Sorry is worthy of a good hard read. Telling the tale of Stevie Wright of the Easybeats and Friday on My Mind fame, it doesn’t expend energy on pointless textual analysis or even on the biographical arts. Marx seeks out Wright in a series of trailers and hovels on the south coast of New South Wales, and this is the core of the story. Wright lives a sad, empty, depressing life: the banality of twenty five years of drug addiction is pressed home throughout the book.
Marx is not modest, he probably is quite vain, and makes himself the star of the book. It is lucky in this respect he can really put together a sentence. He is at his best when talking about himself: the contrast between Wright’s once-was-great life and Marx’s looks-like-I won’t-amount-to-anything life is potent in revealing the grand scale of Wright’s awful fate. Marx revels in this romance.
Marx begins with the aim to transform his nostalgic fandom into a heart warming partnership producing a work of glory, style and success. But Wright is simply too wretched for that, he is not only tragic: he’s a tragedy. Nothing redeems Wright and nothing redeems Marx, they become locked into a spiral of deceit, drugs and boredom. They are both lost, but Wright had much more to lose.
Sorry was much panned, perhaps Australians were unhappy at seeing their former star come so low but there was also an element of not wanting to reward a smart arse. Marx, after all, walked away, got married, had lunch with Russell Crowe and was sacked by the Sydney Morning Herald for having too much edge. Stevie Wright on the other hand is still moving from trailer to trailer, seeking out the pethedine and heroin he has lived with for decades. Stevie Wright isn’t sorry, just sad. Nevertheless this is a great book, graced with something that looks like love, and though dark and dismal it is really a fun way to spend a day on the sofa.