Friday, October 18, 2002


There is nothing more special
Than the printed word
It teaches
It reaches
It enforces the sword

There is nothing more special
Than the writing of old
They remind
They entwine
They circle the world

There is nothing more special
Than the hand written note
It sends love
It sends thoughts
It sends the inner soul

There is nothing more special
Than writing it down
It means you mean it
It makes it real
And it’s there for keeps.

It’s catchy don’t you think?

I’m in the midst of changing
All I can about me
Because there’s so much I can’t change
I’ve started with these three.

My moods they needed attention
As well as some minor ailments
Doc Randall had the solution
Popped me on hormone replacements

I looked like a derro or so I thought
So a hair-cut & some new gladrags
And even a colour change resort
Soon I won’t be advertising dags

Finally the faithful old Falcon
Just didn’t suit my new image
I had to be severe and abandon
My new Celica took the privelege

Those three under more control
The look it wasn’t complete
So I’m replacing the fat in rolls
With a slimline shape to beat

All this work is tiring me
But I’m sure it will be worth it
For too long I’ve just let it be
Now damn it - I am worth It!

December 1996

You remember the story about the lynching and the Almost Bros and the desperate plea for someone to save this agent's neck....... please see previous fax message. Well, a very gracious publican actually came to the rescue with an offer ..... I put the offer to the band and they deliberated for about five seconds and came back with 'Thanks but no thanks' and canned the whole week-end. So much for working on behalf of 'rock stars'.
My stay of execution at the hands of the band has turned to imminent assassination at the discretion of the publican and the Secretary Manager of the club....either separately or together!
However all is not lost. The Hollywood Band had already asked if there was a possibility of something in that direction for New Year's Eve, two members of this band are actually the Jus-Two duo. So how flexible can we all be? Alack and alas, the other members of the Hollywood Band have all taken on positions in other bands for that night.
Enter the 'Jedd Hobb Band' - in an aside conversation, they were informed of the agency position - "sounds great!" they said, "we'll do it - we'll even move some other jobs!" See, there are real bands out there, with real ideals. These are the bands who will long be remembered. They will always deliver the goods.
So the Jedd Hobb Band will be heading out west for the New Year's weekend with their new sax player and will make their mark in another area of New South Wales and the end result will be that everyone is happy, especially the venues, who will be getting quality entertainment.
Oh how I love a happy ending..........

Thursday, October 17, 2002


According to Chinese Horoscope, 1996 is the year of THE RAT.
It is only 6th February and I could have told you without knowing about the Chinese stuff, that this year is indeed the year of THE RAT.
I have been ratted on more in the first 38 days of this year than in any other 38 day cycle in my entire life.
And I ain't gonna take it lyin' down.
If this is what it takes to survive in '96 then the world has a fight on its hands.
Let it be known from this day forth that Narrell Brown won't be pushed around.
Every obstacle I meet I will challenge, every bastard I meet I will deal with, every no I will turn into a yes and every asshole can go elsewhere.
I have been "nice" for 41 years, four months and 5 days and my niceness has just about reached its use-by date.
1996 is the year I have to make it or go under and I don't go under without a 'Helluvva' struggle.
Take me on and you take on the pent up frustrations of being Mr Nice Guy for too, too long.
Be warned - 1996 might be the year of THE RAT, but I have the Rat Sack and I intend to use it.
I will survive 1996 with or without help - I will even thrive in this lousy bloody climate!
so rack off RATS - we don't need ya!

There are many businesses which rely heavily on building personal relationships with their clients. Frankly in some instances the businesses cannot survive without these relationships.
This fact is none truer than in the entertainment industry. The whole industry is forged on trust and understanding at every level.
When members unite to form a band, they have several reasons for doing so: Basically the members all have the same musical point of view which brought them together in the first place. Secondly the members all have to get along well together - by forming the band they have committed themselves to spending a great deal of time together in the future. Thirdly, they need to have faith in each other - they will each have a task to perform within the band but if any member doesn't co-operate or pull his weight the band can't perform at optimum level and therefore cannot progress or move forward, and finally, all of the members have to have the same amount of drive or ambition - if they are going to invest time and money into the venture, they have to know where they are heading. To what level they are striving to attain and what sacrifices they are prepared to make to get there.
This same amount of commitment is required in duo situations as well.
Another relationship which is formed within the industry is that between Agent and performer/s (whether band, duo, solo or variety artist). The performer/s must trust that the Agent is working on their behalf and has their best interests at heart and the Agent must trust that the performer/s will honour that faith and deliver their best possible performance every time.
The artist/s is representing the Agency every time it performs at a venue booked by that Agent. An Agent cannot book an artist in whom he has no faith because he/she cannot run the risk of having someone let the Agency down by presenting the wrong image for that Agency.
Different Agents have very different criteria for their booking procedures. What criteria they adopt is their own decision and is not dictated by any hard and fast rules. It appears an obvious conclusion to selective criteria that Agencies either grow or flounder. An artist that selects an Agency because of past performance by that Agent might find that they don't fit into the personal selection criteria of that Agent regardless of their performance. Forging a strong personal relationship with an Agent is usually the best way of ensuring an on-going working relationship. Regardless the type of business one operates, one will usually look toward friends and acquaintances as a first point of contact when requiring goods or services. This is true in the entertainment world as well, when a band requires a new member for whatever reason, it will usually be a friend or acquaintance who is invited to join. When an Agent requires a performer, it will usually be a person that they know well and can rely on who gets the job.
An Agent is really only responsible for negotiating the agreement between a venue operator or "employer" and the performer:
The "Entertainment Industry Act 1989" describes an Agent as: a person who, for financial benefit carries out any one or more of the following entertainment industry activities on behalf of a performer:
(a) seeking or finding work opportunities for the performer;
(b) negotiating the terms of an agreement for, and the conditions of, a performance;
(c) finalising arrangements concerning the payment of the performer;
(d) negotiating arrangements relating to the attendance of the performer at a performance;
(e) administering the contract of the performer with an entertainment industry employer.
With this being said there are many Agents who genuinely care about the performers and also care a great deal about the employers that they deal with. To this end (and it is usually the very small Agencies that bother), the Agent should take care of even the smallest detail, should give the performer advice, guidance and assistance wherever possible, should help write (or arrange for writing of) biographies, organise photographs and posters, should promote the performer with whatever means are available and will be familiar with what performers actually do (i.e. see the band perform, hear the artist sing etc.) .

(Paraphrased from an item entitled 'Guardian Agents' in "Good Weekend" by Nikki Barrowclough) There is often a state of war and peace which so often distinguishes relationships between agents and performers.
The world of agents and their clients balances on love-hate emotions, artistic frenzies, and complicated scenarios ranging from the dramatic to the absurd. On one side there are the highly creative people consumed by insecurity and emotional turmoil. On the other hand there's the Agent dealing with the paperwork, fielding phone calls and embracing multiple-personalities in order to cope with the tensions of the client. Although it's not just the artists who suffer angst.
'Sometimes it's agonising trying to find outlets that don't exist for an incredible amount of creativity - for musicians, for instance, who are ahead of their time' or just a little alternative.
The phrase, "Call my agent", is highly attractive with the implication of power and success. It's also an assurance of sorts. 'Agents move obstacles in artists' lives, and let them get on with being creative'. But the phrase has hidden attractions too. It can imply threat, or an inability to cope, without the other party getting a whiff of the fear or loathing consuming the client.
At such times, 'Call my Agent' can also mean call my banker, my moneylender, my agony aunt, my bail arranger, my divorce counsellor, my shrink. Oh yes, the Agent is often a substitute for the analyst's couch, although some Agents might need an analyst's couch occasionally themselves.
Then there's the fiscal side of things. The cardinal rule is 'never lend money', in reality Agents are usually owed so much money that it is a wonder they ever survive. While they listen to musicians' hard luck stories they are usually trying desperately to find enough money to pay their enormous 'phone bills.
Agents have to be as creative and as lateral thinking as their clients. Clients often chop and change between Agents, leaving for a variety of reasons, even for being left off the Christmas card list. Although the friendships forged usually remain in tact.
A lot of people are critical of Agents and accuse them of being failed performers or of living off the fame of others. Most Agents hold their own in that argument as most are not performers at all but very good organisers and see themselves as making a developmental contribution to the art scene.
'It's psychologically more beneficial to be able to say, 'Deal with my Agent, you can't negotiate on your own. You're in a weak position. If someone says 'we'll give you $x for your performance, it is very hard to tell them that you believe you are worth $x+. An Agent can do it because the Agent's ego is not involved.'
In their own right, Agents are performers too, they have to be. They have to perform every time they deal with any problem an artist or employer throws at them.
There is often a power-play between Agent and client and a danger of dependency in the relationship - usually on the client's part, although it might just as easily work the other way around.
Some Agents need mothering themselves.
Entanglement in the personal problems of clients can become complicated. Many an Agent has had to deal with domestic problems of clients or the strange assortment of bodies sleeping on the living room floor.
About the proliferation of women Agents, Garry Who sums it up nicely - "It's ego versus passion. Men are very ego-orientated. I'm not saying there aren't male Agents who don't have passion. But Agents with passion can't be bought. If an Agent actually cares, has a business brain and actually has a passion for what she is doing, you have to have complete and utter trust in them. When you trust male Agents it's not the same, because it's about their ego, and not about you."
There's a popular theory that women become Agents because they are more sensitive, and are better at nurturing and at playing mother confessor. Women are much more tolerant.
With chaos often preceding success it is the Agent who can think quickly on their feet when the pressure is on that will move mountains. Most Agents will defend their clients to the death and they usually get very wrapped up in the clients' careers. If the client succeeds so does the Agent so it is a small price to pay for an Agent to go the 'extra mile'.
The Land of SOHO

I remember so many occasions when I said that I wouldn't be a party to some new technological advancement.
I never wanted any of those 'make life easier' gadgets that now clutter my kitchen cupboards. Nor were my children going to sit in front of the television set for hours on end, in fact I even tried not to own a set. That must have been centuries ago, obviously well before my children had their say. I don't even get a chance to speak to them now unless they are really not interested in the advertisement before them. I have since mastered the art of two-minute-fifty-nine-second conversation pieces. When all of our friends owned video recorders, we only video-sat them while they went on holidays (that was in the days when videos seemed to grow legs and walk out of lounge rooms - only to appear as cheap merchandise at the local pub the following week). I outlasted most of peers with not owning a video though...a fact I will always be proud of.
Then came the advent of home computers - "not for me" I vowed, "I'm a pen and paper girl!".
But, as fate would have it, I entered a field which required the use of a computer. A five-second crash course and away I went, expertly pointing and dragging, trashing and saving and creating masterpieces on my new 'toy'.
I made a career move and all of a sudden a proliferation of electronic wizardry surrounds me. I never cease to wonder where on earth it all came from. Surely I, the one who wouldn't have a kitchen whiz, could not have actually, consciously purchased this menagerie of wires, lights and buttons?
I believe I am, in the jargon of the nineties, a denizen of Soho - where Soho equals small office and home office. Here in Soho, it is actually possible to take a normal everyday lounge room and almost overnight transform it into a sophisticated communications centre almost rivalling that of NASA. I am, even as I write this, using what was once a figment of someone's imagination - my computer....and I even know what to do with it. When I finish this silly tale I will simply press 'print' and my nifty little 'Stylewriter' will provide me with a copy that I can take away from Soho. I might even send it to someone to read by popping it into the facsimile machine and dialling their number...even dialling is an obsolete term these days, everything is digitised and button pressed. If I pop up to the post office for a minute, I will simply turn on the answering machine to record any messages while I am out. Yes, that's life in the land of Soho! Here, I am SUPERGIRL...I can do anything.
Life really was simpler then, before the electronic invasion I mean. These days my big problem seems to be which model mobile phone to get, or what paging system would best suit, I really need a pocketbook computer, because my 'darling Classic' is a little large to pop into my handbag, oh, and that other dilemma I've had for a while - which photocopier to buy - or maybe I should rent one - and if I did - where would I put it.......oh, how I long for the good old days when all I had was paper, pens, a calculator, a telephone and a typewriter - I even thought in those days I could do how times change!
I am a music lover! Statement of fact! I love the look of black vinyl and record covers with brilliant artwork. I have treasures amongst my collection and I do treasure my collection. I was absolutely never, under any circumstances, going to convert to CD (compact disc format). Now as I look at my collection of over 100 CDs, I wonder what happened to my principles.
Where did I go wrong? The electricity bills are appearing much more frequently than ever before with much higher 'amount due's than ever before.....I guess it's the price you have to pay, living in the land of Soho.
For now, I will put this subject to sleep, I will 'print' then 'quit' on my PC, fax a copy off to the boss, click on the answering machine, turn off the forty-thousand lights which are still blazing at 4.30 am and then fall into bed to ponder the problem of where the damned photocopier will go!
by Narrell Brown 1997

Cody loved HIS cot. It was his very own place. Mummy and Daddy never got into his cot, Ben never slept in his cot. The only other friends that Cody had to share his private place with were his very special toys, like Teddy. Teddy loved Cody's cot. They could share secrets and special games while they were in Cody's cot together. One day Teddy went missing and Cody felt all alone in his cot, he invited bunny to sleep with him, but bunny scratched. He invited his car, but it cut his face. Mummy even tried to buy a new Teddy just the same as old Ted, but he knew it wasn't HIS Teddy. It was a surprise when Mummy opened the cabinet in the lounge room and out sprang Teddy, he'd been hiding there all the time. Mummy went crook on Cody and said he shouldn't have put Teddy in the cabinet, but he cried and said he didn't do it, Teddy went there by himself.
Cody knew why Teddy ran away, Mummy and Daddy had been talking about THE BIG BED.
"When you are older Cody, you will have a big bed just like Ben" Mummy said. "You're nearly big enough for that big bed now,Cody" Daddy laughed.
But Cody was worried, he didn't want to leave HIS cot, especially for THE BIG BED.
It didn't have any sides on it, it didn't have his sheets with little teddies all over them, it didn't have his mobile hanging over the top, and it wasn't in Mummy and Daddy's room.
Cody started to get more and more worried about THE BIG BED. He wondered if he would have to share it like Mummy and Daddy, or if it would always be messy like Ben's, or even if he might fall out of it.
The big day came, Mummy and Daddy seemed to be very happy as they took Cody's cot apart and stored it in the basement.
"Here you are Cody, your own BIG BED" called Mummy.
Cody walked into the room with Teddy, he put Teddy on THE BIG BED and then Mummy lifted him up on to it, too. Teddy fell off, and Cody started to cry. "Oh dear, Cody, don't you like your BIG BED?" asked Mummy. Cody said Teddy didn't like it, and Mummy didn't seem to think that that was very important.
Cody kept crying, so Mummy rushed out of the room and came in with Cody's old Bunny sheets and tried to make them fit on THE BIG BED, they didn't fit. Daddy brought in the mobile, but there wasn't anything to hang it from, and Cody cried even more. Daddy brought in a railing to put along the side of THE BIG BED, and it jammed Cody's finger in the corner ... Cody cried even more.
Mummy and Daddy left the room to try to find a way of making Cody happy about his BIG BED. Cody laid down on THE BIG BED with Teddy and told him all about his misery. In no time at all, both Teddy and Cody were fast asleep .... it had been a big day and they were both very tired. "Maybe THE BIG BED is not so bad after all, Teddy" yawned Cody.
When Cody woke up, the room was full of his toys, he didn't have to call out to anyone to get him out of his cot, he just jumped off THE BIG BED and started to play, Mummy and Daddy walked in after a while and Cody was happy, Mummy and Daddy smiled at each other and Daddy said "I think our boy is growing up - he likes HIS BIG BED!"
Puddle Paranoia and Karma

About 18 months ago just after I got my new Toyota Camry, I had to pick my son up from the station for his weekend visit down here at about 10.30pm. The weather had been absolutely dreadful - there were roads blocked everywhere and flood warnings but he wanted to come down no less. All day long we were hearing reports that the rail line was cut as well, so it was pretty touch and go but finally they said the line was opened so he jumped on the train in Sydney and came down.
I got in the car to go to get him and the rain was just pelting ( I left home an extra 40 minutes earlier than I had to, to compensate for the weather ... luckily) I could only drive at a snails pace and had to take detours and all that sort of thing. When I got to Nowra I drove through this gigantic puddle and came to a halt just past it behind a line of 4 other Camrys. The Camry has exposed electrics apparently and if water gets into this system it just shuts everything down.
I called the NRMA and then went to the next car that had a family with 2 babies in it and they were having a hard time because the babies were crying. They didn't have a mobile so I took their details, then went to the next car a frantic mum with a little toddler and again no mobile so I took her details, the front car was just a hubby & wife and I took their details as well. All this in the absolutely pouring rain - I was just drenched through.
I rang the NRMA and reported all the other cars in my little group stranded here on the road.
I then rang the police and asked them to put up some kind of a warning about the huge puddle and the line of stranded cars in case we ended up with a pile up.
I looked at my watch and it was time to be collecting my son from the station, so I rang his
friend's mobile and told them that I would be a little late and they said it was okay because their train was stopped again because of washed out track work somewhere.
Well the NRMA man arrived and wanted toattend to my car first because I had called in first and I suggestted we prioritise the situation and deal with the frantic single mum first, then the couple with the bub, then the Hubby and wife and then come back for me because Lordy knows how long the train will be. He thought that was an okay idea and proceeded to just tow the other cars away. He wasn't a young bloke but he worked pretty quickly and after about an hour came my turn.
He set to, hauled my car onto his trailer and bade me jump into the cab of his truck. I asked him what he had done with all the others and he said he had towed them all to a service station holding yard and taken the people to the cab rank - their cars would have to be dealt with by auto electricians on the following day. I was a little bit worried and started to try to figure out what I was going to it would cost me a fortune to get to the railway, pick up the kids and then catch a cab 65 kilometres home. All of a sudden he pulled into the Muffler center and under their awnign and said "but for you maybe we can short cut that problem". He jumped out of the truck, pulled out a toolbox and hopped under the bonnet of my car. In about ten minutes he had dried all the bits and had the car started again. He said "you should be right now to get home, don't turn the car off and for God's sake don't even attempt to go through any large puddles" I thanked him profusely and offered him money and while we were both drenched to the skin he gave me a hug and said "you are a good samaritan and favours get returned".
I left feeling good for a while, bu7t thinking he was the good guy - I was just unusually patient.
But here's the good bit.
Last night on my way home I called into Woolworths at about 10.30pm to get a few things for my guests this weekend. I was in a little bit of a hurry and when I got to the checkout there was this big kerfuffle because the bloke in front of me had rung through some groceries but discovered he didn't have his wallet when he went to pay. It was only $10 worth. I stood there for a minute and then looked at the bloke in the overalls in the face. You guessed it .... it was my good Samaritan NRMA man. I said to the girl - it's okay just add his bill to mine and I will pay it all. The man protested and I said I am sorry but I have to overall you sir. And reminded him that he saved me one night all that time back. He remembered and was still refusing me to pay for his things but the girl had rung them through and I signed the docket and said "sorry ... debt paid in full - you don't think I would let a chance like this go by do you?"
We both laughed and he offered to carry my bags to the car and I said no problem and we wished each other the best.
The girl at the checkout gave me a wink and said "was that all true about the car?"
And I said every word of it and it was just providence that allowed me to be behind him in this shop.
Again we both laughed.
This is the kind of life experience that no one can be without.
I have felt on top of the world since last night and it only cost me $10 to get that. People spend a fortune getting high and stoned - I wish I could bottle my feelings right now and give them to people to "feel".

I am a dictionary browser - I confess. I love to find new words and add them to my vocabulary wherever possible. The meaning of Niemiety according to my beloved 'Pocket Oxford' is "Too-Much-Ness" ...... what a great word - how else would you say "Too-Much-Ness" in a sentence? It conjures up lots of instances of "Too-Much-Ness" that I have come across:
My parents went to Hong Kong in 1975 and they still talk about their 'trip' - it is now 1997. For the past 22 years, anyone they have spoken to has heard about their 'trip' as though it was a recent event. When they came back from the said 'trip', Dad had taken hours and hours of movie footage with a flat battery in the camera, but because he'd taken the time to film it and paid the money for the holiday, we had to sit through these dreadful home movies time and again.
Then there are the hobby people; my daughter was into making pottery at school. So for years, every birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day everyone was treated to a home-made, or to be specific, a school-made gift. The first year that she didn't do pottery at school, she thought everyone liked the stuff so much, that she bought other pottery students' works for the family so that they wouldn't miss out. We had to set her straight very quickly.
Mum has always had fads of hobby interests; when she made smocked cushions - everyone got them for presents. When she did macrame - everyone got hanging ornaments. When she started painting, she filled everyone's walls with her art work. Yes, we sure will have a lot to remember Mum by when she's not around. She keeps on with her crafts until the world around her screams "enough!"
Lee's step-mother is into 'cottage crafts', you know, the intricate little flowers they paint on ANYTHING. Not long after Lee had met her, Melissa gave her a present - a beautifully painted - wait for it - SCRUBBING BRUSH! Lee could hardly conceal her delight - she hates anything that resembles work. Since the scrubbing brush, she has been given a door stop and a serviette rack as well!
Ah sweet Nimiety!
Narrell's Story

20th November, 1993

Famous last words maybe, but I have said a million times "I will write a book before I die". Why, I wonder have I waited until this moment to even start? Could perchance this be my epitaph? Will I die tonight? Stand by for the next episode - I'll tell you tomorrow!
One of the hardest things about writing, is knowing what to include and what to leave out. So I want to write a book - what's the subject? Everyone has said at one time or another, "why don't you write a book - your life is so full of stories." I like to tell stories, I love to relate a real-life incident to people and make it come alive for them so that they can imagine it. Sometimes a story needs a little garnishing to make it presentable, but it is always, in essence, the truth!
So now, back to my dilemma; what to write about? I recently started reading 'The Complete Works of Henry Lawson' - I like the man! He tells stories that jump right out of the book and live in your memory as real events. I have also read Geraldine Doyle's new book and she does the same thing. Both writers really just collect anecdotes. So after lying in bed for a few hours with thoughts running through my mind, I have the formula for my book:- 'The world according to Narrell' - a collection of anecdotes. It won't be a very well-travelled book, because the extent of my travels has been very limited. Overseas to Magnetic Island and Manly, north to Cairns, south to Merimbula and west to um, does Ballarat count? I never was good at geography. Anyway suffice to say my expeditions are mostly local, but I do believe that I see a lot more in my travels than the average tourist. I'm a people watcher. I like to watch what they do and how they do it. You know what it's like when you're in an elevator and everyone looks at the door, the ceiling or the floor; I look directly into their faces, I even commit the cardinal sin of speaking. Or when you're in traffic and you watch the conversation between the couple in the car in front. I try to work out what they're saying to each other by their actions and mannerisms.
Back to this book. I think I'd really like to start with my family. Therein lay a million tales: to borrow my friend Geraldine's line, "being in my family is like living in a bowl of meusli - what's not fruit or nuts is flakes". Probably a more accurate picture would be " a crazy collection of characters clumped in a clan".
I have to start with my father. He's the member of the family everybody loves to hate but loves all the same. Dad makes the rules: The rules cannot be changed, bent or disobeyed. Dad's rules go like:-
Thou shalt rise with the sun, work all day, have tea at dark, watch TV, then sleep all night (Except when the rule maker elects to use a kanga hammer at midnight to remove the bathroom tiles or elects to sleep all day and prowl all night). Thou shalt not swear (unless thy name is Ron). Get my drift?
When visitors have outworn their welcome it is perfectly acceptable for Dad to yell out "Haven't you got a home to go to?" or just go to bed and leave them to it. Poor Dad, he's a lovable soul. Everything is black or white - no greys for Dad. He's finding it pretty hard coping in the nineties, but oh boy, you should have seen how he dealt with the seventies! The Rolling Stones were a communist plot; every male under 20 years of age was a 'long haired git'. Motor bikes were taboo. I still remember famous last words to a dating daughter - "you don't think you're going out that door dressed like that?" or usually "go and wash that muck off your face before you walk out that door", spoken by a man standing in the baggiest shorts, the filthiest T-shirt with a silly looking hat on his head. Sartorial elegance indeed! Doors were certainly a thing in our house: if you weren't in the DOOR by midnight, the DOORwas locked, " if you slam that door one more time I'll take it off it's hinges" ( I came home after being away one weekend only to find I had no hinged door. Of course I was very upset because I hadn't slammed it lately...what a joke on me, they were preparing to paint my room, the old "you're not going out that DOOR:- with him/her; like that; in that; on that etc" and "if you walk out that DOOR don't ever come back". I guess the DOOR was pretty important to Dad, it was his door!
Dad's making concessions to age these days, C.R.A.F.T. has set in (Can't Remember A Flaming Thing). Just the other night he said "did you hear about that bloke (can't remember his name) who invented (can't think what it was), I wrote it down here somewhere but I can't remember where I put it" - great story Dad! You do have to laugh or cry sometimes. This man had the memory of a computer and put us all to shame for years.
Not so Mum, however, she was born with C.R.A.F.T.. She says she doesn't remember much 'these days' but I can't remember a time when she could remember anything. Dad has always delighted in 'taking the mickey out of' Mum. When he was a comedian, the biggest laughs he got were for his 'wife' jokes - the worst for Mum was that most of his stories were true! Mum's always doing something.....she has, for my whole life, had a hectic social life and so many hobbies. She's the crafty type, you know, heavily into things like sewing, flower making, ribbon tying (my Mum can wrap the best looking present), painting, even dippity-glassing (that was probably the silliest hobby), you name it - she does it. Then there was ten-pin bowling, tennis, golf, shopping and the most amazing amount of card playing. All these activities become rituals...Mum's weekly timetable is really tight. She's the eternal homemaker too, with home-cooking and everything 'just right' in her house. If anyone loves a party, it's Mum - anytime, anyplace. She manages to gather her little brood around for all sorts of occasions, sometimes just for the special event of 'Chinese Chicken' - a dish that Mum has never mastered the knack of cooking for less than 20 people. So everytime she says 'Chinese Chicken' is on, everyone is expected to turn up and consume the mountain of food.
Speaking of Mum's memory (oh well, jumping back a bit), probably one of the worst days that makes me laugh the most, was the day I was to see the Doctor in town to have my varicose veins attended to. Mum had insisted that I couldn't go alone because I may have been unable to drive home, although my husband was willing and able to chauffeur me, Mum was adamant it was her job. All the preceding week she checked and confirmed the arrangements. Come the morning of the big day out and I woke early, cleaned the house, ironed, showered and dressed then proceeded to wait out the front of my house for Mum to collect me. After about 15 minutes my husband suggested I should ring Mum to see if she had left. I was very surprised when a chirpy voice answered at the other end, I enquired as to what she was doing and her reply was "I set the alarm for early this morning, got up on time and I can't for the life of me remember what I set it for". I just said "Mum Doctor's" and there was dead silence at the other end then "I'll be right there". Okay so now we were well over half an hour late for a specialist's appointment. When Mum finally arrived, she came speeding down the road. It usually takes Mum hours to get organised of a morning but this day she was out the door in minutes flat. She kept apologising all the way to town and by the time we entered the Doctor's office she really was a nervous wreck. We were ushered straight in and Mum declined the Doctor's invitation to watch the procedure and claimed "I don't like to watch operations" to which the Doctor replied "Nor do I". What a day! The Doctor then decided not to proceed with the procedure as my legs were worse than the last timew he'd seen them (of course they were - I had been on my feet for hours). The next step was off to the hospital to book in for surgery. OK now we can go home, Mum suggested that I should now drive because she was a little weary from the morning's activity, I asked her which direction to take and she told me to follow this road to the end. She is now beginning to relax and chats merrily away until we come to a sudden dead end and just bush..."what did they do with the road?" exclaims Mum.......that's my darling Mother.
My sister on the other hand remembers everything she chooses to in the way in which she chooses. An A-grade student with no common sense, my sister was always the brains of the outfit, Lord only knows where she hides them. I recall when we were children our house had some very heavy, large furniture which resided on the back verandah about 30 foot above the ground. One day when we were staging a neighbourhood concert (my first foray into the entertainment business) and were collecting all available chairs for our audience. When it came to trying to get these large chairs downstairs I had the bright idea that because they were so heavy I would lower them down on a rope, so I sent my baby sister downstairs to guide their landing. It was quite a struggle to get the chair onto the railing so it could be lowered to the ground but as soon as it toppled over the rail it just sped to the ground into the waiting arms of my sister. I really got into a lot of trouble that day for flattening my sister! Speaking of trouble that reminds me of the day that my sister and I did something wrong and knew that we would 'cop the wooden spoon for it', so we hid the dreaded spoon. When Mum discovered the crime and reached for the spoon drawer, my sister and I began to giggle until the moment when Mum revealed an even larger spoon than her normal weapon...who said she was dumb......boy, did we run! My sister has never been a mathematical wiz, she can count as long as she can see her fingers, but gets a little confused about such things as arithmetic (she didn't appreciate the gift of an abacus I gave her one year), when we were young I was always able to get away with exchanging one of these bright shiny coins for one of those daggy little ones (a polished penny for a dull sixpence).
As daughters go, mine is probably better than most, even though we have spent the better part of her life in dispute. She has been a constant source of amusement and heartbreak. This will have to be where it is wise to know what to omit because I don't think there would be enough paper to record all the Lee files. She is very theatrical, a pretty girl, who, at 18, still has an innocence about her that I pray never wanes. Even today I jokingly told people that my friend's four-year-old daughter was babysitting her sister of 6 weeks. While driving home in the car, Lee asked if it was a wise thing to leave such a new baby in the care of such a young child....get the picture? She has just completed her HSC but still keeps her clothes in a 'wardrove', looks at her reflection in a 'moo-ror' and asks to 'lend $5' when she doesn't have a penny.
We used to live in an old house in Sydney (lots of old houses really) and Lee always 'christened' 'rat rock' - the place where she saw a rat run one day, the 'botanic gardens' - a couple of plants in a plot. She had and has still a vivid imagination - take for instance, the large porcelain clowns which Lee insisted moved by their own volition and whose eyes followed her. She loved to make movies - travelogues of the house and yard, news breaks, commercials, anything. One day a friend was holding the camera and he said to Lee "you should see what you look like from this side of the camera"..Lee promptly arose from her chair and went around to the other side of the camera to have a look....dummy! Always the inventor of fun and activity, when the Gulf war started Lee organised her friend and brother into a poster-making troop to write slogans along the lines of 'peace not war' etc. They spent the entire afternoon and then went out and placed the posters in shops and on poles in our neighbourhood. The whole house was decorated with the posters, until later that evening when they had a fight and ripped them all down and put the whole lot in the bin. If ever she was ill, it was always some rare disease. The best she came up with was when she was auditioning for a role in the drama group's play. She was delivering her lines like a true professional, when suddenly she slumped to the floor. The entire room spent several seconds flicking over pages in the script to find the instruction to faint, before they realised that it wasn't part of the play and that she had actually collapsed. After we had brought her round and delivered her home her condition deteriorated during the afternoon and the doctor was called in. Toxic Shock Syndrome was diagnosed and she was rushed to hospital, on the journey to the casualty department she said "Mummy, do I really have toxic waste syndrome?" What can you answer? We still don't know what she really did have, but she 'cooked' from the inside out and peeled from head to toe. By the way she did win the role! One evening while we were driving home from Sydney, Lee was showing-off in front of her friend and giving her brother a hard time, even telling me, her mother not to be so immature. The next thing, out of the blue she says, "oh look, a mummy bunny and two baby bunnies". She was serious - it did look like a mother and two young rabbits in silhouette in the moon, but it was her timing that was so hilarious. As I did say earlier, I could go on forever but I will have to move on to Shane.
My little 'clown' has had the most unfortunate or beginnings and risen above most of his obstacles. He started life with s couple of complications even while still in hospital. Overcoming these we bought home a lovely little placid baby until he contracted tonsilitis at only two weeks old. Ear infections followed tonsilitis ad infinitum until we finally found a specialist who could cure it. Unfortunately this start to life created a little monster, an angry little boy with teeth problems as well as many other health problems. We struggled through years of tantrums and bad behaviour until we get to now. This crazy kid tries to be everything to everyone. A born performer, who just wants to be centre stage day and night. He sings, plays guitar, writes songs, dabbles on keyboard, writes scripts, tries to learn magic, dances, loves to be a clown and wants to learn every instrument ever invented. Shane is my entertainment, always on show...he takes in everything he sees and is a great mimic. If ever there was an enquiring mind it is Shane's....he drives everyone crazy with his incessant questions and chatter, but there is no denying he has an endearing personality. Shane is in no way academically minded, his learning takes place on the way to having fun....he is the student that drives teachers insane but is still their favourite. If there is an accident somewhere, Shane will find it...he is really just an accident waiting to happen. Shane will be successful at something one day, I have no idea what - but he has the drive and determination to win1
My husband and I knew each other and dated when we were only 17. We can't remember why we stopped seeing each other, we tend to believe it was just a matter of neither of us bothering to ring the other (pretty intense, eh?). But twenty years later our paths crossed and we were amazed to discover that in a world of constant change we had remained the same in essence, older, maybe not wiser, definitely sillier and it all mattered. After two 'errors in judgement' type marriages, I had vowed I wouldn't ever marry again - but along came John - now this was a different story
! He couldn't give me anything that I didn't already have except himself and he didn't promise me anything that he couldn't deliver...I know this time I have made a right decision....our backgrounds are similar and our 'remember when's are basically the same as well. Probably the only problem we encounter is that John has an ability to live with unfinished business, to procrastinate and to put things off until tomorrow, I, on the other hand want everything done yesterday so I can do even more tomorrow. That's another hiccup, John buckles under pressure and I thrive on it until it buckles me. But John does have an amazing ability to 'knock-off', to take time out, something he is trying to teach me.
One day, after an exhausting week, I came home expecting to bury myself in work solidly for the remainder of the day. John met me at the car and relieved me of my baggage, guided me to a chair and insisted I sit. On my home office computer he had placed a sign 'Closed for lunch' and hanging from the doorway was an extremely long document detailing the reasons why I was to finish work for a while and further instructions for the day. He had prepared a lovely lunch and even put the answering machine on. I must honestly say it was a most appreciated break and a very thoughtful gesture.
John is very smart - but don't ever try to get a simple explanation from him. Even a simple query like"do you know why the phone isn't working" would bring an answer detailing how and when the thing was invented, by whom and how many 'doovywhatsits' are in it not to mention a detailed breakdown of telecommunications through the centuries. Sometimes, by the time John has explained something to me, I have forgotten the original question. I know I drive him crazy with my idiosyncrasies, weird ways and even weirder family but he's ever so tolerant and I even think sometimes he fits in quite well.
I don't think I can keep travelling through my family, I really could go on forever - suffice to say that every generation on both sides have their fair share of 'meusli bars'. There would be more than enough tales to fill a complete Brittanica Home Library, but maybe one of the other 'flakes' could write about them!
Music Business Truism

Once upon a time there was a group of people who called themselves a band. Each member of the band was a talented musician in his own right, but together, they were a very entertaining act who could perform on stages in front of audiences and people were happy to hear them.
One day the group of people had a discussion and decided that the amount of time that they were putting in to rehearse together so that people could be happy to hear them on stage was becoming a waste of time because there were not enough places that they could perform together on stages in front of people.
It came to pass that after an enormous amount of money had been spent on posters, equipment and promotion for the group of people (who were now known as 'the band') they decided not to waste any more time and money and just go home and watch T.V.
Sad but true - this is the way of so many bands and it is exactly what has happened to the Torpedo Cake group of people.
Band relationships are like marriages - only there are a few more participants, similarly unless all parties are content the relationship disintegrates.
This is the story of yet another band that has met the same fate as so many before.
Entertainment Apathy

To Whom It May Concern,
Read it, print it, circulate it and support it!


The music scene on the South Coast of New South Wales is in a sorry state. (Apparently so are other areas but this one is our main concern). Generally the area is dependent on tourist trade to sustain it year round, however 1996 seems to have been an exceptionally lean time as far as tourists go. We could blame the weather, the economy or anything else we choose, but the truth remains that unless there are bums on seats in venues providing entertainment, those venues can't support entertainment.
Whether it be apathy, or a lack of money that prevents locals from attending entertainment venues is unclear. No tourists, no locals ... no bands. Yes, if the population wants live music - the population has to support live music .. both tourists and locals.
It is a sad reflection of this truism that venues who have almost been 'institutions' for live music in the past, have either discontinued bands altogether or have at least severely cut their budget through lack of support.
If you want live music in your club or hotel, do something about it now before that space that was left available for bands to perform in is filled with a jukebox and card machines. Don't let your venue become an edifice to the 'machine'.
Write to your favourite 'hang out', put it down on paper just what you want to satisfy your entertainment desires. Let them know that you care and that you will support their endeavours. Then follow it up with support by way of attendance.
As far as the entertainment goes, bands and artists have a responsibility to you, the public, to provide 'entertainment' - not just music and to that end 95% of the acts do just that. They want to perform for you, but it is pretty difficult for an artist to perform to three people at the far end of the room who are ignoring them. Whatever happened to appreciation? There doesn't seem to be response anymore - no applause, no dancing and no interaction. The artists are not machines and they are not turned on by their appearance on stage - their vibe comes from their audience. So it turns around that you, the public, have a responsibility to the artists to allow them to perform for you.
Maybe a lot of the blame comes from television, where even if you have just witnessed the greatest show on earth, you can stay passive and not respond.
Watching a live act is not television, they feed off your enthusiasm.
Let's all re-train our emotions, both bands and audiences. Let's give credit where credit is due.
When you go out next, show your appreciation for the performer who has put a lot of years and hard work into providing you with some leisure-time relief. Show them your appreciation.
The acts will return bigger and better for your pleasure.
Tell your friends to support the music you love as well, that way you ensure the ongoing success of the artist and band.
Take responsibility yourself and let your venue know you do care whether or not there is entertainment and what type of entertainment you want.

(From Narrell Brown P.O. Box 37 Sanctuary Point 2540
Please with-hold my name from any publicity. I choose to remain anonymous in my endeavour to stir some emotions and remove some apathy on the South Coast.)

My life has had a lot of boating incidents. Froma very young age, many horrific and hilarious memories have been forged.
Dad built a boat at home. He worked selling hot dogs up and down the hill where the cars queued for the ferry at Lugarno, to finance his dream. We didn't see much of Dad in those days, what with his day job, a night job, selling the hot dogs and spare time spent building the boat, there didn't leave a lot of time for family. Of course we could always spend our free time watching him work; this was where some of my most meaningful conversations were held with my father. Really deep, thought provoking communications like "pass the hammer" or "push that panel there", it was these treasured moments that shaped our young lives.
After what seemed an eternity, launch day arrived and we were all very excited about the maiden voyage of, you guessed it - "Hot Dog", a fifteen foot, half cabin cruiser with an inboard motor. Dad did a beautiful job and we proudly joined him at the boat ramp at Tom Ugly's bridge. Everything was going well, Dad backed the trailer down the ramp and we all cheered as "Hot Dog" very regally floated off the trailer and then proceeded to take in water and go under. You guessed it .... no bung in the plug-hole. This was quickly remedied and that day was the first of many adventures in and relating to "Hot Dog".
One of those adventures, was the day we took our beloved "Hot Dog" for a day trip to Sussex Inlet across St.Georges Basin. The weather was brilliant, we were all in high spirits and "Hot Dog" performed perfectly all the way to the inlet. After a picnic and a look around, it was time to head home. About half-way across the Basin, the sky greyed over and a very nasty Southerly Buster blew up, this was when "Hot Dog" decided she'd had enough of behaving and came to an abrupt stop. As the waves crashed over the boat and Dad tried everything he could to get the "old girl" started again, my sister chose this precise moment to get sick and panic. Pandemonium reigned until the problem was discovered ... a broken fuel line. I had a little bag with me that Santa had brought which just happened to have a handle on it which was identical to the fuel line ... so my present from Santa was sacrificed and saved the day.
I think Dad spent more time out of the boat than in it; dragging it over sand bars and through dense seaweed growth etc.
Dad used to race "Hot Dog" at St.George Motor Boat Club on Kogarah Bay. I was allowed to be a part of the crew, quite an honour, I was general deck hand in dock and during a race, I was - BALLAST. My job was to sit as far up the front of the boat as possible inside the cabin. Another exciting day was had during one of these races, I took up my position and Dad took the boat through the course, for the first time we were actuarlly winning, when suddenly the cabin was filling with smoke. Dad was intent on steering the boat through the course and didn't notice that we had a slight problem. I called out to him but he couln't hear me over the sound of the noisy inboard motor. I started to move toward him and he spotted me and yelled to get back to my position. I did, but I was very worried, so I moved back over to Dad and said there was a problem, again he just yelled at me to go back up the front. What else could I do, I just bellowed "fire" at the top of my lungs. This one got Dad's attention ad he finally checked out what was going on below him. He stopped the boat immediately and obviously we lost the race but we didn't lose the boat, Dad quickly doused the fire and we were towed back to the club.
Speaking of the club, that reminds me of a really funny story. We had pulled in to the club wharf for some reason and Dad jumped off the boat and told mum to hold on to the wharf as he would only be a minute. I was in the boat. As other boats came and went about the Marina a lot of wash was created and the boat started to move away from the wharf. Instead of letting go of the wharf, Mum let her feet drop off the boat and there she was dangling from the wharf by her hands with her feet clad in fluffy boots in the water and me drifting away in the boat. Mum is no swimmer, so the terrified look on her face is etched in my memory permanently. Several of my uncles were at the bar of the club and could see the scenario, but were only pointing and laughing at the comedy act. Finally someone heeded Mum's cries and came to her aid and saved me as well, adrift in the boat. Dad just yelled at her when he came back and told her she should have let go with her hands not her feet .... poor mum!
"Hot Dog" was sold to a cousin in its later life and unfortunately ended up wrecked after a flash flood on the Georges River. Didn't "hot Dog" have a lot of George associations.
My uncle had a tug boat. One day, the whole family and assorted friends climbed aboard "The Hero" to go out on Sydney harbour to greet "The Brittanica". Excitement was high and spirits gay. The adults, of course, were consuming copious amounts of alcohol. As I said, it was a tug, a work boat. No side rails and no facilities (i.e. toilets). After several hours of being away from shore with the liquid refreshments and continual toing and froing of the boat, nature called. "Down the ladder to the bucket" I was told. I desperately needed to go but when I climbed down the ladder and found the overturned bucket, my stomach lurched and no amount of desperation would 'let me go'. I don't know how long we were on that boat, but I do know my bladder was bursting when we again hit dry land.
Quite some years agao, when my cousins first acquired their boat licences, the day had dawned windy and chilly and water skiing was not to be on the agenda, so a fun jaunt in the boats was organised. Both ski boats were laden with young passengers, I, in the very back seat of the first boat. Across the Basin we went - lots of laughing and fun. The water was very rough so the boats bounced about a lot. The next moment, as the lead boat slowed, the boat following sped a little and follow-boat landed slap bang on top of lead-boat.
Most of the passengers could forsee the catastrophe and threw themselves out of the boats. I'm not a water-lover really and I don't think I thought as quick as the rest either, because I hit the deck face down instead of hitting the water and ended up in between both boats. The seat where I had been sitting was shredded so I was lucky I at least moved out of the way. No one was badly hurt, thankfully, but 2 boats were put out of action for some time and a couple of drivers were very sheepish for a while.
When Southerly winds blow up on the Basin, there is usually little or no warning.
There used to be a pontoon out from the wharf where everyone skied (how do you spell past tense of ski?) from. Usually laden with skis, wetsuits, ropes, towels and many bodies, the pontoon was a popular spot. This particular day, it was overly populated as the clan had grown for the holidays. Almost without warning, the Southerly struck. All boats were put into duty, ferrying people and possessions back to shore. It was quite a distance and some of the more able swam in. I have said I'm not really a water person, so I was quite content to wait my turn to be ferried. There was much ado and everyone was verybusy securing tents and annexes on shore, tying up boats and locking down anything that could be blown away .... and I watched it all from my vantage position on the pontoon. The boats went backward and forward until everyone and everything was safe and sound back on shore abd the last of the boats tied up and everyone safely indoors. I watched the entire performance - from my position on the pontoon, hanging on for grim death as the wind galed and the waves pounded - yes, I was scared stiff. They had forgotten me! After a short while, my mother arrived at the property and enquired to my safety. All eyes turned toward the water, where the frightened me was clinging to the pontoon for dear life. My good old cousin volunteered to be my rescuer and brought the boat out to fetch me. It's times like these where you would really like a higher profile in life. No-one would forget about me if I was important I bet! I deep down knew that they would remember me ...... eventually!

live concerts I have been to


Slade / Lindisfarne / Caravan Randwick Racecourse 1973 Feb
Rolling Stones
La De Das / Three Dog Night / The Guess Who Hordern Pavillion 1972
Jethro Tull Hordern Pavillion 1972
Jethro Tull - 25th Anniversary Tour State Theatre 1993
Billy Joel / Elton John Sydney Cricket Ground 1998
Elton John - Too Low For Zero Tour Sydney Ent Cent 1984
Kenny Rogers Sydney Ent Cent 1984
Ultimate Rock Symphony Sydney Superdome 2000
Frank Zappa Hordern Pavillion 1973
Bob Dylan / Fleetwood Mac Randwick Racecourse 1977
Simon & Garfunkel Sydney Sports Ground 1983
Tears For Fears Sydney Ent Cent 1985
Cliff Richard Hordern Pavillion 1983
Rod McKuen Sydney Town Hall 1972
Boz Scaggs with Dragon Sydney Showground

Cockroaches / Pseudo Echo / Uncanny X Men Sydney Ent Cent
Chain - Anniversary tour Sweeneys 2001
Sherbet / Skyhooks Sydney Showground
Sherbet The Entrance
Jeff St John / Wendy Saddington Domain
Ted Mulry Gang Centennial Park Bankstown
John Paul Young / Grand Junction Lake Gillawarra opening B’town
Jon English - Busker Tour Shoalhaven Ex-Seros
Jon English & Marcia Hines - Jokers & Queens Tour St George Leagues Club
Julie Anthony Basin Country Club
Julie Anthony Bankstown RSL
Julie Anthony Harbord Diggers
Blackfeather Paddington Town Hall
Tamum Shud
Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs
Col Joye Grandviews Bowling Club
Jenny Morris The Basement
The Whitlams The Basement
Captain Matchbox Whoopie Band The Grape Escape Cronulla
Greg Quill’s Country Radio Manly Football Ground?
Kevin Borich
Margaret Urlich Basin Country Club
Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons Basin Country Club
Glenn Shorrock & Brian Cadd Bomaderry RSL
Brian Cadd Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL
Sebastian Hardy
The Party Boys Carmen’s Miranda
Ross Wilson Shellharbour Workers
Mondo Rock Huskisson RSL
Hunters & Collectors Mollymook Golf Club
Richard Clapton Storm Aid Wollongong
Trevor Knight
Daddy Cool
Renee Geyer
Doug Parkinson Coogee Oceanic
Hush Brighton Hotel Residency

Stage Shows
Barnum - Reg Livermore Her Majesty’s Theatre 1982
The Sound of Music Regent Theatre 1983
The Rocky Horror Show Her Majesty’s Theatre 1987
Hair Metro Kings Cross
Reg Livermore - One man show
Rasputin State Theatre 1987
Jesus Christ Superstar St George Leagues Club

Amateur Stage Productions
South Pacific Albatross Musical Society
Jesus Christ Superstar Highlands Musical Society 2000
Jesus Christ Superatar Albatross Musical Society 2001
Camelot Hurstville Musical Society
Le Jardin Enchante MG Theatrical Productions Hustville Civic Centre
42nd Street IPAC 1996
The Rocky Horror Show Shoalhaven Entertainment 1996