Posts by Donald

Still The Boss

As I stood in the foyer waiting for Calum a fragment of a lyric came into my mind—‘… thinking that maybe we’re not that young any more …’ There was a lot of grey hair, some walking sticks, and some big bellies—but, to be fair, some youngsters too. All in all a pretty representative cross section of Sydney. The tickets had been a last minute Christmas present for Calum. The

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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, Krassivy’ (1943) I’m standing at the grave of John Maclean with my newfound cousin Roddy. We’re in the New Eastwood cemetery on the southern outskirts of Glasgow. It’s a clear, dry afternoon in August and the sunlight filters through the trees and dapples the green

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In Search of John Maclean—part 2

John Maclean’s Glasgow A couple of weeks before I was due to head off to Glasgow in search of the ghost of John Maclean, I stumbled across a couple of articles online, both of which resonated strongly with me. The first was a feature about the Glasgow-based writer Ian R. Mitchell, ‘Following in the footsteps of Maclean and Maxwell’ by Russell Leadbetter, published in the Glasgow Herald magazine on 11

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1966 and all that

It started in the shires of the English midlands and finished in the arid saltbush of Whyalla, South Australia. It was the year my life changed. In September 1966 I turned 13. Two days after my birthday my family—my father, mother, sister and brother—got on a train in Kettering, Northamptonshire. It took us to London, very much still the Swinging City, where we changed trains for Southampton. There, berthed at

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Goosebumps—Australia v Croatia, World Cup 2006

I was sitting on the bench at St Joseph’s College on Saturday doing the paperwork after refereeing the Joey’s versus Riverview seconds. Two reds and four yellows—not a bad haul for 50 minutes work. The coach of the Joey’s First XI looked familiar. ‘Is that Jason Culina?’ I asked the Joey’s Master in Charge. He nodded. I finished my reports and caught Culina’s eye. ‘Hi Jason. Did you see that

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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 time Leicester was the only First Division team in the East Midlands. It was 25 miles by road and although we didn’t have a car, I vividly recall him taking me to a couple of games on the bus. I don’t recall much about the

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The art of the Australian single 1975-80

When I returned to Adelaide in late 1977 after two and a half years away in the U.K., I brought home with me about twenty-five singles. I proceeded to do the rounds of my rather puzzled university friends to show them and play to them these artefacts from the sonic revolution I had just experienced. Most of them smiled politely and poured another cup of tea, but one old school

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Kensington Road runs straight before turning: Adelaide in 1979

As the 1970s wound to a close, the local music scene in Adelaide was struggling, although there were some new shoots starting to appear. It seemed everyone involved was either trying to get out, or just killing time, waiting for something GREAT to happen. And it did. The advent of the Progressive Music Broadcasting Associations’s community radio station 5MMM-FM in 1980 gave Adelaide music an absolute turbo-charge and helped to

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Adelaide 1981

This was my end of year round up of music in Adelaide, published as part of Roadrunner’s 1981 All State Rock Round Up. I moved to Sydney in 1982, so in a way it was my farewell to the local music scene that I had been a part of for the previous five years. Fun times.  *  *  * The year of 1981 will not go down in the pages

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Los Trios Ringbarkus: a tour de farce

‘Someone said we were the sickest pair of wimps they’d ever seen,’ says Steve Kearney of Los Trios Ringbarkus on British reaction to the zany duo who carried off the ultra-prestigious Perrier ‘Pick of the Fringe’ award at last year’s Edinburgh Festival (1983). ‘I think they expected a couple of sunbronzed Aussie comedians to come out telling dingo jokes. They were … stunned.’ Relaxing around their hotel rooftop pool during their recent Sydney season, Kearney

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WTHS 1970 Yearbook

Class of 1970 reunion dinner

Spin me back down the years and the days of my youth. Draw the lace and black curtains and shut out the whole truth. Spin me down the long ages: let them sing the song.                                    —  ‘Thick As A Brick’, Jethro Tull There was food, there was wine, there was music from the

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Magical Mushroom Moments

Recently I’ve been reading Stuart Coupe’s biography of Michael Gudinski. It prompted a memory of Mushroom Record’s 10th anniversary bash, on the 1982 Australia Day long weekend. Mushroom flew me over from Adelaide for the concert and quite frankly, I’d forgotten how good it was. This was my account in the February 1982 edition of Roadrunner. ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ Well folks, it was a pretty wild weekend. The Big M/3XY/Mushroom Evolution Two

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Doug Anthony Allstars: tick fucking tock

I first heard the Doug Anthony Allstars in my rented flat in Edinburgh during the 1988 Fringe Festival. I’d gone to Scotland to cover the Festival prior to taking up a new job and was listening to a program about the Fringe on BBC Radio Scotland. Midway through the show, the host introduced a song from a hot young Australian trio who were wowing them at the Gilded Balloon in

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Australian Rock: The Early Eighties

As the ’80s began, the Australian pub rock boom was in overdrive. The new ‘door deal’ system had increased band receipts enormously and had given the top touring bands a measure of financial independence. Many of them took the next logical step—a trip overseas to test the water. Mi-Sex, Midnight Oil and The Angels undertook largely self-financed exploratory trips to the US in 1980. On the recording front, an impressive

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