Fringe Memories - 1976

Rob Bath's Memories of 1976

added by rahult on 5:41 AM, September 04, 2009

Rob Bath was the Focus Coordinator in 1976. Here are his memories...

Artistically, the ’76 Fringe highlight for me was a dance-theatre piece called The River, performed by a once-off ensemble of Melbourne-based dancers under the direction of creator/choreographer Eugenie Knox.

It was staged in a church hall in Jeffcott Street, North Adelaide (with the blessing of the hip vicar who encouraged weirdos to use the venue for free), and several of the players were members of yet another visiting troupe called The White Company, who were crashing on my loungeroom floor at the time, having set off for Adelaide without arranging any accommodation.

The River was gentle, passionate, etherial, flowing, misty, pale and surrealistic. It would probably bore me to tears if I saw it today, and even then it was bordering on old hat. But, something about the time, the place, the music, the mood… it worked. 

My strongest personal memories are of our Focus Information Booth, a mock European rotunda-style poster display thing surrounded by noticeboards and flags, in a great location right in front of Government House gates. (God knows how we got permission to put it there. I chose that spot over the newly-opened Rundle Mall for its proximity to the Festival Centre and the cultural precinct.) It looked like a happy little day-glo pimple perched in front of the stern stone and steel of the guv’s front gate.

It was staffed nearly 24-hours a day by my two information officers, the female one of which, Vinnie, a friend and occasional housemate, entertained herself by chatting up the police officers at the sentry post just a few feet away.

One morning, engaged in flirty conversation, she said to a young cop “I’d better get back to work. My boss is dropping in soon, I’d better look busy”.

Just then a long-haired, red-eyed (sleep deprived), manic individual wearing a singlet and patched jeans came zig-zagging across the King William Street intersection on a rickety, obviously unroadworthy bicycle, dumped the bike next to the booth and started yelling at Vinnie in agitated fashion about some Advertiser stuffup.

The young cop moved forward, protectively. Vinnie stopped him with a hand on his chest, smiled and said “It’s OK. This is my boss!”


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