Yep, the first week back and, appropriately for summer, JVG’s theme was ‘Bay’. Each year, returning to the Corner, I’ve tried to get myself out of the comfort zone…I was extremely nervous about starting 2012 with a soul classic. Let’s face it, I’m no soul singer, but, what the hell, I thought I may as well give ‘Dock of the Bay’ a crack. Luckily I was ably assisted by Ed Bates on steel and Dave Evans on accordion. They made swift instrumental work of the whistling theme!
This week the theme was ‘Washing’. I had to play solo for a change, as all my cronies had left town for one reason or another. As I really like the Lisa Mitchell song, Coin Laundry, I thought I’d give it a crack. A couple of weird coincidences ensued. One: JVG and I worked out that we used to frequent the same coin laundry in Mitford St in Elwood in our youth – it is this coin laundry I always imagine when I listen to Lisa’s song. Two: Lisa Mitchell her-very-self was listening when I played the song on the radio. She sent me a nice email.
It feels strange that the radio show is winding down for 2011. This week was the second-last Warner Corner for the year. Jon had chosen the theme ‘Rainbows’ as Sarah Carroll had organised a gig at the Rainbow Hotel: Sarah also co-hosted the show…
About twenty years ago I had been out on the tear in St Kilda one night when I had a brief exchange with an old digger in one of those last-drinks dives…Joey’s? The Linden Tree? The old bloke was charged up as he’d just won a tidy sum on the dish-lickers. ‘What will you do with all that cash?’ I enquired. ‘I’m gonna buy me a rainbow suit, Danny, I’m gonna buy me a rainbow suit.’
The largest crowd to date came to celebrate start of summer at the 10th annual RRR BBQ Day at Ceres Environmental Park in Brunswick. JVG had decided on a vegetarian theme this year to counter an ongoing onslaught of meat-themed tunes, such as Cat Stevens’ ‘The Worst Cut is The Cheapest’ and Crowded Houses’s ‘Weber with You’. The MBO (Melbourne BBQ Orchestra) saw a slight change of personnel, with Paul Thomas taking on electric guitar duties and Sgt Slaughter attending to the trumpet.
The rest of the MBO was made up of past BBQ day stalwarts: Ed Bates on pedal steel; Nathan Farrelly on bass; Matt Earl on drums; Dave ‘Dr Bellows’ Evans on accordion and piano; and Dan Warner on acoustic guitar. Dan’s vegetarian songs this year included the Jimmy Webb tear-jerker, ‘By The Time I Eat My Weetbix’ and the Elton John tribute to the salad fetishist, ‘Rocket Man’.
Straight after BBQ Day, the MBO repaired to The Lomond Hotel for a couple of sets of après-BBQ sizzle. James Stewart from The Warner Brothers was subbed in on guitar (one of the highlights was James’s definitive Melbourne song, Stuck in Melbourne, which was bellowed across the pub by the entire crowd). Song of the day, perhaps, was a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘From a Buick 6’.
Here’s a photo of RRR’s Ian Bland posing for an apres-BBQ-Day shot in front of the Christmas Tree at The Lomond. A passing punter was heard to remark, ‘Ian Bland: a wise man and a Christmas decoration’.