This is the story of Robert Forster’s journey with one of Australia’s most unique and inspiring bands – The Go-Betweens. For the most part Robert shared this journey with the late Grant McLennan who passed away prematurely in 2006. We also get an insight into growing up in 70’s Brisbane as well as the late 70’s early 80’s music scene in the Queensland police state era where being in a band would most likely get you arrested.
On paper Forster and McLennan seemed like an odd pairing but the equation of city boy + country lad x mutual cultural appreciations = some of the most endearing pop moments ever created.
The book has a casualness to it which makes it easy to absorb. It slices open the world of song writing, recording and touring with the various incarnations of The Go-Betweens as well as the intrinsically linked lives of Forster and McLennan. It does this without corrupting the Forster/McLennan enigma that exists for us mere mortals who could only ever dream of creating aBachelor Kisses (1983) or Head Full of Steam (1986). Forster name drops a plethora of 80’s new wave and independent music bit players throughout this history but without any pretentiousness.
For a non-local who has had a hard time finding my place in Brisbane this book has given me some perspective. For all the quirky celebrities and questionable politicians this state produces (is it the heat? Is it in the water?) it is heartening to know that the heat and/or water can also produce such an important slice of music history and in Forster, one of the coolest people to walk the planet. And for all its faults Forster was continually drawn back to Brisbane. Continue reading Grant and I: Inside and Outside The Go-Betweens by Robert Forster