Jeff Duff on

Posted on 22nd December 2017

When Jeff Duff‘s beautiful album Fragile Spaceman was reviewed on David Bowie‘s official website, on 1 February, 2011:

Ziggy gets a similar treatment to the rest of the album with its understated and fragile production … a completely different approach to the original, but a successful one nevertheless.

“There truly are some beautiful moments on this album and Jeff is in extremely fine voice. [I]f you get a chance you should check it out … or better still, buy yourself a copy.”

The full article on is here.

The author of this review, the erstwhile TotalBlamBlam, nevertheless expressed some stress in reviewing the art of Duff alongside that of Bowie. Ziggy Stardust “almost sounds out of place” on this album, he felt. But why? Listen to the words, flow with the feels, and you’ll only get as surprised as you ought to be.

Bowie’s web-master then celebrated the cross-over of these gents-des-l’arts in offering a pic of Bowie in a sailor suit, trying to match, for beauty, that of Duff on the cover of Fragile Spaceman. So Blam concluded shis review with a nod, doff, and kind of curtsy to both these artists at once … ideating that

“Jeff’s been wearing sailor clobber for some time now … just sayin’ … great minds, etc.”

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Jeff Duff at Let’s Dance Carinda 2017 [review]

Posted on 8th October 2017

Following on from our preview here of Duff’s stellar performance at the Let’s Dance “Bowie Hotel” in Carinda, New South Wales, here’s some review of the event that was, this Sat 30 September to Mon 2 October:


A 6+ minute doco from Bernard Marden across the Carinda landscape, featuring its locals in celebration, closing in on Duff’s performance as it boomed across the town, then into the famed hotel itself:

Part 2 of a trilogy of first-person tour by Shawn Dare through the festival, here featuring Duff in concert, performing several Bowie songs:

Part 3 of Shawn Dare’s video trilogy, from inside the famed hotel, including interview with the mainman, and with Jak Housden:

Duff performs Golden Years in concert at Carinda:


Coonamble Times

“SO MANY smiling faces,” observed Jeff Duff from the stage at Carinda Showground on Saturday night 30 September.
‘Duffo’ and his band, featuring some of Australia’s top musicians, were the headline act for the second Let’s Dance Festival held in Carinda over the long weekend.
Bowie enthusiasts and music-lovers of all persuasions had made the trek …

Western Magazine

Visitors and locals were dancing in the street on the weekend, when for three massive days a small outback town was transformed into the Let’s Dance Carinda Festival. It was 34 years ago that legendary singer David Bowie shot the music video for ‘Let’s Dance’ in the town’s pub and over the weekend that iconic scene was re-enacted by performer Jeff Duff …

ABC-TV Lateline – includes 6 m 47 s video story + transcript

34 years ago, the tiny NSW outback town of Carinda became the setting of the now-iconic video for the hit song ‘Let’s Dance’. …
(Jeff Duff gets out of a car)

JEFF DUFF, ARTIST: It’s unbelievable. It’s like being in a county fair in midwest America, somewhere. Listen to the music. …
GINNY STEIN: Sydney artist Jeff Duff was once David Bowie’s neighbour. Now he performs his songs in tribute shows and the people of Carinda are hoping David Bowie’s legacy – with Jeff Duff’s help – can keep their town alive. …
JEFF DUFF: I don’t try and impersonate David Bowie. I just – when I do the Bowie shows, I do it as Jeff Duff. I have always dressed the same. I have always worn make-up. I have even got make-up on today. I think he’s just amazing. The legacy of not only his music but his art and technology: he has opened the doors for a lot of modern-day thinkers, you know.
GINNY STEIN: Jeff Duff first met the music legend in London, when Bowie came to see him perform.
JEFF DUFF: And I have always been sort of compared to Bowie; I guess because I’m tall, thin and white.
GINNY STEIN: When Bowie arrived in Carinda, the locals invited him in. Bowie was entranced by the vast landscapes of the outback, but what he saw as Australia’s endemic racism angered him.
JEFF DUFF: He was way ahead of his time with all of these issues. Amazing. So the ‘Let’s Dance’ thing stands for more than just an incredible song: it stands for an awareness. …

The Grey Nomads review the gig!

… The night was a blast, with every visitor from near and far having absolute fun dancing on a bed of dust and burrs. Jeff Duff is arguably a most flamboyant and creative Australian entertainer, best described as a tall waif of a man with a strong voice. Whilst not attempting to imitate David Bowie’s looks, rather keeping with his own style, he sang with gusto and energy. My red shoes certainly got a work out …

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Duff in the Neighbourhood, and his apartment

Posted on 12th June 2017

Close encounters with Jeff Duff featured in the Neighbourhood Paper for 7 June—including video of Duff escorting the viewer about his apartment, and so his wardrobe, sports trophies and assorted memorabilia.

Jeff Duff featured in the Neighbourhood Paper June 2017
… & for more of Duff as "the cat in the hat", look here

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Jeff Duff: Vivid in Pink

Posted on 26th May 2017

Interview with Jeff Duff in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

Jeff Duff talks about his Euro career, including his go at The Top of the Pops, and his early days as a songster in Kings Cross …

Promoting his participation in Sydney’s Vivid Festival: the Duff-Odyssey retrospective at Leadbelly, Newtown, Sat 3 June [book here], followed by a talk in the Vivid Ideas series Kings Bloody Cross [book here]. See sidebar for more details.

More of Jeff Duff, vivid in pink, in the following slides: Glorious portraits of Jeff Duff in his neighbourhood—Elizabeth Bay, Sydney: The first at the marina; and a couple from a secret garden, Duff in a reflective stance, as if to compose an ode, perhaps to a nightingale, in remembrance, ahearkened to the choir inside his mind.

@ itunes
@ amazon
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Maestro Duffo seeks Bella Donna

Posted on 31st March 2017
Interview with Jeff Duff (Duffo) in a 1979 Italian pop-culture magazine "Dolly" … wonky translation by Google:
A.A.A. espansivo cerca amoreA. A. A. expansive seeks love
Il cantante australiano si dichiara asessuale e confessa di non essersi mai innamorato. Ma ora sogna di trovare in Italia una ragazza che lo converta.He declares himself asexual and confesses to never having fallen in love. But now he dreams of finding in Italy a girl who converts him.
Si chiama semplicemente Duffo: lo chiamano tuttu cosi da quando era piccolo, ma il vero nome e He is is simply called Duffo: everyone calls him so since he was little, but his real name is George [sic] Duff.
Tanto per cominciare, perché non ti presenti?To begin with why do not you show up?
«D’accordo. Mi chiamo Duffo, sono nato in Australia, dove ho vissuto fino a tre anni fa. Poi mi sono trasferito in Inghilterra per ragioni di lavoro. Ho una casa a Londra e … ma sei sicura che non sono famoso in Italia?!» “Okay. Duffo my name, I was born in Australia, where I lived until three years ago. Then I moved to England for work. I have a house in London and … but are you sure you are not famous in Italy ?!”
Abbi pazienza! Come mai, visto che hai gia un ricco passato musicale alle spalle, hai pensato all’Italia solo adesso? Be patient! Why, since you have already a rich musical past behind, you thought of Italy only now?
«Vedi, in Australia non si parla molto dell’Italia, specialmente musicalmente, cosi non sapevo che possibilita avrei avuto qui. Figurati che dell’Italia conoscevo soltanto la pizza, gli spaghetti e Sofia Loren!», conclude, ridendo con allegria contagiosa. “See, in Australia you do not speak a lot of Italy, especially musically, so I did not know that I would have had opportunity here. Imagine that Italy knew only the pizza, spaghetti and Sofia Loren!”, he concludes, laughing with contagious joy.
Che ti e sembrato dell’Italia? What did you think of Italy?
«E incantevole, giuro! Me ne sono letteralmente innamorato. Le citta sono stupende, le chiese suggestive, si mangia molto bene e le ragazze sono meravigliose! Sai, sono rimasto molto colpito dalla simpatia degli italiani. Per uno che vive a Londra in mezzo a tanti “musoni” che sorridono poco, e bello essere contagiato dalla carica di entusiasmo degli italiani. Quasi quasi mi trasferisco!» “It’s lovely, I swear! I literally fell in love. The cities are beautiful, evocative churches, we eat very well and the girls are wonderful! You know, I was very impressed by the friendliness of the Italians. For one who lives in London among many “bonneted” smiling a little, it’s great to be plagued by the office of the Italian enthusiasm. I almost I move!”
Che ti sembra della musica italiana? What do you think of Italian music?
«Ciò che ho sentito mi è piaciuto, anche se nessuno mi ha entusiasmato come Rettore: la trovo straordinaria, bravissima e molto "personaggio". Comunque ora conto di interessarmi molto di più alla musica italiana, di conoscerla un po’ meglio perché ne vale la pena!» “What I heard I liked, although no one has impressed me as Rettore: I find it extraordinary, talented and very "character". However now account interest me much more to Italian music, to know her a little better because it’s worth it!”
Torniamo a te e a "Take a walk on the wild side". Perche proprio questo pezzo?Let’s go back to you and to "Take a walk on the wild side". Why just this piece?
«È un brano intramontabile, cosi ho pensato di riproporlo in una versione nuova: infatti quella di Lou Reed era più acustica, la mia versione è più elettronica.»“It is a timeless song, so I decided to propose it again in a new version: in fact that of Lou Reed was more acoustic, my version is more electronic.”
Ti fermerai molto qui in Italia?Are you staying a lot in Italy?
«No, non molto, purtroppo. Ora sto curando la promozione del 45 giri e del nuovo LP di prossima uscita in Italia. Parteciperò anche a diversi programmi radiofonici e televisivi. »“No, not much, unfortunately. Now I’m taking care of the promotion of the 45s and the new LP forthcoming in Italy. Also to participate in various radio and television programs.”
Senti, visto che di te si conosce solo la tua versione di "Take a walk on the wilde side", puoi spiegare qual è il tuo genere musicale?Look, since you only know your version of "Take a walk on the wilde side", can you explain what is your kind of music?
«Ah, allora provochi! Guarda che io non copio nessuno! Ho un mio genere musicale, personale; e chi ascolterà il mio LP vedrà che la mia musica è una specfie di rock and roll classifico, con un po; di new wave.»“Ah, then I try! Look, I do not copy anyone! I have my kind of music, personal; and who will listen to my LP you will see that my music is a kind of classic rock and roll, with a little new wave.”
Chi sono i musicisti che lavorano con te?Who are the musicians who work with you?
«Sono tutti ottimi: mi avvalgo della sezione fiati di Paul McCartney, del percussionista della David Essex Band e altri.»“All are excellent: I make use of Paul McCartney’s brass section, the percussionist from the David Essex Band and others.”
E tu che tipo sei?And what are you?
«Espansivo, se non lo avessi ancora capito! Cerco di guardare la vita con tanto ottimismo, adoro la compagnia, il buon vino, la gente allegra e la buona musica: non basta?»“Expansive, if you have not already got it! I try to look at life with so much optimism, I love the company, good wine, happy people and good music: is not enough?”
Credi nel successo?Do you believe in success?
«Per quanto riguarda l’Italia, sono sicuro che avrò successo molto presto; quanto al resto del mondo … sono già celebre!!! Il fatto di essere nati in Australia ha portato fortuna ai Bee Gees, a Olivia Newton-John e a molto altri. Sicuramente porterà fortuna anche a me.»“As for Italy, I am sure that I will very soon successful; As for the rest of the world … I have already celebrated. The fact of being born in Australia has brought luck to the Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John and a lot of other. Surely bring luck to me.”
Scusa l’indiscrezione, Duffo, ma sei sposato?
A questo punto il nostro simpatico amico sgrana gli occhi e assume un’espressione inorridita.
Excuse the indiscretion, Duffo, but are you married?
At this point our nice friend’s eyes widen and he assumes a horrified expression.
«No, per carità, proprio no! Vedi, io non ho mai avuto la ragazza in vita mia …»“No, please, no! See, I have never had a girl in my life.”
Significa che ti interessano gli uomini?It means that you interassano men?
“Ma no, sei matta? È solo che sono asessuale, non ho alcun interesse per il sesso, capito?” “But no, are you crazy? It’s just being one who is asexual, I have no interest in sex, you know?”
Questa e proprio nuova! In mezzo a gay e bisex ci mancava proprio uno a cui non interessa minimamente il sesso! Scusa ma possibile che tu non ti sia mai innamorato? This is something quite new! In the midst of gay and bisexual we lacked just one who does not in the least interested in sex! Excuse me, but can you not you ever fallen in love?
“Mai, ti assicuro! O forse sì, una volta sola: della mia mamma! Però non smetto di sperare, anzi ho deciso: cerco una bella ragazza italiana che mi aiuti a cambiare idea. Scrivilo, anzi: cerco una bella italiana che me converta!” “Never, I assure you! Or maybe, just once: my mom! But I do not stop hope, indeed I decided: I want a nice Italian girl to help me change my mind. Write it, indeed: I want a nice Italian who converted me!”
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Political Duff Stuff

Posted on 1st July 2016

QUESTION: What has Jeff Duff in common with Alison MacCallum, the lead singer of this popular anthem of Australian politics?

MacCallum was a back-up vocalist on the 2nd Kush album (1975)
Both Jeff and Alison appear on the Big Time Operator: Big Bold Booming Voices Of The 60s & 70s compilation album (Sony Music, May 2016); see this blogpost
When Duff sang "So your daddy is a mushroom" on Bob the Birdman, he had MacCallum in mind
MacCallum is now a regular tennis partner of Jeff Duff

Now … can you spot Jeff Duff in more recent matters of political import in the following pics?

Incognito? Duff was strikingly pictured, in January 2016, as one of a league of local heroes fighting local council for the freedom to party in their own Elizabeth Bay Park. See the full story in the Daily Telegraph, with full-size, all-colour pic.

Jeff Duff defends local park for local people

Jeff Duff defends local park for local people

Jeff Duff was the star attraction at a euthanasia rights fund-raiser in April, 2016, with comedian Mikey Robins (also in the promo pic, below) as MC for the night. That was the Dancing with Dignity event, as previewed by altmedia.

Jeff Duff in Dancing with Dignity (promo pic)

Jeff Duff — Dancing with Dignity!!

Jeff Duff also appeared, in voice and visage, only a few years ago, as one of many luminaries of Australian music in Leo Sayer’s anti-CSG anthem "No fracking way". See this blogpost about it, and the vid on youtube here (or on vimeo here).

Jeff Duff in Leo Sayer's No Fracking Way

Jeff Duff in Leo Sayer’s No Fracking Way

And, to help meditating on recent efforts to create a status-based, two-tiered wage system in Australia for those who work on weekends, there’s also an anti-slavery song from Duff: namely, Twisted system, on Jon Lord’s (Deep Purple) Hoochie Coochie Men album, with Duff slaving on the vocals; available on iTunes here or at Spotify—here:

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Euro-Duffo: Clown Prince of Rock? The “naughty but nice” ZigZag Interview (UK, 1979)

Posted on 19th June 2016

1979.04_zigzag_pic_1Did Jeff Duff flee Australia in the late ’70s to find his natural home in punk UK? This is one thesis (see Glenn A. Baker on Duff); and corresponds, in part, to Duff’s own anticipations, as he marked off the days on his Sex Pistols calendar until he took flight; "Oh Lord, a one-way ticket out of here, please!" (TWEE, p. 95).

However, after landing on the Queen’s soil in 1978, some initial reactions to Duff from what remained of UK’s punk purists didn’t match these theses and enthusiasms. Gobbed off stage and beaten up by punk rock punters at his first Lyceum gig (where the Pistols played their first abortive gig, way back in ’75), Duff-off-the-bus, though armed with sterling phone-numbers to ring, still got throttled on the streets, in tow with the grubby UK arts-media: like finding himself pummelled by UK’s heavyweights of music broadcasting: by the infamously gay-shy Russell Harty (on ITV, quite nastily) and by the innocently regressive Anne Nightingale (on The Old Grey Whistle Test, tongue-in-cheekily). As for die-hard punk rockers still flailing on the streets, there was a particular article in their latter day street-pamphlets that sought to bust the head of this brazen outsider, in harmony with with Harty’s and Nightingale’s shocks. A particular article of the type was authored by punk-purist music journo Robin Banks—in the 10th anniversary issue of the music mag ZigZag.

While starting out as a hippie music mag, by 1979, ZigZag was a self-consciously low-brow champion of pure punk. Barely anyone other than the Sex Pistols and The Clash got a kind rap in this rag. Trying to copy at least the look of US punk mag Flashez, ZigZag‘s production values were poor, with cheap, ugly photography, and cramped, haphazard layout, while the text was often made up of a broken English word salad; an anti-literary complement to their anti-jewellery of rubber-bands and piercings. So, for example, in this issue in which "Duffo" was featured, a journo starts writing about Lene Lovich with the words "This gourds-churningly terrifying sshhuck! noise whistles malevolently close to Debbie Harry’s collatoral on a Saturday loan …". And only pure punk will do; the issue also proclaims that a new Roxy Music album "veers from ordinary and not noticeable to good-when-its-on", and Jonathan Richman is all a "fairyland of kiddie-romance and nursery rhyme nonsense". Banks himself writes of being left "breathless" when first listening to some Clash album, and to this day cites little more than his Pistols and Clash articles as meriting the historical record. Even readers chime in at this level; The Clash is said, in this issue’s Letters, to be "the best band in the land and have never recorded a duff record".

This did not bode well for Banks’ interview with Duff—with one of Duff’s songs on his first UK album even entitled Duff Record; check it out on iTunes, GooglePlay or Spotify. True to form, and to the appetites of ZigZag readers, the article begins by promising a report about "something totally ridiculous" as a way "to enliven our tenth anniversary edition". Banks claims that he made a "lengthy search" for someone who seemed to "fit the bill". Then he tries to be too clever beyond his ken in describing his encounter with this "someone" as "an insight into what might concur [sic] if Dr [sic] Spock met the Flying Doctor … and crashed".

Jeff Duff parties with Bill Wyman

Jeff "Duffo" Duff parties with Bill Wyman

Duff is then introduced as a creature found somewhere in Chelsea, in a grove (actually, Edith Grove, home of Duff’s esteemed publicist, Tony Brainsby) once associated with the Rolling Stones (who Banks also doesn’t like, writing that the Stones have since left this place for "puke-ridden greener pastures") … (see the pic, left, for another Duffo-Stones association). Duff first appears to him in (or as) "a freak glimpse of a pointed-ear-bearing character sporting bad make-up and striking velvet cloak". As for his music, well, because it’s not pure punk—Duff mashes it up with rock-n-roll roots, even cabaret of the Calloway type, with touches of Music Hall and Gilbert & Sullivan—Banks writes that Duffo’s first album contains 12 tracks "at least seven of which are stone cold turkeys".

Is music criticism like this of any use at all? Its yardstick begins and ends with what the critic personally likes; what is good is only what speaks to the critic’s own bit of space and time, as if the world is what is filled up by your very own drop in the ocean. Isn’t this just a low, banal, barely pubertal level of aesthetic appreciation—the aesthetic equivalent of egoism as the arbiter of moral reasoning (Kohlberg), or of the senses as the sole informant of the intellect (Piaget)? Asking why the musician does what s/he does is surely the start of a more developed critical approach, at least getting towards 20th century wisdoms of aesthetic appreciation, with more to offer readers than self-promotion of personal likes and dislikes, beyond childish liking of art as a choice between candy and brussel sprouts for tea.

BTW, others reviewing this album have found in it associations with The Kinks, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Tubes, "Bowie (in his guise as Anthony Newley)", and even Monty Python; Banks himself finds an association with early (but, of course, "sub-standard") Ian Dury. Also, these reviewers have pointed to the album’s "witty lyrics with a pronounced strine inflection" and that "Duffo sings well and invests the entire disc with a self-deprecating sense of absurdity". The album is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, etc..

Jeff Duff (Duffo) cover pic for Give Me Back Me Brain single Jeff Duff (Duffo) cover pic for Tower of Madness single

Duff did not himself, of course, claim pure punk "credibility" for this early period of his Euro career; and he soon explored and immersed himself in other Euro trends—with peer and punter respect in tow. For example, as reported some months after his return to Oz, after a decade away …
Duff in the press: 1987.05.03 sun-herald

Robin Banks does, however, eventually doff his mohawk to Duffo. Of the infamous Number 10 body-stocking stunt (see Chapter 5 of This will explain everything from Melbourne Books for more info), Banks offers a perceptive and sensitive appraisal …:

 I should say here and now that Duffo struck me as more of a victim of cheapskate publicity endeavours than a straightforward media manipulator himself, quite the opposite. He came over as a person running hard to present himself in the only way he knows how, and for that he gets ten out of ten for trying. If he doesn’t quite cut it, then at least he’s made the attempt, and that’s far more than most people do. Robin Banks

Banks then applauds Duff for the sense of humour he showed in giving the esteemed NME music journo Tony Parsons—now self-proclaimed "Tory scum"—an exploding cigarette. The story is that Duff, having been summoned to an interview with Parsons after getting some adulation for the original, self-titled Duffo album (Beggars Banquet, 1979), entered the journo’s Carnaby Street club as a blindman, with dark glasses and walking-stick, and gave Parsons a cigarette that, exploding on being lit up, swept Parsons toppling off his seat, left him helpless on his hind, much to the mirth of fellow journos in the club.

Duffo badge modelled by Golly

1979 Duffo badge, designed by Duffo, proudly modelled by Golly; photo by GG

Banks also notes how Duff has his fans—Duffo’s performance at The Venue was "well-attended and well-received", and "I have even seen people sporting Duffo badges (which he designed himself) so it’s obvious that some people do actually like the guy". (See the Duffo badge, above, as proudly worn by our house-model at the Institute for Duffological Studies and photographed by GG.) Banks even uses the term Duffophiles to describe these creatures—much to the surprise of this writer, who independently came up with the term.

Banks also usefully records some quotables of lingering note re Duff on himself. Faithful to the low-brow ethos of the mag, Banks writes that he could not audio-record the interview because his tape-recorder was in a pawn-shop. Still, he seems to have scribbled down or committed to memory some notable words verbatim. So Duff could well proclaim that he was breaking new ground: "I want to prove that somebody completely different can come out of Australia and make it. That you don’t have to be Olivia Newton-John or the Bee Gees." And, whatever the reaction, he would not be deterred—like a Dali, his art was his life, and it was sanctioned to its freedom with entertainment as his mission:

 I’m not just Duffo on stage or on record. Duffo’s whole life is a performance. But I do feel the need to sing and show what I can do. I don’t care if people laugh with me or at me, as long as they laugh. And I don’t mind being regarded as the Clown Prince of Rock ‘cos I guess I am. Jeff Duff

(Summing up something of the Oz industry attitude to Duff at the time of his flight, the moniker "Clown Prince of Rock" was actually how a DJ, back in Brisbane only some weeks before then, introduced Duff to an audience; "which I thought was quite fitting", Duff himself added—TWEE, p. 96. So did Duff’s initial UK reception, as in ZigZag, just reflect, magnify and/or focus on that aplomb? A happy, even natural, outcome, after all? See TWEE [Chapters 5 & 6] for more by Duff himself on Euro-Duffo—and how all this early controversy actually gave him "keys to the city.")

See the complete ZigZag article as a pdf here—with more Duff in the media here.

Clown Prince of Pre Post-Punk Rock? Duffo on German TV

Clown Prince of Pre Post-Punk Rock? Duffo on German TV

For more about Euro-Duffo, see this Duffo album launch-poster in NME, his write-up in the German music press, and his German Rock-Pop TV Show performance, the interim 1982 report back to Oz in the Australian Women’s Weekly, this poster of his performance at The Factory, the inclusion of his Give Me Brack Me Brain single on the New Wave Greats 1976–1983 UK compilation CD, among other stuff.

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“This will explain everything”: The Jeff Duff autobiography

Posted on 9th March 2016

jeff_duff_autobiography_cover_b_1The long-awaited Jeff Duff autobiography has been published — released in May 2016.

Crafted by Duff over many years, gloriously published by Melbourne Books, the work has a provocative promise as its title: “This will explain everything“, being a 248 page tome, hard cover printed on gold foil, beginning with a Foreword by Molly Meldrum. Here are some excerpts from Australia’s mainman of the popular music industry:


 Unique is an over-used word in showbiz. But Jeff Duff is unique. …

 Flamboyant, eccentric, cheeky, charming …

 Jeff Duff is one of the greatest entertainers Australia has producedMolly Meldrum

Order here from:

Promo on Channel 7’s Daily Edition:

Promo on Channel 10

Excerpt of the ABC Radio National interview of Jeff Duff with Wendy Harmer ahead of the Sydney launch:

Interview with Duff re the book on RRR radio program The Australian Mood 26 May: on demand here or see the program page here.

Interview with Duff re the book on Maynard’s webcast here.

Performing Young Americans at the Basement (Sydney) launch of the book, Tues May 31:

Interview by Jeff Jenkins at the Flying Saucer Club (Melbourne) launch of the book, Sunday June 5:

Performing Easy Street at the Flying Saucer Club (Melbourne) launch of the book, Sunday June 5:

And listen to Lazarus from the same gig:

Pic of Duff at the Flying Saucer (Melbourne) launch of the book, Sun 5 June:

#JeffDuff at @flyingsaucerclubmusic yesterday…

A photo posted by Karen Freedman (@maccak) on

QUESTION: What was one of the earlier proposed titles for Duff’s autobiography (according to his blog of some years ago)?

The Naked Singer
The Disappearing Boy
I am a Genius
They said he was a fragile spaceman
Bashed, Banned but Unbewildered

More Duff quiz questions here.

FACT: It’s been a longtime coming. Already in 2004, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Duff was "putting the finishing touches to an autobiography that will be published next year". See the SMH article here.

From the launch of This will explain everything at Better Read Than Dead 265 King Street Newtown, NSW · Sun 19 June 2:00 p.m.:

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Jeff Duff, in the light of the blackstar

Posted on 12th January 2016

… at, the Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald, and

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Scott Walker on the Duff side

Posted on 6th November 2015

Jeff Duff offers a guide to the music of Scott Walker in the latest issue of the online magazine Rhythms. (Walker’s real surname is Engel — German for Angel — hence this Duff pic.)

In the article, Duff comments on several Walker albums/tracks. There’s also info on how Duff’s preparing a Walker-inspired show, collaborating with the producer of Walker’s Nite Flights album.

Which brings us to another of Duff’s inspirational associates: Bowie, who spoke in awe of this album, and recorded its title track, with a vid where mime beats paparazzi, and art survives (exploits?) its survey:

Duff recorded a Walker song himself — the classic The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore, on his 2014 Walking on Eggshells album. While Duff’s online catalogue is being updated, try sampling some Walker albums on iTunes: e.g., Scott 4, Climate of Hunter, and The Drift.

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MainMan: Jeff Duff in the Sydney Morning Herald, July 2015

Posted on 6th July 2015

2015_07_03_smh_! Article on Duff by Lawrence Money, July 3, 2015, in the Sydney Morning Herald — with lots of biographical detail, including information about the autohagiography.

For more of Duff in the mainstream papers, see here — including articles about Duff in the Sun Herald, the Daily Telegraph, and the Australian Women’s Weekly … and, indeed, the Sydney Morning Herald in 2004.

Article on Jeff Duff in the Sydney Morning Herald 2004

Article on Jeff Duff in the Sydney Morning Herald 2004

And seeing you’ve got your glass onions on, try also eye-balling this 1st Feb 2015 interview with Duff in the Gay News Network.

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“Me a celebrity? I just grow bananas.”

Posted on 28th July 2014
Duff in Sydney Morning Herald September 2004

Duff in Sydney Morning Herald September 2004

Duff recently commented on his facebook that he didn’t regard himself as a celebrity – as well as offing his banana again. Both of these themes were taken up in a Sydney Morning Herald article on Jeff Duff, 25 Sept 2004. Richard Jinman was the journalist. Thanks to Justin Pearson for the material.

From the bashing that greeted him back in Oz, after a decade of “losing touch with my genitals,” the article almost assures us that, when not packing fruit, Jeff Duff doesn’t suffer from, say, “Fame, that makes things hollow.” Or “Fame, fame, fame,” in general.

Or is it like Tiberius, wasn’t it, who didn’t want to return to power to win a war if it stopped him from growing cabbages? A Tiberius Complex? But one that still makes Duff the hardest working artist in Australia, there to F your mind over and over and over again.

2061 views as of posting

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Sun-Heralded return of Duff to Oz, 1987

Posted on 19th May 2014
Click for full article

Click for full article

Noticed the Bowie-theme surrounding Jeff Duff of late – the Daily Telegraph front-page mag-article on Duff and Bowie as neighbours, on top of Duff’s Bowie Unzipped show …? It’s been a dominant theme throughout Duff’s career: as evidenced by this Sun-Herald article of May 5 1987 re "the ever-changing face of the elusive Jeff Duff". Amid its report of Duff’s return 6 months earlier to Australia from his decade-long European career, and the release of his video-single of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wildside, it espouses many Bowie-esque traits of Duff … adjectives of elusiveness, ch-ch-changes, mercuriality … even a gratuitous controversy re “publicity-seeking” … although the note about Duff on Oz-TV at age 10 with a self-made drum-kit is pretty idiosyncratic. Highlights:

Over the last 15 years this Melbourne-born singer not only has welded flamboyant visuals to every aspect of his music, but has gone through myriad changes of style and direction. … "I was forever changing my image, " says Duff, leafing through his scrapbook.

On the 1970s band Kush: a seven-piece … band of serious musos fronted by an outrageous Bowie clone. … With Kush he blossomed not only as a singer, but as good copy – in the Bowie/Boy George mould – for chat shows and media.

On his UK incarnations: "I guess it was a token punk thing," says Duff candidly. "A bastardised Jonny Rotten – I wasn’t singing properly." … Having arrived in the late afternoon of Punk, he threw himself into the cocktail hour of the New Romantics with alacrity … He even had his own club – Duffo’s Dive.

Pondering Duff’s quicksilver identity, one could do worse than compare him with Warhol – that sense of controlled simplicity, a sophisticated naivety.

Richard Sharah paints Bowie


Note: The Australian make-up artist Richard Sharah mentioned in this article as having worked Duff’s face for the Walk on the Wildside video is the same bloke who did Bowie’s face for the Ashes to ashes vid. Colour-blind (!) Sharah also worked the faces of Madonna, Jerry Hall, Faye Dunaway, Steve Strange (Fade to Grey) …, even Bing Crosby and Betty Ford. See A More Beautiful Makeup for more info re Sharah.

+ Psst – the parody album mentioned in this article includes a parody by Duff of Bowie’s "Heroes" – in mega-operatic mode. The whole album, including parodies of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax, is available on itunes: Cyril Trotts to Bogna.

See also: a 1982 article in the Australian Women’s Weekly (!) on Duff’s Euro career; a post re the Warhol quote; much more re Reed/Duff; and a 1975 newsreel of Duff in Kush at Sunbury.

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Duff-Bowie neighbourly digs

Posted on 8th May 2014

cenralsyd_2014.05.08_1Duff and Bowie as neighbours in Elizabeth Bay, Sydney, in the late 80s/early 90s: Read all about it in today’s Daily Telegraph Central Sydney News Magazine front-page article. It includes quotes from Duff, a pic of Duff at the very café where they quaffed tête-à-tête, and even an aerial pointer to Bowie’s waterfront apartment. Apparently Bowie and his Tin Machine gang also came crowding Duff’s gigs at Round Midnite at the time.

Bowie’s Sydney sojourn late 80s/early 90s was so secretive it’s not even mentioned in a 2010 “definitive biography” of Bowie. But trawling through the archives here at the Institute for Duffological Studies, we do indeed find a contemporary report: A 1990 (Jan 17) article in Pix magazine re Bowie’s mysterious Sydney life. It kicks off like this:

David Bowie sneaked into Australia, unnoticed and unannounced. Within days, Sydneysiders phoned up newspapers and radio stations to say they had seen him in the street … but no one knew for sure if it was really him.
He was spotted in rowdy rock pubs and smoky clubs while soaking up the atmosphere. And he was seen in Kings Cross cafes, drinking early morning coffee and catching up with the newspapers. [… and Duff]
Soon there was no doubt. The man cruising around town in the red Holden Commodore was definitely David Bowie. He was sighted travelling from his harbourside apartment to a recording studio and also appeared at chic restaurants and backstage meetings with fellow superstars like U2. [… and Duff]

Not breathless enough? Self-suffocating for more?

Well, after staking out Bowie’s apartment for a couple days, Pix magazine’s paparazzi caught up with Bowie in a Surry Hills music-shop, buying up some ware for Hunt Sales, Bowie’s Tin Machine drummer at the time. While offering a hand-of-peace to the vigilant photographer, and inviting him in to take some pix [scans pending], Bowie pleaded: “Whatever you do, don’t reveal where I live in Sydney. It’s the one city where I feel really at home without needing security guards 24 hours a day.”

Bowie also offered high praise for the live music he’d seen about the town: “The bands playing in clubs are actually exhilirating. But then I think the arts over here are generally very healthy.”

… Duff again!

How grand to get that exhilirating stuff first-hand this May all about Sydney all over again as Duff presents his new Bowie-themed show, “Bowie Unzipped” …

+ Keep up-to-date, on-the-pulse, and always wired re Bowie-Oz via bowiedownunder.

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Backwoods Boy, “Hinterwäldler aus Australien”

Posted on 3rd October 2013

Euro Duffp: Jeff Duff in Germany“Teens”, a German teen-idol mag of circa 1977, reported, with this pic, next to news about ABBA and Elton John, the following story, under the headline “Hinterwäldler aus Australien”:

In seinem Heimatland Australien gilt er etwas als verschrobener ¸¸Hinterwäldler´´. Und das ist noch recht harmlos, wenn man bedenkt, wie Duffo in den letzten Monaten Schlagzeilen gemacht hat. In London wurde er wegen Erregung öffentlichen Ärgenisses verhaftet, zweimal kam er nach einer Prügelei ins Krankenhaus, außerdem erschreckt er seine Fans durch das Tragen von spitzen Plastikohren. Fans hat er nämlich seit “Give Me Back Me Brain” reichlich.


In his homeland of Australia he’s known as an eccentric “backwoods boy”. And that’s quite tame when you think how Duffo’s made headlines in the past few months. In London, he’s been arrested for exciting public offense. Twice he’s been in hospital following a bashing. On top of that, he frightens his fans by wearing pointy plastic ears. Fans he’s got aplenty since “Give Me Back Me Brain”.

See Duff doing “Give Me Back Me Brain” on Kraut TV in the late 1970s here:

I’ve taken liberty here in translating “Hinterwäldler” as “backwoods boy”. May be “boy from the bush” is the gist. The word means someone from the back (hinter) woods (a Wäldler, someone who goes about them). Cassel’s New German Dictionary translates Hinterwäldler as backwoodsman and squatter.

Thanks to Grace Garton for scanning us the pic from the magazine.

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Top Pop Duffo and the Falklands War

Posted on 7th April 2012

Remember that war between the UK and Argentina? The Argentine President has been sabre-rattling about it lately, it being 30 years on since that early 80s tragedy – a bigger 80s tragedy than big hair. What more of an absurd world could we still live in when the UK could go to war with Argentina? Oh, the President’s thugs coming out in her support. History has left us with plenty of geo-political absurdities, like the Falklands, Gibraltar, Australia (even the Queen has said she can’t figure out why Australia still wants her as Head of State. “My head is my own,” she once exclaimed, over sausages.) … Say no more – can’t we, man, just give absurdity a chance?

Our Duffo, then a London citizen, was right in the thick of this annus horribilis. Just at that time, at the declaration of war, Duffo hit the #1 spot on the Argentinian hit parade with his dance-snappy but smooth and velveteenly voiced take on the Reed/Bowie “Walk on the Wildside” (or live on Italian TV here – see how Duffo folds art into cool). Were the Argentines sending the Brits a none too subliminal message by buying up the Duff – “C’mon – take a walk!” – even on our “wildside” …?

Read more of the international crisis here, in your Australian Woman’s Weekly of February 1982, via the National Library of Australia. While there in the jaw of the moment, Duffo could merrily and thankfully report from HQ that his own work continued constructively:

“I just love living in London. I’ve done more here in the past four years than I could have done in Australia in a life-time”.

But then the Australian Woman’s Weekly reporter, chasing Duffo up in London, had this to scurrilously report back to mother Australia:

“That’s true! He’s been arrested for insulting behaviour outside No 10 Downing Street, slashed his chances of favourable record reviews by handing exploding cigarettes to journalists, been carted off to hospital claiming his coffee was spiked to prevent him from performing … and so on”.

What did all those Dame Ednas reading the Australian Woman’s Weekly make of this report, next to their crossword puzzles and knitting patterns, in 1982? Was it all true, possum? Just what happened outside No. 10? Glenn A. Baker, the Australian rock music historian, writes (in the sleeve to the Duffo Beggars Banquet CD) of Duff’s “body-stockinged stunt outside 10 Downing Street”. Hmm, not really enough to imagine what happened.

What about the exploding cigarettes? And the detention in hospital? And those sheep-brains hurled out to the audience from the stage? Symptoms of war-times, it seems. For Mr Duff, these were no times for just standing around and floating about, like a stately ship.

Bowie’s manager Tony De Fries had Bowie of the Ziggy era going about in limousines and glamming up like a star. In the late 70s, Bowie did a very different publicity stunt outside No. 10 Downing Street (see pic) – when he showed minimal celebrity, in touch with the common need for a quieter life, and the political need right now for everyone’s intellect – or to just read the papers. This was quickly followed, in the early 1980s, in London, with no more space for glamorous stars – not even the simpler or more thoughtful ones. Times had become disgusting, and it was time for art to constructively exploit everyday disgust. Duffo was one of the Australian musicians who came to London in the late 1970s and early 1980s to take up this challenge. Duff took it up daringly, risking his social security and mental health to make a burst of artistic points about the musical possibilities of punk, while critiquing the popular music industry. So this news of Duff, in the Woman’s Weekly (then as common as Chicken Cacciatore in Australia), brought the times home to its readers.

This 1981 release of “Walk on the Wildside” (off the Bob the Birdman album) was followed with another release in 1988, and then with a dance-mix in 1989. The video accompanying these later releases was itself a hit: representing Australia at the MTV video awards in New York, and opening the Sydney Film Festival in 1988.*

> Listen to the controversial chart-topper at this Jeff Duff and the Prophets page.
> Calling all earthlings: Aliens from our own Solar System intercept Duff’s “Wildside”. This is serious.
> Read about another scene-stealer – "Furry Larry" – at No 10.

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