nicholas nicola etchings

    PERRY KEYES                                    



                          75 Perry, Bek & Edmond between the posts’.


                                      B&W. 9”X5” copperplate. L



Over the years I have seen Perry Keyes perform in many places such as at the ‘old Sandringham’ and at the former Broadway Hotel on Friday nights; as well at the Warren View Hotel and the Rose of Australia in Erskineville on  Wednesday nights backing up Bernie Hayes. I always loved the name of his old band ‘The Stolen Holdens’ as I used to own an EH Holden (and yes I used to worry that it would be stolen). However, what I especially love is his song about the day the great South Sydney player Johnny Sattler broke his arm with its ‘signature line’ of kicking a ball between the posts. Perry who has grown up in the working class areas of Waterloo/Redfern bases many of his songs on local life and his ongoing compilation forms a sort of ‘oral history’ of what is becoming a bygone era of Sydney. As we see Sydney go through its present crass development era - with its globalised renovated hotels and so called general ‘gentrification’ with all those brutalist apartment blocks etcetera -  which is displacing old established local communities, Perry’s ‘non-commercial’ songs become more poignant especially for me as I hold onto a nostalgia for the ‘old Sydney.’ However, I have only really got to know Perry well recently. Mainly due to the quirky gathering every school holidays of catching up with him and two other friends for a pub lunch at either a Leagues Club or R.S.L etc (that sort of venue). His taxi driver stories are very amusing and it is easy to see where his strength in writing ballads comes from. Thus in recent gigs I have taken a few photos (such as at the Gladstone Hotel in Dulwich Hill; at  the  Botany Bay  View Hotel on King Street, Newtown as well as at  the  Carlisle Hotel  off  Australia St, Newtown) and as a result I have produced this ‘montage’ of Perry, Edmond and ‘Bek-Jean’ performing ‘larger than life’ at the old S.C.G (note I have included the old hill as well as ‘the Berries’; one player in the background wears the old Newtown Jets emblem) which was the arena for many a memorable rugby league finals game. (The kicker is meant to be Greg Brentnall who struck that spectacular high kick which Steve Gearin grasped in mid-air to dive down on the tryline to score a never-to-be-forgotten last try in the 1980 Grand Final which Canterbury-Bankstown comprehensively won over the more favoured fanciful Eastern Suburbs 18-4). Bek is the drummer in Perry’s present line-up and was in an excellent  band called Eva Trout. Bek is so full of life and has an incredibly beautiful voice; it is always mesmerising to hear her sing. A true Siren. In Edmond’s case he is a very gifted musician and is also adept on accordion and harmonica. It amazes me that such great performers as these three incredibly competent musicians (as well as the likes of Steph from the former Roaring Jack) have not yet achieved great fame. Anyhow, in concluding it can be said that in short this ‘wry image’ is a memento to the Sydney (in many ways what was a more relaxed, less greedy, hospitable city) that Perry Keyes and others sing about. Ciao.  


PERRY KEYES website:






Perry and Edmond at the Gladstone Hotel, Dulwich Hill, at the Carlisle Hotel, Newtown and the Botany Bay View Hotel, St. Peters. Last, Broadway Hotel sign. 


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