First published on 22 Jun 2012. Updated on 22 Jun 2012.
Painters and Dockers were an absurdist undergraduate pop-punk collective who managed a few minor hits and hundreds of anarchic shows from 1982 onwards. ‘The Boy Who Lost His Jocks on Flinders Street Station’ is the work of Paul Stewart, a big-bellied fella who was nonetheless in perpetual (and semi-naked) motion on stage and played a mean trumpet. (The band were noted for their powerhouse horn section – the Brassholes.) Stewart was Captain Stoopid to guitarist/vocalist Chris Connor’s more restrained and literate satirical eye.
The song is a kind of idiot pastiche of the spoken-word slow-burning rocker that folks like Patti Smith have always fancied. In this case it’s the tale of a kid who stands too near the incoming train on platform three, and suffers his undies being ripped away in the backdraft (to be last seen flying in the direction of the northern suburbs). It’s ridiculous.
“The force of the movement and the speed of the stroke / Were too much for the elastic in his jockettes and they went twang twang then they broke”. It has to be said that it wasn’t high art.
A circular bass riff slides in as the drama unfolds, and then a brooding follow-up guitar. And then, not a moment too soon, it’s out with the poetry and time for the chorus, and ideally, because they were predictably best experienced live, the moshing and the stage invasion.