Category Archives: Sixties

A Tribute To Ron Asheton (1948-2009)

As you get older, you are less and less affected by news of the deaths of people known to you. It’s always a bit of a jolt, but having been around for well over half the average human life expectancy, I’ve reached a point of choice – get philosophical or get spooked. Not relishing the prospect of an existence even more haunted and death-obsessed than mine already is, I do my best to choose the former, but every so often a SIGNIFICANT death sits you back on your arse and you find yourself immersed in the dark stuff, almost as if any other choice is not yours to make.

Thus it was for me when news came through of the death of Ron Asheton, incendiary guitarist for legendary Detroit proto-punk band, The Stooges (second from left in this 1969 pic).

The Stooges 1969
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

I was at the computer on the morning of January 7th. I routinely brought up the Sydney Morning Herald site (my default home page) for maybe the tenth time that day and there it was. I didn’t click on the headline at first. Not sure why. Didn’t want to acknowledge it, perhaps. Shock? Some sort of wilful disengagement? Doesn’t matter. Ron Asheton was dead. That mattered. Continue reading A Tribute To Ron Asheton (1948-2009)

Movie Review: ‘September’

Saw an advance screening of a truly remarkable new Australian movie on Saturday: September.

Set in the Western Australian wheatbelt of 1968 (but actually filmed in Yass, near Canberra), the movie focuses on the friendship between two adolescent boys on a farm: Ed, who is the white son of a farmer, and Paddy, whose Aboriginal family is virtually “in service” to Ed’s father. These were the days in which Aboriginal farm workers were given shelter and food in exchange for their labour, but no wages. Paddy’s family lives in a shack across the field from the farmhouse.

Needless to say, the boys’ relationship is unusual in the social context of Australia of the 60s. Continue reading Movie Review: ‘September’

We’re So Pretty, Oh So Pretty…Vacant

In my previous post, I owned up to a foolish public declaration as a teenager that Creedence Clearwater Revival “shat on” The Beatles. That was essentially an adolescent rebel yell in the face of peer authority, clumsy and misdirected, but rooted in a perception that I consider legitimate to this day – that the masses are prone to stampeding. Such was the case with The Beatles. They could do no wrong. Every single was a smash hit, every album hailed a work of genius. The adulation, the mass approbation, was overwhelming and, it seemed, indiscriminate. Lennon’s wry observation at the peak of The Beatles’ fame that they were “more popular than Jesus” sparked outrage, but it wasn’t far off the mark. Continue reading We’re So Pretty, Oh So Pretty…Vacant