MILESAGO - Recommended Reading


Love Is In The Air: Stories of Australian Pop Music
Toby Creswell (ed.)
ABC Books/Pan McMillan, 2003
RRP: AU$16.95


'Love Is In The Air' (LIITA), and its predecessor 'Long Way To The Top' (LWTTT) have been much discussed. Many have been critical of both series, pointing to errors, innaccuracies, omissions and generalisations which, they claim, undermine their value as authoritative histories of Aussie rock.

I have my own bones to pick about them, but this is not the place to do so. Whatever faults the series may have, at least they are there. As Oscar Wilde once said, "there's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about". What cannot be disputed about these two series is that they got Aussie music of the 60s and 70s firmly back on the agenda, and for that alone the team deserve a medal.

'Love Is In The Air' is of course the sequel to the very successful LWTTT. I was overseas when it went to air in late 2003. and I'm yet to see it, so I'm not going to comment on the series itself, just on the book.

'LIITA' The Book is an odd little fish, but a tasty one. It consists entirely of quotes from the series, which was compiled largely from interviews recorded for LWTTT but not used in that series. It covers the period of LWTTT but also moves forward into the late 70s, the 80s and the 90s, and it looks at 'pop' in all its guises.

Unlike the LWTTT book, LIITA contains none of the narration, and no other additional material -- the quotes are simply strung together in sections, linked by the overarching theme of each of the five episodes, and the subsections therein. This makes for somewhat disjointed reading, but it's all fascinating stuff, and there are some fanastic quotes. For its content alone, this book will undoubtedly prove a valuable resource for years to come, and I for one will be plundering it as ruthlessly as the "Fair Use" copyright provision allows!

The only aspect of the book that strikes me as odd is that Toby has been listed as the author. Now I'm not an expert in publishing by any means, but I can't see how someone can reasonably claim to be the "author" of a book that consists entirely of quotes by other people. "Editor" would be more appropriate, I would have thought. It just seems a bit odd -- but what do I know?

If you've already seen the series, this book will probably only be of limited interest. Whether it contains more material than is used in the series I'm yet to determine, but as a "companion book" to the show it could probably have included some extras, especially photographs, of which there are none.

But as a source of pithy quotes about OzRock it's invaluable, not least for Barry Crocker's fascinating discourse on the origins of 'Waltzing Matilda'.

I also have to express my thanks to Toby Creswell, who has very generously included a really nice plug for Milesago in the acknowledgements, and I'm immensely grateful for that. Cheers Toby!


'Love Is In The Air' official website

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