The Seventies

Questionnaire Response

published in On The Beach, No.11, Sydney, 1987

A questionnaire sent to me from Cathy Lumby, co-editor of On The Beach. Apparently only 10% of invitees to the questionnaire responded.

How were you involved in the arts during the 70s?.

Strictly fringe/underground/whatever. Music: playing pub gigs where people sat cross-legged on the floor. Best gig - supporting Split Enz and playing to a mass of windcheaters. Worst gigs - playing with bands like The Boys Next Door. Performing similar work in the experimental/new music scene. Great place to try things out, but a context which did not expand much. Film: super eight. (No polemics attached.) Print: New Music magazine. Great idea, but most composers thought that their music could speak for itself. Hmmmm. Various program notes to performances and the like. Usually left in a pile just knew where you walked in - take them or leave them.

How do you view those activities retrospectively?

Documented work. Some of it deleted now. Music was probably the strongest. Most all was conceptually strong but variably lacking in some execution aspects.

What is the extent of your involvement in the arts currently?

Still → ↑ → but in a more a amorphous form. Was officially known as coordinator; now director. (Everyone should be their own benevolent dictator and exchange labour on that level rather than exercise collectivism.) Film is now 16mm; records and live music less frequent; more prolific video output; more ventures into print; no more program notes (redirected into writing articles - everyone's fav hobby).

What kind of distinction, if any, would you make between this and the previous decade me theory and/or practice in the arts?

No distinction - continuation. 'Kids these days' talk Baudrillard, but in my day it was Punk. The full meaning of Punk rises now a decade later. Punk has largely determined most cultural intercourse of the past eight years. Remember what punk said/says about postmodernism - we don't care. (Explanatory book following soon.)

What part does nostalgia play in your current interests?

Last year - none. This year - heaps. Glam rock, musique concrète, horror & core, exploitation, radical film.

Which period has been most productive for you and why?


What relevance does this kind of historical splits have?

Not much. I'm still working, but most faces around our new. 'Good ole days' are only for the losers. The present is the best time, the only time. That's why I'll be here for the next mid-decade questionnaire.

Text © Philip Brophy. Image © ALP.