Dire Straits, Dire Straits

In 1978, in Michael Condous’s dad’s Ford Falcon. It was a Saturday evening around 7:30, we were on the way to a party; a “show” as we called them. Down the the Waterline played. Cassette.

The idea of the four-piece band started in the late fifties, and has stuck for a while now. In the mid-seventies – and I remember this – things were a bit of a mess. Oil was expensive. The US was just out of Vietnam, R. Milhous Nixon was the immediate past president. Britain was being run into the ground by trades unions. The Cold War felt hot. But the electric guitar bands kept coming; drum, bass, lead and a singer.

The seventies in Australia missed the cocaine and disco-fueled binge of the US. It felt somehow more clear-sighted, less sophisticated, but without the addiction or hangover. We had a sniff of these things, but without a New York facsimile culture, there was no place for it to flourish. We were stuck in a bland sixties echo.

Then came the Wave. New Wave. The Poms went a bit wild, rebelling against everything. Skinheads with guitars made for something like music…and then along came Ian Dury and Elvis Costello. And Dire Straits, with Mark Knopfler’s inspired playing of his distinctive tunes.

Perhaps one of the best debut albums ever.