From the July 18 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, where Tragedy was selected as their Pick of the Week:
'My brother was bass guitarist for Normie Rowe when Barry Gibb played a demo of the Gibbs' latest recording at rehearsals one afternoon in Sydney. It was Spicks and Specks, the single that, after a string of flops in Oz launched the Bee Gees. Jeff Apter's record of their rise, fall and rise really gets you in. Especially those heady days in Britain in 1967 when they turned out a string of hits. But there is deep sadness in the tale too, for when they sang Tragedy they couldn't have known that was in store with the untimely death of Maurice, younger brother Andy and, more recently, Robin. Apter brings the story up to the moment, Barry Gibb, after an extended time channel surfing on his couch, rousing himself to do the Mythology tour.’ —Steven Carroll
Tragedy was published in the UK
and North America by Jawbone Press in June 2016 and a new, smaller format edition of the book was published in Australia in March 2018. You can hear me speaking about the book with radio station 4KQ.
Some people went to church, but when I was a kid, growing up in the Sydney suburbs in the 1960s, we had our own religion: rugby league. Like the pilgrims that we were, my two brothers, my father and I would load up whatever Holden my father was driving at the time — probably the white FC with the bench seats and the mermaid hood ornament — and head out to the SCG for the match of the day. It was a Saturday winter ritual, from March’s opening rounds through to the big day in September, some of the most vivid memories of my childhood.
And even now, some 40-odd years later, I can recall so much about those matches of the day: the program, with print so cheap that it’d smudge almost as soon as you touched it, its pages held together by a single staple; the peanuts, whose shells you’d discreetly throw under the seat in front of you as you gobbled them down, and the frantically scribbling journos — Geoff Prenter and the rest of them — who we’d spot at the rear of the Noble Stand, where we’d usually sit and take it all in. The smells still linger, too, a strange blend of leather and liniment, stale beer, piss and cold meat pie. Great times.
With The Coaches I hope I’ve offered a lively and eye-opening journey, as I first head backwards in time, to a time when such coaches as Harry Bath and Clive Churchill were the invisible men on the sideline divvying up the orange quarters, and then fast forward to a new and different age, when coaches Bennett, Bellamy, Stuart and co are very much in the spotlight. They’ve become the code’s new superstars.