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will be boys! Their parents got their revenge with the hose
later 2) Paul De Lange and sockless Mike
3) Bill shows the lads a couple of things
4) The party boys
Combined 50th party goes off!
30.3.09 - We've probably been past the
Glen Forbes Rd turn off dozens of times over the years on the
way to San Remo and Wonthaggi's Caledonian (as The Heaters)
- which is precisely where quite a number of the party goers
remember seeing us. Anyway, Paul (Duck) De Lange (pic 2)
had worked out a very sensible arrangement where Spectrum
appeared early for the crew who actually were old enough to
remember who we were, followed by the Medleys, who undoubtedly
had a solid repertoire of party faves to satisfy the dancers
- but we were well on the way home by then
The gorgeous Montsalvat setting 2) Rob Harwood sets up the sound
Leslie Avril settles in for the night 4) Janet and Lil Fi strike
and Ian McKimmie, Judy Jacques and Sandro 6) The Teskey Bros
from the warmth of the Great Hall
McKimmie reads his bushfire ode 8) The crowd assesses the Art
before the silent auction
salon music while you make up your mind 10) Lil Fi and Bobby
Bright got the crowd on its feet
dream band evokes some infectious regional Italian dance music
27.3.09 - I was preoccupied in my studio
when I noticed the time, so I hurriedly put my guitar and amp
(just in case) into the van and rushed off to Montsalvat without
bothering to change into something more respectable - or
warm, for that matter, a decision I was later to regret.
Another error was parking in the lower carpark, which is at
the bottom of a fairly steep gradient serviced by a shingle
|van is unable to muster any traction when it's
unladen, so I foresaw some embarrassment on the way out, not
to mention that I would be unable to escape before the end of
I don't know why I was surprised to see that we were set up
outside, (pic 1) which, of course, looked fabulous,
but left us rather exposed to the chill of the evening. Sandro
Donati (pic 5) rustled up an old gardening jumper for
me to drape about my shoulders, which did help somewhat.
I was due on after Judy Jacques, but first came some interesting
musical items by the Flight of the Favillas (Sebastian Jorgensen,
Stuart Favilla, Joanne Cameron & Habibi Favilla), which
took inspiration from a myriad of cultures, including the only
recorded transcription of the local indigenous people's songline.
Judy's suffering from some longterm throat problem, so restricted
herself to a reading at this point, and then I was on. I'm still
fumbling around with the solo thing, and I felt only slightly
more relaxed than the previous couple of outings. I was determined
to do both the kids' songs, but I now realise I should've saved
My Dad Said for the last song - And I'm Blue proved
somewhat of an anticlimax.
So, there I was. Stuck there. As it turned out, that was a very
good thing. As Bobby Bright said, (as we were bouncing up and
down to the Andy Baylor band), 'I don't get out much these days,
and you forget how good things can be - and just how inspirational
it can be!' You said a mouthful Bobby.
My top moment was the guitar interplay between Sam LeMann and
Andy Baylor backing up Leslie Avril (pic 3) in Love
Letters, but there were plenty of other highlights, most
of them involving Sam LeMann it has to be said.
It was Sandro Donati who approached me when we last played at
St Andrews and asked if I'd be interested in playing on the
'reflection day' bill, and it was an opportunity for him to
pull his 'dream band' together (La bande di Sandro) and explore
his penchant for early 20th century Italian dance songs, amongst
other things. The beautiful textures and timbres on hand (acoustic
bass and guitar, saxes, accordian, trumpet) made up for the
initial hesitancy with the tunes, but when the band became familiar
with the song constructs they started to really let rip - Stephen
Grant the accordionist really shone here. Judy even joined the
fray, and sang pretty lustily too, to everyone's delight.
I went up to the top of the hill and checked out the art on
display (pics 8 & 9) and got warm, and when I came
back, Ian McKimmie was reading some of his poetry about the
fires. (pic 7) Then the indefatigable Richard Piper
introduced Lil Fi and Bobby Bright, (accompanited by Big Boy
Lemonade), who soon had the dancers up on their feet. (pic
Rod Mullinar made a worthy attempt to cultivate any Kiwis lurking
in the audience with a reading of some C J Dennis, and I really
tried to stay focused, but managed to drift off and
miss the denouement.
No matter, Leslie Avril was on next, and she and the band took
the evening to another place, another dancing place,
much to the dancers' delight. But wait, there was more! Andy
and Sam somehow opened a door that I didn't even know was there
and I found myself unable to stop from dancing, most probably
with a stupid grin all over my face.
Then it was the predicted embarrassment of trying to exit -
thank you to the bloke whom I persuaded to stand on the tailgate
while I graunched up the hill, spitting gravel every which way.
I was so excited I couldn't go to bed when I got home and now
I'm a bit tetchy, but I'm really quite glad circumstances prevented
my early departure. An evening to remember.
Dean Jones' shot of solo Mike 2) Another Dean Jones' pic
of Mike at the mic
30.3.09 - I received an e-mail from
the non-cricketing version of Dean Jones today, who asked
if I'd like some shots he took at the Montsalvat night.
I replied as long as they were of me - and then
I'd mention 'Artists
of Montsalvat' exhibition due next month in the Long
happy to get a copy of the new Nightmovevs DVD
DVD hits the shelves
24.3.09 - Going to the Post Office is my
version of gambling. Sometimes I just know that something annoying
is lurking in my rented metal cubicle - not advertising in my
case, because you can stipulate that you don't receive it -
but maybe a bill or a redundant message from VCAT. Sometimes
though, something unexpected and interesting, like a CD or,
as in this case, a DVD arrives out of the blue.
I don't know if it could be honestly claimed that this is the
DVD we've all been waiting for - a lot of potential buyers have
dropped by the wayside in the meantime if that were the case
- but if you have fond memories of the ground-breaking '70s
Nightmoves TV show and the artists of the time (incl.
Ariel, Men at Work, Mondo Rock, Graham
|Parker, Blondie, Stars, INXS, Renée
Geyer et al) you should make sure to add it to your
must buy list. You can purchase it from ezydvd.com.au
cast of Whim Creek reassembles for..
Stu Wood plays air guitar 2) Mark Greig plays a bluesy set with
Bill pops up behind Robbo and Matt Taylor 4) Bill towers over
Angry Anderson and his partner Michelle
somewhat desolate scene as Lowrider pumps the volume
The Hands Across the Water bushfire benefit - and the Croydon
23.3.09 - Bill and I left for
Tassie on Friday evening - Robbo wasn't able to leave till the
next morning - and we rolled up to the Tassie Devils restaurant
on the outskirts of Launceston just after 8.00. There we met
up with Stuart Wood (pic 1) and Mark Greig (pic
2) and had a hearty meal before retiring to our hotel in
I was struggling to shake off the effects of some sort of virus
and wasn't feeling the best, but the next day after Robbo got
into town we had some yummy seafood chowder for lunch and I
felt a bit
|better. We were due to play at 3.00
and we'd had bets about the size of the crowd on the way to
the venue, and we were pretty disappointed to find our estimates
pretty close to the mark. (pic 5) The stage and PA
were pretty impressive though, and SA's Lowrider, who were playing
when we arrived, sounded very impressive, if overly-loud back
Angry Anderson was the MC and gave us a fulsome introduction,
and we proceeded to play a pretty standard blues set, which
I have to say was well received - we even played an encore -
and then we were collapsing gratefully in the shade of the tents
That evening we returned to the Tassie Devils restaurant to
socialise with the cast and crew over nibbles, (and a couple
of glasses of bubbly in my case), and I even managed a bit of
a chat with Lowrider's bassist, Scotty.
Matt Taylor came and watched some telly with us back at the
hotel, and then we were up again at 7.00 the next morning to
catch the flight back to Melbourne to honour our commitment
at the Croydon that same afternoon..
A former harp student (left) and friends at the Croydon
|We picked up some copies of
The Sunday Examiner from the Qantas lounge, and
found Angry's pic on the front page with the headline
Crowd down but Angry's happy, and Bill got his
pic on page 5 - hooray!*
When we arrived at the Croydon it was a warm, cloudless
day, with the apparent prospect of remaining so - and
there were even less umbrellas than last time! The duty
manager insisted they'd bought extras and that they'd
been stolen the same weekend, but whatever the circumstances
we had to make a decision, so we elected to set up indoors
in the dining room. (pic 6)
As it happened the skies clouded over during the afternoon,
but it was more comfortable indoors anyway, and we had
a very pleasant afternoon with a nice crowd.
I received a text from Stuart Wood yesterday saying that,
despite appearances, they raised a hugely creditable $10,000
on the day!
I'll Be Gone and other things..
19.3.09 - Before I get onto that,
Geoff Achison insinuates himself onto these pages again, here
pictured gaily signing Alana Galea's Squier guitar before it's
finally submitted for auction on eBay - all proceeds going to
the bushfire relef fund.
The I'll Be Gone reference? Well, occasionally I get
requested for the IBG harmonica tab, which I'm more
than happy to provide on request by the way. (And while I'm
on the subject, I'm still teaching blues harp - and guitar -
from here in Camberwell, so if you've got a mind to learn blues
harmonica, please get in touch).
Recently I got the tip from Brad Capper in WA to check out the
video of their version of I'll Be Gone on YouTube.
I checked it out - and it's very good. Why not have a geek at
it yourself? check
lazy Sunday afternoon..
Celia 2) Bill and Rosemary, Ian McKimmie, Jeanette, Duncan,
Danny Spooner and Robbo
Duncan gives Rosemary a lift, much to Danny's amusement 4) Danny
and Duncan sing a working-man's song
Duncan and Jeanette (using Mike's Morris) get jiggy with it
6) Jodie and guitarist play a neat set of her songs
Daniel flexes his vocal muscle 8) Tony Nirta, Mudman, with Mike
The trio at Diamond Creek
- Bill invited Robbo and I up to the Sacred Heart Hall
in Diamond Creek to help celebrate the life of Rosemary's sister,
Marilyn. With most of the people in the room drifting in and
out of the performers' ambit as they felt like it, a snappily
presented show wasn't required, so the disparate selection of
performers just inserted themselves where and when they felt
like it. For the record, Spectrum opened the afternoon's proceedings
with some instrumentals, then Danny Spooner did a delightful
solo spot, to be joined later by Duncan, (pic 4) who
in turn teamed up with Jeanette (pic 5) to provide
the folk-oriented content of the day. It quite took me back
to Sunday nights at the Stagedoor folk club in 1965 - thankfully
folk music continues to defy fashion.
A thoroughly under-prepared trio bumbled their way through some
covers, then Jodie (pic 6) lifted the standard with
some of her own well-arranged songs, followed by Daniel, (pic
7) who I would've thought to be a shoe-in for Australian
idol, although he later confided that he might be a little too
old at thirty plus.
We were getting a little toey by this stage and feeling under-utilised,
so we finished off the arvo with a hot selection of blues tunes,
which were just the thing to let loose on and actually seemed
to engage the crowd - we even got a request for Rock &
Nirta sent me this pic of Bill, Robbo and Mike rockin' the joint
at Diamond Creek on Sunday arvo
Mike and Geoff ignore the tuning disparity (Harwood)
Mike, Geoff Achison and sound engineer, Rob Harwood
Mike at the St Andrews pub - on a Saturday night!
14.3.09 - I headed up to St Andrews tonight
for an appearance with Geoff Achison at the St Andrews pub bushfire
benefit. Stan said that the meals and drinks were on him, so
I ordered a pie of the day, (and a lemon squash), which turned
out to be a good choice. Geoff said we should probably alternate
songs for our 45 minute set, so I tuned up, even though my Martin
sounded good with itself. Geoff did too, but it seemed his tuner
was about half a tone sharper than mine, which made for a slightly
edgier set than necessary. I think we carried it off OK, and
I got to play My Dad Said for the first time and
played world's fastest harp with Geoff - nearly broke my bloody
Dilemma clip on Videos page
- I think it was Daz that first alerted me to the Disco
Dilemma clip being on YouTube. I've been toying with the
notion that we should re-incorporate the song into our live
set, but then discovered I didn't have a copy of the single
- the only version I could find was from the Ariel Aloha
album. So, courtesy of RetroDood, I've embedded the clip onto
the Videos page.
While you're there you might like to check out the rest of the
videos, which include the absolutely definitive version of the
I'll Be Gone clip, as well as the GTK version of Launching
Place Part ll, with the original Spectrum lineup.
- As you can see, (pic) I now have a copy of the
Disco Dilemma single, courtesy of Peter Carolan, who
very generously dropped it off just a few minutes ago
Frankston RSL beer garden after
the second set - the wind picked up a bit, but the crowd came
back for more
band manages to fit the quirky Franger stage (Peter
Koryn) 3) Daz considers his options (Peter
Kenny Leroy and Daz - you know you're having a good day when
your agent turns up 5) Robbo rules! (Peter Koryn)
From cheese cake to butterfish medallions
Sat. 7.3.09 and the Frankston RSL Sun. 8.3.09
9.3.09 - Saturday night, and Bill and I got to The
Soundgarden in Laverton North well early. I had to set up and
test an enormous graphic equaliser - twice the size of the new,
compact mixing desk - and leave enough time for a civilised
meal, as supplied by The Soundgarden's perennially cheerful
Dave and Maree, before the first set. .
I accomplished both, but whereas the chili prawn salad was delicious,
the equaliser proved to be too time consuming to set up and
was discarded - the desk worked well enough without it anyway
as it turned out.
With it being a long weekend, Dave and Maree weren't expecting
a large crowd, so it was just the trio on the night, but we
thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the decent-sized crowd responded
generously, and bought quite a few CDs as well.
After the show, Robbo and I stayed on for a hot chocolate and
some cheesecake with Dave and Maree - Dave is utterly unique
in the world of venue owners, and actually helps the band with
the load out!
We'd been warned not to bring our PA to the Frankston RSL the
next day, as they'd invested in an in-house system that they
wanted to see being used, but the duty manager told us when
we arrived that they'd had some problems with it the previous
night and so we eventually decided to use our own. It's one
of the more arduous load-ins, and our lunches (the butterfish
medallions) arrived at the precise moment we were due to start,
so I had to explain to the considerable crowd that had built
up that we'd be beginning a few minutes late.
Unlike our other regular Sunday arvo gig at the Croydon, the
Franger has put quite some effort into refurbishing the beer
garden, (pic 1) and, despite the stage having one
of the more quirky layouts, (pic 2) I think that it
worked better than the first time we played there.
It's been so long I didn't recognise him at first, but Westside's
Kenny Leroy put in an appearance, (pic 4) which, in
reality, means he lives just down the road, but it was good
to see our agent at a gig nonetheless.
There were quite a number of people there who were familiar
with the Spectrum heritage, and they sang and danced along to
the retro set in particular, even as the cool southerly wind
picked up, hinting that perhaps that Melbourne's long, hot and
testing summer is finally over.
in oils of Bill, Miss Vicky and Rod Claringbould
Crudd & Pump at the Clifton Hill
5.3.09 - Having learnt from our last outing,
I'd prepared a list of prospective tunes for Bill and I to choose
from for one of out rare duo nights at the Clifton Hill pub.
Rod Claringbould (pic) has been sponsoring these nights
for decades now, and he must get a lot of personal enjoyment
from them because there are never too many punters in the room
- not when we're on anyway. Miss Vicky (pic) usually
does the sound, but is touring with a theatre production company
and so wasn't on duty. However, she happened to be in town for
the day and paid a surprise visit to the Clifton Hill anyway,
so it was nice to catch up.
I felt pretty relaxed, despite the inordinate amount of
|distortion from Bill's air guitar
in the foldback, (although Alana told me on the way home that
both guitars were distorting out front), and the crowd,
such as it was, seemed to enjoy the music. That almost qualifies
as perfection as far as these nights go.
Love Bucket Blues benefit wash-up
- I got this info recently from the tireless Michelle Achison
(pic) re' the final wash-up for the very successful
night at The Corner just over as week ago.
tally from The Corner Hotel takings alone came to $15,200. Of
this, $500 came from staff tips, $800 donated bar profits, $525
of staff wages.
We expect between another $2000-$3000 after LOVE BUCKET and
raffles takings are tallied.
The money will be placed in a secure trust fund set up by Rob
Rowe of The Bendigo Bank Williamstown, and will be presented
to the Red Cross as one lump sum from this event.
In a more recent e-mail from Michelle, with all the other
earnings taken into consideration, the final tally for the night
had exceeded $18.000. A fantastic result for Team Achison, and
of course, everybody involved in the night.
Radio Ga Ga's Neil Butler with Sam and Lucy 2) Bill gives Sam
a couple of pointers
St Andrews is alive and well
2.3.09 - Almost as worrying as Bill's recent
skirmish with the bushfires was the possibility of losing the
St Andrews pub, so it was even more of a homecoming than usual
when we played our traditional slot there yesterday arvo. The
edge (there's always an edge!) was that I'd bought a new mixer
and speaker stands for the PA, and in the excitement had managed
to leave my Morris nylon-string guitar at home! As it turned
out, the absence of the Morris didn't present too much of a
problem, but the new speaker stands were way too big,
and I discovered that the new, more compact mixer didn't
have a graphic equaliser. There are lessons here, but I'm too
old to take heed, so I'll just be annoyed with myself and try
to salvage something out of the situation with my long-suffering
friends at Music Junction.
There were plenty of musical moments to savour during the afternoon,
and we ended up with a bunch of dancers happily dancing away
in the last set, which is just the way it should be.
Neil Butler and kids turned up (pics 1 & 2) and
Neil brought Bill along a Radio Ga Ga T-shirt to match the one
he gave me when I visited Radio Ga Ga. Now the year
has truly started..
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