Kirsten Krauth Teams Up with Paul McDermott in Bellingen Readers Writers Festival

Dr Kirsten Krauth’s Almost a Mirror was shortlisted for The Penguin Literary Prize in 2019.


SELF-ACCLAIMED 80’s tragic Dr Kirsten Krauth will be taking to the stage at the Bellingen Readers Writers Festival with iconic comedian Paul McDermott and musician Michael Simic exploring and dissecting her new book, ‘Almost a Mirror’.

The book explores the post-punk and Countdown pop scene of the late 70s to mid 80s.

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Structured as a mixtape, each chapter of ‘Almost a Mirror’ reflects the mood, lyrics and even video clips of
the song which inspired it.

It’s partly set in the Crystal Ballroom, an infamous St Kilda venue where Nick Cave and his early bands began their musical lives.

Nick Cave, Rowland S. Howard and The Birthday Party feature as characters.

When asked about what the audience may expect of her two events at the festival Dr Krauth replied, “At one point, Michael will be channelling Nick in his brilliant rendition of Zoo Music Girl.

“The show will feature Michael and Paul singing a range of songs intertwined with my readings.

“We’ll also chat about how our careers have been shaped by music and art, and what it’s like to
push the boundaries.

“It will be an adventure with these two mischief-makers!”

Michael Simic and Dr Krauth have a long history of supporting each other’s creative work over the years.

She was a huge fan of his band, Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen.

“Michael appears as a character in my novel ‘Almost a Mirror’ and since then we have been collaborating on the book launch gig (which was eventually cancelled), a podcast set around the mixtape of 80s songs featured in the book, and a festival show,” she said.

“We have a shared love of language and 80s post-punk and pop music, although I had to convince him to sing Change in Mood by Kids in the Kitchen for the podcast!

“Too New Romantic even for him, but he grew to love it.

They began collaborating in 2020 via long distance with Dr Krauth writing lyrics and Mr Simic writing music.

“So, our friendship and music has bloomed in wonderful ways,” Dr Kauth said, who is excited to finally perform readings and songs from ‘Almost a Mirror’ with Simic in Bellingen.

The author has always been excited by the Doug Anthony All Stars and has seen Paul McDermott perform many times over the years.

As an arts journalist, she interviewed him for The Guardian in 2020 about his beautiful book, ‘Ghostbear’.

Michael and Paul both came out of the punk scene in Canberra and have always wanted to work together.

They are doing a version of Barbados by the Models for Dr Krauth’s podcast and on stage at the festival.

The podcast will be a 13-part series with each episode exploring a particular Australian 80s song including Unguarded Moment, Stranded, Nick the Stripper, Spring Rain, Send Me an Angel, Alone With You.

The first episode, which looks at the works of Nick the Stripper, the Ballroom and the Boys Next Door/Birthday Party will be out later in 2021.

Catch Dr Krauth at the Bellingen Readers Writers Festival Saturday June 10 and also on Sunday June 11.

Tickets are still available on the website


By Sandra MOON

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