Is Andrew Bolt Just A Bitter Ex-Musician?

1 August 2013 | 3:47 pm | Staff Writer

Imagine if Bolt had've made it?

Just a few people supporting live music. Photo by Terry Soo.

Just a few people supporting live music. Photo by Terry Soo.

We've all read Andrew Bolt's column today and hopefully by now you've read Dave Faulkner's response to it.

It just wouldn't be right for us to let this pass however without a little further dissection of the possible reasons Mr Bolt is so very upset with live music receiving any amount of funding from the government.

You might not know, but Andrew Bolt was once in a band.

Apparently a passable drummer at the time, Bolt used to play all manner of engagements with his band in his final years of high school and, surprise surprise, he apparently did so in order to receive financial gain.

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Writing for the Institute of Public Affairs, Tony Barry tells of Bolt's opportunistic ways with music.  

Perhaps it was his sense that he was on the outside looking in, but by his mid-teens Bolt became desperate to travel to Europe. There was no great family wealth to rely on to fund such a journey so he had to find the money himself. In his final couple of years of high school, he came up with the idea of earning money by playing in a band.

In her piece on Bolt in The Monthly back in 2011, Anne Summers wrote the following:

When he was 16, Andrew Bolt formed a band that used to play at dances in the area surrounding Murray Bridge, the largest town on the river. He played the drums. The budding musicians wore red vests, grey shirts, polka-dot bow ties and black trousers, and played songs such as 'A Swingin' Safari', 'Pearly Shells' and 'Running Bear'. Many years later, Bolt recalled those gigs:

“We'd play while the women put their plates in the side room, and the men chatted at the front entrance … We'd play while dads danced with their daughters, and aunts taught steps to their nephews … There were no drunks, and we none of us ever imagined people actually took drugs. There were no fights, either, of course.”

How could it be then, that someone who recalls live music so fondly could have such an issue with it receiving a modicum of government funding? Was he not attempting to work as a musician at the time?

Okay, we know that the crux of Bolt's argument is that he just doesn't really like government expenditure and that he'd be happy to just pay less tax at the expense of the country not really bettering itself in any way, but – unless you're Ron Swanson – that seems kinda short-sighted.

In his piece this morning, Bolt referred to musicians as “lounge lizards”. Such a negative term to use for people trying to make a living the same way he did way back when and his use of it reeks of bitterness.