turning brown and torn in two

Dear Chris…

that song!

we all have one,
a song that turns up
right at a profound turning point in your life

i think it was close to the end of my first year at university
right about the time i was starting to wonder WTF i was doing there
so much fun, but studying? yeah, nah….

every sunday night karen hay would get an hour to play the latest music vids on one of the two tv channels
and on this particular sunday she played the scratch film music video for turning brown and torn in two
back then i was living in the university halls – a kind of backpackers hostel for students
and the reaction was pulpable… tiny brains wondering wtf is this
but to me, i just felt that asmatic tape loop, the beautiful guitar, that voice
and those lyrics….



“All the dishonesty we have contrived
masquerading as the fact
showing up the strength we lacked
closing up the way we act
Photos of women i’ve treated as sex
turning brown and torn in two
coffee stains as their tattoo
who it is i have no clue
So many races we’ve blithely ignored
letting slide a racial slur
till they all become a blur
expecting them to call us sir
Then there are times we say we meaning i
i guess that is that sort of time
stretching sense to make a rhyme
struggling to complete a line
Religions and preachers are dead as their gods
occultism is maybe worse
i wonder sometimes which came first
the cross the mystic or the purse
People who govern are strangers to me
and i’m a stranger to them too
presumably they don’t know you
thats why they do the job they do
And i have a feeling there’s nothing to do
but then again i know there must
be something more than bones and dust
something more than creeping rust…”



i’d played bass in a couple of bands by that stage & was a bit bored with the idea…
i had started to dream of owning the machine that had allowed chris
to both write & record some of this countries most iconic music


so i put pen to paper & sent chris a letter
i cant remember what i wrote,
what questions i might have asked
but a week or two later, back came a reply
soon as i saw the envelope i knew who had sent it
wish i’d kept it… it started me down a path
that i might never have otherwise found…



a decade later & my younger sister got married,
& walked down the aisle to this beautiful song,
played & sung by two of her friends:

Not given lightly:



why the nostalgia?
dear chris had a stroke a number of years ago
& having hoped a lot but not heard much,
every now & again i’d wonder…
& then this article appeared in the local paper
Not giving in lightly



Nothing’s Going to Happen

nothing = everything

Kia Kaha Chris!

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