So many things have changed since 1978 but I’m grateful for one constant – I had, and still have, the most exquisite, avant-garde and just generally effortlessly magnificent elder sister: the sole reason that while my friends in primary school walked around the playground singing songs from Grease – which was the soundtrack to their lives – I walked around singing songs from The Rocky Horror Show – which had been the soundtrack to mine. Eventually my sister moved into a share house with art college friends and her records went with her… it was awfully quiet at home. But I saved my 20c a week pocket money until I was able to claim this coveted disc from the display rack at K-Mart, making me the proudest kid in the world, the owner of my first record.
There’s a part 2 to my love for this record; the reason why I can listen to it with pure joy, or in convulsions of grief. Two years later I was just 12, it was the beginning of the school holidays and not long before Christmas. My mother took me on a special outing to the City (it took about an hour and a half on the 190 bus back then) to actually see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the cinema – what a day! I took in the visuals – which weren’t too abysmal – accompanying the beloved, accustomed songs, with a child’s innocent wonder. I swear that absolutely every ‘inappropriate’ element of that movie passed so high over my head that it didn’t even cast a shadow. Late that afternoon when we returned home, I ran to tell my father all about it. He was asleep, but I couldn’t wake him up. No-one could.
So this song, this little record, my first musical love, carries the joy of a child and the grief of a Summer afternoon when childhood ended. Time IS fleeting. If I could get into a time slip I would, just for one more day, hour, even a moment, with my incomparable father. And I hope that when my life hits its play-out groove, my kids will have a song half as wonderful to hold on to.