Is Your Oral Health and Heart Health Connected?

Dentist in theatre room

There is an association between bad gums and heart disease.

gums and heart disease diagram

Image Source

From the time we were very young, we have heard that flossing and brushing our teeth every day was important if we wanted healthy gums and fewer problems with tooth decay.

Is it possible that healthy gums may also be associated with a lower risk of heart problems, including a heart attack?

For more than 100 years, doctors have been talking about the fact that our oral health is linked to the health of our heart. In more recent years, however, those doctors have begun to look closer at dental care and have begun recommending caring for oral health in order to reduce heart disease risks.

Gingivitis is the very beginning of the disease and it causes the gums to become swollen and red and when you brush your teeth, they are more likely to bleed. When dental plaque is permitted to build up in the area where the teeth meet the gums, gingivitis occurs.

If you want to maintain a strong general health, then strong teeth in good condition are imperative.

Gingivitis gum disease

Gingivitis should be treated professionally but when it isn’t, the bacteria can begin to collect in pockets that exist between the gum and the teeth and it leads to a more serious issue known as periodontitis. When periodontitis occurs, the tooth structure at the gum begins to weaken and it can lead to additional information. The teeth can become so loose that they actually fall out.

Gum disease does not always cause painful and noticeable symptoms so many people don’t recognise that they have a problem until it is advanced. According to Ivan Darby, a professor of periodontics from the University of Melbourne, the issues with periodontitis happen quickly. Teeth get loose, abscesses recur more frequently and the teeth start to move when the issues are advanced.

How is this associated with your heart?

Coronary arteries and heart

Many people who are at a greater risk for gingivitis and periodontitis live lifestyles that could put them at risk of heart disease. This includes excessive alcohol drinking, smoking and eating a poor diet.

It goes beyond those factors, however, and if you have one issue, the other problem is not typically far behind.

According to a cardiovascular health expert and associate professor at the University of Sydney, people with gum disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease.

What’s on your mind?

Is it possible to wake a sleepwalker? What makes a person grind their teeth and how do they stop doing it? If a serious health question has been plaguing you, it is likely you’ve also wanted to know the answer.

The real question is, is it a causal link or is it a link that is clearly defined?

Doctors feel that gum disease is associated with heart problems due to 2 mechanisms.

The first issue is what happens when your gums experience inflammation. This is a natural occurrence associated with the immune system and the inflammatory molecules that are causing redness and swelling in the gums may also travel elsewhere in the body. They may cause the arteries to become inflamed and that could result in fatty acid deposits that line the walls of the arteries.

The second issue is associated with the bacteria that could lead to gum disease. The bacteria may have access to the bloodstream when gums bleed. It could facilitate the fatty plaques lining the arteries near the heart, leading to a problem with heart disease.

According to Professor Darby, a link may exist but there may only be a small incident of heart disease being caused by gum disease.

That being said, there are many different factors that could lead to heart disease. Gum disease is certainly on the list but it is probably not the primary factor in most people.

Why is it still a mystery?

It is difficult to say if gum disease directly causes heart disease due to the fact that a link is almost impossible to establish. There may be an association between the two, but it can’t truly be said if one always affects the other.

In order to see if there is that direct link, two groups of people would need to be monitored. One group would have gum disease and the other would have healthy gums. The group that did not have gum disease would need to allow the disease to develop to see if it increased the risk of heart disease.

Professor Darby agrees that if somebody has a disease, it needs to be treated. He says that it’s just “one of those things that’s going to be very hard to prove.”

You can prevent gum disease

You can reduce the risk of gum disease by maintaining proper oral hygiene. According to Professor Darby, genetic factors may also be associated with how oral health affects your heart health.

Bexley Dental states, “To avoid plaque build up it is important to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums at least twice a day. Remember, each tooth has five surfaces – a front, a back, two sides and a top. The only one sure way to prevent dental disease is to clean every surface”.

Celebrate Social Inclusion Week at Merry & Bright on Sunday 26th November, Deakin Edge

Merry & Bright, the School of Hard Knocks final concert for 2017 is presented on Sunday 26 November from 2pm at Deakin Edge. This concert takes place in Social Inclusion Week, an annual initiative, which was created in 2009, by the Founding Artistic Director of the School of Hard Knocks Dr Jonathon Welch AM.

Jonathon said “I founded Social Inclusion Week to connect local communities, to build and strengthen relationships and networks.” Merry & Bright does just that. Conducted and compered by Jonathon, Merry & Bright also features Liane Keegan, one of Australia’s great legends of opera, XL ARTS, the Choir of Hard Knocks, THECHO!R and the Footscray Yarraville City Band, conducted by Phillipa Edwards!

“The School of Hard Knocks has been built on the amazing work and support from our participants, volunteers, friends and wonderful guest artists.” Jonathon explained, “we want to recognise and celebrate that!! It is just such a joy to bring everyone together for these concerts and events now, and throughout the whole year!”

“We also have our wonderful 350 massed voice choir singing in Merry & Bright. The massed choir is drawn from choirs in the School’s Absolutely Everybody choral program, including the Voices of Casey, Latrobe Valley Community Choir, Voices of Frankston, Choir of Opportunity, Voices of Alfred, Western Health Singers and All Together Choir. Our Absolutely Everybody Brisbane choir, conducted by Melissa Gill, will also be visiting from Queensland to be part of this concert. A wonderful community of singers.”

“We would LOVE everyone to connect, or reconnect, with us at Merry & Bright! 2017 has been a huge year of growth and success for the School. We are so very proud of our achievements and all our programs. Proceeds from this concert will help us to continue the wonderful work of the School supporting the marginalised and vulnerable in our community.”

Tickets are just $25 for adults, $20 concession, $15 U18 and $75 family for a family of four. Book through or at the door from 1.30pm.


Come and enjoy our great Australian music at Australian Songbook, this Sunday at Collingwood Town Hall!

In celebration of Australian Music Month, THECHO!R will present their next sensational concert.  Australian Songbook on Sunday November 19th at 3pm in the Collingwood Town Hall.

Dr Jonathon Welch AM, Artistic Director of THECHO!R explains “this will be a truly special concert of popular, new and contemporary Australian music, with Deborah Cheetham AO and the Dhungala Children’s Choir as our special guests.”

Established in 2009 by Yorta Yorta Soprano, Composer and Educator Deborah Cheetham and pianist Toni Lalich, Dhungala Children’s Choir is an award-winning ensemble for Indigenous children between the ages of 9 and 17.

For thousands of years the Yorta Yorta people have passed down their traditions, language, dreaming and culture through song on their country.  Dhungala Children’s Choir (DCC) is a continuation of this tradition.  DCC gave its debut performance in the SheppARTon festival performance RiverSong and has since become a strong presence in Shepparton, Geelong and throughout Victoria.

THECHO!R was also created in 2009, by Jonathon Welch.  One of Melbourne’s most exciting community adult choirs, it has performed extensively throughout Victoria, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, raising thousands of dollars to support other community related music activities.  All funds from this concert will be going to support Dhungala Children’s Choir.

“I can’t wait for everyone to come together at this concert” Jonathon exclaimed.  “We will be performing such a mix of glorious Australian music.  We will also be premiering Wominjeka Birrarunga – many voices, a beautiful new work by Deborah, commissioned by THECHO!R.”

Australian Songbook on Sunday November 19th at 3pm in the Collingwood Town Hall. Tickets are now on sale, $35 adult and $28 concession and under 18.  Refreshments are available.  Don’t miss out!!!!!

Book through THECHO!R’s website at

WAMPLIFIER ► #WAMSOTY Awards playlist; scenestr interview; AGWA Sneaker Saturday; SOTA; Hidden Treasures; SOTGS tix running fast & more…

WAM - West Australian Musica


NEWS: #WAMSOTY Awards playlist; scenestr interview; Sneaker Saturday; SOTA x Pilerats; Hidden Treasures fire; SOTGS tix running fast; Eye On The Stranger WA act  & more…

Featured News


Listen to #WAMSOTY nominated songs ahead of Awards Party on Wednesday

The 2016-17 nominees for WAM Song Of The Year feature an inspiring mix of songs from both established acts and new discoveries, with the winners to be revealed at an epic public WAM Song Of The Year Awards Party this coming Wednesday 17 May.

This year’s party will be another harbourside sunset soiree, debuting at the WA Maritime Museum with MC Magnus Danger Magnus, DJ Charlie Bucket, The Money War, Ben Matthews Presents LIVEWYRE and Fremantle local Dan Howls, all guaranteed to keep the good times rolling. Limited presale tickets remaining are $20+BF (WAM members) $25+BF (non members) available via Moshtix.


To get you in the mood, we’ve put together a playlist featuring a number of #WAMSOTY nominated songs. It’s an aurally impressive celebration of incredible songwriting coming out of WA, including a number of radio faves but also a tantalising taste of future stars…




WA’s most comprehensive guide to local launches


There’s constantly a heap of sweet new tunes coming out of WA, and LaunchPad is here to fill you in on the latest single, video, EP and album launches from local acts of all genres over the next fortnight, and beyond…


 Indie rockers The Spring Peak are launching their new single ‘No Curfew’ on Friday 12 May at Babushka, with help from Airline Food, Peppermint Showers & Segue Safari.

►Punk rockers and WAM Song Of The Year winners Nerve Quakes launch their new album ‘A New State’ at The Bird on Saturday 13 May, supported by Kitchen People and Zerodent.

► Alternative rockers Scarlet Drive are launching their single ‘Sad Robot’ on Sunday 14 May at Rosemount Hotel, with Hearts Apart, True Neutral, Just Numbers and Windswell.

► Roots, pop and gypsy circus artist Steve Hensby is releasing a double album (!) on Wednesday 17 May at The Ellington Jazz Club and features Josh Dyson and Elliot Smith.

► Alternative-indie psych shoegazers and WAMAwards nominees Dream Rimmy head down south to launch their Heavy EP on Thursday 18 May at Prince Of Wales Hotel, Bunbury, and Friday 19 at Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, with support from Bells Rapids.

Progressive metal masters Voyager announce their ‘Ghost Mile’ album launching on Friday 19 May 2017 at Amplifier, with French electronic producer The Algorithm in support plus more TBA. 

Rock indie-rap band Mt. Cleverest are launching their new single ‘That Girl’ on Friday 19 May at Jack Rabbit Slim’s, with support from Death by Denim and Boykie.

Alt-metal and heavy rockers Jupiter Zeus are launching their EP ‘Eyes On The Prize’  on Saturday 20 May at Bar 459, with King Zog, Servus Sum and Peasant. 


Launching a release and want some free promo?
Send your info / presser / Facebook event to
Priority space/photos given to WAM Members.



Wheatbelt Touring Circuit next weekend feat. Rag N’ Bone, Carla Geneve…

WTC Tour 9 is a WAM-acclaimed all-star team of Perth and Wheatbelt artists showcasing just why they’ve won WAM awards or been selected for WAM projects. And as usual, they’re all playing free shows, yet this tour’s line-ups are one of the best in the series…

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Limited tix remaining for Sounds Of The Great Southern CD launch

Ten new, original songs will soon be released to showcase the inspiring, diverse breath of musical talent brewing in the Great Southern region of WA, the WAM Sounds Of The Great Southern compilation CD launching on Saturday 27 May at Albany Town Hall

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Kick(s) it with AGWA this weekend for FREE Sneaker Saturday!

Art Gallery of Western Australia is kicksing off their The Rise of Sneaker Culture exhibition in fine style with an open house celebration THIS Saturday 10am – 4pm for FREE. It’s all part of their SNEAKERHEADS festivities, proudly supported by WAM. A damn fine music line-up sneaks in this Sat…

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WA artist Vanessa Hopes selected by Kram for One Eye on the Stranger

Over 150 applications from across Australia were received for this year’s One Eye on the Stranger (OEOTS) mentorship and residency program.  The winners were selected by the 2017 mentor, Kram from Spiderbait, including Vanessa Hopes from WA. She’ll head to Tassie for Festival Of Voices

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WAM INTERVIEWS: The publisher behind WA’s new street press; scenestr

scenestr (WA) hit the street for the first time last Wednesday 3 May, providing a whole new mag chock full of WA goodies. It complements the existing street press titles in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, and will be available online as well…

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Hidden Treasures Winter Music Series set to heat up Freo with A+ line-up

Fremantle’s Hidden Treasures Winter Music Series returns this July with a mix of ripe new bands, well-seasoned cult heroes, perfectly-cured venues and… a musical tram. The line-up includes a heap of WAM Song Of The Year nominees, including Rag N’ Bone…

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WA nominee for AMIN Love Live Music film comp

Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) together with WAM is very excited to announce (and sneak peek) the shortlist from the LOVE LIVE MUSIC 60-second film competition, and are pleased to see a West Australian has made the cut…

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Applications for Safer Venues WA closing soon

Safer Venues WA is a group of music industry professionals and like-minded individuals working together to create safer and more inclusive spaces to enjoy live music. They are currently taking board member…

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Live sessions at Pilerats with Ziggy Ramo ahead of SOTA festival

Pilerats has recently linked up with SOTA to bring their Live Sessions series in to 2017, filming stripped-back live versions from a few acts on the lineup, and ZIGGY RAMO was the first act to be shared, an Indigenous hip hop artist who is making some big, big noises

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Opportunities: More jobs, band comps & funding for artists & industry reps

More music related jobs, funding deadlines and competitions for acts and music industry peeps to get ahead, including from the likes of Country Arts, Bryte MC, Audiofly, The Hen House Live, scenestr, Around The Sound, Mysteria Maxima Media

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Upcoming Events

Groovin The Moo

Saturday 13 May 10:30AM-10PM |
Hay Park, Bunbury

Get ready to strap your boots on as the countdown to Moo-time kicks off! The annual GTM party is once again being held at the usual spot, Hay Park Bunbury, with two local acts part of the mouth watering line-up

More Info

Song Of The Year Awards

Wednesday 17 May 6-11pm | WA Maritime Museum

The 2016-17 nominees for WAM Song Of The Year feature an inspiring mix of songs from both established acts and new discoveries, with the winners to be revealed at an epic public WAM Song Of The Year Awards Party
More Info

Hot Freaks


Perth indie rock festival Hot Freaks returns for its second year with a new venue and a gnarly line-up, with 12 acts taking over two stages. Perth punk legends Grim Fandango headline the bill, playing a one off reunion, plus…

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Sounds of the Great Southern CD Launch

Saturday 27 May | Albany Town Hall

Ten new, original songs have been recorded and will soon be released to showcase the inspiringly diverse breadth of musical talent brewing in the Great Southern region of WA…

More Info

SOTA Festival

Monday 5 June 12-9pm | Elizabeth Quay

SOTA returns with a fully Western Australian line-up designed for music lovers of all ages, with both under 18 and licensed areas. Best of all, it’s free!

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Around The Sound pres Richard Gerver: Minding Your Own Business

Saturday 6 June 6-11:30pm | Gate One Theatre, Claremont Showgrounds

Supported by WAM, new online music media Around The Sound invites you to a very special event …

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Donate to the WA Music Fund to help champion WA music

The Australian Taxation Office has granted us deductible gift recipient status. This change of status now allows WAM to accept donations to the WA Music Fund, allowing WAM to deliver its current projects and activities, as well as create new ones to help better champion WA music. Any donation you make to is tax deductible and…

WAM member benefit: discounts with Ktown productions

Ktown Productions is a professional music studio that also includes a music video production business, based in Medina WA, and we’re happy to announce WAM Members now receive discounts.Providing extremely high quality facilities, equipment and expertise, Ktown Productions have irresistible packages that take you from demo to…



It was celebrations all round at Sea World on the Gold Coast, as two rat-sized polar bear cubs made their debut in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The twins are the third and fourth cubs to be born at the park’s Polar Bear Shores exhibit since it opened in 2000.

Both cubs and mum Liya are currently enjoying the solitude of the maternity den, away from the theme parks other two polar bears, twin brothers Hudson and Nelson.

Each cub weighed in at approximately 600 grams and were given a clean bill of health.

It’s the second time Liya has given birth at the theme park. Her first born Henry in 2013, was moved to Canada two years ago and now lives at a research sanctuary.

Most of the time, a female will have two cubs, however they can have anywhere up to four. Whilst the cubs, born totally blind are completely reliant on their adorning mother at this early stage of life, it will be a totally different story when they open their eyes in around 3 weeks. For now they have been observed suckling milk and snuggling up to mum.

Their keepers are working around the clock monitoring their progress with the use of infrared cameras and microphones. The first few weeks of a cubs life is crucial to its survival and staff are cautiously optimistic.

Trevor Long, Sea World’s Marine scientist, highlights how important the breeding program is and the importance of the parks exhibit. For one, their aren’t a lot of zoological facilities breeding polar bears, and secondly, they have now been listed as  ‘threatened’ with around 22,000 – 30,000 living in the wild.

Due to climate change, and shorter winters, the bears are not always able to find a mate to pro-create.

For now, the cubs and mum will remain out of sight, and all going well, should be on display sometime in September. The cubs gender at this stage is also unknown, and probably wont be announced for some time yet.

As with Henry their older brother, Sea World have every intention of holding another ‘name the cubs’ competition.

Walk with one shoe – 3

Its dark, the roads wet, glistening a misty rain lightly coats my face as i walk the city streets. Nomads, hoods drawn wrestle with shadows known only to themselves argue with the unseen as they scurry by. Makeshift beds litter the shopfront doorways all the marks have gone. Cabs collect the suits shimmering in the headlights. I make my way home, catching sight only for a moment my reflection, eyes old. My lungs ache from too many casual life stories, it never amazes me how, given the chance a complete stranger will disperse all kinds of secret files on their mischievous relationships, I suppose I’ll never see them again anyway, well nearly all of them.

Early morning sitting by the garage door, light streams through the leaves of the old elm tree all majestic it towers over the house, the leaves lush and plentiful, children with their mothers walk past up the hill to the local school. The Indian sits in the doorway of the garage half hanging out, two years in the making it is nearly finished. I remember when i was young I would see those old movies of the 40’s and 50’s where the main guy would ride around on these big old bikes changing gears on the tank all leathered up riding down the highway. Motorcycles truly a tool for the soul, a mass of early morning coffees, long drives, secondhand parts and the amount of patience that would test any saint has finally seen the end of a vision. I sit back bellows of smoke leave my mouth like a steam train early morn, Bloomfield echoing out from the back of the garage. Grazed hands cradle a coffee, as the smell of the new day permeates air.

My phone rings, “hello”, “hey can you do a show tonight?” “sure” I say “where abouts?” “down the coast, I’ll come and pick you up about 6”, we discuss the details laughing about the slave labour pay, working musicians the most under paid professionals, I was making the same pay twenty years ago putting up with the same bullshit just from different publicans, gees if I was working in a sweat shop for the pay I get at least there would be no real overheads, punters come up and suggest how better you can perform, tell you what songs would be better the swan off to their little group all proud of themselves while we, the musicians try and be polite “Yes maybe we should try that song, (now go fuck yourself you piece of shit)”. Publicans are the same, expect a capacity crowd without advertising playing some god awful music prior to the band starting then complaining that we didn’t attract enough of a crowd while paying us fifty dollars a piece for our time getting there at 7 and finishing at 1 in the morning, that’s six hours plus travelling time for fifty dollars roll on the good times, does anybody care? no of course not the general public who go out wouldn’t have a clue but we keep on playing anyway why?, well that’s the 9 dollar an hour question.

Back home its early morning the house creeks in the silence. Its a great time of the day, I’ve always liked the crispness of the air and the quiet time where you can just sit and reflect on the previous days ups and downs, the show went well, the crowd weren’t too bad considering and my gear didn’t break down so all’s well in the land of milk and honey. The t.v evangelist, all love thy neighbour fleeces their flock of riches, their Cheshire smiles evil prey on the weak just a small donation is all we need they say while Facebook retaliations of eastern faiths declare war on the infidels. Fear mongering on both sides, doomsday prepares itself for another time in history. I drift off to a land where there are no boundaries, where no-one is persecuted because of the colour of their skin or their beliefs in what comes there after.

My neck aches as I awake another night dissolved on the couch, I’ve got to stop falling asleep in front of the TV even though it’s a futile thought. “Fall asleep on the couch again did we?” she says filling the kettle “do you want a coffee?”, her voice drifting from the kitchen, the dog looks up weary in anticipation then falls back in comfort. “How did you go last night?” “not bad” I say my throat grinding, my eyes blurry. Outside rain hard pelts the earth, the skies vengeance cleans the nights events from the holy roads. The night draws curtains on the sun as I head out, guitar slung over my shoulder back to the bar where time stands still, where the regular crew struggles to maintain perspective on the outside world. Third level safe house emits laughter as I climb the stairs, there’s a spider on the wall, the moon shining, making the tea while Frank sifts through a pile of verses. There’s a dancer all legs and smiles a parading banshee, she floats bleeding lines of adventures to no one in particular, party turns up “hey whats going on?” the banshee screams the walls rattle and bleed. The rest of the motley crew arrive we nestle around the table another family meeting entails, people come and go the phone rings Frank grumbles and heads downstairs for another foley of difficult opinions the banshee cartwheeling around the room stumbles careering into one of the chairs we all laugh uncontrollably just another night. It’s quiet on the streets in the city tonight even the street urchins have fled the scene. There’s a few buskers on the corner, bucket and pan rhythms echoing down Chinatown, me and Party share observations, drink coffee and generally just take in the nights progression the billboard across the street displays the latest designer street wear spewing on the sidewalk as the romeos hold back their hair hoping for early morning penetrations.

The Real Clean Up Challenge in the Wake of Cyclone Debbie

clean up
community clean up

As Queensland reels from the devastation of Cyclone Debbie, the massive clean up bears its weight on those who have lost everything. But if that’s not enough, health and hygiene issues have now become a major concern. Especially in the flood-ravaged areas like Rockhampton, Lismore, and Logan.

Airborne bacteria could bring about the onset of bronchitis, asthma, and other lung-related issues. Water-borne bacteria could affect skin and soft tissue. Diarrhoeal diseases from contaminated food and muddy water could also be on the agenda. Not to mention the impact of mosquito diseases such as Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest Virus.

The ABC Health & Wellbeing website states; “The most effective mosquito repellents contain 20-50 per cent DEET, according to … the Journal of Travel Medicine. Preparations containing higher concentrations of picaridin or PMD – an active ingredient of lemon eucalyptus oil – are the next best choices.”

While towns are struggling to clean up and get back on their feet, authorities are warning to boil all water or buy bottled water, at least in the short term. Still, that may prove a difficult if power is out, dry wood hard to find, supply chains disrupted and gas mains damaged.

It’s now been reported there are over 600 uninhabitable houses left soaking in central and north Queensland. But danger lurks even within the liveable homes of flood-affected areas. A 12-year-old girl was bitten by snake and had to be rushed to Proserpine Hospital and on to Mackay Base Hospital, after she reached into a cupboard for a towel. “The increased risk of snakes, rats and spiders is very common after flooding so residents should be extra vigilant when cleaning up their homes and removing debris and green waste from their yards.” RACQ CQ Rescue Pilot, Greg Webb says in a recent Central Telegraph article.

Receding Flood Waters

But even after flood waters recede and debris is cleared from damaged homes and businesses, the actual cleaning of premises will prove challenging enough. Rot and rising damp not only affects the stability of timber, but when mould sets into floorboards. Walls and carpet, it can severely trigger allergies, chronic asthma, congestion and respiratory infections. People at high risk are the elderly, children and those with weak immune systems. If you fall into any of these high-risk categories, it may be beneficial to hire professional cleaners to help figure out exactly what needs to be done. To ensure a healthier environment is regained quickly, Victoria’s Department of Health suggests; “Small areas of mould can be cleaned using a damp cloth and detergent solution, vinegar solution, or alcohol solution. Mould treatments available in stores can bleach mould, but may not kill it.”

Even if not flood-affected, if you live within the cyclone region. It’s also highly recommended by health experts that carpets, lino, and other floorings be given a complete and thorough cleaning. To make-sure pollutants, which may have lodged deep into crevices and fibres, are eradicated. A local cleaning company would be best able to advise on how to remove hidden bacteria from soft furnishings. Including curtains, lounge suites, cushion covers, carpets and the like. Of course, building inspections are also strongly recommended if there is any concern structural damage may have occurred within the premises.

The Risk of Tetanus

Another health issue rising out of the cyclone and flood-ruined areas, is that of tetanus. So, the Queensland Government is currently offering free tetanus shots to “those affected by or cleaning up” rubble within the region. If anyone is concerned about the risk of tetanus, please contact your local GP.

At the end of the clean up, hopefully common sense will prevail when keeping buildings hygienic. Use gloves, wash dirt from all scratches regularly, and watch out for unwanted wildlife hiding in the home and yard! For all personal or home-health concerns, check in with professionals for the most up-to-date advice on how to cope best after such a destructive disaster, to stay healthy.

Image Source: Volunteering Queensland.

BluesTone Part 2 of 2

The Station Hotel is approx. 5.6kms from Flinders Street Station. Built in 1910, people still today reminisce about the Melbourne musicians who played there. By the end of the 1990s, these people had been moved on like flying foxes suspected of carrying the Hendra virus

Dutch Tilders and the Blues Club had a residency on a Sunday afternoon. It was through those Sunday sessions where Alan Stafford proposed an English style blues society. So a group of blues professionals and enthusiasts collaborated on 9th October 1990 forming the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society. It’s still running today from Flemington Bowling Club and still supporting phenomenal talent – Geoff Achison is the Patron 

Photo courtesy of Lyal 'Sparra' Thomas: Alan Stafford and Dutch Tilders
Photo courtesy of Lyal ‘Sparra’ Thomas: Alan Stafford and Dutch Tilders


I am writing this from my “globurb” house – global suburb – and my house is a 1950s shell now cream-rendered with black window frames. I call it “bland” but it’s what society or real estate agents stipulate 

BluesTone’s questioning centres on valuing our pubs. How “globurbing” our pubs has stripped our Australian culture. No matter what level of popularity is being enjoyed at the time in other countries, local councils preserve their cultural heritage, like Stonehenge

When travelling through an airport terminal, from one country to another, their environment’s are all pretty similar.  I believe that Airport Terminal Mindset (ATM) is now seeping into our cities’ landscape, why is this happening?

Are we becoming culturally uniform?

Why is the character being sucked out of our buildings? 

Pubs are being gutted, commodified and the historical character traded on by real estate agents. They use the word “Iconic” to sell this space as shops and apartments. All of the “iconic” has been stripped out. I believe a building’s character holds the spirit of those people who inhabited the space

Photo courtesy of Stonnington Council: c. 1983
Photo courtesy of Stonnington Council: c. 1983

This is the blurb the Stonnington Council wrote on this photo of The Station Hotel:

“The sculptural installation of the train bursting through the wall was removed during renovations to the hotel in the late 1990s. For several decades prior to this, the Station Hotel was renown as a live music venue, and decidedly ‘down market’ [my italics]. Renovations included the addition of a restaurant”

I am going to ignore that Stonnington Council is making a value judgement on a significant historic music landmark. But it makes you think doesn’t it?

If we could value our pubs, as Londoners value theirs, we will have a much healthier, wealthier and wiser Australian culture.  For me, stripping the character out of the building is like a knife stabbing and murdering our Australian cultural experiences

I believe there are remnants, auras of people and cultures contained in these buildings 

The Fitzroy Tavern in Charlotte Street London WC1 is approx. 3.1miles or 5kms to one of the busiest London train stations – Liverpool Street. The Fitzroy Tavern resonates with me because George Orwell’s aura is in this pub. On the walls there are photographs and plaques dedicated to him

Has Australian society been denied this aura of its history? Yes most definitely

George Orwell’s novels question politics, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four embody the very things Australian culture thrives upon. We do question, we don’t just accept what politicians hand us. Yet we allow Australian culture to be stripped of character through homogenisation embedded in American Cultural Imperialism

American Cultural Imperialism = Globalisation

American cultural imperialism and blues music culture are mutually exclusive 

Australian blues music and blues music culture is informed by those first blues musicians from the Mississippi Delta, Chicago, Kansas, New Orleans, etc. An oppressed and marginalised culture born in America 

American cultural imperialism as Anthony D. King argues in Spaces of Global Cultures: Architecture Urbanism Identity, is “American Globalisation”. The normalisation of global products and practices, like that airport terminal, across the world. I suggest the irony of Donald Trump’s “Anti-Globalisation” rhetoric is that globalisation is the very thing that has made America great.  However, I argue, to the detriment of local Australian culture;
“Emphasising (American) cultural imperialism – American media culture, commodities, fast food and malls are creating a new global culture that is remarkably similar on all continents […] A completely new cultural system, or systems of culture, emerging from the diffusion of cultural values, belief and practices worldwide and which takes on new attributes, and becomes transformed in the process” (p27)

Australian culture is being moved out of our pubs like flying foxes suspected of containing the Hendra virus. King argues for a new cultural transformation but I don’t feel this is an “evolution” of cultural practices. Cultural imperialism or a globalised Americanism is sucking our Australian character out of society to the point where we only identify with an American mainstream culture

Photo courtesy Yblues? c. Dec 2014
Photo courtesy Yblues? c. Dec 2014

See SMH newspaper article “A new look in train for Prahran’s Station Hotel”
Where graffiti adds character and culture, the original character of The Station Hotel has been lost.     The aura of those musicians who performed throughout its 70 odd years has evaporated and replaced by a sterile hospital like building trading on the adjective “iconic”

London’s Councils spruce up the facade – like The Bank in Warragul – and put up blue plaques if someone of historical significance lived in a house, worked in a business, socialised in a pub. The sprucing up plus these plaques, represent past histories and connect with us and our culture. Valuing these things is important because you can feel the aura of these people. You think about their lives, family, loves and their existence because even though it’s a plaque it plays with memory by making those people come to life.  A blue plaque gives a connection to those people just as blues music connects to those blues people of America

The Station Hotel gave the people, who experienced the aura within it’s walls, their strong sense of inclusion. An Australian culture through the music they heard and the relationships they made. While the Station Hotel’s character has been erased in the 2000s, the culture in the minds of those who were there, is valued and still exists.

Chain Awards are the highest accolade paid to our Australian Blues Musicians

In February 2017, Geoff Achison’s album ‘Another Mile – Another Minute’ won Best Album; “I’m Gonna Ride” Song of the Year; Artist of the Year: Geoff Achison – “High Wire”; Duo/Group of the Year: Geoff Achison and the Soul Diggers; Producer of the Year: Ben Harwood, Rob Harwood, Geoff Achison 

How to end? …  “RACK OFF … GO ON!”

BluesTone Part 1 of 2

“Those Things We Value”

The first time I met, filmed and heard Geoff Achison perform was at “The Bank” in Warragul in 2014. The pub is called The Bank because it was the bank in Warragul and has a beautiful 19th century façade. Geoff had written a song “Crazy Horse” and his introduction to this fabulous song resonated with me. Geoff’s anecdote talked of “a guy called Crazy Horse and Red Cloud, it’s about real people and based on events that they might have been involved with.” But the song for me resonated because it seemed to be expressing the very things those people valued – family and love 

Unfortunately, I hadn’t geared up to get great sound so I can’t use the footage but here is Geoff’s official version:   

It’s Monday night at The Windsor Castle. Geoff walks to the bar buys a beer and sits down at a table close enough to absorb Dutch Tilders’ phenomenal finger-picking guitar style. He doesn’t drink the beer because he doesn’t drink alcohol … well didn’t back then. Geoff is in awe of Dutch’s magnificence. From the moment Geoff first saw Dutch play he retracted into his shell. He’d never seen a bona-fide bluesman up close before

Dutch made him realise it wasn’t simply all about playing those hot riffs on the guitar. The blues has such a deep heart felt and important story to tell and Dutch was a master of the art. Dutch was a very rare thing to find outside of Mississippi … and Geoff knew that, being in his presence was the way forward. In some ways, the fact that Dutch asked Geoff to play with Dutch Tilders and The Blues Club, sometime later, was something he never quite believed

Geoff Achison grew up in a little town in central Victoria on the Calder Highway, Malmsbury and according to “Bruno’s Blues” as a child he fell asleep in a cupboard waking up to find a guitar and started to play …

“My earliest memory of being moved by anything resembling blues music was […] when I was around the age of 10. I heard Joe Cocker’s live version of ’The Letter’ followed by ‘Delta Lady’. These two tracks are from his ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’ album. Unusual for radio 3UZ to play two long live tracks in a row but they did and I was mesmerized. Joe has a gritty, soulful and powerfully emotive singing voice. The band backed him up with just amazing energy and it sounded like they were having the party of the century. That made me want to be a musician. Much later when I heard Eric Clapton’s guitar with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers I think I rediscovered that energy. It led me to Freddie King and any number of other great blues, soul and jazz artists. It just sounded like real people and they sounded more alive than I felt in my sleepy, small town environment.”


Geoff’s dad worked at the Malmsbury railway station on the Melbourne to Bendigo railway line. But the thing Malmsbury area is known for is its deposits of bluestone. Victorian Bluestone which is a kind of basalt. Basalt is an igneous rock made up primarily of feldspar and is usually grey to black and fine-grained owing to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet

The most famous bluestones are the prehistoric British cultural icon, Stonehenge. Preseli Spotted Dolerite, found in the Preseli Hills of Wales and Dolerite is of a similar composition to basalt. The term ‘bluestone’ in relation to Stonehenge encompasses around twenty different rock types, including rhyolites, dolerites and ‘calcereous ashes.’ And because bluestone is not found in the area it is debated whether humans carried the stones or whether they were glacial deposits

It’s suggested that the stones were raised from 2400 – 2200BC. Compared to the earliest pyramid of Egypt constructed approx. some 200 years before from 2630BC – 2611BC. From analysis of teeth and bone found at the Stonehenge site, it is estimated that 4,000 people attended mid-winter and mid-summer festivals

Culturally the rituals performed at Stonehenge are believed to be religious and spiritual. A folktale, relates the origin of the Friar’s Heel reference;

“The Devil bought the stones from a woman in Ireland, wrapped them up, and brought them to Salisbury plain. One of the stones fell into the Avon, the rest were carried to the plain.

The Devil then cried out, “no-one will ever find out how these stones came here!”

A friar replied, “That’s what you think!”, whereupon the Devil threw one of the stones at him and struck him on the heel. The stone stuck in the ground and is still there” 

For some, Stonehenge maybe the site of “just another set of rocks”, however it has a cultural heritage value to groups like the Druids. Druids are a people who are a high-ranking professional class in ancient Celtic cultures. The first Neo-Druidic group to make use of the megalithic monument was the Ancient Order of Druids who performed a mass initiation ceremony in August 1905 in which they admitted 259 new members into their organisation

Between 1972 and 1984, the Stonehenge Free Festival was held and the number of midsummer visitors had risen to around 30,000. From 1985, the English Heritage and National Trust closed the site to festival goers. This caused a violent confrontation between the police and New Age Travellers and became known as the Battle of the Beanfield

Photo courtesy Geoff Achison: Just Blues
Photo courtesy Geoff Achison: Just Blues

Geoff had a strained school life and dropped out of high school. He then went on to get a regular job but looking back he wished, and had a little regret, that there had been somebody there that had been able to take the reins and fix things up for him. But the difficulties in school were unbearable so he left and nobody stopped him

Geoff’s secret to a happy life is that if you can find anything that you are good at, even if it’s just one thing, make that your pursuit. The only thing he had was music and with whatever other jobs he tried he just felt like he was the shit kicker. No matter what he did because he felt he had no other talent in life but music. When he picked the guitar up that was something he could do. When he picked the guitar up, people would say “wow you’re really good at that” but if he’d do anything else … he was the shit kicker. All he heard was “O give Geoff the broom to sweep the floor”

“Cos I didn’t take drugs I remember it. It’s never been that kind of scene, everyone that I’ve known that has been into the Blues like we’ve gotten into it, is because of the music. It’s the music that has motivated us. So it’s not been, you know, a desire to be a “star” you know it’s a desire to be a musician to really master how to play this stuff for people”

Dutch Tilders and the Blues Club – “Baby Please Don’t Go”

Chucking his job in, he arrived in Melbourne with his electric guitar and $40 and a burning determination to get a job as a musician and have a future in music

The thing that drew Geoff to Melbourne was a group called Blues on the Boil.
He used to go down to Melbourne maybe once a month save up a bunch of money, probably about $100 bucks – in the mid-1980s that was a fair wad of cash. He’d go to Gaslight Records and buy a stack of Blues records. One time he found this record called Blues on the Boil, it looked pretty good. Reading the liner notes he discovered that the LP was recorded in Melbourne

Geoff was ignorant of the Blues scene in Melbourne. What he had discovered about Blues came from the United States and you’re talking about Chicago, you’re talking about Mississippi, you’re talking about New Orleans and he got most of his information from reading the liner notes on the back of the LPs

“Wow these guys are in Melbourne and it had been recorded like that same year”

Blues on the Boil
 had a residency in town. This was a group led by a guy called Bob Sedergreen, an amazing jazz cat and piano player. Geoff had a jazz background so he really dug where Bob was coming from, the whole band was like all jazz cats but playing Blues. Getting back to the roots and really twisting it and bending it and Geoff loved it. He became such a regular there that he struck up a conversation with the guys in the break

When he found out that Geoff had a guitar, Gordon Pendleton, the drummer said “Man, you play man? …. you got to bring your axe … bring your axe next time and we’ll get you up and play”

That was the spirit of the blues scene. Biting his nails all the week before, he took his guitar along and they let him play. From then on it became a regular thing

That turned into the Just Blues band. Steve Ceprow on harmonica would get up and jam with Blues on the Boil. The amazing bass player called Travis Clarke, who was about 16 years old at the time and Mark Grundin, from Mallacoota, was the drummer of Just Blues. He was another country boy and still plays around the scene

Just Blues played for maybe 18 months or a couple of years around the scene. They used to do a residency at the Swan Hotel it was a $5 cover charge. Geoff used to make about $80 maybe $90 that’s what they’d get each gig. He was living in a big house in Eltham with about eight people all artists … you know singers, musicians and the rent was maybe twenty bucks each

Geoff was doing OK – it wasn’t looking like an actual career but he was calling it that – everyone was telling him, every time they’d do a gig;

“you really need to go and see Dutch Tilders if you’re into the Blues … you play OK but you really need to go and see Dutch Tilders … and to my eternal shame I had never heard of him … I didn’t know who he was”

Photo courtesy Johanna Tilders: Dutch aged 16
Photo courtesy Johanna Tilders: Dutch aged 16

“Tilly Bar” in Bloemerstraat 15, Nijemegen Holland was owned by Dutch Tilders’ father. Dutch was fourteen when he, his father, mother, four brothers and one sister – Johanna, immigrated to Australia. Nijemegen is where Dutch Tilders grew up. His parents sent him to music school where he learned to play the harmonica. Then he went into the Catholic Brotherhood and it was here that he would play a range of instruments. Johanna remembers Dutch using the wooden finger picks to keep rhythm and he was extremely good at drawing. Dutch Tilders may have been about to catch that Blues music wave in early 1950s Holland when his family decided to immigrate

In Holland he’d learned to read and write music. According to his sister Johanna “it came naturally to him.” His father was a tenor, like Mario Lanzo and mother a soprano. His parents both sung in Frankston choir Catholic church. Dutch was twenty when his father was tragically killed in a head-on collision on the Moorooduc Highway aged 48. The Freezer truck was on the wrong side of the road. From then on whenever Dutch performed “Nobody Knows You When You Are Down and Out” it was his personal tribute to his father

cont. BluesTone Part 2:  The Station Hotel, Prahran

Rickie Lee Jones – A Review by Colin Talbot

Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee Jones–Me & Ms Jones, there’s a thing going on…She & band played the Recital Hall which is a far far cry from Festival Hall or Rod Laver, thankfully. It is a mature venue, the like of which did not exist in my youth. And I’d never heard hardly anything RLJ had done apart from ‘Chuck E’s in Love’ which did very well around the traps. It is said she was in the sack with Tom Waits, so there’s that beatnik/jazz connection, that staccato thing.
The band was minimal, Ms Jones to you on semi-acoustic & a lead guitar & drums/vibes (both players subtle and excellent but I didn’t catch their names when she gave them out because there was random applause which drowned that out. One can always research it or find some program notes but I didn’t. Ms Jones said they’d all been living and playing in ‘New Orleans Lousiana’ for the past few years) and later in the set she went to the piano.
Her stage craft is cool and wry and polite enough and that’s okay by me. The big surprise was ‘Horses’ which I probably heard many years ago was one of her songs but forgot, and she invited Darryl Braithwaite to come on stage and sing which he did. It was a highlight because, yes, I recall Darryl from Sherbet all those years ago, and he sang well then, but with ‘Horses’ he found a true song for himself. They sang together well, and he was hanging off-stage and it was even remotely piossible they’d encore with it. They didn’t. Anyway, it went over well, very well. and she told the story of how he’d taken her song to #1 in Australia and she thanked her music publishers (why wouldn’t ya?) and Darryl and told the story of arriving in Melbourne into a hotel and turning on the TV (fighting over that with her daughter, about who the song was written 29 in a few days she said, —but ‘that’s another story!’ – and on the TV was a horse race and everybody seemed to be singing ‘that’s the way it’s gonna be’ because Darryl was doing his thing at the Races—I remember that time, I think there was a problem with the timing and the real horses  the song about the Horses were on a collision and a few million $$ worth of horseflesh started shying…Melbourne Cup or Cox Plate, I forget…anyway…back to last night.
So Rickie Lee slowly began to warm up to her best and in the end, tho she was 15 minutes late, went to about 10.15pm and whattya want? I’ve never been ‘into’ Ms Jones but that’s as may be, for she had many many fans there who knew the stuff, which I didn’t. But I did warm to the oblique style and the sparse but critical way the band played and she has a very strong voice that has charm and wit.
She’d been on guitar and then she moved to piano and that’s where her sublime talent at the piano showed. It turns out her grand folks were some kind of performers (circus, tin-pan alley, musicals, I forget) and her father was an accomplished performer & songwriter and in fact her encore was his song written in 1954 ‘The Moon is Gold’ which was a  nice tune that gave Rickie Lee Jones a time to sound a little like Billie Holiday’s phrasing.
 But that was last Friday and I have been thinking…and then from Sydney, Amanda Dweck wrote of seeing RLJ in Sydney… so…
here is that letter from Amanda:

What a treat Rickie Lee Jones must have been in Melbourne with Daryl Braithwaite singing “Horses”. I saw her last night said daughters birthday and I didn’t know that she had written this song for her daughter. But I listened to the lyrics for the first time and was choking back the tears. What a beautiful gift! Rickie’s unique voice was also a gift to us because she had caught a miserable lergy that she could only have caught in Melbourne. Sydney’s Basement was packed in like sardines on the second of two nights. She was simply amazing. I bought her album on the way out and the liner notes revealed that she had to rely on friends support to produce the album.


The thoughtful note we received did not prompt this addition yet it helped me to concentrate the mind, like the hangman’s noose at dawn – or the hangperson as the case may be.

Amanda’s letter mentioned  how she missed Sherbet’s former lead singer doing ‘Horses’ and it got me thinking – was it a ‘special moment’ because it was so good? Or was it such a moment because it was totally unexpected and then well done, so we the audience were generous? Possibly both, as the audience surely responded to the surprise with much more than good grace…and Darryl B with Rickie Lee nailed it, IMO.

Now I mentioned before that when Rickie Lee went to the piano, something of a revelation occurred, as the playing was pensive, dynamic, thoughtful and inherently beautiful all at once. Yet as she said while noodling, (ie: foolin’ around) she said how she had a gift for recalling tunes and songs—once heard, sort of never forgotten. Then she started to recall a tune right then…half under her breath singing ‘smiling faces, badabadabing blah yadda ya traces’ and hung that on us before moving on. Now that really stuffed me up because I could not recall what song it was and I spent the rest of the concert flicking thru my mind’s catalog of pop stuff but I freakin’ could NOT find it. Jeez to heck! No!!!!! Hold back the dawn!! Ye haw, hey jest a minute! Hold on, ’Smiling faces, going places aaah ha’ …And I find it kinda funny I find it kinda sad that I just can’t recall —I mean it were not a couple of things I looked up later that night on Gargle.Cum I really did start to lose it—and I remembered ‘smiling faces going places’ and I realised, like I saw I was in a mad place because it is a mad world—YES!

I had fund the Missing Link. The sog was the soundtrack for that movie where the guy sees a big rabbit. ‘Mad World’. Lots of minor chords I suspect. It had been written by I forget, maybe the band that sang ‘Life in a Northern Town’ maybe not, maybe by The Cocteau Twins –that sort of thing. What a beautiful song (to me), just piano (probably viola or whatever sitting behind so subtle that I don’t know I’m hearing it.) I don’t ‘hear’ everything, I become captured by the song and can no longer analyse it, I’m caught in it like what happens in the song Grace Jones sings, ‘Sometimes the Hunter is Captured by the Game.’ Incidentally on that Grace Jones album from 30 or 40 years ago (Jeeez!!) right there was ‘Walking in the Rain’ by the Easybeats songwriting team. And Grace kills the song so beautifully, who else would ever dare do it? I certainly don’t know, that’s the version I carry in my head catalog. But back to the concert, Amanda.

Then RLJ, after freakin’ me out and leaving me with half a song in my head, began to speak of a group called Left Bank and their album. I never knew they ever did another but maybe they did. She mentioned a song on it ‘Pretty Ballerina’. Now that song , the version by the Left Bank, was used in a movie about bent US Army Police in Thailand, the song playing over a scene where the body of a murdered bar girl is shown…I was not happy but I was happy. Because I loved and still love that song and that version – the only version besides mine that I have ever heard and I’m confessin’ you really wouldn’t want to hear mine.

But I found it most disturbing that in the film (name forgotten -please insert, dear editor and knower of all things) the song was played over an example of the human plague of murder that was kicked off all those years back by Cain, the selfish Biblical metaphor for the bad in us perhaps –unless you believe every word in the Bible is gospel (so to speak) and is the word of God handed down via ‘prophets’ and just guys who wrote stuff down they heard in their heads, and therefore Cain is real history…maybe it is…probably it is not. ASnyway and it is so that all murdering types carry the Mark of Cain — it’s just that I don’t know what that Mark is and so I’ve never been able to identify it—perhaps it is a different mark for each member of that evil fraternity. And I do not class self-defence or the elimination of certain gutter trash  as murder, more as restoring equilibrium (note: some may find the following language not to their taste…you may overlook this paragraph thus: when these cases are come before court apparently the wise lawyer employs what is called the ‘f*cking c*nt’ defence…as in, ‘Your Honor, my client pleads not guilty to murder because he knocked that rabid tosser because he was a f*cking c*nt.’ The judge then says. ‘Oh, sweet, no worries. Case dismissed.’)

Anyway, Rickie Lee having mentioned ‘Pretty Ballerina’, the only singer I have ever heard to mention this song and this band,  she turns to the other song of note on that album. Most would think the Four Tops were the true agents of this song she turned to, but as I recall, it was a Left Bank Original. Rickie Lee talked genuinely of the Left Bank and if she’d done nothing else, that would have won me over. It brought to mind a scene from my ragged life back in West St Kilda when I was a journalist just beginning to learn the amount of alcohol a journalist must consume so as to deal with the absolute horror of this world —of having to meet and write about some of the people who perpetrate the worst acts humanity can dream up —and the worst is really really off. I had been a Pollyanna type, I couldn’t even listen to cautionary tales like Handsome & Gretchen without coming out in a rash. Anyway we’d had a party at my rooms (as they used to say) in York Street and I had intended to clean up, as had Steve and Dennis who shared the (Between the Wars) abode. But it was a busy time with news and newspapers that June. We didn’t have time, honest…sort of. Oh yeah it had been my birthday party and someone had decided I should have a party at my place but they’d forgotten to inform me so when I returned to the house after the evening shift finished at 10pm, and I thrashed the FC Holden home to get there by 10.38pm the joint was jumpin’, yo man it was absolutely packed to the freaking rafters with people I’d never met before all helping me to celebrate my 20th.

Anyway, sometime later, on another day, I woke with a remarkably clear head to find two policepersons standing in my room , regarding me. Fortunately the two girls who had been evicted from the hacienda next door and had sought refuge in our joint were not around, as one of them had decided it was better to sleep with me than to sleep in the room that the house’s owner (we were renting) used to keep his spuds—and he had thousands of them…(It wasn’t until years after I even wondered why he had crates and crates of spuds in this locked room. Odd when ya think about it, which I’m doing now…still odd. Who would have thousands of spuds in a locked room with three journos who were just out of childhood (but not mentally) in the same house. Anyway we’d broken the lock of the room to see WTF was in it. Spuds was the answer. Oh how we dined on mashed potato, roast potato, boiled potato and potato salad (with just potato)…so the de-homed, the de-domesticated. de-domiciled girls could try and find a spot in amongst the spuds after they were evicted. We made a nice level area so they could lie flat on the potatos. But, as I say, one of the lasses didn’t like spuds, and I was a preferred option but believe it or not, sometimes at 11pm after a horrible shift of reporting, chasing some dopey missing figure from the alleged on-the-run Czech consul up in the hills and being told by a local from those hills that my quarry ‘I baint seen him like but he be living a few chain down that ways.’ A chain being a unit of measurement in the Imperial System (which I’d called the Empirical System for a long time until some kid told me I was an drongo, not even ‘a’ drongo mind you), that was no longer in use after WW1, let alone in 1969. That’s the length of a cricket pitch for those of a sporting bent….where was I —oh yeah, sometimes after a bad night reporting a stupid story, you don’t want company in bed, even if it’s a girl, even if she’s a nice person, even if…(redacted dirty bit), even if you are not a terribly bad bloke, you yell out the locked door ‘Stay with the spuds, I’m quite done in.’

The door rattles, expletives are hurled, but you finally hear footsteps tromping off…but it accounted for why I woke up alone with two coppers standing over me.
And they ask a question or two about whatever and then one points to the pyramid of beer cans in the centre of the rather large room with mid-morning sunlight streaming in through the East-facing window —and the can pyramid is tall as a seven-year-old child (either —or these days any- sex) and the copper goes , ‘Did ya’s have a party here last night?’ And I thinks (‘to myself’ as the sports writers say) for a minute or two and I replies through the mental fog —‘Yeah…Nah, I think…yeah, the party was about two weeks ago.’ And they got a frown and a sneer & the hump and turned on their well-polished heels and exeunt.

Well the point of that silly story is that leaning against that pyramid of cans was my Left Bank record. And on that record was the song that Rickie Lee now chose to sing at the piano. And that was ‘Walk Away Renee’. The Four Tops did a great version but for me, it was always Left Bank. And Rickie Lee gave us a beautifully pensive version at the piano. Just so good. Thankyou. And a lover of Left Bank…just perfect.#