April 19th, 1985 brought Brisbane the Off the Top cabaret festival. This event warranted my leaving early from work and high-tailing it to La Boite to take part in those last minute things that you have to do when you’re opening a festival. Getting in extra champagne – now I suspect this wasn’t champagne at all, rather some headache in a bottle like Bodega Sparkling or Minchinbury Champagne (which WAS labelled as champagne); fetching some more mic cradles, and; surprisingly, collecting a traymobile from home – for what I cannot recall.
I can recall the excitement of going ‘live-to-air’ on 4ZZZ. It wasn’t something that happened a lot, especially not from remote locations. I’d done one from the car park outside the Triple Zed studios during a Radiothon, but they were rare birds indeed – the technology was really expensive. I think I recall this one being arranged by David Pyle and I have a hazy memory of our mics feeding into a phone line. We used transistor radios with earpieces to monitor the radio and provide us with a confusing delay. The ‘we’ I refer to was me and John Caskey and we went ‘live-to-air’ for the arrival and opening of the festival by Gerry Connolly’s Queen Elizabeth II.
The night was billed as a Gala Opening and I recorded that there were 200 invited guests. Apart from the Queen, my diary simply says, “…and assorted entertainment”. Apologies to those referred to as ‘assorted’ – please feel free to update.