TheVine story: “As It Happened: The INXS mini-series ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ — Ep 2”, February 2014

The second and final instalment of my Never Tear Us Apart review. Check the excerpt below or visit TheVine for the full story. Read the review of the first episode here.

INXS week 2 header

Matt Shea revisited some childhood demons to review the first instalment of Channel 7’s two-part INXS mini-series, Never Tear Us Apart. Here in the second and final instalment, he examines the band’s penchant for zoot suits, tallies the boobs vs phone calls, and questions the veracity of Bono and Molly. 

00:00: Ah! Ep 2 of the Agony and Ecstasy of Garry Gary Beers. I’ve been waiting all week for this. And so has my friend, Stan, who’s watching with me tonight. Rumour has it that Bono will be appearing in this episode. The real Bono or a guy playing Bono, I’m not sure. It’s Bono. Probably best to place a bet each way.

00:30: This week: Will INXS achieve world domination? Have they already? Will Kirk finally get some new glasses? And will everyone put some clothes on?

01:00: It’s 1997. Michael’s in a fancy hotel room, looking grim.

(Stan and I met in 1997, working at Subway. This was back in the days of scoop cuts and midnight closes. My boss, Jenny, was a massive prick — a desiccated 40-year-old mother of twenty-seven with an open licence to shit on the teenagers who worked under her. She was the terminator, pretty much. So in the spirit of Eureka Stockade, we started rorting the joint. We’d get all the cookies, roll them together into one giant cookie, bake it, and then sell it to high people. And we’d make toasted sandwiches in the oven. Customers were all like, “Yo can I have one of those?” And we were like, “Nah. But we’ll sell you this giant cookie you high nonce.” Modern day bushrangers yo.)

02:00: But anyway. Michael. Michael’s not doing well. There are a lot of drugs in this hotel room, but prescription rather than party. Hmmm. If last week was the TV equivalent of Pseudo Echo’s remake of ‘Funky Town’, I suspect this week will be The Very Best of the Smiths.

02:30: Michael looks at a photo of Michelle, that nice lady who dumped his flakey arse in the first ep. (Remember this. It will become important later.)

04:30: It’s 1988 and the band want a year off. Lazy fuckers. Chris pleads, but Andrew — of all people! — puts his foot down.

05:30: INXS get their year off. Michael and Kylie do some cooking in a farm house. Andrew gets married. It’s good to know the band’s penchant for zoot suits stretched to family occasions.

07:30: Rolling Stone wants an INXS cover, but only Hutchence.

… and this taps into much of the tension of the media portrayal of INXS. How much was Hutchence and how much was it the band as a whole? The media tended to focus on the frontman, when — to be fair — most of the PR from the time tended to show a happy gang of six. Obviously the schism in popular perception would widen after Michael’s accident and his marriage to Paula Yates, but more on that later. Right now, he hands a big ‘fuck you’ to Rolling Stone. God bless that man.

08:00: Band meeting by a hotel pool (because apparently bands meet by pools, even when they’re not touring). That idiot Chris wants them to start recording but they’re not ready. Except for Kirk, that is. God he’s a stiff.

09:30: Michael is meeting up with Michelle. Shocker. She mentions a rumour going around that Michael is working on an LP with Ollie Olson. Ah! The Max Q debacle. This should be good.

10:45: Chris of course loses his shit. “You’re not Nick Cave!” he rants. Thanks Chris. Thanks a lot.

12:00: The Max Q conversation is over in two minutes, which is about the same length of time the actual recording project lasted.

12:30: A riotous recreation of the ‘Suicide Blonde’ video clip. I can’t remember the original being this bad. This probably says something about the making of music videos. Or the time pressures of scripted television. Or something.

(Actually, the video was that bad).

13:00: The band is releasing X and heading off on a world tour. They have their own plane because the ’80s. Michael has Helena Christensen with him.

This follows an over-the-phone break-up with Kylie. Back to the interviews that frame the series and Garry Gary Beers is totally confused how Michael stays friends with his exes. It’s not sorcery, Garry, you penis pump.

16:00: Arsenio Hall and Wembley and ‘New Sensation’ etc etc. No time, no time, move along.

17:00: There’s a carpet salesman on television trashing INXS. Wait: that’s Molly Meldrum?


17:30: Molly is hating on the band’s live album — which is fair enough, it was rubbish — and accusing them of not giving enough to the Australian music industry — which probably isn’t fair enough. Kirk wants to fight Molly. I’d watch that.

For the full article, visit TheVine.

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