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 →
2014-15 is only my fourth trip to Woodfordia, so there are others who are 25 visits ahead of me.
The first three festivals I attended as a volunteer, and like my introduction into the world wide weird of folk merely two years previously, I could not have made a better choice than to join the ranks of vollys, as they/we are affectionately known.
I have very little if anything to compare with the frissons of excitement I had as a wide-eyed young 41 year old, reduced by an event to a gibbering little schoolboy.
(Except when on stage; always a professional behind the microphone, of course!)
I was in a trippy paradise of heaven. Everything was new, everything was bigger and more colourful, more musical, more stunning, than anything else I’d encountered in music and art to that date.
Sorry, Bayern State Opera, but Woodford takes the strudel!
(It even proved to be a sorting hat for me, because my partner at the time came with me (to her first Woodford). In stark contrast, she whinged and whined and moaned and griped and complained. It was too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too expensive, too cheap, too too too much. I put her at an arm’s distance, revelled in my then very patchy mobile phone reception, and on 31 December when she texted me to say she’d gone home to mother near Chermside, I punched the air, danced a jig, yodelled from the Hilltop, and dived right back into the festival. A week later we were over for good and she ended up marrying the sound guy. Good luck to them both!)
I left home several days before the festival started and made a savage hook turn trip from Canberra down to Bodalla then later from Moruya to north Brisbane in one Christmas Day non-stop haul. Google Maps informs me that’s about 1450kms on the black-top. Another 74kms to the front gate of Woodfordia, in near carpark conditions on the Bruce Highway.
Travel north from Brisbane to the festival on Boxing Day at your own peril.
The taste of service station sausage rolls still lingers to this day. Nothing on the highway of any higher gastronomic fare was on offer in 2007, apart from days-old sandwiches in those hideous plastic containers that look like they’d been washed and glazed for display.
Interview audio version first posted in Timber and Steel in September 2013. Interview text version first published in January 2014 edition of Trad and Now magazine.
Recorded in the studios of community radio station 2XX-FM, Canberra.
Thanks as always to these three venerable institutions for the very fine work they do in supporting folk and independent music in Australia.
In March 2014, Billy Bragg will be touring Australia with band on his ‘Tooth and Nail’ tour, part of a worldwide expo of his latest studio album. Last year, I interviewed Billy as he made a whirlwind promotional tour to Australia. We revisited some old themes and looked forward to this year’s tour.
[For the time poor, the full audio file of this interview (including outtakes featuring gratuitous underwear references) is at: Timber and Steel.]
[Insert audible groan of indecision mixed with ‘Oh well, why the hell not’-ness.]
I realise that ‘Year in Review’ blogs and lists can seem as passé as flash mobs and….. other things that are passé.
Like saying that things are ‘passé’.
But as per the opening sentence, ‘Why not?’.
As with many things that I’ve written since age 14, this may provide a mixture of utility for others (especially if I’m reduxing your interview or news event) and utility for me. It’s a natural progression from the Year in Review emails and Farcebook notes I’ve written in years gone by.
This 2012 version was prompted by that nonsensical Farcebook function that purports to consolidate your 20 biggest moments of 2012, using an algorithm that was obviously created by a very finitenumber of monkeys on a finite number of very old typewriters.
My glittering pseudo-career on community radio took an extended break in May when I hung up my boots from Artsound FM.
I love presenting radio programs. I’ve discovered so much good music, so many talented performers and met so many good people through it. But it’s nice to have a little more breathing room and leisure time.
I tend to throw myself in to things like this, boots and all, somtimes at the cost of sensible balance with other things, so I have enjoyed putting my energies into other areas.
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?
(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 →
So, as the bishop said to the actress, I’ll be brief.
No, seriously. I know we’ve met and all, and I know that you know that I know that I don’t do brief.
Or briefs. But hey I just got up from a nap.
Unclench and un-eeewwwww! I’m wearing trackie pants but only because me trewsers are drying and when they are, I get to go out the door and down the club to watch Norwich at home to West Ham United who are the new black because (tada) that’s Billy Bragg’s team.
See? Douglas Adams was on to something with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: the interconnectedness of all things. (Shows how much TV I watch; apparently it’s a TV series. Go go Google iView or whatever or I’ll have to go to Britain if it’s geo-blocked here. Mind you, I’m writing this from Australia, so we might get to see it here in 2014. This is the part where you dive in and say, ‘Oi, cloth ears; it was on in May!’)
Now, by curious coincidence, I mentioned ‘the interconnectedness’ of all things to Sir William Bloke in the interview, and just as I expected, he leapt on to the concept like a seagull onto a chip.
I once blew seven layers of merde through a group of teenagers throwing chips to seagulls on the south coast of New South Wales.