Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Review – Time of My Life

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Rebecca Rowlings, ARR.News
Rebecca Rowlings, ARR.News
Rebecca Rowlings has always been a voracious reader. Apart from three years in Sydney at university, she has spent her life living in rural and regional areas. She currently lives on Wiradjuri country, teaches at the local high school, runs a secondhand bookstore and furniture restoration business with her amazing husband, and loves being a wife and mother, although there is a downside in the lack of time to read as much as she once could. With an Arts degree majoring in English literature, a background in newspaper journalism and more than a decade spent as an English teacher, she enjoys sharing her insights into some of the books she is able to find time to read (usually late at night).
Time of My Life

Myf Warhurst is a familiar face to many Australians after her long running stint as one of the permanent team captains on music quiz show Spick n Specks. She is a familiar voice to even more, having started her career in radio with Triple J more than 20 years ago. More recently, she has been the face of SBS’s Eurovision coverage (along with Joel Creasey). As she says in the introduction to her memoir Time of My Life, “My love of music would help define my career.” This career has taken her from Melbourne to London, to Sydney, Mildura, New York, Israel, Portugal … but it all began in country Victoria.

Her memoir begins with retelling a family memory of three-year old Myf being entranced by Sherbet’s Daryl Braithwaite singing “Howzat” on Countdown, walking up to the television and giving him a big sloppy kiss. Countdown was Myf’s window on a world far beyond the wheat fields of central Victoria. The memoir’s opening chapters are a nostalgia trip for anyone who lived in country Australia in the 1970s and early 80s. The radio that broadcast only the ABC and a local commercial station that heavily favoured country music; the TV which likewise offered just the ABC and one local commercial station; swimming in the river; shooting at empty cans with a slug gun; riding horses and dirt bikes.

It was a Jimmy Barnes concert in Adelaide as a teenager that kicked off the next phase of Myf’s music obsession. “The transformation from sport-loving, horse-riding country girl to serious music-loving young nerd was beginning.” Myf finished high school and moved to Melbourne for university – flying from the nest as so many Aussie teenagers do, seeking the bright lights of the big city. Her memoir then takes us through the development of her career, from music student to music and arts magazine editor, to radio host. It’s an insight into the Australian music scene in the 90s and 2000s, and the casual name dropping brings the realisation of how close that music scene actually was for those inside it – Myf, it seems, knew everyone who was about to be someone.

Myf remembers fondly going back to the country with Triple J’s One Night Stand concert series, “where small towns would bid for some of the biggest acts of the day to come to their town and play a concert.” She writes, “Country kids aren’t outsiders, they just don’t get the same chances to enjoy things that city kids take for granted because they’re easy to get to … These events are testament to the role that Triple J has, which is more than just providing a voice for youth, it connects kids around the country with a shared voice, a shared narrative of songs and ideas.” In 2023 perhaps our country kids are more connected thanks to the internet and smartphones, but finding those connections remains important.

She has lived in big cities for most of her adult life, but after the long Covid lockdowns Melbourne residents endured, Myf found herself buying – on the basis of a twenty minute walk through – a cottage in semi rural river country outside of Melbourne. Perhaps it’s not quite a return to her northwest Victoria childhood setting, but it definitely reads as an acknowledgment of the lifestyle joys to be found outside the cities.

Welcome back, Myf!

Author: Myf Warhurst
Publisher: Hachette Australia
ISBN: 9780733649189
Buy through Booktopia

This book review is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

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