David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 35: Courtney Barnett (Sunday Roast)

May 31, 2020

Sunday night used to be the night for the traditional sit-down meal with extended family and friends. It was an important social ritual that allowed for the group to reflect on a week past, plan for a week to come, and revel in the love and shared interests of the group. This roast was one of many typical Sunday meals, a slow simmer of a main course sometimes paired with potatoes, green beans and a chardonnay. Many experts believe this Sunday night roast is a tradition that must be brought back.


1 Australian musician, seeped in droll wit and deadpan delivery style;

1 Back up band allowed to coalesce with songwriter for years;

A pinch of non-traditional instrument playing;

2 cups of personal dynamics to serve as the base. The fresher these dynamics, the more complex these dynamics, the better. Ideally they have been stewing for weeks if not even years.


Have your band start with a kind of sleepy beat. Allow the guitar to be gently strummed, fingertip method [don't use a pick as it will cause important flavors to be chipped away]. Provide the drummer soft mallet drumsticks to keep the background beat soft and malleable.

Start the singer's voice on a low heat saute. Keep the heat low so as to not lose any of the essential seasoning.

Start to coddle the dynamics. Remember that roast is both a noun and a verb. While it may be tempting to roast the dynamics, your greater goal is to create the perfect roast.

  • Watch over this step very closely. If the dynamics reach boil too quickly, the roast will be dry and remembered for years as a complete failure.
  • If the dynamics have been tempered, bring them all together: "don't come with your arms swinging/Throw them around me/Some kind of sweet relief/I hope you never leave." If the dynamics could be altered by guests throwing in their own spices or side dishes, remind them, "just bring yourself/You know your presence is present enough."
  • It is important to make sure the dynamics steep in the long build-up provided by the musician and the band's sleepy beat. Stir as necessary, but also be comfortable letting the situation play out.  If a guest says, "I got a lot on my mind/But I don't know how to say it," provide the necessary comfort: "I know you're doing your best/I think you're doing just fine." There's a reason Grandma always said the most important ingredient in her cooking was love.

About halfway through the cooking, the drummer should switch from the mallet to a regular drumstick and increase the intensity.

Turn up the heat and continually baste the roast. "Keep on, keeping on, you know you're not alone." Allow everyone to participate in this final step toward satisfaction. Remember that it is o.k. to revisit the past: "And I know all your stories, but I'll listen to them again."

Serve immediately, and offer grace: "And if you move away/You know I'll miss your face."

Cooking Time: 4:44

"Sunday Roast." Courtney Barnett. Tell Me How You Really Feel. Milk! 2018. Video link here.

Day 34: Creedence Clearwater Revival "Fortunate Son."

Day 36: Neil Young "Powderfinger."

See complete list here.