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I'm Back - Yardstock 6.0 Fremantle

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

I'm Back - Yardstock 6.0 Fremantle

Andrew Ryan

When I was little me and my brother used to make up versions of the Terminator 2 soundtrack on the keyboard when got when one of our grandparents died. Maybe that’s why everything turned out a little melancholy on that keyboard. I remember the woman’s arms from that movie, watching them pump up and down on the prison chinup bars, looking at that and wanting to be strong. We also used to do covers of the Twin Peaks soundtrack, but I never wanted to be wrapped in plastic.

There were women wrapped in plastic in my dream last night maybe from reading about lady gaga, so I think that means I should stick to reading The Odyssey instead.

The other day on Saturday it was really brought home that I was back, in the music.* Sometimes I feel so lonely, out in the world on my own, even if there’s plenty of birds and trees around and my parents still alive way down south. But I rode to Loren and Julien’s house and then Chris and Theo came and so we all rode in formation, flying down the streets into the city to catch the train to Fremantle.

It was Yardstock, number six, and we pumped our legs up and down to get to the second house, King William St, in time to see Dream Rimmy play. Yardstock is something where everyone goes from house to house, the party getting bigger, to mainly see bands and mainly see many friends in the daytime without any money involved except for money collected for a good cause. This time to send to a refugee rights group, which was weird but positive, us all drinking beers in backyards and whooping as our friends play music and then dropping some little bits of change into a jar. I think the thing is to drop change in a jar on Saturday, and then spend the rest of your life and money also dropped into jars of good causes. What else is there to do?

(do you prefer to read in lower case or with proper caps? tell me and i’ll stick to that, yes, you!)

i was excited to see dream rimmy, especially my friend george who was flying far far away that afternoon who bashes on the drums in the band and i lay with my back against tall blonde loren, with her californian spirit flowing through and surrounding me with safety and light. they are all strong and special this band. i wonder if any of terminator was filmed in the californian desert… my memory’s not good enough for that. well, we ate hotdogs (not george, because he and his lady are vegans) and looked at nice dogs and soaked the sun in, and sunflowers all round because of course it’s fremantle.

we missed diger, but miteyko were next and i muscled into the filling backyard – yes, so the front yard and backyard and house were filled with people by now, squeezed in and basking and sweating and drinking beer from a bong (that was only one person, actually, the first beer bong i ever saw and aesthetically it was beautiful but in every other way it was underwhelming) and watched allan and adam and kevin be real. rupert from erasers whispered in my ear ‘this is one of the first perth bands i used to listen to, when i was sixteen’ and we made ‘ok!’ signs with our hands. allan’s face to me is filled with broken power. he looked nervous and made apologies when they made mistakes, but all that really came through to me was respect for someone i know spends their life in that jar of giving, except that with allan it’s more like smashing all the jars that aren’t meant for giving, crushing them up under his words and in his fists, eating the glass, and spitting it back out at whoever had the audacity to serve up something other than justice. so, who cares if there are wrong notes in a song. this is one person who i feel has the right to sing ‘fuck the police’ even though i don’t feel the same way.

then i went swimming on my own. i ran up to the groin (that’s like a jetty, made of rocks) with my hamburger grown belly leading me onward, and looked out at the waters, filling the vision in my mind for my friend who grew up there but is far away. i sent it off to him in my mind, the vision of the waters, and i swam out in them, all nicely alone in the world how i like to be.

and on to the next backyard, chester street, where all my favourites were playing – erasers, joni in the moon, mei saraswati. erasers make me love them more each time, joni gives me goosebumps and tears each time, mei gives me a dancing body and mini prayer ecstasies each time. i’d say they’re all on the top of their game, and here they are, playing in a backyard to 150 people who are talking loud to their friends and covering their faces in paint or glitter or lipstick or shaking wands made of nang cartridges. the world felt as it should be, except of course, that not everyone can be there with us…

on the way to mojos on my bike, just to say hello before the last house, the moon had come out and was shining on the waters of the river as i crossed the fremantle traffic bridge. looking at that river in the moonlight, with the lights of houses and port town businesses all around and twinkling too, i thought “this is the best a city could ever look. this is almost too beautiful. i have to move to freo.” and all sort of related things. at mojos i watched the aborted tortoise boys and their fans play the worst, funniest game of pool i’d ever seen, and then rode back across the bridge, on the way meeting some tiny teenage girls, one of whom was in a bikini about to leap off the massively high traffic bridge into the river below. it was exactly like a dream, but this was real. the most impressive thing i saw that night.

the last house was where my friend harry lives, carving out a new world by growing fruit, wearing black tshirt with logos on them, living in a tent, drinking lots of wine and reading all the books. i flew through the night air on my bike, alone again, getting heckled by drunk guys in cars, feeling great, and got to the house by following the dub music which was loud enough to be heard three streets away. there was a car pile up luckily enough, and i got to see mei and skye from night signals, and talk deep and quick to mei who always seems to make me feel good by telling me if she were a man she’d make love to me straight away and all that type of god-talk.

the yard was heaving in the night, pumping up and down, yes, with weapon is sound, bright sweating stage lights and a ‘no borders’ banner, drunk people passing out everywhere, dancing people everywhere, amber bateup blinding everyone momentarily for good reason with her camera, and pooped organisers with tired, satisfied smiles resting in the shadows of blazed tao eating his guitar strings beside the double drumming and smoke machine smoke. it was like the second doogs, more strangers around instead of just a sea of friends, but the recognition that something started in truth has grown bigger and needs to include more people to make the vibes ripple further (yeah, i realise that’s cheesy writing, but you can deal with it i know).