And I remembered a gig I put on in 1986 just down the street from where I live, The Graphic Arts Club, refurbished now into The Gaelic Club, just across the road from Central Railway Station. I had finished my 9 year ordeal of filming and cutting together a final print of my Super 8 meta-realist epic “Darling It Hurtz!” (Seven years in the Life of a Suburb and a Singer) and I hoped to premier it at The Graphic Arts Club. I hired the band-room, got onside some deadbeat bands including Paul Kelly and Some Colored Girls, got a few mentions in the press and got stuck into hand-printing 400 copies of a super fluorescent Punk-drunk silk-screen poster that I planned to stick on all the walls of Sydney.
Then I dreamed up my 1979 “Garibaldi’s Benefit” gig to raise money for the old Italian who ran the club in Darlinghurst and was going broke. I enlisted the aid of the rock bands “Tactics” and “XL Capris” to do the Saturday night music gig. On the second night I got the support of Cabaret Conspiracy with the drag greats Doris Fisch and Jackie Hyde, plus Simon Reptile and Fifi Lamour all doing their “Cabaret Conspiracy” and it was a thumping, rocking weekend, and old Garibaldi really appreciated the assistance we gave him.
All the while I shot my Super 8 film around the inner-city, particularly in Darlinghurst, in and out of its architecture, following the life of a new-found friend, a working-class woman, a junkie prostitute schizophrenic but hopeful singing pop-star named Jenny Jinx who dreamed of making it in the music business. She sang a few of her songs for me while she wandered about the backstreets of Darlinghurst, bouncing around in back-lanes. I wove this in and out of shots of most of Sydney’s contemporaneous rock clubs, bands banging on within, the obvious subtext being “it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.”
I went to the govt. arts body whose responsibility it was to make sure important artistic/cultural/historical works get made, The Creative Development Branch of the Australian Film Commission and I asked them for funds to do more filming of the current music scene and environs and complete the film.
I call him Warnerbros and he knocked me back cold, me and my film about the Sydney inner-city music scene could go drop dead, (all that wondrous footage of the bands and the venues lost to history because of one fuckwit's small-mindedness!) I was furious at this dead-head’s nerve, his bigoted stupidity and blatantly jealous scumbag-nature. Thus I wrote a poison-pen letter about him to the bureaucrats at the Film Commission, telling them Warnerbros was a twerp who didn’t have clue about cutting edge film. THEY asked me to come in and I was given a check under the table for $6000 to finish my film.
I had already lined up my Koori mate and fellow artist, Malcolm Cole, famous for creating the first Gay Indigenous float for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, him dressed up as a black Captain Cook at the helm of a mocked-up ship on wheels. Just as we were all rubbing our hands in glee at the subversive thrill of sticking the finger to the Bi-Centenary Celebrations Board, via a flood of hot, maverick posters stuck on all the walls of Sydney, a damp blanket was thrown over affairs.
I sincerely thought the poster workshop was an open community facility where talent, especially from the dispossessed, was fostered. Perhaps they think I'm a self-promoting egotist who took advantage of their generosity and used them for my grand career. Guess what? I didn't get one. I've been penniless and art-workless since then, apart from what I've drummed up while on a pension or working with the dying in nursing homes. Never invited anywhere, rarely mentioned, and for all my squalling, I couldn't give a shit, because I still got myself a life, a wonderful life, of creativity and adventure, all that I've dreamed of since a child.
Hmmmmm... life’s a blast, even in the middle of the gladiator battle, as the thumbs go in the eyes to gouge them out, it’s how quick you can weave and dance your way through the brutal attacks and thrusting knives that provides half the fun. Of course, I liked the helping hands better, they are the people that will shine in my memories.