What’s The Rockbrat Reading Today? Plastered: The Poster Art Of Australian Popular Music with Nick Vukovic

images.jpgPlastered is more than a labour of love – this publication is in many ways an archival piece that opens a window to Australia’s cultural and rock ‘n’ roll past. There are certain people/organisations in Australia who recognise the significance of antipodean rock ‘n’ roll history and undertake activities/projects that unearth and re-present these works to a new audience. Festival Records are a good example of this, as they continue to reissue great Australian rock from the 60s to the 80s that would otherwise be lost and left to the memory bank. Ian McFarlane and Chris Spencer are two others whose tireless work over decades in researching and printing (often self-published) books/fanzines dedicated to Australian rock ‘n’ roll also deserve a mention.  Who remembers From The Vault Magazine in the late 80s ? Or the short lived Australian Record Collector magazine?  With respect to Glenn A, there are many other ‘rock historians’ in this country, unofficial or otherwise, who haven’t been afforded the same recognition as the former OL ’55 Manager but they probably should have. More often than not, labours of love don’t translate into dollars, yet do go a long way to raising awareness and also preserving Oz rock.  And if I can be a little pretentious, perhaps even some of the output my brother and I have completed over the years across any number of projects (view some of these here) has also made a contribution in some way. I’ve lost count of the number of album reviews, gig reviews, articles and interviews we’ve done. And whilst none of the albums/singles released on our old label Vicious Kitten Records didn’t damage the charts – it did make a contribution and I know people still dig the records. Which brings me in a roundabout way back to today’s topic – Plastered.  Plastered takes the reader on a chronological journey through popular music poster art – the jazz, rock and roll, pop and punk scenes in Australia. The book contains more than five hundred posters from the past five decades, all lovingly reproduced, and most are from the collection of avid archivist Nick Vukovic. As an archivist, the role that Nick has played in both collecting and preserving Australian rock posters is significant. Not too dissimilar in fact to the way that an art gallery or museum preserves and then presents pieces of work with cultural significance for others to enjoy.  In the 60s and 70s, Nick was a collector of art, porcelain dolls, antique gold watches and postcards. Yet his obsession for Oz music posters only came in the early 90s, when he was driving through a Melbourne underpass and noticed all the music posters attached

Nick Vukovic with some of his 40,000 music posters. Photo: Simon O’Dwyer

to the walls. He found out who the printer was and encouraged the printer to donate the posters to libraries and universities in return for tax deductions. There were always extras, and Nick began to hunt them down. 25 odd years later, Nick is doubtlessly Australia’s biggest collector of music posters with a conservative estimate of 40 000 posters! Many of Nick’s posters have been borrowed for TV shows and films such as Packed to the Rafters and Chopper. He has contributed posters that were published in books by Paul Kelly and also Michael Gudinski – (a book celebrating the Frontier Touring Company’s 30th birthday). By the way, listen to an interview with Gudinski author Stuart Coupe here).  The story goes that Gudinski was so impressed with Nick’s collection that he offered to buy the lot!  While the first three pressings of Plastered have sold out, and occasionally turn up on eBay etc, the good news is that Nick is on the hunt for more posters and a new publisher to get another new book out. If you have some posters , Nick would like to hear from you. Go and get yourself Plastered.

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