Good karma

In my unromantic youth I did my wedding on the cheap.

A blog post about that day recalled: “Who was I on my wedding day? I was hopelessly naive. Not about the wedding night or catering costs or anything. No surprises there. But when it came to transport, I was a wide-eyed innocent. No, scrap that. I was a tight-arse fool. I didn’t organise transportation to my own wedding. On purpose. To save money. We lived in East Sydney, I figured I’d just flag a cab down. I stood on a grotty street corner, enormous bouquet in one hand, forlornly waving at cabs and prostitutes with the other. I got one eventually, but you really don’t need that stress in your life. Not on your wedding day.”

There was also no wedding cake, no bridesmaids, no video and no sit-down dinner. The venue was a stark photographic studio on Broadway in Sydney. I ran a tight ship.

But there were two extravagances …

The first was my dress, from Collette Dinnigan. It’s the single most expensive item I’ve ever bought, aside from houses and cars. The idea was to choose something I could wear again on special occasions. (I wore it twice. It no longer fits me – no matter how much weight I lose – because the kids expanded my ribcaged with their little pushy feet.) I fell in love with the dress when Kylie Minogue wore it on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. The dressmaker suggested I try on Kylie’s frock at the fitting. Yeah right, love, I’d be lucky to squeeze one of my thighs into that.

My other extravagance for the wedding was hiring our favourite band to play, Karma County. They had a song called Oleanna. Soooooo beautiful. And close enough to my name to make the perfect serenade as I walked down the “aisle”.


That was 16 years ago. My marriage and Karma County are no more.

But Karma County’s lead singer Brendan Gallagher – and I – soldier on.

I went to see him launch his new album, Sonofobituary, last night. Here’s how he describes it: “Sonofobituary, a sob, job story I could tell. Rewriting history, fetching water back to the well. Half a dozen songs, a six pack of impressions. Great expectations, indignation, whimsy, melancholy, incredulity and barefaced revisionism. My 4th solo release and 1st EP. With longtime comrades Jonathan Zwartz (double bass), Rob Souter & Declan Kelly (drums), and some new pals, Julien Wilson (sax) & Eamon Dilworth (trumpet) along for the ride.”

I really could have done with an early one after having waaaaaaaay too much fun at the pub the previous night. But I’d bought tickets, so I took a deep breath and headed to Surry Hills.

My hangover was forgotten the moment he started to sing. He has the most glorious voice. He started out acoustically – just him and a guitar on stage trawling through some of his back catalogue, including some of my Karma County favourites. He even played one of the songs I requested at my wedding – The Lifesaver’s Love Song. It was heaven.

(In another blast from the past, Dave Mason from The Reels was in the audience. Remember Quasimodo’s Dream? He bought Brendan a glass of red wine when he got thirsty in the second set.)

The photos are crap because it was so dark in the venue …

brendan-2 brendan-1

But it was bulk fun. I would go and watch Brendan perform again in a heartbeat.

Song of the day: Karma County “Postcard”


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