Saturday, 1 March 2008

The last time I'd seen Dave Graney he was alone on the huge Brixton Academy stage playing to a full house that was waiting to see The Bad Seeds. It seemed I was the only audient moved by his strumming.

I had similar concerns when I walked into the North Adelaide Community Centre on Thursday night. Seated at tables was an audience that was some twenty years Dave's senior. Were these his aunts and uncles or had they just dropped in to the centre as they usually did? How could they possibly understand this ridiculously proportioned man whose penis stretched all the way to Saturn, this man who held the cool breeze?

I need not have have worried, prior knowledge of the Moodists or The Coral Snakes was of no importance. Dave, was going to lead us through what it was to be the man. Self reflection was always there in his lyrics and on stage banter but in the Point Blank show these themes were thoroughly penetrated by his "shtick" of song, spoken word, and the occasional stomping of his tap shoes. Dave told us what it was to be that aberrant thing, a performer.

Flanked by Clare Moore on vibraphone and Mark Fitzgibbon on piano, Dave began by defining a square metre of stage, not so much a physical space, but a concept, a place to strike from, to reach out from and sometimes to fall in. From that square metre he wielded his dangerous plastic sword and questioned why you'd want to sing for someone, anyone. He delineated the drawbacks of having no pockets in a jump suit, and he railed against "writers", those who sculk at the back of the room never daring to enter that square metre. I shivered in the dark, clutching my notebook.

In the cool breeze on Tynte Street after the show it felt good to know there is a man called Dave Graney still out there shooting Point Blank.


Anonymous said...

Hey Tony. A beautiful bit of writing there. So, you can draw *and* write...

Anonymous said...


I agree ... it is a glorious bit of writing. Many thanks

-David Thompson

Chris Rees said...

Hi Tony. I followed a link here from Dave's MySpace blog

Lovely review. I haven't seen the Point Blank show but I saw him with the Lurid Yellow Mist a year ago. I have always been fascinated by the autobiographical aspect of his work.

I did your cartooning summer holidays course at the old Burnie Adult Ed (now burnt down) in about 1984. And my mum and your mum make paper people together! Its a small world (but its still slightly larger than Venus).

cheers Tony

Tony Thorne said...

Hi Chris,
thanks for the comments, they are much appreciated. I've just been to Burnie to see yours and my mother's wonderful work. It was sad to see the Adult Education Centre in such a state.