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In Search of John Maclean—part 1

Scotland has had few men whose names Matter—or should matter—to intelligent people, But of these MacLean, next to Burns, was the greatest. —Hugh MacDiarmid, ‘Krassivy,…

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Shenanigans in the shires*

I guess my dad started following Leicester City shortly after we made the move from Kinlochleven in Scotland to Corby, Northamptonshire in 1957. At the…

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Articles and posts

A selection of published and previously unpublished works

David Day

Following the news of the passing of Adelaide radio legend David Day overnight, Stuart Coupe contacted me this morning and asked if I would post the interview he did with David for Roadrunner, published in the June 1978 issue. At the time, David was music director at 5KA Adelaide, generally considered the most progressive radio station in the country for most of the 1970s, with a reputation for breaking new acts

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Australian Rock: The Early Sixties

As the sixties dawned the prospects for Australian rock seemed bright. Johnny O’Keefe, the undisputed leader of the rock pack, was hurriedly preparing for his first American promotional trip. The first crop of Australian rock singers and groups were revelling in the exposure provided by the new TV rock shows like Six O’Clock Rock and Bandstand and the newly introduced Top 40 radio was playing their records. When O’Keefe hit

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Australian Rock: The Fifties

‘The public for pop in the years 1954 to 1964 created a new social order which changed the fabric of life and the course of the century … ‘It was not merely a case of roll over Beethoven, more the almost entire rejection of an inheritance of style, taste, manners, behaviour and ethics in the pursuit of change.’ — Bob Rogers with Denis O’Brien, Rock ‘n’ Roll Australia — the

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Quietly Confident: Republic of Australia

The clip for Quietly Confident’s one and only single. Republic of Australia (1983). Featuring lead vocalist Len Lindon; vocalists Larry Buttrose and Mark Conway; Russell Handley on the ( )ASIO keyboards; and backing vocals from Mandy and Melanie Salomon.  Quietly Confident was the alternative cabaret act I managed in the period when I left Adelaide and moved to Sydney (1982-83). The track was recorded at Basilisk Studios in Hurstville, Sydney, Martin

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No Fixed Address: young, black and proud

At the time of this Roadrunner cover story from August 1980, I thought No Fixed Address was the most important new band in the country. A bunch of young Aboriginal musicians at the South Australian Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music, bouncing around Adelaide from gig to gig, they were about to start filming a movie, Wrong Side of the Road, loosely based on their lives and experiences and songs from

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Russell Handley (1953-1985)

When Russell Handley, my deputy editor at Countdown Magazine, died at Easter 1985, I wrote the following obituary. Countdown Magazine‘s publisher declined to publish it, preferring a brief notice, so here it is for the first time. Although always camera-shy while working on the magazine (he claimed he didn’t want little girls to recognise him and kick him in the shins after he made a cutting aside about Prince or Duran

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Hoodoo Gurus In The Land Beyond Beyond

Russell Handley always wanted to start a story with ‘It was a dark and stormy night’. At Countdown Magazine, I granted his wish. All photos by John Webber (September 1984 issue).

Stranglers in strife: the 1979 Australian tour

Brian Johnstone, one of my oldest and dearest friends, passed away in Adelaide in January after a long battle with cancer. We met in Adelaide in the late 70s, in the early days of Roadrunner, were housemates for awhile and he wrote a few pieces for the mag, including this entertaining account of the media shenanigans surrounding the Stranglers tour which was the cover story in the March 1979 edition.

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Brian Johnstone (1950-2015)

Eulogy delivered at Brian’s funeral, 4 February, Norwood, South Australia. My name is Donald Robertson and Brian was my friend. Our friendship went back nearly forty years and actually started less than a mile south of here, in Donegal St, Norwood. It was the late 70s. I’d come back from two and a half years in the U.K. with a rabid enthusiasm for punk rock and new wave music and

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