In which Alex gets emotional while talking about Tim Minchin

I want you to put your hand on your chest. Put your palm on that flat part just below your neck so you can faintly feel your heart beating. Right there is a strange mystical cavity. An inexplicable empty space where our body puts all the feelings we can’t understand or explain. You might not get this right now but next time you have one of those weird, confusing moments you’ll know what I mean.

That mystical cavity has never felt so full for such a long time as it did when I saw Tim Minchin at the Sydney Opera House last week.

It made me realise what a massive role Tim has played in my life. Every one of his songs means something to me. They’ve played  so constantly during important moments in my life. I remember crying my guts out to Drowned under a doona in Spain. I’ve played The Fence many times in a row to ward off the homesickness over the last month. I’ve sung loudly about hating faggots in the car park of McDonalds in Armidale. At New Year we yelled our way through Phil Doust so that all people walking past could hear us.

I have a vivid memory of hearing Dark Side for the first time. I caught the second half of the song on Sideshow and I thought it was kind of weird. Then I watched the whole episode and saw the song from the beginning. And that was when I realised how totally wonderful it was. This moment is important because it’s the first instant of Tim worship I can remember.

When we were in Year 10 beccamarsh bough the DVD of So Live. Instead of studying for our School Certificate exams we watched the DVD and then all the extras. For the rest of the week, while everyone else huddled in circles and compared maths formulae, we learnt all the actions to So Rock. Its taken me a very long time to be able to listen to it in public without doing those actions.

You Grew on Me is what love means to me. Its messy and complicated and inconvenient. It doesn’t make sense all the time and its often more hassle than its worth. In my humble opinion this is one of the greatest love songs ever written. I plan to play it at my wedding (seriously). Alternatively (and taking into account how far I am currently from getting married) I’ll play it loudly in my flat while wearing a second hand wedding dress when I turn forty. In the meantime I’ll search for a word that means “that creepy-upy kind of love.”

I studied Not Perfect for the HSC and over saturated my brain with the lyrics. It’s a song about belonging. The unconditional kind of belonging that’s so deeply imbedded that we take for granted. When Tim played it the other night I cried. I’d started crying before he’d even started playing. This song, ironically, is perfect. There’s not much else I can say.

When we were in Year 12 we saw Tim live. He played Ready for This? at the town hall in Bangalow. It was the weekend before our half yearlies (noticing a pattern developing?) but we had to go. There isn’t a lot to do in Bangalow after about three in the afternoon and as a result we were about five hours early for that gig. We stood outside the hall and got increasingly hysterical. It wasn’t until about twenty minutes before the doors opened that we realised we’d been queuing in the wrong place. Luckily everyone else had queued behind us. That was one of our first big adventures. The whole thing is documented in a small comic called “beccamarsh and alex go to TIM (bringer of tea).” Neither of us can remember what the brackets mean.

You wouldn’t think The Pope Song would be a warm and fuzzy one would you? But as some of you may remember, when it was released last year I was at GNW. I’ll always hear this song as if it was echoing off the high ceilings of the GNW-TV offices at 8am. That was a wonderful, magical moment when I looked at my life, sitting in an office writing jokes to a chorus of obscenities, and felt as though I might wake up any moment.

Last July we got Tim’s newsletter. Tickets for his new show were going on sale. I honestly can’t remember how we managed to get ourselves so organised but we booked tickets to that show. In pre-sale. More than six months early. Planning anything that far ahead was terrifying. Yet every cent and every moment of anticipation was worth it at 8pm last Thursday.

Rock N Roll Nerd is different now isn’t it? After seeing Tim play this song with an orchestra. In front of 2000 people. At the Opera House. It’s a different song. That cavity’s all full of confusing proud and fuzzy things. Less than a decade ago Tim was playing at pubs in Perth. Look at him now.

White Wine in the Sun is all sad and happy at the same time. I’ve never really understood what it does to me. Its full of memories of Christmas and laugher around sagging tables. Of my pa doing the Jabberwocky with a German accent and singing carols loudly and late at night. Of early morning swims in the ocean and endless games of Charades. Then there’s ghosts of Christmas futures. When I’m 21 or 31 and Christmas comes around and I find myself nine thousand miles from home…and that’s the moment I properly bawled the other night.

If university has taught me one thing so far its that Tim Minchin is the twenty first century’s answer to Shakespeare.

The man’s a genius.

The ABC are broadcasting the concert live tonight at 8:30. Get yourself to a TV. And consider the possibility this might be something you have to plan for.
I want to hear your Tim stories. What moments in your lives has he defined?

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year