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The Rock-itt : August 2011
In the last two issues of The Rock-itt I have been telling the story of my adven- tures in the Music Business, from my time as a DJ in the 60‟s through the time I spent working for EMI Music in the UK. In this the last episode I‟ll explain how I came to be retired on the Northern Beach- es of Sydney. In April 2000 I was Director of Promotions for Parlophone Records in the UK and had been invited to an EMI company con- ference in Barcelona. This coincided with a Radiohead gig in that City. Everyone attending the conference was at the show and afterwards I hooked up with the Man- aging Director of EMI Australia who I vaguely knew and had a few beers. Quite a few beers actually and whilst we both slouched on a pavement in downtown Barcelona I told him how much I liked Australia and asked him, he was English, how he found the Country. Out of the blue he said he was looking for a Director Of Promotion and would I be interested. My life changed in that instant and after going back to the UK and talking to my wife and daughter we decided to go for it. EMI Australia had to make a case with Immigration that no-one in Australia had the experience that I had and could do the job to same level that I would. That hurdle was achieved a little stressfully but ulti- mately successfully. I was tricked a little, they knew how much I wanted to come and in the end I actually moved down for 40% less salary than I was getting in the UK on the premise that the cost of living in Sydney was less than London. It wasn‟t true then and it certainly isn‟t now. We arrived into Sydney at the end of Oc- tober 2000 and I started work at EMI‟s offices in Cremorne early in November. I had a lovely surprise on my first day at work, the Pet Shop Boys had sent me a huge bouquet of flowers to wish me luck, these were waiting for me in my new of- fice. I actually had to force my way into the office as rather more practically Blur had sent me a gas barbeque to welcome me to the new job. This did turn out to be a Godsend as in that first month I was introduced to what Sydney weather is really like. It was cold and hardly stopped raining all through November. W e had rented a house in Frenchs Forest but had no furniture and very few warm clothes, everything was in a container making its slow way down from Europe. The house had no heating except for Blur‟s barbeque which I kept on in the basement. It was a hard first year, Australia definitely does the tall poppy thing and there were a few people not happy that this guy had been brought in from the UK. I found the media down here very friendly though and in my first week the then Head of Music at Triple M Guy Dobson ordered me into his weekly music meeting and basically tested both my music knowledge and opinions for over two hours. Thankful- ly I did OK and Guy was very gracious to me from then on. He is now one of the heads of the Austereo group and a very important man. My department at EMI Australia consisted of 18 people, the majority based in Syd- ney but we also had representation in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Coldplay toured Australia in 2002 and I had the pleasure of organising a Harbour cruise so they could meet local media. Chris Martin doesn’t seem too impressed! Up close with Norah Jones, a lovely lady! Promotion man stuff, me, marketing man Graham Ashton and Triple M’s Head of Music, we’re meant to be sperm!!!!