Category Departures

John James Hackett: more than a passing acquaintance

It was early 1975. I remember warm summer nights and nude swimming in the backyard pool of the house on Nottage Terrace. There were a few Adelaide locals but mainly twenty-somethings evacuated from Darwin after Cyclone Tracy struck on Christmas Day. A mix of English, Americans and Australians, more than a few fresh from India and the Asian hippie trail. They had been part of a little Darwin scene that

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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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Brian Johnstone (1950-2015)

Eulogy delivered at Brian Johnstone’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

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Epitaph for a working class hero

It was mid afternoon on Tuesday 9 December 1980 when the news hit. John Lennon’s been shot. And killed. We were working on the December 1980—January 1981 edition of Roadrunner: Geoffrey Gifford, Richard Turner, Kate Monger and myself. In Geoffrey’s studio up the east end of Rundle Street in Adelaide. We stopped what we were doing of course. And just talked. And after a couple of hours I went home and wrote

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