I found out last week that music legend Paul Kelly hails from the Norwood. Last week whilst at an unusual gig that featured Paul and Bulldogs star Bob Murphy, he shared his growing up days in Norwood and the hero’s he looked up to in the SANFL .
The event called Presentation Night was created to explore and honour how the world of a football players and rock stars intertwine with each other. How each side often dreams of playing on the other. How heroes also have their own heroes.
It was wonderful hearing from a man as eloquent and thoughtful as Paul Kelly articulate his early days in Norwood and his particular love of sport. Although I must say I was a little surprised to hear how obsessed he was at participating in all sports; swimming, football, cricket and running. A typical little Aussie kid growing up on the suburbs it would seem, but one that would go onto to discover he had an enormous gift for something else.
And then Bob Murphy. The star on the field reciting his toughest career moments when a football player must live through their losses with the disappointment of thousands of fans weighing heavily on their minds.
One of the many interesting moments that came out on the night was when Bob was asked who he thought out of all the players he’d played with or against would be most likely to make a great rock star if they gave up playing footy? “Buddy Franklin for sure. You can just see him picking up a guitar and just rocking it out of nowhere. He’s just got that rock star thing about him.”
And then Paul Kelly was pressed to answer in regards to who was one of his peers that was a handful. Whilst contemplating his answer someone in the audience bellowed forth “Rene Geyer?” The crowd filled with a number of music industry types immediately broke into laughter no doubt given they may have had a few stories to back up the strangers suggestion.
In true Paul Kelly style he responded in a way that was much more than a rebuffal to tear Renee down behind her back. Being the storyteller he told the audience how many years ago he and Renee were working together on Vika and Linda’s album. After a particularly long session in the studio Paul made his own call that he’d head off home for a break before returning later that night.
Off he went home, drew himself a bath and cooked up a nice chicken dinner. When he got back to the studio and was overhead telling one of the girls he’d managed to sneak in a quick bath and some chicken, Renee swung around cursing something along the lines of “Bath? Chicken? Well it’s alright for some! Meanwhile I’ve been back here working my guts out.”
And then he laughed and said, “Yeah, so you know, she was pretty dirty and she made that clear, but it’s all about the balance sheet isn’t it? You know, see you might get that occasionally from someone like Renee but then you also get a performer that’s so generous. You get the funny side of her too. The stories she tells. You got to ask yourself is this person worth it? The balance sheet. If there are just as many great moments, then that’s ok, isn’t it?”
As with so much of what comes out of Paul Kelly’s mouth on and off stage a poignant moment that everyone in that room no doubt sat with in their minds for a bit. Who in their life is hard work but in terms of the balance sheet, balances things out? Who have we removed from our lives that did or didn’t deserve to get the chop?
It was just a simple couple of sentences that has stuck in my mind. I guess that’s what makes a Paul Kelly a gifted musician in the end, rather than a brilliant AFL defender like Bob.