I DON'T necessarily feel qualified to write about Grant McLennan. The wonderful band he co-founded with his musical soulmate Robert Forster passed me by the first time round. Unfortunately I wasn't alone.

Critical acclaim never translated into much commercial success for Australia's finest purveyors of intelligent, angularyet-melodic pop. Maybe The Go-Betweens were too good for the 1980s.

I saw them in 1984 opening for Aztec Camera at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. I wasn't interested. We were there to worship Roddy Frame, erstwhile Go-Betweens labelmate on Glasgow's seminal Postcard Records.

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Someone flicked a lit cigarette at them during one song. Bass player Robert Vickers extended a furious middle finger at his faceless aggressor without missing a note.

That's really all I can remember. Shame on me. My apathy, along with that of so many others, helped ensure that The Go-Betweens remained "the greatest cult band of the 1980s". The next time I saw them was 16 years later, sharing the bill with Teenage Fanclub for two gigs in Spain.

They had stopped performing in 1989. Grant and Robert pursued solo careers. Then, after a 10-year break, they reconvened to make arguably the best Go-Betweens record so far, The Friends Of Rachel Worth.

Grant came into our dressing room in Barcelona and was friendly, funny, warm, engaging, charming, soft-spoken. He told us about his ancestry (some vague yarn about a fornicating one-eyed priest), how he'd once met Germaine Greer and, ever the Renaissance man, how excited he was to be staying on in Barcelona to attend a reading by a Catalan poet.

In November last year Teenage Fanclub played four more shows with The GoBetweens in Spain. They were at the top of their game, especially at the final show in Bilbao, one of the last they were ever to play. Afterwards I took my chance to tell Grant what a great songwriter he was. It is a singular honour to be able to tell an artist personally how much their art means to you.

Last weekend Grant was preparing to throw a housewarming party at his new home in Brisbane. Apparently Grant liked going to parties but none of his friends could remember him ever having one of his own. He put up decorations, hired a band, arranged catering and got decks so he could DJ. Feeling unwell, he went for a lie down. As guests were arriving Grant died in his sleep. A suspected heart attack. He was 48.

If you want a measure of the way in which Grant McLennan touched so many lives, visit the outpouring of memories and emotions on the message board on The Go-Betweens website. If you miss Grant, post a message. Along with so many others, Robert is reading.