From the Editor
with Geoff Achison
Small Biz Bulletin Alie Jane
Up Close & Personal
Emily D'Agostino Interview
Business Book in Brief The Small Big
Album Review Third / Sister Lovers
Angie on Fiction Mary Jane
Letter to the Editor
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Magazine Chiara Stranges Graphic Design Angie Revell Contributor Victor Stranges Contributor Venue Raymond Tunks Chef Marc Scollo Sound Engineer Lexi Ukosich Service Jack Lynch Host and Service
From the Editor Big Life Now I recently released a post that read “Bumps in the road are just fine with me. They are proof that I’m still traveling forward. Big Life Now.” The post was written on the back of a difficult couple of weeks, followed by the relief of resolution. I received many messages with an “I don’t know how you do it” sentiment. Sure, I work long hours with a discipline of focus, and it may seem that the reward is a life of trial and tribulation, but scattered among the lows are much higher than highs. . These three simple words Big Life Now resonated with me to a point where I needed to investigate the new slogan further. I have always lived a very busy and challenging life. If I look back, it has been made up of different phases of experience and learning. Like everyone, right? When you hear people say (or sing) “those were the best days of my life,” ask them … why were they? I believe it’s generally because they represent a time of rapid discovery with the result being great challenge. At fifty-one years of age, some close to me think it time I slowed down, but if the best days are full of discovery and challenge, why wouldn’t I want more of them? Anthea Palmer firstname.lastname@example.org
Up Close and Personal with Bluesman and original Soul Digger
What's the count on how many albums you've recorded, and do you have a favourite? You've won many awards in your time, which is the most meaningful? They’re all meaningful but the most ominous was winning the Albert King Award in Memphis back in 1995. That began a cascade of events that allowed me to pursue a career in the United States.
I’ve done 12 full studio albums and 8 live albums, plus some singles. I get most enthusiastic about the songs during the writing of them. Recording is a heavy process for me. I can hear it all in my head and it is really difficult getting it from there and onto a recording machine. It changes a lot along the way, and everyone involved has a different aural impression of what should happen, so compromises are common. In truth, I very rarely listen to them once they’re finished. The joy of having created them is in the live gigs. That’s where the songs really start to evolve.
If you could wave a magic wand over the Australian music industry, what would you fix? I’d make myself the supreme authority on what can and can’t be played at my local IGA... simply so I can go in and get my groceries without being the grumpy old bastard muttering to himself. (“This is absolute shit! How the fuck did this get released? Stop it you bastards! make it stop!”)
If you could collaborate with anyone alive in the world today, who would you choose? Probably Oliver Wood from The Wood Brothers. He’s an old mate from Atlanta. I was a fan of his work with the band King Johnson long before I met him. By the time we were introduced, that band had split and he was playing in coffee shops for tips. He’s since hooked up with his brother, Chris and they’re super-stars in Nashville now. I love his song-writing and performance style. He guested on one of my albums years ago, but I’d love to have him produce some of my ideas. He’d totally get it.
Who would you list as your greatest musical influences? I essentially learnt blues guitar from the great Freddie King, got into songwriting through The Beatles. There are so many others across a whole range of genres, but I would have to say that it it was my personal connections with more experienced musicians such as my old mates Alan Watson, Bob Sedergreen and Dutch Tilders that really helped me get started and shaped the way I play.
What aspect of the "business" side of your music do you find most challenging? All of it. I have no interest in the business side. I simply have a head filled with music that doesn’t exist yet. Still, I am an independent artist so I have had to be involved with every aspect of the biz. I’m not particularly good at it, but I would not have had a music career at all if I hadn’t paid attention to it.
If you had to choose an alternate career to music, what would it be?
Have you come across any up-and-coming new talent to watch out for?
I’ve always had a keen interest in history and loved the idea of being out on the dig at some ancient site. In fact, my older brother and I used to investigate the numerous old rubbish dumps around our area unearthing old bottles and a few other artifacts from days gone by. Had I been more academic might actually have pursued archaeology.
There are a few young kids that I do a little guitar coaching with. Some of these cats are in their teens and totally into the blues and want to learn how to improvise and write their own music. I’m just thrilled that there is still an appreciation for the original blues masters, old-school jazz, and the great songwriters of the ’60s & ’70s. On the scene right now I’d say make sure you catch Charlie Bedford, Anna Scionti, and Jarrod Shaw.
What's your favourite "Dad" joke? Q. Where do cantaloupes go for their holidays? A. To the 'John Cougar Melon Camp'
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SMALL BIZ BULLETIN Meet our community of entrepreneurs with side hustles, small businesses, or start-ups.
THE COLOURFUL KITSCH OF ALIE JANE
How would you describe your business in a sentence? Very bright, fun, quirky, kitsch, handmade with a touch of 1950s
What background or study experience led you to start the business? I started in Fine arts both at TAFE and University majoring as a photographer in 2001. When digital came along I went and Study clothing production, which included pattern making and learning how to sew on an industrial scale. Finishing that I started a clothing range inspired by 1950s aprons. I ran away and backpacked Europe, returning to Australia inspired to design and manufacture travel accessories in fun and funky fabrics. I took the business to Melbourne but was too homesick to remain, and returned to my hometown of Newcastle, where I have had my bricks and mortar store for nearly 8.5 years
What online channels do you use to sell products, and which is most significant to sales? I bombard Instagram and Facebook all day. It is the perfect way to advertise. Quick, simple, and very effective. If bolts of fabric arrived from Japan in the shop I can have it online and in people's feed within a few minutes. Normally within the hour, I have a customer enter the shop looking for it or the phone starts ringing. Ideally, both Instagram and Facebook are a perfect platform to document my day, show designs being cut, sewn, and last of all, the finished product. Updating Etsy and the website is hard and is another job in itself. I’m too busy in the shop and sewing stock, so just stalk me on IG and FB, call the shop for over-thephone payment and I can post that day.
Which is your best-selling product? All stock sells close to even. Some days I will sell out of cushions, some days I will sell out of shower caps. All I know is whatever I sew and top up that day, the opposite will sell out. I also sell all my fabric by the metre too
What aspect of running a small business do you find most difficult? The bookwork and admin. Paperwork never stops. Criticism is still hard to deal with or people questioning the business. I’m not ‘lucky’ to have survived, I worked my arse off for it. Also, people asking for a discount. Yeah… that ain’t happening
With the push toward online stores, do you find your brick-and-mortar store is still important for your business? 99.9% of my sales still come from my bricks-and-mortar store. I have had the label for 16 years and the store for nearly 8.5 years now. I love getting dressed up and going to work. All my sewing gets done instore. This gives me better time management and not wasting a minute of the day. I also get my energy from my customers. So many of my designs have come from talking to customers with items they have needed. I also use them as a sounding board, not only for my designs but in life.
Who, in business, art or design, do you look to for inspiration? Everyday life inspires me. I love colour. Any designers that are willing to be bold bright and out there. I look up to anyone that juggles a family and runs a business. Some days I don’t have enough energy to look after myself. I admire anyone that has just given it a go. It’s a tough gig and you have to love what you do
What plans do you have for your business for the remainder of 2021?
When you're not working, what other hobby or passion do you partake in?
I am going to work hard to change people’s perceptions of Newcastle. My shop backs onto a working Harbour, we have the most amazing beaches, great food, and coffee, Port Stephens, The Vineyards, and Barrington Tops National Park is just a stone throw away and a town full of amazing artists and designers. We are no longer the Industrial coal mining town we were once known for.
I ride a 750cc Honda Shadow motorbike. I am a bit of an adrenalin junkie. I own a 50kg Bull Arab /Bull Mastiff named Geoffrey who I recused during Covid after losing my other pooch Clyde overnight. He comes to work every day and flirts with customers. I love hanging out with him and going for drives in my van. I love afternoon beach swims, my nephews, reading biographies, watching Aussie films, and sleep. O God, do I love sleep
What's your cocktail of choice? I rarely drink, but I do looooove coffee
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As I strolled around a little Brunswick based Art market, somewhat underwhelmed by the offering, I stumbled across the stunning work of Emily D’Agostino. Now the proud owner of an “Alice” print, I was keen to find out more about this local Artist.
How would you describe your original Art in a sentence? Portrait artwork that uses the combination of traditional and digital drawing, creating a highly detailed and bold style that elevates any space.
What percentage of time do you spend on your own Art versus commissions and commercial design work? I would say that I spend about 50/50 on both commissions and commercial design work. Most of my commission orders are original traditional drawings of loved ones that generally require a lot more detail and background work, taking about 2 weeks to complete. At the moment I have closed my commission orders, so I can focus on creating more of my own commercial work and build my folio.
What percentage do you sell at markets and shows versus online sales?
If you could show anywhere in the world, which gallery would you choose?
This is an interesting question because before COVID I was selling about 60% of my work at markets and shows. There has been a major shift with a change in audience and less number of people attending markets and shows. Now, most of my artwork sales are made online predominately in the U.S.A through my Etsy shop. What is your main goal or focus for 2021? In 2021 I aim to build my folio and create a large amount of new artwork that will appeal to a wider audience. Moving forward, this will allow me to later on focus on undertaking more personal and unique commission orders.
I would have to say the National Gallery of Victoria which is located in my home state. It would be absolutely amazing to one day have my work on display there and be able share that experience with all of my family and friends.
Which piece is your favourite creation? It is hard to choose just one as I have had so much fun creating all of my pieces. It’s like asking a parent which child is their favourite. Some stand outs for me though are my Donald Glover, Zoe Kravitz and Alice pieces.
What do you find most challenging about running a small business? There have been many challenges that I have had to overcome and learn from, with running a small business. A lot of people don’t realise just how many roles one person has to fill, in order to make a small business successful. One major challenge is keeping up to date with the demands of social media, for example constantly creating and posting engaging and relevant content. In addition, creating a piece takes many hours and much concentration to complete. While the end product is rewarding, the need to stop and film or take photos of the process for social media adds time and energy to the overall project.
Which Artist has been the biggest influence on you? My biggest influence would definitely be CJ Hendry. I was very much inspired by not just her incredible talent but also her passion and process in which she gained her global success. I especially love that she is a humble Australian artist and aspire to be like her one day.
Do you have any other obsessions or hobbies? Who's music are you listening to lately? Anderson Paak is my all-time favourite and his music is always on repeat. His upbeat and funky music keeps me on my toes while drawing for long periods of time.
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I have one word for this question and that is FOOD. I come from a big Italian family where food is a big part of life. Food gives me the opportunity to spend time with my partner, family and friends whether it’s going out for dinner or hanging out at home and cooking a big feast for everyone to enjoy.
BUSINESS BOOK IN BRIEF The Small Big By Steve J. Martin, Noah J Goldstein, and Robert B. Cialdini Regardless of what business you are in, or what you hope to achieve in life, to become successful, you must be willing and able to influence others. This book provides both studies and real business examples of how small tweaks to our communication and actions can spark big influence over any unsuspecting target.
The Power Drivers Fundamental to the book are three emotional states that are powerful drivers in our choice making. They are the motivation to: Make accurate decisions as efficiently as possible Affiliate with and gain the approval of others See oneself in a positive light This book is packed with examples on how to influence different groups for the desired outcome, and below are three ideas presented which resonated most.
The Busker Experiment A study was conducted using a busker in a New York Subway. The number of commuters who donated to the musician as they walked past was counted. Then a small tweak was made to the experiment. A person (in on the act) would drop a few coins into the hat in clear view of approaching commuters. The result was a whopping eight-fold increase in donations made by passers-by. The commuters who were later interviewed did not recognise they had been influenced by witnessing the previous donation.
Teamwork If you manage a Team and need tools of influence to achieve increased productivity or creativity, the book discusses the use of “uncommon commonalities. ” It recommends focusing on features your Team has in common that are rare to other external groups, to bring people together cohesively.
Potential outshines Reality The book provides examples of how decision-makers are often more impressed and influenced by potential than they are the actual achievement. I was encouraged to discover that potential outshines reality. For example, if you are seeking employment or hoping to win a contract, you should lead the conversation or interview by communicating your future potential, rather than with your prior experience.
Who Should Read the Book? We all want to have influence or persuade someone to do something, whether it’s your boss, co-worker, audience member, spouse, or customer. The Big Small is worth a read if you have an interest in persuasion science or wish to change the behaviour of others effectively, efficiently, and ethically.
After two stunning albums, # 1 Record (1972) and Radio City (1974), Big Star was in the process of dissolving with lack of commercial success a contributing factor. Two of its founding members, Andy Hummel and Chris Bell, had vacated the line up which would most likely send the Memphis group off the edge of a cliff. Tracking for Third / Sister Lovers commenced at Ardent Studios in September 1974 with Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens at the helm. Stephens said, “I’ve seen it in different ways. Toa great extent it is an Alex solo record ... It’s Alex’s focus, it’s his emotional state of being but I brought in the string section for the one song I wrote and Alex hit it off with Carl Marsh ... and started using Carl and the string section for other things. What would that album have been like if it didn’t have the strings?” The recording included what biographer Bruce Eaton described as “a large and revolving cast of Memphis musicians” to record, with producer Jim Dickinson, “a batch of starkly personal, often experimental, and by turns beautiful and haunting songs that were anything but straight-up power pop.” Disappearing were the rocking guitar motifs of Big Star’s earlier work and they were replaced by a fractured and mesmerising performance by Chilton and Stephens.
The album kicks of with the upbeat ‘Kizza Me’ as Chilton repeats, “I want to feel you deep inside,” laying the groundwork for the emotional direction of the record. The spiritual affirmation of ‘Thank You Friends’ is truly uplifting with female Memphis backing vocals driving the soul of Chilton’s communiqué of love and gratitude. But what comes next is a confounding track called ‘Big Black Car.’ It could easily find a home on Twin Peaks or a David Lynch movie. It’s dreamy guitar straddles Chilton’s wistful vocal as he travels through life in his “big black car.”
“Jesus Christ” starts off as a bizarre circus like ditty that quickly transforms into glorious praise and worship that is totally heartfelt and unsarcastic. The majesty of kettle drums and Memphis horns take it to another realm. Lou Reed’s “Femme Fatale” displays Chilton’s fragile vocals as it seamlessly breezes through the corridors of the mind of its author, peering through each room while Chilton’s jagged guitar chimes in sparingly. His guitar work is very understated but tastefully punches in and out. The guitar becomes part of the song’s allure and along with the string section, provides the uneasy elements throughout the whole album that make it work.
Chilton’s lyrics highlight deep depression and isolation, peppered with intermittent optimism and humour. Songs such as “Holocaust” and “Kanga Roo” demonstrate experimental leanings not unlike The Velvet Underground, whilst Blue Moon and Take Care are the ballads that provide the musical cartilage keeping the listener’s heart affected. Ardent issued white-label test pressings for the album in 1975 but financial issues, lack of commercial interest and waning enthusiasm from singer Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens in completing the record meant the album was never properly finished or released at the time of its recording. It was finally given a release in 1978 by a now defunct New Jersey sub-label of Passport Records called PVC Records. The confusion surrounding the release of this album meant that to this day there has never been a definitive version agreed upon by the band. Over the years, multiple versions were made available including a 1992 CD release on Rykodisc, assembled with Jim Dickinson. The 1992 release most closely represents the original planned song order and brings to the fore the music’s intended thrust, warts and all.
In 2016, Omnivore Recordings released the “Complete Third” box set which was a three disc definitive selection of the album. It included Alex Chilton’s demos to rough mixes by producer Jim Dickinson and engineer John Fry to the final master which was rejected by various record companies. The release was sequenced in chronological order and is a fitting tribute to a masterpiece that was never fully realised in the eyes of its creators.
Chilton and Stephens were not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve, but more than that, they made it their own. The Kinks’ “Till the End of the Day” was an unexpected bonus on the reissue and Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy” was haunting. The deeply disturbing “Dream Lover” was also added as one of the bonus tracks. The song is a stark reminder of the creative genius of Alex Chilton which really broke new ground in music.
Third / Sister Lovers was ranked #1 in the Top 30 “Heartbreak” albums of all time by NME. The album was also listed at #31 on NME’s “Darkest Albums Ever: 50 of the Best”. Its influence resonated many years after its release and new versions of the songs were later recorded by This Mortal Coil, Jeff Buckley, Rainy Day (the Paisley Underground all-star group), Placebo, The Monkees, The Afghan Whigs and Teenage Fanclub.
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Mary Jane Jessica Anya Blau It was the 1970s. All around Mary Jane were signs of the times: sex, drugs, rock n roll. But at 14, and the only child in a stable, conservative, suburban American family, Mary Jane viewed it all from the safety of a long lens. That is until she became a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. It was just down the street, but the house Mary Jane enters on her first morning as a nanny might as well have been in a different universe. Messy, chaotic, haphazard … nothing at all like the quiet, well-ordered, stable home she’s grown up in. And that’s BEFORE the rock star and his movie star wife move in for the summer to quietly allow that rock star to dry out. Mary Jane relies on her upbringing to help implement a new daily schedule, trips to the market, and even family dinners. She does so without the guidance of her mother, who would be horrified to know the disarrayed alternate lifestyle her daughter was being exposed to.
But Mary Jane feels at home with this new family and their summer guests. She feels helpful and needed and allowed to express herself. She listens to the music she wants, wears the clothes that are popular (as long as she quickly changes before heading home), and considers other ways of life.
As the summer wears on, Mary Jane begins to see that life holds so much more possibility than she once realized, and she is faced with a future that might be starkly different than she once envisioned. But will her mother and father allow it? Equal parts exciting and comforting, reminiscent and forward-thinking, “Mary Jane” hit all the right notes. It’s a sweet coming-of-age story that feels a bit like going home, sending you back to your teen years, and all of the thrilling fear that goes with becoming your person. It was everything a good novel should be, and it kept me reading long after the lights should have been out at night.
By Angela Revell
I knew writing an article on EVT, as a layperson would be controversial, and was delighted to receive two insightful letters from two very experienced singers and teachers Anthea Palmer Letter 2: Estill Voice Training Article EVT has lots of beautiful aspects of the colours of the voice which Is something I incorporate in my teaching method. Being an ex Jaanz teacher I love the cry technique and studied it further with Seth Riggs training (who initially created it). There was some incredibly valuable information I learned through the Alexander method and I’m currently studying rock vocal for powerhouse voices by Roger Kain. I have taught many Estill singers over the years who have great knowledge of the voice but struggle with range and power, that’s where the other techniques come in. Nina (Ferro) is amazing – a singers singer! It takes way more than the best techniques however to become a great singer. It requires a natural ear for music and a sense of timing. Sadly many students lack these basic skills so you can teach them technique but the lack of natural ability stops them from achieving to the “great” singer level. Thankfully many of my singers have stuck around long enough to become professional artists. It is a craft and I, like many others, am a work in progress! Really enjoyed this article, Anthea.
Andrea Marr http://www.andreamarr.com/lessons Read the original article here:
The Hornet Press Magazine. The Business of Music, Art, and Design.