|Go-Set: Life and Death of an Australian Pop Magazine|
|David M. Kent|
The following is a work in progress document. The original purpose of the document was to produce a history of Go-Set magazine in psycho-historical terms for a Biographies Seminar run by the University of Canberra in November 1998. In the article, Go-Set's life is described within the human context. This paper is the result of that seminar. I do intend to rewrite this paper for submission and publication by an academic refereed communication or history journal. I am interested in feedback on this work. I am also interested in why you read, and what you read in Go-Set.
Please address all correspondence to:
LPO Box 5016
University of Canberra ACT 2617
Go-Set: Life and Death of an Australian Pop Magazine
David M. Kent
Beginnings (1966 and 1967)
Mid-life Crisis and Transition (End 1968 to Early 1971)
Decline and Death (May 1972 to August 1974)
Go-Set was the first Australian weekly newspaper which focused on Australian teenage popular music, culture and fashion. Its role was to bring these aspects of Australian life to its readership, Australian youth aged between 14 and 20 years old. In performing this role it also established and developed as an institution through which rock music journalists and writers in popular culture could flourish. Go-Set was able to provide this environment while being produced and published independent of the other mainstream presses at the time.
It was the first sixties newspaper to explore an emerging and developing Australian popular music industry. Go-Set did not remain locked in its 1960s persona and shifted its appearance and musical tastes to keep up with the changes that were taking place within its areas of interest. The dynamics of these changes were so strong that by the early seventies Go-Set was a significantly different paper in appearance to what it had been in 1966. Its decline and demise in 1974 was as much a condition brought on by crisis as had been its life in keeping in touch with, and reporting on the state of the Australian and overseas music and fashion.
It was because Go-Set’s life was short and crisis filled that we can use developmental psychologist Erik Erikson’s model for the childhood development as a means of explaining its history. Erikson theorised that as a child develops, it goes through a series of crises that allow it to mature and reach adulthood. These crises are psychosocial in nature. As they get older, human beings, by nature of their physical, intellectual and emotional growth become ready to face new life tasks. These new life tasks present an outcome that can be a successful graduation or a gradual impairment of the life cycle. Each crisis is a preparation for the next stage and so the child develops into adulthood (Erikson, 1958, 248). Erikson is saying that child defines itself in terms of the crises it experiences in growing older. Go-Set defined itself in terms of the crises it experienced as a result of being the only magazine in Australia covering the Australian popular music scene and its associated industries. Go-Set’s ego might be defined in terms of the personalities who produced its features, news and gossip columns
Go-Set provided the training ground for some Australian musicians and non-musicians to get into rock magazine journalism and book writing. Among these were, ex-Valentines singer, Vince Lovegrove, author of a book on nineties rock group INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence. Vince Lovegrove describes the founder of Go-Set, Phillip Frazer, as the man who “gave us opportunities to work at something we loved”. (Lovegrove, 25/8/99). Of the magazines earliest feature writers, writer Lily Brett, is now an established author of fiction books living in New York. Sydney film producer, David Elfick, started the Go-Set’s Sydney office under instructions from Phillip Frazer (Frazer, 26/8/99), and was later significant in keeping the magazine running (McLean, 1999). Ian “Molly” Meldrum was the “talent co-ordinator” for Countdown, the ABC’s long running music show in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s. He has been regarded by some as Australia’s “rock music guru”. Ed Nimmervoll, works as a freelance journalist in Melbourne, his career began producing national top 40 music charts for Go-Set and eventually moved into music industry analysis. Over the nine years of Go-Set‘s existence it employed many up-and-coming writers and journalists.
Go-Set played an important role in the development of Australian
pop and rock music, it was also the nurturing center for pop and rock music
journalists. Yet Go-Set‘s history has remained submerged within the
music industry. Go-Set gave many artists and writers the exposure
they needed in order to succeed. This paper presents a disjointed,
but chronological first view of Go-Set‘s life. It focuses
on the crisis stages of the development of the magazine. Selective
use of Erikson’s childhood ego development model is used where it matches
those aspects of magazines history chosen for this paper.
Beginnings (1966 and 1967)
According to Erikson, the first stage crisis determines the innermost mood of the child in which, “the baby must establish basic trust as ‘he’ takes in’ the society that surrounds him. This is through eating (the mother plays the key role here), and through the development of the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Crisis occurs when child realises that mother cannot devote all the time that is needed. The outcome of this crisis will be determined largely through the sense of trust built up between the child and the mother” (Beringer, R.E., 1978, 94).
Erikson is saying is that at the beginning of a childs’ life, it is stimulated by its surroundings and develops a trust with its mother. When the childs’ needs are not met it will may not develop an appropriate bond with its mother, and unless it determines another coping strategy may be weakened by the crisis. Applying this analogy to the magazine, we could infer that after its initial creation, Go-Set sought the trust and support of its readers, failure to gain this trust could be catastrophic for future of the magazine.
Go-Set Weekly-A-Go-Go was created at 4 Grace Street, Malvern, the shared rental accommodation for two Monash University students, Phillip Frazer and Tony Schauble (Frazer, 8/9/99). They were editors of the Monash University student paper, Lot’s Wife (Frazer, 28/9/99). Go-Set was initially published through a credit arrangement with the Waverley Press, the company that was printing Lot’s Wife (Frazer, 1999). Borrowing ideas off English and American popular music and fashion magazines, Go-Set began life as a teenage fanzine.
A fanzine is “a magazine dedicated to the journalistic coverage of one artist or one type of music, obviously derived from ‘fan magazine’” (Cable, 1977, 211). Go-Set‘s initial market was the Australian teenagers aged 14 to 16 years old (Hawkes, 1999) with a focus on teenage girls. It included a female fashion column edited by Prue Acton; pictures, comments and views of Australian and overseas pop music stars; beauty hints; pen pal columns; and personal columns all point to this target group. Go-Set was able to establish itself as \ul the teenage magazine covering the Australian youth culture in all Australian states without the support of the other mainstream publishing houses including Frank Packer’s Everybody’s magazine whose market was exactly the same as Go-Set‘s (O’Brien, 1982, 143).
As a fanzine, Go-Set gave its readers insights into many musicians and performers. Major international artists such as Tom Jones (Go-Set, 2/2/66, 2) and The Rolling Stones (Go-Set, 21/2/66, supplement) lent their words and opinions to the magazine. Local artists, focusing on Melbourne at first but eventually spreading to all the major capitals and large parts of Victorian and NSW country, were to be found within its pages. Australia’s biggest singing star, Normie Rowe (Go-Set, 6/7/66, 1) appeared on the cover in one form or another more than other Australian recording star. Pop group, The Easybeats (Go-Set, 7/3/66, 3) appeared within the magazine many times as one of Australia’s proud international exports. Pop singing duo, Bobby & Laurie (Go-Set, 6/4/66, 9) appeared in many issues, and continued to do so as solo stars after they disbanded.
The inclusion of Ian Meldrum a few months after the magazine began added a new pop music viewpoint. He was a pop fan who liked to mix with pop stars (Charles, 2000). He would add more to the fanzine aspects of Go-Set. His stories would make the front cover of Go-Set many times during his first three years with the magazine. The first time was a news report on band, The Twilights winning the 1966 annual “Battle of The Sounds” band competition (Go-Set, 27/7/66,1). Ian Meldrum would travel with 1967 winners of this same competition, The Groop, to England (Charles, 2000). Ian Meldrum covered the local Melbourne and Australian music scene while Go-Set star reporter Lily Brett and photographer Colin Beard travelled to London to cover the overseas scene first hand on the BOAC World Pop Tour (Go-Set, 1/3/67, 5). Popular singer Normie Rowe, was already in England hoping for success (Go-Set, 6/7/66, 1) Lily Brett and Colin Beard reported on Normie’s progress for Go-Set’s readers. Normie Rowe was already enormously popular with young Australian girls 13 to 15 years old who tried to rip the clothes from his body during a concert in December 1965 (Cockington, ???, 135).
Fashion was important to Go-Set and it catered this to the female part of its audience. In providing these fashion columns Go-Set provided a reason for its audience to trust it. Prue Acton provided the first fashion column introduced readers to overseas fashions dominant in England (Go-Set, 2/2/66, 9). She departed the pages of Go-Set in August 1966. Staff writer, Sue Flett, who doubled as “Dear Leslie Pixie” also contributed a beauty and fashion column called “Beauty Notes” dealing with appearance and looks (Go-Set, 6/7/66, 9). Readers returned Go-Set‘s trust by writing to the magazine.
Readers could write to Go-Set in three separate columns. “Go-Gos and No-Gos” was a form of immediate and instant means of expressing an opinion. “Postbox” was a letters to the editor type column. The third type was the “Dear Leslie Pixie”, or the personal column.
“Go-Gos & No-Gos” was introduced early in 1966, and was a column by which readers could tell other readers what they thought of rock music groups or even Go-Set writers journalists. The format remained the same until the column finished in February 1970. Go-Set did not just feature successful pop groups in these columns but many bands whose fame and recognition never went beyond the magazines pages. The column gave readers the chance to state why they liked or disliked artists or personalities within the music scene.
Go-Set also used more formal formats within its pages. Reader trust in Go-Set was also expressed through readers letters section, under the 1966 column heading “Postbox”. Readers could express their opinions, concern or admiration for artists or groups. For a short while in 1966, readers also provided review of concerts and events they had witnessed. One issue that caused great concern was the way in which Australian bands in England expressed their nationalism.
While on the one hand, singer Normie Rowe had travelled to England in
order to break into the English charts and be a successful artists in the
mother country (Go-Set, ??,??), the Easybeats whose origins were
England, Scotland and Holland expressed doubts about the Australian music
scene (Go-Set, ?1967, ?). In her letter to “Postbox”, reader, Irene
Hany of Melbourne discussed the issue of why bands travel overseas:
“Dear GO-SET,Readers’ personal problems were answered in Go-Set. The service was provided by staff writers often with little experience in the field of psychology (Nimmervoll, 1998). The “Dear Leslie Pixie” were written by Sue Flett, an ex girlfriend of Go-Set founder, Phillip Frazer. Most of the letters to Sue Flett related to issues of getting, keeping, or dropping boyfriends or girlfriends. “Dear Leslie Pixie” answered questions until 1969 when the column was taken over by Melbourne based blues singer Wendy Saddington. By late 1969 with Wendy Saddington running the column, the letters were of a more sexual nature:
In reference to your article “Easybeats Knock Australia”, I think people who take offence at this are being over sensitive. A columnist in a magazine can say we are behind England in the pop field, but let the Easybeats say it and they’re being big-headed. If you don’t think we are a bit behind, how come none of the Australian records take off overseas? An Australian artist has to go overseas first before he or she can make it there. Usually they study other artists there and find out what is popular, then they try and mould their image to fit into the English or American scene. Anyway, so far none of the teenagers are complaining about the pop scene in general here, so why worry about what anyone says about it.”
(Go-Set, 7/12/66, 6).
I have an older brother who plays soccer and often he brings his team-mates home. e have a tree house in the bush out the back of our house and we often go there. No girls go except me as no other girls live around our way. At the tree house the boys used to take turns at stripping me. I was about four years younger than I am now. (I am 13 now.) Now they still come and threaten to take me out and try to do something to me and as I am in the position to get into trouble I don’t want to go. They say they will tell my parents what I did a few years ago. I don’t want my parents to know as they would be very disappointed in me and also very upset. What can I do - become pregnant or never be able to face my parents again?”
Trust or Pregnant
(Go-Set, 4/2/70, 18)
It was not only the readers who had a critical voice. Radio personality disk jockey Stan “The Man” Rofe wrote for Go-Set through a reciprocal arrangement between Go-Set and 3UZ. Under the arrangement 3UZ would provide radio time for Go-Set in return for advertising of the station within the magazine (Frazer, 1999). Stan Rofe’s first year of columns followed a gossip style format until April 1967. Stan moved to more serious commentary with “Stan Rofe’s Tonic” in April 1967. An example of some of his criticism related to the axing of the TV shows Kommotion and Go!! by Channel 0. He wrote:
“It was a bleak dark day when Channel “0” announced the shutdown on Kommotion and Go!! The value both these shows had in promotion of young Australians was inestimable and the effects will not only be felt severely by the end of 1967, but could be the cause of a complete collapse in the ready risky teenage entertainment business. It will initially be felt more in Melbourne than anywhere else in Australia, but eventually all States will suffer by the loss of these outlets for teenage promotions”
During this period Go-Set did not run an editorial column, that is the editor did not define an issue of concern or point to which the readers could respond. Stan Rofe appeared to fall into the role, the “Tonic” column provided criticism of musicians, social issues, concert performances and music industry decisions. Readers responded to negative columns about favoured pop through the “Postbox” and “Go-Gos & No-Gos”. “Stan Rofe’s Tonic” would continue as a regular item until March 1971.
The horoscope was a fanzine item that survived in one form or another
till late in Go-Set‘s history. “Your Stars As I See
Them” was prepared by Evelyn King and lasted until the end of 1966.
It was replaced with “What’s In The Stars For You” which lasted for another
year and was anonymously written. The horoscopes last incarnation
was “This weeks [sic] super Go-Set-Oscope” which was shortened to just
“Go-Set-Oscope”. Terry Cleary was the outgoing and talkative staff member
who sold the magazines advertising space. Terry Cleary was not an experienced
fortune-teller (Nimmervoll, 1998). If Evelyn King appeared to know
something about fortune telling, then Terry Cleary hasd little or no idea
at all. Compare Evelyn King, (Go-Set, 1/6/66, 16)
“A week of upheaval is in store. Overcome tendencies to give up. Make the best of all situations and maintain enthusiasm for new plans. Highlight personality, charm. An eligible newcomer will be impressed. Luck in the family. Lucky number 7. Lucky day: Tuesday.”
with Terry Cleary, (Go-Set, 6/2/71, 23)
“Gemini (May 21 - June 20) Geminis! Your morning exercises! Step (1) Stand before mirror: (2) Smile ‘till it hurts: (3) Say “I am friendly, chatty, nice to know: (4) Clean teeth (and mirror): (5) Go out and make a friend (It’s the only way to get to know them): (6) Shower: (7) Face the mirror and try not to say ‘If they want me they’ll have to pay’.”
From Erikson, the next crisis of childhood, the child begins to develop the sources of what will become its human will, and its sense of individual autonomy (Beringer, ?,?). Erikson is saying that development of a self will occurs slowly, but the real self can only be achieved when individual autonomy or self-controlled self motivated guidance is achieved.
For Go-Set, the beginning of a sense of self occurred when the magazine began being critical and analytical of the music that was being listened to. Between August 1966 and February 1967, three changes occured that would determine Go-Set individuality as a magazine. In August it dropped the “-weekly a-go-go” from its title. It represented a move away from its relationship with its teenage audience. In October 1966, it developed its first national top 40 chart. In February 1967, Go-Set started publishing a new national top 40 chart developed by music analyst and architecture student, Ed Nimmervoll.
The top 40 music chart has always been an important part of the pop music industry. The chart allows readers to see where their favourite song is, a sense of how popular the song is. Until October 1966 there had never been a national top 40 chart, they were always State or radio station based. When Ed Nimmervoll joined Go-Set he brought with him an intellectual view on music. He took the top 40 charts seriously, studying the progress of songs in the English and American charts through the magazines he had on overseas subscription (Nimmervoll, 1998). Nimmervoll added a sense of criticism that had not been clearly visible till then. His commentary on songs and artists within the top 40 charts through the notes he included (Nimmervoll, 1998) gave the magazine a more serious sense of purpose. From 1967 and 1973 he provided record reviews and provided critical analysis of the music scene (Nimmervoll, 1998). His integrity, intellect and love of music would help the magazine through its next crisis which did occur until the end of 1968.
Autonomy through addressing social issues also helped Go-Set. In June 1967, the magazine addressed the important social issue of the discotheque. Important because discotheques were for many Melbourne and Sydney teenagers the place where they went on a Friday or Saturday night. “We Need Disco’s [sic]”: There is no argument - Police’. (Go-Set, 6/7/67, 3). Go-Set presented an educated view on discotheques, saying that most had healthy atmospheres in which teenagers could be safe. Go-Set wrote from the perspective of being part of the discotheque scene, with the maturity of an adult or as the parent of the teenager who might visit these clubs. Along with this social conscience, Go-Set started to get critical, it did this through the writings of 3UZ radio personality Stan Rofe.
A sense of autonomy was also being developed for Go-Set through Stan Rofe’s column which grew more critical in late 1967. One issue he took on was censorship. He observed that the older generation and authorities were questioning the values and behaviour of teenagers. Go-Set raised this issue and others with its readership. In doing so it became a force in making rock and pop music more respectable as a source of critical comment, both to the teenagers who read the magazine and to their parents.
While Go-Set was developing its sense of self, an American magazine
called Rolling Stone entered the American scene in October 1967. Rolling
Stone took a more serious approach, and did not venture into fanzine territory.
In America it quickly became the cultural bible of American youth (Nimmervoll,
1999), by providing insights and analysis into the American music scene
(Draper, 1990). In Australia it did not to have an immediate impact in
terms of the style of journalistic coverage Go-Set applied to the
Australian music scene. It took two years for Go-Set to respond
to the influence of Rolling Stone. In the end Rolling Stone would
provide the motivation for the shift of Go-Set away from the fanzine
role it had played between 1966 and 1968.
Mid-life Crisis and Transition (End 1968 to Early 1971)
Erikson’s next stage leading to an end of childhood is vital in that it is the search for ego identity and concerns defining social roles, or the niche that they will fit as adults. They seek a sense of belonging and of knowing that their existence is meaningful for others. The crisis during this stage is one of identity or identity diffusion. Most frequently this occurs when young people are uncertain of their future occupations (Berringer, 1978, 95). Erikson is telling us that in order to leave childhood, a child must develop a sense of identity so that it can enter the adult world. Go-Set sought to leave its teenage beginnings behind and be seen as a more mature form a music journal. Acceptance as a more mature type of journal would mean it would have to change.
The transition from fanzine to more serious music journal took from the end of 1968 to the beginning of 1972. During the change period, Go-Set went through many crises. It changed its name, generated two new magazines and reinventing itself internally.
* * *
While Go-Set‘s initial and prime audience had grown older by three years. In order to keep hold of the new 14 to 16 year old market it was necessary to develop a new magazine. Gas was created originally to take advantage of the Monkees tour of Australia in later 1968 (Frazer, 1999). Gas was a fanzine aimed at the late 1960s teenage market interested in posters and pin-ups. Its full title included the sub-heading “Australia’s Greatest Pin-up Magazine”. Ian Meldrum’s specialisation in gossip and news now ran to three years. He was in contact with many of the pop stars (Nimmervoll, 1998) and was aware of the music trends. He became editor and compiler (Frazer, 1999) of Gas.
Go-Set introduced “Core” in mid-December 1969. Its role was to provide analysis and intelligent well written articles on bands and groups that comprised the rock music scene and was edited by Ed Nimmervoll. It represented his view on what a rock magazine should be (Nimmervoll, 1998). The section was characterised by detailed histories and in-depth studies of Australian and overseas groups sometimes running to two full pages in length.
One structural change to the Go-Set infrastructure situation was the creation of a separate magazine with a different focus satisfying Phillip Frazer’s need to produce a radical political paper (Hawkes, 1999). Revolution was a radical underground political paper that also covered rock groups that were not listened to by the Go-Set readers (Frazer, 1999). It was edited by Phillip Frazer and more closely represented his views on what a paper should be (Nimmervoll, 1998). It incorporated a Rolling Stone magazine supplement (Brown, 1981, 197).
The Australian music industry also experienced great upheaval with the record ban of 1970. For Go-Set the record ban was significant as the magazine came out in support of the Australian musicians who were affected by the non-playing of their music on radio (Nimmervoll, 1999). The basis of the record ban lay in the record companies argument that since the radio stations made a profit from the music they played and that it was the record companies supplying the talent, the record companies were owed a percentage of the profits made by the radio stations. In response, the radio stations argued that they were actually promoting the music provided by the record companies (Nimmervoll, 1999). Go-Set‘s identity as a music industry watcher was put in crisis by the ban.
Go-Set took the side of the musicians who were affected by the
ban. The effect on the public was explained by Ian Meldrum who was
seen by this time as an authority on Australian music. Writing from
the perspective of the effects of the ban he commented that:
“From this week on you won’t be hearing any more of your favorite Australian or English records on commercial radio unless some last minute agreement is reached between radio stations and record companies.”
Two weeks later and writing as a radio station insider Stan Rofe explained the situation to readers that the record ban could be worked out through negotiation. He also took the opportunity to criticise other parts of the media industry saying that:
“As was to be expected segments of our daily and week-end press have blown the radio/record company dispute out of all proportion. Let it be said here and now, that radio stations and record companies will negotiate further and that both parties are on friendly speaking terms.”
(Go-Set, 6/6/70, 19).
In Erikson’s terms, this criticism from Go-Set is a sign of taking its growth and maturity seriously. It was capable of taking a stand and standing up for its principles.
One final issue would seal the future direction of Go-Set, and
define the role of Rolling Stone magazine in Australia. Jann
Wenner, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone had managed to get
an interview with ex-Beatle John Lennon then living in the United States.
It was the most important and controversial interview of the early 1970s
(Nimmervoll, 1998). In it, John Lennon burst the bubble around the
Beatles, he discussed his experiences with the drug LSD. He belittled
other Beatle members including Paul McCartney who had been his partner
in writing many of the Beatles songs. The interview was eventually
published over a five week period in January and February 1971. One
difficulty with the interview was its length. Go-Set‘s articles
were generally of only half to one page and occasionally longer.
After this incident Go-Set started printing articles of two
to three pages. Soon after Revolution became Australian
Rolling Stone, and Go-Set continued down the path to becoming
a serious rock music journal.
Decline and Death (May 1972 to August 1974)
In the adulthood - ego integrity stage, the full acceptance of one’s self and one’s inevitable fate is realised. The ‘one and only life cycle’ is understood ‘as something that had to be and that, by necessity, permitted of no substitutions’; resignation and wisdom mark the realisation ‘that an individual life is an accidental coincidence of but one life cycle with but one segment of history’ (Beringer, 1978, 97). Erikson is saying that upon reaching this “ego integrity” stage that the adult has accepted the decisions it has made and is now tied to a particular life path, along with this comes the acceptance that this is their destiny. For Go-Set this acceptance of role seems to have been established after its mid-life crisis period 1968 to 1971. Having established itself as the only pop and rock magazine in Australia, it could have continued down this path for many years, but further crises were still to come.
By May 1972 Go-Set was a veteran of the pop music scene in Australia. It had gained the experience and knowledge of having been around during the growth of the Australian music scene. It still owed money to Waverly Offset. The debt was something the magazine could not afford (Nimmervoll, 1998), along with a scandal associated with printing some material from Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This State resulted in Phillip Frazer finally selling Go-Set to Waverly Press (Frazer, 4/10/99). As a result of the sale Waverley Offset’s placed their advertising manager, Gavan Disney as the national general manager of Go-Set. From 1972, in order to reduce costs, articles were being printed in full from New Musical Express and Melody Maker, both IPC publications. Go-Set now presented a world-view of the music industry, even if it was limited to American and English overseas artists. Some ex Go-Set staffers believe that the magazine died when Phillip Frazer sold it to Waverly Offset at the end of 1972 (Williams, 1999, MacLean, 1999).
After the sale Phillip Frazer left to start a new political magazine. Editorial control of Go-Set went to Ed Nimmervoll. In February 1973, Go-Set was sold to Sungravure Press of Regent Street, Sydney. Go-Set was now being controlled from Sydney, and while it meant financial stability, it meant that it was no longer totally free of editorial control (Nimmervoll, 1998).
Ed Nimmervoll states that as editor in 1973, he had independence but was occasionally asked to justify items within the paper to the new publisher (Nimmervoll, 1998). This period also saw the critical commentary side of the magazine take on a new meaning. (With) the knowledge, maturity and experience of music industry analyst Ed Nimmervoll, Go-Set gained the confidence to seriously criticise the industry it had helped nurture Editorials expressed both praise and disappointment at the rock music industry. Go-Set was now ready to play the role of guide, and help the industry re-invigorate itself. Invigoration of the music industry required some hard questions to be put.
From July 1973, national editor Ed Nimmervoll used the editorial to put these questions. He identified issues such as the price of records in Australia (“Our Records Are Too Dear” Go-Set, 18/8/73, 2); a Senate inquiry into Payola in Australia (“Is There Payola In Australia” Go-Set, 4/8/73, 2). His very first editorial questioned the validity of the Australian music scene:
Over and over we’ve told ourselves “our turn must come” , told the fairy-tale in which a struggling overseas music scene searching for something new and fresh finds the suppressed potential of Australia'‘ rock music, the brilliant new rock revolution ready to pounce and sweep the world charts.
He then addresses the record companies, writing that they:
“… don’t help the acts in the slightest and the acts don’t help the record companies AT ALL. What SHOULD happen is that agency, management and record company should get together and organise ATTRACTIVE promotion tours. But we muddle on.”
Finally, after addressing the uselessness of the musicians union, he addresses the radio stations:
“But what’s crippling this industry most of all is radio, with its single rock network, turning down records left and right, having the scene wide open to one set of radio programmers pointing the scene wherever they see fit, to whoever gets closest to them. And being a “high-rotation” station they’re waiting for the other straight” stations to “break” records. How dangerous, too, to have a radio chain connected with a publishing concern.”
(Go-Set, 28/7/73, 3)
There is a sense of frustration associated with his comments. They are critical of the process and the struggle that Australian bands had to go through.
In the last issue of 1973, the Ed Nimmervoll’s editorial announced that Go-Set was moving to Sydney. He wrote that Melbourne had both loved and hated Go-Set. The question was now whether Sydney would care about it in the same way (Go-Set, 29/12/73, 2).
Erikson does not deal with the issue of old age except with the reference “one’s inevitable fate”. This could be considered as a reference to death. Yet in Go-Set‘s case it had little control over its future.
There is some confusion as to which company actually owned Go-Set. Michele O'Driscoll (aka Mitch) returned to Australia from England in 1974 and took up a writing/editorial position with Go-Set. She believes that at the time she was working for the English publishers IPC (Williams, 1999). Rock music journalist Christie Eliezer, who supplied articles to Go-Set in 1974, believes he was working for Sungravure. Phillip Frazer believes that IPC bought out Sungravure, possibly as a means of killing off Go-Set (Frazer, 15/12/99).
The 1974 magazine took on a new format. It combined the old gossip and news sections, with the fanzine photo-feature, and long in-depth two to three page articles courtesy of New Musical Express. Ian Meldrum’s gossip column fitted the format of the magazine desired by the new owners, he too, returned to his roots, he became the voyeur, with his “Keyhole News” (Go-Set, 2/2/74, 10). Go-Set also revisited the photo-feature style of its past with staff photographer, Phillip Morris, visiting venues and recording the action. Now the feature was called “Scene Around with Philip Morris” (Go-Set, 2/2/74, 11), not “The Seen, The Scene” (Go-Set, 2/2/66, 10-11).
Irrespective of who owned Go-Set, it was was compiled alongside Dolly in an office at 57-59 Regent Steet, Sydney. There were now just two full time staff members, Michele O'Driscoll, still writing as Mitch, and editor Jenny Irvine (Williams, 1999). There were other writers who submitted work but were not resident in the IPC office.
In losing its independence Go-Set lost control of its direction. Go-Set was already decaying as it shifted to Sydney. Sungravure’s intentions for Go-Set may not have been destructive, but according to Michele Williams, they placed an editor in charge who was unfamiliar with rock music journalism (Williams, 1999). Sungravure had its own four-year old, a magazine known as Dolly, whose target audience was teenage girls around the age of 12 to 15. It is Ed Nimmervoll’s belief that Go-Set became Dolly (Nimmervoll, 1998). There is some evidence to show that it is more likely that Go-Set became RAM magazine.
According to Michele Williams, IPC policy dictated that no staff could be replaced. Around the end of the first week of August 1974, Michele decided that Go-Set was not the magazine she remembered, and so she left (Williams, 1999). It is likely that the result of her resignation was that there was no-one to work on the magazine, IPC therefore had no choice but to close Go-Set down.
Go-Set‘s demise was not without long term benefits for rock music
journalism in Australia. Out of the ashes of Go-Set came a
new revitalised rock music journalism industry. Go-Set was
stripped of its depth, knowledge, experience and dignity. Six months
later Sungravure became active in the music press. A new magazine
called RAM (Rock Australia Magazine) came into existence.
It retained some of Go-Set’s format, and appeared to have the publishing
rights to New Musical Express, one of the magazines Go-Set
had published articles from. RAM was distributed by Sungravure,
and printed by Waverly Offset. Early in 1975, Ed Nimmervoll
started Juke magazine in Melbourne. His magazine would last
until the 1990s. He is the currently working as an independent rock
music chronicler in Melbourne (Nimmervoll, 1998).
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Charles, R., 2000, Interview 20 February 2000.
Cockington, J, 1992, Mondo Weirdo: Australia In The Sixties, Mandarin, Melbourne.
Draper, R, 1990, Rolling Stone Magazine - The Uncensored History, Doubleday, New York.
Erikson, E.H., 1958, Young Man Luther - A Study in Psychoanalysis and History, Faber and Faber, London.
Frazer, P., 1999, Email Interview, 26/8/99
Frazer, P., 1999, Email Interview, 8/9/99
Frazer, P., 1999, Email Interview, 28/9/99
Frazer, P., 1999, Email Interview, 4/10/99
Frazer, P., 1999, Email Interview, 15/12/99
Go-Set, 1966, Go-Set Publications, Melbourne.
Go-Set, 1967, Go-Set Publications, Melbourne.
Go-Set, 1968, Go-Set Publications, Melbourne.
Go-Set, 1970, Go-Set Publications, Melbourne
Go-Set, 1973, Sungravure, Sydney
Go-Set, 1974, Sungravure, Sydney
Lovegrove, V., 1999, Email Interview, 25/8/99
MacLean, S., 1999, Telephone Interview, 22/10/99
Nimmervoll, Ed., 1998, Interview, Melbourne, Friday, 20/11/98; Saturday, 21/11/98; Sunday, 22/11/98.
Nimmervoll, Ed., 1999, Telephone Interview, 25/1/99.
Spencer, C., 1989, Who’s Who of Australian Rock - 2nd Edition, Five Mile Press, Melbourne
Williams, M., 1999, Telephone Interview, 12/12/99 (Wrote under by-line of “Mitch” (nee O’Driscoll, 1966))