Mama don’t you cry

It took me by surprise when I started to cry as James Reyne was singing Hoochie Gucci Fiorucci Mama at the Toronto Hotel on Friday night.

The happy tears mixed with the rain that was pouring down my face.

The song barely registered on my radar when it was released in the early Eighties, but it got me for some reason on Friday night.

I usually weep at some point during live concerts these days – my heart gets so filled with joy that the emotion leaks out of my eyes.

And it felt so good to be at a gig watching Reyne croon “Oh hoochie gucci fiorucci mama, don’t you cry”.

We’d travelled to Lake Macquarie to meet our Newie friends Kim and Jason – via my parents’ place for a quick glass of wine – and see the first gig in the 40th anniversary of Boys Light Up tour.

I’d never been to the Toronto Hotel before. It’s an impressive, historic pub that was built in 1887 from locally-made bricks.

When we booked our tickets to the “Live at the Lake” concert in the pub’s beer garden, I imagined us reclining on the grass with glasses of wine in hand like this …

The reality was ..


I wasn’t a fan of Australian Crawl when I was growing up. But I vividly remember the moment I realised what Boys Light Up was about.

I was around 14 and peddling furiously on a dodgy exercise bike in my grandparents garage. 2KO was playing on the radio and I heard the words:

Silently she opens the drawer
Mother’s little helper is coming out for more
Strategically positioned before The Midday Show
Her back is arched, those lips are parched
Repeated blow by blow

I was quite startled. Apparently it got banned by some radio stations and only climbed to No.22 on the charts. Ten years later, “I touch myself” by the Divinyls went to No.1.

Aussies obviously loosened up.

We almost pulled the plug on the concert – DD and I were seriously questioning our sanity as we drove up the freeway in the pelting rain – but I am so glad we went. It was AWESOME.

Boys Light Up, Errol, Reckless, Beautiful People, Oh No Not You Again … all bloody brilliant. I danced and sang like a loon.

And we scored the best spot, standing on the edge of a gutter (classy) in the beer garden, which meant no one was tall enough to block our view of the stage. It also gave a great slice-of-life view of the women in front of us dancing with wild abandon while holding two schooners of beer each (even classier).

I was hoarse, drenched and cactus by the time we trailed to a nearby motel after the gig. I have no idea how James Reyne managed to turn around and perform again at the Enmore Theatre on Saturday night. He’s more than a decade older than me!

But then maybe he wasn’t sleeping in a room with paper thin walls and a bloke sneezing 15 times (not an exaggeration) at midnight.

Saturday was a bit of an exhausted blur for us. We grabbed some brekkie in Toronto, then took the scenic route through Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast back to Sydney, stopping for a quick plate of dumplings in Terrigal.

I texted my friend Wendy to say the weather wasn’t looking great for the walk we’d pencilled in the diary for 3pm and she replied “Actually, you have a drinks party pencilled in.”

Oooops. I broke it to DD that he wouldn’t be getting his afternoon nap on the couch and he changed direction to my neck of the woods.

We hadn’t packed clothes for a drinks party, so we looked a little dishevelled as we dashed into the fabulous soiree – featuring waiters, champagne, fresh prawns and gourmet pizzas – on Wendy’s terrace. The rain held off and the local kookaburras and rainbow lorikeets flew down to perch on the railing.

It may not have been how we were expecting our day to end, but it was lovely.

And then we went backed up for a 50th birthday lunch at Balmoral on Sunday for one of DD’s besties, Lara. It was held at a glammy waterfront restaurant called Public, after being cancelled twice due to lockdowns.

Here’s some food porn …

The birthday menu included roasted saffron SA king prawns, capsicum mascarpone mousse, fermented cucumber, crispy san daniele proscuitto, prawn chilli oil; Grasslands eye fillet, eggplant & truffle puree, mushrooms, duxelle croquette, red wine jus; and summer pineapple salsa, vanilla lime sponge, malibu chantilly, feuilletine crunch, coconut sorbet. Yum!

Lara gave an amazing speech that was a poem with lines mentioning every guest.

It’s all been so fun and delicious … and exhausting.

Rack off Monday, I need another weekend.

How was yours?

Song of the day: Australian Crawl “Boys light up”

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