Image for The Institute of Rocking Horse Records

The Institute of Rocking Horse Records

Written by Edward Guglielmino on July 11, 2011

So I heard a rumour that Rocking Horse records is closing down; I always treat these things with a grain of salt. In a music community as small as Brisbane there are always rumours circulating about the death of such and such or the end of some event. Sometimes music businesses around my town announce their demise only to re-emerge in a new form on the other side of town, with the same staff and vibe, albeit with a new name.

The Brisbane music community is one of the most vibrant in the world; (I’m travelled, I should know) the problem is that outside of music reviewers, band managers, other musicians and a small handful of enthusiasts there isn’t an audience to support a community the size of ours. Brisbane can often seem backward and out of touch; to some degree this is true, but it isn’t the case in the Creative Industries. It’s almost a beautiful problem in Brisbane; there is too much creativity for such a small audience.

At least to begin with every artist needs a patron; in Brisbane Rocking Horse has been a patron to many local artists. None of us make any money out of our chosen profession, so we rely on places like Rocking Horse records to give us a job that won’t make us suicidal. I’ve never been lucky enough to work for Rocking Horse, although for three years I worked for another (now – no longer) Brisbane Icon The Troubadour. I am certain the work environment would be similar to that of my beloved workplace; when your bosses are music lovers they will let you come into work hung over (after a big night of playing and the mandatory after party), they will give you some time off work to go on tour, they will let you grow a beard.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the impeccable selection of music and vinyl, the band shirts from all over the world, the place to hear great new music while you shop, the only place you could see an in-store performance (in the later years). Although these things are part of the beauty of such a place, to me they are of secondary importance. I am not going to make the argument that we shouldn’t shop online or download music off torrents, because, well, I am guilty of both and I would be a hypocrite if I wrote that. I am not going to argue that we boycott chain stores, because yet again I don’t want to be a hypocrite.

Instead I am going to pose a question; with all these Government funded spaces for fine art, theatre, dance and film around Australia why is it that a culturally important space like Rocking Horse records can’t be partially funded by the Government?

I went to an art gallery the other day, and one of the exhibitions was a replica of a Japanese 7/11. I liked this work of art a lot, but it begs the question why we can’t put a replica of Rocking Horse records, staff and all, into the Gallery as well? Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the arts knows that ranking some art as ‘higher’ than other art is as dead as Realism (so not entirely dead, but you get the idea). So why is it that musicians like us must fend for ourselves while my artist friend can paint with his girlfriend’s menstrual blood and be fully funded by the tax payer?

Some might think it an unrealistic expectation to ask the Government to pay for musicians but, as I have illustrated, the Government can fund whatever it likes. They are going to tax the biggest polluters in the country so we can compensate 18 million of the smallest ones. Why not divert 0.5% of this revenue from Holden Commodores to set up creative spaces for musicians. Start by giving Rocking Horse two million dollars so it can hire more staff and put more vinyl on the shelf.

Not everything has to be a capitalist means to an end; some things are valuable for their contribution to culture. At very least my earlier idea that where we can we move the whole thing to the multimillion gallery across the river, arts for arts sake. Maybe one day it can be moved to the museum and placed in the section about retail shopping next to the David Jones exhibit.

Join Music Feeds on Facebook

More On Music Feeds


Brand New Frontman Tears Up On Stage, Says Band “Isn’t Gonna Last Much Longer”

Jesse Lacey, frontman of New York alt-rockers Brand New, has given an emotional speech to fans at the band’s final show of 2015, saying the group “isn’t gonna last much longer”.


Huge Led Zeppelin Tribute Show Announces Australian Tour Dates

The epic sounds and ongoing legacy of Led Zeppelin are set to be brought to life at the Sydney Opera House in January 2016 as part of Led Zeppelin Masters’ huge Stairway To Heaven show.


Watch Five Finger Death Punch’s Ivan Moody Go On Weird Rant Against Kanye West & Social Media

Ivan Moody (real name Ivan Greening) of Las Vegas nu metal outfit Five Finger Death Punch has had a go at rapper Kanye West and anyone who speaks negatively about him on social media in a brief but pretty Kanye-esque rant at a recent show.

Music Videos

The Drones – ‘Taman Shud’

Perth legends The Drones have made their triumphant return with the snarling new single Taman Shud, complete with a brilliantly whacky music video.


Collective Shout Accuses Tyler, The Creator Of Having “A Tantrum” On New Song ‘Fuck It’

Since calling out Australia’s visa laws on his new song Fuck It, rapper Tyler, The Creator has been accused of having “a tantrum to music” by Collective Shout, the activist group which successfully campaigned to have the rapper banned from touring Australia for “misogynistic hate speech against women, as well as homophobia”.


Roland Tings Leads Latest The Island LIVE Lineup

Now that Sydney Harbour’s The Island has officially launched The Island LIVE for spring and summer, the event is returning this November with the likes of Melbourne dance producer Roland Tings, house DJ and radio announcer CC:Disco, Wordlife member Kato and a special guest whose identity is yet to be announced.

Around the web

This May Also Interest You