New Year’s Grieve (2005)
New year’s eve can be a dazzling, charming, life-affirming celebration of the lovable mischief of friends, the heart-spicing marinate of alcohol and the star-blazing sense of grandeur and primeval humility that resetting the clock to O:OO:OO can bring. It can also be a moody, brain curdling shit-thicket. For Justin Heazlewood, the last two new years eve’s have been the latter.
He has spent them at the Falls Festival, a magnificent annual musical concert featuring a plethora of exciting bands. The Falls Festival is held at Marion Bay, a dashing sea side farming property in the serene depths of South-West Tasmania. For the last two years, Justin has been booked to play at the Falls Festival, a luxurious gig in any semi-established singer/songwriter’s book. He has been well received – his rambunctious free-fall comedic performances met with lapping waves of laughter and appreciation from the shiny-tipsy, demographic ambient. During his down-time, Justin has relished in the opportunities his backstage pass has provided, such as complimentary beers and opportunities to have rare, albeit ill-advised conversations with his musical peers. He has been able to share these experiences with his close friend Josh, who also performs at the festival, and a number of other cherished Tasmanian friends who admire and encourage him.
Mathematically, one would not have to be an expert in ‘good times’ to suggest that Justin’s new years eve ‘pie-chart’ should be 100% red, the legend reading: Red = Para-sailing through the electric sexfuel of magical youth. It is little wonder that Justin’s unnervingly consistent brown pie-chart marked ‘depressed out of fucking brain’ has left not only himself, but his liege of self-esteem scientists, baffled.
“My memory is tired and love-sick. Dream thighs in pink shorts. …crawling downwards… Sparkle-toe whirly girls. Beer-cropped patrol boys. Savage teen faces. Salty shadows. Guitar spew…deep-fried reverb saunas. Fly-blown arse-pocket hands and cackling bad comedy t-shirts. I’m a hornless unicorn being force fed burnt onion. Cinders of conversation. I’m late for the race, off my face on inner language. …trying to sleep/cry in my one-man tent while the Cat Empire echoes and fades through the daylight trees.”
Justin has been able to diagnose his dour mood as an ‘emotional hangover from a tumultuous year’ – a heady cocktail of girls, art and family. Justin believes that the sensory overload of the festival, in conjunction with the pressure of having to perform; fall out of mobile phone coverage, and social expectation that new year’s eve has to be the best night in world history heighten this hangover, leaving him feeling fragile, corrupted, alone and reeling at the darkly comedic juxtaposition of being so sad at such a glamorous event – traipsing aimlessly along his own self-maintained sideshow woe.
This new year’s eve, Justin will be tackling Falls Festival for a third year in a row, and has already released an optimistic press release to his own fear journalists. He considers 2005 a successful year that has provided him with a vital shot of personal confidence and that he’ll be able to spot the emotional bear trap a mile off. He hopes that everyone has a mirthful new year’s eve, but reminds them that if they have a crap one, not to feel like they’re all alone in the universe.