Ian ‘Pee Wee’ Wilson grew up on the beaches of the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, joined the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club as a teen, and found himself harmonising some lines with a couple of blokes in a bathroom (because the acoustics were better). It’s these kinds of quirky and heart-warming stories that make up Come a Little Bit Closer, Wilson’s first book.
I came to this book knowing The Delltones only as ‘that older band that still played the pub-crawl circuit.’ Pee Wee Wilson is the only original member, and with a gig-history lasting over five decades it’s no wonder all I knew was their longevity.
From the outset of the book Wilson’s casual and conversational tone grabbed me. It was like sitting down to have a beer and a yarn, with Wilson spilling all his secrets. It’s this narratorial voice that makes the book so easy to devour, and that had me trawling YouTube for old footage of the boys singing their hit songs.
The book is a series of mini-stories that tell the large tale of Wilson’s life and the history of The Delltones. Each story leads on from one to the next so easily that just when your attention may start to wane, Wilson gives it a twist or hits you with a bit of wit to lighten the mood.
Wilson takes a turn when the book slips into how he found the love of his life, Carla, who was working at the Playboy Club (there’s one to tell the grandkids!) and how they partook in the ‘ultimate hippie experience’ by moving to a farm near Nambucca Heads.
From dabbling in hallucinogens to the make-up-break-up style of the band, Wilson captures the highs and lows of a musician’s life with authenticity and honesty. Wilson will tell you like it is, with a wink at the end of his sentence.
Come a Little Bit Closer is one of those rare autobiographies where the character of the writer really shines through, unadulterated and ready to spin you a good story.
For fans of The Delltones and Aussie music history, or those that have been to their gigs, or kicked back and turned up the radio when the band was in its hey-day, this book will be a definite trip down memory lane (full of surprise nooks and crannies you never knew were there).
Kyra Bandte is a writer, reader and editor from Wollongong. She currently works full-time as a content writer in Sydney while being on the editorial team for online literary publication Writer’s Edit. She’s a spinner of short stories and sometimes poetry, and is slowly bringing her first novel together. Find her on Twitter @KyraBandte.