Very warming to see so many passionate enough about the Melbourne and rural Victorian music scene to attend and the S.L.A.M. Rally on Tuesday.

All credit to those who organised, participated and turned up – the pubs in the vicinity of Parliament House must have done a roaring trade.

Below is a copy of the poem I recited at the rally and I hope those in power finally realise the damage they have already caused music in this town and depth of feeling simmering in the suburbs should they not choose to address the issues adequately.

S.L.A.M Rally

Played at the Lomond, Sunday night gone
To a handful, two dozen – give or take
The bouncers, pleasant fellas, found it a struggle
The struggle, was staying awake

A young buck was screaming and carrying on
Aggressive, disruptive – not happy
He settled down, no need for security
Once his Mum finished changing his nappy

We are blessed with our culture of music and pubs
Unique, accessible and diverse
Collateral damage in the war against violence?
Why should music pay for this curse?

There is pressure enough from development
Many lights that shone bright are now dimming
Linking violence to music holds the same logic
As linking drowning to synchronised swimming

There are hundreds of towns throughout the bush
Accustomed to living with doubt
The pub with no beer? The pub with no music!
That’s what I call a drought

Pubs aren’t charities – Have you met a rich musician?
It survives while it stays in the black
Trial and error, taking chances, finding what fits
And by scratching each other’s back

I’ve rarely seen problems in venues with music
Compared to some bars around town
I feel safer, less threatened when I go to most pubs
Than I do under lights outside Crown

Must pubs retreat to gambling and beer
Before we realise what our culture means
If we’re lucky, a juke box will compete for our money
Amid the clanging of Pokie Machines

It’s up to Performers, Publicans, Punters
It’s up to us all to ensure
Those who decree and enforce understand
Music’s not the disease – It’s the cure!

© Copyright 2010 Ian Bland


A couple of videos of the rally

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