Welcome to Shortistory

Welcome to shortistory.com, a mixture of my name and my passion, Shortis and history respectively.

I’m a musician, songwriter and researcher, based in Canberra. With singer Moya Simpson I’m half of cabaret act Shortis and Simpson, and we do a series of performances throughout each year that bring together music, comedy, politics and history.

So that my research and quirky self-taught view of history is available to a wider audience I am writing up past shows, as e-Essays on this website.

So far on this site you will find:

Between 2008 and 2016, we appeared at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra each year, accompanying the latest release of Australian Cabinet Records. In a nondescript room, grandly entitled The Menzies Room, our half-hour shows explored the music, the politics, the general news stories and the trends of the relevant years. We covered the years 1977-1991, so read it all and you will get a quick quirky history of that time.

50 Years Ago Today, performed in 2017 at the Cobargo Folk Festival, and at the Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall, with band and choir, to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Happy Little Copyrights, performed at the National Folk Festival, and at The Carrington Inn, Bungendore, in 2019, a tribute to the noble art of song stealing.

The 1948 Show, marking the 70th birthday of both me and Moya- a look at the music, history and politics of the year 1948. Performed at Ainslie Arts Centre, ACT, in September 2008.

When It Was ’64, marking the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ tour of Australia in 1964. Performed at the Southern Cross Club, Woden, ACT, in June 20014.

How Good Is 2019!– a look at the politics of 2019.

Going Viral (a satire for the new normal)– a look at the crazy year of 2020. This comes complete with MP3s for each song, mostly live.

Bottomless Pit (a rear view look at 25 years of political satire)– a selection of political satire I’ve written since moving to the Canberra region in 1996, with the stories behind each song, and MP3s.

Thank you to Lawson Lobb for being my proof reader and editor on all these essays.

I hope you enjoy shortistory.com and watch out for many more essays coming soon.

John Shortis
September 2020