The Humdrum segment presented by Molly Meldrum on Countdown every Sunday evening was always in our household a never miss moment. Dinner hastily gorged and gathered around the Rank Arena to learn what new sounds we had to be aware of ~ “do yourself a favour.”
The late 70’s were still recovering from the rude intrusion of punk. Still trying to work out what happened after it had effectively finished. So punk. A form of synth pop was emerging. Most of it simplistic pop masked by High Street fashion.
A new performer, Gary Numan and The Tubeway Army , somehow electrified the ABC screen with the song “Are Friends’ Electric.” What did the title mean, question or statement? The opening layers and waves of keyboard had an inviting edge that for my ears, forged a link to the recent punk sounds. I was hooked.
It’s cold outside
And the paint’s peeling off of my walls
There’s a man outside
In a long coat, grey hat, smoking a cigarette
The light patterns. The mysterious movements and camera angles doing Numan no favors. Almost like a shy performance that contained immense power. Miming not an option to consider. Utterly engaging.
So long ago. A time and youth in a country town that becomes harder to recognise. Recently, by accident, through devoted listening to community radio while driving my battered car, I heard a film review that featured Numan — Android in LaLa Land. Left hand instinctively guided by childhood muscle memory reaches to turn up the volume and listen.
An insight into an artist, stricken by Asperger sydnrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Being afraid to lose grip of reality, pressured to produce songs while unknowingly having to share his mind space thinking about kittens. An unexpected awakening to extend much further beyond the pleasure principle