“London, 1989: On the verge of musical recognition, tragedy tears Robert Aitken’s world apart. He turns his back on the city, the industry and the people he loves; walking away with little more than two guitars, a hat in a box and ‘the beast’ shadowing his every move. Over twenty years later, two ex-London music lovers have relocated to Australia. In an unlikely quirk of fate, they stumble upon a man bearing a nagging resemblance to the one who had vanished from London all those years ago, reluctantly performing to a few indifferent locals in a ramshackle pub in Tasmania’s North West. A bitter recluse, scarred by unceasing guilt and stalked by his unwanted companion, Aitken is compelled to relive the events he had chosen to forget, in the hope he can at last make peace with himself.”
The last captive thylacine died in Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart, on 7 September 1936. The creature’s death hardly caused a ripple of concern at the time, which is unsurprising due to Tasmania’s focus being how to drag itself from the clutches of the Great Depression.
Thylacinus cynocephalus, Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf was a marsupial, but due to convergent evolution they bore a striking resemblance to a medium to large dog. Being an apex predator their numbers were never high, but they were soon to dwindle dramatically due to fear, misgivings or, well, just plain victimization.
Branded a sheep and domestic fowl killer they were systematically trapped, shot and poisoned. When The Van Diemen’s Land company, and later the Tasmanian Government placed bounties on the creature, their survival prospects looked dim. Coupled with habitat loss, the introduction of feral dogs and a crippling disease, the thylacine appears to have sadly faded…
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Two years ago, occasional music buddies Rodney Greene and I were asked to play a fifteen minute pre-carols set at the Burnie Carols. No need for Christmassy songs, we were assured, 'there will be plenty throughout the evening to keep the public happy'. So we performed Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer and Crowded House's Distant Sun (which we [...]
Only if you have become invisible