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Alan K | all galleries >> Galleries >> Hanging Out In My PAD 2014 > 20141116_1306 "Oh The Flame Trees Will Blind The Weary Driver..." (Sun 16 Nov)
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16-Nov-2014 AKMC

20141116_1306 "Oh The Flame Trees Will Blind The Weary Driver..." (Sun 16 Nov)

Thirroul, Illawarra, NSW

"And there's nothing else could set fire to this town
There's no change, there's no pace
Everything within its place
Just makes it harder to believe that she won't be around"

In late 1970's / early 1980's Australia, a lot of the biggest names in music got their start playing "pub rock". During the 90's this faded out a bit as Generation Me would buy properties near pubs and complain about the noise, and vote hungry councillors would comply by enforcing bans. However that was in the future at the time and one group that made its name on the pub scene was Cold Chisel, whose front man Jimmy Barnes sounded like he was gargling gravel with an amplifier in his throat and still managed to make it sound good.

One of their last hits was the song Flame Trees, the lyrics for which, I'm sure you've already guessed, are quoted above. The song is about a guy from a country town returning home to catch up with old friends and try to forget about a lost love.

In reality the author of the song claimed that the inspiration came from the (mauve) flowers of the Jacaranda tree from his native Grafton, rather than the (extremely red) flowers of the Illawarra Flame Tree (brachychiton acerifolius) that we see here. However "Jacaranda tree" didn't scan as well lyrically, and of course was hardly useful for the metaphor used in the lyrics that I've quoted. In addition to which, much of the song is about an old flame for which purple Jacaranda flowers just won't cut it.

The video for the clip was shot in Oberon in central NSW which has no connection whatsoever with either Grafton or the Illawarra. And which seemed to lack "flame trees" of any colour. (And what really bugs me about the video clip is that the woman who plays the lost love looks really, really familiar to me and yet I can't place her. It's vaguely possible that I dated someone who was very similar to her (or her?) during my horrifying decade-long trek across the barren wastelands of internet dating, but I just can't connect the dots on that one and have never been able to find out who she is.) James Barnes Esq. does not in fact appear in the video except in a couple of clips from some of Cold Chisel's concerts since the rest of the band wasn't talking to him at that point and hadn't told him that they were making the video.

Nonetheless it was a good song, and of course my inclusion of the speed sign pays tribute to the line of lyrics quoted in the title. (And the red circle around the 50 does no harm.)


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Julie Oldfield27-Dec-2014 03:19
Great story behind the image. Very interesting to see how it fits in with the photo. The reds are stunning. Very well composed. V
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