Country Funeral

Deloris – ‘Country Funeral’ (from Ten Lives) mp3

I was out at a friend’s birthday on the other side of town. It was one of those nights where you make the long trek in the honour of obligation, turn up with no expectations, and have a drink. Things started quietly. Talk. A slow reacquaintance with an old friend, who I hadn’t seen in years. Talk turned to chatter, chatter turned to the front of the bar for more of everything. At some point the night skipped ahead and we all found ourselves back at the birthday friend’s flat, with music on, laughing, and that slow-motion, spiralling through water with blindfolds on that comes with having too many drinks in an unfamiliar, oddly lit place.

The old (now new again) friend and I decided to walk back towards the city in an effort to get a cab. None came. Which was ok. It was a chilly morning but we were rugged up, and the talk had started up again right where it had left off, years ago. As we got closer to the city, we though it weird that some of the streets were blocked off. Had had our heads down. Until we got right up close and saw the crowd, we’d forgotten entirely. Lost our bearings. It was past five in the morning and we’d walked right into the dawn service. It was Anzac day.

We bumbled through the crowd in the dark, the two of us probably smelling like liquor as we bumped people on the way towards the Shrine. Where they would sing, shoot guns and blow trumpets to commemorate those died in war. And the tradition of it, I accidentally pushed a kid out of the way. Oops. I’d never been to the dawn service before, even though my grandfather was in WWII. It was always too early. I sleep in. So my first time was because I’d stayed up so late I walked past drunk by accident. Sorry grandpa.

As we got closer, everyone started to sing a hymn of some sort, echoing in the silence. The flame lit the closest faces, flickered off the office block windows in the darkness, shone through the bare arms of the trees. As they sung, I pushed the record button on my phone and held it up. This is the sound at the start of ‘Country Funeral’.

It’s about the steps of the Rob Roy in winter too. Watching people smoke. Wondering what we’re doing.


this life
that you’ve eked out
in record grooves
and late night rounds
footpath love
and word of mouth
trying out a legend
that you once thought out
that heart
that you hook on
to lover’s neck
to strangers tongue
the devil finds
a pair to tie
throw over your shoulder
to the powerlines

that scratch
that runs around
your underarm
to your chestbone
windows in
the forest floor
so you can lean and see
where the rest goes
hold onto
the vision you
saw in their eyes
when they first cried
across your face
aloud your name
whatever you love will fade

la la la la

Country Funeral made sense from the start; when Daniel began that drift on the snare along with the chords, it never changed again.  Melissa Colins came around one day to my house and we recorded her violin on Garageband. Anthony Petrucci did the same for the guitar melodies throughout. Just made them up. Some days I think they’re the best things on there. And there are sounds in there that I know aren’t. Birds singing near the start. A harmony at the end. And yet, it sounds like it. Ha.

There’s a video I watched not long ago of us working this out in a house on Phillip Island. I’ll find and post.


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