Amelia Jenner has worked out how to turn her music mega-fandom into a career. She has recently started her new gig as music director at FBi Radio, the third person to hold the role since the station launched in 2003. Her job involves listening to “as much music as is humanly possible” and deciding what’s right for the FBi audience.
“I have a pretty good idea about what’s right, what’s going to push the boundaries, what’s too pop, or too commercial,” says Jenner. “There aren’t many places that play the same type of music as FBi, so it’s very important for Sydney and Australian music.”
She got her start through volunteering at FBi (at reception) and interning at independent record label Inertia. “I wanted to work in the arts in some way but because I was just a fan – I wasn’t a musician or anything – I didn’t really think about turning it into a career. At FBi I was like, ‘Wow, you can actually make a job out of music, this is cool’. I just put my hand up for everything until eventually I landed my own show.”
That show, Body Promise on FBi Click, plays dance music from all over the world (it will continue when Jenner starts her new role). She was also the DJ for the Wednesday night presentation of The Bridge on FBi 94.5, which plays music from Sydney only. “I’ve been doing it for two and a half years, so it’s sad, but it’s also good to have Wednesday evening back because there are a lot of gigs I haven’t been able to go to.”
Jenner has been living in Stanmore in Sydney’s inner west since September 2015. “I grew up in country Victoria, on the Great Ocean Road, on a farm in Lavers Hill, and there is something about Stanmore that feels very small town,” Jenner says about why she loves the area and its surrounding suburbs.
Here are Jenner’s tips for places to hit when you’re in her neighbourhood.
“Arcella is a really great, family-run grocery store on the border of Stanmore and Petersham. It’s such a blessing to have a grocery store other than Coles and Woolies. Their food is always super fresh and they have great rare products, like funny Italian flour and different types of bread. And I’m a sucker for a good deli section. They have great cheeses, meats and olives. They’re the sort of people that, if you’re $5 short, let you bring it next time.”
“It’s pretty much an extension of our living room; my housemates and I go there Saturday morning, Sunday morning. I often go there before work and meet up with other friends who live in the area. It’s a place you can take a hot date or your grandma and everyone’s going to be happy. What sticks out in my mind is the wild-mushroom toastie with a poached egg and a piece of pineapple on it. It sounds weird but it’s amazing.”
Black Wire Records
“It’s a DIY space/record store/record label on Parramatta Road. It’s artist and volunteer run, and it’s an all-ages space – which is really important. You’re always in for a really good punk show there. It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the negativity of the lockout laws, so I feel it’s really important to get out and support venues like this. They sell mostly punk-rock and DIY-garage records, but they have everything and the guys in there are massive fans.”
Olympia Milk Bar
“Olympia is one of the original, last-remaining Greek milk bars in Sydney, maybe even Australia. It’s got an air of mystique about it; going in there is like walking into a time warp. It’s amazing. There aren’t many places in Sydney that are so captured in time like that. I love Parramatta Road – there’s just something weird about it. Most people just drive on in and never walk down the actual street. There are so many bizarre stores. There’s a balloon store, an Irish-paraphernalia store; there’s good sight seeing on Parramatta Road. The guy who runs Olympia Milk Bar has a policy of: no customers, no lights. So if no one’s in there the lights aren’t on, so it looks closed. And I can get behind that. I think he still probably has Mars bars from the 1940s in there. And there are lime milkshakes.”
Amelia Jenner was photographed in Salisbury Hotel, Stanmore.