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Penmanship

Penmanship is a podcast about Australian writing culture. It features interviews with Australians who earn a living from working with words: writers, journalists, editors and publishers, among others. Each episode features an in-depth, one-on-one conversation about the guest’s career, craft and inner life. The goal of Penmanship is to provide unique insights into the creative process, mechanics and skills behind the best writing in the country. The podcast exists to explore the diversity and complexity of Australian storytelling by speaking directly with leading contributors to the field.
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Now displaying: November, 2015
Nov 25, 2015

Tim Rogers is a songwriter and musician.

As frontman of Australian rock band You Am I, his writing and performance has been a huge part of my musical education from a young age, when I first heard the band's 1996 album Hourly, Daily blasting through the wall of my older brother's bedroom. Over the years, I have seen You Am I play more often than just about any other band, and I've been consistently impressed, as their professionalism and enthusiasm for the task at hand is peerless. Away from the band he has fronted for more than 25 years, Tim is an accomplished solo writer, musician and collaborator, most recently with The Bamboos and their 2015 album The Rules Of Attraction. In recent years, he has written a few non-fiction pieces for the likes of The Monthly and The Age, which is something he's planning to do more often.

This conversation was recorded on a Saturday in late November, the morning after You Am I's performance at The Triffid in Brisbane. The band's tenth album, Porridge & Hotsauce, had been released a couple of weeks earlier. I love this album, and said as much in my review for The Australian, where I awarded it four-and-a-half stars out of five. Outside Tim's hotel room in inner-city Brisbane, it was approaching 35 degrees; he had closed the curtains, and it was so dark inside that I could barely see my notes on the table in front of me. After making me an instant coffee, Tim cracked open a Crown Lager, and we perched at a small table nearby a noisy fridge.

Our conversation touches on how he and the band construct setlists ahead of long national tours; the different attitudes that Australian and overseas audiences bring to his work; how his on-stage persona has changed over the years; how he approaches writing songs about personal matters, and what he has learned about keeping some private material out-of-bounds in his public work; the different emotions that he experiences when starting and finishing songs, and why he sometimes messes with some of his most popular songs when performing them live.

With a career now motoring along in its third unique decade, the remarkable résumé of Tim Rogers encompasses music, film, television, stage and the page. As the frontman of one of the essential Australian rock 'n’ roll bands, You Am I – alongside bandmates Russell Hopkinson on drums, Andy Kent on bass, and Davey Lane on guitar – have released ten studio albums to date.  Three of these releases have debuted at number one on the ARIA charts in consecutive order – 1995’s Hi Fi Way, 1996’s Hourly, Daily and 1998’s #4 Record – with the albums also receiving multiple platinum and gold status for commercial sales. Tim is a published writer in the likes of The Age and The Monthly, and has encapsulated the passion of every AFL football fan as the face of the AFL final series on TV screens across the country. He has stood in front of 50,000 screaming rock fans, but is just as at home playing an acoustic guitar and joking with the locals in a community-run country town venue. In 2015, he released an album with The Bamboos, The Rules Of Attraction, and was named Double J's Australian artist of the year.

Show notes and links to what was discussed in this episode: http://penmanshippodcast.com/episode-15-tim-rogers/

Tim Rogers on Twitter: @TimRogersMusic

Penmanship on Twitter: @PenmanshipAU

penmanshippodcast.com

Nov 11, 2015

Fiona Stager is a bookseller and co-owner of two independent bookshops.

Positioned side-by-side on Boundary Street, in Brisbane's inner-city suburb of West End, her shops Avid Reader and Where The Wild Things Are cater to a wide range of readers. The latter store was launched in March 2015 and specialises in titles for children and young adults. Its neighbour, Avid Reader, opened in 1997, and has since established itself at the centre of the city's literary culture by hosting regular book club meetings and author events.

Avid is where I launched my first book, Talking Smack, in August 2014, in conversation with Brisbane author – and previous Penmanship guest – John Birmingham, who also used the cosy room above the store as a place to write his novel Without Warning (2008). It's my favourite bookshop in Brisbane, not only because it's my local, but because walking through its front door always feels like returning home. This is a wonderful feeling for a bookshop to give to its customers, and I suspect that I'm not the only one who has this experience at Avid Reader, since it is now approaching two decades in business.

My conversation with Fiona took place in early November, in the writers' room above Avid, where handwritten plot outlines and chapter structures are posted on the walls. Our conversation touches on her unusual path into bookselling; her philosophy and vision for what she wanted Avid Reader to represent; the advantages of hiring writers as her staff; how she manages a formidable reading schedule, and her recent involvement in a national news story which highlighted the store's decision not to stock the biography of the former Premier of Queensland.

Fiona Stager is the co-owner of Avid Reader Bookshop and Where the Wild Things Are Bookshop. Avid Reader has gained a national reputation for its extensive events program which regularly features international, national and local authors. The Queensland Writers Centre named her the winner of the 2009 Johnno Award for her contribution to the Queensland writing community. She is a regular judge of literary awards including the inaugural Stella Award and the Queensland Literary Awards 2015. After sitting on the board of the Australian Booksellers Association for twelve years, Fiona was awarded life membership in 2014 for her services to the Australian bookselling industry. National Bookshop Day was one of her initiatives. Fiona lives in West End with her family, three chickens and her native bee hive.

Show notes and links to what was discussed in this episode: http://penmanshippodcast.com/episode-14-fiona-stager/

Avid Reader on Twitter: @AvidReader4101

Penmanship on Twitter: @PenmanshipAU

penmanshippodcast.com

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