When We Were Young…and John was Frida

Being a truly ‘free day’ today, I decided to do something I’d been meaning to do for ages. I went through some old VHS video tapes taken at various conventions and discos that I’d organised in the 80s. I was specifically looking for some performances by my good friend John McKechnie as “Frida”. However I also found some excruciatingly young footage of Grant and I hosting a ‘Mastermind’ quiz from one of these conventions in 1983. Grant had hair and I was very thin! Oh how times change…

I probably – or definitely – should have transferred these video tapes to DVD years ago but I haven’t. I haven’t even done it today – I’ve just copid over a few snippets to edit and upload for fun and a trip down memory lane. Video tape decays over time. These tapes go back to 1982, 1983 and 1984. It’s a wonder they still work at all.

For people who know John, I think seeing these clips will be a blast. Not sure how John will react to seeing his early Frida performances on the net – he’s very critical of those early shows. But hey, you gotta come to terms with the past sometime 😉

We start off with the first time John performed as Frida in front of an audience of fans. This was in Adelaide, in 1983 at the AAFC ‘Final Celebration’ Convention. In this clip he’s performing ‘Tell Me It’s Over’ and ‘On & On & On’

Next up is ‘Shine’, the finale of the show John did at the launch night for Frida’s ‘Shine’ LP that we held in Darlinghurst in Sydney, 1984. John says this show was his favourite of all the shows he did as Frida.

John guested on Dot & Fanny’s Tonight Show at the Honest Irishman Hotel in Camperdown, 1984. Dot & Fanny had been in the audience for the ‘Shine’ show and invited John to perform on their ‘live’ tonight show.

In November 1987, Dot & Fanny’s Tonight Show held an ABBA themed night. I was working behind the scenes as ‘production co-ordinator’ at the time and this was my idea. This was way before any revival or cover bands had happened. The night was huge. The Gay community came out in force. John, with fellow fan Yolanda, did ‘Dancing Queen’. Unfortunately this performance is cut off – the camera operator at the Newtown Hotel was trying to save on video tape and put the show on the end of the previous week’s edition – the tape wasn’t long enough and ran out right in the middle of this performance. To say John wasn’t happy was an understatement. And neither was I. A precious memory 1/2 lost to us.

I can understand why I haven’t done much with transferring, converting and editing video stuff previously. These few clips have taken hours and hours to prepare. God only knows how people find the patience to add special effects and do sophisticated editing on their home produced videos. I’ll need about 10 hours sleep after this!

Finally, a true shocker. Grant and myself in 1983. I think Grant will explode when he sees this clip on the net 😉 And it also had John McK as himself, not as Frida (for a change!) So this is what we all looked like about a quarter of a century ago…arrghh! From the ‘Final Celebration’, a ‘Mastermind’ quiz. The first contestant was also my first boyfriend. Now that’s really scary!



  1. Great stuff Graeme. Good to see you have re-invented yourself after Abbamail. I was talking to Greg recently and we were discussing seeing you next time we are both in Sydney. He is in Broome and I am in Canberra. Send my regards to John Mc.
    I hope you are having fun,

    • You’re still alive Luke! And a lot happier and together one might hope 😉 Meanwhile Greg is shacked up with some guy in Broome. He’s supposed to be in London working for the BBC. Ah, life takes in all sorts of directions.

      Keep having fun!

  2. Oh. My. God. We, you, John… were ever that young?

    Brilliant post. Thanks for the memories.

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