All photois: Greg Walsh.
Let's start with a jovial reminder of who, Tony Pola, the man really was, in his own words. From one of his social media messages:
PC "culture" is a cancer to freedom of expression.
In the real world, Tony recently died. I believe he was 58. Six years ago he fell off his pushbike and broke a few ribs.
In mediaworld, Britain's Queen's Personal Comedian has also died, aged 99. Two years ago he came out from a local laneway and biffed into a car with two women, causing them "minor injuries".
The more art I make, the more persuaded I become that there is no other art than mine, and no other artist than I. - Jeremy S Gluck
Currently Artist-in-Residence at Eltham Hill School (Greenwich, London), ex-Barrcudas member Jeremy S. Gluck is piloting a pioneering new digital art project, "Game of Memes". The first exhibition opens in London on Saturday November 11. The Barman owes me a huge backlog of wages so I’ll be there too.
Now cast your eye over this pin-up, a centrefold from "Smash Hits" (one of those dubious teenage mags which proliferated in the late 1970s and early '80s). Observe the mop-top hair, the sharp shirts with snappy lines and the aw-shucks expressions. Not to mention that banana-coloured surfboard.
Not quite as dangerous as the gang in The Archies. Never mind the Barracudas being squeaky enough to take them home to meet Mum, you could take these boys to meet Granny.
She’d chuck them under the chin, pinch their cheeks and call them "lovely" before making them all nice cups of tea (from a teapot in a home-made tea-cosy) with a digestive biscuit.
I was at Muscle Shoals Records Fayre, on Lygon Street in Melbourne, when I received the unwelcome news from one of my dearest friends, a character in and out of bands in Adelaide for decades, who I doubt you’ve heard of, but whose name (when you have to use it) you will always spell incorrectly, as I do: "Bad" Bob Lehermayr.
I was less than charitable with Bob, and he rightly gave me a serve.
Then he told me about Charlie Tolnay dying.
After Bob (also rightly) hung up on me, I received a text message from The Barman. Bad news had travelled fast.
Half a Cow in the inner-western suburb of Glebe was the coolest bookshop in Sydney; an advocate of the underground with shelves bulging with left-of-field fanzines, authors who had been banned and musical output from alternative voices.
It was a literary anti-establishment. It all came crashing down, in my view, one afternoon in early 1993, during my fortnightly visit to the shop.
A phone call had been made earlier that day and I witnessed the removal of issues of “Lemon” magazine from the shelves.
I asked: “What has Lou done?” and was shown a review of indie-folk pop stars Club Hoy, buried in the back pages.
It was just six words: “These girls deserve a good raping."
"Lemon" magazine was now officially banned. It started one of the most controversial weeks in the history of the modern Australian music industry.
Indeed, it was the flashpoint of the underground openly clashing with the mainstream.
There’s a time machine where I work. The size of an average bathroom, it can spin rock samples at 16 times gravity, replicating a century’s worth of gas and water movements throughout aquitards in a couple of days, or a millenium’s worth in a week. Impressive!
The two discs of the “(When TheSsun Sets Over) Carlton” compilation may not spin quite that fast (or if they do, either they or my CD player have truly greater construction and sound quality than I realized!), but they equally constitute a time machine, taking the listener back to an era which technologically, politically and socially is so different to the present, it’s hard to believe it’s 40 - and not 140 - years ago!
Just take some time to consider Australian daily life as lived from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, an era when the musicians on “Carlton” were growing up, forming groups and writing the songs which on playing still sound so amazingly fresh so many years later. If you are old enough to remember, read on and be reminded how things have changed. If you aren’t, read on and be amazed!
The story of the Celibate Rifles starts in 1979. We're looking back at their gestation - in schools, surf clubs and garages on Sydney's Northern Beaches - and eventual birth.
As we take it up, our narrative stars a stark collection of individuals. Some of them were there fron the start, others came in later.