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Director's cut — October 2004

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October 1, 2004 by Tara Brabazon

Greetings to members and lurkers.

October has been a special month since Donnie Darko hit our cinemas and consciousness. This month will always contain an undercurrent of an impending event, a countdown, a set of experiences we feel and only later understand.

This October is special. It is the month when our first book is published. Yes — after nearly a year of waiting, proofing and waiting some more, Liverpool of the South Seas: Perth and its Popular Music is being published by the University of Western Australia Press.

It is a special book. It is the first cultural mapping of Perth's music industry. It demonstrates what creative industries initiatives and strategies can do for popular cultural workers. It is the first great book on an Australian music scene.

We did as a team, as a community and as a collective. It was unsponsored, unfunded, and no Piper called our tune. It is independent research in a time of vested interests. As both editor and director, I am very proud of the writers of the individual chapters, and I thank all Collective members not involved in this particular project for their support and interest.

Organisations such as ours have a history of producing books such as this. The Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies created Policing the Crisis. The Manchester Institute for Popular Culture released Rave Off. We are now on our way to building an exciting and different collective with community outreach, shared will and a deep-seated desire to think, laugh, dance and create.

For many of the writers, it is their first published piece of work. Enjoy this moment of seeing your name in print. The experience is never repeated. However many times you become published, nothing matches this first time. Remember it. No one can ever take this feeling away, and you know that — whatever else happens in your life — you have a special record of this time and place.

Books are important. We live an age when ideas are frequently judged for their economic value. While I will never discount the importance of the economy, there is something magical in books. Once it has been published, we can never unthink the ideas that have been thought. We can never unwrite what has been written. Books stand for something. They are gutsy, bold and passionate testaments to a life lived with consideration, thought and reflection.

Congratulations to the writers, and to the PCC. We stand for something. We stand for great popular culture, social justice and big ideas held without excuses. Unlike Donnie Darko, we do not have to go back and rewrite history. We have the courage to live in the now.

Be well,