My Tribe 1980
My tribe worships at the alter of music. For us, going to gigs is a sacred ritual. We think nothing of seeing the same band, playing the same set, five or even ten nights in a row. A trip interstate to see a favourite band is de rigueur, regional gigs are a given. We listen to walkmen while the rest of society find portable music slightly strange and something only Japanese people do. We wear black every day, the only other tribe that does so, are Southern European widows. Our footwear is as heavy as our eyeliner. We read Juke and RAM from cover to cover. We splurged on air freight copies of The Face and hoard copies of Smash Hits and NME. The gig guide is our bible.
My Tribe 1990
Over time, the line ups have altered and the bands have changed, but the friendships have continued. Few of us have married, like nuns and monks we generally shun the pleasures of mortal flesh, focusing on fantasies of intimacy with our idols.
Although technically we are grown-ups, earning our own money, we’ve never lost the thrill of getting into a gig for free. The guest list is our holy grail. We hang out with touring bands after concerts, getting into clubs for free, scoring cocktails on their drinks cards. Occasionally, to recapture the thrill of youth we hitch hike home after public transport stops, rush through back stage doors before we can be stopped, crawl over beer garden fences, forge inky stamps on our light-deprived skin. We scream and sing along with those much younger than us, sandwiched between sweaty flannel clad bodies. These are our magic moments.
My Tribe 2000
Now I have other friends, people I’ve met through work or travel, but they will never be a part of my tribe, just as I can never, fully, be a part of theirs. Even so, my tribe has become fragmented. Some of us have partnered, ‘though none of us have children. We are like Peter Pan’s lost boys, refusing to grow up. We all have the need to be free to fly; to an interstate gig, or to follow a singer to the ends of the earth. One of our number travels to Europe and all around Australia with his favourites from twenty years ago. We all understand the compulsion. Another of our tribe has moved up north, but knows there is a room or at least a bed available at any of our homes, when a single gig of a touring band is not enough, and tickets for Melbourne must also be procured.
My Tribe 2010
Everyone wears black and carries portable music devices now, but they are not necessarily a part of my tribe. Still, my tribe has expanded and includes people I have never met face to face. Technology has altered the nature of friendship, and we can now find like-minded people living across the globe.
I am also in another tribe now, the fiercest tribe of all – a lioness pride of mothers.
Although I love hearing from my new tribe, there is a special place for the tribe of my youth, that has seen me cry and laugh and scream. I feel very lucky to still have these people in my life. You know who you are. xxx