC radio broadcaster, the whole starfucking thing is very interesting to have been part of from both sides.
I remember clearly a few occasions when, while with the ABC, friends would introduce me to their friends at a social gathering being sure to include the ABC connection. It was if my employer and media status made all the difference to who I was as a person. This continues to be a valuable insight into the nature of fame (however tenuously connected or shallow) and judging people’s motives for your attention.
Knowing all this, on a rare night out last year I had a bona fide starfucking incident, which almost rendered me speechless (difficult for some of you to believe, I know). I had a wonderful evening at the Burswood Theatre watching Chris Cheney (The Living End), Josh Pyke, Tim Rogers (You Am I) and Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon) performing the entire Beatles White Album to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release. It was a brief tour run around Australia, and there was only one Perth performance.
Without going into a full review, or even trying to find the words to capture how musically uplifted I felt at the end of it, it was one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve ever been to – and I’ve seen a lot in my time. The highlight was undoubtedly Chris Cheney’s guitar solo in ‘While my guitar gently weeps.’
Afterwards, my friend and I enjoyed a debrief drink at the Casino bar, and after waving her off I made my way back to the car park.
And who should be walking towards me as I headed to the escalator? None other than Chris Cheney and Tim Rogers. They were on their own, they were right in front of me, and my opportunity was there. What did I do? I said this, to Chris Cheney:
“Your guitar solo in ‘While my guitar gently weeps’ left me in a heightened state of physical pleasure.”
He raised his eyebrows, looked bemused, and said, “Thanks a lot,” and he and Tim continued on their way.
I thought about how old and tired I looked (ie totally unattractive to cool rocker dudes like them) and tried to keep it together while I rang my friend to tell her of my encounter.
I also consoled myself that at least I’d given Mr Cheney a comment that he might remember, and that in years to come he could recall with his mates somewhere, “There was this Banger Sister chick at some gig who said this weird thing about being aroused or something,” and that made me feel better.
Then today I found the said guitar solo on YouTube. It’s crap quality from a fellow audience member’s phone video, but I am sooo grateful, because obviously he/she found it as memorable as me and needed to share. Up until now I have felt so totally impotent in my ability to recount just how fantastically fantastic it was, and YouTube has allowed me, vicariously, to at least attempt the pleasure transfer.
In fact I found two clips – one is the full 6-ish minutes but from a distance with shocking sound; while the second is from a spot closer to the stage (and just in front of me), about a third of the way in before the aforementioned pleasure-heightening solo gets rocking, and better sound quality.
Thank you, social media revolution. Thank you, Chris Cheney. Here’s the second:
Can you imagine what that was like live, five rows back, with full acoustics?
And if you don’t believe me about how good it was, here’s what other people thought.
* one does not have to indulge in any physical activity with said star to be a starfucker. Just wanted to set that straight.