#SydneySiege Trolls And Racists Abound – A Personal Response By Bill Quinn, Overheard Productions

Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions, near Liverpool New South Wales, Tuesday 16 December 2014, 6:36am
Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions, near Liverpool New South Wales, Tuesday 16 December 2014, 6:36am

♪♪ Oh, it’s true; I find myself avoiding looking in the mirror. ♪♪

It’s a line from a song by Ann Vriend (Canada) that I first heard in 2008 that goes:

“Oh, it’s true, I could be feeling better
And oh, it’s true, I find myself avoiding looking in the mirror
And oh, it’s true, sometimes a sad song comes on the radio
But otherwise, I’m feeling fine.”

From ‘Feelin’ Fine’ off the ‘modes of transport‘ CD

Recently I’ve stepped out from behind the radio microphone and have been doing videos, increasingly turning the camera on myself. Not in a selfie, me me me way, but more of a semiotic, body language, non-verbal communication way.

I hate text-based inter-personal communication — ironic for a writer, yes/no? But if you can see the wrinkle of my forehead or the rising of my eyebrows, or my scratching my face (one of my tells that says I should never play tournament poker), then you’ll get a sense of what drives this cultural communicator: communication.

Call me old-fashioned.

Last night, Monday 15 December 2014, after I’d finally found out nine hours after it started, what was transpiring in Martin Place in Sydney, I called a halt to my work day at 14.5….12.5 hours. No, 14.5 hours.

(I could never be in the military. Apart from anything else, I suck at 25….that was an actual typo….I suck at 24 hour clock.)

Bega Valley musician Jay McMahon was despairing with his friends of trolls and racists and xenophobes and such coming out to play in the duration and wake of the siege and eventual death of the lone gunman. I repeat, lone gunman acting alone.

If I shot up a cafe, took hostages and killed two, took myself off the planet in the process, and at one point held up my Arsenal scarf (pictured), would you burn down Ashburton Grove, set fire to the Islington train station? Or go to Arsene Wenger’s home town in France and start spraying footballist slogans over churches and patisseries?

Non.

Son of a bitch. I’d been avoiding this score for two and a half days, hoping to catch it on replay. Damn you, Google and your helpful summaries on search pages!

Arse Arse Arse
Arse Arse Arse

So last night I tried five times to record a coherent response after Jay asked me: What can be done?

After four hours of deep, replenishing, refreshing slumber, this:

Check back here soon for video. Currently loading aaaaaand…. here’s Billy!

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A Punter’s Perspective September 2012: Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own Part III

Nobody gonna break-a my stride. Just give me a minute...
Nobody gonna break-a my stride. Just give me a minute…

A Punter’s Perspective

Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own Part III

First published in Trad and Now magazine, September 2013

“Do you have to go on stage? Can’t you just get a radio mic and just let them know it starts in ten minutes off stage?”

The speaker was (and still is) a talented musician and a lovely bloke and what he was to say next was in no way meant to be demeaning. He was in his own pre-game/pre-show warm up and consequently his head was processing a few things and on auto-pilot.

Meanwhile, the MC was fatigued and slightly ill, on the road for 11 days and 3000 kms by road, rail, air, sea, and lots of walking, pack mule style. He…

Ok, let’s leave this third person malarkey alone. I had been on the train down the escarpment to the gig, nodding off slightly as the NSW Trains carriage gently rolled about from side to side within a narrow range of oscillation.

The phone had rung and the gig promoter had asked me to step in at the eleventh hour to MC the big, almost sold out extravaganza that many in the area had been building up to for many weeks.

An MC's pharmacy shelves
An MC’s pharmacy shelves

I’d literally run down Crown Street then back onto the one that runs parallel, stopping off for a bottle of medicine for later after the show. You know the sort of medicine I’m talking about. It comes in 700ml receptacles, this one was blended (many are single malt), and there are fine healers from Scotland who distill and distribute it for its magical, health-giving properties.

(As it happened, the stopper never came out and it stayed parked outside the venue, and I went to bed, un-dosed and with my medicine uncapped.)

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