(and still is) the largely unseen presence that makes their risky and occasionally
outlandish deals stick (It was kind of heart-warming to see the re-uniting
of Chuggy and Gudinsky over the two days - there'd been some sort of feud
happening and they hadn't talked to each other for some time apparently).
Anyway, Bill and I were greeted by all and sundry like long-lost bosom buddies.
You could see them relax when they saw us. Tame musos
. There were
some odd moments though. For instance, Chuggy was shocked to hear from Bill
about Barry Sullivan's death. There wasn't anything about it in the straight
press, but this is a man with his finger on the pulse and he hadn't heard?
But it's when you try and engage these men in conversation that you discover
how short their attention span is if the talk isn't about money - or, in Philip's
case, money and horses. That's not to say they're not often funny and outrageous,
and even occasionally very generous and genuinely concerned, it's just that
they're mostly rude and obnoxious and preoccupied with one-upping each other.
It's simply the reality of the symbiosis. Musicians, and artists in general,
are more concerned with their art and having a good time with their art, than
about money. That's why there are promoters, agents and managers. (And record
companies for that matter).
The highlight of the trip was when we got in touch with Ian 'Harv' Harvey,
an old mate who lives just out of Eumundi. I've actually known Harv's wife
Jeni for longer than Harv - she was Paul Grant's girlfriend in the Instant
Replay days, and my late wife Helen took a shine to her then. Harv and Jeni
have been going through some tough times lately, with the result that Harv
is effectively living on his own. He's recently got up a second band called
the Pleasure Kings, and he played us a CD of part of a live performance they'd
recorded just a couple of weeks earlier. He'd taken the sound unaltered direct
from the FOH desk, and I have to say it was absolutely stunning - both from
a sound and performance perspective.
Harv's mate Eddy (Eddy Van Driver) arrived, and it was decided we'd drive
up to Noosa in Harv's jade green Parisienne and have lunch. It felt like we
were cruisin' in our own American Grafitti movie (the Parisienne is enormous
and has no seat belts), and it proved to be a very pleasant, and probably
very necessary interlude from the jostling of egos back at the party.
That night we were back in Noosa for the second stage of the extravaganza.
Bill and I had brought our guitars and harps with us in case the opportunity
presented itself for us to perform for Phil as our joint birthday gift. (Phil
had very kindly paid our return airfares, but we still couldn't afford a gift
of any significance). We toyed with the idea of following Phil around all
day like a couple of really annoying minstrels, and we had actually accompanied
him with some of Bill's instrumentals as he had a fag on the verandah that
morning, but Eric Robinson had something more formal in mind for the restaurant.
That night the speeches from Eric, Chuggy and Gudinski were typically crude
and funny - and very revealing. Phil's softer, family-oriented side was exposed
in a joint speech from his daughters Kate and Emma, and there was a very funny
race call done with a number of Phil's (and the Dundas Lane consortium's)
horses involved, but...