26 January 2012

Hooray for Melbourne


26 January 2012
51 years old
Melbourne
Happy Australia Day everyone. To be honest I’m not really into the whole patriotism thing. I side with John Lennon: 
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace

Having said that, I love Melbourne, as I’ve mentioned before, so I guess I’m more into the City States political model of Ancient Greece and Rome!
Anyway, last night on telly were two documentaries that made me proud to be a Melburnian. First, “Persecution Blues: The Battle for the Tote”, about the closing down of an iconic Melbourne live music venue. And secondly, “Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard” a bio on this Melbourne musician; probably best known for being the guitarist in The Birthday Party. Very sadly Rowland passed away two years ago, and also very ridiculously, he’s never been as revered (generally) as his bandmate Nick Cave. Not so surprising in a way, as I believe Nick Cave to be vastly over rated – controversial, I know.
I never met Rowland Howard, though I was very lucky to have seen him play live on many occasions. One gig in particular is very vivid in my mind, when The Boys Next Door played The Exford Hotel in the city. The venue was small and didn’t have a raised stage, just a stage area. So the band were on the same level as the punters. I was right up the front, directly in front of Rowland. It was like he was on one side of the microphone, and I was on the other. He was brilliant, magnetic, unforgettable, as is Autoluminescent. It is a beautiful film, very touching and sad; and I highly recommend it.
Live music is such an integral part of what makes Melbourne so special. On this Australia day (some might call it Invasion Day), I say Hooray for Melbourne, for music and for Rowland S Howard.



5 comments:

  1. I would love to visit some day!! Enjoy your day and like I promised, my post I do later will be all about Australia with a special shout out to you!! xo

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  2. I felt very sad when I first heard about Rowland, as a Birthday Party fan and as a guitar player I admire him for having such a unique style.

    It's very sad for me when a musician dies (Joey, Johnny, DD, Joe, Karn, Jansch), and the rate has been increasing! And only the good ones do!

    As for Nick, well I don't take rankings or lists too seriously and i take opinions just like opinions. I don't know how he's seen in Australia, but I wouldn't mind seeing him in a list a with Dylan or Cohen. I would like to see the artists from our generation to take a place amongst the most consolidated, the dinasours, but they don't budge an inch!
    Like back then, didn't you hope The Cure and The Smiths to be the new Beetles and the Stones? And New Order the new Pink Floyd?
    Like they would be the new mainstream, the new legends and get all the recognition they deserve? Well, I was hoping that...

    But now we see that it will never happen beacause of record companies and other things...Also it seems that the alternative will always be the alternative, not become the mainstream, unless it accomodates into the mainstream...That's the sad part of all the reunions that have been happening recently, It's great that people gets to see band they want to see, but it also reflects that after all, they didn't get enough money. I peronally think Pete, Dan, Kev, Dave, Liz, Rob & Simon (amongst others) sould be able to retire comfortably for their contributions to music and be able to still do music, or well, be half as rich as sir Paul.

    Back to Nick, I don't know why when I think of myself if I were an artist, Nick comes to mind, I can't think what's it like having to write a song when you know you've already written your best, that must be horrible...

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