At Heathfield High School in 1988 I felt destined for big things. My best friend Reed “Bleed” Cathcart and I were going to be rockstars. Having taught ourselves to play via Joy Division’s Closer, the Cure’s Seventeen Seconds and the Jesus & Mary Chain’s Barbed Wire Kisses, we rehearsed with a Boss Dr Rhythm drum machine at my place in Balhannah on the weekends, playing shows for my parents and recording everything to cassette on Reed’s ghetto blaster.
Our first show, as Exercise One at the Crafers Community Hall in the Adelaide Hills, was successful enough that we decided to tackle the big smoke, and by 1991 we’d recruited drummer Dexter Campos and keyboardist Kate Eckermann and had a two-song demo, “Solitude”/“So Deep Inside”, on heavy rotation at local community radio station Triple-M (now 3D). Every week or two, we’d play a gig at a credible city venue (Le Rox, the Austral, the Exeter, I can’t remember them all), and we felt welcomed by an Anglophile indie scene which had grown up around bands the Artisans and the Mandelbrot Set but which would soon dissolve in the wake of Nirvana.
I’m not sure if my bandmates took Movement seriously, but I sure as hell know I did, and it hurt when my dreams of stardom didn’t eventuate. But in retrospect I realise it could hardly have been any different. From the time I was 15 I’d dreamt of playing the Hammersmith Odeon, not the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Reed and I would stay up at nights round a campfire in the hills dreaming aloud of our imminent move to England, but once we got a band together we lost our nerve. And we never compromised for Aussie pub rock audiences. Still, maybe my experience with Movement had helped give me the confidence to succeed on my own terms, since I went on to publish two novels in 1994 and 1995. Musically though, my next project, Shadow History, would have a lo-o-ong gestation.
Lost greatest hits