When former Beat editor Nick Snelling called me and asked me to extend my role as freelance writer to include columnist for Core in 2006 I acted nonchalant but just about died on the spot. That such an honour would casually be bestowed upon me mid-week with a “you wanna do this one?” was unfathomable. A space, each week, to write my thoughts on the state of music and share pertinent music news was an aspiring music journo’s dream come true.
Every column used to open with a paragraph of my own musings on the scene: on a particular gig, on the space between men and women at shows, on moshpit etiquette, on groupie culture, on venue security or on bands breaking up. Core became like my punk rock journal that I was forced to pen every week, detailing my misadventures in music. I even wrote the column while travelling overseas, keenly comparing each European city’s scene with our own, adopting an investigative fervour that Louis Theroux would be surely envious of.
I mourned publicly when The Distillers broke up, I pondered Lee Harding from Australian Idol’s punk rock legitimacy, I witnessed downloading well and truly become the prevalent and deeply damaging form of music consumption of our time. My columns during those days when I pondered what it meant to call yourself a ‘fan’ of a band while stealing their music are truly a hilarious and bittersweet thing to behold in retrospect.
The similarly naive tone continued when I started working at a local record label. The column became a semi salacious (yet very much anonymous) tell-all on my behind the scenes encounters. You can read through them all and identify the exact week in which each darling, rock’n’roll preconception was swiftly stomped on.
I used to get emails on a weekly basis from readers sharing their thoughts on each column, more often than not applauding some random observation I had made and encouraging me to write more. It was a genuinely validating experience for a young writer, neck deep in the local scene with time and passion to share in spades.
Compared to the comments section culture that has since grown to be the more common and infinitely more brutal form of feedback on music journalism, it was a joy to get such excellent and personalised correspondence every week. Sure there was the occasional anonymous email accusing me of being a fuckwit n00b who has no real grasp on what ‘punk’ really means, and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t crush my little studded belt-wearing spirit a little bit. But the rest of the communication was a stream of virtual high-fives and positivity.
In retrospect that inclusiveness and encouragement bestowed upon a young girl in the heavy music scene was of unfathomable value that I struggle to really even comprehend now. I’m not sure how many young, wide-eyed, female, wannabe professionals feel similarly embraced by the scene these days, but I suspect you can probably count them on one hand.
It may sound self-aggrandising, but it is certainly not an overstatement to say that Core has held my hand for a decade as I navigated my way through the Australian music industry. And it’s also played no small part in my still being heavily involved in said industry ten years later. But after a decade, I feel like I’m being a bit of a hog, and it’s time for it to be a rickety old soapbox on which someone else can clamber.
Here’s a picture of little old me the year I started writing for Core, drunk on Cruisers and gleefully making the acquaintance of Jason Black of Hot Water Music at the Corner Hotel. The expression is a perfect reflection of my general attitude towards punk rock and life in general. Bless.
BY EMILY KELLY
So peace out ya’ll. See you in the pit.