#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 #38: The Good Intentions — Americana from the UK

Peter Davies and Gabi Monk. Image courtesy of The Good Intentions.
Peter Davies and Gabi Monk. Image courtesy of The Good Intentions.

A Punter’s Perspective

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

#38 The Good Intentions: Americana from the UK

First published on the Timber and Steel blog on 5 November 2012
Second published in Trad and Now magazine, November 2012

For 20 to 30 years, I’ve been aware of the UK TV series ‘7 Up’ and its sequels without ever having watched them. I’ve wanted to, but as they’ve come along in seven-yearly updates, I’ve had this chronologically pedantic need to see them in order.

I mean, you wouldn’t start watching Star Wars at Episode IV now, would you?

Oh wait…

(I should mention at this point that the ‘7 Up’ mentioned here is not a carbonated beverage, and the ’56 Up’ that will soon be mentioned is not the middle-aged version with added cranberry juice, added fibre and iron supplements for the senior on the go. Click on the above link for a catch-up on this TV series that chronicles the changing lives of a group of Britons at seven-yearly intervals, starting at age seven.)

Fearing I might not live long enough to see them in order, my initiation to the series was the redux of ‘42 Up’ at the end of October on SBS TV in Australia, and then two days later, the debut of the latest offering: ’56 Up’.

My interest was slightly piqued in ’42 Up’ when the show’s host mentioned that a couple of participants had pulled out along the way. I idly wondered whether they would rejoin at a later point.

Sure enough, one of the first vignettes in ’56 Up’ included one R. Peter Davies, and when he quite clearly stated his reason for rejoining the program, I literally clapped and applauded:

Peter wanted to get some publicity for his independent band.

There may be more worthy causes but they’re not springing to mind right now.

Before the segment was over, I was looking up ‘The Good Intentions’ on social media, and through the wonders of technology, mutually agreeable diaries, and time zone differences, just under four days later, I had phone and recording device perched precariously on the compost bin under the carport, and was having a chat with Peter Davies and Gabi Monk, two-thirds of the band that also includes Francesco Roskell. Continue reading