Love Letter To A Record: to Horse Stories by Dirty Three from Johnny Mackay of Fascinator & Children Collide

Dear Horse Stories,

The fact you’re still in my phone after all these years says a lot. Others have come and gone, even your younger sibling Ocean Songs, who I must admit I’ve dabbled with extensively over the years has slipped out, but I promise, you’re still in there. Just in case I need you.

Your face has a horse on it. I guess that’s appropriate for a record, but it feels weird writing it. It looks like it’s jumping off a city high rise at night into the dark, blue-black infinite ocean. Has it just escaped from one of those city carriage things? Am I supposed to feel like a liberated horse going for a night swim? My emotional response may as well be explained that way…as any words seem futile and fatuous trying to describe Jim’s paintbrush drumming that seems like it’s sending morse code poems to God. Mick’s starry chords that sound like a gentle friend dipping their fingertips into a still lake and the sad daydream of Warren’s bow like a thousand Greek tragedies entering their final act.

I still remember the deep meditative reverie I entered into on my first listen. Laying on the floor riding a dusty old magic carpet through ‘Sue’s Last Ride’, ‘I Remember a Time When Once You Used to Love Me’, ‘Warren’s Lament’ and the rest.

‘Hope’ still takes me from tingles to tears and back.

I’ve seen parts of you live a total of three times and each time has affected me powerfully. The first time was at one my favourite venues, The Forum in Melbourne. Halfway through the show I became quite overwhelmed and passed out in the crowd. I watched the rest of the set propped up against the wall.

The next time I saw you was the fabled Meredith storm show. I secretly held hands with one of the most special people I’ve ever met who I was madly in love with at the time. We stood on the hill looking down the amphitheatre and as The Dirty Three began, an incredible lightning storm birthed opened the first crack in its cloudy grey curtains. As the performance went on, the two cacophonies, both on stage and in the sky, seemed to crash and crescendo together with Warren’s bow flying through the air, stray horsehairs flowing and following, conducting the lightning with each wild, violent stroke of his bard-ish fiddle. The whole crowd was all oohs, aaaahs, wows and goosebumps. It was magic.

The third time was at The Prince Bandroom in St Kilda and I mainly remember the fact that I cried through a good portion of the set and thanked the heavens afterwards that I can still see and hear things that bypass that cynical fuck inside me and let all the feelings happen.

Anyway Horse Stories, I hope this letter finds you well and maybe prompts The Dirty Three to take your songs out for another little canter through the valley or perhaps a cheeky night swim sometime soon.

Warmest Regards,
Johnny Mackay


Surprise, surprise I’ve picked out two artists talking or writing about two different Dirty Three albums. This album it’s their 1994 record and a few days back was the 2000 Dirty Three album, I just love them so and really enjoy reading both. Find Johnny or Fascinator on facebook here.

So that ends my re-posting of Music Feeds’ Love Letter To A Record, huge pile of others love letters by following that link. Now it’s an Aussie website and I’ve share four Aussie musos talking or that is writing about four Aussie albums but some other Aussies do write about oversea acts’ albums, they’re some oversea’s acts too! Anyway those are the four ones I really wanna to share or just collect here on my blog! Hope whoever check this or all of them out enjoy them?


Cheers 🙂

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