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Originally posted by Girlscream:
[qb]Isn't it bizarre that when you know someone is no longer with us, you seem to hang on every word, every gesture.[/qb]
*Nods* Exactly. I was listening to their songs throughout the week, and even if a song didn't actually deal with the topic of death, there were always certain lines that just jumped out at me and were heard in a totally different way this time around. And when I was watching some of their videos that I'd had on tape, there were things I noticed this time around that I may not have paid much attention to before. It's very strange, indeed.

Originally posted by Tanchira:
[qb]I don't think we will ever truly let go. We'll come to terms with it and handle it better and get on with our lives, but though we will smile and laugh as we listen and watch without shedding a tear and just think, "What a good bloke," there will always be a speck of sadness sitting in the back of our minds.[/qb]
Yep. I have this vision of myself months, years down the road hearing "Don't Dream It's Over" on the radio, and I'll sing along like I always do, I'll get to the point where I'll be able to hear that song without crying, but when I hear the song, I'll always have that weak smile of sorts, you know?

Originally posted by RedGirl:
[qb]I mean, I just had this unreal expectation that they'd always be around.[/qb]
Exactly! Rational me knows celebrities are human, just like everyone else, and they'll go someday, too, but at the same time, it still seems utterly bizarre to me when they do die, it just doesn't feel right. We fans are supposed to go through the life cycle, they're supposed to always be here or something like that. Yeah. Glad I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

Originally posted by Purpleams:
[qb]Bless them all, what would I do without Neil's voice to comfort me.[/qb]
There was this BBC show that someone had put a link to on the Finn brothers' site's boards recently in which they'd been interviewed, and I was listening to that last night, and it was just what I needed then. They were holding up fairly well considering all that'd gone on this week, and they managed to make me laugh a few times with some of the things they said, and it was just the kind of thing I needed-like, they'll be okay, so I know I will be, too. It was a nice reassurance. I wish I could've seen that Rockwiz show you all are talking about.

Also, ever since getting into this band, I've naturally wanted to visit Australia (and New Zealand, too) I'll have another reason for wanting to visit that area of the world-if and when I ever do get that chance, I, too, will stop at that park, and I'll check out the memorial that people have kinda started there, perhaps even leave something there myself.

Thank you soo much for those excellent articles..fascinating reads...a lot I was really taken in to especially on how the way he delt with just everyday life.
Also makes one realize how artists, no matter who they are or what they do, are not oblivious to the pain we all go through. Just because most of us can look at them and admire them for all they have accomplished~big house, money, fame ect..~does not exclude them to such frailties of the mind!
Thank you so much Redgirl, for the articles, especially the first one. What a great article, so full of insight. I urge everyone to read it.

I also urge everyone to read, if you haven't already, the post by SheWillHaveHerWay, near the top of this page. As someone who suffers from depression, I couldn't have explained it better than she has. Very well said.
Reading through all the messages today, and the lyrics people have been posting, has brought back to me David Bowie's 'Rock & Roll Suicide'. It seems to fit the discussion so well:

"You're too old to lose it, too young to choose it,
And the clock waits so paitently on your song
You walk past the cafe but you don't eat when you've lived too long
You're a rock & roll suicide....

Oh, no, love! You're not alone
you're watching yourself but you're too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only make you care
Oh no love! You're not alone
No matter what or who you've been
No matter when or where you're seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share so I'll help you with the pain
You're not alone."
Dear Paul,

I never knew you personally but with your passing I feel as though I have lost a friend.

You sparked in me a passion for music and you gave so much to so many different people. I hope that where ever you are you can feel the love and respect we all have for you.

Thank you for being you.

Kia kaha,

Thank you SheWillHaveHerWay for your amazing insight into depression. It does help.
I guess the hard thing I have to face when dealing with my grief (and I�ve lost eight friends in the last five years) is that my/our love isn�t powerful enough to help people stay alive.
I battle with that being a selfish perspective � as if it�s up to me (or any of us!) to save people. But, confronted with the alternative, don�t you just want to put your arms around someone in pain and make them better? Still, I do know what it�s like to be exhausted by the stuff in your head.

I�m looking forward to a public tribute too.

Last night in Melbourne was unseasonably hot, with a magical cloudy moon and dramatic winds that sounded like the ocean �
today the rain has come � heavy showers interspersed by bird song �.
oh what a day �.
Anyone else going to the park today to pay respects?

All our love to Paul�s family and friends

Thank you Paul for everything, I hope there�s peace for you now.
On Thursday night this week I attended karaoke at my local as I do every week. The feller running it is a huge CH fan and had been watching FTTW that arvo. Before he got the karaoke started, he played all the CH tracks in the collection in tribute to Paul. Later on, he got up and sang Sister Madly himself and during the instrumental talked about how this wasn';t Paul's favourite song, his favourite song was IT, a really slow and boring song, but Hesto used to come down the front of the stage during this song and muck around and make jokes down the front of stage.

I got up to do DS and as it started I invited any other Paul fans to get up and pay tribute to him with me. So about 5 of us (it was late and the pub was nearly deserted by then) got up and we all sang DS and then WWY together. It was a really nice moment. We looked at each other during the song and it was a really nice feeling of togetherness. Even though we didn't know each other we were sharing this tribute to a man we all admired and respected. And it was more like a celebration than a funeral, even if I did shed a tear.
I woke up this morning and thought I may need to apologise for landing you all with my long post (and my first at that). I cannot tell you how cathartic it was - and Paul is the reason I was able to express myself like that.

Gnomie - I am so sorry to hear about your brother, and if my outpouring helped you to understand your brother just a little bit more, then it was more than worth it! (My eyes are hanging out of my head this morning from tiredness :-) )

Half Full - I had all these thoughts running around in my head, and really felt the need to let Paul know how he had helped me share them with my loved ones. When I read your post, it helped me to actually sit down and write it. I could relate to your post so much, thank you.

Redgirl - to have lost so many friends in such a short time - so heartbreaking to read :-( As powerful as love is, you are right, it is just not strong enough to save another from taking that last step into the abyss. Like you, if I see someone feeling down, I just want to wrap my arms around them and hug them until they feel better - but when I am feeling so down, I don't want to let anyone be touched by the dark, swirling pit that is depression.

Depression is selfish, it doesn't want to share you with anyone else.

Meanwhile, I am going to go and 'share' Paul with all of you on Music MAX.
Hi All, I had to wait for my login to be approved heres my post from yesterday during the jjj tribute . . .

Although I have been reading the forums every day since I heard about Pauls death I didnt think I "deserved" a post of my own here.

I dont have all the albums, Id never been to a concert, I didnt know Paul or any of crowded house personally and i never bought the t-shirt.

Its a bloody hot day here in Adelaide today and after going out this afternoon i had a nap on the couch while I was waiting for the jjj tribute to start. I woke up mid "It's only natural" at about 5.16 and I just started crying It's been 5 songs ...and I'm still crying and it's turned up and yeh those drums sound louder than ever.

After trying to work out why I have been so upset, not being a "real" fan I have realised that It's not about buying the albums or the t-shirts or any of that , its about the fact that I know all of the words, and the fact that they remind me of times, and moments and decades, they are part of me, my exposure to Crowded house has made me MORE me. A previous poster hit the nail on the head when they said it was about being the soundtrack to our Lives....

My first and only crowded house album was purchased when I still got pocket money, and its vinyl and it was $14, and I still have it.

While I had never bought a ticket to a concert I HAD seen Crowded House live, Once at the Grand Prix in Adelaide about a hundred years ago (1987 I was 16).I waded through waist deep,muddy, beer filled,putrid lake water to get to the front of the stage and had a bloody WONDERFUL time, I gashed my foot on some broken glass at the bottom but I didnt care, It was a totally unique and fantastic experience,

I also saw (heard) them again at WOMAD where all I can remember is the chorus from "italian plastic" which I had never heard before or since but it has stuck with me ever since (since i was about three i have always taken a glass of water to bed with me and I remember thinking how nice it would be to have someone that wanted to be my glass of water. silly thought, silly song It doesn't suprise me that Paul wrote it, it just makes it more special)

I am really going to miss the magic that was/is Paul, so many people loved this man and just like me havent realised until now, while I also shed a few tears when I watched the final CH concert on the steps of the Opera House they were nothing like the raw emotion that was tapped today when I really realised it was over, That Paul is gone and everythign is different.

I have told people that Paul has died and they say "oh I heard that" but they dont GET it. I've stopped telling people.

It is so hard to deal with this. I can only Imagine what this time must be like for Paul's close family the people that knew and loved him and I want to take the chance to offer my love to them and acknowledgement of what a wonderful effect Paul has had on my life and to thank them all for sharing him with me.

Wherever you are Paul I hope its better for you because where you have been has made it better for me.

thankyou for giving me somewhere to express my shared grief and offer my thanks

...a friend committed suicide
I could not escape, a plea from the heart
you know what it means to me
All weekend thoughts have been going through my head of Paul funeral..Yesterday was a lovely spring day, the daffodils sprouting up and the birdies chirping. Somewhere in my head I said to myself ..the next time I hear thunder it will be when Pauls journey is over and hes truly at peace. Well, today the heavens have opened and its been raining all day. The gray weather matching all of our emotions. I just put all my kids to bed and sat down at the computer thinking about reading some more posts and I heard a rumble in the distance. I smiled and quietly thanked Paul. Thanks for all the great memories Paul... Rest peacefully in your new mansion in the sky
My Dad introduced me to Split Enz at a very young age, after that I took all of his records into my room and nearly 25 years later I haven't given them back. CH were the soundtrack to my adolescence. Formative years and a formative figure in "Hester the Jester". One sadly missed but remembered with a smile.
These messages - all 25 pages now! have been amazing and a wonderful testament to a wonderful life.
Today, the day of Paul's funeral, I played CH loud and proud for all the neighbours to hear and for the music to drift out into the ether to celebrate the Paul that I knew but never met.
Vale Paulo
I've just been watching the all-day MAX tribute to Hessie. I've been watching the recorded concerts, and I still have this unbearable, gut-churning and sad feeling.
I think of Paul, Neil and Nick as three people that I have known for many years and like I know them so well, like they are three of my greatest mates. I feel so helpless that Paul never knew how much of a musical and comedic genius he was and what an inspirational legend he really was. I never got the chance to meet him but that's what I always wanted him to know. I also feel helpless that I can't console Neil and Nick in their great loss - cheer them up like their music and msuci videos antics cheer me up.

Vale Hessie the great!
also you have nailed it there - it's not about owning albums or whatever it's just that he's gone and everythings different. Anyway you said it better.

and Stella, funny I have been thinking along those lines, our weather turned rough last night, and now for some unexplained reason at 3pm Sunday, the sun has just come out again. Smiler

Thank you everyone posting today - you have brought back the sobs and the howling even, but thankyou all *hugs*

We are all so sad today.

Vale Hessie indeed.
I took my daughter to work with me this morning and all the way(about a 40 minute drive) we just sang at the top of our lungs. I asked her how she knew so many words to the songs and she said" how could i not, thats all you played when i was little"
To me thats a CH moment, we laughed and laughed, me singing out of tune her mucking up the words.
And right there is the legacy that Paul leaves with all of us, the ability to laugh and enjoy the moment as we have all seen him do so many times.
As John Edward says" Appreciate and validate those that are around you today, for you may not get the chance if you dont do it now"
I was just about to start writing my reply when I read AnnieMay's recent post, and I think my reply was almost going to be word for word -
ALSO - as AnnieMay said you 'nailed it' well written, I think we are both on the same 'tram' so to speak and yes Stella, it's also been a fairly bleak ole day here in Melbourne, in same ways I feel it's harder being in the same city as Hessie (also knowing the funeral was today)and I used to only live around the corner from 'the park' makes it all more real. Played 'temple of low men' all day today' and told my father that I loved him, which I cannot remember ever doing...Hessie you are still weaving your magic and will continue to do so...
What unusual weather here today in Melbourne....absolutely 4 seasons in one day! Intermittent showers, sunshine and strong winds! Quite symbolic don't you think?

Feeling rather awkward, I finally went to the park to pay my repsects to my idol of the past 15-20 years. On the drive there, the sky was very black but all of a sudden, a single mesmerising ray of sunshine shone through. It was almost magical - I like to think that at that moment, Paul was laid to rest.

The wind at the park was ferocious at one stage. I could hardly walk, it was that strong. Eventually, I managed to find the exact spot and was suprised by its proximity to the road. It was a very sombre moment.....but somehow I feel so much more at peace with what's happened after finding it. The stark reality clarified my creative imagination and somehow enabled me to move on in my grieving process.

I managed to say what I needed to say and then listened to TOLM one last time before saying "Goodbye Paul.....thank you for everything!" Although I had strong reservations about going there, I'm so very glad I did on the day of his funeral.

I hope that the funeral itself provided Paul's family, Mardi, Sunday, Olive, Kashan, Neil, Nick, Tim, Peter and his closest friends with many happy, zany memories as well as a strong sense of understanding, support and comfort.

Paul is at peace now.....let's celebrate all those magical memories and the amazing life which he led....I'm sure he would want that too! Big Grin
i think paul's funeral is today. i don't know if it is but i've had the feeling it might be. it's taken nearly a week for it to sink in. when i found out last week i was gobsmacked, breathless. it's taken a week. some part of me was saying, you're an adult now, you have greater responsibilities, this is not who you are anymore. you don't care about rockstars who die, or tv stars or movie stars. you're an adult and you must behave and think and feel in an adult fashion. today i said, screw that. this hurts.

today i dragged out my old scrapbook diaries from the year '84 to '87. i dragged out the box with letters and notes to and from highschool friends and there i found this complete love. a love of the time, my friends, my circumstance and the love of the soundtrack to that period and that soundtrack was split enz with paul. the mullanes (a gig with 10 other people cos no-one knew who they were) with paul. crowded house with paul. making us laugh, a photograph of us looking nervous and him making faces at the camera, hugging us because just we were there and had come to see his band, telling us we had made his night, shouting to the street (as he hung out the window of a speeding Tarago) that he'd see us "when youse got no clothes on." my later diary entries annotated with "MASSIVE!!" or "NINNEEEEEEE", or "yeah, neil, that wasn't bad, mate, maaate."

today i dared to review my youth for the first time in 18 years. it was kept in a box in my cupboard and paul sprang out of there like some ADHD demon and grabbed me by the throat and for the first time i cried.

i cried for paul and the possibilities he'd cut off and i cried for my youth. don't mean to sound trite but there ya go. you make friends in your youth with an intensity you will never make again. you come to realise what the world is, and perhaps, if you're lucky, your place in it and the possibilties of it. it's a daunting time. hessie was there. the enz were there. the mullanes (for one night only) and crowded house were there. they became a soundtrack for my late adolescence. i can't convey the fun and laughter and comraderie that i felt with those guys and with my friends. i felt i belonged somewhere. with my friends, with these people who loved this music.

the main memory is laughter. we laughed at the world, at ourselves and hessie laughed with us, caused us to laugh, the world was so absurd but frightening at the same time but at least there was this - laughter, love, comraderie. crowded house provided the voice we needed to reassure us and keep our spirits up.

that has never left. i was talking to my friend today - 20 years after when we first met paul and saw the enz. the absurd way of looking at the world has never left us. i am godmother to her daughter. we look back and realise those years were fuelled by a laughter and an innocence that can never be regained. split enz and the crowdies were the soundtrack and the cause of some of that laughter. such joy. such beautiful feeling. all in the past now. we will always have and share the memories of paul hester and the joy that the enz and the crowdies brought us when were young.

so thanks to everybody, tim, neil, nigel, noel, nick, eddie and peter green (who was hosting the fan club way back when i was in it - '83!!!!! power on you old soldier, you one eyed man!).

the eternal and sweet memories will always remain. nothing can take them away. thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

I want to say a big thank you to Tash, Steve and Romony for joining me and my family for Paul's memorial in Brisbane this afternoon. We sat around and shared stories and played CH music and chatted as though we had known each other for years (we had only just met!), but we all had something in common...our desire to celebrate the life of a man who had such an impact on our lives.

Everyone seems to be talking about the weather in Melbourne today, it was raining at my house this morning and I was concerned as we were having our memorial in the I started to pack everything up to take with me, the weather cleared a the time everyone arrived at the park, it was the most beautiful autumn day...maybe Paul turned on the sun for us...who knows?

Thanks again guys.
I thought I was feeling a lot better until last night. I felt so low, thinking about the past few days. I went to bed, CH blasting into my ears on my mp3 player.
I have read these posts every day, despite the pain it causes.
Hubby and I had been arguing over names for our new kittens for weeks but last weekend they came. Hester and Seymour. The tiniest of tributes I know, but my new little black and white cat will make me smile every day with it's crazy antics, just like Paul.

Still hurting with all of you.

Ingrid xxx
I get the feeling there's a lot of us (if not all) who feel that our grief won't ease until this public memorial happens. Someone tell me it's not just me!

Five days of work looming ahead and I still can't stop thinking of Paul. Can't stop being sad. So I think that something needs to be done. Can't go to the park by myself I don't think. Anyone out there who hasn't managed either, PM me and maybe we can arrange something (for anyone like me who is so, so afraid to go).

AnnieMay, when are you in Melbourne?
really interesting feature on hester, depression, the local music scene ...
revealing comments midway thru about the relationship between paul/nick and neil ...

There was a dark side to Paul Hester that had long troubled his friends, yet no one was prepared for his lonely death last weekend.

Paul Hester was in his element making Crowded House's first album in the US. Unlike Neil Finn, the early-to-bed front-man who tortured himself with worry, Hester found much to amuse himself in the weird characters and opulent recording rituals of 1980s Hollywood. There were parties, pot and personal encounters with rock legends such as Jim Keltner. The drummer, who had played with Elvis Presley and John Lennon, thought the three-piece "Crowdies" sounded a bit like the Beatles, and thanked them for letting him sit in on their record.

For a Glen Waverley boy about to hit the big time, it was about as good as it gets, and Hester, whose jokes had the same magical timing as his music - "It is stupid comparing us to the Beatles. There were four of them. There are only three of us" - drank it in without getting drunk.

He may have shared the same birthday as Elvis, but he did not have the King's liking for excess and trashy display. He did not booze, get lost in the groupie scene or fall for the old trick, money and fame. When he was eight, he wrote in his diary that he wanted to be a famous drummer, but added that he did not want to get into trouble with the police.

His favourite Beatle was Paul, but his quick mind and ironic take on pretension suggested John. Like Lennon, he had talent to burn and the kind of intelligence that cannot ignore the underdog.

It all meant that living in LA was "intense but great - like being in the Partridge Family on acid", Hester later told the band's biographer, Chris Bourke. "We were like kids, it was wonderful." Hester was "mum", the one who cooked and cleaned and did the shopping. And yet, as bassist Nick Seymour told Bourke, there was an edge to the domesticity. "I think he (Paul) has a major chemical imbalance. He's always at extremes."

The tearaway grin that fell from his face wasn?t showbiz, but a handshake into the heart of the crowd."

Seymour was not the only one with concerns. Singer Deborah Conway, who had been Hester's partner before he left for LA in 1985, was also aware of a dark side. She and Hester had shared a rambling old five-bedroom house in Rockley Road, South Yarra. She was there the first time he streaked on stage - during a Split Enz concert - and, although she loved the playfulness, she sensed a sadness. Last week, as the world wrestled with Hester's death, Conway agreed with fellow musician Stephen Cummings that their friend evoked comedian Tony Hancock, who killed himself in Sydney in 1968. "The sad clown, not a bad comparison."

No one knows what was going on in Paul Hester's mind when he took his life last weekend. Even his family and closest friends, who were familiar with his depressive moods, thought he was OK. Conway, who saw him two weeks ago, had made firm plans to meet him, as had another Melbourne singer, Sophie Koh. Shaking her head at the event she cannot digest, Conway says she was so shocked at the news that she suspected foul play. Her reaction was complete disbelief, then rationalisation. "I suspect he might not have entirely meant to kill himself," she says. As the shock turned to anger ("How could he do such a thing?"), Conway, like so many others, most of whom never knew Hester, felt numbness, and an ocean of loss.

It is a wave that is engulfing many as the reality of Hester's passing sinks in. He was not just a drummer boy, but a quirky, brilliant communicator who touched thousands. Neil Finn may have been the Crowdies songwriter, but Hessie was its sounding-board. Fans watched for his antics as much as they listened for Finn's words. The tearaway grin that fell from his face wasn't showbiz, but a handshake into the heart of the crowd.

It grasped deep into the psyche, not just because Crowded House was as close as we got to a new Beatles but because Hester was the kind of larrikin Australians embrace. Like Ringo Starr, a drummer he admired, he stayed true to his beginnings. He took the piss, rather than drowned in it, had (just four) serious, rather than serial, relationships, drove an old Holden, and lived in an Edwardian bungalow. Hester swam and sang, and played golf, as well as the fool, and seemed to have survived rock'n'roll with his bank account, and the best years of his life, relatively intact. So why did he walk into Elsternwick Park a week ago and hang himself?

Conway shrugs: "You never know. It is a case-by-case thing." She still wonders whether it could have been a cry for help. "Paul never spoke to me about it (suicide)," she says. He did, however, discuss it with another friend, explaining that he would never go through with it because of his daughters, Sunday, 10, and Olive, 5. "We talked about it," the friend says. "Paul said, 'I love my girls too much. I would never do it.'" Clearly, Bogut was in such despair last Saturday that even this critical concern was somehow either overridden, or put aside.

Melbourne University's Professor Pat McGorry says the trouble with depression is that it can be so bad it erases memories of the good. "You lose the optimism that treatment can help," he says.

McGorry, who heads Orygen, a youth mental health service in the western suburbs, has an inclusive view of depression. He believes it is "extremely complex" and can't be reduced to a simple formula.

Fellow psychiatrist Professor David Copolov, from the Mental Health Research Council, agrees: "No one, to my knowledge, just sees depression as a biological disorder. Real social and emotional factors are involved. You can't say something is entirely psychological or biological, though you can say that the suffering is real."

McGorry says intervention does work for adolescents making the transition to adulthood. He refers to recent research suggesting that the more toxic strains of cannabis now being grown hydroponically can be a predictor for psychotic illness, even suicide, among teenagers. Not smoking dope is a protective measure against mental breakdown, the studies find. No research, however, has been done on adults, and McGorry thinks mid-life crisis is a risk factor for suicide, particularly for men aged in their 40s and 50s.

He says: "It can be a feeling of 'What do I have to live for?' It is an enigma as to why some people kill themselves. Research shows that family history is important."

Was this one of the factors, perhaps? One close friend, referring to the years of therapy Hester went through, says: "It is very personal stuff. What do you do in analysis? You talk about your childhood."

Chris Bourke's book Crowded House: Something So Strong has many references to cannabis-smoking. He records Hester saying how he "completely lost his way" for a week or so when the band first went to the US. "Like dial-a-pizza, top-quality Californian pot would be conveniently delivered by 'the rabbi'," Bourke writes. He quotes Hester's reaction to Jim Keltner: "And Jim leans over and says, 'Can I have a toke on that?' Sure, go ahead."

Dope smoking, of course, is common in society, as well as in bands, and there is no evidence Hester ever got involved with hard drugs. But by the time the band was big, and touring was a chore, Hester was in trouble. He spoke about it to Peter Wilmoth, a former housemate and author of the book Glad All Over: The Countdown Years, in 1996. "The blackness was a huge factor for the boys to overcome," Hester told Wilmoth. "It was there and I was very much responsible for it . . . It is hard for the band to cope with that every day. I was like a frustrated two-year-old unable to express myself. I didn't know how to tell them my heart wasn't in it."

As well, Hester was fed up with the promotional side of performing. Sometimes - like during the 1986 US tour when he signed a poster: "F--- Ronnie (Reagan)" - it was his mischievousness; other times, he was bored with the repetition, or resentful about the huge disparity between the money he and Seymour got, compared with Finn.

"He just got sick of it," Conway says. "Playing second fiddle or whatever, though that was not the way it was. He was the strongest personality onstage. But as the songwriter, Neil got the money. That's why Neil lives in a mansion in Auckland while Paul lived in a little house in Elwood."

In his book, Bourke says that, at times, Hester and Seymour found it difficult to pay their mortgages. "Paul and I were just getting by at home, on the places we'd bought," Bourke quotes Seymour saying. "Paul was under pressure. He used to ask, 'What the f--- am I doing this for?' " Hester became paranoid about touring. He developed what he called a leaving phobia. He told Bourke: "It strung me up, the day before I left, I'd be in depression." He talked of panic attacks and freak-outs, and began to wander off stage to go to the toilet or talk during performances.

Perhaps he was distancing himself from the music, and the comic character he had created. In his book, Bourke records a 1967 school composition in which eight year-old Hester wrote: "I act rather stupid just to impress my friends. I would rather be a quiet little kid who just sat there and did a couple of funny things but not act stupid." This was when he could already play drums and entertain with his antics.

More than 20 years later, he told Bourke: "It was just at the end that I lost my way." What had seemed funny, like coming on stage in a Santa suit, only to strip naked, soon became something more serious.

Bourke records that the other band members became more perturbed by the way Hester would disappear into his hotel room for a "smoky session watching basketball videos". Bourke quotes bassist Seymour: "I thought he'd gone mad. I thought he was allowing the dark Paul to take him over."

They tried to support him. At Eindhoven, in Holland, Bourke says the crowd sang to him Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. It was ironic, because that was his speciality. But something was unravelling. He was drifting. People began to ask what was wrong with him. This was about the time Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain killed himself, an event that, Bourke says, disturbed Hester.

Australian writer Lawrie Zion, who was in the US when Hester finally quit Crowded House in 1994, has written of his friend's state. "Hester, despite his outwardly easygoing manner, had long been uncomfortable with the demands of being in a touring band, however successful," Zion wrote last week.

Afterwards, Hester told the ABC's Andrew Denton that rock'n'roll stardom was not what it was cracked up to be. "I gave up rock'n'roll so I could take up sex, drugs and rock'n'roll," he said.

Jeff Kennett, chairman of the national depression awareness organisation beyondblue, says that Hester's death highlights the need to help sufferers: "Paul's tragic death falls clearly into the category where he had everything to live for yet, internally, he was just bleeding."

While Hester was undoubtedly suffering, he was not unaware of treatment. Friends say he had taken anti-depressants for a time and found them useful, and had had lengthy periods of psychotherapy. "I recommend it to any 30-year-old man," Hester told Bourke. "Once you get to 30, you've got a bit of emotional baggage and I think you owe it to yourself to go - your mates can't help you."

He went once a week to unload his "most outrageous, deadly thoughts". "It was amazing. I had to get it off my chest with a completely independent person. He had no concept of Crowded House, hadn't really heard of us . . . It helped me work a few things out," he told Bourke.

Hester discussed depression and its causes and treatment with close friend John Clifforth. Clifforth, a doctor who met Hester in 1978, says: "It's no secret he was in therapy for a long time. He was interested in men's issues, how men neglect themselves." Clifforth remembers Hester's thoughtfulness, energy and passion for causes, including indigenous culture. "He thought about this stuff. He looked at consumerism and wondered how to make it more genuine. He could whip up people with a vision, hope one week, and the next sit at home screening calls saying he was having a bad day."

Hester did not feel he could make Clifforth's recent 50th birthday. "He just wanted to be alone, recharge his batteries," Clifforth says.

Like other friends, Clifforth was shocked by Hester's suicide. "Paul was like Peter Sellers with his brilliance," he says. "He seemed to be getting very productive. He was very excited with a number of projects. He was like Michael Leunig on speed."

Peter Wilmoth says Hester may have been "the most down-to-earth famous person you could meet", but he was troubled by aspects of success. Conway says Hester had a wonderful sense of the absurd and could handle fame, which seems true, but it is remarkable how many of his close friends liken him to entertainment giants who died prematurely.

Tony Hancock, as has already been noted, killed himself and Who drummer Keith Moon (the person Clifforth says Hester evoked when he first saw him drumming) drank himself to an early grave. Maybe it is that, as Jeff Kennett suggests, creative people and artists suffer a disproportionate amount of depression. But, unlike rock burn-outs, Hester was no narcissist who wanted to live hard, die young and leave a beautiful corpse. Apart from bouts of smoking cannabis, the usual excesses of rock'n'roll simply did not apply.

Could it be, as author William Styron wrote, that we all harbour something he called "darkness visible". Pat McGorry goes back to Freud and the notion of loss as a trigger for mourning, a normal state that, if not dealt with, can fester into depression. "Perhaps there are some who fail to grieve over their mid-life loss," he says. "These are central issues in literature, for writers like Camus." Camus famously wrote that the central, perhaps only, question is, s life worth living? Like Hester, he appreciated the absurd. He argued for an acceptance of reality that includes passion, and the subversion Lawrie Zion says marked Hester's humour.

Stephen Cummings knew Hester and his moods. The two of them, along with good mate and entertainer Brian Nankervis, regularly went for a swim at the St Kilda sea baths. "It was a guys' thing," Cummings says. "We'd swim and talk. Paul could be really moody, really closed up and closed off. Mostly we talked about flip things. I'm four years older than him and he liked to talk groups like (Cummings' band) the Sports."

Cummings feels there is a disconnect between media images and reality that confuses rock stars as well as their fans. "It is an age of grand gestures," he says. "Thank God, I was not that successful, and have to keep working. It helps you integrate into the world. In some ways, Paul didn't have to do that." Cummings recalls Hester really liked one of his songs, Fell From a Great Height, which has the line "something broke inside of me".

Clifforth talks of the way Hester could "turn it on, light up a room". "It was an amazing capacity and he really enjoyed it," he says. "He made others feel it and if he had not been able to, no one would give a ****."

Hester was best man at Clifforth's wedding. They saw each other every week for 25 years. Like the others, he emphasises just how much Hester enjoyed life, and imparted it to those around him. He could laugh at the irony of coming back to Melbourne after making it in the US only to find a sign beside the stage of the Middle Park Hotel reading: "Split House". And when Neil's big brother, Tim Finn, joined the band around 1990, it was Hester who, Bourke records, had the wit to deadpan, "Now we'll have someone to blame if the record stiffs".

Sadness, as Nick Cave notes, has a bad reputation. "We can't live if we are completely impervious to sadness," he has said. American poet Anne Sexton felt "creative people must not avoid the pain they get dealt". It is an idea with a long history. Philosopher Spinoza felt that sadness recoils from desire, and it is desire (for life) that is the real anti-depressant. Nineteenth-century neuroscientist George Gray thought it was a gradual "unlearning of optimism". Now sadness is confused with depression, and thought to be a chemical imbalance in the brain.

But while most scientists have turned away from notions such as soul-loss to describe the numbness that comes with depression, British biologist Dr Lewis Wolpert thinks it is a useful term. "With such distress we are at the very heart of being human," Wolpert writes in his best-selling Malignant Sadness. No one has yet found the cerebral substratum of passion and discontent.

Hester was aware of his moods and the treatment available, as well as good ways to live. As far back as 1989, he could admire a distinctly non-rock'n'roll lifestyle. As Bourke records, he got close to the founder of '60s band the Byrds, Roger McGuinn, describing him as a "clean-living dude who ate almonds and enjoyed playing and travelling with his wife". He told Bourke: "He had this untouchable, happy thing going down."
Sorry Annie not til the 26th. Though if there is something "public" this week I might swing things, though I doubt it with my partner overseas and my kids looking like they're getting sick. Frowner

I am with you about needing to do *something* b4 I can move on. I wish I could be there with you. I am starting to feel I might need to visit sooner, somehow.

Let's keep working this out through the PMs - or I'll start another thread when we have a suggestion for place and time.

that offer is for anyone in Melbourne too. It has been suggested (thanks RedGirl) we get together with a few bottles of something heartening, raise a toast etc kids, life, vitality, a nice reminder of the joy that's possible, and the connections made.

This weekend, I've submerged myself in Hessie tributes on TV and the Radio. How well loved he was and held with such high regard within the local entertainment industry and beyond.

Listening to the Triple M compilation of bits from the Martin/Molloy show with Paul Hester was a hoot. All Comedy Gold! I hope the O/S Hessie fans get, or have gotten, the chance to listen to this (especially you Howard Stern, once you remove your head from up your own arse!), it'll give you a good idea of how good he was on the radio, and how many ancedotes he had to tell.

Mick Molloy sounded a bit choked up at the end of the tribute, but countered the sadness by saying "next time I find myself in a dilemma, I'll ask myself, 'what would Hessie do?' *imagine Molloy stroking his chin and looking skyward with a pensive expression*"

I've restrained myself from bringing up Paul's death with most people I know, lest they think I am mad for being sad about a man I never met. However a friend of mine, who is not a CH fan, bought it up for me. She lives near Elsterwick, and almost felt compelled to visit the park where he took his own life. Though not a CH fan, she said she has been quite affected by his death and, though she is originally from NSW and Sydney, pointed out that he embodied Melbourne as he was kind-of bohemian, a large part of the cultural and artistic community, loved his sports, loved his coffee (he stated as much during a CH concert I attended in 1994 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl).

My friend also said something else that I thought was really profound, and has been on my mind since his death. If someone who appeared to love life as much as Hessie did and was well loved and highly regarded, what hope do the rest of us have? I guess it shows the depth of character Paul Hester had, it took his death to show everyone that. The whole depression issue is being treated more seriously, with more understanding. It also show how the death of one person can devastate so many.

However, I really hope that he doesn't forever remain a tragic figure, as some of the Australian media is currently portraying him to be, because he really wasn't. Listening to the Marin/Molloy Paul Hester tribute reminded me was a funny, original and cheeky guy he was. That is the way I am determined to remember him as.
"especially you Howard Stern, once you remove your head from up your own arse!), "

AAaw shucks Sharon I have shed many tears this evening at the end of this long and lonely day, but bloody hell if you didn't just help me out of that! Smiler

What an interesting story about your friend. Yes to me Paul absolutely embodied everything that was great about Melbourne. Just parroting you there but I cant think of a better way to describe it. An important part of a very rich and beautiful community is missing.

Miss you Hessiexx
Originally posted by also:
I have told people that Paul has died and they say "oh I heard that" but they dont GET it. I've stopped telling people.
I completely agree.. It feels like everyone I speak to's worlds should have stopped, and they should be as devastated as I am. Its so hard to understand when people seem unaffected by Paul's tragic passing.
This is my first post also, and Im really grateful for the people that have been members of this wonderful group of fans for years opening up to us newbies, and being so welcoming to our posts.
I never got to see CH live..I was 10 when Paul left the group, but as young as I was, I still loved their music, knew all the words and sung along with my tape player, and grew up to love it even more.
I was glued to Max today before and after work (it was so hard to smile at work today). he was such a talent, always seemed so full of life and his beautiful nature made me laugh and cry simultaneously. I dont know about everyone else, but even though Im in adelaide, I just wish I could've done something to help him. You know, you just personally wish you could've reached out to him and told him it would be ok. I cant begin to imagine what he was dealing with, and how painful it mustve been, but I hope he is ok now, and at peace with himself. What a sweet angel he would make.
Thanks for letting me get that out guys, I think a day of rememberance would be a wonderful tribute to Hessie each year. (although I dont think we'll have a day go by when he's not in our thoughts)
Rest in peace Paul, I hope the pain has gone away for you xx
I can't pretend to write this message to anyone other than Neil, but the witness of others is comforting to me. I saw the brothers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. That Saturday afternoon I had just come from saying goodbye to someone in my own circle who had also decided that they had seen enough of this life. I was struggling as I went into the theater, thinking only of loss and how to manage the grief in the company of Neil and Tim.

The loss was hard on me because it was sorta my job to guide this woman. She had trusted me with her secrets and I had spent hours, okay well years, in conversations asking her to please stay.

So into the theater I go, "knowing full well" that Neil will want us to sing. He picks four lines for us to give back to him. How can one refuse Neil given all the beautiful lines he has given to us, to me. Just four lines he wanted back...

Blood dries up
Like rain, like rain
Fills my cup
Like four seasons in one day.

It is these words that guided me gently back from the land of the dead. Saying the words, singing the words, moved them into me at a cellular level. I was healed by these words but now think, can these same words be fed back to Neil. Can it work that way? How does one heal the healer? So I just keep repeating these words, my mind will repeat them without being willed by my consciousness, and all I want to do is remind Neil that blood does dry up, that cups are slowly refilled and that peace will come.

I was suicidal on several occasions.
On one occasion I found myself wandering down circular quay aimlessly, and I followed the beautiful music emenating from the opera house.
It was crowded houses last concert.
After that I realised how many great things there were in the world.
I lived through it and I thank god whenever I remember how down I was.

Thank you crowded house for helping to heal my saddness on that night.


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