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Friday, June 14, 2013

Sydney Book Launch: Singing Johnny Cash In The Cardiac Ward: A personal story about heart disease and music by John Tognolini

“The trouble with heart disease is that the first symptom is often hard to deal with − sudden death.
”Dr Michael Phelps.
Launched By Veteran Socialist Writer and Quadruple Bypass Survivor Jim McIlroy.
Health advocate, heart disease survivor and high school teacher John/Togs Tognolini's book Singing Johnny Cash In The Cardiac Ward: A personal story about heart disease and music. Is not only an educational memoir on heart disease but it's also a reflective history on music tied in with his 25 year involvement in radio.

He also touches on some of the political struggles he's been involved such as the Outlawing of the Builders Labourers Federation in the 1980's. As well telling of events such as Kev Carmody singing the song he wrote with Paul Kelly From Little Things, Big Things Grow to a dying Fred Hollows in 1993.

This isn’t just a descriptive account of his experience with heart disease, it’s also a serious attempt to help reduce the large death toll caused by it.

The books also shows his appreaciation for the work nurses do, whose working conditions and wages are under attack from O'Farrell's government and the three and half billion dollar cutback to the NSW's overworked and under funded public health system.

"Check out this fine piece of autobiographical writing by John-Togs Tognolini. Hey, even the mighty Roaring Jack figure prominently in John's story. John, we're glad you made it through to the other side!"

Andy Carr, historian of the late 1980s-early 90's Sydney Left punk/folk band Roaring Jack.

About the front cover photo.

Russell Crowe, Amanda Dole and myself outside Radio Redfern on May Day 1989. Russell had just performed a few songs on my show, Radio Solidarity. In 1988, Radio Skid Row was evicted from our studios in the basement floor of Sydney University’s Wenthworth Building. We were taken in for eighteen months by the Aborigines/Kooris at Radio Redfern, who now broadcast across Sydney through Koori Radio, until we built and opened the Radio Skid Row studios in Marrickville in 1990. Photo by Frances Kelly.
I should be brown bread. Translating that good Cockney rhyming slang, which has become part of the Australian vernacular, I should be dead. I say this because of my jam tart, my heart. Thanks to modern medical science I’m still here, and it’s been proved beyond all reasonable doubt that I have one, a heart that is. To use the football term, I’m in extra time. But instead of a few minutes, I’m talking about maybe three decades. I’m 54 years old.

On October 28, 2011, I had a six-and-a-half hour heart operation. It was actually two operations, one to replace my aortic valve with a mechanical valve and one to graph my aortic artery (the main trunk from the heart that connects all the arteries). If I did not have these jobs done I would have been a dead man walking, the victim of a coronary aneurysm and certain heart failure ten months later.

In writing this account I want to encourage people, especially men, to get their hearts checked out. There are many men who are not aware that they have a heart condition, let alone one that can kill them. There is a general reluctance among men to take our health issues seriously, not only in relation to the heart, but also other health issues that have a high fatality count, such as prostate cancer. As prostate cancer survivor and Hawthorn football legend Don Scott pointed out, men don’t take the same serious attitude to our health problems that women generally do.

There’s an additional part of my story, explaining the fantastic healing power of music. This isn’t just a recounting of my journey of the heart, but also the story of my relationship with music. That relationship goes back more than twenty five years, alongside my involvement in radio. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some great musicians over the years and a few have played a big role in my life.

No. of pages: 72
Size: 144x206mm
eBook: AUD$4.99
Paperback: AUD$9.95 plus delivery



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