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Street Life: Posters and their role in the Brisbane music scene 1975-1995 (project update)

By JOL Admin | 9 March 2017

Guest blogger - John Willsteed, recipient of the Letty Katts Award discusses his project Street Life: Posters and their role in the Brisbane music scene 1975-1995

Letty Katts Award recipient, John Willsteed. Queensland Memory Awards 2016, State Library of Queensland

My first move after the Queensland Memory Awards night was to put out a call on social media (Facebook, in this case). It looked a bit like this:

“We are all getting older, kids growing up, downsizing. And maybe getting sick of holding on to stuff - the nostalgia-sodden vestiges of our long-departed youth. With that in mind, I am asking anyone who is interested to donate their music/band/venue posters to the State Library over this summer. I’m hoping to make this a really definitive collection from a diverse range of people. A magnificent visual slice of Brisbane history that will be available to you, me, scholars and storytellers in perpetuity.”

There were quite a few responses, and some interesting successes. These included a range of poster and handbill art from Cal Crilly, centred around the mid-90s and 4ZZZfm, Brisbane’s iconic community radio station; a selection of hand screen-printed posters made by Brisbane musician Peter Loveday for his bands in Brisbane and London from 82-85; a collection of Maleny/Woodford Folk Festival posters from my brother, Paul. All interesting, all different, all full of stories. And, being the novice I am, I was unaware that the posters had to be quarantined! So they have gone off to a little room somewhere to be “dealt with” – lucky things!

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Go-Betweens & Xero concert poster. Designed by John Willsteed

I have a QUT student, Alan Boyle, who has been assisting me with building a database that will dovetail into SLQ's catalogue. We also need to send the word out further, and will be accessing email lists and social media from the institutions: SLQ, State Archives, Museum etc. It has been a very busy summer and I’m looking forward to having the time to spread the word, check the collections and call out for more!!

Still thinking about the the “presentation”- - -  Posters on a wall? Some writing, talking and/or singing? This will be developed over the next few months, and presented in late July. Keep your ears open!

John Willsteed


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