There are so many great moments in Australian music and Australian football that resonated throughout the 1980’s. Bands like Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls, Midnight Oil, The Triffids and Go-Betweens were creating a specifically antipodean palette that varied wildly from band to band, but spoke together of uniquely Australian experience. In football, there were fierce and often brutal rivalries – Essendon and Hawthorn springing readily to mind – and the beginnings of the furious pace that defines the game today. Champions like Gary Ablett, Dermott Brereton, madmen like Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson and show ponies such as Warwick Capper gave football a beautifully unpredictable, if not entirely unhinged feel at times. Not unlike rock and roll really.
More than that ‘though, the ‘eighties were a time when Australian musicians were willing to wear their favourite football teams’ full kit on stage. They also did this in videos, and presumably at barbeques. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the video for Goanna’s 1982 smash ‘Solid Rock’ which opens with a shot of the band’s drummer wearing his Essendon jumper, complete with Don Smallgoods patch and Simon Madden’s number 27 sewn on the back. This choice of clobber raises a whole set of questions: did he sew the number on himself? Did one of the greatest ruckmen in history clock this tribute with his own eyes whilst watching ‘Countdown’ on a Sunday night? Most importantly, how did the rest of the band react when their tub-thumper arrived at the video shoot dressed as Simon Madden?
This choice of stage wear stands out as bold, committed and also extremely admirable. It’s not something you see a lot of any more, if at all, and that’s a shame. We also have a foggy memory of Paul Kelly’s incredible drummer and harmony man, Michael Barclay sporting a footy jumper on stage, possibly of the lace up variety. Was it Essendon? Or possibly the Saints? Anyone who can settle this, please make contact. These things are important.
Have a great weekend. If you’re going to a gig, or maybe playing one yourself…well, just think about your sartorial responsibilities and your love for your team. Maybe it’s time to bring it back.