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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…

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The History of Roadrunner—Introduction

When Martin Sharp, the internationally acclaimed Australian artist, died in 2013, I read that the University of Wollongong had created a digital archive of 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,…

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Articles and posts

A selection of published and previously unpublished works

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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Australian Rock: The Late Seventies

The rise and rise of Skyhooks in 1975 sounded the death knell for the loud progressive blues-style bands that had so dominated Australian rock in the early seventies. The contrast between the two could hardly have been more striking. In place of denim and long hair, Skyhooks wore colourful and zany stage clothes. Instead of standing in the one spot while the guitarist did a twenty minute improvised solo, Skyhooks

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Australian Rock: The Early Seventies

As the sixties drifted into the seventies, the split in the Australian music scene between ‘underground’ and ‘chart’ acts became even more pronounced. Go-Set, still the leading music publication of the day, acknowledged this fact by introducing an ‘underground’ supplement titled Core that featured long, analytical pieces about the ‘significance’ of major artists and styles. The Go-Set Awards of January 1970 saw Doug Parkinson In Focus the most popular group, Johnny

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Australian Rock: The Late Sixties

From the peak of Friday On My Mind’s world-wide success for the Easybeats in late 1966 and early 1967, the story of Australian rock’s attempts to capture a world audience in the rest of the decade is rather a sad and sorry one. Group after group rose to prominence in Australia and entered the annual Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds. Those that didn’t win either broke up or rethought their

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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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