How NOT to write about music – 74. Parsnip

parnsip the shifters

I jumped the shark a while back.

I turned my back (once again) on the community I helped create and nurture, and instead foraged out wildly by myself, flailing, friendless, still not understanding the need for support while all around me, everywhere, the argument against loneliness, against isolation, is so apparent. My life outside my work and my children does not exist. I float from sleep-state to sleep-state, not picking up the phone, not sending messages, not (heaven forbid) arranging to meet anyone or wander outside (if I do go outside it is to stare blankly at rows of meaningless goods in Sainsbury’s). Not watching TV, not reading books, not writing about music, not listening to music. Tell you what I will do.

I will try and counter that. One reason I rarely ask for recommendations from friends is: what do I do with this profusion of music, this outpouring of delights? How many times can I sing praises into a darkening sky? Should you still perform after the room has emptied, save for a bartender disinterestedly polishing glasses in the corner? How many references to the past does one throw in before  no one takes any notice?

I want to write about Parsnip. I love the warm burr to the voices and guitars, the way their songs put me in mind of Dunedin on a rainy day in 1999. That sounds so fucking long ago now. I want to write about Parsnip, the way this clatter of female harmonies and warming keyboard remind me of meadows somewhere outside London with my friends Twelve Cubic Feet three lifetimes ago in 1982, set out another few darkened treasure trails for no one to follow. I want to sound optimistic and happy that somewhere out there the community still exists – back then, we could have expected one Peel session, maybe two – I want to reach out and dance. I want to reach out and dance. Please dance with me.


This could be from Hobart, or Melbourne. This could be from 2019 or 1979. This could be blissful dreaming or futile hurling. This could be your life. This band has always been your life. This could be Whaaam! Records or some Continental or Japanese label I will never know the name of. Heart Beach. The Wendy Darlings. Keen. The B-Girls. This is my community.

And no one knows my name.


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