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Book Review: ‘Detours’ – Tim Rogers

If you’re looking for an Australian rock memoir full of tales of debauchery and degradation, then this isn’t really it…. That’s not to say that they’re not in here, but Tim is a very verbose and articulate man who’s obviously kissed the Blarney Stone more than once, so those raucous rock stories are weaved rather skilfully in-between accurate observances “The two men are eating what looks like Roast of the Day. Incandescent pumpkins and glistening pork crackling fight for attention like they’re the two prettiest girls at a school dance” musings on friendship, and the melancholy longings of an absent father.

There are also some piss-funny moments, particularly the entire chapter devoted to his affliction with an ‘ear-worm’ (because we’ve all been there right?); the culprit being Go West’s unfortunate “We Close Our Eyes”. I’m feelin’ ya Timmy. Or the snippet about a walk home after a gig where he and his lady, referred to only as ‘The Hurricane’ make up songs about food poisoning in the style of Morrissey: “I have the runs/it isn’t fair/and the dry heaves are so criminally vulgar”.

Most surprising though was his pondering on middle age and sympathies for the invisibility of the older woman. “Invisibility, resistibility, where’s the justice in that? A full life lived, stories to share, opinions, but they walk on, silent and unnoticed by a scurrying culture under the spell cast by the unrelenting barrage of hasty judgements and conjectures”. Hidden depths Brother Tim. Nice one. You’re certainly mellowing in YOUR middle age.

I particularly loved the chapters named ‘Bagatelles I, II and III, in which he offers up little vignettes of experiences and observations in seemingly random sequence and relevance, reminding me of the writing style of that rock memoir to rule them all: Paul Kelly’s ‘How To Make Gravy’.

He is extremely honest in this book about his shortcomings. He’s a man with his foibles, he’s a fuck-up just like the rest of us, it’s just that when we daydream of being in a rock’n’roll band, he’s daydreaming of the blissful ordinariness of stacking shelves in a supermarket. True story. This book is probably a form of catharsis for him, or at the very least, releasing a few past guilts and anxieties, which of course makes for a great read. I loved every endearingly eccentric word of Detours. “Err on the side of kindness”. That’s my motto too Tim. Oh, and thank you for re-acquainting me with the pleasures of reading at the pub.

– Shannon Benton

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