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BOOK REVIEW: The Naked Witch by Fiona Horne

| 23 August 2017 | 2 Replies

BOOK REVIEW: The Naked Witch by Fiona Horne

Rockpool Publishing
July 2017
Paperback, $29.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Non-Fiction / Music / Biography


As frontwoman of electro-rock pioneers Def FX, Fiona Horne became a role model empowering women that they could mix it with the blokes at a time when sexism was still rife in the Australian music industry.

Horne went on to become a celebrated author about her experiences as a witch, and a regular face on TV both at home and in The States.

Little did most of us know at that time that she was dealing with enormous self-doubt and personal issues stemming from an unhappy childhood, sexual abuse, bullying and abusive relationships.

Some of this had been touched on in Horne’s previous books – now long out of print – and sad to say, there’s not a lot of focus given to her rock and roll career or Def FX. In fact, Sean Lowry is referred to in the book merely as “the co-founder” of the band rather than by name, and recent cancelled tours aren’t referred to at all (though they may have missed the print deadline rather than been swept under the carpet).

There’s also a couple of rookie mistakes early on that should have been picked up at the fact checking stage – Split Enz sang I See Red, not Skyhooks; The Moody Blues song is referred to erroneously as Knights In White Saturn.

But overlooking these glitches and we get a lot more of the good and bad in Horne’s life. The abuse at the hands of her adoptive grandfather is harrowing, as is her subsequent self-loathing and self-destructive behaviour. Auditioning for modelling jobs with Elle MacPherson, a tour dalliance with Tom Jones, flirting with KISS, and her passions for Wicca, yoga, skydiving and flying planes are all fascinating – even when mired in new age rhetoric.

Most scary of all is Horne’s struggle to remain relevant, assure an income and do something productive with her life, all the while slipping deeper into alcoholism.

Horne now lives in the Caribbean, flies charter planes and humanitarian missions, reads Tarot, does Yoga and Fire Dances, and has just recorded a new single with Def FX and, 50 and sober, seems in the happiest place of her life and glowing.

The Naked Witch is Horne being just that – baring her soul, and she admits she wanted to quit writing the book more than once. She faced her demons, though, doesn’t preach to anyone, just says, ‘this is me.’ That may be the most important life lesson any of us ever learn.


Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

Comments (2)

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  1. Fiona Horne says:

    Hi Shane – thank you for the review- and for spotting the errors! It was Women in Uniform by Skyhooks that I used to skate my heart out to. And I See Red by Split Enz you are so right. Nights in White Saturn should have been picked up by the proof reader but I will take the blame:)). There was one Def FX tour this year that was cancelled in the 11th hour by the promoter in an extremely shocking move.
    We were meant to be touring Australia as my book was released – I would also have been able to do a book signing tour which I would have loved. But when the promoter cancelled everything was cancelled. Thrill Kill Kult were really shocked too. So nothing to sweep under the carpet there and Def FX we are planning a farewell tour next year.- well we are working hard to put it together. – I hope a new promoter will lock in- we would love one last big rock and mosh with our Def Family.
    Regarding the time in DefFX. It’s one chapter of the book. As to whom I name in the book – it’s my choice – it’s just my autobiography – not a book about Def FX. The book spans 50 years – and Def was a part of my life for 7 years.
    My deepest hope is that readers would find the book useful and maybe inspiring to know that it’s never too late to be the best version of yourself if you want to be.
    Keep up the great work – 100% rocks- despite being mired in rock rhetoric …lol
    Fiona Horne

  2. Shane says:

    Thanks so much for the clarification, Fiona – much appreciated. I am certain that many readers will get a lot from The Naked Witch, not least of all, the courage to go their own way (for better or worse), and the strength to find themselves along the way. Go, you good thing! // Shane

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