Home' LOTL : May 2005 Contents 20
IN CELEBRATION OF HER NATIONAL
TOUR AND DVD RELEASE, MERRYN
JOHNS MEETS JENNY MORRIS.
I have three specific Jenny Morris
moments. It's 1987 and I am watching
Video Hits. A feisty brunette, guitar
slung low, thrums out a mellow bass line.
It's Jenny Morris doing 'Body and Soul'
and this baby dyke sits bolt upright.
Flash-forward to Mardi Gras Fair Day
2004 and a languid crowd lounging on the
lawn idly takes in the uneven concert
offerings. Until Morris takes the stage and
hundreds of queers turn to give her their
Women In Voice 2005, and an ensemble
of talented female singers strut their stuff
at the Star City Showroom. It's opera, it's
cabaret, it's folky fun. Until Morris, clad
in a chenille dressing gown delights the
audience with some patter about being a
working mum, changing her baby's
nappy, then stepping out on stage to a
capacity stadium crowd and becoming
the rock chick for which she is known. In
a deftly timed piece of shtick she shrugs
off the dressing gown to reveal a killer
bod in tight clothes and six-inch heels.
She straps on her guitar and plays the hell
out of the room.
Before the plethora of girls with guitars
there was always Jenny Morris, writing
her own material, touring like a demon
and pleasuring a loyal following of
To celebrate her body of work which
spans nearly 20 years, several ARIA
awards, six albums (Shiver going triple
platinum) and numerous hits, she is
releasing her DVD Alive. It's a celebration
because she's still around when many
female artists have turned their backs on
the rigours of playing live or the fruitless
quest for commercial airplay. Morris is a
survivor in a sea of prefab popettes, which
is lucky for us indeed.
She chuckles at my recollection of that
1987 film clip. "Yep, that was a great
guitar," she recalls. But seriously, I
counter, she pre-Etheridged Melissa.
Morris nods. "It was hard to be taken
seriously as a female musician back then. I
wrote or co-wrote my own songs, did my
own arranging, was involved in the
production of my albums, but I felt like I
had to fight for that recognition. We think
we're so liberated now but we have to
keep fighting for the same things over and
"I've never been
issues. I have a lot
of close lesbian
friends. I feel a lot
of affinity with
ideas and lifestyle."
Body & Soul
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