Monday, January 08, 2007

MY FIRST TRIP TO THE CROSS...Ross Ward tells a story in his own words.

OK! I know it was a long time ago, but the blogs around here only serve to make me even more aware of how lucky I am to remember so many names, faces and approximate times, like it was yesterday. I also realised that my good memory has come at a cost. I have wasted an absolute fortune on more than my fair share of alcohol, and other mind altering substances, all to no avail, as I can still remember almost all of those nights as well!!!! My old friend Dave Allen has mentioned many names from his high school days, even a couple I recall that he can't. My older brother Warren and his mates from the selective Canterbury Boys High were the "arty crew". Eccentric, a couple of them wore cravats (not cool), and I'd detected certain squares amongst the group.
It really wasn't till Warren had discovered music that he became 'cool', thus finding cooler mates to hang with. Dave Allen was one of these. Warren gave everyone in the family nick-names. Mine was (for reasons best known to Warren) 'George'. Warren and I had discovered music together, but it was obvious he was naturally gifted at it. He taught me so much about music and the guitar, that I had learned to trust his say-so with all things music, and those who played it. Herbie Mann was big in 1968. I was 13 turning 14. We had been practising in our grandparent's front bedroom (the family house in Ashfield) for quite a while, then we heard Canned Heat's "Goin' Up The Country". We'd also seen Kevin Borich play flute at a couple of La De Dah's early Sydney gigs.
"George" said Warren in his usual commanding tone..." Dave Allen... great flute player, AND he can read music. I'll get him!"

TO BE CONTINUED......... (At this point, I would like to express my embarrassment at some of Ross' very kind comments about me)

I had come to expect that most of Warren's school mates would treat me with a mixture of torment and derision. In fact, I even recall Warren wanting to put a band together with Doug Faulkner (another school buddy of his) and me, but Doug wasn't real keen and wanted to know "what's the story with the kid brother?" I'll admit to having the same thought about other kids when I was older!
For some reason Dave was not only tolerant, but was also encouraging, he mad the flute 'cool' (to me), and I idolised the guy!
Such was the friendship, he invited me for a trip "up to the Cross one Friday night. I'll never forget what was a real adventure for me!!
"Just wear something conservative" said Dave. I took this to mean that I was not to look a Surfie, Rocker,Who-boy(Mod), or Sharpie. I met Dave at Hurlstone Park station, and away we went, via rail to St James, then straight up William St. Dave was lean, and strode with a purpose, at times getting ahead of me. He was wearing a 3 button banion shirt,( a type of collared T), Martin jacket,straight leg trousers, and desert boots. I seem to remember the whole outfit being a very neutral beige colour, except the desert boots, which were camel coloured ,of course!! He also carried an umbrella. I marvelled at his ability to look 'conservative', because he wasn't normally, but he knew the streets and sights around the Cross, and how to dodge the trouble that being there could bring. I had learnt a great lesson in self-survival that stood me in relative safety ever afterwards. "Wear something conservative".
He also knew the coolest music around, who played it, and where. I've had a great life in music(I'm still having it!), and Dave Allen was a huge influence on me at a formative time! I was ecstatic when he hit the big time and joined 'Flake'. I say 'big time' because to me at the time, it was! They were a recording band!! I also figured it would give me a' friend in high places', and I was right about that!!
Reading the 'Dave' and'Flake' blogs around here, makes me realise yet again how close the whole scene was for us back in those days. The web has helped a lot of us get back in touch, but the common thread between us all is the music, and even more so a recognition of the fact that we all just wanted to be the best 'musicians' we could be. "Stardom", and all that came with it, was a lucky and disposable by-product of that, unless maybe you were a singer who didn't play an instrument, then you got the girls!!!
It was a great thrill to catch up with Dave at this year's Narooma Festival after more that 30 odd years! Full circle you say? Sure!
More adventures ahead?? You betcha.......... after all, look what happened to his career after the last time he met me!!!

(Dave says; as you can see, by Ross' kind comments, I was a bit uneasy publishing this, but it is after all, Ross' memories. And yes, I look forward to some new adventures with my old mate this year.)

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