Image for The Enigma Wrapped In A Riddle Wearing Flannelette That Is Tim Rogers

The Enigma Wrapped In A Riddle Wearing Flannelette That Is Tim Rogers

Written by Jessie Smith on July 15, 2008

Posters. Any fan of this thing called music has had them in there time. Blu tac kissed to your walls. Slightly askew. Forever falling down. The what ever makes it stick not bonding enough in the heat of an Australian summer. Crumpled and worn, we capture our hero’s in blown up effigies of themselves – In a proclamation of our love and to idolise – to look longingly at and say good morning to as we comb our hair.

Well I can’t be the only one surely.

I don’t comb my hair anymore – but my poster was Tim Rogers – the man with the purple sneakers. I longed for the dust from those shoes to settle on my front door step because his heavy heart stole mine when first hearing the opening chords of “Soldiers” all those moons ago. He, for me, in You Am I, embodied everything that was Australian “rawk” – All sideburns and interesting facial hair with a flannelette smile. I have him to thank for making me fall in love with this bitch goddess whore, commonly referred to as music, and I hearted him for that. So much so, that as a school girl, he was my imaginary Mr. Good morning Tim Rogers. Good morning.

In age my obsessivness diminished. Real boys replaced the Pinocchio love affair with the two dimensional Tim I’d created in my muddled pubescent head – but his music has always held a special place in my still beating and slightly larger chest. So when asked by “A Fine Line” if I’d like to interview my poster – I could not help but jump at the chance and squeal on the inside, for the opportunity to have a chat with our hero’s does not happen every day. But I have since discovered that that is probably for a reason.

Getting off the telephone to the man who once adorned my walls in posters, I floated for a time. Above an ethereal plane. Did I dream it? Did the man whose surname I had hoped to share one day just say he missed me? Surely not… Did he just say that he got his endless supply of cowboy shirts from his jack-a-roo boy friend and that he aspires to be a taxidermist? Our conversation was so Salvador Dali, that I become a melting clock. A melting clock that was none the wiser really about anything to do with the enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wearing flannelette that is the eccentric personified – Tim Rogers.

For all the post chat floating, the state he managed to get me in began with Rogers in the air as well. His agents on the phone, Tim’s plane has yet to land into Sydney – but he will call me as soon as he touches the ground. The idea of this alone (at the time) blew your author’s tiny mind. For it is not everyday you can be expecting a call from a living legend who you once imagined marrying. A legend that is on his way to the Annandale hotel, for one night only to do Alice Cooper covers with Tex Perkins and Paul Dempsey. But that is what happened. And that is where the melting began.

“Yeah, I am doing a show tonight for a friend to promote a beer company. It gives me the chance to play with my mates and the opportunity to make ridiculous rock music with friends does not happen very often now days. I don’t have a very big social life. I am 38 years old and playing 360 nights of the year. I am looking forward to it. Tonight is going to be un-real.”

And it is all un-real. In the same breath that he mentions the promotion I curse myself for not living in Sydney so I could get my kiester down to the Annandale and perhaps push my ear up to the glass or maybe even get a glimpse of that sight through the window – then I am thrust down memory lane to a time when my best friend and I did just that.  All of 15, when You Am I played in MY TOWN. Sans Souci. Which in French, literally means “with out care.”  But we cared. A lot. Too young to get into pubs ourselves and to short to be able to see, we stood on chairs on the balcony of St George Sailing club, while people of age inside held the curtains open for us, enabling us to steal glimpses of the band. Glimpses that we treasured for years to come. Glimpses that meant something to us.

I digress, Rogers is about to embark on a tour of our sun burnt land – and that is what I am meant to be talking to him about – “What can audiences expect from your up-coming shows..?”  My voice quavering like a 12 year old boys as I query him.  And we can expect nothing, apparently. “I might morph free jazz with Norwegian death metal, I might quiz each individual member of the audience on what they know about me, I may perform nothing but Eskimo Joe songs, I might riffle through people’s hand bags. I am the 424’Th world’s most respected performer and I perform with a certain velocity. My range is enormous. I am an aspiring taxidermist – I was a child actor on Skippy, I’ve had former years at Harvey Norman, I was a body snatcher and a mature boxer, I am all these things and I will be performing until the day I die – however old I make it to. I feel more ferocious now about the work I do – but I am not going to be some guy with a guitar that sings about girls. I demand more of myself.”

It is apparent he is ripping the piss out of me and none of it makes sense, nor am I able to get any sense out of him. The only thing that could potentially be fact is that he mentions that You Am I will be hitting the studios this same week and we can allegedly be expecting an album from them in September or October of this year. Expect nothing though. Not even collaborations. “We are too good for collaborations” he gaffes. “But we will be recording in a few different studios, then we will try to finalise some decent hair cuts, grow some obscene facial hair and start touring.”

Not often speechless, the man has left me lost for words, and a bought of the sneezes punches me in the face and dissolves the silence, so with that – I bid my adues. And he punches me in the face again; saying “Well I hope you get well soon. I miss you. I’ve missed you. Goodbye, take care. Good night.”

Then he hangs up.

And that should have been the end of my story.

But fast forward four days later and I am just as confused as ever. It is now Mothers day eve and I find myself in the big smoke, still trying to make some heads or tales or anything from the “interview” (if you dare call it that) that I’ve had with my poster. It is still so majestic it can’t possibly have been real.

So I go to the pub, to try and make some sense of it all, and I spy, with my little eye, a man wearing amazing mauve trousers from across my favourite pool table. A thick moustache and impressive quiff. Between regular visits to the bathroom he cheers on; quiet vocally, some team in the AFL whilst sitting with an older elegant lady, who appears to be his mother.

Could it be? Is it he? This man before me looks weathered, much like the corners of my once much loved poster. And it is my poster. I am sure of it. Of all the gin joints, in all the inner west, he happened to be in mine. Once again I am transformed into a school girl at Christmas. The. Tim. Rogers. In. My. Pub. Such occurrences do not happen everyday. Especially when you are left in a shell like form – hollow on the inside with no concrete information for the article you are supposed to write.  Like any young budding Lois Lane, I see the chance to redeem myself and wait till his Mum excuses herself during half time in the football for introductions and to find out how the Alice Cooper covers went the other night at the Annandale. A quest for something a little more tangible to tell you readers of this fine (line) magazine.

Much has been publicised on the slow spiralling demise of this aging rock star and I don’t want to any of it to be true. But the quest to de-bunk these theories or for anything more tangible, this time, will remain fruitless. He does not remember who I am. Why would he. The moment I had dreamed of since the beginning of when I cared to remember – all in an instant, feels so, so wrong.  He dozily smiles at me with glazed donought eyes and says the gig was “good, thanks.” – So I thank him for making me love music, stutter and liken me meeting him now to him meeting his hero Mick Jagger. I want the ground to swallow me up, which it is not going to do – so I scutter away for a cigarette as his mum returns to her seat.

He is all that embodies Australian “rawk” after all, all amazing sideburns and interesting facial hair with a flannelette smile. Did I dream it? Did my poster just ask me if I lived in the area and if I know anywhere that I could get him some coke? Surely not. Did I just see him see him give his mum a wet willy and nearly fall of his bar stool? Never. I now have him to thank for making me realise that there are no such things as hero’s and that he is just a man named Tim. A man named Tim who is touring Australia shortly, who has talent somewhere, and that we should all bask in the glory of, while we can. We all have our problems. And we all deal with them in our own ways. I hope you get well soon Tim Rogers. I miss you.  I’ve missed you. Goodbye, take care, good night.

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