“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





11 August 2015


Check this. In the coldest windiest day of winter my beloved friend of forty years rocked up with his half sister, whom I've know for only twenty. They pulled me outa the whisky murk quicksmart. That's Tony and Tiger Bilson on the veranda of Casa Blanca this arvo ... they transported me to a very cool and warm lunch at Salopian. Perfect.  I coulda slept there.

The white coats are about to remove about half of Tony's organs (let's face it: some of us already watched what happened to them in the name of commitment to the cause and scientific research), (snap), but he's flat out anyway, determined to put the best restaurant in the world into China, which he loves and understands more than most Ocker boofheads. He is more respected there. Something has gone wrong with Australia.

This is one of the great photographs of Bilson at the peak of Berowra Waters:

It was taken by Paul Lloyd the day our hire Merc drove down the hill all by itself, straight through the roller door of the posh Pennant Hills house Bilson and Gay rented to get some respite from that endless gastronomic explosion, Berowra Waters Inn. That day, I put my new antique pocket watch through the Bilson washing machine. It was never the same. This was, I think, before the night a hire BMW woke up in the El Alamein fountain in King's Cross. German cars were tricky in those days. I reckon there were more gravity lenses then. 

I took this one below at Kangarilla when Bilson had Kinselas pumping and needed a wee break in the deep south. I call it it my Charles Bronson Bilson. Must be about '83. Note the sticky tape holding the specs together. Biffo. Walther P38.

All this shiny gastroporn bullshit and the iron chef and whatever aside, Bilson and Cheong Liew are the most influential chefs Australia has seen. We have much to thank them for. In those Kinsela days I met another life-changer, Tetsuya. After a night on the armagnac with Shiva Naipal at the mezzanine bar, I ducked down to the Kinselas kitchen for a blast of nitrous oxide from the whipped cream machine, like just to ease the head, interrupting Tets, who  was making hamburger mince for lunch. He asked Tony if this was a usual Australian sort of behaviour; one worth learning to expect. Tets was Kinselas' king burger flipper.

That's Amanda Bilson and me eating red berries and kirsch at Tony's Fine Bouche about '90. I was well over 120 kilos then, due to my work. For the empire traditionalists, I managed for a while over 20 stone. Shit we had fun. And there's so much left to do! I can't recall who took this photograph, but I reckon it was Peter Powditch, whose perfect works adorned those walls ... and here be Tones and Tiger ... kisses everywhere. More please.


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