12
Oct 05

DAY 49: Fast Boat To Sydney
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 389 views

Floating around in the Pacific Ocean with nothing but a novelty inflatable mattress for company has to be one of the worst experiences of my life. It is certainly up there with listening to There She Goes by the La’s on autorepeat in the back of a cab during the May Day riots of 1999. Though I was slightly less nauseous.

Still it did offer me a degree of contemplation on how dull life is without a G&T in your hand, that Rod Stewart’s Sailing was an adequate precis of the horror of the sea, and what the hell was that speedboat doing aiming directly at my head. A flailing of arms later and the boat spun, spraying me with more dehydrating salty water and I was pulled aboard.

It turned out that the boat was the Virgin Challenger, and was attempting the fastest US to Australia sea crossing. Not only that but the small boat only had room for a crew of two, the bloke steering and Richard Branson, who was in the cabin below.

Do you ever find yourself in an amazingly fortuitous position and not take advantage? I have to say that I am very good at taking advantage, which is exactly what I did here. Running below decks, I managed to incapacitate Mr Branson, tie him to a rope and chuck him overboard.

“That’s for Tubular Bells, you twat”. I shouted as the boat sped off to Sydney.


Fast Boat To Sydney :Johnny Cash & June Carter

A lot of people were upset last year when Johnny Cash died, saying it robbed us of one of the finest voices of a generation. This may be true (but unlikely, have you heard From Sea To Shining Sea?) but the generation in question was well over 70, at which point we can hardly say we were robbed. Indeed in a career with about fifty albums we cannot really say that he had left anything undone, except maybe a diversion into Gabba House where he may have finally displayed some talent. Equally when his wife June Carter died earlier that year, her case file was full of appalling albums. She comes from a family, The Carter Family, who are notorious as the Krays at committing musical crimes. Between them they have produced more criminal records than any other married couple.

HELLO GUARDS IN SAN QUENTIN AND FULSOM PRISONS. DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT YOUR JOB IS?

If you ask a five year old how to recognise a bad guy, he will possibly say “The Man In Black”. And so it was with Johnny Cash, and the Bonnie to his Clyde, June. Raiding up and down the country (music scene), drifting from rogues to evangelists. Anything to turn a buck, nevertheless it is unsurprising their favourite audiences were in prisons.

EVER HEARD OF A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE?

Anyway, without going on a career retrospective which would appall even the Nuremberg Trials, let us take Fast Boat To Sydney as a perfect example of their crimes. From a duet album Carryin’ On from the mid sixties, the song recounts how Johnny is going on a fast boat to Sydney. In Australia.

WHERE DID THEY USED TO SEND CONVICTS?

Anyway June is worried he might stray, Johnny is worried he won’t get work and the listener is worried that the torment will ever end. It does, but too late for anyone involved. Carryin’ On? They Carried On forever, which is no cause to bemoan their loss.

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