A lot of the time, writers don’t get paid a whole lot, so that means we have to do things like work in retail. Which is exactly what I did throughout this year. This can definitely have its ups and downs, particularly over the Christmas period. But, sometimes you’re lucky enough to have a really great experience with a particular customer. For me, working in the music department, that meant engaging with someone who was just as passionate about music, particularly discovering new music, as I am. This is a piece about my favourite customer, Gary.
I had really started to give up a little, that anyone wondering into JB Hi Fi Glendale would be after anything but Andre Rieu or RnB Fridays. Not that there is anything wrong with these particular artists or set of compilations, they are just not my jam. “I don’t listen to commercial radio”, is a statement that I will happily tell customers and I’m not embarrassed that I have to google “who won the voice 2016”. But what I can tell you, is the complete history of Sleater-Kinney, why I love Kathleen Hanna, and a list of every local artist who has impressed me this year. I met Gary this year, when he asked me whether we had any Bikini Kill. Naturally, I spent many subsequent hours learning about his love of music, how Joy Division changed his life and mostly just trying to keep up with the way he manages to discover new music.
For someone who doesn't have internet access, I haven’t met anyone whose finger is more on the pulse in regards to new music than Gary. “Have you read the latest Rolling Stone Laura” he’ll usually ask me at the start of the month. I usually haven’t. But honesty, I prefer getting the run down from him, filtering out the white noise that can often be the case with music reviews. He has no music bias, yet he’s not easily impressed. If something is outside my genre of choice, I’ll usually only listen if it’s paired with a recommendation from Gary.
Gary grew up in Newcastle, spending his days writing, playing and listening to music. Things he still does to this day. He told me about his first guitar, how he’s written his life story on a typewriter, which artists changed his life and I think he’s almost a bigger Camp Cope fan than I am. I am constantly impressed by the way he discusses his life, his interest in not necessarily the big stars of today - the ones constantly wowing thousands of crowds at the Hordern, but he asks “Tell me about Adeline Pines, where can I buy their CD?” or “I think Rachel-Maria Cox’s music sounds wonderful, what a really great songwriter”. He reminds me how great the music scene in Newcastle really is, and I am also certain he reads my writing more religiously than my parents do. He is a wonderful, passionate, gentle and kind person and I feel so very lucky to have had the opportunity to spend some time chatting about music throughout this year.
I thought I’d take the time to write a little appreciation, of someone who made my Thursdays really great, someone I’ve learned a lot about, but mostly learned a lot from. And as he says... Keep on Rockin' Gary, right into 2017.