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The Big Beat comes back to Adelaide

Around eighty people gathered at The Howling Owl in Adelaide's East End last night to celebrate the release of the Roadrunner magazine anthology, The Big…

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The Big Beat—where can you get it?

UPDATE: 20 July 2020. Fewer than thirty copies left in stores. In October 2019, I published The Big Beat: Rock music in Australia 1978-1983, through…

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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…

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Articles and posts

A selection of published and previously unpublished works

Four dudes banging on about The Big Beat at Readings in St Kilda

There was a lot of love in the room for Roadrunner magazine and its anthology The Big Beat at Readings book store in St Kilda last night. A crowd of around fifty gathered to hear Pierre Sutcliffe (ex-Models) lead Phill Calvert (ex-Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party), John Dowler (Young Modern) and myself discuss the Australian post-punk scene and the role that Roadrunner played in it. Among the former contributors in

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The Big Beat—reviews and reactions

The reviews are coming in. And people seem to like the book. Print reviews ‘Roadrunner was the Chrysler of the Big 3 R rock magazines in Australia at the turn into the 1980s, trailing the GM and Ford of RAM and Rolling Stone, and like the Hemi-powered Plymouths and Dodges, it was wild and untamed, and it’s a blessing that there’s now a permanent record of it, all 500 pages of it and bound

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The Big Beat comes back to Adelaide

Around eighty people gathered at The Howling Owl in Adelaide’s East End last night to celebrate the release of the Roadrunner magazine anthology, The Big Beat. Deftly marshalled by ABC Radio Adelaide producer Suzy Ramone, a panel of Dr Collette Snowden, singer and songwriter John Schumann and myself was invited to ruminate and reminisce about the South Australian music scene and the impact of Roadrunner in the post-punk period of

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The Big Beat—where can you get it?

UPDATE: 20 July 2020. Fewer than thirty copies left in stores. In October 2019, I published The Big Beat: Rock music in Australia 1978-1983, through the pages of  Roadrunner magazine. The hardcover book is a 544 page anthology of articles from the magazine, together with a year-by-year history and full index. Featured artists include: The Angels, Australian Crawl, Boys Next Door (and the Birthday Party), The Church, Cold Chisel, The

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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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A hundred years ago: great John Maclean comes home to the Clyde—part 1

On the morning of Thursday 28 November 1918, the Imperial War Cabinet met at 10 Downing Street in London.  Outside the weather was wet and windy and the temperature struggled to reach seven degrees Centigrade. It was the American holiday of Thanksgiving; but Americans were definitely not alone in feeling thankful. The armistices signed by the Allies on 30 October (with Turkey), 3 November (Austria-Hungary) and 11 November (Germany) had

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A hundred years ago: great John Maclean comes home to the Clyde—part 2

Two days before the Imperial War Cabinet meeting of 28 November, George Barnes drafted a memo suggesting the Cabinet (imagined above in a painting by Scottish artist Sir James Guthrie) authorise John Maclean’s release, ‘along with any others who might be in like plight for similar offences.’ ‘The continued agitation about John Maclean constitutes a serious danger for the government,’ Barnes wrote. ‘Mass meetings have been held in many places,

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A hundred years ago: great John Maclean comes home to the Clyde—part 3

John Maclean was released from Peterhead Prison on Monday 2 December. That evening he addressed a meeting of supporters at the Meatmarket Street Hall in Aberdeen. The following day, accompanied by his wife Agnes, he travelled by train to Glasgow. Despite Maclean’s desire to ‘get right home’, word had quickly spread of his release and a large crowd had gathered at the station, many of whom had taken the afternoon

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A kangaroo cousin looks at the Saltire

In June 2017 Di and I left Sydney and spent two weeks in Amsterdam and then ten days touring around the Scottish Highlands. As much for myself as anything else, I decided to set out my impressions and thoughts of Scotland in this period of great uncertainty about the future of the place I was born. In the canal house flat where Di and I spent most of our time

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