Of all the Hallmark holidays, it’s Father’s Day that fills me with the greatest sense of dread. My Dad is long gone. He had a massive heart attack on a cold June night seven years ago. He was 47. I was 21. I broke. There is much more to this, much more to this, but it’s bigger than the blog. But where were we? It’s Father’s Day this weekend.
My Dad was a drinker and a gambler and a smoker. A lovable but essentially hopeless bastard. He had two great loves: my mother and the Labor party. He taught geography and economics at school but at home he educated me on the things that would become my life obsessions: literature and music. After I’d left home he would call my share house after too many schooners and we’d talk for hours. There would be a brief catch up on family matters: hurt hearts, sibling rivalries, fiscal nightmares and then we’d get down to the nitty gritty: would any author anywhere write anything better than The Alexandria Quartet?
In literature he loved (and taught me to love) Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and D.H. Lawrence. In music it was Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Michelle Shocked and the man who features in today’s video, Neil Young.
For years I loved all of them, without hesitation, except Mr Young, who I thought sang like a frog and wrote about shit I thought I understood and therefore hated (cue: ‘A Man Need’s A Maid’). Years later of course, it’s Neil I love the most.
This Sunday, when most my friends are spending quality time at family events, I will do as my Dad would have wanted. I will go to the pub, get drunk, have a punt and watch the footy. But this Friday, for From the Vault, I will post some Neil Young. Happy Father’s Day, y’all.