Folk On The Road – 2019 Cobargo Folk Festival

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All images in this article by Bill Quinn

Folk On The Road

A highly irregular series reflecting on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

Back to Cobargo

Cobargo Folk Festival (CFF) in early March 2019 was a breath of fresh air for many who made their way to the beautiful green valleys and rolling hills just north of Bega, New South Wales. Not too far south of Narooma, and within a five iron of a heaven.

For this peripatetic scribe, it was a homecoming of sorts to the world of Australian folk festivals. A temporary one, as it transpired.

CFF came towards the end of a week or so in the Eurobodalla/Sapphire Coast region, just after the last member of my immediate family had left their home of almost twenty years in Bodalla, on an estate overlooking the quite stunning ranges of the Deua National Park.

But it was also a proper return to folk festivals after roughly five and a half years of continually wandering up and down the Australian east coast, from the deep south of New South Wales to the middling far north of Queensland.

(A handful of hours at Slacky Flat, Bulli in 2016 and 2019 doesn’t really count, does it?)

In those intervening years, the closest I’d come to our festival culture was random assorted gigs, and attendances, media, and volunteering/MC-ing at regional Queensland festivals in Cleveland, Stones Corner, and Boyne Island.

Though all events had minor folk elements, it was wonderful to be back among the campers, revellers, singers, musos, and so, so many familiar faces in a dedicated folk festival.

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Bill The Gypsy – Bill From Fassifern – An Audio Reparation

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On Saturday morning, 16 February 2019 AEDT, I rang in to the ABC Weekend Mornings show on ABC Sydney radio.

To say I had some communication challenges is to grossly understate the case. Three devices, radio on the TV, a landline – but I couldn’t find my hands-free to use my main mobile phone whose receiver speaker thingumy doover is a bit stuffed.

So, Simon Marnie finally threw to Bill from Fassifern, and what he got in return was a bloke with a fascinating tail, I mean tale of a cat who used one paw to mask the sound of his jingling balls, I mean, bells as he stalked prey in the backyard.

(I know some people who pray in the backyard. Takes all sorts.)

But that tail, I mean, tale was delivered with all the sonic clarity and crispness of MHz that you’d expect were I speaking down the line from Mawson’s Hut, Antarctica. The story got through, but barely.

So there’s this:

There must be a song to go with this.

There is! Brb…

ENDS

[Audio Interview] Harry Manx – 2016 Australian Tour

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Image courtesy of Harry Manx

This is the audio file wrapped up in a bit of Overheard FM nonsense. The full written version will be here on Monday 17 October 2016 at midday AEST, 10pm Sunday Kentucky, US and 3am Monday UK time.

To tell the story of Harry Manx would take several lifetimes, and hopefully a progression of life-forms over those lives to tell the story, because the story is so mesmerising and complex that we would not be very present and in the moment of most of those lives and that could put the telling of the tale at risk as we would not be making gradual and continuous improvement as…

I believe the expression you’re looking for is, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”

Harry Manx performs at the 2012 National Folk Festival
Harry Manx performs at the 2012 National Folk Festival

Harry Manx has already begun his 2016 Australian tour which will take him from Sydney down to Victoria (where he is on stage tonight, Friday 23 September in Frankston) then around to Queensland, South Australia, Perth and up to Broome and Darwin, ending in the beautiful, lovely, gorgeous, I-may-be-a-little-hereditarily-biased New South Wales locales of Katoomba.

Ah, Katoomba. If there’s a more intimate, special venue than Clarendon Guest House, I want it stuffed, mounted, and hung above my fireplace – or I at least want an invite to your venue that can safely kick the Clarendon into a cocked hat. Or any poultry millinery for that matter.

And finally wrapping it all up at Club Saffire in Merimbula.

So it’s a very eclectic path Harry treads, and look, I’d draw you a picture if I had a free hand, but imagine a much-twisted paper clip that’s been sitting on your desk all day on a slow Friday when you’ve been watching the clock since 9:36am – now you’re in the ballpark.

OR picture a moose that somehow wandered into your yard, found your sippin’ liquor in the shed, and is now making a bedraggled, loquacious and somewhat winding stagger back to the forest by a circuitous route, two-thirds of it sideways. You got it! Continue reading

Wattle Grove Shopping Village: Michel’s Patisserie Gets A Drive Through

“Welcome to Wattle Grove. May I take your order?”

On Thursday 12 November 2015 at 2.30am, the Wattle Grove branch of Michel’s Patisserie had the quickest reno it’s ever likely to get.

And probably without the requisite planning approvals from Liverpool Council.

You can read all about it elsewhere, and probably watch some news footage too, including the young Channel Nine reporter and her cameraman who looked like a hipster who’d escaped from Rozelle, and was wielding (I ship you not) a Go Pro.

Huzzah for technology.

Here are a few pictures of the devastation, plus some video courtesy of Overheard Productions WTAF and Overheard FM. Reporting for all channels, here’s Phillip Mahkawfee-Khup.

Your reporter, Phillip Mahkawfee-Khup, has more.

Pictures are being added but this is for the 11pm news, so cut it, print it.

23:16 AEDT Thor’s Day 12 November 2015 Continue reading

[Text Interview] Check the water and oil! Lime and Steel on the road

Image courtesy of Lime And Steel
Image courtesy of Lime And Steel

A shorter version of this article appeared on Timber and Steel on 14 September 2015.
This article appeared in full in the September edition of Trad and Now magazine.

To tell the full tale of this article would be to sing you a mournful ballad of disappearing Facebook event shares and a 12 minute interview, ambitiously recorded on a Nokia dumb-phone so old it needs hand-cranking.

Suffice to say that the audio of that chat between the artist (in Katoomba, NSW) and the interviewer (in Nelson Bay, NSW) is available now on eBay on a listing called ‘Marcel Marceau’s Greatest Hits’.

Technology is a fickle mistress, sharing pain and pleasure in equal measure, and my thanks to Paddy Connor from Lime and Steel for his assistance and good humour.

Blue Mountains-based folk band Lime and Steel have hit the road, making sacrificial offerings to the gods of automobile reliability and ‘keepgoingability’ from Melbourne’s CBD up the east coast to Brisbane (with a stop-off in the nation’s capital).

Lime and Steel began as a rootsy folk duo of Paddy Connor and Ben Scott, but over the years, their composition has changed, and indeed, their compositions have changed. Continue reading

Surely Goodness and Kindness: Talking With Brian on Manly Wharf

Manly Wharf, New South Wales, Australia
Manly Wharf, New South Wales, Australia

I overheard a man on Manly Wharf beach one afternoon and his story became one of the most compelling interviews.

Let’s get there, unlike the Manly Ferry which darts out of Circular Quay and pretty much makes a beeline for Cabbage Tree Bay.

Let’s take a slightly circuitous root.

I grew up in the mid sixties and seventies with something of a hefty disdain for Manly.

It was a disdain maintained from a distance of about 366kms away in Canberra, and it was all based on the eternal battle between the mauve of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (‘Silvertails’) and the Black and White of my beloved Western Suburbs Magpies (‘Fibros’). Rugby League, for the uninitiated.

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Traditional geographic and tribal rivals

My family hailed from the west: Parramatta, Harris Park, Guildford and Baulkham Hills. My anti-Manly bias was born of those silly tribal rivalries that sound so pointless in smaller towns like Canberra where I have never been able to take the north vs south thing seriously.

“We’re not that [farnarkeling] big!”

Cliff Notes: I’d never spent much time there, and while visiting friends in Fairlight and on other trips, I was looking for reasons to like the area.

Yes, we’ve fast-forwarded to 2013, and for some reason one day, I’d gone across the briney foam from Circular Quay to Manly Wharf and drifted up and down the Corso and around the back lanes and alleys.

And fell completely and totally and hopelessly in love with the place.

When you get just a little bit out of the centre of Manly, things get a little beige, bland and neo-conservative. But right in the middle of town, it’s like a little melting pot, albeit a flashier more glamorous pot than some other localities that host meetings of many cultures within the scope of what is loosely termed ‘Greater Sydney’.

Me, I love them all.

Walk from Punchbowl train station to the Boys High School (which I did when I first moved to Sydney in March 2013, to interview the assistant principal) and you see pretty much no white faces, hear no Australian spoken, and smell smells that don’t feature in, say, the main street of Miranda.

Take a walk along Forest Road in Hurstville CBD and to have a conversation or transact some business, a working knowledge of Mandarin, Cantonese or Korean would serve you well.

Hang out around various parts of Liverpool and a little Italian will get you a long way.

I know a little Italian. His name’s Marco and he’s a retired jockey.

(Dips the hat towards the film ‘Top Secret’ for that gag. I’m here all week, tip your wait staff, try the risotto.)

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Humph Hall: An Open Letter to Warringah Council (NSW, Australia)

Image courtesy of Humph Hall via NSW Folk Federation (www.jam.org.au)
Image courtesy of Humph Hall via NSW Folk Federation (www.jam.org.au)

### STOP PRESS. On Sunday 9 March 2014, I had a long chat with Wayne Richmond at Humph Hall about this epic saga.

There are two sides to every story, but this one’s more like a dodecahedron. Wayne was quick to acknowledge the positive input from Warringah councillors, mayor and even the personal attention of NSW planning portfolio.

Articles to come here and at Timber and Steel soon.

Humph Hall: An Open Letter to Warringah Council by Bill Quinn

Written on the E89 bus from Bilgola Plateau to Railway Square, Sydney NSW, Australia

Friday 7 March 2014

If a picture says a thousand words, here’s several million for you.

Go to Google Images — http://www.google.com/imghp — and search on ‘humph hall’ then scroll, view, scroll view, next page, etc. That will tell you the value of this venue more eloquently than I can. But do read on!

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When it comes to angrily shaking my fists in a Peter Finch/Shaun Micallef ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore’ style of protest, I prefer direct contact.

I just don’t online petition. I’m glad for you to do so, but don’t ask me to sign one.

So having read in The Manly Daily about the latest in the legal wrangle over fire and safety at Humph Hall, and the fact that Warringah Council is now dragging Wayne Richmond and Gial Leslie into court over the matter, I took time out from my morning ritual of staring inquisitively out the bus window along Barrenjoey Road to Haymarket, and tapped out the below, patiently navigating council’s rather confusing and limiting web-site to submit my two cents’ worth.

To contact Warringah Council, go to: http://www.warringah.nsw.gov.au/

“Liking Facebook pages and reposting memes is not enough in days like these.”
— Bill Quinn via Billy Bragg. Continue reading