Image for Bio-Morph – experiments in simultaneous biography: Lin Thorp

No. 6: Lin Thorp

Lin Thorp was a controversial Tasmanian Education Minister and wife and muse of Australia’s brashest blues rock legend, Billy Thorpe. Her favourite dances are The Stomp, The Mashed Potato and The Cabinet Reshuffle.

Most people she knows think that she was born in Hobart in 1953 but she was also born in Portsea, Victoria. Lin (short for Lynn) taught at Hobart College but found time to concurrently work at Australian Entertainment Exchange, a Melbourne booking agency for such acts as Johnny Farnham. It was here that she met and fell in love with Thorpe. Thorpe’s combo, The Aztecs, were renowned for being the loudest band in Australia, yet Ms Thorp (short for Thorpe) was ejected from many of their shows for being too rowdy.

Lin influenced many of Billy’s greatest works, including the 1974 album “More Arse Than Classrooms” and the live favourite “Whaddya Mean I Can’t Say F##k in Parliament*?” Living in Hobart between December and February inspired the hit “It’s Almost Summer”. During a debate on draconian anti-terrorism laws in 2005 Thorp quoted snatches of “Imagine” by Paul Lennon’s brother before leading her parliamentary colleagues in a chant of “suck more peace!”.

Billy moved to Los Angeles where he worked on a series of sci-fi concept albums. “Children’s Commissioner of the Sun” told of a semi-robotic tribe called Publik Servos. Two of their most respected elders, Frank and Fearless, convince a third, Poull Mazzon, to criticise their overlords, the evil Executive, with tragic consequences. In his follow-up, “Tasmania Tomorrow”, he posited a utopian society in which governments, unions and teachers toiled together to encourage student retention. Even sci-fi fan boys were unable to suspend disbelief and the album sold poorly.

Most people she knows think that she went too far when, during voting for the TV Week King of Pop, she revealed that her husband’s rival, Johnny Farnham, was regularly placed fourth on the bill by her former booking agency. Just as the noise was dying down Doug Parkinson ( Bio-Morph 2, HERE ) - who’d performed with Billy in the rock opera “Lara and the Amazing Monocolour Shawl” - fired up the feedback. The media and the opposition then improvised an extended jam that lasted till the wee hours of the tally count.

Lin Thorpe will now be spending more time on her memoir: “Sex and Thugs and Rollin’ Paul”


*Editor’s note: you can’t say ‘fuck’ in the Tasmanian Times.