Bowie & Friends

A Man, His Guitar & Furry Band

Meet Gary, aka the ‘G’ man, Bowie’s non-furry, two-legged friend. Gary is the other half of Sue, a loving father of two beautiful daughters, two dogs and two cats, a teacher by day, a talented guitarist and composer by night, a massive fan of Massive Attack, Jeff Beck and Steve Wilson, an avid music blogger and really just a nice, fun guy to be around. Here’s my chat with the man himself.

You have a full house

Full house, yeah man, you’re on the money there dude. Two dogs, two cats and we used to have several guinea pigs and rabbits as well. I was basically running a Noah’s Ark without the worry of an impending global flood and the notion of being spared by God.

Tell us about your Furry Band

The two dogs are Barney and Toby. Barney is a male Moodle (Maltese/Poodle X). He likes to think he’s running the show. When we first met him he tried to assert himself by having sex with my leg. One of the Bluecross ladies said that dogs often exhibit this behaviour to be assertive and target accordingly the weakest member of the family. Following this incident I immediately undertook a course of psychotherapy.

Toby is a male Spoodle (Spaniel/Poodle X), we think. A very chilled out dude, although he’s immediately wary of tall males with deep voices and motorbikes. I’ve got a feeling that his original female owner entertained a procession of testosterone grease laden fuelled bikies after hours. And the two cats are Panda (4) and Blue (3).

All animals are rescue animals. The dogs came from Bluecross in Wonga Park. The cats came from a veterinary clinic where my youngest daughter used to work. It’s great for us, but a pretty sad set of circumstances.

Barney came first in 2012 at the age of 2 years. Apparently he was found wandering around the Eastern suburbs with a matted coat in a state of disorientation. He was micro-chipped, but there was no answer to the number called.

Toby came on board in 2013 at the age of 3 years. He came from Shepparton and was effectively kept on a run outside with his sister. The female owner of the property couldn’t look after both dogs, so off they went to the dog groomer, then to the dog groomer’s mother before ended up in Bluecross.

All rescue dogs and cats come with their own baggage. Toby hates the sound of thunder and becomes very anxious. Barney sometimes retreats under our bed to lick a food tray or a handkerchief. He can’t be coaxed out (except with food) and you certainly don’t try to retrieve that food tray. Clearly under the bed has been a place of safety for him in the past in the face of mistreatment. In addition, he doesn’t like having his foot hair trimmed. A throw back (I think) to when he was first picked up by the pound and taken to Bluecross to be cleaned up and forcibly groomed.

How’s the band getting along?

Everyone is getting along pretty well. The dogs occasionally clash over a food misunderstanding. Typically Barney is the instigator here. He likes to be the boss.

As far as Divas are concerned, Princess Panda the cat is right up there. She’s quite the elusive one. Hates change and is inclined to urinate on clothing and bedspreads when litter trays haven’t been cleared. When we got back from overseas in 2014, Panda kept urinating on our doonas. In the end all Sue and I were left with were sleeping bags. Litter tray maintenance (administered by our daughter) was the issue, again!

Panda’s ‘take that’ behaviour is quite different to the cruisey Blue, who has been dressed up from time to time in different party outfits.

I do feel sometimes that I need to be a little more dictatorial with the boys, but I feel arrangements are generally functional if everyone in the band performs their roles. I certainly don’t want to go down the Donald Trump pathway of manic role enforcement in the spirit of ‘making the band great again’.

Who’s (secretly) your favourite in the band?

This is a really tough question. I’d have to say that Toby’s chilled outlook (has he smoked weed?) does give him an edge over the effervescent Barnster. He also loves hanging out with his dad in the studio and seems to vibe off the acoustic stuff. Who would have thought a canine music producer interested in acoustic projects?

Other than music, how do you bond with your band?

In addition to the walking, the dogs enjoy sitting next to their Dad watching BBC News endlessly whilst having the odd carrot. Toby has taken to occasionally eating the odd sandwich/piece of food off my plate if I temporarily leave my spot in front of the TV. The amazing thing with this situation is that there is not one crumb left on the plate. Clean. I reckon if we took an X-ray of Toby’s stomach, you’d be able to see the sandwich without any sign of teeth marks. Lying in bed together on a Saturday and Sunday morning is another classic bonding activity. A little bit crowded, but very special and chilled. I have thought of getting a bigger bed.

What have your Furry Band taught you about life and what matters most?

I think having pets has shown both Sue and I the simple pleasure that can be derived from having animals who appreciate you in an immediate sense, unconditionally. To be quite honest there are some humans that I could readily pass on for time spent with the band. I’m also trying to take a cue from the band and how they readily and randomly take time out when it suits them.

Check out Gary’s music ranging from swamp blues to jazz, to cinematic underscore, to psychedelic and everything in between.