The Heat of the Moment is All that You Need

Thursday 31 March 2005

I have a record player in working order. As a consequence, friends unload their old, unwanted vinyl onto me – in copious quantitites – assuaging their guilt over chucking their once-beloved Bros LP on the pretence that it is now going to ‘a good home’. I’m too soft a touch to say no to them, so it all gets shelved away regardless of quality.
It is a poorly-kept secret that nerdboys like me typically regard their record collections as extensions of their (for want of a better word) personality, and just as men are conditioned to repress their emotions, so do they conceal or expunge records which they deem unflattering or embarrassing. Sorry if all this has been said before in High Fidelity or something, a book-movie tie-in from which I have been spared thus far, and to which I do not wish to expose myself on the grounds that Nick Hornby is – and I’m drifting off my intended topic here so I’ll boil things down a bit – a cunt.
Years of making myself an empty vessel into which the musical tastes of others may be poured has enabled me to disassociate from the more dubious platters on display: ex-girlfriend’s Cat Stevens albums? Mine! Somebody’s housemate’s friend’s Shelleyan Orphan debut? Welcome aboard! Dire Straits? Actually, they’re mine but my dad nicked the ‘good’ ones, which shdv’e wised me up earlier. The collection is now large enough to have reached critical mass, which means that a copy of Rumours spontaneously appears one day without explanation.
The little gem of this motley assortment of orphans is a 7-inch single my friend Kaz found in a Bendigo op-shop.

There’s no record company named on the record label, or even a copyright notice anywhere on the record or sleeve. The back cover, however, has a small notice in the corner saying it was manufactured and distrubuted by EMI. The catalogue number, JD 2602, suggests Julie Dawn put out the record herself, and that it’s not her first. It was recorded in Canberra in 1990, after CDs had begun their inexorable takeover of the pop market.
It’s a double-A side single, where you can hear your choice of Julie Dawn’s tentative, wonky voice singing her self-penned anthem in either English or poorly-enunciated German. The German translation is literal, with no attempt to rhyme or scan, and seems to be unidiomatic (does “die Welt am deine Füße” really mean the same as “the world at your feet” in German?) The sleeve notes give special thanks to the Austrian Club of Canberra, so you’d think they’d know their German.
All my efforts to find out anything at all about Julie Dawn and her record have drawn a blank. I did find something about Peter Coleman and Marcus Holden, who produced and played on this record, on a website about Canberran musicians. Here’s a pic of them on the left, playing in their band The Slick Neatos back in 1978.

I’ve become obsessed with this little record, playing it over and over. It poses so many questions to me. Who are these people? Where are they now? Why does this record exist? Was it cashing in on a large Austrian community in Canberra? Why was someone in Canberra inspired to make a record about Austria? What is an Austrian Flame? According to Google it’s either a lamp, a type of wood finish or a Warcraft clan. Is the photo of Julie Dawn on the cover superimposed on the background, or was she photographed in front of one of those wallpaper murals you used to see in dentists’ waiting rooms*?
As a special service, for one week only at the Boring Like A Drill Hit Parade, you can hear for yourself this magnificent tune in your choice of language.
(MP3 files, 2.9 MB each)
* Closer inspection suggests it’s the former, unless she’s resting her arms on thin air or she’s 800 metres tall. One step closer to enlightenment.