I’m going to be on the wireless tomorrow! I’ll be talking about Katharine Susannah Prichard on the program Out of the Woodwork with Riley Buchanan, Radio Fremantle (107.9 FM in Perth metro area), Friday 30 November, from 11am AWST, between songs. It’s streamed online and I’ll post a link to the MP3 when it’s available.
Riley asked me to choose some songs relating to Katharine, which stumped me initially, but I’ve ended up with a setlist of four; you can listen to it ahead of time on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3oJisAKkDJzf8SdXymsHJv.
- New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle (1986). This song captures a crazy time of Katharine’s romantic life in 1916-1918. She’d had a decade-long affair with a much older man, whom she called the Preux Chevalier; he’d influenced her toward progressive nationalism in her politics. But back in Australia she began a romance with a radical named Guido Baracchi and after the Russian Revolutions and the death of her brother, she had come to identify, like him, as a Bolshevik. After Guido abruptly married someone else, she had a whirlwind courtship with a war hero named Hugo Throssell, whom she in turn influenced politically. So it’s a bizarre love quadrilateral, probably.
- The Charleston (1923). There was this peak period of creativity for Katharine between 1924 and 1929 in which she wrote most of the works she’s famous for. One of my discoveries is that she wasn’t very politically involved in this period, but she was a socialite and she and Hugo had parties at their cottage in Greenmount with dancing on the verandah to the Charleston.
- Nick Cave – The Carny (1986). This song reminds me of Katharine’s novel Haxby’s Circus (1930), the story of a struggling circus troupe traveling across regional Australia.
- Billy Bragg – The Internationale (1990). Katharine would have sung an earlier version of this socialist anthem many times over the years – it was the official anthem of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1943. She was stubbornly loyal to the Soviet Union and even to Stalin, no longer trusting what the media said and hardened by years of persecution and struggle as a communist.