It's a curious thing that sometimes, the B-side comes before the A-side. Each of these 10 Imaginary Albums begins with a writer who passes the creative baton to a graphic artist.
Writer * I Told Her Twice
Solange Kershaw is an electronic artist and composer whose practice plays with different ways of hearing, interpreting and interacting with the world.
She can’t remember the first album she ever bought, but Outlandos d'Amour by The Police sounds about right, although the Nina Hagen Band does tickle the back of the brain. Either way, these are proudly cherished musical memories.
Artist * I Told Her Twice
Rebecca Waterstone is a multidisciplinary artist, with a nostalgia for days gone by, particularly the periods when modernism and jazz ruled supreme. Her first album was nothing like this. The 1980 compilation album Full Boar featured hits of the day such as Fly Too High by Janis Ian, Computer Games by Mi-Sex, and Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes.
Writer * A Nice Haircut
Mark O’Flynn has published six collections of poems, The Too Bright Sun (1996), The Good Oil (2000), What Can Be Proven (2007), Untested Cures (2011), The Soup’s Song (2015) and Shared Breath (2017). His novels include Grassdogs (2006), The Forgotten World (2013) and The Last Days of Ava Langdon (2016) which was shortlisted for both the Miles Franklin Award and the Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction, as well as winning the Voss Literary Prize.
Artist * A Nice Haircut
Heath Killen is a designer, artist, and publisher based in the Blue Mountains. He runs a studio called Honeymoon who make loveable projects for people like you. The first album he ever bought was Ten by Pearl Jam, because it was the ‘90s and he was a teenager.
Writer * Objectifed Correctified
Kelly Heylen is a writer and curator. She started Platform Gallery in 2017 to celebrate all the amazing creative talent in the Blue Mountains - many of whom are in this very exhibition! Her first album was some sickly-sweet Smash Hits pop compilation in 1989, likely in direct rebellion to her stoner dad’s red wine-fuelled, midnight blasting of Pink Floyd, all night, every night. Of course, now she’s an even bigger Floyd fan than her dad ever was.
Artist * Objectified Correctified
Kevina-Jo Smith is a visual artist who primarily uses up-cycled materials and found objects to create awareness of environmental and social issues.
The first album Kevina remembers buying with her own money was Salt-N-Pepa's Very Necessary.
Writer * Unfinished Music no. 4: Three Phase Peace
Stu Buchanan has spent the last two decades hunting for music that defies convention and definition, via a slew of radio programs, record labels, zines, gigs, podcasts, blogs and more. He has been cited as 'one of Australia’s most important champions of innovative music' (The Brag) and currently presents the ABC’s weekly national music program Fat Planet on Double J.
Artist * Unfinished Music no. 4: Three Phase Peace
Ben Tankard is a painter from Blaxland. The first music he bought was the cassette single of You Should Be Mine by Guns N Roses. A few months later he got a CD player and Faith No More’s Angel Dust, which holds up very well today.
He still buys CDs and records, but threw out all of his cassettes, having failed to predict that they would become cool again.
Writer * Now That's What I Call Muzak
Jo Chipperfield is a recovering academic and an emerging printer and potter. She would love to say that the first album she bought was the 1980 reissue of Don McLean's American Pie, but that would be a lie. The first one was Duran Duran's Rio, and that's never going to be cool, but she's hoping that this project will make her erstwhile ownership of Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 1 cooler.
Artist * Now That's What I Call Muzak
Hannah Surtees is a graphic designer and artist who grew up in the North-East of England. The first album she bought was a compilation double album, titled The Greatest Hits of 1985. A classic, yet random celebration of the mid-nineteen-eighties, combining Foreigner’s soft-rock ballad I Want to Know What Love Is, with Ray Parker Jnr’s strangely alluring anthem Ghostbusters. She also has fond memories of the album sleeve design, filled with paint splatters, block colours and many, many font styles.
Writer * The Future History of the Universe
Stephen Neal is a writer and photographer from Springwood. His first album was The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Rick Wakeman.
Stephen embraced the excesses of progressive rock at an early age and hasn’t looked back since. He’s never met a time signature he didn’t like.
Artist * The Future History of the Universe
Damian Castaldi is a mixed media artist who can’t seem to make up his mind which medium to stick to. He took up drumming as a thirteen year old but his dad insisted he did it properly, so he sent him to a jazz clinic, which led him to purchase his first album, Swingin’ New Big Band, a 1966 live album by Buddy Rich and his big band. Damo’s been swingin' ever since.
Writer * La Subverta
J-L Heylen is a fiction novelist with seven published works that blend feminism, gender politics, social justices and climate change themes with science fiction and steampunk genres. She got her music taste (if you’d call it that), from stealing into her older brother’s room before he got home from tech college to listen to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd on his state-of-the-art Marantz stereo receiver and turntable, with speakers attached that were so big they didn’t fit into the back of his Charger.
Artist * La Subverta
Kim Allen is a graphic designer who works mostly in publication design for public and non-profit organisations.
The first album she bought with her own money was Leo Sayer’s Just a Boy. Good tunes, nice illustrated cover art and the appeal of Leo’s wacky dancing for Long Tall Glasses on CountDown proved irresistible. Train was her favourite track.
Writer * Crimson Claws of the Panther at Midnight
Stephen Davis is a playwright and screenwriter. His films include City Loop (1998) Blurred (2002) Monkey Puzzle (2007) The Reef (201- and Drown (2015). He is currently a screenwriting lecturer at AFTRS.
He's not sure what his first album was. It's a toss up between The Best of Madness or the soundtrack to the feature film You Can't Stop the Music (1982).
Artist * Crimson Claws of the Panther at Midnight
Julie Paterson is a painter, printmaker and designer of textiles. She owns a small fabric company called Cloth that she set up more than 20 years ago, because it made sense at the time and still does now.
The first album she ever bought was Joan Armatrading Show Some Emotion. To be accurate her Dad bought it for her for doing well in her exams. When she saw the cover Julie was surprised to discover that Joan Armatrading was a black woman and a lesbian. It's hard to tell that stuff on the radio.
Writer * The Last Opera
Craig Billingham has published two collections of poems, most recently Public Transport in 2017, and he also writes short stories. His first musical memory is of watching his sister and her friend singing and dancing to Kim Wilde’s We’re the Kids in America, probably in 1981/82, even though they were not kids in America - they were kids in England. Had they forgotten? Were they insane? How do songs - and poems and stories - do this to people? He still doesn’t know.
Craig lives in Katoomba, and his sister lives in Sydney. They have visited America, separately, but they have never lived there.
Artist * The Last Opera
Judith Martinez is an artist and graphic designer. Her work has featured in group and solo shows, most recently at The Rocks Discovery Museum and The Lost Bear Gallery in Katoomba.
Her first musical memory is of listening to the Heidi soundtrack in both Japanese and Spanish.
Writer * Helen Garner and the Hopeful Earthlings - Live from a Fitzroy Loungeroom
Manda Kaye is a writer of flash fiction and a brand storyteller, and the inventor and curator of Imaginary Albums. She is pretty sure the first album she ever bought was Little River Band’s It’s a Long Way There, even though on the cover Glenn Shorrock looked disconcertingly like her dad. Reminiscing is still one of her favourite songs. No, it’s not daggy, it’s a classic.
Artist * Helen Garner and the Hopeful Earthlings - Live from a Fitzroy Loungeroom
Leia Sidery is graphic artist and musician. Her first vinyl record was a 7 inch of Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin when she was six years old. She played it to death, until the record player was replaced by a CD player. With a deep love for all things nostalgic and most music not from now, she somehow managed to hold on to her parents' record collection, despite 38 house-relocations, and a flood where all the record covers fused into one. The records however, remain virtually unscathed and still get a spin every now and then!