Dogs In Space

Don’t think less of me for quoting Nietzsche: “The advantage of having a bad memory is that you can enjoy the same good things for the first time several times.” As such, I’m looking forward to the next chance I have to see Richard Lowenstein’s 1986 movie, ‘Dogs in Space’. The rare-as-hen’s-teeth soundtrack is even more eagerly anticipated, if I am able to magick a copy from somewhere.

Today on Facebook, a good friend posted an old Chrissie Amphlett music video, of equal 80’s vintage. It got me to pondering whether it was her sister who played in the all-girl band ‘Thrush and the C*nts’, whose track ‘Diseases’ made it onto the Dogs In Space soundtrack. Thereafter came the segue to the movie itself. As I’m fond of writing about cinema that had any impact on my tender, formative years, I thought it only fitting I should tap out a few paragraphs on this quirky Australian movie classic.

Owing to the fact that I saw this movie for the last time somewhere between ’86 and ’89, I’m counting on the few fragments of my previously lamented recall to conjure up something worthy of your time. For that reason I can’t realistically provide much commentary. I do remember my devotion to the lifestyles portrayed in the film, how I sort to cast myself in them as best I could. Without doubt, failing miserably, but at least it inspired great times, contributed to the running of a considerable sleep deficit, and emptied quite a few pay packets onto the porcelain.

Whether or not Amphlett’s sister was in that crudely named band won’t be answered here, but I’m grateful for her indirect contribution to my indulgent bout of film nostalgia.

In the film, Michael Hutchence, plays Sam, a central character based on Lowenstein’s mate and former roomie Sam Sejavka from the band The Ears. From what I can recollect, there was sod all in the way of plot, but that didn’t really matter. The house in the movie is the very same grimy little place that Sam, Richard and assorted misfit friends enjoyed many fine times in the late 70’s, smoking, drinking, fucking and sampling a wide variety of psychotropics. If there was a container for this trippy brew, it’s the romance between Sam and screen girlfriend Anna, played by Saskia Post, complete with wickedly thick eyebrows.

Pick of the scenes is the phantasmagoric ‘shroom sequence. Effective use of sparklers there Richard! Occasional ganders at my sister’s Facebook page indicate she’s already reliving it on some level (just checking to see if you read any of my stuff Nina).

I’m surprised that following Hutchence’s depressing, sordid demise, DIS wasn’t re-released immediately to cash in. Though from the little I know of Lowenstein, such crass shenanigans wouldn’t feature in his repertoire. Many dog years later, in 2009, his raucous fringe relic was finally back on the shelves (Australia) in the form of a 2-disc DVD set. Disappointingly sans album soundtrack. Let’s get the album back in the buyer’s domain, please. I can get the Iggy Pop tunes easy enough, but Thrush & the Cunts track ‘Diseases’ remains frustratingly elusive. The stuff you can’t get is what you suddenly want the most.

Soundtrack Listing as follows:

Side One:

  1. “Dog Food” (Iggy Pop)
  2. “Dogs In Space” (Michael Hutchence)
  3. “Win/Lose” (Ollie Olsen)
  4. “Anthrax” (Gang of Four)
  5. “Skysaw” (Brian Eno)
  6. “True Love” (Marching Girls)
  7. “Shivers” (Boys Next Door)

Side Two:

  1. “Diseases” (Thrush & the Cunts)
  2. “Pumping Ugly Muscle” (The Primitive Calculators)
  3. “Golf Course” (Michael Hutchence)
  4. “The Green Dragon” (Michael Hutchence)
  5. “Shivers” (Marie Hoy and friends)
  6. “Endless Sea” (Iggy Pop)
  7. “Rooms For The Memory” (Michael Hutchence)

Album Art:

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