Saturday, May 9, 2009

John Williamson

I wonder how this post is going to turn out because I had insomnia last night. I slept only four hours.

Oh well.

I'll try my best.

My topic of the day is John Williamson.

I know he's a singer.

I have three songs of his on my iTunes: "True Blue", "My Oath to Australia", and "Waltzing Matilda". I like all the songs. I don't know much about Williamson though. I guess I shall start learning. Hopefully what I find will be interesting enough to keep me awake.

I'll start with my old friend, Lord Wiki.

Williamson was born 1 November 1945.

Birthday website time!

He's a Scorpio.

In numerology, he's a 4. I haven't had a 4 in awhile. The birthday calculator doesn't account for 22's so I had to get my Mac calculator out to make sure he really was a 4.

He is.

Jack's a 4, but I see very little in the description of 4 that reminds me of Jack. Actually, if I was to read a description of every numerology number, the one that would probably remind me the least of Jack is 4.

For example....There's this: Once a decision is made, it will be followed through to the conclusion, right, wrong, or indifferent.

Jack comes up with multiple decisions and ideas everyday. Most of them he forgets about rather quickly. The kid is constantly brainstorming. Once in a great while something will stick. But that's rare.

Williamson was born in Quambatook Victoria. Google Maps says that's about four hours north of Melbourne. And Lord Wiki says it's the tractor pulling capitol of the Australia. Interesting....

Williamson grew up in the Mallee District in north western Victoria. Google Maps isn't clear about where that is. I could only find a Mallee highway. But Lord Wiki says the area includes the towns of Mildura, Swan Hill, Gannawarra, and Buloke. Actually, the latter two aren't towns. They're shires. I'm not exactly sure what a shire is, and I'm too tired to look it up.

What I'm wondering is if Quambatook is part of this Mallee District. Did Williamson grow up where he was born, or did the family move? Lord Wiki says Williamson wrote a whole musical about Quambatook. It must be important to him, so I'm going to guess he spent SOME time there. Although I left Chicago when I was about ten months (I think? Maybe I was a tiny bit older) and it's still very important to me. My immediate family left, but it's the birthplace of both my parents and three out of four of my grandparents. I have a lot of extended family there as well. So, Williamson could have left Quambatook and still had ties there.

In 1965, his family moved to Croppa Creek in northern New South Wales. That's right near Moree. 1965. Williamson would be about twenty-years-old. Did he move with his parents to New South Wales, or does Lord Wiki mean he moved with his wife and children? Twenty seems a bit old to move with your family. Well, I guess when I think about's not. I did it. My parents moved from Tennessee to Texas when I was in college. I was probably twenty or twenty-one. I lived with them during the holidays so I moved too.

At Croppa Creek, Williamson began singing at a local restaurant. I guess that's how his career began.

And his career is pretty damn impressive.

He has won twenty-three Golden Guitar trophies from the Country Music Awards of Australia. Wow! Isn't that a lot? Do most performers win that many awards?

He's also won two ARIA awards.

Oh, yuck. There's a picture of Ronald McDonald on the front page of the Country Music Association website. That clown is SCARY.

I'm tempted to say I don't like country music. It's not one of my favorites. But I do like some of it. I like Williamson, and I grew up on John Denver stuff. I guess I should say it's not what I usually like; but some of it sometimes grows on me.

Lord Wiki says the song "True Blue" is the anthem for the Australia national cricket team. I just wrote ticket team. I'm really lacking in sleep here!

The song was also played at Steve Irwin's memorial service. I can't really handle sad things this morning.

 In the video, while the song is playing, a man is packing things up onto a truck. I don't understand that. Is it an Australian funeral custom of some kind?

The lyrics used at the memorial service is different from the one I have on my iTunes. The version I have says:

Is it standing by your mate when he's in a fight
Or just Vegemite.

In the memorial, the lyrics say
Is it standing by your mate when he's in a fight
or will she be right?

I personally prefer the Vegemite version. I love when Vegemite is mentioned in songs--probably more than I like it on my toast. But I think maybe the she'll-be-right version is more appropriate for a memorial service. I wonder what version is used for the Cricket team.

Oh! I forgot. Madonna has a True Blue song too!

Williamson performed at the opening of the new Parliament building in 1988. I was about to say I remember that. See the thing is....I've become SO saturated with Australian history and culture, I'm beginning to form false memories. I'm starting to imagine I had a childhood that involved Vegemite, show bags, and ABBA posters. I'm thinking that Whitlam was MY Prime Minister. It's crazy. But it's also kind of fun, I guess. I just know if I get hit on the head, I'm going to wake up thinking I'm Australian.

Williamson's first song came out in 1970. It was Old Man Emu. I know that song from the Wiggles! They sang it with Steve Irwin. It's a cute song. Wow. Young Williamson is pretty damn sexy.

And he's cheering me up. I like this least so far. He might be exactly what I needed to start my day. I had a bad afternoon and evening yesterday. That's why I had insomnia. But now I'm feeling a little happy. The Kevin Williamson cure.

He was kicked out of RSL clubs for his song "A Flag of our Own". From what I know of the RSL clubs (their history of racism and antisemitism) I'm guessing I might like the song. I'm listening to it now. It's hard for me to find the controversial part by listening. I do better with reading lyrics, but I can't find them online. Oh well. Maybe I'll find the information later.

Okay. Wait. I'm hearing it now. I guess it's a Pro-Republic song. It's asking for a flag of our own vs. having a Union Jack flag.

All right. I'm going to say good-bye to Lord Wiki and look at other stuff.

I guess this is his main/official site.

It has a picture of what he wants the Aussie flag to be. It's pretty cool.

I like what Williamson says here. I have dreamed for many years that our nation's banners celebrate our most important heritage: the nature of our ancient island continent. I love that!

He also says, If my dream of purely Australian flags is seen to be anti-British then I am sorely misunderstood. Our British heritage is securely placed in Australia's hereafter. The State names: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and main streets in our cities: George Street, Elizabeth Street, Edward Street, etc, will always preserve the fact that the Australian nation was founded by the British Monarchy. I think he makes a very good point.

Now I'm going to read his biography stuff from the site.

When Williamson was seven, he learned to play the ukulele. When he was twelve, he learned the guitar. His dad played Banjo in a local dance band. Perhaps that had some influence on Williamson.

The song "Old Man Emu" became the number one song in Australia. I wonder how long it stayed up there on top.

After that song became popular, Williamson joined a television show called Travelin Out West.

He's had other controversial songs besides the flag ones.

There's the Vasectomy Song. That sounds fun.

Loggers didn't like "Rip Rip Woodchip".

The Quambatook musical came out in 2008.

Okay. Here we go. I got the answer to my earlier question. Quambatook is part of Mallee, so Williamson did spend his childhood in the place he wrote the musical about.

Williamson is the oldest of five brothers. That's a lot of boys.

It seems "Old Man Emu" really helped Williamson to win the jackpot. It's the first song he ever wrote. He sang it for the restaurant and then went on to sing it on something called New Faces. According to Lord Wiki, this show was like an earlier version of Australian Idol. Williamson won. His prize included a recording contract. The song quickly went to the very top of the charts. That's pretty amazing.

I'm now looking at his tour dates.

He's going to be in Port Stephens on September 19. We've been there.

A few days after that, he's going to perform at the RSL in Mittagong. I guess that RSL branch has forgiven him for the flag song.

Oh, this is cool. I clicked on Contacts and Distributers and it led me to another Aussie shop in America. This one's in Georgia.

This page has the causes that are important to Williamson.

He's into Wildlife Warriors--the Irwin's thing. They have a nice page about being an ethical consumer. They say, When it comes to habitat conservation and wildlife protection, one of the most important elements – perhaps the most important element – is conscious consumerism. This means that conservation is not just about what we actively DO; it is also what we choose NOT to do or buy that makes a difference. I need to drill that into my head.

Williamson supports Australian Made. That's about buying things made in Australia. That supports both the Australian economy and the environment. It's good to buy local because you're saving fuel and all that. Of course, if you're like me and not IN Australia, you won't be buying local when you buy Australian stuff.

Williamson supports the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. He sings on their website. He also wants to save the Bilby and the Mallefowl.

Oh! There's a National Bilby day. It's on the second Sunday in September. So that would be September 13 this year. Maybe we should celebrate it. How would we celebrate it? I have no idea. I'm not good at coming up with ideas for celebrations. Maybe we'll just eat Australian food or something.

Williams has a MySpace Page. He last logged in on May 3. That's very recently!

One of his daughters (Ami Williamson) is a singer. She was born in Sydney. So at one point, Williamson left the rural world for the city. I wonder where he lives now.

I think this video is Ami's...well, unless there's another Australian Ami Williamson.

I think I'm going to end this early. I'm tired. The sun is glaring in my eyes. I'm feeling lazy.

But before I go, let's look at Twitter. What are people saying about John Williamson?

The courtjester says Rediscovering the joys of my youth : pizza pockets and John Williamson - the Mallee Boy album is nearly bringing me to tears. Pizza pockets. Yum! Is that like a calzone, or what we in America call pizza rolls?

I'm getting hungry.

I didn't eat much dinner last night.

Simon Baird says
Caboolture markets are good. At the showgrounds they were packing up from the big country music thing with Lee Kernigan and John Williamson. 

I like that name Simon Baird. It sounds like a character in a movie.

Simon's mom and dad have a koala living in their trees. Awesome!