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Newsletter June 2024

THE SING BOOK SINGALONG
When we did Under the Influence with Nigel and Beth who run Smith’s Alternative, they both mentioned that their main influences as kids were the ABC Sing Books. Then John Shortis told the Smith’s audience that he once co-wrote the radio programs that went with the books, and after the show he had a queue of people thanking him and telling him how much they meant to them.

These were the books that students and teachers would follow as they listened to ABC music education radio broadcasts that were beamed into classrooms across Australia. They contained music and lyrics to a massive number of songs ranging from well-known pop and folk to songs from musicals, movies, TV, to world music, and children’s songs, some written specially, including by John himself.

Bevan Noble, who does the sound at Smith’s, suggested we relive those days with a singalong of gems from the books, and now it’s a reality- we’re doing it!!

Lyrics will be displayed, and with special guests (including John’s co-writer Brian Simmons- yes they were Shortis and Simmons), the audience will be lead through a Sing Book Singalong. And don’t worry if you if you weren’t there at the time- you will still know the songs.

In true Shortis and Simpson style there’ll be interesting stories, snippets of history and plenty of humour along the way. This is an untold story, an important part of Australian music and broadcasting history.

And when you book, you can request your favourite songs, from any era of the books- they were published from about 1950 until 2014.
Saturday Aug 10, 3pm, $40/$30 concession.
Smith’s Alternative, 76 Alinga Street, Canberra
Bookings- https://www.smithsalternative.com/events/the-sing-book-singalong-86606

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event

Newsletter June 2024

THE SING BOOK SINGALONG
When we did Under the Influence with Nigel and Beth who run Smith’s Alternative, they both mentioned that their main influences as kids were the ABC Sing Books. Then John Shortis told the Smith’s audience that he once co-wrote the radio programs that went with the books, and after the show he had a queue of people thanking him and telling him how much they meant to them.

These were the books that students and teachers would follow as they listened to ABC music education radio broadcasts that were beamed into classrooms across Australia. They contained music and lyrics to a massive number of songs ranging from well-known pop and folk to songs from musicals, movies, TV, to world music, and children’s songs, some written specially, including by John himself.

Bevan Noble, who does the sound at Smith’s, suggested we relive those days with a singalong of gems from the books, and now it’s a reality- we’re doing it!!

Lyrics will be displayed, and with special guests (including John’s co-writer Brian Simmons- yes they were Shortis and Simmons), the audience will be lead through a Sing Book Singalong. And don’t worry if you if you weren’t there at the time- you will still know the songs.

In true Shortis and Simpson style there’ll be interesting stories, snippets of history and plenty of humour along the way. This is an untold story, an important part of Australian music and broadcasting history.

And when you book, you can request your favourite songs, from any era of the books- they were published from about 1950 until 2014.
Saturday Aug 10, 3pm, $40/$30 concession.
Smith’s Alternative, 76 Alinga Street, Canberra
Bookings- https://www.smithsalternative.com/events/the-sing-book-singalong-86606

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Under the Influence with Mikelangelo

Under the Influence is a series of shows based on the musical influences of a guest. So far these have included Keith Potger of The Seekers, political journalist Karen Middleton, local blues musician DJ Gosper, and Nigel McRae and Beth Tully who run Smith’s Alternative.

Next cab off the rank is Michael Simic, a stunning, larger-than-life, singer and songwriter of Croatian heritage, known to many as the front man of the Black Sea Gentlemen.

Under the Influence is a bittersweet cabaret, based on Mikelangelo’s musical influences. It delves into the formative elements of his life from his years as a Croatian-Australian boy growing up in Canberra to a performer and writer who has gone onto great success on national and international stages.

This highly creative collaboration captures the many sides of his life, from laconic Aussie bloke to the irrepressible cabaret performer he’s become, through music as diverse as Balkan folk, Spaghetti Western, surf music, crooners, iconic singers and songwriters, original songs, and more.

Accompanied by a three-piece band (Matt Nightingale, Jon Jones, Dave O’Neill), Under the Influence promises humour, poignancy, surprising revelations, immersive theatricality, and stunning musical moments.

The show is directed by experienced music-theatre practitioner, Tracy Bourne. Don’t miss Under the Influence.

At the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Fri/Sat Nov 3/4, 7.30pm.

Under the Influence

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Newsletter April May 2023

UNDER THE INFLUENCE
with special guests, Nigel McRae and Beth Tully, the owners of Smith’s Alternative, advocates of live and local music

Smith’s Alternative celebrates 10 years since it morphed from independent bookshop to live venue. It is home to gigs by local musos, music legends, and lesser known touring acts, as well as jam sessions, arts and crafts gatherings, cabaret, political conversations, poetry, belly dancing, and more.

Since 2015 it’s been in the hands of Nigel McRae and Beth Tully, themselves musicians, and passionate advocates of live and local music.

Shortis and Simpson feature them in the next episode in their Under the Influence series in which they highlight the musical influences of their guests.

Anyone who’s been to Smith’s will have seen Nigel and Beth behind the bar and checking tickets. Now here’s a chance to hear them sing songs and tell tales of yodelling vaudevillians, buskers, school punk bands, family singalongs in cars and around pianolas, culminating in the rarely told adventures of the Canberra music scene of the last 30 years.

Under the Influence with Nigel and Beth is informative, entertaining, surprising, delightfully subversive, and chock-a-block with great music.

SMITH’S ALTERNATIVE
76 Alinga Street, Canberra
Saturday May 13, 6pm, $40/$30 concession
https://www.smithsalternative.com/events/under-the-influence-80887

AND…
John Shortis is leading a series of songwriting workshops for anyone who has written, or would like to write, a song.
Room 11, AINSLIE ARTS CENTRE, 30 Elouera St, Braddon
Tuesdays May 30/June 6/13/20, 7-9pm
$100/$90 concession- covers all 4 sessions
To register, contact me at moyajohn@shortisandsimpson.com

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Newsletter Oct 2022

SHORT, SHARP and SHINY
Satire from two perspectives
Our end-of-year satire this time is with our old friends The Shiny Bum Singers, a brilliant political satire group made up of public servants who satirise the Public Service as well as politics. They are the shiny of our title, we’re the short, and the satire is sharp.

There’s plenty to sing about as we bid farewell to ScoMo and hello to Albo. Between secret portfolios, tax cuts, a ‘bread and butter’ budget, Barilaro’s New York venture, the Teals, climate, integrity, submarines, and Dutton,. Not to mention Optus, Putin, Truss, Her Majesty, the Republic, the Voice, and much more.

The show is being performed three times only- twice in Canberra, once in Sydney.

Sat Nov 19, 2.30pm/7.30pm, The Artists Shed, 88 Wollongong St, Fyshwick, $30. Bar available, drinks only.
Bookings- https://www.artistshed.com.au/product-category/events/

Sat Nov 26, The Loaded Dog Folk Club, Back Hall of the Annandale Neighbourhood Centre, 79 Johnston Street, Annandale. $20/$18 (cash at the door). BYO, light supper available
Enquiries & bookings-kxbears@ozemail.com.au

AND….UNDER THE INFLUENCE, with special guest DJ Gosper, is being repeated at The National Theatre, Braidwood on Sat Dec 10, 7.30pm. Not yet open for bookings. Details coming soon.