Bill Henson and Brian McFadden

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I’d arranged to meet The Other Andrew at Edgecliff Station, ahead of going to the Roslyn Oxley Gallery to see the latest Bill Henson exhibition. At the momenmt, Henson is probably Australia’s greatest art-photographer, though he invites controversy as his work often includes photographs of adolescent nudes.

I’d been to the retrospective of his work at the Art Gallery of NSW, and I’d been to an exhibition of his work at Roslyn Oxley a couple of years ago. Even then, there was a considerable debate about whether or not his work crossed the line between art and pornography. Chatting with a former colleague with a strong interest in fine art yesterday, she told me she had seen the work and thought this time around he had crossed the line.

With the cancellation of the exhibition opening, Andrew and I settled on dinner at Una’s.

From there I wandered off to meet Graeme at the Paragon Hotel.

When I received the invitation a couple of weeks ago, to see Brian McFadden play at “The Basement” I immediately said yes. Although not really all that aware of his work, I knew he was Delta Goodrem’s fiance, and I’d actually met him a couple of years earlier. Well, not so much met, as gave him a glass of water when his former band, “Westlife” came into my workplace.

He had two support acts: a fairly forgettable female singer-songwriter whose name I can’t recall and can’t be bothered looking up and the former television personality, Axel Whitehead. I don’t think I’d ever seen him on television, and only really heard about when he gave everyone a peak at “Little Axel” on the MTV Music Awards (or something like that) a couple of years ago, immediately ending his televsion career. Amusingly, Brian made a reference to that event when he was on stage, which makes me think Axel will have to work hard over many years to overcome that incident.

I was surprised at how good Axel Whitehead was. He has good, 1980s-style pop/rocky catchy songs, a fairly reasonable voice, and a good stage presence (though he could do with a few dance lessons).

I was also really surprised at how good Brian McFadden was, for very similar reasons. Totally impressed.

And of course, Delta was there too. She arrived part of the way through Axel’s performance, instantly providing an off-stage distraction. Standing just a few feet away from us, she chatted with people she knew and happily signed autographs for fans. One fan, in particular, got her to sign some CDs and had photographs taken with her.

There was nothing odd about that until, minutes later, when Brian McFadden was on stage, that same fan decided to interupt the show with a similar request for autographs and photographs. Brian was incredibly good natured about the incident, though you could see the look of fear in his eyes, as he looked towards security guards for assistance.

Later in the night, I noticed the same fan also had an autograph and photograph taken with the television showbiz reporter, James Tobin. And I thought ABBA fans were odd.

Meanwhile, over the in corner, minutes before midnight and Brian and Delta were having an after-show snogging session. They’d performed a duet together and, from the way there were relating to each other, you could see they were clearly very much in love. I was also impressed with the way in which Brian acknowledged the support he had received in Australia. Graeme explained to me he had gone through a very messy divorce in Ireland and was pretty much persona non-grata there.

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