Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Willie's Bar & Grill

jeffm@jeack.com.au jeffm@jeack.com.au
Tue, 7 Oct 2003 11:20:29 -1000


that's pretty harsh.  not one word of praise.  is that just your style?

firstly, asking for an index???

secondly, in reality, do you think he should have abstained from his
observations because he didn't live there for a while?  how could he go
into depth when he's touring?  i'm sure if he visited Airport West (where i
live) then his appraisal wouldn't be too good, but it would be
understandable, even though i love the place.  cut him a bit of slack (even
though i don't think he needs any.)  it's his first book, and a bloody good
one for mine.

thirdly, if you have so little respect for the depth of his appraisal of
the bits of the U.S., then why would you want him to write about the
connection of the lyrics to an American audience.  if he doesn't seem to
understand you, then how could his knowledge of the bands lyrics to the
people aid things. 

now i'm getting petty - maybe i'm just reacting becuase i think it's sad
that you wanted him to write from your perspective - that you wanted him to
write more for an american audience.  if i could be so bold as to guess his
feelings during writing, my guess is that he was going to write as best he
could, from his perspective as a member of an australian band, touring a
foreign land (one of which he is very fond - that's noticable here in
australia).  and if he had a go at parts of your homeland that you love
then try not to take it hard.  we aussies have a way of calling a spade a
spade, even if we are talking to a shovel-lover.

please also remember that, even though some of us were looking for goss, or
inner workings of the band (and i'm not accusing you of that...), i think
that some of this group were actually disappointed that we didn't get any
"dirty laundry."  these are his mates he was writing about, and
understandably, if there was anything juicy that happened on tour (dummy
spits, annoyances, etc.) then he should respect his mates and risk a "flop"
of a book, rather than make a bestseller and write things about his mates
that could be construed in an uncomplimentary way.  don't forget.."words
have a habit of not fading awaaaaaay..."

just my 2c, from one wanker to another...


>Wankers of the World,
>So, what's the consensus on Willie's Bar & Grill?  From what I've seen,
>it seems to be fairly positive here.  Not to start another big, bad, ole
>controversy, but I was a bit disappointed.  I'll make two observations.
>There's no index.  I realize that this is just a travel diary, not a
>scholarly work.  This style, though, made it sometimes difficult to get
>through some of the discourses and observations that Hirst had, and it
>also made me feel lost at sea with respect to certain specific Midnight
>Oil matters.  For instance, at the beginning of the chapter "The night
>they drove old Dixie down" Hirst puts an epitaph from Kosciuszcko, which
>seems fitting for a chapter that seems to be about life south of the
>Mason-Dixon.  I would guess, though, that very few outside of Australia
>have any idea what this song is all about.  Indeed it was a mystery to >me
for several years.  It would have been nice if Hirst had written at >least
a couple of paragraphs on the song and the relevance to what he >saw in the
American South.
>Of course, again, this is a travel journal of observations and
>reflections, but that's the sort of omission that left me disappointed. 
>Midnight Oil has connected with its American audience for a number of
>reasons, and one of them is the words in their songs, even those that
>those of us here in the Land of the Free don't always understand.  I >wish
he would have devoted a bit more time to connecting the music and >the
lyrics to the touring experience and the connection between the band >and
the audience in the United States.
>My other observation can best be summarized by a quote from the book:
>"This [Cleveland] is a town only a mother could love, what coastal
>Americans dismiss as 'fly-over country'" (122).  Now, aside from the >fact
that that bugs me as a native Clevelander (which is an obvious >enough
fact--and perhaps indeed I am a sort of mother, to use his >language, since
this is my birthplace and I love and contribute to my >hometown), this is
also reflective of something else, and it pertains to >what I said about
the shortcomings of a travel journal.  Not just there, >but in several
places in the book, I got the impression that Hirst was >just pontificating
about American society and culture, based on his >touring experiences and
whatever he has read about our country, but >there was no depth to it.  I
am sure from the chapter on Cleveland that >he has very little
comprehension of what Cleveland is all about, and I >get the feeling that
the same applies in different degrees to the rest >of the book.
>It's not a scholarly work, but why didn't he write more about the band,
>their music, their concerts, and other things that are within his
>purview?  I don't think that Rob Hirst has a good grasp of the life of
>the cities that he and his bandmates have toured through in the United
>Some of the anecdotes were amusing, some were interesting, but a lot of
>it was . . . well, I was disappointed with the book.  Glad I bought it. 
>Not a hard or very time-consuming read.  Would have wanted something
>better, though.
>Virgil T. Morant
>Former Manager of Hall & Oates & Morant, LLC
>The Most Soulful Limited Liability Company in History
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