This paper describes making the documentary film Chinese Whispers–Southern Roots in the Australian Swampy Sound through process stories and descriptive travelogue. The film depicts some ways in which the music of the American South influenced punk rock in Australia during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Through cultural immersion and participant observation, the filmmaker compares two seemingly disparate cultures to show some transnational currents that have carried this Southern cultural export to Australia’s music city. The filmmaker traveled to Melbourne, Australia to document Melbourne’s streetscapes and urban spaces where the music community gathers and collected video interviews with authorities in Australian punk including DIY entrepreneur and owner of Au Go Go Records Bruce Milne, Stranded author Clinton Walker, journalist Jo Roberts, and musicians Kim Salmon from the The Scientists and Spencer P. Jones, a founding member of the Beasts of Bourbon and The Johnnys. The most remarkable influences include the mid-1970s recordings by Memphis native Alex Chilton and covers of obscure rockabilly and rhythm and blues records by New York City psychobilly vanguards The Cramps. Because cultural exports traveled in fragments in the pre-internet era, transmutation yielded new sounds that went on to influence the grunge movement in the Pacific Northwest and have begun to establish a uniquely Australian musical identity.
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|Advisor:||Harper, Andrew C.|
|Commitee:||McKee, Kathryn B., Ownby, Ted|
|School:||The University of Mississippi|
|School Location:||United States -- Mississippi|
|Source:||MAI 57/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American studies, Cultural anthropology, Australian literature, Music, Regional Studies, Film studies|
|Keywords:||Australia, Chilton, Alex, Melbourne, Music, Punk, American South|
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