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Joe Cocker

Monday, 22 December 2014

He died yesterday, left a lot of great records and great performances, but also provided Lonely Planet with its name. Almost.

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

◄ Mad Dogs & Englishmen, a great rock & roll band on the road movie, a great double album

It’s 1973, Maureen and I have just finished putting together the very first Lonely Planet guidebook, Across Asia on the Cheap. All we needed was a name for our publishing company – a name which today has appeared on well over 100 million books. I wrote in The Lonely Planet Story, our account of Lonely Planet’s history:

1973 - Across Asia - 542Finding a name for our publishing business was less straightforward. We ran through dozens of names over bowls of spaghetti and glasses of cheap red wine in a small Italian restaurant on Oxford Street in Paddington before inspiration hit. I’d been humming a line from the Matthew Moore song ‘Space Captain’, sung by Joe Cocker in the classic rock and roll tour film Mad Dogs & Englishmen.

‘Once while travelling across the sky,’ I sang, ‘this lonely planet caught my eye.’

‘No,’ said Maureen, ‘you’ve got the words wrong. As usual. It’s lovely planet.’

She was right, I always got the words wrong …

 

The rest, as they say, is history.

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Joe Cocker

22 December 2014 | Culture

He died yesterday, left a lot of great records and great performances, but also provided Lonely Planet with its name. Almost. ◄ Mad Dogs & Englishmen, a great rock & roll band on the road movie, a great double album It’s 1973, Maureen and I have just...

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The Cyclist Battalion

21 December 2014 | Living

Going through some boxes of old photographs and cards belonging to my elderly mother, who has recently moved into a nursing home, I came upon a 1916 Christmas card from my grandfather R E Ludlam sent from Bangalore in India when he was there with the 1/9th Battalion, ...

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All Change for Cuba?

18 December 2014 | Living

So finally things are changing between the US and Cuba with Obama’s announcement that he intends to normalise relations with Cuba – about time most of us would say! Unfortunately Obama’s promise to ‘cut loose the shackles of the past’ doesn’t quite mean ending the...

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Fremantle, Australia II & the Batavia Shipwreck

12 December 2014 | Places

En route to Bunbury I stopped in Fremantle to look at two museums – I stopped in Fremantle again on the way back to stay with some friends. ▲ My first stop was the Maritime Museum with all sorts of interesting exhibits about Western Australia’s seagoing history inc...

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Melbourne

Making Modern Melbourne

10 December 2014 | Culture

Jenny Lee’s Making Modern Melbourne has been sitting by my bedside for far too long. I finally picked it up (seriously for a change) the other day and knocked it off in a flash. It’s a handy little history of Melbourne from its pre-European Aboriginal period, through ...

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Bunbury in Western Australia, War Zone Hotels Elsewhere

8 December 2014 | Places

▲ I was in Bunbury last month for a Sister Cities conference, Bunbury is linked up with Setagaya near Tokyo and Jiaxing near Shanghai. The Seishokai Music Group came courtesy of the Japan link but there were lots of other sister city relationships making an appearance...

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Gatecrashing Paradise

Gatecrashing Paradise: Adventures in the Real Maldives

7 December 2014 | Culture

I commented on Tom Chesshyre’s How Low Can You Go, an exploration of unknown corners of Europe, courtesy of the Low Cost Carriers who fly there, a few years ago. This time in Gatecrashing Paradise Tom sets out to explore the other Maldives, not the one where all the t...

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Flinders & King Islands

5 December 2014 | Places

They’re the two islands half way across Bass Strait, between the island state of Tasmania to the south and mainland Australia to the north. Although island residents tend to call Tasmania ‘the mainland.’ And despite living in Melbourne for many years and making many t...

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A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists

4 December 2014 | Culture

Yesterday I posted about wacky Chinese buildings, today it’s a wacky Melbourne book. Jane Rawson’s novel A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists combines a dystopian Melbourne in 2030, crippled by climate change, industrial meltdown and societal collapse, with a li...

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Wacky Chinese Buildings

3 December 2014 | Culture

Yesterday I posted about Melbourne’s (temporary) MPavilion. After I wrote that piece I went to a session at the pavilion about Chinese filmmaker Yang Fudong. There’s a current exhibition on his works at ACMI – the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. The Yang Fu...

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