The Penguin Hunter Diaries
Media celebrities of today are far removed from the original icons who their publicity releases try to emulate by telling how exciting and interesting actors, artists, comedians and musicians lives are.
Australia's acclaimed national Poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon did it all, the archetypical aussie hero. Larrakin, mounted trooper, horsebreaker, jockey, member of parliament and poet. Sure I'd heard the tales about his famous leap on horseback over the railing into the dormant volcano, the Blue Lake at Mount Gambier, riding his horse into hotels but never had I read or heard his verse until 1995. I was gifted a worn copy of the Poetical Works of Adam Lindsay Gordon, from the Mount Benson School Library inscribed with pen and ink and dated 24/6/1917. The preface by Marcus Clarke is about the emerging nation the man lived in and what he wrote about, sometimes. Gordon' s poetry taught me about where Patterson, Lawson, Ogilvie and Nielson came from, with their Australian poetry that followed his standard.
So instead of sitting on the fence and watching the day pass by I followed suit and decided to take the leap into the unknown, for Adam Lindsay Gordon. Which is what I usually do for myself so it wasn't that hard to do. Eleven years later the National Froth and Bubble Festival begins on the 24th of June 2006 a day of celebration to commemorate Australia's national poet. Without doubt I am not gifted with poetry, but reading a critics comments that, 'Gordon is a fourth rate poet if a poet at all.' is all the more reason to have had a crack at bringing him to the fore again. So I started writing a few columns and reviews of the man and putting his poems in magazines I was publishing on sport and art. I even penned a few poetry verses myself and stood up and performed them in clubs all the while researching his life and writing a show about him to one day perform myself.
In 2002 The Ballad of Adam Lindsay Gordon, was performed for the first time, nine shows in three days. Arty I am not, even the first show was nearly cancelled when a description of a 'blue' stand up comedy show I had done was taken to be the way the show would be. It was all sorted out with a private performance of the show which proved that what is done on stage is an act for then, not how it is always. Today, I still tour it from, Art and Folk Festivals to solo seasons of the show alone, meeting more people and entertaining them with the tale of Gordon and voicing his verse of life in Australia. In 2004 the show had been successful enough to go into a recording studio and embellish it even more with the sounds of the bush and recreating exeriences in our poets life with the benefit of talented people who can hear an idea and bring it to life with sound effects and music. One day I will go further with it and the stage show will be more like the studio cd recording with sound Fx. At the minute the show has been re-written into a radio format and is being produced with the assistance of the local ABC radio station. Adding even more to it I have now included actors to play various people who were quoted on their friend Gordon in the past for the radio production version.
In 2005 a copy of Adam Lindsay Gordon's bust was cast from the original marble one in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey and installed in Penola, where he was one of the town's mounted police before he went on to achieve many of his exploits in his travels living in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Poetry has been surpassed as entertainment by television, radio and cinema and reigniting the celebration of the poet will not reach the thousands who used to gather at his grave site on the 24th of June, at Brighton. The Adam Lindsay Gordon Commemorative Committee (check out the Website) are for the celebrations to be anywhere Australians are to celebrate as Oscar Wilde put it. 'one of the finest singers the english language has ever known.'
'Life is mostly Froth and Bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
KINDNESS in anothers trouble,
COURAGE in your own.' Adam Lindsay Gordon
Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff