"Emptiness and how to replace loss of identity is a common theme in Australian Aboriginal fiction. There is integrity here.”

- North West Star, Mt Isa.

Dizzy Roundabout, a guitarist in an Aboriginal rock ‘n’ roll band, has criss-crossed the Australian continent for the past ten years scraping just enough money for the next gig. Accepting a national Music Industry Award in the absence of the lead singer, reportedly taken by a crocodile is just another day at the office. Torn between recording in Sydney and a woman at an Outback roadhouse, Dizzy’s life begins to come apart and he finds himself stranded in a small town, until an elderly missionary steers him onto a road that he’s not travelled before.  

A REVIEW

"Highly recommended."

‚Äč

Northern Territory Chief Minister's Literary Awards. 2016.

DRY CROSSING - A Novel

A History of the Daintree Aboriginal Mission. 1940-1962, first published in 2000, has been re-published (Nov. 2015) by Boolarong Press, Brisbane. It is one of the latest accounts of Christian Missions to historically displaced Aboriginal people, who were, in Far North Queensland, neglected and left destitute by government policy and the expanding sugar cane industry.

This part of Australian history suffers from a woeful misinterpretation, considering that missionaries often recorded sacred sites and family histories on which Land Rights is based. One of the Indigenous women interviewed for this book, notes that she was raised to be "asked" to participate in the national life of her country.

The book has a human narrative and includes academic references which constitute a balanced record of claims and counter-claims of the life and times on the Mission and surrounding towns. It's a slim paperback of 176 pages, with black and white photographs that retails for $29.95.

A REVIEW

"BAPTISED AMONG CROCODILES is an amazing story of white settlement and its effect on the region. While most of us are familiar with the horrors of that time - the hardships on Palm Island and the slaughters - this book focuses on a largely positive movement. It pays tribute to people who were ahead of their time, like the nursing sister Isabella Hetherington who became a missionary at Mossman and Daintree” 

Marie Low. The Cairns Post. 26/2/2000.

BAPTISED AMONG CROCODILES

I wrote WHAT'S RANGOON TO YOU IS GRAFTON TO ME in 1978 when it was first published in Tracks Surfing Magazine, with original lino-cut illustrations by Bruce Goold.  Tony Barrel, with whom I worked at 2JJ asked me if I'd adapt the story about an all-night drive from Brisbane to Sydney for radio.  I asked James Dibble, the ABC's nightly television newsreader if he'd be interested in being the narrator and Graham Wyatt, who was the producer of the 2JJ breakfast show I hosted from 1976/1977, produced it in mono for AM broadcast on Doublejay later that year. 

RANGOON received lots of requests for cassette copies and re-broadcasts. 2JJ's low frequency 1540 kilohertz transmitter bounced a signal off the ionosphere at night, allowing people outside of Sydney, e.g., Grafton Gaol to receive it.  I got a postcard from Myanmar once and I've heard that someone named their northern NSW property RANGOON. It was heavily pirated and re-mixed into stereo by Geoff Overmyer and Chris Norris in 1983 which gave it a new lease of life.  It was broadcast by Radio National {last broadcast January 2015, 37 years later} and who knows who else? 

In 1991, it was published in a book of my short stories by Imprint/A&R and in 1992, I adapted it to the stage where it premiered at the Metro in Brisbane for a short season, starring Norman Doyle.  Some of the reviews grappled with the text and the meaning of "the jellyfish that followed Coffs Harbour." I wrote it because a lot of the stuff that I was doing on the breakfast show went into the ether and I vainly thought I'd try to capture some of the mood for posterity. It's a bit of a John the Baptist cry in the wilderness. It’s been out of print for a while. The Australian band, TIJUANA CARTEL sampled RANGOON on their 2016 concept album, PSYCHEDLICATESSEN.

WHAT'S RANGOON TO YOU IS GRAFTON TO ME

REVIEWS

‘Russell Guy is terminally weird, certifiably warped, bent, twisted… and remarkably gifted as a writer, even if his output has been fairly limited.  ‘What’s Rangoon to You is Grafton to Me’ is his first collection of short fiction.  The title story is bizarre, a hallucinatory odyssey through the outback of the mind and way beyond.  I haven’t read anything like it in Australian fiction – the surrealistic suss of Bob Dylan (circa Blonde on Blonde), combined with the manic logic of Captain Beefheart (circa Trout Mask Replica), the verbal whimsy of Lewis Carroll franticated beyond the speed of light in a non-linear accelerator by the gonzo ferocity of Hunter S. Thompson.  Weird and roving in the land of Oz, indeed.  None of the other tales in this truly weird and entertaining collection match the imaginative excesses of the title story, but nevertheless, the author sketches some memorable outback characters and the random joys of touring in a rock band.  Shine on you crazy diamond!’ 

 

Giles Hugo – The Mercury. Hobart.  (29/6/91).

 

‘This entertaining collection treats the reader to the whims and fantasies of a traveler, too drugged to notice the beauties around, but in whose eyes ‘orange peel’ sunrises and ‘yellow, Sargasso Seas’ nevertheless appear almost every day.  The traveler seems blissfully aware of his altered state of consciousness and rambles on as if everything is completely normal (and who’s to say it isn’t?).  The reader, meanwhile, is entertained by a string of colourful and confronting images of long stretches of hot coastal highway, hang-gliders over Byron Bay and the Kinks singing ‘Sunny Afternoon’, together with a cast of characters as interesting as you could hope to find anywhere.  Fourteen short stories filled with what many of us think, deep inside, but never own to out loud.  Quick, very witty, enjoyable reading’

 

Australian Bookseller & Publisher.  May.  1991.

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