DON’T THROW YOUR LOVE AWAY – by Broderick Smith

December 2009.
By Broderick Smith, aged 16.

dingoesIt’s early 1964. It’s summer and my family is living in St. Albans, an SBS town about 18 kms or so out of Melbourne, a small city still resplendent with colonial buildings, the home of the AFL and somewhat questionable artistic pretensions.

I back this last statement up with the fact that every town or village in Victoria that the Yups have invaded has a Paris end of something. Is there a Melbourne end of the Champs-Élysées? I don’t think so. Back to St Albans.
It’s a Saturday and my brother and I, armed with slug guns and satchels filled with mint spread sandwiches and Passiona bottles are heading off to the Keilor tip to hook up with some Yugo pals and go shooting rats. This is what boys do. The blokes at the tip tell us where the rats are and we start dropping them.
Out of the corner of my eye I see a weird metal thing lying by some used nappies. I kick ‘em away and pull out this guitar covered in green paint. Neck, body, everything. The neck’s broken but it’s all there.

Now, I notice under the paint that the guitar body has palm trees etched into the metal. You’re cottoning on, right?
It’s a National or a Dobro. A modern luthier would work on it and probably bring it back to life for under a grand (with Waverley tuners).A luthier at the time would have used industrial glue and screwed and nailed the thing together, in between fixing pushbikes.
I kid you not. There it is at the tip. I take it home.

I’ve been into blues and folk music for a couple of years at this stage and even though I don’t know what it is, I know it’s cool, very cool.
We jump over the back fence and run into the kitchen where my mum and dad are.
“Look what I found at the tip”
Dad takes one look and says, “ What’s that rubbish”?
“It’s a guitar. I’m gonna clean it and repair it.” (In other words, totally trash it.)
“Take it out of the house.”
Okay, I put it in the shed ready for the big restoration.

Now, a week or so later I go out to look for it but it’s not around. I find out from Mum that Dad took it back to the tip with some other crap.
I’m not happy, but it’s summer and my mates and I are more concerned about swimming in the local creek and shooting up the rat army anyway.
We now switch to 1966. I’ve got a job in Melbourne as an office boy or some other kitchen sink drama job. I’m walking by Clemens music store in Russell street and there gleaming in the window in all it’s chromed glory is a National guitar.  Just like the one from the tip. I go in and ask Mr. Clemens how much is it. He says “six hundred pounds.” In today’s money that’s enough to buy, let’s say, a block of land in the tougher satellite towns outside of Melbourne.
Surprise … surprise.

That evening at home sitting at the dinner table with Mum and Dad and my brother I comment.
“Hey Dad!”
“Yes Son?”
“Do you remember that old green painted metal guitar years ago that I found at the tip and you threw out?”
“I saw one today in a shop in Melbourne”.
“It was six hundred pounds”.

Now. At this point my mum looks at Dad and he looks at her and not a word is spoken. I gloat in the fact that he made a big booboo. I’m the oldest son and naturally at war with him.

Some years later the council filled the tip in and today about 100 brick veneer homes sit on it.
During the next big floods when the unstable land those houses sit on starts sliding down towards the creek ( with the houses as well ), you might find what remains of that guitar sticking out of the hillside.

“Such is life” as Kyle Sandilands said before being shot in the back of the neck by a Mossad agent (sorry, just daydreaming).
Okay, the story ends here but I want all you young musicians out there to take this article to your parents and make them read it so disasters like this never happen again.