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Malcolm Young's Dementia

Malcolm Young from SMH
Malcolm Young, from


Tabloids love tragedy, this much is true even of the former 'newspaper of public record' trying hard be both relevant and popularist, the Sydney Morning Herald.

Early on the night of Wednesday 1 October the SMH online published National Music Editor Peter Vincent's report that the family and management of one of AC/DC's founding members, Malcolm Young, had confirmed rumours of his dementia.

The story opened by bragging about Fairfax "breaking the story last week" (c'mon, the rumour was doing the rounds a couple of months ago) but cited "a major gossip magazine" claiming to receive confirmation from the Young family.

Angus Young story SMH
click for close-up


What I love most is how the article telling of Malcolm Young's dementia seems to exhibit symptoms of dementia itself: after paragraphs outlining confirmation of Young's dementia rumour, the band's success, its immediate plans, aspects of dementia itself, the article suddenly starts behaving like your favourite Great Aunt - not the one who flirts shamelessly and inappropriately with your best friend (she's got all her faculties; she's just a bit of a slut) so much as the one who changes the subject entirely for no apparent reason other than to treat us to an out-of-place, bizarrely off-topic tale. In this case, it's a closing paragraph that describes in great detail the American glossy People magazine.

Time-inc Paragraph
click for close-up


Perhaps National Music Editor Peter Vincent is also Fairfax's International Publications Profiler (a job that can only be getting cushier with time, as more publications cease to exist…)

I am, of course, saddened that Malcolm Young is unwell; I wish he, his family and his band the best of the future.