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When were you at Curtin (formally known as WAIT) and what did you study?
I was there in the early ‘80s, I started in ‘82, and I studied Journalism. I got a major in Journalism with a Minor in Creative Writing and Literature.
How would you describe your time as a WAIT (Curtin) student in the eighties?
It was fantastic—I had a great time! I made a lot of great friends that I'm still in touch with today. I guess it was just a really good time of freedom—we had so much spare time with the long semester breaks, and, yeah, we made the most of it!
How did you come across Grok and start writing for the magazine?
Well, quite early on I heard that Grok welcomed contributions and you could do record reviews. And as I was a journalism student, I was quite keen to build up a portfolio of published work. So, I decided to offer my services. I kind of have vague memories of going up a staircase, being a bit nervous and ending up in a room, which was really messy, filled with books and papers—and cool people! So, yeah, I just asked if I could do some record reviews, and I think they directed me to a big box where I could help myself and of course I was quite thrilled that I got to get some records for free. So it was good, it was good experience. From that, my journalism tutor said I could do some record reviews for City Focus as well, which was the student newspaper that journalism students produced.
Do you remember a particularly great record you reviewed?
It was Kate Bush’s The Dreaming. And I also remember reviewing bands like 10cc and Bad Company, and all these other records.
What were the highlights of your time writing for Grok and City Focus?
Well we introduced the Golden Wang awards at City Focus. We did all the work on Wayne computers, so we decided to have these joke awards. We got the computer cartridges, or whatever you call them, and sprayed them gold and instituted these awards and we held them at one of the other students' house—their mum's place. They had a house on the river and I looked back at the photos of then now and, you know, some people that were there have gone on to do really well. One of them went on to be the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and I'm sure he's won lot of awards—but I'm sure the Gold Wang award is the one he valued most!
Do you remember much of the Student Guild and what sort of things they did for students at the time?
I do remember that they organised bands at the Tavern. So I did go along to The Church when they playing there once. I can remember standing on a chair in the Tavern and later on I met Steve Kilbey and got his autograph, so that was pretty exciting. I think you either went to the Tavern on a Friday afternoon, or the slightly nerdy students went to the canteen—and I was at the canteen I'm afraid!
What do you think you got out of your time at WAIT (Curtin) and Grok and how did your studies there impact you as an individual?
Like I said, it was great meeting people, fellow student that I'm still friends with. I guess it was just a good time of learning and exploring and having that luxury of being able to read lots of books and dive into things that interested you, because you probably don't really get the time to do that at any other time in your life. And I was really lucky, I was at the tail end when you could get education for free and I was very lucky in that I have very fond memories of WAIT, or Curtin now.