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Director's cut — April 2005

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April 1, 2005 by Tara Brabazon

A house less crowded …

Easter is an odd time for the non-religious. For no apparent reason, we find ourselves eating fish and taking a holiday to which we are not entitled.

Easter 2005 will be remembered by many in the Collective for another death. This pop death, while never as significant or important as that of a religious leader, will have lasting consequences on fans in Australia and New Zealand.

Paul Hester, the drummer in Crowded House and Split Enz, committed suicide on Good Friday this year. I found out in a tragically mediated way. The web designer of the Collective, Jo Smith, a lifelong fan of the Crowdies and the Enz, told me by email. She had found out hours before the news broke on the fan website. I nearly fractured the computer screen with my intense gaze. This is the nature of death and mourning these days I suppose: tears mediated through a screen.

Hester was great in a way that only the best pop icons can be. There have been greater drummers. There have been funnier comedians. There have been more stylish dressers. But Hester was an Antipodean Ringo. The Beatles would have been musically significant without the ringed Liverpudlian, but not as big. Popular culture is important and special for its flaws and cracks, not its spotless sheen.

Hester played drums like Ringo — appropriately and carefully. After progressive rock, we are all used to the big drum solo and the 'look at me — I'm the star' drummer. Both Ringo Starr and Paul Hester were the drummers their bands needed them to be. The greatness is found in the subtle fill, not the crashing solo.

He was a man of decency, talent and consideration. I also respected his attention to detail. He famously once marked two pages — 58 and 59 — in the Melbourne street directory and vowed never to go beyond this space. On April 4, when his friends gathered for the memorial service, that was their chosen place. May we all leave such a significant mark.

The house is less crowded, Paul Hester. But it remains filled with your memories.

Rest now. It's over.

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