It can often take a while to find “your people.” I found Mr Rowland in his record shop right opposite Kogarah High School. By 3rd form in 1968 Mum had got used to me being late home from school because I would always divert to the record shop on my way home. Towards the end of 1968 Mr Rowland showed me an album he told me he thought I would like. That’s how I met Joe South. I scrapped and saved to get the precious $5.25 to buy my copy of Introspect. Mr Rowland knew me through so many long conversations, and what a wonderful gift, to have an adult take your musical ravings seriously. Trite as it sounds, Introspect changed my life, and Joe South became my hero. Here was someone who could so beautifully articulate all the frustrations this fourteen year old struggled to get out. None of my friends had even heard of Joe South until Games People Play became a hit the next year, unless they came near me, and were bombarded with any information I could find in those pre-Internet days. I bought all his subsequent albums and dreamed of sitting down to tell him how much he meant to me. It took a lot of years and a lot of good and bad experiences for both of us to reach 2001, but finally I sat down in Lowery Studios in Atlanta, Georgia with Joe South, where he agreed to meet up with this crazed Australian fan who’d been trying to find him for decades. They say never meet your heroes, but they’re wrong. It started a friendship I really treasured, and completed an incredible journey which started in that Kogarah record shop. I still thank Mr Rowland for knowing me so well. And I guess that shows why record shops remain such a vital artery in our cultural life, you never know where that first step through the door will lead you!