Live wire

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By Cr Serge Thomann


A couple of years ago I met by chance the gorgeous Mary Renshaw, a St Kilda local, who told me about her lifelong friendship with Bon Scott, the legendary AC/DC lead singer who died in 1980.

What she said about Bon was so interesting, I told her she should share it with others and write a book. Mary said she wanted to but could not find the right person to co-write it in her voice. I told her I know the perfect guy, my very good friend Jeff Jenkins – Jeff wrote Molly Meldrum’s biography among other things. A few days later all three of us had lunch and two years later, “Live Wire, Bon Scott, A Memoir By Three People Who Knew Him Best” is out.  Having being given an advance copy, I can say it is a fascinating read and encourage you to get it. Mary got Scott’s roadie John D’Arcy and his wife Gabby to collaborate with her. As a reminder, AC/DC lived together at 6 Lansdowne St, St Kilda East before the hit the big time. This book is a perfect Christmas present!

Talking about books written by locals, I am looking forward to reading Magda Szubanski’s biography. Magda lives locally and I am sure a lot of you have bumped into her at her favourite café The Galleon. “A brave and tender book about everything that matters most in life”, is how Cate Blanchett describes it. I know how shy and private Magda can be and for her to write this memoir must have been quite difficult. Well done for sharing your journey of self-discovery, Magda. I am sure your book will touch many people and help others to be true to themselves.

For more riveting local stories, I recommend the book that the City of Port Phillip publishes every year, a book of stories by our seniors which will be coming to our libraries. A great effort and nice to meet you all at the launch a couple of days ago.

I want to mention one last book written by locals: “Unemployable, 30 Years of Hardcore, Skate and Street” by the Hill brothers, of Globe fame. The book is coming out next month but once again, I will be reading with interest the life stories of the three “unemployable” brothers Matt, Stephen and Peter who started Globe.  It’s a book that promotes optimism, innovation, fun and doing things breaking away from convention.

Luna Park is really living up to its Just for Fun slogan. Congratulations to all, especially the very talented Mark Ogge who has created seven new carnival figurines as the main feature of Luna Park’s new building, a café and function centre. They are at least ten metre’s tall – the diva surrounded by six other “friends” is very impressive. A great addition to our 103 year old grande dame of St Kilda.

On a more poignant note, it was an honour to remember the Balibo 5, in particular St Kilda resident Tony Stewart, who lost his life in Balibo in what is now East Timor at the very young age of 21. The Stewart family approached us to plant a tree in the St Kilda Botanical Gardens on the day of the 40th anniversary of the death of these five brave journalists. Listening to Mal Walden give his own account of the story at the ceremony was very moving. His message was particularly strong when he said: “Politics should never take over people”.  It is never too late to find the truth and I hope that one day, the truth will be told.

I would also take this opportunity to remind our readers about the friendship our City has with the people of Suai / Covalima in East Timor. And thanks to fundraising efforts by Rotary and the Port Phillip community, 2000 students and their teachers at Suai Secondary School have toilet facilities and running water for the first time. It is never too late to get more volunteers.

Finishing on Council matters, it is good to see the Stokehouse starting to be rebuilt. Next door, the St Kilda Life Saving Club is being demolished and will be rebuilt next year and the Fitzroy Street streetscape upgrade is going full strength.  And with Acland Street, I hope that all will look at the proposed design being made available for consultation and comments with an open mind, taking into consideration some of the imperatives of PTV and Yarra Trams.

There is never a dull moment in our village. Until next month, cheers to all.

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