When I heard the news on the morning of Robert’s passing (August 21st) I didn’t believe it at first. I got a text message asking me to check it out so I went onto Facebook and the news was all over the platform.
My heart sank. I was gutted.
It was only the afternoon before I noticed that Rob posted a plethora of images on his Facebook account promoting the gigs of the day. He was selflessly promoting the industry that he loved, that sustained him for over three decades right up until the end.
That was the type of bloke Rob was.
I had the pleasure of working with him on BSide Magazine from its inception and even though there wasn’t much in the way of money that was made from it, the fact that I worked so closely with Rob was for me, payment enough.
He promoted the Adelaide music scene with the energy of the Energizer bunny, he was its patron saint, the glue that held it together and the champion that it sorely needed.
He always had a smile on his face and for most of the time had a ciggie in one hand and a beer in the other. He was the embodiment of the notion that “you only have one life to live so make the most of it.”
Rob sure gave life a damn good shove.
When it came to his writing Rob was without equal. No matter who he interviewed he was able to get the best out of them and no matter who you were in his presence, you felt like you were the most important person in the world.
He could walk into a room, not say a word and be everyone’s mate by the end of night.
His “Bob’s Bits” column was legendary. He had a way of taking the everyday and the mundane and create something so interesting AND THEN relate it back to music in some way thanks to his Glenn A. Baker-esque musical brain.
On a personal note, in his Rip It Up days he was FunkStar and Orangutang’s greatest ally in the early 2000’s, he would always put up something on Facebook if he wasn’t able to come to any of my my gigs and (as a testament to our friendship) he was one of the first people to reach out to me when Mara died.
I’m sure everyone who has worked in the Adelaide music scene in any capacity would have at least one Bertie story to tell but I think that with Rob’s passing a huge part of the overall aesthetic and vibe of the Adelaide music scene (and the industry that surrounds it) has died with him.
I’d also like to think though that each and every one of us can take a leaf from Rob’s book and make a commitment to continue carry on building a better, more vibrant music scene in this town through lifting everyone up instead of tearing each other down.
That will be Rob’s legacy and it’s something that I will personally commit to.
Vale Robert “Bertie” Dunstan. Love ya work…