You've got 2 chances: Buckley's or none

Portrait of William Buckley (1780-1856) by an unknown artist (after Ludwig Becker), c 1852, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.


The Telegraph Tree at Port Arthur; Ludwig Becker; December 19, 1851
State Library of Victoria


The Marylebone Coach

It was outside a 1950s milkbar in Broken Hill. It really was a 1950s milkbar. Bell's. The waitresses (two) were plump and wore bouffants and pancake make-up. One was friendly, one wasn't. The decor was impeccable, the provenance too. It was up on the wall in the museum section. Where you bought souvenirs. I had a Jaffa milkshake and it was just like the Jaffa milkshakes I used to have at Gilbert's Dairy in Greytown in 1963. Well, there's slippage all over the place, even in time. My friend had Creaming Soda or was it Vanilla? At Gilbert's (they were Lebanese but I didn't know this at the time), Peter'd put in a squirt of orange and then a squirt of chocolate: that was Jaffa. He'd ask if you wanted ice cream in it or not. But I'm talking about outside, before we went in. Sitting in the hot car waiting for the song to end. That was like the 1950s too, waiting for the song to end. It never did, or it always did, or it still is ending, I'm not sure which. Anyway, the song. Guess who it's by? I'm only going to post the lyrics, the rest is up to you:

I grew up here all of my life
I dreamed someday I'd go
Where the blue eyed girls
And the red guitars
And the naked rivers flow

Now I'm not all I thought I'd be
I've always stayed around
I've been as far as Mercy and Grand
Frozen to the ground

I can't stay here and I'm scared to leave
So kiss me once and then
I'll go to hell
I might as well
Be whistling down the wind

The bus at the corner
The clock on the wall
A broken down windmill
Ain't no wind at all

I yelled and I cursed
If I stay here I'll rust
I'm stuck like a shipwreck
Out here in the dust

(accordion solo)

The sky is red
And the world is on fire
And the corn is taller than me
A dog is tied
To a wagon of rain
And the road is as wet as the sea

Sometimes the music from a dance
Will carry across the plains
The places that I'm dreaming of
Do they dream only of me?

There are places where they never sleep
And the circus never ends
I will take the Marylebone Coach
And be whistling down the wind

So I will take the Marylebone Coach
And whistle down the wind

Afterwards, we just drove away.


White Hills

Yellow daisies in the tough grass of the Chinese section. An ochre lichen grows over the tilting, dun-coloured stones, through which gleams the red painted into the inscribed characters that name the dead. A circular tower with a conical roof, a hearth within for burning paper money? Offerings? Small, like the grave tablets. Some of these men walked five hundred miles overland from Adelaide, digging wells along the way, living on sheep they bought from local farmers. They were very cheerful, singing as they marched to New Gold Mountain to make their fortunes. Wind sighs in the Gallipoli pines. The yellow fields stretch fenceless away into the purple and blue-black gums. A rosella flies up into the trees, iridescence glinting from its wings. A lone cry.


Heard last week that East Street have sold the UK? European? rights to Luca Antara to Oldcastle Books.

They've put this gorgeous new cover on it & dropped the subtitle ... & there's to be a hardcover edition. I've never had a hardcover edition before.

Never had a book published outside the antipodes either.