I was faced with a choice, at a difficult age. Would I write a book, or should I take to the stage

Monday, June 14


In Australia, all anyone seems to want to speak of is Peter Garrett joining the Labor party. If Fop was allowed to interview Peter Garrett, we would not ask him about why he picked the ALP over the Greens or about whether he lives in the correct electorate. What we WOULD be asking about is his view on "seminal" Oz Rock Standard "Beds are Burning" being covered by a group with a singer who looks like this:

You see, German pop-trance affair Novaspace has recently punched out an extremely pleasing hands-in-the-air cover of "Beds are Burning". If you haven't heard it, think a Home Brand DJ Sammy, ESL, girl in a pink dress, girly PWL-style harmonies. How excellent!

Except, is it? Fop would usually be THRILLED to support any disco-dolly cover version of an "important" rock "classic". It's always very nice to see the wind taken out of the sails of something pompously masculine that people think is "proper", and watching the same people getting terribly upset by the "blasphemy" and so forth. When someone like Natalie Browne bangs out a Hi-NRG version of "Wonderwall" or "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for an aerobics compiliation, overly mythologised music gets revealed for what it actually is. A nice tune. Which can be dressed up, or, tediously, down.

But "Beds are Burning" (embarrassingly revealed to be John Howard's favourite Midnight Oil song last week) is about Something Serious. Aboriginal land rights. Which Fop SUPPORTS. And call us crazy, but isn't it possible that a pop-trance reworking of this song for a market that doesn't actually HAVE any significant land rights issues of its own (ie Germany) serve to strip it of its message? Do you SEE the quandary? Oh, it's complicated.

In the end, Novaspace's version is so good, and we're such whores for trashy cover versions that we still support this song (it is admittedly a bit late to be getting on board, but Australia seems to have only just got it). Pop beats politics. Is this wrong? IS IT?


At 5:23 pm, Blogger iPatrickBlake said...

Oooh I must hear this song.

At 5:52 pm, Blogger Crystal Gallagher-Starr said...

Have the lyrics really been changed to 'HOW CAN WE DANCE, WHEN OUR EARTH IS TURNING?'?

At 7:56 pm, Blogger Fop said...

The chorus goes:
How can we dance when our earth is turning?
How do we sleep while our beds are burning?

But they were the original words, weren't they?

At 10:06 am, Blogger Crystal Gallagher-Starr said...

Could be! Dunno...I only understand the Beds Are Burning line. No, but good, they haven't changed any of the important message then. It was always about dancing.

I'm sort of in the mood for some Midnight Oil now.

At 3:34 pm, Blogger iPatrickBlake said...

Ooooh yes I have the song and I keep listening to it over and over again. I LOVE IT.

At 12:47 pm, Blogger Edward O said...

I don't like it, not because I like the original (there are heaps of Oils songs better, John Howard is clearly making it up, the silly old fart), or think that the seriousness of the tune makes reswizzling it for the duhnce-floor a no-no, I hate the singer's voice and I wouldn't duhnce to it. Ah well.


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