GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER

BY MIKE WELSH

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s drunken dribblings about reforming a musical group at Barney Joyce’s campaign piss-up recently, dredged up some traumatic and hurtful memories and spitefully toyed with the emotions of one Tasmanian man watching the Tamworth telecast.

Bouyed by a few Chardonnays and under the influence of a room full of beige Akubras, Mal’s musical metaphor of “the band getting back together” triggered feelings of regret and longing in Cransden Willoughby a recently retired chippy living in the Hobart suburb of Sandy Bay.

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Cransden or ‘Willy’ to his mates has vacillated-for most of the past the past four decades- between ‘what could have been’ and ‘maybe it was all for the best’ for the band he formed with his mates in late 1975. The 63 year old Willoughby became agitated but slightly aroused by Mal’s glib remarks of the coalition circle being once again complete. Admittedly ‘Willy’ had had a few Savvie Bs himself but this was no ordinary election night, which at ‘Willy’s joint usually meant him shouting “look at that parasite he’d wouldn’t know shit from ice cream” and “this poor bastard is as dumb as dog shit” at the TV .

Willoughby hadn’t felt this alive since the Glenorchy Magpies won the state grannie in ’75.The seventies were his years. His beloved ‘Pies had cracker of a decade.

But it was as the founder,lead singer and sole songwriter of the tragicially short lived and genre confused 70s punk/feminist/C & W band NunsFart that defined the boy from the flint-hard northern Hobart suburb of Moonah.

Getting the band back together,up until a dozen years ago,was pretty much all Cransden thought about but in recent times he’d almost come to accept that it probably “wasn’t going to happen”. But now here was ‘Mr Harbourside Mansion’ cruelly taunting him that a reunion was possible.

It wasn’t the usual suspects of “sex,drugs and rock n roll” or “musical differences” which sank the band. Reality is that NunsFart was barely heard outside of Cransden’s parent’s back-yard fibro bungalow. If indeed the history of the Hobart live-music scene (early to mid 70s) is ever written it certainly won’t include Willoughby’s constant lamentation of “fuckin’ 7HO napalmed my true destiny”.

NunsFart started out as a four piece outfit but stretched to five to accommodate Dave Swindon,a seriously committed musician. Such was“Swindo’s” dedication to his music that he freely volunteered to trade-in his dad’s purple Cortina (Dave insisted it was Vatican Cerise) on an orange  near new 73 Holden Sandman van. This was a boon for the fledgling band as they could now ‘go on the road’.

One unpaid Sunday arvo 15 minute beer garden gig at Orford 50 minutes out of Hobart supporting the hottest band to come out of Tassie at the time, Sweaty Betty, should have been a great story for Cransden to tell the grand kiddies.

Also in the band was charismatic and comprehensively unemployed since leaving Clarence High in year 9 in 1970, Kenny Slocombe who ‘slapped the skins’ with more enthusiasm than talent. Eric McDougall was an apprentice butcher by day but with ambitions way beyond the boning knife and sawdust. “Ekka” not only possessed a bit of rhythm in his bass fingers but had an uncle who owned a pub. The most exotic member of the band was rhythm guitarist Sidney Francis Brown who’d mysteriously blown into Hobart from Sydney. Last spotted living on an island off Vancouver where to this day he is still referred to by the monicka given to him by Cransden all those years ago in Hobart-‘Sidney from Sydney’.

Nunsfart’s debut-and only-album was Six Song Saturday and contained just 6 ‘short’ tunes.

Saturday was songwriting day and some Saturdays ‘Willy’ could bash out at least half a dozen winners before midday when he’d then head off to see the ‘Pies’ magoos go around. It was during one of these Saturday sessions that Willoughby wrote the haunting feminist ballad “All the 4-ply in the world won’t wipe your skid-marks from my heart”. The song was quickly “picked up” by local radio DJs Bob Cooke and Richard Moore who just as quickly “put it down”.The wacky 7HO kings of breakie radio who lovingly but firmly told Willoughby the song was “ too short and too long for commercial radio”. The title was too long and the length of the track way too short. This blunt rejection was a wicked blow as Willy as he always reckoned “Cooke and Moore were the best pair of wireless talkers between here and the mainland”. Undaunted Willoughby stuck rigidly to his radical pop philosophy which was reverse anything the Beatles did. An example was to turn the fab four’s 11 minute classic Hey Jude completely on its head.

The singer/songwriter figured “as crissy was on its way” he’d try the seasonally topical and more elongated (1min 12 secs) track…cut 1 side B of Six Song Saturday…the novelty “Who ya bringin’ to the Crissy party,your wife or a root?’

But predictably this too failed the ‘too long too short’ formula.

Finally Cransden reluctantly slunk away from his dream and grudgingly got on with his life. Eventually after a few “handy” wins by his greyhound-Jay Jay Flash (named after the “stones song) Willoughby abandoned his humble beginnings at Moonah and moved to the ‘posh’ Sandy Bay area. And there he has remained for 30 years. As a small consolation, for the past decade Willy has been smugly content in the knowledge that today’s wine snobs have plagiarised his Catholic inspired band’s name to describe the sound which should be heard when a cork is properly pulled pulled from a champagne bottle. The now mostly philosophical Willoughby is occasionally heard to rant in the front bar of the Battery Point institution The Shipwright’s Arms …“not a fuckin’ smart-arsed sommelier cent of royalties ever ended up in my pocket… but what can you do?”.

Cransden Willoughby failed rock star lives on through hundreds of yellowed and poorly lit snaps of skinny, long haired scruffs he posts on several forms of social media. And always with the “pithy” hashtag “gonnagethebandbacktogethersoon”

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FAITH, DENIAL AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

By Sarah Bannerman

While some victims of child sexual abuses within the Catholic Church may see justice, but for the vast majority, my Dad included, it is already too late.

From TBS Boomers http://www.thebigsmoke.com.au

Faith and denial. Two very different words upon first appearance, but if you look at them closer you see there isn’t really any difference at all.
Google those two words and you will find endless forums about their differences. But if you choose to look at the other side you will find endless forums on the complete opposite.
Faith and denial. Those two words are the words that made me realise that I needed to write this. This being not my story but the story of someone very close to me – my father. This is the story of something that should never have happened, but it did. And it shaped his life.
In 2013 the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse within the Catholic Church was launched. Justice Peter McClellan, the head of the commission, has referred 2,025 incidents of abuse to authorities, which has resulted in nearly 130 prosecutions to date.
2,025 is a big number but it is just a number to many. As a newsreader I was constantly reporting on statistics. Road tolls, rates of domestic violence and instances of sexual abuse on children in the 1950s and ’60s by figures of the Catholic Church. Often those figures were faceless, but to me the abuse within the Catholic Church was not.
My dad may have mentioned what happened to him earlier but the first time in my memory of him mentioning it was when I was 17. I was dealing with too many emotions and I was sharing my feelings of hopelessness with my father. My parents had brought us up to be open and were always available for us to talk to. The feeling of not wanting to be alive was not one to be shied away from in our family. As with many teenagers I felt my parents didn’t understand me, but my dad did. We sat down on our front porch and he told me of how when he was just eight years old he had the same feeling of hopelessness.
My father, Christopher Bannerman, was born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1947. His mother Diana and father Valentine, better known as Talex, chose to raise their six children as Catholic. Because of this my dad was sent to St Virgil’s in Hobart’s city.
While visiting Hobart recently with my parents my dad drove past the school previously called St Virgil’s and pointed out to my mother and I that this was the home of pedophiles. To anyone looking from the outside in, St Virgil’s looked like any other school. But for my dad and countless other men those walls witnessed their nightmares.

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St Virgil’s vision is to follow the example of Jesus in embracing gospel values, demonstrating care and concern for all, in a community that is safe, secure and just.
St Virgil’s was far from safe, secure and just for my dad and a number of other boys. When he was just eight years old my father rushed home sobbing with blood covering the top of his pants.
My father is the youngest of six children; his mother’s baby. Diana scooped my father up into her arms and took him into her room with her eldest daughter, who we will call T, following close behind.
While visiting Hobart we visited my Aunty T. My dad and her have quite a turbulent history and I don’t blame my father for having very little to do with her. She didn’t think it was proper for my dad to go to the royal commission about the abuse he suffered. She told him that it would bring shame on the family. She is still very involved in the Catholic community, a community that has many members who don’t accept what happened at schools across Australia in the 1950s and ’60s. Faith and denial. Those two words rear their ugly head again.
Aunty T’s comments are similar to those of my grandparents in the 1950s.
After dad came home that day distraught, my grandmother Diana and her husband Talex approached the school about what had happened to their son. Their 8-year-old son had been raped by one of the St Virgil Brothers.
I thought long and hard about whether to name this so called man of god, but this isn’t his story. This is my dad’s.
My dad was not the only boy to suffer at the hands of this rapist. In fact Dad says he witnessed other boys being taken into the room where he was raped.
At least two of those boys have gone public about their story and I asked my dad if he thought there were other boys. Dad says of course there were many more but he says they may never come forward.

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Many of those boys would be in their seventies by now. Some of those boys would be dead, some at their own hands because of the abuse they suffered. They died without ever being apologised to. Not that an apology could make up for their childhoods being taken away from them.
Dad says many of those boys though would still be alive, but he says they will never speak out about the abuse they suffered. He explains it as the attitude of that time. The attitude they were raised to accept. Dad says even though those little boys couldn’t do anything to stop what was happening to them, it is still considered shameful by some.
That so called shame I believe is what allowed these rapists within the Catholic Church to continue to take away the childhood of many more boys. It’s been widely reported that senior members within the Catholic Church were informed of what was happening. My dad is one such case. His parents confronted the Church about what was happening but the Church informed Diana and Talex that if the authorities were informed and the rapes were made public than that would ensure dad would grow up a disgrace. I am certain this was the case for many other victims.
So instead of handing these Priests and Brothers over to the police, they were simply moved on. They were moved on to another parish in Australia so they could continue to sexually assault other little boys.
Faith and denial. They shouldn’t but they do go hand in hand. That faith and denial allowed other boys to be violated. And that faith and denial continues to force those boys who are now adults to still feel like they did something wrong. But it was those who were meant to protect them that wronged them.
St Virgil’s vision to create a safe, secure and just community for those boys could not be further from the truth.

http://www.thebigsmoke.com.au

CITY NEWS SEVEN DAYS NOV 30

By Mike Welsh

http://www.citynews.com.au

AS Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s annus horribilis nears an end, 2018 is already looking to be just as horrible.

Adelaide teenager Ned Richards, who walked from his hometown to Canberra in February challenging Turnbull over his poor treatment of refugees, plans to return. And this time 13-year-old Ned is bringing other youngsters and some grandmothers.

Ned’s father Adam, who joined his son for February’s 1200-kilometre “Refugee Regatta”, says the 2018 walk – in February/March – will begin from the steps of the Opera House in Sydney and finish at the Federal parliament.

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Ned (left) and his father Adam Richards walk past the Lodge in February

THE pushing back of the final parliamentary sitting of the year by the Coalition has thrown the plans of many visitors into disarray. In particular the hundreds of school children making their scheduled trip to the capital will leave mostly disappointed. As exciting as Questacon and the Australian War Memorial are, witnessing your country’s leaders behaving like school children is a rare and entertaining treat.

YOU don’t see many Akubras in the hipster hub of Braddon. Especially now that the area has taken on a rainbow hue. As a group of LGBTQI volunteers applied the final coats of paint and glitter to a rainbow roundabout, “benched” Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce was spotted lurking nearby. Joyce, who is opposed to same-sex marriage, obviously subscribes to the Young Farmers’ unofficial slogan: “You don’t have to be one to be one”.

IF ACT Labor Senator Katy Gallagher is superstitious she may be nervous about the “Q&A” curse. The senator – still under a dual-citizenship cloud – could join the list of 11 members who’ve already been forced to seek a High Court ruling on their eligibility to hold office. Nine of the list including Jacqui Lambie, Barnaby Joyce, Nick Xenophon, Malcolm Roberts, Fiona Nash and Scott Ludlam, all panellists on the ABC’s program have been punted. Katy was on “Q&A” in June, 2015.

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CONFUSING messages and scary noises dominate the local real estate world. According to an ANU report the capital is over supplied with housing properties. And the CommSec’s “Home Size” trend report reveals that apartments in Canberra are the smallest (and getting smaller) in the nation.

Meanwhile the city’s largest apartment developer Geocon has been forced to bring in experts to explain noises in apartments at its Wayfarer site in Belconnen. Residents of the complex say the banging noises in the ceiling are loud enough to wake them at night. And on the “Canberra Notice Board” page on Facebook:  “WANTED… any upcoming homes in the Campbell area or inner-south up to $1500 per week for rent”.

CANBERRANS in their thousands were drawn into the hype surrounding the opening of Australia’s 26th H&M store. Thousands queued well before the Canberra Centre doors to the Swedish fashion retailer opened. Social media stepped up to the plate with Twitter swinging from the cynical “really excited about all the future landfill we can buy” to the blunt “An H & M just opened in Canberra and people are like vultures. I’ll come back when people have some self control”.

CANBERRANS are being asked to choose an official mammal mascot. Problem is the cutest are already taken. SA has the Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat, WA proudly displays the numbat and lucky old Queensland cuddles the koala. So it may just have to be the wide-mouthed territory tailgater (territorus tailgatus). A large, beige, impatient creature, the ‘gater is believed to have evolved in the Tuggeranong Valley after being displaced by construction of the Hyperdome. In recent years it has migrated north where it regularly terrorises motorists on the GDE!

TRACEY SPICER BUSTS ‘PROTECTION RACKET’

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THEBIGSMOKE.COM.AU

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In her best selling feminist memoir The Good Girl Stripped Bare, Tracey Spicer articulates the issue of entrenched workplace sexism and bullying, a condition which she has encountered and countered in a long and successful career in the media. As a matter of fact, Tracey and I were colleagues at the same regional Victoria media outlet over 30 years ago. I was impressed with Tracey’s journalistic ability as I was with her ability to hold her own against the ‘boys club’ in the boardroom or at the pub on a Friday night. Through her book,  to my shame, I discovered that Tracey only went along with that culture, because, as she put it ‘that’s what you do’. As a straight white male who has spent more than 30 years working in media, I spent most of it oblivious that female colleagues were forced in some cases to play a subservient game in order to further their careers. And this was the beginning of a role that Spicer believed she had to play.
Tracey’s journalistic journey began at High School when she became besotted with a sophisticated, slim and exotic looking woman on TV, Jana Wendt. Living in a low socioeconomic rough suburb amid a dearth of role models, Jana’s sophistication completely enchanted the bleach haired bogan from outer Brissie.
As she moved through Channels Ten and Nine, she was shocked with the widespread attitude held by male executives who felt entitled to use female staff as their own personal Barbie Dolls. This shocked Tracey, as she grew up being told that she could do anything, optimistically believing that the misogyny would soon dissipate. Three decades on and now able to boast a highly successful on-air television career, Tracey is confident that younger women will now benefit from her ultimate refusal to be treated as a second class citizen.

This shocked Tracey, as she grew up being told that she could do anything, optimistically believing that the misogyny would soon dissipate.
Spicer was approached by Harper Collins to write her memoir after performing a stand-up comedy routine in a dingy Marrickville theatre, to which she was ‘dragged to’ by Wendy Harmer. Spicer says even though it took her two months to accept, the idea was instantly appealing as she believes comedy is a great way to get a serious message across.
In The Good Girl Stripped Bare, the recently turned 50-year-old mother of two opens up about illicit drug abuse, masturbation and being a ‘failed Lesbian’. She also sets the record straight on the wording and design of a tattoo she has on her posterior. Spicer firmly believes there must be total honesty in such a project, and shares the story of a time when her son walked into her room while she was battling a draft page which deals with her first lover, a hairbrush called Fred. He responded with derision when she told him she was writing about how at fourteen she used a hairbrush to pleasure herself.
The journalist set aside three days a week for eight months to work on The Good Girl Stripped Bare – a work she didn’t want to be about her, but rather about the problems faced by women in the workplace and in society. Spicer sees the culture in media organisations has noticeably changed, at the time of her legal action, she noticed that advertisers were seeking more mothers and older women on air.
She says ‘…(we) were the ones who routinely got sidelined due to the obsession about women’s appearance in society, in particular on TV, so for the last 10 years it’s been mothers sought after in the workplace and women are allowed to get a bit older on TV. Some have even made it to 60’. But Spicer adds ‘unfortunately we’re still not seeing enough equality of women in executive positions in the media and change won’t come from the top so something has to happen’. Spicer says there is some change in the level of sexual harassment ‘but there’s still an awful lot of groping and grabbing and inappropriate comments’.
Spicer, whose TEDx talk The Lady Stripped Bare has been seen by more than two and a half million people, has also mastered the art of surviving social media. She describes it as ‘a systematic way to silence opinionated people’ and has been burnt by its ‘nasty nature and perverse practitioners’. She says ‘…people say it’s just online it’s not the real world, but it does spill over into your real life, that kind of bullying, and the hate eats away at your confidence and sends you into bouts of anxiety and depression and it makes you want to leave the industry’.
Tracey has over the years learnt strategies to manage the sometimes relentless onslaught of it and says ‘to be honest with you, it’s water off a duck’s back but it took me four years to work out how to block abuse, when to use humour, when to put the device down and when to go for a walk on the beach’
As for future projects, Spicer is keen to gather together feminists from around the world – writers from India and Africa – to help define intersectional feminism where inequality isn’t gender based or race based it’s a combination of things including your sexuality, your culture, your disability. In the words of the author: ‘There are a lot of people suffering worse than this middle aged white woman.’
From an article on TBS thebigsmoke.com.au

CITY NEWS SEVEN DAYS NOV 20

By Mike Welsh

http://www.citynews.com.au

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THE “Yes” result in the SSM postal survey, repeatedly described by PM Malcolm Turnbull as a “hugely historic moment”, has transformed a common roundabout in a former used-car precinct of Canberra into a major intersection of social change.

The rainbow roundabout at Lonsdale and Elouera Streets, Braddon – the hipster HQ of Australia’s gayest city – is a marketer’s dream. Poets and minstrels won’t flock to Braddon as they did to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in the ’60s, but the pink dollar will certainly flow into the tills of local traders.

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IT would seem a healthy cynicism still exists when it comes to pledges by politicians. Despite the emphatic “Yes” vote in the SSM postal survey, the widely praised “Yes” campaign conducted by Canberra Airport has been significantly ramped up. Just in case they’ve already forgotten, an electronic billboard at the entrance to the airport has a strong reminder: “WE SAID YES TO EQUALITY. Politicians get it done”.