Janis McKenzie, The Diviners
I first discovered No Fun at CITR in the 1980s, really loved their music and humour, and got to see them play in lots of weird small places (like the Ubyssey offices), so I knew Paul for years and years before I got to play music with him.
The first time was in the late ‘90s or early 2000s when he was in a band called The Transvestimentals (with the wonderful Valeria and Nicole), and I was invited to do some guest vocals for a couple of live shows. Paul was so quiet, and I was so in awe of him, that I don’t think we spoke more than a few words. Mainly I remember being very honoured and very nervous, and Paul keeping a photo of his son on top of his guitar amp, angled out so everyone could see it.
Years later Valeria let me know Paul had a new project and asked if I would be interested in playing guitar and singing backups. Imagine being invited to join a band with one of your musical heroes — I almost fell off my proverbial chair, I was so excited and surprised. Although I was pretty sure my playing wasn’t up to Paul’s standards, we ended up practicing for around a year (first in the basement of Lee’s Candies, then at Phil Addington’s place). Of course Paul’s songs were magical, really clever and catchy and danceable, and it was incredibly fun to play them. I could hardly believe I had the chance to be part of it, and I think Paul probably wondered why I was always stupidly grinning when we got together.
I’m really glad Paul got to play those songs in front of people with his most recent project, and that there are recordings now so everyone can hear them. They still make me grin stupidly and want to jump up and down — and I don’t think I’m the only one.
Thank you, Polly Dolly.
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