Skanking anyone?

It’s always been difficult to find a happy middle ground for Kim and I. Particularly with books and music – we’re just so damn sure that what we each like is great, and that sooner or later the other partner will come around and realise the errors of their ways. We have a big collection of books, but have only read a half-dozen in common. We joined the Brunswick book group and struggled with books that neither of us liked, but at least we tried. Then along came a Nick Hornsby book, and she’s flat out refusing to read it! With music when both in the same room, we settle on a strange mix that’s inoffensive to both parties – 80’s Alternative Hits, New Romantic stuff, an occasional Go Betweens or Pixies or Jam record. But I know that what she really wants is to belt out some of that Aretha Franklin crap AND DRIVE ME OUT OF THE HOUSE VIA BLACK SOUL. Oddly, we both seem to have gone through Ska phases in the 80’s. Kim hung out with the Rude Boy crowd and bought cheap Australian equivalents of the Freddy Perry shirts and envied the whole Brit Scene. I shaved my head, wore a pair of workboots and saw the odd local shows by No Nonsense, Strange Tennants and Looney Tunes. When I found out that The Special Beat (a mixture of members of The English Beat and The Specials) were touring, I knew it would be the sort of thing we would both enjoy in our own way. For the second time in two weeks, the Corner was totally packed with a 30-50+ year old crowd who were gunning for a good time. I didn’t realise it at the time, but there were die-hard Specials fans there who had waited 25 years to see their favourite band. So, IT WENT OFF LIKE A FROG IN A SOCK. The two singers, “Ranking” Roger (Beat) and Neville Staples (Specials) alternated best-of songs for an hour and a half, 95% of that topless, whilst a bass player jogged on the spot, and “Ranking Junior” – his son joined in the toasting. There was a great deal of pogo-ing and skanking amongst the crowd, and in some songs, the singer just stopped and let the crowd sing whole verses. Talk about a knowledgable audience. I felt like a bit of an imposter, but did my fair share of jigging (Kim did more than most) – how could you not? They played the slow crowd pleaser “Message to you Rudy” and the awesome “Save it for Later” and personal favourite “Best Friend”. We went home buzzing. Two days later I couldn’t stand it anymore and dragged out “I Just Can’t Stop It” for a pre-breakfast singalong. Ranking-Roger.jpg
Ranking Roger, the skinniest, most musclebound punk-toaster you’ve ever seen.