This was published in the current issue of the ADELAIDE REVIEW...
I read in the paper that there was discomfort in the halls of the SA government , not only in the chaffing and discomfort of the premiers raging suit pants but also in regard to the bike race with Lance Armstrong. One of those things silly where the fellow is paid so much more to just turn up than the events prize money pays out. Isn’t it funny how those sorts of things are just accepted as “thats how it is since 9/11” or something along those lines. Victoria paid Tiger Woods six million or so to play here. They are desperate to throw the same amount of cash at him again. Even with his tumescent shame in his hands Sydney paid , perhaps, just as much to Brian Eno for their Luminous festival. Personally I think spending on the arts is more preferable. Not just high end arts though as they soon become just more bread and circuses , just like the bikes and the cars. The thing that was reported about the Tour Down under bike race was Mike Rann saying sagely that they couldn’t divulge exactly how much they paid as their competitors could outbid them. Isn‘t that lame! Its like sitting in a room with two lawyers arguing, and you’re paying. They use that arch, hyped language of steroid powered manners and mock , panto outrage . You want to laugh but the meter is ticking over and its connected to your bank account.
So the competitor is Victoria. Thats it.John Brumby here in Melbourne uses the same tactic to keep the enormous black hole that is the Victorian (formerly Adelaide) Grand Prix out of any public discussion. Jeff Kennett , the former Premier seemed to invent the term they bandy about. “Commercial in confidence”. It is such bad language it must be a derivative of a latin phrase. Nobody has ever asked, thats how docile the press is. Brumby can’t divulge how much they pay for the right to stage the Grand Prix ( let alone how much it actually loses every year) as Victorias “competitors” might outbid them. The competitor is South Australia.
State Governments don’t seem to have much to do. Its a problem. The Melbourne music scene has been feeling the hand of the law in recent months. The large nightclubs in the city have been the alleged cause of violence in the streets. Previously the violence had been more in the suburbs I guess. Its more exposed now. (The influence and power of CCTV footage) So they have been wielding the , until now, rarely enforced powers of the Liquor Licensing regulations to bring some law and order to the streets. Trouble is the big night clubs (up to 1500-2000 patrons) of King and Queen and Prince streets are dark during working hours and the agents started to walk into the little pubs off the other streets. They were being fined for not displaying responsible serving of alcohol certificates and forced to install cameras and two security guards after certain hours. These were pubs with toothless geezers playing banjos on Sunday or hosting live music to 20 or 30 people during the week, The result was the closure of the Tote Hotel which had been an institution for more than 30 years in Collingwood. The state government was unyielding in its stiff upper lip and “would not resile” from its tough stance. All designed to impress voters for the Liberal party in the outer suburbs .Social networks went crazy and 2000 usually quite apathetic people turned up at the corner of Wellington and Johnston streets, Collingwood, where the Tote was, to protest. Quite an amazing and spontaneous event. the next day, a Monday, 26 acts played all day on the very last day the pub opened. the money went to pay off legal fees the pub had incurred fighting the Liquor Licensing commission. The government still played it tough and l kept referring to the particular circumstances of the Tote while all the protesters , well most of them, pointed out their concerns were for the whole live music scene in general. Basically, there is no violence in these venues. And they are some of the few public spaces where a woman can go alone, to see and hear some music being played without being bothered by men presuming she is in a singles bar. The scene is very delicately poised.
Even Eddie Maguire , who hosts a morning show on MMM here, got onto the theme and perhaps it was him who got through to Brumby that it was a live issue in an election year.
Mostly, it has been a series of events that has exposed , for me, how out of touch politicians rare in general. I might have had that as a default opinion before, but hearing them talk about a world that I am a part of, I KNOW they are talking rubbish . From out of their boots. They don’t know anything about the world at street level and they are interfering in it. Music is not just a youth thing anymore is something that should be understood. And filling giant arenas with people to hear Pink or Fleetwood Mac is not really indicative of a healthy music scene. Also, law and order and is okay for the suburbs but a city needs less regulation so things can happen spontaneously . Tidy town awards are for tidy towns where theres nothing much else to do except sweep up the leaves.
Basically I think the whole music scene has been doing fine with no government involvement and they should just leave off. Of course, if they wanted to they could tell Australian commercial radio to play Australian music. That could help.
One of the government suggestions had been that no security was needed before 10pm. At some point I said that it could all be side-stepped if the venues had gigs EARLIER. It was an idea that was not taken seriously at all. Mocked in fact, mainly by people who I rarely see at any shows at all. Not a single musician I spoke to thinks it to be a bad idea to have shows starting after work or in the evening. then people could catch up with each other and chat , rather than being thrown out of the venue immediately.
The coalition of forces that came together for the march was very very good and impressive. As a political movement it could not possibly hold as, for instance, the musicians needs are not always the same as the venue operators. For instance, if security guards are automatically paid on an hourly rate, and without question, why not the musicians?
The march is over, a petition with more than 20,000 signatures is going to be going around several more festivals and events before being tabled in parliament in March. I was told that events are now out of the question at the Sidney Myer Music bowl as LLC has demanded so much security at the site. No promoter can afford it!
Basically, get the politicians away from a cultural area that works very well without their input. Leave them to cultivate bread and circus events they can manage. The venues do not need to be made safe for people who never go to them.
The government is facing an election and this issue has been massaged out of the main frame until then. The Liquor Licensing commissioner finishes up in April. What’ll happen then, nobody knows. The agents are still going around, visiting some clubs two or three times a night. Its another one of those things where the protesters are dismissed, as John Howard was fond of doing as “the usual suspects” or “rent a crowd”. I have a friend who wishes music would go underground and become a clandestine , secret affair. Perhaps it’ll have to. These politicians have no idea on which way to jump. Surrounded by smart guys who poll the wind and the trees, they appear on tv and radio all day, talking about nothing . They have transport, hospitals, bread and circuses to run. The feds want to take over one of them, that leaves the trams and the Casino and the Grand Prix.
Right now, its all highly illogical. Law and order, always a popular electoral truck to roll over everything in sight.
Not much can really obscure how lame and mediocre state politics is though. And we have two house of it in most states.
- dave graney
- WORKSHY - 2017 memoir out on Affirm Press. Let's get Tight - 2017 CD with Clare Moore. Moodists - Coral Snakes - mistLY. I don’t know what I am and don’t want to know any more than I already know. I aspire, in my music , to 40s B Movie (voice and presence) and wish I could play guitar like Charlie Christian or Grant Green -but not in this lifetime, I know.
2014 solo album from Dave Graney. *****"If I've learnt anything in my years of writing about music it's that if you are going to do anything of worth in this tough game, you better have your own thing. Today's generic is easily replaced by tomorrow's. And yet you need to be flexible, to follow wherever the songs demand. In the case of this, only the second credited as a solo album among 30 or so Graney releases, it's a curious yet welcoming lane he walks you down, with acoustic guitars, not much percussion, vibes, smooth sounds. At the end of it you feel like you've awoken from a strange yet pleasant summer's dream. As shot by Luis Bunuel. It ranges from off-kilter reveries (A Woman Skinnies Up a Man, The Old Docklands Wheel) through to the softly seductive (How Can You Get Out of London) and the downright arch (Look Into My Shades, Everything Is Great In The Beginning.) This is music that is neither folk, nor blues, nor country, but it's all Graney, somewhere out to the left field beyond Lee Hazlewood's raised eyebrow. It's astringent on the tongue but sweetens in the telling." Noel Mengel Brisbane Courier Mail
you've been in my mind
June 2012 super high energy pop rock album - blazing electric 12 strings - total 70s rock drive. Greatest yet! available via paypal - $20 pp
SUPERMODIFIED - August 2010 remixed/re-sung/re-strung//remastered/replayed comp via PAYPAL
also available as a digital album
Knock yourself (2009)-first ever dg solo set-filthy electro r&b-available via Paypal- $20
available as a digital album too
We Wuz Curious (2008)-blazing R&B jazz pop album available via paypal-$20
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
AVAILABLE AS A DIGITAL album
Hashish and Liquor (2005 double disc by Dave Graney and Clare Moore) available via Paypal $25
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
Single album HASHISH available as a digital release