When Stereo Stories met the Footy Almanac

Vin Maskell recounts the story of when ‘Stereo Stories’ met ‘The Footy Almanac’:


The Stereo Stories website came under the wing of The Footy Almanac in mid-2014, courtesy of a kind invitation from John Harms.


The original website, which I’d started in early 2013, had hit a roadblock. Or was teetering on a cliff-face.  Eighty stories in and the engine had died. Any or all of those metaphors apply. You could say the site had been hacked, and I’m as good as looking into the backend of a website as I am at looking under the bonnet of a car.


Not that John was aware of any of this. We had known each other via the Almanac since 2007 and he reckoned there were symmetries and possibilities if Stereo Stories came under the wing of the Almanac.


We met – surprise, surprise – in the bar of the North Fitzroy Arms. It was a weeknight in July. Maybe a Tuesday. John was having a counter meal, the form guide on the bar, his spectacles perched on his nose. The trots or the greyhounds on the telly. I ordered a lemon squash.


John outlined his vision. Not just for Stereo Stories but for the Almanac at large. It had grown. And grown. I listened. I pondered.


I ordered a second lemon squash. The races came and went on the telly above us.


I described my situation. Up a certain creek. No paddle. We’d just done our first two shows, with our band.  We had momentum. We had  good stories from good writers.  But no website.


“I can put you in touch with our website man, James Demetrie. He could build you a version of the Almanac site. He’ll give you a good price.”


Having written and posted stories for the Almanac, I was familiar with its – what’s it called, again – dashboard. I was warming to the idea. I had nothing to lose.


The key to our discussion that night was John saying I would retain editorial independence. I have a slightly different philosophy than John, which may partly explain why it’s taken six years to reach the 500 story milestone (as well as the fact that I don’t have the audience, the reach of the Almanac).


That night I drove home a relieved man. I remember looking into the rearview mirror of the Tarago as I steered away from the North Fitzroy Arms. J.T. Harms was already out of view, around the corner and homeward.


A few weeks later I drove way out to the eastern suburbs and met James Demetrie.


Thank you, John. Thank you, James.


The Almanac welcomes music writing through it’s Almanac Music section which includes many of the pieces from Stereo Stories. Or you can visit the Stereo Stories site directly HERE.


The Stereo Stories concept has expanded into numerous live shows, which have included appearances at the Williamstown Literary Festival, the Word for Word Festival (Geelong), and the Write Around the Murray Festival (Albury), amongst others.  


About Darren Dawson

Always North.

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