MICF: Colin Hay

I was 13 when I saw Men at Work at the Thebarton Theatre in Adelaide. It was one of my first big concerts at that time when vinyl was all we knew and an illegal download was sitting in front of Countdown, pressing play on your portable tape recorder and shhing anyone who dared make a sound.

Colin Hay
Colin Hay

Colin Hay was the lead singer and he and his band wrote “Down Under”: the Aussiest of all Aussie anthems; a song that made Vegemite even more famous and that later made Larrikin Music look like knobs.

Waiting for my real life … is an evening with Hay, his guitars and his stories. It’s the stories that let him slip in to the comedy festival program.

With coming to Australia from Scotland in the 1960s, having ridiculous fame in his early 30s, moving to LA, a gig at the Espy with 150 people, the Olympics gig, that court case and ongoing ridiculous fame in Brazil, there’s little that isn’t fascinating. He lets us glimpse the weirdness of fame – yes we want to hear Ringo stories – and the endless irony of it all being bull.

With only 90-minutes, there’s not enough time for his music – he really does talk – but when he does  sing, it’s easy to remember that there’s so much more to him than an irrationally successful song.

Hay’s now in his 60s. For a moment, I felt old in a room of middle age people who were happy to be sitting in a nice theatre to watch someone they loved when they were skinny and able to dance all night. It didn’t last. It’s true that you don’t notice yourself getting older, but the real truth is that we’ve all aged well or we’re still waiting for our real lives to begin.

Tonight’s the last chance to see Hay at the Playhouse. If you were/are a fan or just know him as the guy who sang a song in Scrubs, don’t hesitate to get a ticket.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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