The people behind the rock poster expo

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Rhonda Dredge

Every rock poster tells a special story and there are a few thousand of them at The District Docklands waiting to be discovered as part of Pasted and Wasted, one of the largest expos of posters ever mounted.

On the bottom left-hand corner of one poster, which advertises gigs at the Esplanade, the band Guiltfilter is listed.

On the same poster are Crown of Thorns, Paul Kelly and Renee Geyer.

The date of the poster is some time in the ‘90s when all of these musicians were scheduled to play at the popular St Kilda venue.

“It was ‘92, at the main bar in the Espie,” Magnus Morris, lead singer of Guiltfilter, said.

He should know, for he was there, and he has arrived at the expo and managed to locate this particular poster among 3000 of them.

“That night at the Espy it was summer and hot. It was completely full. We played one of three gigs.”

His band was called The Dolls and they supported Nirvana on their Australian tour, which gives them legend status.

Close to that particular poster is one for The Hard Ons and another advertising a gig by I Spit on the Gravy. Band member Fred Negro designed the posters.

This small walk through the grunge corner of the expo could be construed as a lesson in nostalgic but Magnus disagrees.

“It’s not about remembering,” he said. “A lot of these bands are still playing and writing. The Hard Ons have just released a new album with Tim Rogers from You Am I.”

Identities in the music industry shine like stars and their histories are full of magic yet this is just one corner of an expo devoted to the collection of Nick Vukovic, who has allegedly amassed half a million posters. He kept them all in plastic bags.

Nick’s collection was whittled down by the amazing curator Bev Plowman, a visual artist, who attempted to bring some order to the multitude by grouping posters by the decade and printing technique then mounting them at District X.

Small didactic sheets record the fact that there was a burst of fluorescent colours in the ‘80s, a surge of screen printing in the ‘70s and, well, the use of basic methods in the ‘50s.

“In the ‘00s you had to get permission,” Bev said. “It was illegal to paste posters. They are all small and narrow for cafes.”

A special section is also devoted to bedroom posters where heart throbs featured, including Marty Rhone in a shirt unbuttoned to the navel.

“People don’t do it anymore,” Bev said, sadly. “They’re into designer instead.”

There are a million-and-one such beautiful discoveries for those so inclined, including the one that to go to a gig by Daddy Cool cost just $1.10 sometime in the past.

Pasted and Wasted, District Docklands, until December 31, $10 admission •

 

Captions: Magnus Morris, lead singer of Guiltfilter, in the grunge corner.

Curator Bev Plowman among the fluoro.

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