PRESS conferences can be dull affairs; the bigger the star, the more controlled the environment can become. So it was pleasing and refreshing to hear and see Barry Gibb holding court in a Sydney hotel this week and keeping the media throng entertained for a full half-hour (generous by press call standards). Flanked by his guitarist son Steve and singer and niece Sami, both of whom are in his band, the former Bee Gee was happy to answer any questions that came his way at the launch of his first Australian solo tour, which began in Sydney last night. He even gave the audience a taste of that distinctive falsetto, while revealing that his voice had improved since he gave up smoking 12 years ago. ‘‘My voice can do things that I was never able to do before,’’ he said. Steve Gibb, heavily built, heavily tattooed and whose musical tastes are more Metallica than mainstream, revealed that growing up with a dad who wore white flares and penned disco classics hadn’t had an adverse affect on their relationship. ‘‘I always thought my dad was the coolest guy,’’ he said. ‘‘For me, I looked up to him incredibly. I thought everybody got up in the morning and wrote songs. Then when I went to school I realised I was kind of unique. Some kids didn’t get it, or some kids didn’t want to get it. The truth is I was always proud of him. I always thought he was far too humble.’’ Having a famous dad had many benefits. Such as ‘‘when you’re a four or five-year-old and you’re into KISS, and you’re dad says, ‘Do you want me to take you to see KISS?’ — and he literally takes to you to see KISS, and they take their make-up off and you go, ‘What do you mean? They’re not from space?’ That was mindblowing for me. It was at that point I realised it was all show business.’’ WHILE we’re on the topic of show business, let’s have a little Q & A about Q the best music show the ABC has during prime time on Monday nights for most of the year. Question: Is it about time the producers of said show stopped trying so hard to tap into the cardcarrying music fan demographic by bringing on musicians to rub shoulders with point-scoring pollies? Answer: Yes, to use a political catchphrase, it’s time. This week it was the turn of Tim Levinson, better known in pop and hip-hop circles as Urthboy, one of the hottest Australian talents of late and a contender for this year’s Australian Music Prize. Levinson, aside from being a gifted songwriter and performer, is also articulate and savvy and made a reasonable fist of joining the debate on issues such as Labor’s struggle in the western suburbs of Sydney. ‘‘I felt like a kelpie hanging out with some greyhounds and it all went so quickly I didn’t get to say half the things I’d thought I would,’’ he posted on Facebook. ‘‘I’d planned on throwing a few grenades in the convo but it wasn’t to be.’’ Nevertheless he looked out of place and not exactly comfortable being there. He was by no means Kate Miller-Heidke, who suffered death by a thousands cuts on the program last year, although to be fair she had to contend with a discussion — about the budget — that she admitted later she knew very little about. Maybe it’s time to target another profession to join the pollies, academics and experts on the show. Or if they are going to persist with musos, maybe they should get talent that isn’t so polite and wouldn’t mind being totally obnoxious for the duration. Then at least they would blend in with the pollies a little better. Question: Did fellow panellist Amanda Vanstone look perplexed while Urthboy was performing his song on Monday night? Answer: Yes, she certainly did.