Tears for Fears reminds me that Tractor Tyres are Full of Water

Radio 2 was playing in our kitchen as I cooked bacon and eggs this morning and Tears for Fears started playing. It was an awful song – Sowing the Seeds of Love – and even worse it reminded me of that all-too-popular Shout (shout, shout, let it all out, this is the most boring song about). Some songs have strong associations, and Shout is one of those.

After I finished high school I didn’t want to go straight to university so I took a year off. That year taught me many things, most notably that I needed to get a degree so I didn’t have to work so hard for a living. I spent a few months of 1985 working on a farm as a jackaroo, which is an overblown Australian word for ‘farm boy’. There are a lot of stories from that time but this is the Tears for Fears one.

I was given the job of seeding a field at Jinglemoney farm. The farmer and I attached the seeder to that back of the big, modern tractor. And to get the soil to fall back over the seed we attached a few sets of harrows to the back of the seeder. The farmer’s idea was to put the harrows upside down because the flat side would do a better job of knocking the soil down. The spiky side was better for breaking up soil. Then he left me to seed while he went off to do more important work.

I loved driving the tractor and I used to sing at the maximum volume I could sustain. The tractor made so much noise that I had the privacy to experiment. My feeble voice was masked by the growling motor. At that time I would sing songs like this:

  • Deep Purple’s Child in Time. Why sing this rock operatic silliness? For some reason I got into Deep Purple at 18 and this song had so much vocal range that I just had a blast screaming it to see what my voice would do.
  • XTC’s Senses Working Overtime. I had bought the limited edition double album version of English Settlement in a rare show of good taste. I still listen to this music.
  • Tears for Fears’ Shout. I didn’t get much new music on the farm as the farmer and his wife (the Royds) had the TV perpetually tuned to ABC2. But there was a farmhand who lived in a cottage on Jinglemoney and I watched some music at his place one day. And of the few songs I saw only Shout had stuck in my head. You need listen only once to know the lyrics.

I drove clockwise around the paddock, starting at the perimeter and spiralling in to the center. I was singing “shout, shout, let it all out” and going at a fair speed when I looked down to see that one set of harrows had unhooked from the seeder and was lying spike side up in the path of the tractor’s left front tyre. I brake and lurch the wheel to the right to try to avoid it but I was a too late. The small front tyre of the tractor got punctured in several places. Rear tyres on a tractor are wider spaced than the front tyres and turning to the right had managed to align the harrows with the huge left rear tyre, which also rolled over the spikes. The left seeder tyre popped as it followed its bretheren onto the harrows to complete the set.

I sat distraught on the tractor seat and surveyed the damage. The seeder tyre was completely flat. The two tractor tyres were spraying fountains of water from their multitude of holes. I didn’t know that tractor tyres were filled with water until then. I sat and had a quiet panic as the left side of the tractor dipped and the wheel rims sank into the mud. That was the beginning of the end of my farming career.


6 Responses to “Tears for Fears reminds me that Tractor Tyres are Full of Water”

  1. 1 Deb Lloyd
    April 3, 2009 at 00:18

    XTC – totally underrated.

  2. April 12, 2009 at 00:02

    The Deb Lloyd of Willoughby Girls?

  3. 3 Anonymous
    April 12, 2009 at 22:41

    Yes, I’m afraid so. Enjoying your blog!!!

  4. 4 Deb Lloyd
    April 12, 2009 at 22:41

    sorry didn’t mean to send it by Anon.

  5. November 3, 2010 at 22:30

    Ahh I love Tears For Fears! I saw them on the front row when they came to the states.

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