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THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY

To Australians he needs no introduction, and to others he’s difficult to explain. It seems insufficient to describe him as just a music producer, a journalist, a TV host… even adding the words “passionate” and “shambolic” doesn’t paint the Ian “Molly” Meldrum portrait properly. Since last speaking to DNA, he’s almost died, been featured in a mini-series, and been honoured with an Australian LGBTI Lifetime Achievement Award. Feature by Nick Cook.

It was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career; a story I often tell that I suspect many people don’t believe. Late in 2011 I was sitting at home when my phone rang and the unmistakeably ocker voice of Ian “Molly” Meldrum came down the line.

“I was talking to Elton John after his concert last night and your name came up,” he said. “I thought you’d like to know that he read your most recent story and loved it.” I certainly did want to know and I was grinning for the rest of the week. It doesn’t get much better than being phoned by a true icon of Australian media and being told that one of the greatest musicians on the planet is aware of me, if only in the most fleeting and perfunctory way.

I’d become friends with Molly a few months earlier. I was Features Editor for DNA at the time and I’d interviewed him for a profile piece. It was meant to be a simple one-hour interview at his house but it turned into a heavy drinking session that moved to his local bar and stretched into the evening. Of all my encounters with celebrities, this was by far the most fun and it felt more like a catch-up with a favourite uncle. Over the phone, Molly invited me back to his house for another drink the next time I was in Melbourne and I instantly agreed, eager to hear more about his extraordinary life and share his incredibly warm company.

Sadly, though, it never happened. Just a few weeks later I woke, with the rest of Australia, to the shocking news that Molly was lying in a coma at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, fighting for his life.

He’d fallen off a ladder while installing Christmas decorations in his backyard and suffered severe injuries that included a broken shoulder, ribs and vertebrae, as well as a punctured lung. Most troubling was his fractured skull and the severe swelling to his brain. Even if he lived, which was by no means certain, there were grave concerns that he would be permanently disabled. He eventually pulled through and left the hospital, but many feared the Molly Meldrum we had all grown to love had ceased to exist.

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DNA #211 is jam-packed with features. Gay In Trump's USA interviews a variety of Americans to find out how they're coping in a Trump world. WWF Pro-wrestler Anthony Bowens talks about his boyfriend, being bisexual and what he thinks of wearing those tight-fitting lycra onesies. Nick Cook catches up with music and media legend Molly Meldrum in a fascinating follow-up interview. Justin Trudeau turns up at Toronto Pride, and cover model Blane is fit and bulge-tastic on the cover! In the Photography department, we take Joseph Vumbaco’s invitation to join his beautiful naked male models in bed to discover the fine line between pornography and art. Our Pin-Up Boy is the one-and-only Willy Wagtail, who strips off and goes for a swim in one of the most picturesque rivers. Grooming Editor-At-Large Will Fennell helps us choose the right fragrance, Dear Diva calls it like it is ("You're a piece of ass!"), and The Deplorables continue to disgrace themselves! We chat with pop-star-reality-TV-star Melissa Tkautz, talk the comedy of The Family Law with Ben Law, find out what Harry Cook has been up to, discover that electro-pop pioneer Alison Moyet has a new album and Aussie tour planned, and how Mat Verevis and Ricky Martin became such chums! All that and more!
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