The Courier-Mail - QWeekend
Musician, 48, Kenmore
What emotions do you have about performing live again with Custard?
Mainly anxiety. I’ve not seen any of the other Custard band members in months. I’ve not touched an electric guitar in many weeks. How on earth am I going to remember all those lyrics to songs that I wrote 20 years ago? around with me for 37 years. It’s held together with gaffa tape and sweat. I’ve just had it fixed. I can’t wait to play it again. It is blue.
What advice changed your life?
“You can drink until you’re 30, after that there’ll be no one left to worry.” – Dave Brown 1995
How has becoming the voice of Bandit in Bluey changed your life?
People are now shocked that I don’t look like an animated dog.
Where is the most surprising place you’ve been recognised from Bluey?
A mother heard me talking in the Woolies at Roselands in Sydney. She said I sounded exactly like that dog from TV. I told her I did the voice of Bandit Heeler, but she didn’t believe me.
What has 2020 taught you about life?
Staying home is good.
How did the pandemic change you?
Although conscious that I’ve been more fortunate than many in my experience of the pandemic so far, I also know that I’ve been feeling less stressed due to less rushing around, but also more withdrawn and introverted. Friends of mine (also not too adversely affected) agree they feel different – more reflective, perhaps, but also less sociable.
I’ve started writing poetry again. Although, really, I probably should have my head read. I mean there’s no money in it, little recognition and hardly anyone wants to publish poetry any more.
But as I always say to fellow poets who complain about the same stuff – poetry, like virtue, is its own reward.
I stopped doing it for a while. Like for 15 years or so. I remember former arts minister Matt Foley (himself a poet) asking me during that fallow period if I’d written much poetry lately.
“I’m in remission from poetry,” I said. “You know there is no cure,” he replied. Boom boom.
Matt rarely officiated at an opening or an event without reading a poem aloud to the assembled throng, which was lovely. Haven’t heard any politicians reading poetry lately and that’s a damn shame.
Before I went into remission I published two slim volumes – Plastic Parables, and An Accident in the Evening.
I started writing poetry, believe it or not, when I was a student at Miami State High School on the Gold Coast. I was influenced by The Beatles and Leonard Cohen and I got serious about it when I went to uni in Toowoomba and had the late, great Bruce Dawe as my lecturer. That was amazing and Bruce became my poetic mentor and believed in my work when various editors of poetry journals didn’t.
I could have wallpapered my room with the rejection slips I received. I guess it was character building. Rejection is almost an art form itself in the poetry world, which can be fractious and frustrating. You’d think poets would be gentle souls but let me tell you, I have been shirtfronted and threatened with physical violence by a couple of bards.
I may have come out of remission (five poems so far with two on the go) but I have yet to re-engage with the local poetry scene. That will come next I guess and I hope to do some poetry readings in the not-too-distant future. I remember the first poetry reading I was involved in at uni in Toowoomba. We put posters up all around town and two people turned up. Which says a lot really.