Home' Rhythms Magazine : RHYTHMS JULY AUGUST 2019 Contents 25-28 July 2019
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BELLO WINTER BLUES
JULY 11 - 14, 2019, BELLINGEN
SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
JULY 19 - 21, 2019
NORTH BYRON PARKLANDS, NSW
ECHUCA WINTER BLUES
JULY 25 - 28, 2019
JULY 26 - 28, 2019 (GOLD COAST)
GARMA FESTIVAL OF
AUGUST 2 – 5, 2019
DENI UTE MUSTER
OCTOBER 4 - 5, 2019
OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2019
OUT ON THE WEEKEND
OCTOBER 12, 2019
WINGHAM AKOOSTIC MUSIC
OCTOBER 18-20 2019
MALDON FOLK FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 1 - 4, 2019
NOVEMBER 8 - 11, 2019
MULLUM MUSIC FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 14 - 17, 2019
NOVEMBER 22 - 24, 2019
DECEMBER 27, 2019 – JANUARY 1, 2020
By Stuart Coupe
“How do you get to read so much,” is
something I get asked a lot. The simple
answer is that unless the Swans are playing I
rarely turn on the television and to date have
managed to not develop a Netflix addiction,
such that I’ve only just managed to watch the
Fyre Festival doco, several light years after
the rest of the world saw it.
No, any available time is spent with those
things made of words and paper. I can’t read
anything lengthy on screen, and remain tied
to the old-fashioned traditional book format.
I’m the middle-aged guy curled up in bed or
in any armchair, turning page after page, and
inserting sticky tags on pages to mark things I
may want to go back to. So recent reading as
requested by Mr Wise. Where do I start?
Let me say a few words about the most recent book to enter my
life – Don Walker’s collection of lyrics called – guess what – Songs.
It’s published at the same time as classy hardback edition of Walker’s
2009 memoir Shots.
We don’t need to have a discussion about Walker’s lyrical prowess. He
stands as one of Australia’s finest songwriters – and along with Paul
Kelly – one of the few with the scope and literacy to warrant collecting
these lyrics in book form.
As with Kelly, the fundamental question is do they stand up on the
music free environment of the printed page? Of course it’s hard to
read many of these lyrics without your brain inserting Chisel in full
flight – or the Don’s own droll delivery – into the process. But yes they
work – superbly – as, well, poetry.
Songs ranges from 1970 (‘Khe Sanh’ is the opening salvo) through
to 2018. As I write this I’ve only begun to delve into the wealth of
material – but already I’m also hooked on the sparse, pithy and often
poignant vignettes that Walker has penned to break up the sections.
Before the lyrics from 1995 – 1999 for instance Walker notes that
these years were spent pursuing a Cold Chisel reunion. As he writes,
“The buzzards were there at birth. It quickly developed into a long
rotting feast of drugs, rage and organisational dysfunction, stretched
between someone’s born-again wife and a tassel of pole dancers from
Walker knows a lot about dysfunctional rock’n’roll bands and would
undoubtedly relate to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s absolutely wonderful page
turner Daisy Jones &The Six which the author acknowledges is heavily
based on Fleetwood Mac circa Rumours.
This book shouldn’t work as well as it does but Reid’s master trick
is getting away with something that’s super difficult – the novel is
constructed as an oral history with no writing around the perspectives
of the characters. The author manages to convincingly portray the
myriad of viewpoints and perspectives of the key individuals (and
some hangers on) and in doing so brilliantly conveys the chaos, mixed
messages, strange delusions and warped perspectives of everyone
This is a candidate for the rather small list of truly great novels with
rock’n’roll at their core.
Not so long ago I read Dana Spiotta’s rock’n’roll novel Stone Arabia
and thoroughly enjoyed its depiction of a magnificently deluded and
self-absorbed would be rock’n’roll star. It’s Spiotta’s third novel, and
drew me back to its predecessor EatThe Document (which has many
more Beach Boys references than those to Dylan, despite what the
title suggests) and this is an even finer piece of writing.
In essence it revolves around two early ‘70s radicals forced to go
underground after one of their protests goes seriously wrong. It
takes those characters through to the 1990s and does so with insight,
intrigue and a compelling narrative.
Amidst these books I’ve dipped into a mound of others. I love
good sports writing, especially when it’s about more than sport.
Wright Thompson’s The Cost OfThese Dreams – Sports Stories And
Other Serious Business takes its title from a Drive By Truckers song
so I’m already onside, and when the introduction sees the author
acknowledging one of my favourite writers about sport (and other
things) Gary Smith, well mark me down as sold.
Except for a couple of figures (Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Tiger
Woods) most of the subjects in these pieces are unknown to me. But
I don’t need any prior knowledge about the former college basketball
star to have my breath taken away by The Last Days OfTony Harris.
I’ve also loved Danny Goldberg’s ServingThe Servant – Remembering
Kurt Cobain, his book after managing KC and Nirvana. Geoff Dyer’s
collection of essays White Sands is truly superlative writing about
travel and places.
Next? I love David Hepworth’s music writing and I’m about to embark
on his latest A Fabulous Creation – HowThe LP Saved Our Lives which
looks at the 15 year period from when Hepworth says the era of the
LP began with 1967’s Sgt Peppers, through to its end with Michael
See you in 347 pages.
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