Food Pantry Banjo Ballad #1

The words of the songs take on the strange timeless energy of old storytelling that needs repeating, and hard-won wisdoms that need to get won again…

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My Feminine Side

I wrote the short story ‘My Feminine Side’ in the early 1990s. It was published in a book collection called Men Love Sex, edited by Alan Close, who did a really great job of pulling all these male writers together to reflect on the book subjects as frankly advertised. Among them were John Birmingham, Robert Drewe, Peter Carey, Frank Moorhouse, Damien Lovelock, Matthew Condon, John Dale and Archie Weller to name a few. It was published by Random House Australia and very well-reviewed. I have always been surprised it never got a republication. It seemed innovative to me at the time, and fearless in its way. My story was really not much more than a diary note, a raw and naive document I seemed to just throw down as it was, but I still like it…

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Rebranding Sunrise

Must have been channeling something special when I wrote this piece on the axing of Melissa Doyle from Sunrise in July 2013. Somehow I reimagined co-host Kochie as some kind of psychedelic Godfather figure of the infotainment Age. Reads to me like genius now. Acid news still might work its magic as an angle… an idea ahead of its time!

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The King is Dead

I remember the legendary chef Tony Bilson walking to meet me in Surry Hills for the first time. Physically he was probably only half the man he used to be. “Cancer,” he said, like it was something to be exasperated by. Then with a hard breath he guided me up the street to a corner café where we spoke for quite some time and with quite some intensity.

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Heroes, Just for One Day

I was always really proud of this story. A stonking hot summer’s day in Sydenham with my youngest son and his scooter buddies at a skatepark opening. Wrote the whole thing on my iPhone, sitting there in the concrete trenches among all the skateboard and scooter action. Youth and young manhood, a state of grace, a slice of nowhere.

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Fire and Ice

In this regard, there seems to be an archetypal story uniting the constellation of works being played tonight. One that might tell the tale of a man caught between two worlds; a man who must play out a fated role, with a woman’s suffering or absence haunting him, with a lost child or shadow brother in danger, with an act of violence made necessary along the way, on a journey through places hot or cold – and always endless– where his spirit might be purified and put to rest, and some idea of justice or balance be restored. I don’t know if that is the story. But it sounded something like that to me as I dreamt and woke again.

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Wild Colonial Boys

At a venue called The Factory, I join an unusually busy line-up for an obscure band called The Barking Spiders. My wrist is stamped with what looks like a bird’s wing – and in I go, to a not-so-secret warm-up show by the legendary Australian group, Cold Chisel.

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