“Can I look down your undies?” – Homebake Report (2006)
In December last year I attended the fuzzing ozrockapoolooza of ‘Homebake.’ The day began with an ill-advised meeting with one of my vaguest friends, Adam. We agreed to meet at Museum station, not taking into account that this particular train station has four different entrances. After a fidgety fifteen minutes, I went without him, as my friend’s band, ‘Pomo Mofo’ was playing at 11am. I never made it.
After forty minutes of indie shuffling, I was removed from the line by a NSW policeman. Police sniffer dogs had been installed, and the godlike mutt was taking a lot of interest in my shorts pocket. At first I thought it might have just been the packet of ‘Ovalteenies’ I had impulse bought earlier. Despite earnest pleas that I didn’t do drugs and hadn’t been at any parties where pot was in the air, I was asked to take off my shoes and socks, while a gloved hand fanned the contents of my pockets over the ground. The policemen then asked to look down the front of my underpants, adding that I had the option of saying no. I declined. “If we wanted to we could take you back to the station and strip search you, but we’re being generous today.”
After slipping sheepishly back in line, I received a hapless message from Adam. He had forgotten to bring my number with him, and was the last person I knew without a mobile. (Nan got one for Christmas) Astonishingly, he’d had to ring up his Mum in Wollongong and get her to drive twenty minutes over to his house, log onto his computer and find an email that had my number in it. I abandoned my place in line, and wandered back to find him. By chance, I found him standing next to a tree. Forty minutes later we were in the bakery. The sun was roasting. A rotating capsule suspended by two bungee chords was firing people into the air against the alien inner-city skyline. The Mess Hall grunged and crackled on the main stage. We ate noodle stuff while I stared at a kaleidoscope of summer frocks and supple female legs. God help me, everyone was nineteen – and making it look easier than I felt.
Music festivals always provide a smorgasbord of novelty T-shirts. Highlights included ‘Bring Back Bob” with a picture of Bob Hawke – “I’m not vegetarian but I’m off my chops” – “do I look like a fucking people person?” and a bloke who’s shirt just said ‘Cunt’ in big red letters. I bought an orange and purple sombrero, and at some point a bloke ran up to me and said into his phone ‘I’m just near the guy with the sombrero.’
Music highlights included: Patience from the Grates leaping about like a cross between Gidget, Patti Smith and Steve Urkel. The Go-betweens effortless coolness – the ‘la la’ refrain of ‘Surfing Magazines’ providing a dreamy summer cottage of simple joy. And The Dirty Three’s intro of ‘this is about when you’re going to a party and you ask a girl to come along but you realise you’re already dead. This is for anyone who is dead or dying,’ before launching into a splendid wrenching mess that made me cry at a live gig for the second time in my life.
On our way out, Adam and I were handed two plates of Hari Krishna vegetarian food for free. We sat on the grass and ate it. We couldn’t stop talking about how good it tasted.