I was up at Parramatta recently doing my usual trawl through the Pawnbroker shops looking for unloved guitars. Unfortunately It’s slim pickings these days with eBay such an entrenched part of the landscape.
But while I had no luck with guitars, this C.D in Cash Converters caught my eye.
I used to listen to the The Psychedelic Furs a lot in my twenties and being a little superstitious I took finding it in the bargain racks as a sign, so home it came with me.
On first listening it’s not quite as great as I remembered; the aural equivalent of I don’t know, glaucoma has clouded my rosy-eyed view of ‘The Furs’ but there were still a few tracks that managed to kick back when I turned the volume up.
As nostalgia was the greater part of this purchase I suppose I should explain it’s history. The first share house I moved into was in Redfern, well before it’s gentrification started; more ‘slum’ than it’s current ‘bohemian chic’. My housemates from that time were Helen O’Carroll, her young son Keenan who was probably around 4 years old, a really charming little man and Paul Butchant. It was Paul who introduced the Well’s St household to the ‘The Psyc.. Furs’. He’d spent the previous year travelling through Europe. Lot’s of time in Berlin where he was introduced to the bands music. He was a big fan and seduced quite a few of us with their music. Joanne, another friend from Townsville was a fan also – so there are two faces floating up from the past to justify my purchase.
I saw The Psychedelic Furs when they came out to Australia in ? 1982. It was probably the first big concert I went too after transplanting myself down to Sydney. They played the Manly Vale Hotel which was a big cavernous barn on the Northern Beaches. There’s not much I remember from the show apart from the sound-mix being this muddy torrent of noise but I do recall that Richard Butler wore a green synthetic Safari Suit (‘cool as all get out’ I thought at the time) and looked every inch the Pop God. But the music itself I can’t recall.
I always felt ‘The Furs’ were shooting for a serious place in Popular Musics’ history. Maybe hoping to share the same paragraphs as The Velvet Underground or Television.
I’m not trying to damn them with faint praise but the reality was they were first and foremost ‘Pop Stars’. Maybe a little edgier then whoever was clogging up the upper echelons of the charts at the time but even with their catchy hooks and Rock’n’Roll attitude they never had that extra layer of depth to sustain them past Pop Stardom.
I suspect that everything that was there to be caught, has been captured in this Best of … C.D; there was not a lot more to them outside of the singles.
All Of This And Nothing was probably my favorite track back then and the first one I returned to this time around.
The intro always got me in with its wavering Pitch and windy sounding Saxophone.