ON AIR: 40 years of 3RRR

Last year I took the unprecedented step of subscribing to not one, but two local community radio stations, RRR 102.7FM and PBS 106.7FM.  I kind of got sucked into their subscribe-a-thons because they do such a great job with them, but I also figured I do listen to them when I’m driving around in a GoGet car, and certainly get my money’s worth. What is  great about listening is the absence of whiny and insistent ads for things you neither think about nor want to buy.

Public and independent radio has for a long time been my much-loved medium for information, thoughtful comment and music (my other favourites are of course ABC Classic FM and ABC Radio National). I sometimes engage deeply when I am listening to broadcasts, and I blogged about one such experience in Skirting the Doldrums. Listening to radio sends me on philosophical tangents, takes me delving into filing cabinets worth of memories and often makes me laugh or cry. In the form of independent radio, it can bring a diversity of sounds and opinions that is so sadly lacking from mainstream media.

As part of Melbourne Rare Book week in 2016, I was lucky enough to take a guided tour of the hallowed conservator’s room in the State Library of Victoria where we were shown some large posters that were being prepared for the upcoming RRR exhibit to mark their 40 year anniversary,  ON AIR: 40 years of 3RRR. Being newish to Melbourne, it was not until I wandered into the State Library of Victoria just before Christmas that I saw the manifestation of the strong and vibrant grassroots movement I’d joined. The space set aside in the Keith Murdoch gallery of the State Library of Victoria forms a fitting tribute to the hours of audio, hundreds of volunteers, social and musical history of Melbourne community radio.

It is an interesting challenge to showcase the history of audio and musical culture in a building housing a collection devoted to books but it is successful in its multi-media approach. Ranging from letters to the station, posters and other ephemera to a collection of audio devices found in the station and prepared video interviews with station stalwarts, this display was a walk down memory lane for a child of the 1970s whose musical experience spans exactly the same era. I’m sure for music lovers who have resided in Melbourne during the last 40 years, this exhibition would re-kindle many memories. The display also speaks to the symbiotic relationship between the station and the local/national alternative music culture and industry.

The value of RRR is in the alternative voice it brings to Melbourne’s cultural mix. The fact that it has lived and grown to a community of over 12,000 people in the 40 years is a testament to the need for it and it has now taken on a life of its own, “It’s there as an alternative to the mainstream. It’s a bit like a footy team – committee men (sic) come and go, players come and go, but the fans and the colours stay the same” Leaping Larry L, 2004.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit. It is a free exhibition and its showing has been extended until 26th February, 2017 at the State Library of Victoria.


The wonder of an A380

I can remember several years ago when I shared a house in Camperdown with two gorgeous young things, who educated me about the world through Sex in the City, yes really, amongst other things.

I was working at the time at Trinity Grammar School, and was really looking forward to going out one night to see a play that the drama students were putting on.  At the time, I didn’t own a car, and hadn’t yet discovered Goget.  It was one of those really stormy Sydney nights, so I was waiting for a taxi to get me to the school.  I got ready, and kept an ear and eye out while perched on the sofa, watching a documentary about the new A380 Airbus.  I was enthralled.  The designers needed to make a plane whose wingspan didn’t take up any more width than the current runways would allow, but at the same time be quiet and have more carrying capacity than any other aircraft ever built.  I was really impressed, however more than a little skeptical.

When I moved to Summer Hill, I had the pleasure of getting up close, and personal with most airline’s aircraft as their take-off flight path included my apartment.  I could always tell an A380 was coming. Their engine sounds much quieter and slightly higher pitched than other aircraft.  Having always loved watching planes fly, and stopping in my tracks just to behold them, I’d test myself out by running to my back porch or a window just to make sure I had detected the right sound.  I have now travelled on three flights in these planes, and I’d have to say they are fantastic.

After taking in some traditional Korean music played by a quartet of musicians (the singer/gayageum player reminding me more than a little of Saraswati, minus the swan) I ambled to my gate over an hour early.  I plugged my technology in and set to work writing.  Meanwhile, just outside the window, the large pastel blue foreheaded A380 sat patiently waiting for it’s passengers to assemble.


Blue A380 behemoth

I am lucky that my time can pass fairly quickly because I always have lots of writing to do, however on this occasion we were plied with sweet peanuts and orange juice as we were delayed with take off.  I whipped out my aptly chosen postcard of Ganesha to encourage removal of the obstacles (apparently busy Chinese airspace), and we did eventually get flying after a 45 minute delay. You will note my journal and peeping morning pages notebook – yes, they’re still with me. Although I think I’ll need to purchase another part-way through the walk.


Ganesha – remover of obstacles

The ride in one of these aircraft is extremely comfortable, and the quietest of any flight.  To add to either your panic or exhilaration, you can choose to watch from front, downwards or back tail camera. The latter makes one feel quite like a bird I found.

Snazzy camera tricks

Snazzy camera tricks

Farewell land of Gangnam Style, Samsung and face lifts, hello Joe Dassin, Peugeot and cheese.

PS: yes it did feel like a movie, when on landing at Paris, Charles de Gaulle airport, the lovely Korean woman (who it turns is a piano teacher and travelling with her husband), and I started singing Les Champs-Elysées and Edith Piaf.  It seems I am not the only one completely besotted with France.