Getting To Know… Colin Delaney
Colin Delaney is a Canadian-born Australian living in Sydney after a spell in Amsterdam. As well as being an international man of mystery, he is also a music critic, blogger and all-round talented writer. Here, he takes some time out of his hectic schedule to discuss words, gigs, albums and the big differences between Sydney and Amsterdam.
Writing is for people who want to talk to themselves but are too sane and realise that’s only what the crazies do. It’s also the best way to earn a living. You shut up and write what you want… then the editor hates it so you stick it on your blog and watch the Google analytics drop.
I’d love to interview Charles Darwin – what a mover and a shaker. And for a similar reason, The Clash’s Joe Strummer. But for serious, Magic Johnson, all Oprah-like with tears and highlight reels. And maybe Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys on his front porch with his record collection. A lot of people think they’d be great friends with Dave Grohl but I think I’d be better friends with Dan.
Amsterdam has opened my eyes to how a city should be creatively. I grew up in the country and moved to Sydney (after a few years in Brisbane and overseas) in 2004 and it felt like a thriving metropolis with so much to offer. And it does. But creatively the potential is not being tapped. There could be so many more opportunities. High rent is the biggest problem. I interviewed Pia Jane Bijkerk, a fellow Sydneysider living in Amsterdam. She’s a photographer/stylist/author with clients like Saatchi and Saatchi, Vogue Entertainment & Living and Tommy Hilfiger but used to own a boutique in Sydney until it wasn’t viable anymore – as she said, “City council and real estate agents need to ‘cut some slack’ to Sydney artisans as shop rents are so high.”
However, in Amsterdam – and the Dutch being the hippy pragmatists that they are -they have started opening up old abandoned warehouses and temporarily empty buildings in the centre of the city to small creatives start-ups because they know it’s only going to get squatted in if they don’t. My office is in a heritage listed old bank with subsidised rent and seven storeys of the most exciting creative companies in Holland, whether it’s collaborative shoe designers, film makers or a company that builds social media for the dead – we even have a bar on the roof overlooking the city. Shit’s tight. This is what should have happened to that large building on Crown Street that stood empty for so long. Instead you got a swanky wine bar and so on. That said, the small bar licensing is a step in the right direction. When I was back in Sydney in January, it was a great, pokie-less atmosphere.
I’ve seen so many amazing gigs at so many at different times and places in my life. Faith No More at Lowlands last year was pretty amazing. My friend and I went nuts, my serotonin levy must have burst because I felt unnaturally ecstatic. Only a few months before that, Blur played in Hyde Park. Among others, to hear Parklife performed in the park it was written about on probably London’s most perfect day of the year was a gig to remember. Not to brag, but I see Prince in two weeks, that should be pretty amazing.
If I could only listen to three albums for the rest of my life, they would be:
London Calling by The Clash,
OK Computer by Radiohead,
Ill Communication by Beastie Boys.
Arguably each band’s biggest record, but the diversity on each disc is so that if I haven’t got tired of flogging them over all these years I see no reason why I ever will.
Aside from writing, I love to travel which finds its way into my writing and in little movies. My girlfriend and I just bought a VW campervan named Bumblebeast to which we’ll take around Europe from here to Latvia, down to Turkey and around the Med to Morocco. But before that we’re off to France tomorrow to see Jay Z, Missy Elliott, LCD Soundsystem and a shitload more. Which reminds me, I gotta go pack.