A couple of years ago I lived in a sprawling share house in the inner west with a bunch of artsy straight kids. It was, say, 1999. At that stage in our lives we were all past eight-billed punk gigs at Vic on the Park, past toying with butane and all employed full-time. Of course, living like hogs and constantly stimulated by others in our age group, we weren’t past corruption. There were many high-concept theme parties at that house furnished with mid-level prestige beer, bad powder and amyl nitrate. The music was anything high in dynamics and vaguely euphoric: Aphex Twin, Happy Mondays, Michael Nyman, Suede. At one stage there was even a marriage in the house, the rooms submerged in red lighting from a train of Chinese lanterns, the walls draped with pictures from 1960s medical journals and the crowd succumbing to stifled laughter as the civil celebrant was forced to read a piecemeal accretion of wedding vows peppered by Suede lyrics such as: I join these two people together/let’s chase the dragon/and the vows we witness exchanged tonight are a symbol of love/for we are the pigs. Typical of these share house experiences, one morning I woke up to eight people on the living room floor, felt acutely claustrophobic and resolved to get my own apartment. Parallel to this, I remember interviewing Suede’s Brett Anderson about his new album Head Music. The album was a progression, he told me. A maturation. More streamlined. Suede didn’t want grand rock euphorics any more, just hard-surfaced pop. I thought it sucked. Anderson made me feel claustrophobic, his anaemic new album a testament to my haemorrhaging respect for communal living and dirty carpeting. With New Morning, things have got much, much worse. Flaccid, middle-aged, bland and haughty. What’s happening to my life?

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