So, I’m sitting in the Mt Glorious Cafe, with blues playing over their sound system, after a quick mid-week blast up the twisties (refresh skillz!), writing what will be my last Presidents’ Pen, reflecting back on my involvement of BASEQ over many years.
It was my good friend, Jules Victor (former BASEQ president), that urged me at the time to “upsize” my BASEQ membership to be part of the committee, as part of a larger effort to “restablise” BASEQ, and get back to it’s mission after almost being torn apart from a tumultuous period. With (former president and current treasurer) Paulette Steele also stepping down at this AGM, we are the last to see that dark chapter finally closed and a new one unfolding.
And, honestly, the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. I can take satisfaction that I’ve been able to roll out something (former President) Cath Butler was pushing for … six? years ago … with online memberships, and a new website. It wasn’t a trivial task and the capability this now provides will really underpin BASEQ’s success by simplifying all the administration tasks typical for a club, substantially easing the burden for both the membership coordinator and the treasurer. The Membership co-ord is now being the point of contact for membership enquiries (email@example.com), no loner tracking emails with forms and wrangling spreadsheets. For the treasurer (firstname.lastname@example.org), it’s simply keeping an occasional eye on the PayPal and bank accounts with reporting now super easy.
The BASEQ website (www.baseq.org.au) is similarly a major uplift of capability. Since BASEQ’s inception by Mick Diggles and supported by Mark “The Colonel” Doherty back in 1993, the association has always published interesting reading “The Groove” newsletters. Former president Mike Freeman can personally testify to how much effort that can be, as can Andrew Baxter who did the same while squeezing in his study/work and being a working musician. The high-point for me was the publications by Tracey Hammell who produced “The Groove” that were as good as any magazine you’d buy in a news agent. Tracey’s efforts was a tough act to follow, and in the end we couldn’t, which is why BASEQ has moved to a WordPress-powered article-based website. With only a bit of skills training, copying article text, adding photo’s to a gallery and inserting them into an article is a trivial matter, it’s published instantly, archived forever, and is a “Magic Pudding” that can keep expanding. And a special mention of Paulette getting us to see common sense in adopting a “.org.au” domain name to make it clear BASEQ is a community organisation, not a commercial enterprise. I have a personal long-term goal in digitising those early newsletters I’ve obtained from The Colonel and (former treasurer) Ken Smith to bring that BASEQ history to modern eyes … but this will take time. Special thanks to those who have contributed, especially Mick Power who rose to the challenge of coordinating the “Back In The Day” articles, providing a framework to revisit what has gone before. Anyone and everyone is invited to contribute to the BASEQ website, just contact “email@example.com“. Those I’ve already badgered to write about their blues music collection, blues music gigs reviews, music or production-specific, you’re contributions are still welcome (hint hint).
So, looking back on where BASEQ was to where it is now, some thanks are in order: Paulette Steele for multiple presidencies and being the kind-hearted soul to be talked into a Treasurer casual vacancy after trying to step away. To Desley Done and Cath Butler for their hard work and steady hands in the “BASEQ come-back” and being instrumental in creating the sound financial position BASEQ is still enjoying. Thanks also to former committee member Steve Done for his common sense good advice in how to ethically run a club to benefit members. To Jeanette, Dot and Graeme to go above and beyond for many years hands-on helping BASEQ: boy, did BASEQ need you guys, and it’s appreciated. To former Pres and VP Mike Freeman and Cecil Nunis, BASEQ isn’t yet back to the success levels of your hey-day, but we have been trying, and the pieces are in place to get there.
COVID has upset many plans: Hans Schider, a great supporter of BASEQ in recent years, and I have had to shelve the next “Memphis Challenge”, and Dillion put on the back burner another West End Blues Festival and his vision of the Youth In Blues program. BASEQ achievements have come on the back of those willing to step up: Jules Victor created the “Cyril Campbell” award to recognise non-musicians helping Blues in S.E.Qld, Shaun B for getting the International Blues Music Day into the Queen Street Mall, are a few of many examples.
I’m relieved that current committee members of Shelley, Shorty, Donna and Ryan are willing to stay on and be part of the next phase of BASEQ. Thank you for having your heart in the right place and willing to roll up sleeves to make things happen. Lets hope the AGM brings others willing to join you in helping BASEQ on it’s mission. Many hands make light work.
(now former pres)