Skip to content

Sweet home under white clouds (the house, part 3)


“I had never seen so much sex, snarl, poetry, evil, restraint, grace, filth, raw power and the very essence of rock and roll. U2 gave me lashes of love and inspiration and a few nights later the Virgin Prunes fucked me up.”
– Courtney Love

I could easily have been goth or emo and have the scars on my arms to prove it. I was always partial to that black eye makeup too. The sort that makes you look like you were crying all night as you clawed free from a grave.

I like morbid stuff. Things to do with death. Especially mine. Whether it’s a movie about war, zombies or sinister neighbours with poor parking skills you’ve probably got my attention. By age twelve I could quote extensively from Bela Lugosi.

And I’ve always loved black humour. I see it everywhere. Someone recently told me that the inspirational aphorism “Fall seven times. Stand up eight.” doesn’t imply death. Of course it does. Everything does. No, I’m exaggerating. Life does. Constantly. Until you finally stop standing up. It can take a little while to get the hint.

Yeah, I sort of liked early Cure. I was impressed by a performance I caught during my student days in Newcastle, and again by Robert Smith at a Siouxsie and the Banshees gig. So I bought their first two albums. Played ’em too. But even though they got the hairstyles right and made interesting pop music I never saw The Cure as a credible goth band like, say, Joy Division, The Gun Club or The Birthday Party. Bands that make you wanna stop playing with that razor and use it.

But there’s one hair and makeup goth band I’ve always loved.

When I was living in an early 80s communal household in Sydney three Irishmen, all recently arrived in Australia, moved in. Yes, this is the beginning of an extended Irish joke, but that’s not what I’m telling here. Not all of it.

When they noticed I was into music, the subject of Irish musicians inevitably arose. I knew better than to reach for my Stiff Little Fingers and Undertones albums. Seemingly trivial differences such as those between the Republic and Ulster can be a big deal to those who live nearby. But I had no hesitation cutting off their rhapsodising over U2 and Horslips with the haunting rhythms of my all time favourite Irish band.


“Umm, yeah, The Virgin Prunes. My brother went to see them once. Pretty wild he said. They perform in the nuddy. Covered in mud.”

My housemates’ musical patriotism had deserted under fire. That was OK. I could offer them a home away from home by giving the whole building the auditory ambience of a seedy Dublin venue. Again and again. Night after night. Surely they’d come to love The Virgin Prunes too.


I compulsively collected their records but never got the chance to see the Virgin Prunes live. It wasn’t until Youtube I learned they’re theatre as much as they are music. So I binged on them all over again.

From → autobiography

  1. sineda87 permalink

    You just introduced me to new tunes. I’m liking decline and fall as well as their performance.


  2. I’m not familiar with these guys but their music is right up my street. Love the theatrics too. I will be checking out more of their stuff. Thanks.


  3. ‘Theme For Thought’ is lovely. I’m hooked!


Over to you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: