Murrumbidgee Jones – The Sam Joke Twice
SO FAR SO GOOD………A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
Murrumbidgee Jones is the alias of Sydney writer Warwick Irwin who, as a musician, has released three previous albums. These include POP 1280, produced by J Walker (CW Stoneking, The Whitlams) and other releases with Sydney band The Scrubhomets – The Scrubhomets (1995) – produced by Dave Steel, and Kiss A Cactus (1996) – produced by lan Rilen. A four song *EP, Postcards from a Burning Roadhouse, was also released in 1992 under the name of The Ghost of Charlie Cousins. Prior to this Warwick was a writer/ performer with Sydney’s nationally acclaimed absurdist comedy troupe Funny Stories.
Their most recent show was at 2004 Melbourne Comedy Festival, but they’re probably best known for their i98o’s work when they travelled the music circuit as added colour for both Australian and international touring bands. They included Midnight Oil, John Cooper Clarke, The Fall, Hunters and Collectors, and king of the drag queens, Divine. During this period Warwick also toured nationally as monologue artist, *The Jet Black Cowboy. *It was after one of The Jet Black Cowboy’s shows at the Harold Park Hotel in Glebe that Warwick met the novelist Frank “Truthful Jones” Hardy. Frank said he “kinda liked” the material but hated the name. “What’s this cowboy bullshit? Why not something Australian.” Conversation followed and it was determined that because the Murrumbidgee River was a major backdrop to Warwick’s youth and that his father nicknamed him Jones as a young child that an amalgam might work. The advice wasn’t taken up right away, but adoption eventually made sense.
THE STORIES AND THEIR EVOCATIONS
- Cold Black Night – The car bonnet is warm to touch and, in an upstairs window, a silhouette moves from view. A testosterone charged adventure with youth on a midnight march. A storm brews and a fire bums by the river.
- Somebody Followed Me Home – A high pitched electronic squeal cuts the silence, and the smell of burnt cabbage permeates the corridor walls. Above the stairwell whispering you hear a door slam, and upstairs, an unanswered telephone rings and rings and rings, and an alarm screams until the battery runs flat.
- Brown Champagne – Soles of leather pumps scrape polished floorboards as the Mrs Novae’s dance orchestra plays a polka and two men talk about the ghosts of history at the bar Nobody’s listening, of course, and as they turn to face the action they realise it’s all been a dream. Or has it? Maybe just an episode of The Twilight Zone.
- Wrong Way Home – A truck driver peers through dusty lace curtains of his hotel room into mist of a winter street. He’s not here through choice, and after bacon and eggs, a couple of slices of toast and a cup of bad coffee, its back into the rig and another charge towards the future. He’s heading west and not sure if its the right direction.
- From An Austin A90 – Back at the local hall. Bad Luck James and Fatalities play a slow country blues as locals gather around the petrol drum barbecue and talk about the things that matter most. Then again, maybe it’s the summer holidays in the family car, and it’s the conversations coming from both the front and back seat.
- Magpie in the Distance – A two tone Peugeot parks in the driveway, and for the next days there’ll be rum, stories, a transistor radio tuned to the races, and roll your own cigarette ash dotted over the laminex surface of the kitchen table. Your uncle’s in town, and if you play the right card you get to wash his car in exchange for all the silver coins he’s stashed in his suitcase. Maybe even polish his brogues for a little bit extra.
- Sweetest Moments – They drive down to Paddy’s River for the weekend and. nobody around, they light a fire. drink beer and shoot at the empty cans with .22 rifle. They fish but catch nothing. They dream and watch wallabies drinking water from roadside ditches. Gid Tanner and Skillet Lickers play on the car’s cassette. The landscapes are real.
- Toenail Moon – The last will and testament, and then back to the earth from whence we came. A celebration for the living by the dead. A story with no moral and in need of no explanation. Of peace.
- Never Say Never – Imagining WC Fields as a commercial traveller eating a counter lunch ofsilversidc and white sauce at a country pub bar and dishing out wisdom to any drunk who’ll listen. Many will. Hard Luck James provides the backing with his one and only juke box hit.
- When The Rain Came Tumbling Down – Bad Luck James returns, but now he’s the lead in this Film version of this Murrumbidgee Jones mystery. He’s not bad, either. Sardonic, but with a touch of menace. What’s in that sack?
- Been There, Done That- Living in a shared house and promising you’ll never do it again. Again. Adventures of a lifetime in a lifetime of nightmares. People throwing knives against the wall. Bottles smashing in the backyard. And that motorbike stripped in the hall. And people eating cabbage and fennel and boiled potatoes.
- Closed on Sunday – Being homesick in a far away land with a cop on your trail, and nothing but sweet beer and bad cigarettes for company. Listening to a wise old man in a dusty roadhouse telling everybody there’s no point in having two hats if you’ve only got one head. “You can’t see out both sides of the bus at the same time.” he says.
- Marilyn Is Pregnant – Walking through a cityscape with somebody who wants to leave town in a hurry. A remake of Kid Coleamhally and the Witchetty Grub Crew’s 1996 hip hop classic.
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