Paul Kelly, How to make gravy
How to make gravy is based on a concert which goes for four days,
where Paul Kelly sings his songs from A to Z. The book is an adjunct to
this with memoirs around each song. For me 'How to make gravy' was
rather nostalgic, much of the music was familiar, released during my
teens and beyond.
If you are
a budding song writer, poet or writer then this book is an excellent
primer. Much of the book was taken up with the location and
circumstances of how a song was written, often describing the agony of
birth getting the right words for a song. What amazed me was the often
spontaneousness of a song yet on other times the literal years a song
takes to write. Hardly ever was a song written the same time every time.
One of the constant themes that came out was there is not that many
original ideas out there. Usually just reworked old ideas.
of the early confessions in the book was Paul Kelly's admission of drug
use. It rattled me a bit. Paul Kelly has been one of my hero's so the
writing about his drug usage tarnished his reputation for me a bit. But
it gave me an understanding of drug use and how people can go down that
slide. It was interesting also how it distorts reality. All up it was an
honest admission which was part of Kelly's past and makes up a large
part of him. I suppose there is a lot of people who have drug habits
that you don't know about. Usually the prescription type.
Australian place and culture
of the reasons that I identify with Paul Kelly is his Australian
imagery. Many of the places and experiences that he sings about are
things which I've experienced. 'Summer rain', the smell of the
Australian bush when it rains in summer and that beautiful smell for
example. Places, people and history which I can identify with.
Australian Cricket hero's, injustice done to aboriginals who were the
original owners of the land. In some way it makes me connected to the
repetitiveness of tours
written about in the book is the tours. There is a certain monotony that
come out; the bus, the camaraderie on board, sound checks at the next
venue and then moving on. I got the impression that the tour was
enlightening with new experience and places yet filled with dread with
the distance from routine and loved ones.
enjoyed how Kelly looked at his past, his family. There was a richness
which he knows of his roots which most people don't have any knowledge
of. His Catholic upbringing merged with Irish and Italian roots and how
it has permeated most of his life, makes for fascinating reading. As
well as an understanding of his angle on the songs he writes.
if you have an interest in music and song writing you wont be
disappointed. If you enjoy Paul Kelly's music you will love it.