Alternative Music

All posts tagged Alternative Music


Published December 21, 2018 by helentastic67

Melbourne 1


Well, I think it’s about time I mentioned how much I love Melbourne and why. A little bit about the layout of our fair city.

I love Melbourne

I think I knew from my teenage years I would move to Melbourne. I grew up in North East of Victoria and it seemed the town (cough/ choke) they consider it a rural city, just didn’t evolve or progress. So, Melbourne here I come.

Moving to Melbourne

We always did day trips to Melbourne (3.5 hours by car) to go to Art Supply stores for my older sister, to check out the National Gallery (now known as the NGV. Because we have to ACRONYM THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYTHING, right) and to University Open Days. I got to tag along when my older sister was getting ready to go to Uni, she ended up being a poor art student in an actual rural University, country town (not in Melbourne).

National Gallery Victoria

However, I moved to Melbourne when I was nineteen, I transferred my supermarket job to the city and was a poor art student for two years.

I first lived in Brunswick in a shared household scenario. That is a harsh rude awakening to life, but you make it work. My parents paid my rent while I was studying and I paid everything else. I was a student for only two years. The course was a second choice for me and while I didn’t continue in that career, I discovered the Alternative Club Scene, which became my social life and where I discovered a different style of music culture and such.

Alternative club scene


Yet, to cover the club stuff, but not today. Maybe in this series, when I first moved to Melbourne, it was 1992. Rent was cheap, so cheap, only $50.00 per week (and my parents paid it) and I lived in Brunswick, which was not cool then. I lived in that area for a year or so, then relocated to South Yarra.

South Yarra

Here’s the fun part.

Melbourne breaks down like this – There is a river that goes through the centre, called the Yarra (pronounced Yarrah) don’t get excited, it’s not a river to go swimming in, unless it’s an era of concrete boots. (Mafia, crime etc) and that’s not swimming, that’s drowning.

Yarra River

Anyway, it’s considered everything North of the Yarra is North-side, South of the Yarra is the South side. Then there’s the Western suburbs, which we like to dis (disrespect) and the East, my take on the Eastern suburbs is ‘old-money’ and I don’t know anyone who can afford to live there. There are pockets all over the inner city, Sunshine, Prahran, Brunswick, Northcote (all over Melbourne) where the wog’s settled when they immigrated here, which was around 1940’s.

Western Suburbs

There is still a sense of presence in all of those areas of that generation of Europeans. I think the Western suburbs even more so and they kept the factories and car industries alive.


Anyway, it seemed once I move to the southern side of the city, that’s where I thrived. My club career took off (if you can call it that) and that’s where I stayed.

For some years, I lived in several places a stones throw from Chapel Street, first in South Yarra, then Prahran, then in Windsor. Now back in the 90’s, Chapel Street was the place to be, designer label shops, café’s, street culture people.

Chapel St

The place I lived in South Yarra, (to this day, the cheapest rent I ever paid. $262.15 per month) there was a Porsche mechanic three doors down, so they would work late and you could hear them ‘Fanging it’ in the back streets at 3am.

But anyway, I digress.

I only recently realized I wasn’t even in Melbourne that time for ten years, I guess it felt longer because I kept myself so busy seven days and nights a week. But alas, sooner later all good things must come to an end and I was short changed by one of my club bosses and I quit and they retaliated by firing me from my bread and butter club job. (more on that topic another time) That and a crappy apartment with a terrible smell ended my first adventure in Melbourne. I moved back to the country for two whole tortuous years.

Back to the country

I went to live with my mum and my younger sister. Allow me to paint a picture. Hormonally, my mum was sliding into the Pause (Menopause) and my younger sister was at the beginning. It was like Michael Jackson’s Black and White album ear and I had to sit her down and explain Michael Jackson was really black. Can you imagine how that conversation went?

Hormonally Challenged

So, I was living way out in the country, wood fires for heat, dirt roads, didn’t drive, had to go for a twenty-minute car ride to get to town where twice a day (once at 6am so that doesn’t count) there is a V-Line bus that takes you to other towns and the train to Melbourne.


This was (I refer to it as) mosaic phase. I got active again, did some market stalls (didn’t make money/didn’t break even) and because seemingly music was still the same in my country town, I grew up in had not changed at all.

I proceeded to attempt to start an Under-Age Music Club. I registered it, I got a bit of a group together to do all the things and promoted it to the High Schools through my old contacts and network.


There was a music shop in town that had been there from when I had been a teenager and the owner would be visited by anyone returning from wherever it was they had escaped to.

I had hoped to get some space to run said club from and while I had some contacts and I made some noise. It never got up and running.

It didn’t close away an opposition music store coming to town (which made the music shop owner very happy) but didn’t change the music culture of well anything. After two years of trying to make stuff work living in the country.

Music culture

(if you don’t drive, don’t go to the pub to drink to socialize and don’t drive a ute) or work there is nothing more there for you and every few months I’d train back to Melbourne to visit all my people, go clubbing and stay each night at a different person’s house (just friends).

Run away

It was time to get back to life in Melbourne, I was effectively made to feel I’d overstayed my welcome at my mum’s and I found a way to go back to the city, which I’ve always felt was my true home.


I rented a tiny room in Hawthorn (the east) with a male friend of the family (through my older sister) and only had a few things for a while, where I did a business course to start my own business. I got back into the club scene however, not as a job. After six months of attempting to rent on the south side and starting my own business, ‘to take over the world’ (splutter, cough) I moved to the north side.

Take over the world

I’ve been here ever since. I think my south side era is over. It’s not like Chapel Street Prahran stayed super awesome anyway.

Last time I visited that neighbourhood, I recognised a familiar face while standing waiting for some traffic lights. He must have thought I looked familiar too, although in a different way, because he asked ‘Did we have sex?’ Um, call me crazy (dare you) however I subscribe to the ‘if we have sex I would remember’ and you would remember my name.

Familiar faces

I, of course said no, but not rudely. Kept walking and about two minutes later, I remembered his name, that he worked bar on the second floor at one of the clubs I worked for and that I made a special effort when distributing Brunswick Street, Fitzroy on a Wednesday to time my run to get to the café he worked at, as his day job so he could have a coffee with me.

Remember his name

To be clear, he was mouthy to stoned to turn up to work on time, but I’m just saying my brain injury has not affected my memory.

If you have been in Melbourne long enough you will recognise the banter and throwing shade (need a different term, gentle teasing) about which side of the Yarra people chose to live on.

Melbourne Banter

I was recently on the phone to someone and I indicated to him, while I’ve moved further north (into an unnamed suburb I won’t mention) and I’m on the border of a street I always said I would not live beyond. He responded on the phone that he had told his wife he couldn’t live north of the Yarra because he had nothing to go with a bullet proof vest.

Bulletproof Vest

I laughed but hey SLAP.

In Australia, we thankfully don’t have gun violence like in America (I do have a few American regular followers) and sadly, one happened on Hoddle Street on the north side of town.

I remember when it was on the news. I was (how old was Helen?) again, I’m sure to circle back to this topic, stay tuned.

GDG – Grand Daddy Goth

Published September 1, 2017 by helentastic67



Something came to me in the shower this morning! Try not to visualize that if you can because, really it was nothing to do with where I was, but that I had a memory triggered to write about. More of a story about someone and he (it’s a ‘he’) would be a little amused that I thought of him while in the shower and I thought I’d write about some parts of my club days.

The clubs I promoted for were quite varied from Alternative, British Pop, Indi, (Independent) Goth, Industrial, Dance/Electronic/Doof! (Whatever you want to call it.)

GDG refers to a DJ who was a really sweet older man who in his earlier years was known as Grand Daddy Goth. He was around in the Goth scene before I was and to be clear, I never did Goth. I did Goth club appropriate. Which sometimes meant I wore black or not black streetwear and my Raver furry red and blue jacket. Think Elmo! I’ll have to put it on and take a photo of it.

But GDG was for some time the “oldest thing” in the Alternative club scene.

Towards the end of my era in clubs, he discovered electronic music and recovery mornings so that was very good.

I think GDG was originally his label when he made Candelabras. You see GDG was good with his hands. He actually settled on a trade of French Polish in a rather exclusive part of town. I don’t remember when he told me this story but this was his story……….

He told me he worked on a beautiful desk for a High Court Judge, who came in to thank him for a job well done. The boss told the judge he hadn’t done the work and to go down the back and thank GDG.


Now, GDG wore black jeans, black mesh tops without sleeves, old tattoos on his arms from the era before the ‘Kids’ have them now. (I’m suggesting old sailor-type tattoos but) from the days before everybody had tattoos and while GDG had little hair on top he wore a leather studded collar around his neck and had hairy arms and shoulders.

Sailor tattoo 1

That said, I now hope I’ve painted a sufficient enough picture to say he looked up and saw the judge moving down towards him.

To start the judge looked very happy to be going down to meet this genius who had made his desk a masterpiece. The way he described it when he saw what GDG looked like, his smile slipped and his step faltered. Until GDG smiled and then the judge’s original pleasant smile returned and his step hastened and he put out his hand.

Apparently, the judge was so impressed he told GDG he would be recommending him to all his friends. He was then inundated with someone’s Wine Racks and he told me he was called to an older woman’s mansion in Toorak.

She bustled about pointing out several different items in a fluster. He was obviously good with the older ladies, also because he set her at ease understanding she was expecting company for afternoon tea (or High-Tea) later that day.

High tea

She kept adding to the list of items she wanted done and that he could finish them by a particular and imminent deadline.

Apparently, she bought out a tiny little table made of pine (Oh! I thought I was the only cheapskate with pine), he assured her he would get it all done in time and not to be stressed.

What a sweetheart right?

GDG married a younger lady when he was in his 40’s Now some years ago, I understand he had a brood of kids, so I’m told. I haven’t seen or spoken to him for 20 years, but he was a significant part of club life for me…

Goth kids

To be sure, there will be more GDG club stories soon.



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