Off the Record 2007 - MusicNSW

Off the Record 2007 is a mini music-writing festival that will debut at this year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival, Sydney’s premier literary event. It is a celebration of music, music journalism, fandom, passion and obsession where some of Australia’s best music writers will explore the way music journalism and biography interacts with musical and popular culture as well as literature and politics.

Off the Record is the brainchild of Sydney-based writer, music journalist, musician and biographer Jason Walker, who has collaborated with fellow writer, editor and musician Tracy Ellis to put together this event.

This festival within the festival will comprise of six sessions incorporated into the 2007 SWF program, from May 30-June 3.

I Am Woman – a celebration of contemporary music writing by some of Sydney’s best female journalists, alongside a look back at the remarkable life of trailblazing music journalist Lillian Roxon;

Music and Politics – sure to be a fired-up foray into the faultline between music and activism, with Midnight Oil’s Rob Hirst, rock writing veteran Clinton Walker and Brisbane biographer Andrew Stafford, whose book Pig City recreates the emergence of Brisbane’s music scene under the oppression of Joh Bjelke-Petersen with fascinating insights and personal accounts from the many musicians and activists who were there.

The 15 Fame-Filled Minutes of The Fanzine Writer – the rise of blogging, online music commentary and criticism and how new voices are coming though loud and clear to detail personal perspectives and obsessions with styles and genres.

All sessions are in the SWF venues at Wharf 4/5, Hickson Rd, The Rocks, except for I Am Woman which is at the Hopetoun Hotel.

All Off the Record 2007 sessions are FREE. A full program for Off the Record follows. Details are also available on the SWF website:

For further information and inquiries relating to Off the Record, please contact:
Jason Walker: 0407 368 009;
Tracy Ellis: 0438 936 572;

(For SWF media inquiries contact Andy Palmer Publicity (02) 9380 8210)


Wednesday May 30, 5.30-7pm, Hopetoun Hotel
Speakers: Kathy Bail, Tracey Grimson, Chloe Sasson, Robert Milliken
The female voice in international rock journalism has a long and venerable tradition, yet many great women writers do not enjoy the profile of their male counterparts. Kathy Bail, Tracey Grimson and Chloe Sasson discuss, with Robert Milliken, the biographer of Australian writer Lillian Roxon.

Friday June 1, 5-6pm, Bangarra Theatre
Speaker: Andrew Mueller talks to Jason Walker
Andrew Mueller is an ex-Sydney music journalist, now based in London, who has travelled from Afghanistan to Abkhazia, Belfast to Belgrade in search of a good story. His book, I Wouldn’t Start From Here: Travels in the Early 21st Century is his random history of the 21st century so far, and all its absurdities, intermittent horrors and occasional glimmers of hope. It features gunfights, car chases and gaol cells, exotic locations, and a cast of revolutionaries, rock stars, politicians, hit-men, warmongers and peacemakers. Andrew is in conversation with Jason Walker, author of Gods Own Singer.

Saturday, June 2, 3.30-4.30pm, Bangarra Theatre
Speakers: Kathy Bail, Stuart Coupe, Clinton Walker, Jason Walker, Robert Milliken
Music biography is as much a part of the tradition of rock ‘n’ roll as music itself. Kathy Bail, Stuart Coupe and Clinton Walker with Gram Parsons biographer Jason Walker and Robert Milliken, discuss music biography, including the recent trend in music bio-pics based on biographies such as Walk The Line and Ray.

Saturday, June 2, 4-5pm Bangarra Mezzanine
Speakers: Sophie Howarth, Bernard Zuel, Bruce Elder, Robyn Doreian Frank
Zappa once famously declared that rock journalism is “people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read.” The perception has changed since the bad old days of the ’60s and ’70s but the notion that music journalists are reporters rather than critics persists. Sophie Howarth, Bernard Zuel, Robyn Doreian and Bruce Elder talk about documenting music.

Sunday, June 3 2007, 11am-12pm, Sydney Philharmonic Choir Room
Speakers: Rob Hirst, Stuart Coupe, Clinton Walker, Andrew Stafford There
is a long-standing relationship between music and social change. From Flower Power to Punk, music has heralded, protested or reflected major world events from the Vietnam War to the Cold War. A discussion about the history and ongoing relationship between music and politics, protest and social change in Australia.

Sunday, June 3 2007, 12.30-1.30pm, Bangarra Theatre
Speakers: Matt Rubinstein, Rachel Hills, Andrew Mueller
Now that the Blog Age has advanced the status of the fanzine from the work of an individual with access to a photocopier to global proportions and even fame, will we see the rise of a new generation of authors whose work may not ever make it into print? Does it mean better quality writing? Or just more typing? Matt Rubinstein, Rachel Hills and Andrew Mueller discuss.