Described as somewhere between The Clash and Dizzee Rascal, south London lyricist Jamie T took the music world by storm with his Mercury Music Prize nominated debut. About to tour Oz with his second album, we got him on the phone from the UK, stupidly early in the morning.

Hi Jamie, what you up to? I’m finishing a track off this evening for iTunes, they want like an exclusive track for the album. What you been up to, I suppose you’ve only been up for about 10 minutes?

Ha, yeah I’m not too with it yet. Well mate, thanks for waking up so fucking early eh.

No worries. So your new album’s out soon. Was it as hard as second albums are meant to be? I dunno man. Are second albums hard? Yeah, I suppose they are, but only because of people around you talking. I think they’re hard if you take too much notice of the outside world. You’ve just got to take it song by song, not rush it. Think with a clear head, or if not a clear head, a completely mental head, you know, ha. Don’t go for some halfway kind of tipsy look.

Do you enjoy the recording process? Ah yeah, we had some real fun. We had a bit of a tough time at first, well I did. You know when you go a bit loopy because you’ve been in one room for too long. So we moved to a studio with a bar across the road which we kind of held up in and got to know all the staff so it was really funny times. There was a lot of antics going on, a lot of jovial shit. Somebody asked me the other day “do you feel like you’ve matured in this second record?” and I was like, “fuck no, if anything we’ve become children again”. We were running around like absolute madmen.

Do your record label people despair? They’ve given up these days man. We’ve locked them out of enough studios in our time for them to know they’re not allowed in.

You refer to your hometown Wimbledon quite a bit in your music, like in “Sticks and Stones”… Yeah I still hang out with all my friends. That song’s about reminiscing a lot when I was younger and stuff. It still holds a lot of memories for me.

Do many people make A-Team gags about your name? Not as much as you would think. Mr T’s pretty cool isn’t he? But I don’t really look like him do I, I suppose.

You’re more of a Murdoch perhaps? Is Murdoch like the crazy one with the line on the back of his leather jacket? Yeah I like that guy, he was cool. I’d rather be Murdoch.

And you’re touring Oz pretty soon aren’t you? It’ll be great fun man. The crowds in Australia are really good. The times we’ve been over there we’ve had a great time, real good energy at gigs. So we’re all hyped.

Any places stand out? I really enjoy Melbourne. I met some great people there and ate some great food. It’s like New York with no one in it, funnily enough. There’s some cool little night spots there, I’ve just got fond memories of it.

Anywhere else? You don’t actually see that much. I’ve been to quite a few cities now but I haven’t actually seen them, which is kind of sad. Hopefully I’ll get to see them at some point. We try and at least go out at night a bit and just check the scene out and stuff. But in the days we don’t really see much because we have sound checks and stuff. There’s a lot of time hanging around but just never time to actually go do anything which is really frustrating. But hey ho, I can be a tourist another year you know.

Prefer touring solo or with the band? I like both for separate reasons. It’s really fun touring with the band but it can be pretty fucking frantic. I think I’ve found a happy medium with the boys these days, I’ve known them since I was a kid anyway, they know what I’m like when I need a bit of space and stuff. It works well for us pretty much. They can lead me astray sometimes I must admit.

Because you like to be quiet and stay in… Ah no, nothing like that, fuck no. No, er, I plead the fifth. South Americans. Something along those lines. But yeah, we all have fun you know. Some of my band like partying and dancing, others like sitting in the corners of bars talking to old men.

Catch Jamie T playing Sydney (Sept 16), Melbourne (Sept 19), Brisbane (Sept 23), Adelaide (Sept 24), WA’s Wave Rock (Sept 26). Visit for tix.

His new album, Kings & Queens, is out Sept 11, 2009.

While trying to drive across the Simpson Desert, LIZZIE JOYCE and her partner were forced to hitch a ride with some dodgy truckers.

Early one January morning my boyfriend Dan and I set off on our trip across three states, covering 3,000 miles on what would turn out to be the best trip I have ever done, not to mention the most dangerous. We were attempting to cross the Simpson Desert on our way to Alice Springs from Sydney. We were fully prepared and set off in our 4WD loaded with equipment, including 60 litres of water, a double swag, a laser beam,
and an Epirb signal.

After 10 hours of driving, watching the landscape turn from highways and tall buildings to red earth and eternal horizons we glided past an old mining town called Cobar, stopped for a wee and drove on through, thankful that this ‘Hicksville’ town was not our destination. But while driving at an average speed of 120km per hour, the trusty car (which I was assured had “just had a full service and was made for driving across such terrain”) was disintegrating and the entire wheel was about to fall off.

Ugly mothertruckers

Suddenly, the brakes started to fail and smoke started pouring out the front passenger tyre. We were 120km from the last town and with at least 100km to the next, Dan decided we should drive on (without brakes) and see if we could make it to our destination. Luckily it didn’t last long anyway as the car stopped in defiance and we were forced to pull off the road in the middle of nowhere. Within minutes two semi-trailers driving in convoy by brothers, pulled up to offer us help and I’ve never been so glad to see two spectacularly ugly truckers before in my life. Freaky Brother One then began to undress me, with his eyes, almost frothing at the mouth at coming in such close proximity to someone of the opposite sex, while Freaky Brother Two was pretending to be a mechanic and baffling Dan with his bullshit. It was turning into Wolf Creek.

Nothing could be done with the car, and we had no choice but to accept a lift from Freaky Brother One to the nearest roadhouse 13km up the road. But then he said there wouldn’t be enough room in the cab so Dan should travel with his brother and I should hop into his cab by myself. By this point I was close to hysteria and there was no way I would be getting in that lorry by myself.

So we both hopped in with Brother Number Two. Dan settled in the middle of the very spacious cab which had enough room to house a small Albanian family! Relieved to be on our way to a phone box and in relative safety, (even if we were in being driven by an axe wielding maniac I had enough faith that Dan could knock him out if it came to it) I thought it would be plain sailing from here. After a couple of minutes on the road Brother Number One starts becoming agitated – he thinks he has lost his keys as he can’t use the radio to contact his brother. He pulls into the side of the road and asks me to hop out to see if he had left them in the door lock. This forced me into ungraceful acrobatic maneuvers in order to hang myself out the door and reach round to grab the keys, with freaky brother one more than enjoying the view of my ass in the air. The keys were there, so off we set again in stilted silence.

Roadhouse blues

Finally we caught sight of the roadhouse and saw our escape was only minutes away and we made a sharp exit from the freaky brothers. Good riddance!

The roadhouse turned out to be a petrol pump and a shop that was about to close. They had a phone though and we arranged for a tow truck to pick us up and take us back to the nearest town… Cobar (the Hicksville town we drove through scorning) where we would have to wait for the next three days for the car to be repaired. How ironic that the town we were laughing at turned out to be our refuge.

So we skipped the Simpson Desert and took another route to Alice Springs where we arrived two weeks later with the biggest smiles and the best memories!

Send us a travel tale (preferably about Oz) and if it’s published you’ll win a $300 travel voucher redeemable on Oz Experience Passes and ATA NT camping trips ( Email your tales (700 words max), with a picture of yourself, to