Introducing Hometown Heroes X King Street Carnival - a 4 part series. These episodes are the eloped marriage of our favourite Thrills series and our old favourite (and now) supercharged festival The King Street Crawl. Join The Buoys, Andy Golledge, Johnny Hunter and Caitlin Harnett as they take us around King Street. Get in an insight into what makes the Inner West suburbs of Sydney so special as we explore the homes, hovels, venues, bars and dives that have helped cultivate such a diverse, inclusive and talented music community.
My first conversation with Andy Golledge was cut short due to a hospital visit. Andy started off by telling me he had a temperature and felt exhausted but insisted he was ok. We get the conversation rolling before he mentions his skin is itchy, I express my concerns, Andy insists he’s fine and we joke it’s probably something he picked up fishing one of the inner-city creeks, lagoons and rivers he’s been frequenting throughout COVID. We wrap up the call with a few final jests that he should see a doctor. Within the hour comes the text: “Gone to hospital, back to you soon”.
Offering a beer at his Marrickville home Andy explains he still isn’t allowed to drink. He’s unexpectedly ok with that fact as he elaborates that he’s recovering from a viral infection that sent him to the hospital a few weeks back. I’m learning pretty quickly that the Tamworth-born, Inner West transplant seems to walk in a lane all on his own. Described as “your old man back in the day, a livewire and a gentle soul trapped in a 70s Tuna fisherman’s body”, Andy shows off his rod and reel collection as he rigs up to go fishing for the afternoon. He’s asking about bigger, baggier jeans that he can skate in. Where I might have expected a Border Collie or Red Heeler stands Andy’s adorable Labradoodle “Chips”. It’s peaceful and quiet in the backyard as Andy starts picking away at a guitar, neither annoyed or too eager to do so after being asked.
Andy is a storyteller and has been living in and around King Street for over 15 years, when we get to talking Newtown, the Inner West and his inclusion on the King Street Carnival there’s a vault full of yarns. Andy initially left Tamworth and moved to Newcastle to chase the dream with some friends, he soon realised there were “far too many Emo bands” he packed up shop and headed for Sydney. I consider joking that perhaps Sydney wasn’t ready for an acoustic guitar strumming semi-naked Cowboy either, then I remember who’s the one standing on stage in a suit and cowboy hat and I keep my mouth shut. Cutting his teeth on early evening and late night residencies at pubs up and down King Street, Andy saw it all. From pez dispensing bikies to art students, musicians, goths, greens, tradies and an ever growing LGBTQ+ community - Newtown welcomes all.
After talking for almost an hour and sensing a necessary change of scenery I asked Andy about his favourite place to drink in the Inner West. He admits as he’s gotten older he’s found himself spending more of his time on the quieter end of South King Street, since the Sydney lockouts many years ago the top end of Newtown welcomed the King’s Cross refugee’s with open arms, while many Inner West locals saw their que to slip quietly back a comfortable kilometre or so. We bounce around a few ideas but with Andy’s favourite watering hole “The Sando” now serving King Street as an oversized pinball machine and him still unable to drink, he replied, “I’d love to go for a fish”.
The closest fishable (pushing it) body of water to Marrickville happens to be the Cooks River; a skinny brown finger of salty water nestled in amongst a stack of condemned industrial buildings - one look and it was clear we had arrived at ground zero for Andy’s ailment. It was fun to joke about “The Cooks”, the ridiculousness of peace and serenity as cars flew by on their horns while Andy dodged shopping trolleys with his lure. Fishing as the afternoon kicked in illustrated a perfect contrast between the buzz and excitement up on King Street and the ability to find some time to yourself if you were looking for it. After spending the day with him It’s easy to understand how the boy from Tamworth has felt so at home being a Country singer in the middle of Australia’s biggest city.