Literary References in Australian Rock – from The Go-Betweens and The Triffids to Augie March

Sam Twyford-Moore

Wednesday 27 April 2010, from 7pm at Serial Space

Performance: 20mins

The paper is accompanied by new Australian band New Caledonian Blue, who will perform songs referenced throughout the paper – an exciting new mode of cross-referencing. Tracing the beginnings of ‘high-brow’ rock n’ roll lyrics from Bob Dylan’s ‘Shakespeare, he’s in the alley’ to Robert Forster’s ‘What am I doing in the house Jack Kerouac built?’, this paper would look at how a punk generation became lit-minded readers. Both Robert Forster, of The Go-Betweens, and the late David McComb, of The Triffids, have been repositioned as writers in the last five years – Forster as music critic for The Monthly and McComb’s book of poetry being published posthumously – the paper would look at how this cultural viewpoint is affecting younger bands such as Augie March. McComb stated before his death that he wished he was doing something more high-brow than music, this paper looks to perform that central anxiety, by combining a straight academic/cultural essay with live music.

Sam Twyford-Moore is the editor of Cutwater Literary Anthology. His writing has appeared in Meanjin and The Big Issue and two UTS anthologies. His essay/short story The Listening Boy was published in Vagabond Holes: David McComb and The Triffids, alongside the likes of Nick Cave and Robert Forster.


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A two day forum of creative research, experimentation and practice held from April 28-30 at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Serial Space Gallery, Chippendale.

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