The Electronic Swagman Book
If this book was a cake you wouldn’t know where to start - although we’d suggest the first chapter - because with each mouthful humour, wisdom, vulnerability and landscape would explode in your taste buds like a psychedelic fruit cake.
The Electronic Swagman is a raw memoir of a complex life, a search for home, a eulogy to lonely souls buried in outback graves and, as much as anything, an ode to a beautiful dog.
It moves like a willy willy from inner city Surry Hills to the centre of Australia, sucking the past, the present and the future into the moment. The present is the journey of man, Raymond and dog, Tommie, from Surry Hills into the Walls of China, to the Silver City and up the Oodnadatta Track. To camp by Lake Eyre bursting with birds and the Pink Roadhouse with hope. To a desert lake full of mud and a Painted Desert full of colour. The past is Raymond’s memoir revealed with tales of counter culture, drugs, rock and roll, a solo trek along the Great Divide, an owl impersonator, strap-happy Jesuit priests, surprising encounters with Aborigines, con-men, opera, recovery and even solace in an Irish nun’s breasts. Invited into that personal history are the dead, exhumed on walks in lonely cemeteries: an Afghan cameleer, a French prostitute, a Jewish Dunera Boy, Mungo Man and Mungo Woman, an Irish-Aboriginal wife of a Chinese market gardener, their various lives fertilising the landscape in which they struggled and through which we travel.
The future is always the search for Home.
Wherever and whatever that may be.