Acoustic Soup at the ANU Food Coop, Canberra City (Acton)

ANU Food Coop
ANU Food Coop

Acoustic Soup at the ANU Co-op Food Shop

Third Wednesday of the month

Let’s hear it for doing new stuff. CS Lewis opined that you should do six impossible things before breakfast. Well, here’s one new thing to do next month. And here are six things you can do there:

  1. Try some of the most delicious, nutritious vego soup with chick peas and awesome bread
  2. Try some home brew from Albury mayhaps
  3. Listen to/watch some of the best acoustic music that Canberra’s independent music scene has to offer
  4. Meet some really amazing gals and guys who are passionate about community and sustainable futures
  5. Browse an incredible array of organic and ethical products, and finally (wait for it, brace yourself)
  6. Poo in a bucket!

OK, there’s method in the madness of that last one. In fact, before this post is done and dusted, thou shalt have a link to what that’s about.

But firstly, let’s cut to the chase. Where can you find more information about this amazing place which not only features Acoustic Soup on the third Wednesday of the month, it is now open for lunch three days a week? Well, don’t take my oblique words for it, damn it, click here:

I’ll wait for you. Doo be doo be doo.

Back live?

Now for the Farcebook brigade, there’s this: — that’s specifically about the Acoustic Soup nights on the third Wednesday of the month.

But they’ve also got a page just for the Coop Food Shop, which as we’ve discussed, is now doing lunch:

SO. Last night I finally went along for my first cup of Acoustic Soup and wondered why I’d never made the effort before.

Me being me, I threw myself in at the deep end and, despite coming off the back of a rather harsh and happy month, I power-slid into Gordon Street at 6.30pm off the road from Westmead Hospital, seeing me old mam who had mercifully been discharged from hospital for the 87 936th time in her life, and bolted across to Kingsley Street to have an a cappella warble.

I put out the plaintive plea to my mates to turn up and give me some much-needed support. Yeah, that worked!

But by pure fluke, a few others were there, and I met some of the best humans on the planet and I saw so many glints of passion and purpose in so many pairs of eyes, it juiced me right up. Even coming off a long haul from Western Sydney in a dodgy old fume-y campervan.

And I did promise a stack of people to share some details about the stuff I was doing.

Starting with:

‘The World Turned Upside Down’ by Leon Rosselson and re-imagined by Billy Bragg.

Now, to be honest, I do prefer Billy’s version to the original. It’s just got this grittiness that Leon doesn’t quite harness. A few years ago at the National Folk Festival, I joined a guy named Brent from the Hunter Valley in a version of this that was SO wrong because it had ALL the actions, and Brent and I were leaping over chairs and doing dive rolls, and people were throwing their wallets in at critical points when it got to the bit about ‘pay rent to the lords’. It was anarchic and it was in response to some raw emotion I was feeling at the time, and it was something the hundred or so people in that singing circle talked about for some time to come. Love it.

Next was going to be a wonderful song that really does ask Australia, what the fark are we doing with our policy and practice on treating refugees with respect and dignity, but I hadn’t sung it in an age and couldn’t be sure I’d stick the bridge. (I did it once and then raced out of the singing workshop I was running and gleefully announced to the songwriter that I’d reached those toppy top notes —  she gave me a 1 000 mile hug!!) For another time.

So it was back to Billy Bragg for this haunting tale of love and loss of a loved one, in this case his father.

My brother was an amazing Canberran independent gutsy (or gusty as he once wrote on a promo) urban folkie who died when he was but 26, and you can read more here:

So for many, many years I’ve been singing ‘Tank Park Salute’ as a tribute to my brother Greg, changing the words ever so slightly. Here’s Billy doing it, with a wonderful extended bit at the end that diffuses the emotion and helps laugh away the tears:

You can squeeze every drop of feeling out a cappella style, but there’s nothing like the simple emotion of Cara Tivey’s keys.

Next. Paul Spencer from the Hunter penned this amazing song about complacency and what it means to be a small ‘g’ greenie. I resemble that remark! I sang it with Ecopella but there’s something about four-part harmony that’s just a bit too structured for this song for mine. Which is why I sing it time and time and time again solo a cappella. My piece de resistance (which is all about the power of the song, not the channel) was at Maldon Folk Festival some years ago when the power failed at an outside venue and after I’d boomed out to the crowd that the electrician was on the way, I then asked if they wanted a song, and I finished the last verse as the power went on again and one of the guys I’d picked on chased me vaudeville-style out of the venue as I bellowed the last line over my shoulder.

I was fairly new to folk when I blundered into the then venue of the Illawarra Folk Festival, the Heritage Hotel in Bulli and saw the Wheeze and Suck Band. Like I said last night, it’s not porno music for 70-year-olds, it’s five ex-pat Poms who belt out the most amazing blend of Morris Man music, tune sets, red-ragging songs, trad-style folk songs — you name it. My favourite band of any genre anywhere in the world, and for four years, I used a tune set of theirs as the title music for my monthly folk radio show on Artsound FM. (Just changed it.)

At that gig, I bought a copy of their album ‘Elsie Marley’s Mates’ and was uber-enjoying it on the ride back to Canberra. But when I got to Track 12, every nerve-ending on my body went into overdrive and every hair on the back of my neck and every hair NOT on the back of my neck stood on end.

Five years and four months later and I still get the same reaction every time I hear it played. Ian MacIntosh who wrote it explains its genesis, some of which I shouted out last night, but most of which you can read on the web-site. ‘Rag and Bone’ — an ageless classic song, and I figure I’ve now probably sung it more times in public than Ian has. In fact, after a pretty hard night on the turps at last year’s National, Ian and the lads were doing a set at Oh God O’Clock in the Coorong (10am, FFS) and Ian was ‘pumping’ out a rare version of it but stumbled over one word in the chorus. ‘HARD side of the road’, I bellowed out from the side of stage. ‘Oh yes, it is that, innit?’ and continued.

This tells the story but there’s no vision and just some scratchy audio at that link.

BUT this is what they look like in full flight:

I love the range of ages dancing in this video. People, get to the small festivals like St Albans Folk Festival — you’ll have the time of your life. Yass is coming up 14-16 September (and these guys are playing there).

Right, that’s your lot.

Thanks so much to the ANU Coop Food Shop for a great night — see you next month.

Bill Quinn

Overheard Productions

Overheard Productions on Farcebook and Twitter and Flickr and MySpace and YouTube and gawd knows where else!

Oops!! Can’t go without telling you about pooing in a bucket!!

Adios amigos!

Bill singing 'Tank Park Salute' at the now defunct Civic Holy Grail 2009
Bill singing ‘Tank Park Salute’ at the now defunct Civic Holy Grail 2009. Photo by Dan Backhouse.


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