posted on February 16, 2011 at 2:43 am


in about 1972 i met him

he was a year older than me about 19

we met up in the david jones record bar in canberra

i was asking for some records and paul was in there

and he starting making some interesting comments on the records i wanted

we started talking and immediately became fast friends

paul was the only person i had ever met who loved marc bolan like me

he understood! he fucking understood….!

this alone was enough to guarantee ya lifelong friendship in my world

he was a good looking dude with his beard n everything

(i got quite a shock seeing him the first time he shaved it off!)

paul was such an incredibly knowledgeable character

he kept all his pop magazines neatly filed and sorted

his records were all in plastic bags n in mint condition

and he had everything…all the singles , e.p.s whatever

and a hilarious line in gossip on all the comings n goings

in the rock world

paul was interested in production too

and already had a tape recorder he was experimenting with

paul turned me onto bowie who i was kinda resisting “for marcs sake”

but paul n i were honest with each other about bolan

even if it hurt

paul said after we bought tanx “how disappointing!”

it was

we knew bowie was the future

paul n i formed a band

he was the singer i was the bass player

theres a little bit about him in my biography “no certainty attached”

he was the singer who wouldnt go on stage because of the bullies

as a  consequence of paul pulling out of singing that night

i became a singer myself because otherwise i was gonna be a bass player

a word about these bullies

i knew em

i saw who was there that night

a bunch of teenage thugs who’d given paul grief

at the catholic boys high school he attended not that far from my lyneham high

these guys were onto anyone like artistic or intelligent or slightly feminine

wow you had pauly there in spades cos he was all 3

he looked round the curtain n saw simmo n robbo n jonesy or whoever

n he couldnt handle it….singing in front of these guys who one year ago

were probably smacking him around a bit at school

so he just said

i aint doing it!

and fuck he left us in the lurch but i understood why he didnt

it was our first ever gig

it was 1973 at the o’donnell youth club in braddon

i drove past there the other day with sam n pointed it out to her

it sure looked insignificant in the daylight so many years later

but that night it was full of bullies n from my school too

but my sense of destiny always burnt within me so hard

i just get up n play n i dont care

let em thump me afterwards i gotta play my songs

(incidentally no one thumped me or even said anything except for one

long drawn out sneer of KILBEY!!!!???? when i hit the stage)

paul n i kinda remained friends after that but things were a little weird

paul n i both loved bowie and paul was really getting into all the bi-sexuality hoopla

well i very faintheartedly tried to embrace the idea

but the truth was i liked girls n i didnt like blokes not one tiny bit

paul called me as butch as a meat pie

i mean i still liked to dye me hair n put makeup on

but i just didnt dig blokes

paul never suggested anything inappropriate to me either

we verily loved each other like brothers

i dunno how paul felt about me but to me

he was the voice of all good taste in things to do with music

paul loved the beatles the who n todd rundgren too

and he filled me in on everything

half the stuff i know about anything to do with rock probably was from paul

he like me was a man out of time n place

if he’d been in london or somewhere he woulda been engineering n producing

im convinced of that

he really understood pop music in a way that few people ever grasp

he would have made an amazing producer  he had a great “ear”

eventually i guess my butchness n i guess sometimes harsh words

woulda broke up our friendship

but not before we travelled up to sydney together n saw trex

(they were absolutely awful!!!!!)

paul n i drifted apart tho we caught up a few times

once he completely blanked me when he was working in a newsagents in civic

i invited him round to my place but he didnt wanna know me

well i held a grudge and i held it good

when the church got wellknown i met up again with paul in 1981

he was working in the public service

i couldnt work out if he was straight or gay or bi or whatever

whatever it was he seemed confused by it and

i wasnt so friendly

paying him back for the newsagents incident

but just lately we have met up twice in canberra when the church played

paul had really changed

but he was still funny witty gossipy and bloody lovely to hang out with

we talked about all the stuff only WE knew about

paul was meeting a woman from sydney that night

in some bizarre twist she worked at the bondi post office

and we had already spoken about paul

paul told me that night

youd be proud of me i’m gonna date a woman!

it seemed things were looking up

paul wrote me a lovely letter about the churches performance

he hit every nail on the head in his critique of us

he asked me where i got my new choppers

paul had somehow lost some front teeth n he was reticent to smile

it seemed the new romance might have a chance

i kept saying come up to sydney paul

he kept saying he would but he never did

this guy was a huge influence on my nascent musical direction

he was a brilliant brilliant man and as i said

in some other time n place he would have been feted as quite a somebody

i knew his brother phil at school too

he was a diamond geezer a really nice cat

i remember his whole family as being gracious and hospitable

i dont think anybody quite knew what to make of paul though

i dont think he did himself

as far as i go

he was an indispensable part of my story

we studied bolan n bowie like other people study mathematics

we debated we laughed we argued we rhapsodised on em

i unreservedly tell the world paul culnane was a big influence on me

he had an idea for something called the amnesia operetta

i finally stole his idea last year for a church song called operetta

i told paul n he was chuffed

oh i’d forgotten all about that he said…..

an adorable man

a sad day for me

paul if you see marc up there……ah…you’ll know what to say…..

i’m gonna miss you man

sk philadelphia on tour

feb 2011


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