Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Holden Premier HQ - my first car

This entry deserves a title -

My First Car

Your Mum and I used to go to clubs quite frequently. Most weekends actually. Once we found a great night we would stick with it. One of the best was the Beehive which was just at a pub in Spencer street. It was a goth hangout and they played fantastic music. The people were friendly and it was just a great atmosphere. No aggression. And yes there were a few occasions that I did go Goth to the fullest extent. Black lipstick, white face, mascara and teased hair. In fact I looked the spitting image of The Cure's Robert Smith. There is something liberating about becoming something different, making such a visual statement that you belong to a sub-group. It is very tribal. I didn’t continue with it because I don’t need external signposts to tell others what I am about. I would rather people have to work at it. So when people ask me what animal I would be. I guess I would have to think of an animal that does not use its body to attract attention or to deter attention. So im no peacock or monkey or emu, flashing my plume or baring my teeth. I reckon im more like a koala. Quiet and slow to anger and definitely not attracting attention. I think I fade into the crowd quite well. I would have made a good spy. So gothism or any other subbacultcha (see Pixies) has never been my cup of tea. But once in a while it is good to play a role. There was one particular time that myself and Chas went the whole hog thanks to the ladies help and we headed off in my Holden HQ to the Beehive.

My car was the best. It was a hand-me-down from my father and had been around for a while. It even went to Tasmania with them when they moved down there. When Dad left his then wife he moved back to live with his Dad in Ashwood. The car is a V8. It’s the only car I really loved, maybe because he eventually gave it to me. But not before committing what some people would call a series of atrocities to its exterior. Bored with life and the conversations with his father about food, my Dad decided it was time to give the old girl a bit of a spruce up. There was the obligatory rust problems (you could actually see the road between the passengers feet) and the old brown paintwork was old and out of fashion. Now my father has never let quality stand in his way of getting the job done. He has never concerned himself with the sorts of standards and rules that apply to others (he wont drink water when working hard because he thinks it makes you more thirsty). When he helped me create a path in our backyard he poo-pood the idea that you should use sand and crushed rock to get a balance and prevent weeds. Inevitably this path is the worst offender for weeds now (I did the rest on my own, WITH sand and rock) and his response is to pour petrol over the path. So when it came to painting a car it never occurred to him to buy the right paint or get a spray gun for a nice even finish. Instead he went into the garage and looked to see what paint was there, he found some lovely house paint left over of my granddads but not quite enough for the job. So he went off to the shops and purchased a little more house paint, matt finish, and not the same colour! My guess is it was on sale. The paint was actually not rust proof either and after mixing it with the other paint it came out a strange reddish brown colour (I have photos). Well I guess its cheaper than getting therapy and less damaging than slashing his wrists, but as far as contributing to art and beauty, im afraid he failed miserably. From a distance the matt finish was rather fetching and looked ok, but from close up all you could see were various brush strokes in different directions. It was frankly bizarre and a little insane. But as an 18 year old who just got his license, well beggers cant be choosers and frankly it appealed to my sense of individuality and flair for the ridiculous. It became a well known car for a while there as I reached driving age before anyone else in my year and added to that and the bizarre colour was the sound. The car had apparently been tinkered with over the years and it was the coolest sounding car in the world. Gruff, growling and insanely loud, it made heads turn everywhere it went. I loved this car.

I also brought in my own element of the ridiculous by using my home stereo with batteries instead of installing a car stereo (it had an old AM radio which while retro cool, did not impress chicks). The stereo was a boom box as they called it, about the size of a big shoe box. It took about 12 large batteries and had tape deck and radio (aerial pulled up inside the car). You may think this is funny but I have more to come. Frankly the speakers that were attached to the stereo just didn’t do it for me (the car was too loud). I found that even with all the windows down it was not having the impact on passers by that I was seeking. So instead I grabbed the speakers from my bigger house stereo, about as high as a desk and attached those instead. I had to put belts on them so they didn’t move so it meant that passengers needed to sit up front with me (bucket seats in the front meant I could sit 4 if needed). But oh the sound. Nothing pleased me more than taking off from school and passing by all the other students, car growling like a caged lion and now with speakers that were able to be heard over the car sounds. The Pixies would be on more often than not as they were nice and loud. Add to this my suede jacket and purple John Lennon glasses and I was a wonderful muddle of contradiction, a hippy with a V8. So that’s your father…..and your grandfather!

Now somewhere further up I was talking about how Chas and I got all gothed up to go to the Beehive. We took my car and there were four in the back and three in the front. On the way there was a booze bus so we were pulled over for a breath test. We pulled up to the cop and the look on his face when he saw me and the others with all the makeup and black clothing was priceless. He noticed there were four people sitting in the back, only two with seat belts on. I told him that’s all there were and grinned at him nervously. He looked back at me, back at my friends, shook his head and said "I cant handle this, just go". So off we went, passing by other police who were doubled over laughing. It was quite an experience.

BTW - phone numbers used to be without the 9 at the start. Ex 873 0168