Hail Ray Coffey and other visionaries

Recently while in Perth I did an interview for RTR FM and was interested to see that 2016 marked its 40th anniversary.  This is a particularly relevant anniversary for me because 2016 was also 40 years since Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs first official gig at The Octagon Theatre on Oct 14 1976.  I’m pretty sure 1976 was also the year that one Ray Coffey launched Fremantle Arts Centre Press.  Fremantle Press (as it is now known) published both my first novel City of Light, and my most recent Before It Breaks, and of course has been responsible for many Australian, and West Australian authors having an opportunity to find an audience. Clearly Perth in the mid-70s was a  happening place in terms of artistic-adventure. One of the reasons for this is likely because there was so little else on offer in the way of arts infrastructure in Perth. There were no local record labels, no local TV music shows, no 3RRR or 2JJ or 4ZZZ to disseminate alternate music, and no popular book publishers dedicated to getting local works to the public.   This created an attitude I think of “bugger it, I’ll do it myself.”  The ones who benefit most from the hard yakka of trail-blazers like Ray Coffey are the artists. We’re the ones who have a chance of getting an audience and even in some cases becoming famous or making money from our art but this may never have happened without those who were inspired enough to go out and do it.   So I just want to say thank you Ray, and thank you to those others who have set up theatre companies, and radio stations and community TV stations in order that artists and audiences might be that much richer spiritually and materially. 

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