Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sacred Morgue's Last Gig - a RocknRoll Epiphany

If i ever made a short film it would be about Sacred Morgue's last gig. It would be in the loose documentary style fashionable in the 1990's, more Dazed and Confused than The Runaways. There would be no particular plot, just a series of linked experiences with some characters looking for some character development.

i was raised in a smallish town in New Zealand and Sacred Morgue was its only heavy metal band. Sacred Morge was its real name, and i would use it in the film because, well, you can't improve on it. So guys, if you ever read this, you know who you are.

Their lead guitarist was my only teenage crush. It's called a crush because that's how you feel - crushed. We did a summer job together, in a group of young people. Naturally i kept my poor bruised feelings to myself and naturally he began going out with a girl with silver blonde hair, translucent skin and huge violet eyes. She was also very sweet, and she did not know her Fender from her Stratocastor. i didn't have the heart to hate her.

Fast forward a bit and Sacred Morgue is breaking up, because the bass player is going to London to make his fortune in the new indie scene there. And he could do it too, because he is better than anyone i've ever heard. So they plan their last gig. By this time the lead guitarist and i are friends and i am living out of town, so my beating heart got stilled after a time. The guy i am going out with is a friend of the band, and they plan a rock art show they like of which the town has never seen. An only slightly naive tribute to Big Dumb Rock as it was back in the day.

The hired church hall had a small stage, with the band and my guy on it, and he sat in a chair wearing suit and reading a newspaper. Also on stage was Wendy the shop mannequin, whom i will name by her real name because she is dead. Wendy was an old skool porcelain mannequin with some hair left, and she had been nicked from the basement of the shop where one of the band members worked. She wore a guitar.

The night was the usual shambles when you are young and earnest and Almost Having Fun. i did a lot of that. Like the driving round in cars thing that today is called 'boy racing'. Back then they drove around streets that they named after the parts of women. i remember thinking, shit this, i could be killed at any minute and i'm still bored. Fun is the direst thing. So the Last Gig was Almost Fun. A male friend and i decided to dance in between the songs, dancing with no music. What we didn't know was the band was in between sets. We had fifteen minutes of recorded music and a deafening din of silence. On we danced. After fifteen minutes we were knackered and we had copped our share of abuse from drunken onlookers. My friend was called a homo and some idiot even kicked him in the mouth as he was sitting outside. At the time he didn't mind. He decided he had transcended pain. This was his own rocknroll epiphany, as we were on the night, characters in search of our own development, our own special night when Something Happens, and our lives will never be the same again.

But it shows that not much has changed. Gosh, we had homophobia back in the 70's! And for a small town guy, dancing without music was definitely a homosexual act, along with laughing when sober, talking to girls, having a party on a Friday night (instead of the good straight Saturday), and, uh, sodomy i guess.

Funny, i remember nothing about the music. But presumably there was some, and if i did make a film it would be great to write music for it. So finally Sacred Morgue reached its musical climax and performed its last song. And my guy on stage got up from his chair, folded up his newspaper, flung off rather a lot of his clothes and began to dance wildly in a manner beyond even homosexuality. He grabbed Wendy's guitar and mimed fabulous air guitar frenzy. Poor Wendy fell over into the band space and broke. My guy on stage smashed the guitar and some of the stage as well. It was a moment. You could say, Well, that happened. 'Cos it did.

And the bass player went to London and was back in six months and began playing in a vaguely new agey band called Moonglow or some bloody thing, and the lead guitarist got married and had a bunch of kids and went to work in the mines in Australia, and the singer, who did this amazing sub-Robert Plant thing, stayed in the town and ran a lot, and i don't know what happened to Wendy.

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