On 31 March 1983, she burst into my dressing room, inquiring at the top of her voice, “Has any individual listed here acquired a lipstick I can borrow?” I looked up to see a tall woman in a Lurex costume, with a mass of blonde hair. Our two bands, Maritime Girls and the Go-Betweens, were on the identical invoice at the Lyceum in London. I was 20, and she was 31. I was a tentative singer, she was a loud, outspoken drummer. I was from suburbia, she was from Brisbane, Australia. And I was even now a student, though she had already been a social worker, then joined a feminist punk band identified as Xero. She’d hitchhiked across Europe with a girlfriend, she’d viewed just about every artwork movie, read every single avant-garde e book. She’d slept at Shakespeare and Co in Paris, she’d swum with Roger Moore, she could recite Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics. But I did not know any of this. I just understood that she appeared like self-belief in a minidress, and that she experienced arrived in my existence. “Who was that?” I questioned when she had absent. “That,” arrived the reply, “was Lindy Morrison.”
It took a couple of years for us to come to be good friends. We ended up opposites in several approaches, and at different phases of everyday living, but there were being similarities: we both equally lived with the boyfriend we were in a band with we experienced solid opinions about almost everything – feminism, like and artwork we appreciated Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Patti Smith, Simone de Beauvoir, and we experienced no time for a ton of the gentlemen who surrounded us in the new music organization. I’d look at her on stage, intense and perspiring guiding the drum kit, extended hair flying in her encounter, all strength, all concentration, and I was happy to be her mate.
A person working day in 1987, I took her to the gals-only Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden, which showcased a swimming pool with ivy cascading down from above and parrots circling overhead. A swing prolonged out in excess of the h2o, on which Joan Collins experienced swung in her 1978 movie, The Stud. “You know you can actually swim naked right here,” I claimed, and prior to I knew it Lindy had stripped. What could I do but abide by her instance? And so there we were being, two gals from the indie songs scene, stark naked and posing with our tits out on the Joan Collins porn swing, whilst parrots swooped previously mentioned our heads.
Appropriate from the get started I idealised her – inventing who I assumed she was, who I desired her to be. Building pals can be an act of the creativity. From the little you know of a man or woman, you start off filling in the gaps. We bonded over the simple fact of often staying the only women of all ages – on every tour bus, at just about every sound test, in each and every interview. We commiserated with just about every other for obtaining to shut up about our intervals for becoming incessantly questioned, “What’s it like to be a female in audio?” for obtaining our politics patronised, regarded market or domestic for possessing our appears to be critiqued even when we ended up doing our careers.
Neither of us felt we ended up conventionally beautiful, neither of us was wholly female. I was thin and angular, with clipped small hair. She was tall, golden and glamorous, but no push-about, generally terrifying adult men with her directness. But I misinterpret her self-assurance, not realising how a lot of an energy it had been, how it experienced been like a match of armour she put on. She wrote letters to herself as a teen, and they are total of insecurity. “I want I could meet up with a good boy,” she wrote. “I wish I could be quite.”
The age hole among us seemed to change above time, as while it had been flexible in some way. I looked up to her since she was braver and much more knowledgeable, and as she was more mature I imagined her wiser. It turned out she had considered the similar of me. Ben [Watt, my husband] and I experienced a huge argument once, and I mentioned to her afterwards: “It’s not the struggle that’s the difficulty, it’s how to transfer on just after the battle, how to get back again to standard.” She remembered that for yrs, thinking it pretty smart. We really don’t constantly realise the impressions we depart driving, the imprint a single person leaves on yet another.
And feminine friendship can be so sophisticated. It’s straightforward to imagine it’s all about warmth and affection, when a lot of the time it is about want. I have a principle that women of all ages are superior at making mates than adult men since we have to have each other additional. We need to have allies, and basic safety in quantities, but also to see ourselves mirrored and validated. We need our women of all ages buddies in get to counter people times when it feels like we do not exist in the globe when we glance and cannot discover ourselves when we are pushed to the margins, composed out of the story. Our female mates remind us that we’re actual, that we’re in this article, and not mad.
I tried to write a track about her, Blue Moon Rose, to capture her internal electric power, the way it sparked and fizzed at me. The lyrics are a snapshot of how we put in time alongside one another: “I have a close friend and we chat about guides/She comes about and she drinks though I cook.” I bear in mind the evenings upstairs in my flat around a submit office. A pan bubbling on the stove, a bottle of Stolichnaya new from the freezer sitting open up on the table, Lindy telling me some thing indiscreet or imparting unexpected awareness: “Never make a significant conclusion when you have acquired jet lag, Tracey. I imply it, just take my assistance, never ever do that.”
By the early 90s the Go-Betweens experienced break up up and Lindy had determined to have a newborn. Our lives swapped spherical, and once more she amazed me. I hadn’t appreciated how a great deal she wished a youngster and experienced been in danger of typecasting her as the impartial spirit – in no way a spouse, never ever a mom. When she was dreaming of domesticity, I was on tour, travelling across the US on a bus, and making the most of it. Quite shortly she was pregnant, and sent me photographs of herself with a big stomach, her smile bigger than I had at any time noticed it.
A few many years later she emailed me about her appreciate everyday living. “I fucked my best pal the other night… a attractive man. Very well, to quote Michael Stipe, I mentioned too significantly, I did not say sufficient, and child do I regret it… I was functioning out our life collectively. Can you feel it.” She’d reported that to me a million occasions, constantly at the close of some startling tale: “Can you feel it, Tracey?” and I’d roar with laughter.
If we’d only lived nearer, I believe we could have had an even nearer friendship now, going by way of the several years of achievements and failure and motherhood and ageing. As a substitute of which, since of the length involved, we begun to drift apart, and the bond loosened. When in January 1998 my twins have been born, I despatched her a letter enclosing images. “I hope you do appear to London this summer season for the reason that, of course, I want you to see them,” I wrote, “and we can sit and examine baby photos, and be generally Mumsy, and who would’ve assumed we’d all flip out like this eh?”
But then the line in between us went quiet, and 20 years slipped by. We reconnected, like so quite a few aged pals, many thanks to social media. When I had the concept to write a e-book about her – about us – the assumed landed with me like a puzzle piece slipping into position, like anything inescapable. The Go-Betweens had turn into semi-mythologised – one particular of individuals Biggest Bands Who Hardly ever Designed It – and a movie was manufactured, books had been penned, a bridge named right after them. But the stories that have been informed seemed to lessen her to a small character, and in my thoughts she was a guide, a star, and I wanted to swap her at the centre of her tale.
A several months afterwards I flew out to Sydney, nervous about what I was embarking on. Supposing I didn’t know her right after all this time, suppose we experienced drifted too significantly apart? But inside of 48 hrs it had all appear correct. We experienced a 7 days of rigorous times and evenings which experienced to stand in for missing years, discussions in which we knitted our friendship back alongside one another, picking up dropped stitches, mending holes. Round at a friend’s household she place some songs on, at full quantity. “I can not stand qualifications music,” she claimed, “if we’re going to pay attention to new music, it need to be as well loud to converse.” At the tops of our voices we sang alongside. I experienced been scared I wouldn’t like her any extra, but in its place the opposite happened. I remembered the heritage we have, how hilarious she is, the sheer fucking excitement of staying in her organization.
My Rock’n’Roll Mate by Tracey Thorn is published by Canongate at £16.99. Get a duplicate from guardianbookshop.com at £13.59