No Fixed Address by Donald Robertson (Hybrid Publishers)
“No Fixed Address” is a magnificent achievement. It's also readable, interesting, engaging and fucking disgusting.
We'll get to the latter comment in a bit.
As you know, one of the few benefits of lockdown was that some great work has emerged - but we're damn lucky it's Donald Robertson who decided to write about No Fixed Address. He was there at the time, was an aware chap, and wrote extensively about the scene he was so much a part of in Roadrunner magazine. Also, Robertson's approach resembles that of a historian approaching The Rolling Stones.
Why? Well, while you may not have seen them, or even heard of No Fixed Address, the band's importance in Australian Aboriginal history is bloody enormous. Robertson gets this so well that, in the opening chapter, we discover that NFA would not have existed but for the determination of a number of significant people to encourage, enthuse and integrate Aboriginal people into the Adelaide arts culture, long before the band had learned to play.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, this was fairly unheard of; so it is, in a way, no surprise that names like Leila Rankine, Catherine Ellis, Ted Strehlow and Veronica Brodie all turn up as incidental characters.
Don't recognise the names? Go to the “Australian Dictionary of Biography” (aka the ADB online); you don't get an entry in there for sitting on yer bum watching “Drone and Away”, “Australia's Got Alkies”, “These Kitchen Fools” or “Married at First Fart”. (ED: You left out “The Farmer Wants a Root”.)