Photo by Eric Algra. Geelong, 2016

Darren ‘Smokie’ Dawson loves his footy, his cricket, his hats and his music. He came into Stereo Stories’ orbit via The Footy Almanac, where he writes about footy, cricket and, sometimes, music.

All but one of his Stereo Stories are about classic Ozrock: Paul Kelly, The Church, Crowded House, Australian Crawl.

His entertaining story about Kelly’s Before Too Long being a deal-breaker in a young relationship was a feature of our concerts for a number of years. (The story also got the thumbs up from the songwriter himself, despite the key line from the soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend: “That song is rubbish. Absolute rubbish.”)

Having gained substantial mileage from a break-up story Smokie thought he owed his wife Marg a love story, and wrote a gorgeous piece based on Under The Milky Way by The Church. The story was performed twice in 2017 and is always a chance when I’m working on new set lists.

Smokie then followed up with his hilarious yarn about going to The Tarmac Hotel as a 16 year old and witnessing a brawl in the middle of an Australian Crawl gig. He opened our 2019 concert at the Williamstown Literary Festival with the story. Audience of 400 in the palm of his hand.

Smokie does not rush the writing of his stories, nor the narrating of them when onstage. He’s a natural in front of the microphone but takes nothing for granted – as seen in his story about the joy of being part of our shows.

Thanks, Smokie.

Smokie’s stories


My parents were children of the Beatles generation. I had little choice but to love music. Regular contributor to partner site The Footy Almanac. My Stereo Stories debut was Before Too Long by Paul Kelly.