Chapter One - I Was A Roadie - Page 5

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Safety was not a concept. There were a series of road accidents, the most horrible involved two Swanee crew members whose truck ran off the Hume Highway and burned down to the wheel hubs.

Because we were ready and willing to drive overnight after a gig, usually fuelled by drugs and booze, we were more prone to dying. It helped if the band paid for the drugs and booze—somehow that seemed an honorable arrangement. Death seemed less fatal then than it does now.

It was ridiculously easy to smash the car, truck, or van. My Kombi came to an early end on the Bulli Pass when I ran into a truck. I remember the random thought at the moment of impact, Gee, the truck is inside the Kombi, on the passenger seat. I could reach over and touch the side.  I walked away, not scratched, covered in glittering windscreen shards and soaked from the rain.

One night my Ford F350 truck ran off the road and, as it careened out of control, brushed an overhanging tree branch. I had been asleep behind the wheel, and the branch gave me enough of a wakeup to somehow bring the thing under control and not hit anything.

I found out how a rental car will spin out of control. I did it once on the Pacific Highway, and once on the New England Highway. Somehow there was a break in the oncoming traffic both times. I also found out that those speed advisory signs on corners actually make sense. I overshot a corner—and again there was fortunately a break in the oncoming traffic.

Fall off a tall ladder and not break any bones? Get hit over the head with a steel bar and just bleed without brain damage? Maybe I was brain damaged.

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