"This is the first photo I took of Shirl from Skyhooks, 1976. I can't believe he has been gone for 21 years. Gone but never forgotten."
August 15thUp early and it is raining, it's kind of set in, just grey, wet and a tad miserable outside.
I drive to Olinda to grab a chicken and some bread. I sit in the Parklet and drink green tea but it's cold outside. I don't last very long, and head on home.
I hear from Paige around the Michael Gudinski documentary so going through images etc for that. Early days but the wheels are turning. My afternoon spent in the office. I think the first time we met Michael was at Wollongong when Skyhooks played Wollongong Town Hall, August 10th 1976. I remember he looked a lot like a wererwolf with that giant beard. He posed for a photo and we said how excited we were about Skyhooks releasing their new album and playing our tiny town.
The Charity calls just to check that I have recovered form the electric shock. So that was nice. Till all the wiring is fixed I'm keeping away from power plugs etc in the store.
August 16thMark give an old Skyhooks cassette from the American Tour in 1976 a bit of a clean up. We treat the Hooks fans by puttying up 3 songs on YouTube. Shirls stage patter is great. I wonder what Americans thought of this freaky fucking brilliant band from Australia way back in early 1976.
Anyway the audio is here, 3 songs, and what fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldGHMh_AEV4
For the first time ever, more energy on the national grid was created by solar not coal here in Australia. We love our solar panels. So funny to think when we first got solar they had the "100 rooftop" scheme where the power company were trying to get 100 house across Australia to put panels on their roof. Yes 100! Whats it now, 3 million? Amazing.
The mountain covered in fog. So happy to grab an early morning coffee for a full on day at the charity. Thoughts of my Dad today, gone 36 years now. Sis takes flowers to his grave, bless her.
August 17thMr Peep visits with 2 cockatoo friends. They are mean to him and won't let him have any sunflowers. He wisely waits for them to go knowing we will come out with a special lot for him.
Sad call today, Marks step Dad passes away, such a lovely man. Seems surreal, so Wollongong here we come (again)- for the funeral next week.
August 18thToday I'm very happy, a really good balance in my life. I wish it was like this every day of the year. A huge part of it is out of my hands, and yes I wear my heart on my sleeve way too much. Love to Paradise beach. Is the message getting through?
Scott Morrisons lame press conference is on, watching him stumble trying to justify keeping his deceit from the Australian people. He forgets that WE pay his wage. Thank god he is no longer PM.
Happy Birthday Nigel Griggs from Split Enz. 73! Keep passing the open windows.
August 19thCoffee with Andy White. He is 4 minutes late, which is early on the popstar clock. Nice chat , lots of planning, plotting. We go trough the images and artwork for the Andy White-Tim Finn release. Plus a few other ideas. Great to hear that the ALT "ALTITUDE" re-issue has sold out. The band have about 13 copies of the double vinyl and updated reissue CD on their band camp page. Once these go , that is it gone forever. The vinyl is truly awesome.
Nice to get the official word that "Taboo" season 2 production starts at long last in 2023. Excited.
Flowers arrive in the afternoon, they are beautiful.
August 20thChat to Bongo Skyhook for an hour. At the end he says how proud of me he is around the Disaster work. It really touched my heart, thanks Bob. Big shout out to "Deans Disaster Relief". Please go like their facebook page. It all helps.
A nice afternoon so i head out, put some music on and chop wood. Mark comes up and watched. HA! He cut some the other day so he has done his share.
We watch the "Belfast" movie and it is good. Thumbs up, loved the cinematography, and the music. Excellent cast.
August 21stWe watch the 7 News Spotlight show and their latest feature on UFO's. Some of it predictable but the footage was really cool. Not sure Aliens would bother with Earth, would you go to a place that ruins the planet and has way too many dickheads? But we do have some great music.
August 22ndA big storm hits the mountain, loads of rain and the horrible wind returns. Our place is ok but parts of the tourist road flooded.
I do a little pre-push for the Andy White and Tim Finn album (January 2023). Doesn't hurt to let out a few teaser bits of news.
August 23rdI'm up early, 6.30 am. I send Deano a text and he is awake too. He's off to the airport to showcase the DDR at the Adelaide Disaster Conference. I was going to go but we are now heading home for a funeral in Wollongong. The sad passing of Marks stepdad. A lovely man. Family comes first.
Dean and myself chat, he's so excited which is great. We are abit cynical about such conferences, usually a lot of wankers, all lapping up government grants and not getting their hands dirty in disaster zones. That's my opinion.
I arrive at the Charity and my boss who has been away doesn't show up. The second in charge on her day off so eventually lovely Nicole turns up. Three of us waiting outside in the cold and wet.
A long day, so much stock, made interesting by a big box of The Phantom comics. So I put them out, a few people excited instantly and they grab a handful. It ends up being a long wet cold day.
On the way home Deano sends me a picture of the DDR poster in the foyer of the venue. I'm so incredibly moved seeing it. So proud of him and what the DDR does, and our tiny tiny bit of involvement feels extra positive. We chat on the phone several times, it's all going well. The public are applauding too, loads of extra "likes" on the Deans Disaster Relief facebook page. So thank you everyone. As someone posted on one of the forums you'd have to be a bit of a knob not to support such a positive relief organisation -just a "like" is all we have ever asked, not even donations. DDR facebook can be found here:
Just after midnight I decide to head on out and do our grocery shopping and our first junk food in a month. Imagine when i get to Woolworths and find out they are no longer 24 service. Extra surprise when I get to Hungry Jacks and it is the same-closed. So settle for those golden arches. Home again and in bed by 2am.
August 24thAnother rush on "likes" for DDR facebook page, it has momentum. So many people are spreading the good word.
I drive to the Olinda bakery and sit inside and have a coffee and a sandwich. A local friend Kay is nearby. We chat for awhile, she wants to talk about disaster assistance etc. She also likes the DDR page. I give her one of Deans cards. The last one. I've ran out.
Marks Uncle calls with all the funeral information, so Wollongong here we come. Our suits are back from the dry cleaners and I will start packing our carry on bags this afternoon.
I get this photo of Mum and Sis printed at Officeworks and a really cool frame, so one of my birthday presents for my sister.
I do my bowel cancer test and mail it off. I never have a problem doing these, whatever happens, happens. Fate is my friend.
August 25thThankfully our flight isn't till late afternoon so i manage to grab a coffee from Olinda bakery. Tahlia and Taylor are on, and they know we are going away and refuse money for my coffee, very sweet of them.
We leave home at 12.30, a bit of traffic. Eat at frequent flyer but our flight is a different airline so we have to exit security and re-enter at another part of the airline. Annoying as the flight is delayed by 1.5 hours so we could of stayed in the freaky flyer. So we chill out and stuff ourselves with all the extra free jaffas that we scored.
We touch down at Sydney and Sis meets us out front. She also brings food and spoils us with chocolate gift bags. God my sister is awesome.
We arrive home, drop Mark off, good to see Mum but she looks so frail. I'm just happy she is still here. Sis stays awhile, we all talk and I only fight with Mum a bit, the usual thing, she avoids taking her medication.
I stay up and listen to the Rugby with her on the radio. I'm pretty worn so some sleep. I am reading Paul Stanley from KISS's book, it's not bad.
August 26thUp fairly early. No choice as the sunshine in my room is so BRIGHT. I wear my "Keith Richards for President" shirt and head on down to Krema & Co for a coffee. They remember me from a few weeks back so that is nice.
Home again and I get ready for the funeral, time for my suit. Sis is going too so picks me up. It's at the little Chapel at Lakeside Memorial Park , we sit with Mark in the front row. Lovely, emotional, the photos are just brilliant. Two I took of Marks step dad and his Mum, my favourites, they look so happy. It's nice to see Marks family members and Allens daughter and son.
Afterwards a lot of us have some food nearby and lots of chatting. Allens son Brett admits his favourite album is Skyhooks "Living in the seventies" he is a big fan, how the hell did we not know that. Such good taste.
Our next thing is to release Marks Mums ashes which have been at the house for three years. Marks Uncle knows a nice spot by Lake Illawarra so we all go down and do that. Some flowers also into the lake. A lovely moment but sad, i just want to hug Mark and never let him go.
I tell the story of my shoe falling apart at Marks Mums funeral, I swear 10 minutes later the entire sole comes off my almost new shoes by the lake-how could this happen twice? Are both of them playing some universal joke on me from beyond the grave. Thankfully Marks Uncle takes me back to his garage and re-glues the entire shoe.
I spend the afternoon with Mum. So great to see MIM too, she shows me her freestyle dance to Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill", she is an amazing dancer. I beat her 2/2 for standing one one leg longer. Sis just laughs at our stupidity.
Mum tries to stay up late but she nods off at times. This makes me smile. I read Paul Stanley's book till 1.00 and can't sleep. I talk to Mark a few times.
August 27thI am up early and cook some bacon on toast. Run to the cafe for a coffee and home in time for Sis to pick me up. We go grab Mark and on the way to the airport. The weather sucks. MIM is in the car as well so that is entertaining.
We arrive at the airport with time to spare so head once more to the Frequent Flyer Lounge. Same deal, in and out of security. While we wait for our flight I check out the book shop and try and buy Jay Carmichael's "Marlo" book and can't find it.
Flight leaves close to time but the Jetstar twink at the gate is an arsehole.
It's nice to be back in Victoria, the Red Beast zooms home and we get a few calls, huge thanks to Dean for caring about us so much. The house always feels weird now as we both expect to see Miss Banshee waiting for us. I'm rather tired, so go to bed early. Both of us are still carrying a lot of sadness around with us. Death glorious Death!
August 28thHard to believe but Shirl from Skyhooks has been gone 21 years tomorrow. Gone but never forgotten. Thought we'd put some music up on our YouTube page from the State Theatre Sydney 1975 show for you all to enjoy. Plus a collection of photos on the facebook page. The live stuff -the Hooks in full flight in 1975- the rarely played "The Other Side" complete with Freds drum solo. Big thank you to Mark for making this happen.
The sun is out, I'm sure we packed it into our suitcases at Wollongong and brought it back with us. I work on the outside water tank, every 15 years I have to get it level again, I manage to get it back into position. Nice not having to rely on tap water for the garden.
I send Neil a short email to wish Elroy a good recovery. Sad they blew out the USA dates but Neils probably putting family first. I get that.
Take care everyone, hug the ones you love a little bit more.