Day 3

Off to meetings in Sydney this morning. My route takes me up Southern Cross Drive, skirting round Sydney Airport – if you’re visiting Australia, the first thing you’re likely to see. Not a good advertisement for us either—the place is run by bandits… I’m parking my car at the Sydney Fish Markets as it’s close to my first client. Always an interesting, bustling place next to the docks, at any time of the day. It also gives me a chance to pick up some things for my in-laws with whom I’m staying up here. Next stop North Sydney, over the Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately the weather’s turned a bit damp. I’m stopping for lunch at Bradfield Park, under the northern approach to the Bridge. I don’t love cities, but were I to make an exception, it would be the one in which I grew up. I just have to try and keep forgetting how much it has changed 😦 Even when it’s raining, underneath the bridge approach is still dry and a great spot for a picnic lunch. Sydney rock oysters, Clarence River king prawns and a Tasmanian garden salad. Life really sucks sometimes, ya know? I’m reminded of the day, thirty-five years ago, when I sneaked out without telling Mum, came to this very spot and decided I wanted to become a rock musician; I can actually still see myself in the crowd: The Cahill expressway (from where this next shot is taken) is a monument to folly, and the ego of one man, J.J. Cahill, premier of NSW in the 1950s. The buildings you see to the right of the Opera House are a testament to the corruption of Sydney City Council and the NSW Planning Commission, as they have blocked off all views of the Opera House from Circular Quay below, and Government House and The Domain beyond. Dropped for dollars, the rest of the population be buggered. See what I mean? I’m spending the afternoon with my old sparring partner Ricky, over at his house in the outer suburbs. Ricky was a locally famous musician back in the 1980s, even supporting Stevie Wonder and other headline acts on tour, but illness has now robbed him of his livelihood. It’s been one of the more heartbreaking things in my life to witness over a dozen years, like a slow-moving train wreck that you can’t stop, Ricky progressively losing his ability to play, then to walk, and finally to even take care of himself. He’s now wheelchair-bound, and lives independently with the aid of friends. That he can still keep his spirits up, and even write his autobiography, is the measure of the class act that he is. This piece, something he recorded when he was just nineteen years old, reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s words: We are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars. Here is the talent now lost to the world:

Ricky’s guitar

Well that’s it for today. I notice James has run with my Andrew Bolt story, and as always when he references me, LibertyGibbert is melting down with hits, if not comments. Back on deck tomorrow.


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