Greg Wilson: Reflections on touring Australia

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Back at the tail-end of summer, house and disco authority Greg Wilson toured Australia, playing the AGWA Yacht Club cruise on Sydney Harbour, club dates in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, and finally the replacement party for a washed-out Playground Weekender. Soon after the tour, the DJ wrote an illuminating blog post for his website that you can (and should) read in full. However this extract he provided for inthemix focuses on the feelings of a deep-thinking Englishman viewing Australia as an outsider. It’s a fascinating read.

Greg Wilson:

“Having played at Sugar in Adelaide on the Thursday, my 4th time there (always good to catch up with Driller, the clubs maverick owner / DJ), I was pretty much pinballed from city to city – 5 in 5 days. It was a series of daily flights from Adelaide > Melbourne > Sydney > Brisbane > Auckland. The gigs were great, but it was within the frantic framework of a breakneck schedule.

At the start of a tour like this you’re looking at an itinerary of dates, times and places that need to be navigated, but they’re just the structural necessities – the real purpose of your being there revolves purely around people, it’s all about the coming together, all about community.

There are so many people I meet along the road who shake my hand and wish me well in such a genuine heartfelt manner, and who tell me that what I’m doing means something to them – these are nourishing words, deeply felt. Throughout my journey I’ve crossed paths with old friends and, hopefully, some new ones, who I’d like to catch up with and get to know better on subsequent trips, or, as sometimes happens, bump into them in another part of the world – drawn together by destiny or design.

Australia is perfectly positioned as the 21st Century unfolds, with the economic growth of the Pacific Rim nations and the region’s ever-increasing influence on the wider world, Australia is proving to be a key crossroads between east and west.

When I first arrived in Melbourne, when the Red Bull Music Academy brought me over in 2006, I’d already decided that Australia wasn’t a country I could see myself living in, purely down its lack of black culture, for this is the culture that’s informed my life. With this in mind, it was a more than pleasant surprise to find myself in such a multicultural melting pot. Maybe it didn’t have the rooted black influences I hold so dear, but an alchemy of different and diverse people bodes well for the future, when I’m sure Australia, with a distinctive east/west fusion of expression, will really come into its own artistically, taking the best of what it already has, its western heritage, whilst embracing these new influences that stem from its geography.

Amidst all this, Australia also has its indigenous population to learn from. Far be it from me, a Brit, to comment on the complexities of the still unresolved Aboriginal question – that is something for the conscience of each individual Australian, just as in my own country of birth the treatment of West Indian, African and Asian immigrants leaves a stain on our collective conscience (not to mention all the follies of Empire, including, of course, Britain’s role in Australia, dating back from when it claimed the eastern half of the country in 1770, and initially turned it into a penal colony).

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