When Richard Neville died in September, I dearly wanted to get to Sydney for his funeral to catch up with people I've not seen for thirty or forty years and to bid a long sad farewell to my mate Tony Bilson, who was virtually dead of cancer of the everything.
That grand pioneer of modern Australian cuisine had suffered the step-by-step removal of nearly every organ south of his navel - they got up as far as one kidney. Bilson was cactus. But so was I, with a battered brain and chronic PTSD ... too crook to fly. Couldn't go to say goodbye.
Back when we were alive, Bilson posed for me at Kangarilla, doing his best Charles Bronson with a Walther P38.
In those days, I played guitar in Paul Kelly's first band, the Debutantes, and looked like this:
Which may begin to explain my shredded brain: far too much biffo.
So it was a miraculous relief to have the resurrected KillBil hit old Addle Aid yesterday: against all odds, the dear boy's clear of the cancerous death bug, so we had a quiet tea.
What a weird old life we lead.
We were both capable of taking a quiet lie down in those crazy days. We'd get tired.
Note lifelong habit of keeping a check on one's pulse whilst unconscious.
Top and bottom photos by Dr Sundance Thompson-Bilson; Tony and me at breakfast by Kay Hannaford; Bronson by me; me in the lane by John Peachey; Bilson in the Berowra Waters Inn days by Paul Lloyd ... and me in recline is allegedly by James Halliday ... it emerged from my camera when I got home and had the film developed.
You take it easy folks. If I knew I was gonna last this long I woulda been a lot more careful.
Or so I'm trying to convince myself.
And to put some sperkective into this, here's theoretical particle physicist Dr Sundance Osland Thompson-Bilson with his mum, Tony's half-sister, my friend of many happy years, LeeAnne 'Tiger' Bilson, by me: