In the 1980s, Queensland, Australia’s picturesque façade concealed a dark underbelly of police brutality, particularly targeting Indigenous citizens and political dissenters. Under state governance, the Queensland Police Service displayed unchecked power, often evoking more fear than faith. Isolation from metropolitan hubs, such as Sydney and Melbourne, perhaps exacerbated the issue. This systemic abuse, largely ignored by the global community, persisted until the revealing Fitzgerald Inquiry. Today, as Queensland forges its modern identity, the legacy of those years lingers, underscoring the necessity of confronting societal shadows for genuine progress.
Much like Australia, the United States also carries a bleak history and law enforcement aggression, stretching from colonial slave patrols, to Ku Klux Klan attacks, to the Trail of Tears and Wounded Knee, to recent events highlighting names like Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. The latter have recently catalyzed political movements, such as Black Lives Matter. In both nations, these issues remain at the forefront of broader societal dialogues on race and reform.
Now it’s 2023, and we’re still treading these same murky waters, with increased violence, frustration, and lives at stake.
Sacred Hearts delves deep into the vexing issue of the corruption of power by reimagining The Parameters’ 1983 track, Pig City—a subversive hymn that once reverberated through the streets of Brisbane. Penned in an era where Premier Joh ‘Jackboot’ Bjelke-Petersen wielded the police force as a tool to quash contrarian voices, the original song audaciously called attention to an oversight: the rampant police malfeasance that seeped up to the Commissioner’s chambers. Capturing this fraught atmosphere, in 1985, filmmaker Stephen Stockwell embarked on a cinematic sojourn, armed with a Super-8 camera, documenting the police’s operations in various Brisbane locales.
Watch the original:
Sacred Hearts took a cue from Stephen Stockwell and created a brand new, video – shockingly similar to the scenes around Brisbane 38 years ago, down to the graffiti. The more things change, the more they stay the same. There’s got to be some grandiose philosophy behind that “back to the 80s” nostalgia mentality in general – but Sacred Hearts punctuates that in reality, when we wave ourselves through the fog of AquaNet, mall bangs, and neon dazzle, society has barely evolved since the Reagan era.
In fact, Sacred Hearts are more than happy to throw in a bit of chaos to stir the pot.
“In our video, we had a lot of fun walking to some iconic/seedy spots in our town, West End and Fortitude Valley,” says the band. “We got a lot of stares and some yells – being dressed up as cops- so it was even funnier. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, so the video leans into camp. At the end we burn an Australian Flag, which if we did so in the city would’ve definitely got us arrested for ‘disorderly conduct! We did this because we aren’t proud (to say the least) of the country Australia was and continues to be- particularly with their treatment of our First Nations (Aboriginal People) and refugees.”
In a world abuzz with these dissonant 21st-century noises, post-punk enfants terribles Sacred Hearts swerve past all the humdrum. Religious strictures? Dainty domesticity? Please. These unapologetically queer firebrands, a potpourri of fierce females and enbys, are drawing a road map all their own. They’ve no time for trite truisms, preferring the raw, unvarnished notes of womanhood in all its mess and magnificence. Treading deep waters from mental battles to throwing off the Abrahamic man’s yoke, they’re heralding the goddess within. Musically, think Berlin, B-52s with a dash of Siouxsie. But spirit? It’s all wild Riot Grrrl rebellion.
Watch Pig City in 2023 below:
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