a few of my favourite things
I am a writer with varied interests and a number of ongoing projects. My main work has involved researching and writing about the history of Australian football, with my chief aim being to endeavour to bring to life the ways in which it was viewed and portrayed in the past, in contrast to the way in which it is propagandised today. I also write fiction which I would say is primarily influenced by, though by no means of anywhere near the same quality as, the work of the Australian writers Christina Stead and Patrick White. My principal single influence, on all my work, both fiction and non-fiction, is the novel "For Love Alone" by Christina Stead, which summarises my world view more eloquently and indeed accurately than I could ever hope to myself. As far as music is concerned, for as long as I can remember it has been a central focus of my life. My dad was a square dance caller who remained active until his mid-eighties, and who nursed a special love of country music, which my mum shared. I also have hazy recollections of dancing around the kitchen, where our radiogramme was situated, to her selection of late '50s and early '60s 45s: Chubby Checker, Elvis, Frank Ifield, the Platters, Helen Shapiro ........ The first band I fell head over heels for myself was T.Rex, but my intense love affair with their music ended after "The Slider". By then I was into the likes of Bowie, Lou Reed and New York Dolls, whilst simultaneously harbouring an admiration for the lyrical eloquence of Leonard Cohen and Jackson Browne. During the eighties I loved anything that was angry, raucous and loud, permanently damaging my hearing in the process. The nineties was surf rock, slowcore, psychedelia, electronic stuff of different kinds, and the beginning of a wider awareness and appreciation of female artists and female fronted bands from Billie Holiday through the Shangri-Las to Throwing Muses, Madder Rose, L7 and my particular favourites, Trespassers William. I can still happily listen to almost all of the above, but these days I tend to prefer life at a slightly slower, gentler and quieter pace owing partly to ongoing health problems, but also because much of the music to which I now listen forms the backdrop to my work as a writer, and so I need to be in control of its level of intrusiveness. I'm listening to Beach House as i write this - a perfect example of the sort of stuff that tends to rattle my cage nowadays. Given the chance though, I still like to party, and imposing my angular, unco-ordinated movements on an unsuspecting dance-floor remains, for the time being at least, one of life's rare pleasures.