Mount Roland Folk Festival and ‘A Tasmanian Map’ at Dennes Point – a report

In mid-November I was a guest of the Mount Roland Folk Festival, there to deliver a presentation on the relationship between folk music and the bardic tradition. The talk was spattered with several of my own poems, these underscored in their rendering by the gentle guitar of the wonderful Daniel Townsend. I had a great time.

And then, on January 5, with my marvellous collaborator, Bert Spinks we resumed our periodic renditions of ‘A Tasmanian Map’. Bert was fresh from sojourns in both Crete and the Tasmanian high country, since we last performed (in September, in Wynyard). This time we were at Dennes Point on Bruny Island, and an extraordinary crowd of 70 people squeezed into the café, Bruny Island Wild. They were entertained by the brilliant Bruny jazz guitarist, Julius Schwing, after which Hay and Spinks were in harness. The 70 included my Sydney family, down for the Tasmanian summer, and in my humble opinion we gave them, all 70 that is, a fine old time. Bert was his usual charismatic self, and I like to think I did pretty well too. It was tempting to make comparison with my memorable Spanish shows with Paul Gerard, back in the day, but those events were exceedingly different to ‘A Tasmanian Map’, so I resist making any such comparison.

We’re next in Swansea on February 19. Should be a beauty. In due course there’ll be a formal notification – but put the date aside and get yourself along.

The Hay and Spinks show – ‘A Tasmanian Map’


Hay and Spinks stop next at Eaglehawk Neck, on the 29th of April, 2023. You can find the details and book on TryBooking, here:

The event is also available on Facebook. We’d love you to share it and be so grateful if you did:

Please read on, below, if you would like to read more about how past iterations went.

Hay and Spinks - Eaglehawk Neck


The Hay and Spinks show – ‘A Tasmanian Map’ – has now had three iterations. I’ve previously posted notifications in advance, but in the case of the last two shows I’ve neglected to report on how they’ve gone.  This is by way of rectification.

The performance on April 14 in the Trowunna Wildlife Park at Mole Creek exceeded all expectations.  I was trepidatious – surely, I thought, way out here we’ll be performing exclusively for the devils.  But no – a full house, and a wildly appreciative one at that, with people travelling all the way from Launceston and even further.  Bert was, as ever, superbly on song, and I was happy with how I went, too, though the chronic bronchial condition with which I now must live put in an unwelcome appearance. The repertoire from the Hobart show was tweaked so that the new playlist would exhibit a distinctly more northern emphasis, and this was a good decision, I think.  One addition was the ‘wild colonial girl’ section of ‘Up In The Stirrups’ (you can find it in Physick), and it was so successful I’m inclined to repeat it.  I thank my dear old friend and erstwhile Thylacinians Cricket Club teammate, the redoubtable Roo Kelly, for hosting us at the wildlife park.  And I should also acknowledge the bright-eyed residents of Roo’s devil breeding enclosure, a few short metres from whom I bunked for the night.

On June 4 we were at Lilydale, this time in Rudy Valentino’s amazing business premises, the Valentino Safe Company.  Yes, that’s ‘safe’ as in strongbox for securing valuables.  You won’t believe me, so here’s a pic of the facade, courtesy of Kate Crowley and Jerry de Gryse, who travelled up all the way from Hobart.  The audience was huge!  The VSC was utterly packed, and again the boundary separating wariness of poetry from full-blown crowd appreciation was crossed with ease.  Bert was brilliant yet again (I’ve included an image, with thanks, this time, to Roo, who made the long trip from Mole Creek.  I can’t help feeling that the codger’s new lease of life is a consequence of having to match the panache of the charismatic kid, a poet and storyman extraordinaire.  I probably didn’t match it (I reprised the wild colonial girl and don’t think I performed this as well as I had in Trowunna), but I was more than happy.  And how could I not be pleased, for the mood of the night was downright euphoric!  And it continued to be so when the performing party + Roo retired to Gordie and Suzy’s marvellous ecohaven up the Mount Arthur road for a convivial pre-sleep debrief.  The tough nuts (which is to say, neither Anna nor I) roistered on until 3am.

We’re now putting the show away for winter, but I’m having such fun with this project that I can’t wait to crank it up again.  It’s keeping this creaky old codger creatively alive.

Valentino Safe Co Lilydale
Follow the glow – The Hay and Spinks Show at Lilydale, in the marvellous Valentino Safe Co Lilydale. Many thanks to Kate Crowley for this photo, and Roo Kelly for the one at the top of the page.

And as 2020 rages into being…

Hey there friends.

As I write the natural world rages against the injury we have done to it, and who can blame it.  But the humans who are suffering are, as like as not, just like you and others who may read this, compassionate souls driven to the end of a political cul de sac where there is no place for compassion.  It is our summer of despair.

Amid this despair I have  Continue reading “And as 2020 rages into being…”

A few more things that have happened/are happening

Back so soon? – well, the fact is I held a couple of items back in my post the other day.  It seemed to me that I’d already hit you with too many words, and I hold the view that, in this didgy world, the ‘too much’ limit is reached sooner rather than later.  So I cut it short.

Anyway, here follow the items I held back the other day. Continue reading “A few more things that have happened/are happening”

When a Poet Rips Himself to Shreds

My collaboration with my artist friend Tony Thorne, that culminated in Last Days of the Mill (a finalist in the 2013 Tasmanian Book Prize), left me with profound ethical misgivings on one particular score. In this 2017 paper, I face that demon down. Continue reading “When a Poet Rips Himself to Shreds”