Friday, September 04, 2009

Downhearted

Tonight’s Wild Reed “Friday night music spot” features the promotional video for “Downhearted,” the third single released by the Australian surf rock band Australian Crawl from their 1980 debut album, The Boys Light Up.

“Downhearted” was released in May 1980 and reached #12 on the Australian Singles Chart in July of that year.






I left my heart back in the Orient
down on Bali bays
It’s not the way that I should feel
but it’s the way I’m going to stay

Downhearted
Broken dreams that never really started
Yeah, downhearted
Broken dreams that never really start

It seems all wrong back here at home
There’s no end in sight
Should I be made to drag you through
this lovers endless fight?

Downhearted
Broken dreams that never really started
Yeah, downhearted
Broken dreams that never really start

I sometimes I think that we should stay
happy on the farm
I sometimes I think that I’ll give it all away,
this love and all its charm

Downhearted
Broken dreams that never really started
Yeah, downhearted
Broken dreams that never really start


Australian Crawl was voted the Countdown 1981 Most Popular Group, and the band’s front man, James Reyne, was 1980 and 1981 Most Popular Male Performer. After the band split-up in 1986, Reyne went on to a successful solo career.

In my last year of high school (1983), during an excursion to Sydney from my rural hometown of Gunnedah, a number of my classmates spied James Reyne in an art gallery. Many of the girls went kinda ga-ga – so much so that security had to escort Reyne out a side door. As closeted as I was back then, I probably would’ve gone a bit ga-ga, too, had I seen him.

I remember James Reyne starring in a popular TV mini-series around that time; Return to Eden, it was called. Its plot was totally ridiculous and James wasn’t a very good actor. There was one brief scene, however, that left an indelible impression on me, and it involved James emerging from a Sydney Harbor-side pool in a pair of black speedos (see 1.12 in this YouTube video).

Now, at that time, I was pretty much involved in a lonely, inner struggle about simply the possibility that I was gay - a struggle I desperately tried to downplay, if not completely ignore. But watching that scene from
Return to Eden . . . well, it stirred things up in me; brought certain realities to the fore. All of which made me profoundly uncomfortable.

Years later I attempted to convey this experience and others like it in my poem “Shards of Summer.” Also years later, a nun shared with me some words of wisdom that, looking back, are very appropriate to my coming out journey, heralded, in part, by the image of a speedo-wearing James Reyne: “The truth sets you free, but first it makes you uncomfortable.”


Musical artists previously featured at The Wild Reed”:
PJ and Duncan, Cass Elliot, The Church, Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield, Wall of Voodoo, Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy, Pink Floyd, Kate Ceberano, Judith Durham, Wendy Matthews, Buffy Sainte-Marie, 1927, Mavis Staples, Maxwell, Joan Baez, Tee Set, Darren Hayes, Suede, Wet, Wet, Wet, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Cruel Sea, Shirley Bassey, Loretta Lynn & Jack White, Maria Callas, Foo Fighters, Jenny Morris, Scissor Sisters, Kate Bush, Rufus Wainwright, and Dusty Springfield.


2 comments:

Mareczku said...

Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed it. Your post was so touching here. You are an inspiration.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Thanks, Mareczku.