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The Real Guitar Heroes: Josh Pyke & Busking for Change

I had a very delicious dream last night, where Josh Pyke, Tim Rogers (You am I), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Tim & Dave (Dappled Cities) all made a welcome appearance. I have been prone to a celeb dream or two in my time, which apparently means I’m thinking about an idealised version of someone in my life. Or it means I’ve got a thing for guys with guitars. I suggest the latter is most likely.

Think I’m just an over-excited fan-girl? Okay, maybe, but it isn’t just for their pretty faces and seductive lyrics. It’s not just that they can sling a guitar and hold a sweaty room of punters in the palm of their hand. These here are nice boys. How do I know this you ask? Well, let me tell you.

September 2 is Indigenous Literacy Day. So what does a young, successful musician do? If you’re Josh Pyke you put on a gig at the Annandale Hotel to raise money and donate ALL the profits to the Indigenous Literacy Project. Aw shucks! Oh, and you invite all your ever-so talented mates along to really make it a big night.

As Josh tells it, Busking for Change started organically when he started thinking up ways he could generate some funds for the cause.
“The Indigenous Literacy Project just struck a chord with me on so many levels. Indigenous issues are something I’ve been interested in for many years, and the concept of words, and language and communicating ideas in that way is especially relevant to my own career. To me, a decent level of literacy is really the cornerstone to being able to choose what type of life you want. If you can read and write and communicate with words, your world is opened up to further education, different creative pursuits, or just the escapism of reading a really good book at the end of a hard day at work. Being literate helps you put yourself in the context of the greater world that you live in,” he says.

The Indigenous Literacy Project is a partnership between the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Australian book industry, who purchase books and learning materials for remote communities because “by the age of 15, more than one-third of Australia’s Indigenous students do not have the adequate skills and knowledge in reading literacy to meet real-life challenges.” They also work with teachers and students in remote communities to capture and publish their stories and songs.

When you look at the facts, it’s not hard to see why Josh was drawn to this project. This is the first Busking for Change event, but he said he’d like to try and make it annually. Regardless, it is the third Indigenous Literacy Day, when many booksellers and businesses will be donating a percentage of sales – so it’s time to stock up. Go visit some of my local favourites that are supporting the event, including:
Better Read than Dead (Newtown)
Abbeys (City)
Gleebooks (Glebe)
Kinokuniya (City)
Shearers on Norton (Leichhardt)
Next Chapter (Wahroonga)
Potts Point Bookshop
Lindfield Books
Plus there are always the biggies – Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, Borders and Collins.

Dedicating tonight to books and Josh and the boys? Looks like it’s going to be a fine, fine day.

Tickets can be purchased from the Annandale Hotel for $30.

words: Kristen Hodges


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