Those of us who got there by 5:30 got to have a tour of the school. Much of it looks about the same, but most (but not all) of the old portable buildings have been replaced. Overall the grand old school building is looking good, though a little shabby in places. There’s never enough funding for as much maintenance as they’d like.
And… gasp… we got to go to the top of the tower. I never got to go up there as a student.
The view was spectacular.
The reunion proper was down in the pavilion as usual. Of the 300-odd-strong cohort, about 60 attended, perhaps not too bad after this long.
Some speeches, a flood of memories, some reflection on those who didn’t make it to thirty years, then some raucous singing.
The song “Forty Years On” might have been specifically designed for school reunions, and it’s damn devious of the school to implant it in our brains while when young so we can belt it out in our senior years.
Most valuable was some good chats with old friends who I hadn’t seen in a while.
One bloke I was with at primary school too. We had a strong bond in grade six (what’s that, 36 years ago?), but we lost touch in high school — and having thought about it over the weekend, I think that was my fault.
So it was good to catch up, have some laughs and reminisce over old times.
Great to see them all in person. Better than Facebook and Linked In.
And the view from the tower was better in person, too. Well worth going.
It might be cruel to call TOSAW a one-hit wonder, though none of their efforts charted as well as Happy Birthday Helen. But the song was on an album called “The Yearning” (1993) which I really really liked back in the day… perhaps apart from the title track, which seemed overly earnest and solemn. I liked it so much I had both the album on CD, and the EP of the single. Listening to the album today, it’s still terrific.
Friday night’s concert was a full performance of “The Yearning”, a near 25th anniversary performance. I admit, the last two concerts I’d been to were similar setups: Ocean Colour Scene’s Moseley Shoals, and Deborah Conway’s String Of Pearls.
A nostalgic Gen X-er and his money are easily parted.
M and I made our way to Northcote and met up with Tony and Elizabeth. We found some dinner and as we chatted over some food, which gave Elizabeth and I a chance to hear Tony and M’s tale of being shushed for talking at a concert many moons ago by a fan of the support act. Don’t talk over Dave Graney!
A notice in the window of the Northcote Social Club gave us the running times of each act (and a song lyric on the sign above), and we opted for dessert over Rick Hart (sorry Rick).
We headed into the club at about 9:30 and found a spot close to the stage.
Club Hoy came on, and were really good, despite two blokes behind us talking incessantly about the other concerts they’d been to (and presumably talked through).
After a few songs, another bloke trying intently to listen to the band turned around. “Shhhh!”
“Sorry mate”. They disappeared. I laughed and laughed (quietly). Thank you, defenders of support acts everywhere.
They finished up, and suddenly from nowhere, TOSAW fans filled the room, with the two biggest blokes in the place crowding out some of our view. Alas, Tony and Elizabeth bailed at this point to return home to their respective families before it got too late (it was about 10:30pm), which was a great pity because I think they missed a great show. (But I would say that; I accept I’m a Club Hoy newbie and a TOSAW fan.)
Lead singer Greg Arnold doesn’t look a day older – his long hair, beard and moustache probably help, and I was left wondering if he’s had them since 1993 or if he just grew everything out for the anniversary tour.
No matter. They rocked. It was a great show, with TOSAW tragics singing every word, but everyone present in the sold-out club seemed to enjoy it. And let’s face it, a good deal of what makes a great show is whether the crowd gets into it.
There was some nice band repartee as well. They seemed genuinely delighted to be there in front of such an appreciative crowd, and don’t seem to mind being known popularly just for Happy Birthday Helen (“it took us around the world”).
They answered something I’d long wondered: was The Yearning (track 7) meant to lead straight into Single Perfect Raindrop (track 8)? Why yes! But due to a miscalculation of sorts, on the cassette the effect was ruined, because you had to turn the tape over. No such problem on the CD.
After the 14 tracks of the album, they went on to play a few later songs, including one that sounded very familiar when I heard it: Wildflowers — which they remarked is unfortunately relevant again.
…as well as the B-side “She Will Survive”, with its very memorable lyrics about Jane Austen.
And then it was over. What a great show, and a great night out for $40.
If you remember them from back in the day, and have a chance to catch them (that show was sold out, but they’re on in Geelong this weekend), I can thoroughly recommend TOSAW.
I used to love The Bill, way back when it was a cop show with a sense of realism, rather than a full-on soapie.
The episodes I enjoyed the most, season 4 (from 1988) are currently airing on the ABC, in the middle of the day (around 3pm, and again the next morning around 5am). I’ve got my PVR recording them and I’m checking to see if any memorable episodes pop-up that I want to watch again.
It’s the end of the phone call that I remember the most. Before she hung up, she said: “Drive safely”.
I’m sure it was a standard line, but I’m equally sure she meant it. She was a nurse; the last thing she’d want having communicated the bad news would be the recipient having a crash on the way to be there.
I rang my sister, and simply said “He’s gone”, and we headed to the hospital to see Dad.
Later on they were in the Galleria (in bottom of the gigantic State Bank, later Commonwealth Bank building at Elizabeth/Bourke Streets), and at times I bought Monty Python VHS tapes, DAAS Book (which I got autographed at the shop by the Doug Anthonys… since sold on eBay) and lots more Doctor Who merchandise, of course. This includes a bunch of laminated posters of paintings from renowned franchise artist Andrew Skilleter, one that also marked the 20th anniversary story (The Five Doctors) — which eldest son Isaac has since had autographed by Fifth Doctor Peter Davison — at an ABC Shop, of course.
Since then the Melbourne CBD shop has moved to the GPO, then more recently to Emporium. And meanwhile they’ve popped up in most big shopping centres.
We still love browsing, and occasionally buying there. The selection of DVDs is more focussed than somewhere like JB Hifi, and the range of other merchandise is good. (Have you seen the amount of Doctor Who stuff that’s available nowadays?!)
Admittedly I browse more than I buy, but purchasable gems still abound… in March I found this excellent documentary:
I found this fascinating when I watched it via, err nefarious means. DVD available at ABC Shop. Lessons for Melb. pic.twitter.com/e0sbmrq5Z6
PS. Trivia: before the recent crop of Doctor Who pop-up shops, there used to be a BBC Shop. Okay, it wasn’t a standalone shop, but a dedicated section of Thomas’s Music on the ground floor of the Southern Cross hotel building.