Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Melbourne Sharpies

Here's an interesting bit of YouTubage Aussie youth culture detritus that Ken Shimamoto twigged me to. This is from a 1974 student film by Skyhooks bassist Greg Macainsh called "Melbourne Sharpies". It was shot at a Melbourne Cricket Ground concert by Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and Lobby Loyde & The Coloured Balls, the latter their band-of-choice.

If you're too young to remember or from outside Australia, sharpies (or sharps) were territorial street gangs who ruled various pieces of suburban turf from the late '60s through to the late '80s. The Celibate Rifles' song "Paddo Sharps" recalls them well.

Part Clockwork Orange, part precursors to punk, the most prominent took no shit - and god help you if you were a youngster that wandered into the wrong milk bar or pinball parlour.

That's the Coloured Balls' "GOD" playing as the soundtrack, by the way. There's a website devoted to the Australian sharpies here if you're interested.

Thankfully, most of the sharpies grew up. Most became parking inspectors, lawyers or merchant bankers.

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