The Songwriter- Chapter Three
By Paul McCann
THE POET IN A MAD MAD WORLD
In a rented house in Pendle Hill I shared with a German couple I tried to compose music bit it became diffucult . The place was divided into two separate living areas . Aftwe a while It was clear that my German neighbours didn’t like my music . Frequently in the evening Hans would bang the wall and ask me to keep quiet . I must however tell you the words he used at times were not politely put over . One evening he came around to my back door and nearly kicked it in . When I answered the rap at the door he was screaming there half dressed and half stressed , screaming that he couldn’t sleep . It was noon . I decided to go to busking every day in Parramatta ..
After a morning session I went for a late lunch in City Extra . That’s where I first met Johno Young . As I sat down in front of the TV . I was scribbling down the first notes of a melody that was in my head on a scrap of paper Johno came and sat down beside me and looked over my shoulder . Suddenly he began to talk to me about music . The conversation developed into an opening up of all the stuff I was doing . Where I was at seemed to reach a Johno . He paid for my lunch , then he offered me a place to stay at his place in Granville . I was having problems in Pendle Hill so accepted his offer .
He really enjoyed listening to my songs and told me he was very impressed with the work , For the first time I felt proud about what I was doing . Johno seemed to recognise this in me and began pushing me in the direction of performing to audiences . About a dozen people lived at his place , an old woman , five girls who I took to be his mother and sisters and a few others who came and went Before long Johno began to tell his stories about the music business and as well as being a band member he managed a few bands . He had even spent some time with The Easybeats and seemed to know many famous Australian musicians . U slept on the lounge and in the morning I felt like an occupant on an alien planet .
The house was filled with people I had never known before in my life , but strange as it may seem they offered me a bowl of cereal and tea and toast . After breakfast Johno brought me inside a small room beside the kitchen . It was a recording studio , the walls had empty egg carton boxes stuck to them and a red light bulb dangled from the ceiling . When switched on it created a very dull but piercing light . Once inside he picked up an electric guitar and after plugging it in he began to play a raunchy raw guitar rift . It lasted about twenty seconds before he threw the guitar down very angrily to the floor . Thats all the time he could play due to an accident in a car crash that had damaged the nerbes in his fingers .
He told me he had never touched another drink since the accident . As the day progressed Johno had many people drop in . Mostly musicians with demos who wanted Johno, to have a listen to their latest recordings . He seemed to be a very influential person in the area . As a poet , and a songwriter it was impossible for me to write when Johno was around . I felt blocked from my usual freedom of expression because there was so many people hanging around . I had no personal space . Johno was an ex-musician who never wrote , so I didn't expect him to understand . He started to talk about getting me into a band , and arranging a few gigs . I was thinking differently about where I was wanting to be be at this time and wasn’t too sure about Johnos new ideas . I wanted to continue to write as I had always been doing . I walked out on Johnno and met up with some buskers I knew in Parramatta . They also had idea's of putting a band together . Mario was a talented guitarist from Pendle Hill . Another person I had met busking was Chris Gallagher who lived in Parramatta . Boogie a keyboard player from Wentworthville was part of this group who were serious about us all getting together in a group . Chris and I wrote a few songs together and went busking in the city some nights . We did a small gig on a veranda in Granville plating a number of my songs for the unemployed youth at the Civic Centre . That seemed to go over all right . Most of the audience where happy enough and the end result was for me a success . I was comfortable with Chris . He once was a member of a band called “Thin Ice “ . Chris had said they where a good blues band . He told me about the biggest gig they had playing the support for Mike Oldfield whenhe came to Sydney . They got a thousand dollars each for that gig but after that gig “ Thin Ice “ broke up and since then he hadn;t been part of any other band .From there Chris and I became good and began to write songs together
I was very pleased with the collaboration and there where some promising songs as the end result . As the weeks went on Chris had issues with drugs and we went seperate ways, Too much friction and needing money nade it hard as I was getting fed up and angry with his attitude . . I needed a break and decided to get away for a while and find myself in writing poetry from the heart . I packed a few things into a suitcase , put my guitar under my arm and closed the door behind me . I drove off in the afternoon and booked into “Hope Hostel” in Parramatta . You could get a bed for five dollars there and nobody bothered you . I spend a lot of time walking around Parramatta Park and found the space I needed . Then I hit the road again and landed at The Backpackers youth hostel in Coffs Harbour . After a few days there I met a girl from London who was on holiday in Australia . Her name was Linda and we seemed to get along very well . She asked if she could read my poetry and even listened to my songs . She encouraged me to come over to London with my material as she knew a lot of people and places there that would appreciate my work . I was uplifted by her attitude but couldn’t make a decision there and then . I gave Linda my phone number in Sydney and she gave me a contact where she could be reached also . For weeks I could do nothing else but think about what Linda had said , and one evening I rang her . My emotions hung like a worm on a hook , as a voice on the other end replied , “ Hello “
‘Hello could I speak with Linda please “ I said . The voice on the other end seemed far away and kind of drugged up and uttered ,
“ There is nobody here by that name “ There is and has never been anyone here by that name . This is my place , and don’t ring me again “
I hung up the phone and sat for some time staring into space . About an hour later I rang again . This time a woman with a friendly voice answered . I said
“ Hello , could I speak with Linda please . ”
“ Oh yes , Linda , sorry , Linda moved out ”
“ Could you tell me where I can reach her ?”
“ No , but if you call later on , there is a girl here who might know where she is .”
“ Thank you ”After the conversation I had a weird stressed up feeling inside .
I wasn’t able to make any sense out of what was going on . I put my head down and slept for a while before ringing the number again . Linda answered and started to apologise for what I had been through . Then she tried to explain the situation sayinmg she had to move out from where she was staying as i It was crazy there . Everyone was out of their head on drugs . Nobody actually knew where they where and what they doing . She asked if we could meet as soon as possible because she was leaving in a week for England
We met In town at the Hyde Park Plaza and discussed me going to London to sell my songs . She said I could stay at her place in London then continued to explian about the opportunities there for my songs there , Immediately I decided on a limb that I would go to London . She gave me her address and phone numbebr in London . I was to follow her over after a few weeks . For estra cash UI took up a job sekking cars for a few weeks in a used car lot on the Parramatta Rd at Granville . With no ties or obligations over work or rent I had time on my hands . It seemed like fate was calling me and with just enough money saved for my airfare I said my goodbyes to family and friends . Left my van with a friend and got on board a 747 Jumbo jet at Sydney airport .
In a short time of flying high above Australia I was on my way to London with a suitcase full of songs and my head filled with hopes and dreams .
End Of Chapter Three
A ink to Chapter 4