Often though it might be said that if you can remember the Sixties you weren’t there, nobody present ever forgot the first Jefferson Airplane albums. The band had a palette of sound like nobody else’s, mainly because the solid bass riffs and the bitingly sweet guitars were dedicated to carrying a gorgeous burden. It was the voice of Grace Slick. The female equivalent of a baritone, she could dig in on the low notes as if she were ploughing your brains with an axe of obsidian. Almost unfairly, she also looked amazing: a kind of raven-haired mythologized threat, like Kundry out on a rumble or Lilith trawling for a mate. At Woodstock the Airplane’s arrival was delayed until the early morning and the results sounded a bit thin compared with their recordings.
Not, I hope, just because he has been thoughtfully kind about my own work, I find Richard King, who was born in England, one of the most interesting of the new generation of Australian journalist/critics who are spreading their range of operations deep into the web. This is a fascinating new development of Australia’s cultural internationalism, answering the same impulse that led my generation to book a passage overseas on lumbering ships. For this later crew, all they have to do is log on, and suddenly the world is at their fingertips.
The following is the text of an essay by Julian Gough that ran in the January 2009 issue of Prospect, under the unfeasibly flattering title “As Good as Heaney?”, which I presume was the editor’s choice. My thanks to Julian Gough for kindly making the text available after Prospect strangely decided to be coy about granting web access.
Dates of show: Mar. 27 and Mar. 29, 2009