Thursday, 26 July 2012

Question Time - Who are Nerds & Music

This week's Question Time guest is my favourite Newcastle-based-folk-comedy-duo - Nerds & Music.  I'll let you know who the other ones are later.  I met these fine fellows, Wayne Thompson and Clark Gormley, at Summersong Music Camp a few years back and have been enjoying their company ever since.  

In restless moments where the members of the band needed to explore other projects, they've turned to me - separately - as a fellow musician and writer.  Clark and I co-wrote the hit song "Synaesthesia Blues".  It became apparent quickly that our audience was very boutique and limited to people who know what synaesthesia is without the need to check a dictionary.  Wayne and I co-wrote the marginally more successful song "Felafel (W)rap".  Both songs premiered at Summersong.  It's a privilege to share a by-line with each of them.  

Clark has a habit of calling me just before his room service dinner arrives.  (Perhaps I could market myself as a charming, remote dinner companion...)  Wayne and I talk about typography and design and stuff.

They're witty and clever and I highly recommend that you go to a gig if they're playing nearby.  There's a gig listing at the end of the post.  If not, here's an opportunity to spend some time with Nerds & Music.

(Wayne's responses are first because he answered first.)

1. Who are Nerds and Music? Which one is which?

Wayne: Obviously Clark is the Nerd and I am the Music, although I guess that depends on which one of us responds first to these questions. Clark's profession is actually much nerdier than mine, he's an engineer see? I'm a Type Designer, which is MUCH more mainstream...

Wayne Thompson & Clark Gormley are Nerds & Music.
Clark: Wayne’s the Nerd and I’m the ampersand in the middle.  (BTW you misspelt our band name Tanya. I’m also a pedant.)  As for the Music, we’re still looking.

2. Where do you get inspiration for your music?

Wayne: Use of the word 'inspiration' suggests my music is actually 'inspired' in some way. It's not. It just comes to me. Often in response to some stimuli in my environment, such as the smell of freshly cut grass (as in the song 'Geez I Like Your Grass'). It's like a bolt from the blue, I mean, I see or hear something and 'bang', there's a lyric or tune in my head. But "inspiration"? C'mon! I think you better look it up in the dictionary!

Clark: Shamington Theelswaite, Ergatomics, Aratcothinswit.  You probably don’t recognise the names because they’re in an alternate universe.

3. What's your writing routine?

Wayne: Get up. Eat. Avoid writing. Go to bed.

No, seriously, it's actually more complicated than that. Sometimes I spend the day on Facebook.

Oh, allRIGHT... ACTUAL answer: I don't have a routine. I always carry a notebook, because ideas have a habit of occurring at inopportune moments. Except in the shower, I don't take my notebook there, that would be absurd. Ironically, the fact that ideas often occur to me in the shower inspired the song 'Bugger Bum', about the cursing that occurs when you forget an inspirational idea because it occurred to you in the shower, and then you forgot it due to the lack of opportunity to write it down.

Clark: Two writers walk into a bar.  They sit at either end of the bar, and take out their laptops and start writing jokes about the sort of people who walk into bars.  After a while of listening to the rattle of their fingers against the plastic keys, the barman screams “Get out of here!”
The writers ask “Why?”
The barman says “I can’t stand this stereotyping!”

4. What's your favourite word?

Wayne: Transmogrify. I've always wanted to be able to use it in conversation.

Clark: Nerd is the word.

5. If you could script your dying words, what would they be?

Wayne: Please take your knee out of my groin (with a nod to Mel Brooks).

Clark: Aaaaarrrrrrghrhhhhggghhhhrrrhhshhhhhaaaaarrrrrrhhhhh

6. What gets your hanky in a twist?

Wayne: The washing machine. And poor punctuat.ion

Clark: The ready availability of tissues.

7. What's your ambition for Nerds and Music.

Wayne: Where's the question mark? Man, I hate sloppy grammar... that really gets my hanky in a ... erm... sorry. Where was I? My ambition for Nerds & Music would be to transmogrify (ha! I did it!) from a folk duo into an electric blues band. Full drum kit, screaming guitar solos, and lots of tattoos. Some say this might be ambitious. I say reach for the sky. But don't tell Clark, I don't think he'd like it. (Ed: I think he's going to find out...)

Clark: To make it through to the end of the day. 
And maybe to get a drummer.
To play the theme tune to the next series of Big Bang Theory.

8. What blogs do you read? What else are you reading?

Wayne: I can only wish I had the time to read blogs! In between Facebooking, Ipodding and cat-feeding, who's got time for blogs? .... What?... um.. er yes, and work, of course.

Clark: Tanya’s fabulous blog Divacultura.  (Ed: Actually, it's written divacultura - with a lower case "d". Not that I'm a pedant...)
Links on Facebook to Tanya’s fabulous blog Divacultura.
Actually, I really am reading “How I became a Famous Novelist” by Steve Hely.  A very funny book.  It was recommended to me by Tanya, who has a fabulous blog called Divacultura.

9. Finish this sentence, "If we weren't making music we'd be...."

"If we weren't making music we'd be playing other people's music."

Clark: Making license plates.  Nerds & Music saved us from a life of white collar crime.  I’d already started stealing white collars. 

Find Nerds & Music on facebook:
To discover Wayne's typographical design work:

As for upcoming gigs, we’re very busy over the next month:

Nerds Storm The Terrace!
Friday, July 27, 2012.8:00pm. The Terrace Bar, 529 Hunter St Newcastle
Nerds & Music make their Terrace Bar debut at Newcastle's newest live music venue.
Nerds & Music will play all their hit to an adoring audient. Why not come along and make it two?
And what better location to play our homage to Hunter Street, the Milk Crate song (with apologies to Bob Hudson and Dave & The Deros).
Nerds are sharing the bill with veteran Australian country performer Daisy Burr, who is visiting Newcastle to buy a new set of venetians for her 72 XY Ford Falcon Station Wagon. 

Next Fairlight Folk Sat August 11th 7:30pm.
3 William St, Fairlight (the old Baptist Church just down from Sydney Rd).
Mick Conway and Robbie Long, Nerds & Music (Clark Gormley & Wayne Thompson) and Rebecca Moore.

Nerds are also regulars at Club Sandwich Cabaret (first Friday of the month in Newcastle).  Clark will be solo MC for the next CSC as Wayne has soccer commitments.  
Club Sandwich for August will be celebrating National Science Week
Friday August 3, 8pm
$20 admission
It’s all in the Science…
And what exactly does that mean? Poor old science has been taking a beating recently – alternately blamed, held up as irrefutable, used or abused, mostly by those who haven’t had to present an abstract, method, results and conclusion in their entire life.
At the run in to National Science Week, Club Sandwich is going to employ rigorous scientific method to examine many of the issues that affect us in everyday life, from our upcoming bumper crop of atmospheric CO2 to why we have to choose cheque or savings when paying by eftpos.
Science has made our lives infinitely better and brought vast practical understanding to so many things including health, the environment, technology and now even God via the Higgs boson (who’d a though it!?). Pop on a knitted vest and some warm socks to wear with your Dunlop volleys as we uncover the odd, the eccentric and the almost unbelievable people and events that have shaped this mind expanding odyssey.
Appropriately, MC for the evening is that nerd Clark Gormley.
Royal Exchange
32-34 Bolton Street Newcastle 2300 (02) 4929 4969


  1. Gorgeous! I especially loved this bit, in answer to the writing routine question:

    "Get up. Eat. Avoid writing. Go to bed.

    No, seriously, it's actually more complicated than that. Sometimes I spend the day on Facebook."

    1. It's deeply profound. I think it probably reflects the struggles a lot of writers have! (I am not afflicted...thanksfully.)

  2. they're strange...very strange...boys 'tis true! And they have a quirky underside I've heard - and their humour is, well, a rather acquired taste. Witty, without fruity overtones. Subversive, without flippers. Thoughtful, without, well, brain strain. Hmmm, wait a minute! I think I've acquired, er inherited, er infected ....oh, I've got it! This is music to er ....escape to. I like Nerds, and &#ampersand, and music.

    1. Ampersands are one of my favourite punctuation marks. I like your take on the Nerds MozInOz. Thanks for reading!