I'm blogging this now, at 11.30pm while BB sleeps and the cats wrestle each other in the loungeroom because I'm not paying them enough attention, because if I don't, the weekend will run away from me and I'll forget to do it later.
I went to the Canberra leg of the Baterz tribute concert; I almost didn't go because I'm pretty tired and felt like piking, but Crit egged me on (one of our friendship glues is a mutual love of Baterz) and so I went. And I'm really, really glad I did.
Baterz was the most amazing... um, I want to say musician, but he was more than that. He died in 2002 in his Jesus year (33) after a long struggle with various illnesses and conditions he'd developed after picking up Hep C from a blood transfusion that he'd needed as a haemophiliac. In that short life he lived with such a capacity for joy and humour and such an articulate insight into society's dark bits that he was a underground (and consequently cult) role model for many, including me. I used to go to his Canberra gigs as often as I could, which was actually fairly often, as he would appear at the Folk Festival, and then do extra gigs, because his family was in Canberra.
Speaking of family, remember how I was rapt about finding The Lighthouse Keepers on eMusic? Well, Juliet, the lead singer of TLK, is the big sister of Baterz, and she was one of the powerhouses behind the tribute show and the tribute CD, Great Big Squiddy Fun. She was up there on stage tonight, singing with the likes of Phil Moriarty (nee Gadflies), Mal Webb and Soursob Bob. It was brilliant. And we all sang along, to every word.
People were asked to tell Baterz stories; a lot of people in the room had Baterz stories, since this is the town in which he grew up, but I think they were fairly shy. I took the chance to ask: At many of his Canberra gigs, there had been a coterie of young lads who were absolute fans. They used to make their own fan t-shirts and hats and sit right up against the stage and sing along adoringly. Whatever happened to them? Are any of them here now?
A person sitting behind me said: One was my friend! He had a Baterz-themed 18th birthday, and we all had to turn up as our favorite Baterz or Bedridden (his band) characters.
How chuffed was I to hear that? I love getting a result.
If you want a piece of the action, or wonder what all the fuss is about, you can buy the Tribute CD that has just been launched. It's called GREAT BIG SQUIDDY FUN and it is a double CD with a bonus extra 3rd CD called BATERZ FOR BEGINNERS and all three are less than $30. You can get it in Canberra at Landspeed Records, probably somewhere cool in other capital cities, or from here (that link is worth clicking for more info on B). If you like a big laugh while you're crying, I highly recommend it.
Gawd, off to bed. I have to get up for the markets in the morning!
POSTSCRIPT: I've spent all day listening to the tribute album with complete enjoyment. I thought it was going to be a bit lumpen -- good-intentioned but amateurish (last night was fun in a very let's-make-it-up-on-the-night way, and I thought it was setting the tone of the recording) -- but I was very happy to discover a really well-produced and fantastically broad interpretation of the wonder of Baterz. Please, if you like alternate fun and weirdness, buy the album. All proceeds go towards re-releasing (and thus keeping alive) both Baterz and The Bedridden recordings, which is a GREAT cause.