Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posted December 2010
During my time at 2DAY-FM, tragedy struck. My former boss Keith Graham
Well, it was about 15 years before I saw Bob again. We had lunch together
in North Sydney before I moved to Taree shortly afterwards. Bob was supposed
to return to work after lunch but that's not what happens when you go to
lunch with Grace. Hehe. He caught a taxi home.
So there I was in '86 unemployed with a mortgage to pay. My friend Kim
offered her credit card so I could buy an Amstrad computer, a pretty basic
machine, a glorified word processor. But for $1100 which was quite cheap
at the time, the package included software, monitor, keyboard and dot matrix
printer. I would pay Kim back as I could afford it.
No mouse, no hard drive, just two floppy drives at the right of the
screen, one to boot the machine, one to record stuff. 128K was the limit
on each floppy. The machine was so slow, I could type faster than it could
record. Often, I would have to wait for the machine to catch up. But it
did the job. It allowed me to store all my work, edit it and print it.
At the same time I bought a Canon G-3 fax machine which cost $4500 to lease.
Can you imagine that? Office stuff was horrendously expensive back then.
Now you get a fax machine built in to a printer/scanner for about 100 smackers.
I can't find any of my old business cards. UPDATE: I found an original
card. Woohoo! The scanner missed the last digit of the post code - 2037.
The logo looks like something out of the Flintstones.
Oh yes, and I still had my CM Valiant Regal. That's the real McCoy
parked across the road from my "office". And there's my personal assistant
Kelly seated in the rear of my second company vehicle. She liked the idea
of having a personal chauffeur. We used to pedal around the hood quite
often. Please ignore the purple wall in the background. I got all carried
away with heritage colors and blew it. Shortly thereafter, I changed it
back to pale yellow. And ignore the mudguards as well. I was a bit girly
I think it was New Year's Eve '84 while I was still at 2DAY FM that
I phoned my ex-boss at 2UE, Chris Maitland. He had been a dyed-in-the-wool
company man who disapproved of my casual attitude towards my employers
- until he got moved sideways. He quit shortly afterwards and started his
own biz SoundPlan. So I phoned him and said, "Maaaaaaaaaaate! I've got
this great idea! Money for jam!" I explained to him that I would write
"Instant Copy"... ads based around generic stuff like shoes, cars, furniture,
etc - thought starters for copywriters working at radio stations. Chris's
job was to syndicate the Instant Copy to as many radio stations as he could
get, and we would share the profits.
Woohoo! I got so excited I photocopied the check. But it was people
like Chris who became my clients when I went freelance in '86. I didn't
have all that many clients but enough to keep me going. In fact, my ex-boss
at 2DAY FM felt guilty about firing me and put me on a retainer. One month
I received a check and phoned him. "I haven't done anything for 2DAY this
month and you've paid me!" "Don't worry about it. That's what retainers
are for." Oh... well there ya go... who was I to complain?
Most of my freelance work was radio, with a bit of press and TV thrown
in, as well as the occasional corporate video. I developed a close working
relationship with a group of professonal voice-over artists and actors
who turned my copy into something really special. I can't remember the
lady's name in pic 1 but that's Keith Scott on the left, and Jim Pike on
the right. Keith is the official Warner Bros voice in Oz for all their
cartoon characters. He's an incredible mimick. Jim does accents and comedy
like no one I've ever met, except perhaps for David Gibson (Gibbo) in pic
3, right. Jim and Gibbo were great mates and loved working together. Next
to David is PJ (Paul Johnstone) who is also a very talented character voice.
That's Robyn Moore on the far right in the middle pic. She was always such
a delight to work with. She could do any voice I wanted, from serious to
totally off the wall. There were other voice-over artists I worked with
regularly but I don't have pics of them. One was Tim Elliott, an eccentric
pipe-smoking actor who could read my Jaguar scripts to absolute perfection.
Ah! I just found a pic of Tim on the web. One time, in a single take,
Tim read one of my Jaguar scripts perfectly in 29.8 seconds (which was
my nickname). The audio engineer and I looked at each other. "Should we
ask Tim for another take?" "I guess we should." Take two was identical...
a perfect read in 29.8. Hehe. Tim is one of the best. Terribly British
and all that, but drives a Citroen.
The studio I booked exclusively was Stellar, just a short walk or bike
ride from my "office". The sound engineer I used 99% of the time was Brad
Power (Bradwell). He and I had been mates back at 2UE, and he was a whizz
with all the knobs and dials. It was analogue recording back in those days,
and Bradwell would often spend time in post production using a razor blade
to cut the breaths out of the reads. He was a class act. I always booked
the studio for 11am. By the time the session was over, it was time for
lunch. Every day just after noon, Stellar put on a beautiful smorgasbord
lunch with lots of wine. Hehe. It's a wonder they ever made a profit after
I'd raided all their goodies.
The building had been an old corner pub, which they gutted and renovated
with marble floors and all the fancy furnishings and fittings, as well
as the best studios in town. All top end stuff. Expensive but worth every
penny. And there I was in jeans and flip flops, wearing a bicycle crash
helmet. The kid from Lakemba with no class at all.
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