Saturday, 27 December 2014

Life: 2014 and the EH turns 50. What else happened?

So as 2014's last grains of sand trickle through the hour glass, it is time for a quick look in the rear view mirror. My old dad used to say that you couldn't drive through life looking in the rear view mirror, but sometimes it made for a quick and pleasant view. To see where we had come from.

So first of all, to that iconic Australian car that all baby boomers wanted to own and hot up!

Yes the mighty EH Holden turned 50. And yep.. I had one. Lemon with a white top, 179 engine and Hydramatic 3 speed auto.

Still a good looking car 50 years on!

But what else happened? Well lots of things.

Deb and I got to spend a lot of time with our new pooch Chloe. Walks by the river, trips in the car and cuddles on the couch in front of the TV. Chloe gets totally spoilt by Debra.. all the time! What a life!

Deb and the rather spoilt Chloe!

We also went to Melbourne for cousin Cathy's marriage to Allan.. and of course, when you are the wedding photographer in the family.. well you get to take your camera.. and shoot the wedding.

As you do! Actually one of a few weddings we covered this year!

The happy couple.. and the hangers on! (Just kidding)

And it wouldn't be a great year without motorbikes.. so Max and I went exploring the roads less travelled again in the Great South East and Northern NSW too! Love that bike!

Catching up with Greg and Heidi on an ADV run!

The Lions Road.. what a place to take a bike!

I also spent the early part of 2014 on roof tops taking pictures for Roofmasters.. an interesting experience for an old bloke who has no head for heights. Amazing what you can do when you have to do it to earn a quid!

These guys make it look easy!

Also there were sheets of glass and all sorts of other things.

Debra celebrated 10 years of ownership of Spirit of Life Boutique. And 2014 has been an amazing year for the shop. Now the biggest post mastectomy store in Australia with the widest range. The customers love the variety and it shows in the figures. Clever girl my Debra!

Debra and me at the boutique with Glenda from Amoena. 

And then there was the trip.... it all started over a birthday dinner back in 2012. Our good friend Greg Cary asked if we had ever thought about a boat trip through the rivers of Europe...

I had always lusted after this camera.. got one for the trip!

And so it came to pass that late July found us Amsterdam bound on an A380 to begin what was to be the best holiday we have ever had.. with me being the "photographer" along the way!

Debra with Greg & Heidi in Amsterdam. Me behind the camera.

Me in front of a camera.. and with a camera in Amsterdam!

After 14 fabulous days on board.. it ended in Budapest. What a trip!

Of course other things happened throughout the year, sadly we lost some great acting talent and singers. James Garner always stands out for me. From about the age of 10 I have liked him as an actor and always harboured a silly idea that one day I would meet him. Not to be of course.

Debra has enrolled at the local gym since we came home from Europe.. she looks trim and terrific as usual. Meanwhile I am down to a trim fighting weight of around 150 kilos.. well not quite.. must enrol at the gym too! We also bought a new car, a Holden Calais V and it is one of the best cars I have ever driven. Well done Holden.. so sad you guys are leaving town!

Not ours, but the same colour!

And then we got the news that Deb's cousin Steven had beaten his Lymphoma and was in remission. What a top piece of news for the year. So great to hear Steven!

Steven, Debra and Cathy in Melbourne. Great news Steven!

And then are the memories... 2014 marks 45 years since a group of us all walked out the gate at Stanley Terrace, East Brisbane for the last time. The Class of '69 at Power Coaching College. I wonder where they all are now. (Well Selwyn.. I know where you are.. when do we do lunch again?) A time when we all felt our wings drying in the sun, the possibilities of tomorrow and what they would bring. I have to say it's been a good life so far with my friends around to share the sunny days and help me through the few rainy ones.

So to all of our friends and relatives.. we hope 2014 has smiled on you kindly. If it hasn't we wish you a much better 2015 and the fortitude to face and overcome any obstacles in your path.

And make plans.. they are important.. we have a box full for the first 6 months. A trip to Longreach, trips to London and New York. You can see that travel figures a lot in our lives.

And to shift house. In 2014 he tried unsuccessfully to buy 3 homes. The last one at auction a scant 3 weeks ago. But not to be it would seem!

I guess in the fullness of time.. the planets will align!

2014.. it was a very good year!

Happy New year to you all!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Magic Carpet Ride: Music, the time machine!

So tonight the bride decided she would like chicken for dinner.

A quick run to Poulet Rouge and they have no cooked chickens.. buggar.

So we settled for fish.

Well Debra did.. I had a Chicko Roll!

Remember what AC/DC said.. "it's a long way to the shop if you want a Chicko Roll!"

But on the long way to the shop.. I had the sound system running in the new Calais V.

And what should be playing but Steppenwolf, "Magic Carpet Ride".

So the time machine begins... listening to the 45 on my battery powered stereo record player in my bedroom 46 years ago in 1968. I thought then (as I do now) it was a magic piece of music.. if only my sound system was of a higher quality. Eventually it was with the purchase of a Sansui AU555 amplifier and some quality speakers.

Meanwhile back to today in the disco on wheels that the Calais had become, I thought about the past 46 years again and what had changed in those 4 decades. And as I was in the car, I considered the music itself and how I was enjoying it as I drove along. From a period when only Japanese cars had push button radios as standard, we have come to today....

Thundering along Bonney Avenue Clayfield listening to Steppenwolf being digitally streamed from my iPhone into the Bose sound system in the car and then played to me with such quality that none of my home stereos including my still working Sansui system can replicate at home to the same quality.

It's the same old song with a different quality since we've moved along.

Good one Dr Bose. And good one Mr Holden too!

I still have the 45 some 45 years later!

As my good friend Greg Cary says.. the songs you grew up with become the soundtrack of your life.

You are spot on there Greg old friend!

Let the music play on down the line tonight.. and for a good many more years yet...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

It was 45 years ago .... September 26, 1969

And I remember it so well.

On that day, a musical masterpiece and the very last album recorded by The Beatles was released.

Abbey Road!

How many have made the pilgrimage to this very crossing?

At Stanley Terrace, East Brisbane where I went to school, the hot topic was this new album from The Beatles. Mike Ahern from 4BC played it so often that I reckon he must have worn out a dozen records. And as soon as it made its way to record stores in Australia... well, I had a copy.

In between studying for end of year exams and listening to the radio, I would play it over and over again listening to the lyrics, the music and above all enjoying the absolute audio feast for one's ears. And eventually.. I fell in love with side 2. All the unfinished songs that the boys from Liverpool had in their repertoire and would probably never finish. Under direction from the magician George Martin, these were all crafted into one of the best pieces of popular music ever recorded. On a hot summer's night I would listen to this musical compilation (I loved the sound of the chirping crickets) and for some reason it always made me think of being in a house on the river at Indooroopilly. No idea why. But I could see myself sitting in a chair looking at the river at dusk, listening to the Beatles, with a glass of Bacardi and Coke... and watching the sunset. Some sort of romantic fantasy I guess.

Or perhaps it was because Julie lived at Indooroopilly. (But not on the river.)

I guess our minds work in weird ways. At least mine does.

1983 came quickly, crept right up and almost hit me.... and I am in London as part of a long holiday break from MAX Instruments. So.. off to St John's Wood and I find that famous crossing. About where the old Bedford van is parked is right across the road from EMI's Abbey Road Studios. I sat on the fence and for about an hour the entire album played in my head.

An amazing experience. The Holy Grail pilgrimage for this Beatles fan. Even if I was 30!

And as for the photo.. well as a pro photographer looking back.. I really wished I had of been there the day this was shot. Imagine the energy in the air? The making of one of the most iconic pictures of the 20th century happening in front of you. I wonder how many 12-on backs of E4 were loaded for the Hasselblad to complete the shoot. We the public have been privileged to see many of the out-takes.. but have we seen them all?

Abbey Road plays nearly every day in my car through the magic of blue tooth and Apples amazing iPhone. I still love it.

In 2000 I took my teenage daughter to the same crossing and took pictures of her walking across it. She too loves the album and I smile to myself when I think about asking her to turn it down back in 1999 when I was interviewing a wedding couple and the entire studio was full of loud Beatles music.

Who would have thought that 30 years after 1969 when I was 16 and the album was released, I would be asking my 16 year old daughter to turn down the Beatles? Life is indeed wonderful.

And to all my old school mates with whom I would analyse the album.. thanks for the memories. I still remember most of you.. Tony Harrington, Ignatius Kalatzis, Julie Vanek, Greg Gibson, Robert Harbottle, Selwyn Hasthorpe (when do we do lunch Selwyn?) Louise Sweeney and the list goes on.

Oh long, lost, sweet halcyon days of my youth... vanished in the mists of time

But the musical soundtrack of 1969 plays on.....

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Bikes: Why we ride ADV Bikes. (Because golf sucks - sorry Greg)

So if you are even mildly into motorcycles, you may have noticed from 1968 onwards, a new bike format arrived on the scene. The trail bike. When Yamaha released the then revolutionary DT1 250 two stroke, they said.. "Because one day somebody decided to take a shortcut on a motorbike."

Gregory Howard Sier's favourite bike!

Before that there were road bikes and scramblers. Basically a road bike with an upturned exhaust for higher ground clearance and a set on knobby tyres.

And then somewhere in the 80s... the adventure bike was born.

So just what is an adventure bike? Good question. On another forum there always is a hot debate going on between enthusiasts over just what constitutes  an ADV bike. Basically a fair description would be a bigger version of the original trail bike design; an all road bike, higher ground clearance, larger fuel tank and hence range.. and the ability to carry a fair amount of luggage.

So bikes like the Kawasaki KLR650  at one end up through KTM 990 Adventure to the Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 and topping out with the BMW GS Adventure.

Good all road tourers.. and with the exception of the KLR (single cylinder) all capable of comfortable high speed touring.

So now you know what constitutes an ADV bike.. so why do we ride them?

Well apart from golf sucking (sorry again Greg) the ability to see a different part of the world than where your car will take you and to be at one with the environment is part of that magic.

Take last Sunday morning.. breakfast at Woodford was calling. That old town and I shared some sweet history going back 40 years or so. How to get to Woodford?

Well you could drive up the highway and turn left at Caboolture and head inland.

NW/GF/FO as Doc Neeson used to say. Why not take the long way round and use some roads less travelled?

So with Cruz and Big Daddee (truly) leading onwards we navigated our way out through the old Pine Rivers Shire until we arrived at this road closed sign. Well, it would be closed to your average Commodore. Onwards and upwards we go on this incredibly rough dirt road.... that brought us out at Ocean View on Mt Mee.

What a magic climb... a bit of an adrenaline rush as it was the first time I had ridden Fat Max up such a steep hill.

Wow! This beats the living daylights out of golf! (Sorry yet again Greg!)

From here we hit the bitumen for a nice twisty ride down the other side (past the nice Policeman) and on to Woodford.

God is it great to be alive! And to have this fabulous freedom machine in the shed just waiting for me to decide where and when to go.. well life is a pretty rich feast.

The Super Tenere. Freedom machine extraordinaire.

I know what you are thinking, but no it is not all motorbikes in my life. The bride and I spend a lot of time touring around some weekends on 4 wheels too! She has her Z4 roadster and we have a family hack as well!

But having said that.... there is nothing like coming home covered in dust and feeling completely stuffed after a good day's riding with your biker mates.

So why do I ride an ADV bike?

Because life is short, golf is for pussies (sorry yet again Greg) and.. because I can!

And the buzz has to be experienced to be appreciated!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Photography: Last! At Last! I love it!


[last, lahst] Spell Syllables
  • Synonyms
  • Examples
  • Word Origin
adjective, a superl. of late with later as compar.
occurring or coming after all others, as in time, order, or place:
the last line on a page.
most recent; next before the present; latest:
last week; last Friday.
being the only one remaining:
my last dollar; the last outpost; a last chance.
in his last hours.
ultimate or conclusive; definitive:
the last word in the argument.

I have always been fascinated by the word "last." Now that may sound strange, but I think it goes back to the mid 70s and mid 80s when I was at TAFE and then Uni studying business management and marketing. One of the things we learnt was that the first line in the heading was the "advert" for the advert.

As in:

"At last, a way to get your floors clean with half as much effort!"

Or how about:

"At last, improve the value of your car by this simple trick."

And then in both cases the body copy went on to extoll the virtues of whatever the product was and then had a call to action in the end part. 

Basic rule of advertising: Attention, interest, desire, action. (Ring this number NOW or fill in this form NOW.. only 9 items available etc.

In my MAX Instruments days, I always tried to use "At Last" in my advertising. 

Then there was Warren And Gordon's song... "At Last" (my love has come along)

And what about my new Holden that is on order...  as it is arguably the most advanced car ever built here, one could say....

They saved the best for LAST!

When I was about 12 and we had our family holiday home on Bribie Island, we had a bookshelf full of books.. as we had no TV. I remember seeing a paperback called, "The Last Hurrah" and it said in a splash on the over, "Now a movie starring Spencer Tracy". There it is.. that word "last" again. Always popping into my life.

My mother telling I would come last in my class if I didn't study my maths. (Mother, there are 12 frames on my roll of 120 and the camera counts them for me. That is all I need to know and anyhow, I don't want to be a mathematician!) That bloody "last" word again.. but this time with negative thoughts attached to it.

But back to the word last and its other uses....

One day back in about 1980, I was walking up George Street in Brisbane City and I walked past a hifi store. Out the front they had a pair of big Peterson stereo speakers and they were pumping out ELO's Last Train to London. I stopped and listened in.. wow, what a romantic vision formed in my head. Late on a cold night, a young couple on a railway station somewhere in England (Three Bridges perhaps) and they are sharing one long last kiss as the porter calls last train to London. Imagine the thoughts in the head of the guy singing the song, telling the story. He knows he should go, but he has just met her that very night and it is sweet agony... hanging on to her as the seconds count down to the train's departure..

Of course being a visual person (I am a photographer) all of this is playing out on a screen in my mind to this incredible sound track. 

Naturally, that night those speakers are in my home, hooked up to my magic Sansui AU555 amp (still have it.. 1969 vintage) and are pumping out.. Last train to London.

So from 1980, fast forward to 2014 and I find myself on my last night in Budapest with Debra. Our holiday European River Cruise is over and tomorrow we fly to Munich in Germany on business. Budapest is a very romantic city and Debra and I along with our friends Mark & Libby, Greg and Heidi cannot believe our holiday is nearly over. On this, our very last night all together, like that couple on Three Bridges Station 34 years ago, we are all living very much in the moment, all deliriously happy and we all want this moment to last....


And then...

Along comes The Last Tram to Budapest.

And I have my trusted Fuji with me! What visual poetry to finish the night.

Folks.. I give you... "The Last Tram to Budapest"

Last Tram to Budapest. © Mark Taylor BNE 2014

Let the music play on down the line tonight!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Life: Slow boat to Budapest, Fast Jet to Munich, Quick Mercedes to Raubling... leaves me longing for my island home!

So a couple of years ago, Deb and I were out for a birthday Chinese meal one Saturday night with good friends Greg and Heidi. Over the meal, Greg asked us if we had ever considered a holiday floating along the European river system. Well we actually had back in 2007, but ended up doing Europe in a high speed Audi A8 instead.

And in the fullness of time.....

We came to join Greg and Heidi and about 80 others on an Avalon Waterways trip from Amsterdam to Budapest on their newest ship (and largest in the river system) the Illumination. For 14 magic days we motored along the rivers and canals until we came to Budapest. Lots of good times, laughter, too much wine and food. Actually way too much wine and food.. my belt has shrunk.. a lot!

And we met some new friends along the way.

This trip I decided was going to be about making interesting images.. so lots of B&W shots of doors and street scenes. Not so many post card type images. And of course.. for these the studio needed another new camera. The Fuji X-Pro 1. A real piece of hardware and one that encourages those "different" pictures.

The mighty Fuji X-Pro 1

So we started in Amsterdam after a wasted day in Dubai. (Now that is another story!) Wandering the back streets and seeing people laughing as they wined and dined at street side cafes. Interesting place, not as much government in your face here. I like it. And I also like the meals at the Hotel America. Now if you visit Amsterdam try it out. We were last there with Gerry and Jeanine in 1990. Bitter sweet memories.

Evening meal with Greg and Captain Heidi in Holland

So eventually we board the ship, do a life boat drill and away we go. As the sunsets ever so slowly in the west we cruise into Germany for many stops along the way. The next 2 weeks were pure bliss. Lots of side trips, making new friends. (Hi Mark & Libby.. how's the new watch?)

Then eventually we sail into Budapest on our last day to a cold overcast morning.. but wow the buildings here are stunning. Simply the prettiest city I have ever seen. Since the fall of communism this place has come alive. No phones in your houses (unless you are part of the party machine) let alone mobiles under communist rule. Go and use the phone box on the corner .. and be careful what you say. Big brother is tuned in!

Our tour guide told us they didn't get a phone in their family home until 1994!

Even the trams look good in Budapest.

And then the day to go home came... and suddenly I realised how much I loved Australia. Standing at the airport to book in on Luftwaffe to fly back to Munich; being told i am 2 kg over.. that will be 50 Euros please. "You're kidding me.. 2 k over and it's 50 Euros" And the answer  came.. "Every K over is kerosene!" A new tag line for our speed camera obsessed government!

Still they flew us to Munich safely and then after a day's business we're loaded on an A380 for the long trip back to Australia.

And the thing about Australia and Europe is this: As Greg pointed out during our trip.. Europe has been at war with itself since Biblical times. And with the Russia/Ukraine thing at the moment.. well it still is.

But down here on our island in the South Pacific... well what a life style we have. And we need to keep it that way. After my 10th trip to Europe, I have never before appreciated coming home as much as I did this time.

Even if we did fly Emirates. (Dear Mr Emirates.. my 12th leg with you guys.. and the last. Lift your game at Dubai airport. Standing in the burning hot desert sun on the aircraft stairs while you try to offload 500 people into buses for the 20 minute ride to the terminal.. it's not good enough. You have 52 A380s... upgrade your airport to allow air bridge disembarkation  at the terminal before you buy any more new planes if you want to see us again!)

Now the time has come to process all of those images and make a coffee table book.

Thanks Greg for the suggestion of the trip.. thanks again for the company, you too Heidi and Mark & Libby and the rest of the cast and crew. Most relaxing holiday ever.

Now.. where's Weight Watchers phone number.. need to resign!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Politics: Why do we tolerate the Nanny state!

As Australians, why do we tolerate or perhaps even encourage the Nanny state? Why do we let governments intrude into our lives. Some of us actually encourage it!

But why?

The previous Labor government thought it was an admirable achievement that they passed so many legislative acts in the parliament. Are they for real?

Is not the basic idea simply that we have the right to live our lives our way, to do as we please with the caveat that we don't affect the lives of others?

Let's start with something simple as a example. Walking your dog. Now in Brisbane your dog must be on a leash... and that seems fair enough. After all you need to be in control of your dog to prevent it attacking or even just jumping up on other people. And it also is in the dog's interests in the event of an unsafe event occurring. So moving along... it seems reasonable to clean up your dog's poo along the way too. Nobody wants to step in fresh dog poo in an expensive pair of shoes.

Now here is where it almost went crazy..... the Brisbane City Council actually wanted to make it compulsory for you to carry at least one plastic bag to pick up your dog's droppings? Get out of our lives please. We know we must pick them up.. so leave it at that. How we pick the poo up is of no concern to the Council. We could pick the poos up with our bare hands and carry the poo in our shirt pocket if we wanted too. Unsavoury and disgusting as it sounds.. that should be our choice.

What about clearing a tree on your land? It is your piece of land, it is your tree.. you should be able to decide if it stays or goes. Not some bureaucrat!

My favourite is housing. I own an old semi rundown house built in 1890. It costs a fortune to maintain and is really past its use by date. Debra and I would like to put a bulldozer through it and redevelop the block. Council says no! The house is of historical importance. OK.. if that is so, then buy it and restore it for "the people" or else assume responsibility for its upkeep while we own it.

Our house!

Our choice!

Ah.. but Governments at all levels know better.

Ride a bicycle? Why should you not be the one to decide if your wear a helmet?  Ride a motorcycle? Well in Victoria they want learners to wear hi viz vests. And in France they want all riders to wear hi viz vests!

Where does it end?

Go to Europe and see people take their dogs on trains, into shops and cafes. Not here in Australia. We don't have enough common sense to ensure that our dogs don't soil in these areas. So they are banned. We cannot be trusted to manage our animals in public.

So again.. why do we insist that the Government knows what is best for us? Why do we roll over and let them do this to us! Why aren't we as mad as hell! It seems to be a bigger issue for left wing administrations. Think the Training Guarantee Levy. I argued with a 20 something year old woman on the phone over this in my MAX Instruments days. We constantly trained our staff as technology changed.. but no, it didn't meet the legislative requirements as laid out by Keating Government. How on earth could this bureaucrat in Canberra know more about our business than me as General Manager?

Piss off lady. Our business, our risk, leave us alone. You get our company tax every year to spend on the non achievers of this world. Isn't that enough?

Recently the gas company told me they were going to move our gas meter from under the house and screw it to the outside of our old Queenslander "as required by law" to make it easier to read!

My response... "Go piss up a rope mate! You are not going to deface the front of my tumble down place with a gas meter. In fact.. disconnect the gas and take the bloody meter away!"

And that is what happened after a round of calls to morons who had no authority to act in the "Removal of meter, gas etc".

Over the years we have lost our various freedoms.. remember having an incinerator to burn your garden clippings? Being able to fly a kite in your local park? Well not welcome in a lot of parks now.

After spending a few days in Amsterdam and seeing the liberty of people there, to ride bikes without helmets, dangle their feet in the canals as they eat lunch you come to realise that they just rely on their own common sense. No people patrolling the streets looking for litterers (and with no public bins; a security measure they tell me) and there is not a lot of litter about.

The people of Amsterdam.. go about their day!
Again. why as Australians are we not so liberated Is it a hand down as we were a British Colony and perhaps they are so anal about the way others live their lives? Or are we frightened of not having "Big Brother" to watch over us? Ask the Greens. They want to control every facet of our lives. Socialists to the core. Go away! Please!

As for me, I want to live my life on my terms without the government involved in every facet of my life. I guess that is why I am a conservative in my older age!

Nanny state? As the late Doc Neeson said... NW/GF/FO!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Life: Telstra. How bad can a business be to its clients?

Just yesterday I said to Debra.. "If Telstra was the only phone company on the planet; we'd go back to using two tin cans and a piece of string to communicate."

God I hate calling Telstra

How can one telco incite so much dislike (was going to say hatred) actually I will say hatred, from the population at large?

Well it's simple I think .. they are indifferent to you.

Your call is important to us! Rubbish! If it was you would answer the phone!

You have been placed in a priority queue! Rubbish! Being in a queue is not giving me priority!

Please say what your call is about. (Asked by a robot) I want to talk to a human!

And on it goes...

Press 1 for this, press 2 for that.. what number do I press for "Get stuffed you uncaring bastards?"

No matter what they say.. they don't give a stuff about you!

You are just a number to them. (Your account number in case you rare wondering)

And I will give you a couple of examples:

When we moved Deb's shop to Clayfield we had a divert put on the phone number. This is a fixed fee for a year (fair enough) and must be renewed. So.. at the end of the year, somehow the charge for the divert was given its own separate account number and sent.. to the old shop.

Except it was sent to the wrong address at the old shop.

So Telstra don't get paid, we don't know we have a bill to pay and on it goes. Now most sensible companies would get on the phone and say.. "Hey we have an outstanding invoice here!" such luck! They couldn't do that because they actually had our phone number incorrect too!

So naturally they gave the matter to Dunn and Bradstreet who started to harass Debra for the payment.  I intervened and said.. send us a copy of the bill and if it is for us.. we will pay it. They would not tell us who the bill was from, they demanded a stack of Deb's personal details and on it went. Eventually they told us it was from Telstra. I rang Telstra (to an offshore operator who couldn't understand me) to be told our account was up to date.

Next step was the Telecommunication ombudsmen who instructed some bimbo from Telstra to call us. She was aggressive on the phone because we had called on the TIO and was "not particularly helpful." (I am being mild here) The entire thing started again.... God give me strength!

Eventually.. we got a copy of the bill. Just marked to Debra Taylor, Shop 14, One Park Road Milton. (We were in shop 13) But nobody could identify the phone number or the account number. Now we're talking about a $187 bill here.

So.. I managed to get to the bottom of all of this crap. Nobody could understand why a simple charge on a phone bill would be removed from the bill, placed on another bill (with its own account number) and sent to the wrong address with the incorrect phone number.

No apology from Telstra (well why would they care.. they have gazillions of customers) none from Dunn and Bradstreet (they had reduced Deb to tears) and after 3 months.. the problem was sorted.

Peace from Telstra.

(Apart from their annoying salesman who wants to sell us a new plan. He eventually stopped when i threatened to insert a phone into him!)

And then we get the June phone bill from Telstra.

Amount looks about correct.. but it arrives 2 days after payment is due!

So.. Debra rings them... they graciously give us an extra two weeks to pay. (Good on them...  not OUR fault, they got the bills out late)

A week later the overdue notice arrives. (We still have 7 days grace here) So I pay the bill. A few days later the next bill arrives still showing the outstanding amount.. and a $15 late fee!

So what is it with these dick heads?  Why has so much stress come into our lives when we need to talk with somebody at Telstra. And just why do we need to talk to somebody in a bloody call centre offshore?

Why can't we have Australians working for Telstra.. people who can help us when we need to contact them?

So Telstra.. you won't be getting your $15 and I might just send you a bill for an hour of my time being stuffed around by your uncaring system!

Oh... I will be looking for two new iPhones in October... sorry.. no way Jose.

As Doc Neeson said... "NW/GS/FO!"

Monday, 7 July 2014

Photography: A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

As a Professional Photographer, I get to use a lot of cameras that often make amateurs drool. But the funny thing is; with a few exceptions, I just see them as tools of trade. They don't really get me excited.

Not at all!

After all the thing we want as Professionals is that killer image!

With the digital camera race on in full, I simply upgrade them as time goes by to get bigger files (not really needed in most cases.. but clients like them) and also to get a newer camera body. (Less likelihood of a failure on the job.. is the theory)

Back in the days of film, Pro level 35 mm and medium format cameras were built to a higher standard and designed to go for years. Like my brother's F2 Nikon from 1973, it still works well. (And it has been dropped several times too!) They were tanks. Much tougher than today's digitals. (After all digital cameras don't need to live a long life as technology will make them obsolete before they wear out!)

So a new digital camera around here is nothing special. The come in the door regular as clockwork so a new one arriving is a bit ho hum.


But then today.. IT arrived!

A camera that I have been lusting after for about a year now.

And it is a digital camera that has enthused me as much as my Rolleiflex 6008 Professional back in the last century! Now that was a camera!  A fine German hand made instrument (when it was working) that was engineered and designed with a working photographer in mind. Inserts that could be used either way, no more moving the spool over. Built in dark slide.. I could go on.. but I won't.

No.. today the Fuji X-Pro 1 arrived.

From Fuji's new series of X cameras, this is the supposed Pro model.

But who cares about labels.

Here is a beautiful camera that cries out to be used. It feels good in the hands and with its amazing X series sensor, its low light performance is simply amazing.

This camera is a beautiful thing, it is a joy and it inspires me to go and create great images.

Like no camera before it has.

It is almost like it has a soul and it is communicating with me.

Yes.. I know that sounds weird, but that is how it is.

Hopefully in the coming months I will have some images to share.

In the meantime....

A thing of beauty and a joy forever!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Politics: "Every K over is a killer!" Bullshit from the Nanny State to justify increasing revenue.

So.. "Every K over is a killer!" Do the politicians from all sides of politics really expect us to believe that crap? Increasing speeding fines, lowering tolerances for over speeding and then justifying it in the name of road safety?

Give us a break.

Utter rubbish.

Now before I get right into the nub of this, if you have lost a friend or loved one in a motor vehicle accident (I have) then my heart goes out to you. There is nothing worse.

But lowering speed limit tolerances and increasing fines won't stop testosterone fuelled young men from driving their high powered cars at over twice the speed limit early in the mornings with often tragic results. They will do it and continue to do it regardless of the law!

They always have and always will.

Consider these statistics from the QLD State Government's websites.

In 1970 there were only 726,000 motor vehicles on the road in QLD.

Also in 1970 there were 580 people who died in motor vehicle accidents.

That is a rate of  death of 80 per hundred thousand registrations.

People died of horrific injuries back then. Thrown through windscreens out of cars, impaled on steering columns, faces smashed into dashboards. Truly awful stuff.

So fast forward to 2013. Cars are now better engineered and built. Increased primary safety with things such as ABS controlled disc brakes, Dynamic Stability Control, Active Roll Mitigation, better wipers, better headlights and heating and demisting systems that were once options back in 1970. Then there is the secondary safety ... the things in your car that save you when it all goes pear shaped. Computer designed crumple zones, seat belts for all passengers, pretensioning devices for the front passenger seat belts, airbags in the front and curtain bags too for the rear seat passengers, side impact prevention systems etc. All designed to keep you from meeting your maker.

Take your pick ... Bel Air or Malibu?

And our roads are much better. Many of them are of world standard. I know this because I regularly drive on the autobahns of Germany and have driven on the highways of the USA.

But still the Nanny State lecture us about "every K over is a killer" and tell us to watch our speedometers all the time. The Europeans are a little enlightened.. they allow a tolerance of 10% because they know that there is a lot going on OUTSIDE of your car that you need to be on the ball about. They understand that you cannot keep looking down at your speedo.

So in light of the above.. what are the statistics for traffic accidents these days?

Well for 2013.. this is what we have.

In QLD there are 4,600,000 motor vehicles.

And in 2013 we had 272 people die on the roads.

So we have 6.3 times as many motor vehicles on the road, yet the number of people killed is less than half the number in 1970.

Or side by side:

1970 80 deaths per 100,000 vehicles.

2013 6 deaths per 100,000 vehicles.

The difference is the 1970 figure is more than 13 times higher than 2013 allowing for more cars etc.

The facts are that modern cars are faster and safer than they were even 10 years ago, and we have tightened the laws on drink driving too!

Yet we still get the "Every K over is a killer" thing.

Well I am calling it .. it's bullshit!

Now what brought this on was that the Government has just been doing an analysis of speed limits on roads that could/should be either increased, decreased or stay the same.

The results are just a complete waste of time and God only knows how much money.

You can read Mark Hinchcliffe's article about it here.

So why do governments all treat us like drongos  and cry on about the terrible road toll. There will always be people killed on the roads. Wherever humans operate machinery, people will die. Simply because we are humans and cannot be across every thing that happens in our environment while we are driving. Distractions do occur. And they can be fatal.

And stupid people in cars will always be stupid... regardless of the law.

But penalising dad doing 86 km/h in an 80 zone on the ICB is just stupid. Most of the traffic travels over the limit every day.. the government counts on it to generate revenue. But if every K over really was a killer, well there wouldn't be enough tow trucks to carry away the wreckage.

Why not just have 3 speed limits.

40 around schools, 60 in the suburbs and then 130 on the highway with the message.. "Drive to conditions" and trust the common sense of the motorist.

I guess the German's didn't get the EKOIAK memo!

I guess... it's all about the money.

And when they say "It's not about the money".. you can bet your bottom dollar it really is!

For once Government.. tell us the truth.. we can handle it!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Bikes: Secret mens' business 727

So with a bit of planning... 3 of us had a longish weekend away to the mountains.

And on bikes of course.

First off.. the title. Secret men's business because I cannot reveal where we went, except to say in the mountains near Dalby. And 727 is the number of kilometres recorded by Fat Max's odometer for the round trip.

The plan was simple.

Meet at St John's Wood on Friday around lunch time and then head off to Mt Glorious for coffee. From here it was the long and winding road to.. a secret cabin in the woods!

Gregor and I left Clayfield and headed off to St John's Wood under directions of my GPS (Violet the pilot) and as I rode along the Inner City Bypass, I realised I had no idea where my house keys were. To make matters worse, they had on the same ring the key to the Cruze Diesel and SWMBO's BMW. A quick call to the boutique and Christina ran up the road and found them on our front lawn. Thank goodness for that.

We arrived at Geoff's place to find him pumping up his bike's tyres. Gregor decided to check his as well and another session of pumping began. No electric pumps for these tough guys. They used that Spanish Tennis player Manual Labour to do the job. A quick fuel up for me at BP Gap and then we headed up into the hills through light rain and mist.

(Note to Gregor.. Mate I LOVE my heated grips!)

Eventually we arrive at an almost deserted cafe for coffee and cake.

Gregor , Geoff and Fat Max on the mountain.

After a fabulous coffee and a "Mount Glorious Bush Walking" Biscuit.. we headed off down the other side to be greeted by wonderful sunshine and blue skies. Magic riding weather.

1/2 strength Cappuccino.. magic!

Eventually right on dusk, we arrive at this locked gate. Geoff produced a key (he is close friends with the owner) and we headed in about 1 kilometre along the slipperiest wet grass and mud one could imagine. A couple of times Max lost his footing but the magic of Traction Control saved the day.

The Slippery Track in. (From the Go Pro video)

If you want to see the video, click here!

The weekender/cabin in the woods sits on the edge of the hill with views back to the Darling Downs. Fabulous kitchen, wood fired heating and what a place to crash for the night.

Our digs for the weekend.

Even has a skid lid shelf!

Now I had volunteered to cook the first night; so while I whipped up the Spag Bol using the Chewing Gum Lady's Executive Chef's famous recipe, Gregor and Geoff did.. other things...

Work Place Health & Safety. In case you fall drinking wine.

Actually.. they were trying to pair their blue tooth headsets. The fact that Gregor is speaking like an Italian might indicate the state of success!

Saturday dawns fine and bright after heavy rain the night before... bloody hell; the track out! But first it is breakfast. Gregor and Geoff have cereal/porridge.. I enjoy a cup of tea and wait for the local cafe to open. Soon after negotiating the slippery track once more and avoiding the wallabies on it, I am tucking into Eggs Benedict with salmon to boot and enjoying a hot coffee. The guys look at my breakfast and they order too!

We'll just have coffee. Yeah.. right!

With the three musketeers fuelled up we head off for a ride. Eventually we arrive at Cumbia where a local bicycle race is on. The main street is reduced to 40 km/h and we spy 3 or 4 bikes acting as marshals on the route. From here we are off to explore the roads less travelled. But first some fuel for the bikes.

Geoff's BMW 650 is amazingly frugal on fuel.

Maximus Obesus drinks about 10% more fuel than Gregor's DR

There is some beautiful country out between Dalby and Kingaroy; we go in search of it....

A rest stop along the way. A magic day!

From  this point in the middle of nowhere we decide to go to Kingaroy.... don't you worry about that! Gregor has a mate in Kingaroy so he rings him up on his mobile. He answers.. but he is several thousand feet in the air in a glider some many miles away. Never mind.. we will go and have coffee with his good wife. We meet up at Gloria Jeans at Kingaroy and decide a chocolate milkshake would be a better choice than coffee. A small snack might be the order of the day. Geoff chooses a pie but I go for this.

Yummo.. notice the finger print on the foam plate :-(

Time seems to  fly while we chat and hear of Nerida's plans to fly to Paris next year. You'll have a ball girl! Time to go says Gregor... little did I know what lay in front of me before I finished riding.

Geoff finds a "different' way back to our digs that involves some minor roads. How about some mini minor roads? At one stage the road narrows and we appear to ride into a farm house; but no, it continues on. The farmer's dog runs to bark at us. But we ride on.

I know now that he was trying to warn us of the road conditions ahead. Sadly we have no pictures or video of this but it did test our abilities. We found ourselves on a wet black soil road that was muddy (very) and rutted.

It was a road condition that would test you on a 250 cc trail bike. The guys had 650s and I had 265 KG of 1200cc Fat Max. Should we go back? Well according to the GPS we were less than 3km from a main road. The mud gets wetter and  thicker. Feet out the sides like outriggers we carried on. Geoff had a whoopsie and nearly came off. Then the road went down into a dip and crossed a muddy creek/bog hole.

I whispered to Max (and myself) .. "Come on mate.. you can do it!" You see I had no idea how I could pick him up if we fell there because it was so slippery.

As I crossed out of the bog, I stood up and gave Max the beans. Leaning to one side and then the other to counter balance the bike we started to climb up the incline.. and then the back started to come around to meet the front.

Never a good sign!

But.. Max's traction control cut in, the bike straightened and upwards we went. Again the bike started to pivot around the front wheel and again the traction control cut in. It was an exhilarating moment to be able to wrestle a 1200 like a 250. Only possible because of modern on board electronics.

To any ADV riders who think that Super Teneres belong on bitumen roads only; well I have news for you. They are very capable bikes when the chips are down.

The three of us arrived at the junction of a major dirt road in one piece.

But the bikes were just filthy! Mud city.

So.. back to digs as Geoff is cooking a stew tonight.. and I need some Bourbon after that.

Gregor cleaning a very dirty DR!

Geoff cleaning his BMW while Gregor gives instructions

Seeing as I am supposed to be a Pro Photographer (that is what it says on my business card) I go looking for some pix. The camera I have taken is bloody useless. Some Nikon pocket thing with a zillion to one zoom that has a hard time focusing on anything. It can stay behind next trip. But still I manage to get a couple of gate shots. Just love gates.. I think it must be a case of.. "Where can I go once I am through that gate" or something like that.

The gate into the house yard.

Another gate.. lovely time of day.

So.. night falls.. Geoff decides he will stay Sunday night and Gregor and I decide to head home Sunday morning. After another great breakfast first. Geoff accompanies us along the way for some of the trip and then circuits back to the cabin in the woods.

A great weekend behind bars. A great stress buster; many thanks to my riding companions and especially to Geoff who organised the cabin in the woods.

Fat Max came home filthy.. I guess like a nuclear powered trail bike should. After a couple of hours work this morning he looks like  a new pin.

Until next time.. continue to enjoy... many good things!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Youth: What every young cowboy needs: a Chinese air rifle. What could possibly go wrong?

In the old Clayfield Shopping Centre was the Clayfield Toy and Hobby store. Owned by a WW2 vet (he was a radio mechanic in the Pacific) and his lovely wife. Many times he repaired punctures on my bike, supplied a cornucopia of accessories for it as well as selling me flying balsa models and the magic Taipan Glo Plug engines to power them. Herb's shop was an Aladdin's Cave for this young man.

And.. he sold air rifles.

Chinese made and beautifully finished with magic wooden stocks.

Now in my last year at primary school, John Montefiore had a daisy air gun. WOW! Wouldn't I like one of those!

So come my grade 8 year, I decided that target shooting with an air rifle would be just the ticket! Even mother thought it would be OK as her older brother had one as a kid. Good one Uncle Bill!

Down to Herb's magic shop and he has them. $13.75 they cost. So I put one on laybye (still have the card somewhere)  and started saving money. A few weeks later.. it was mine! However, in QLD back then while you didn't need a gun licence, you had to be 17 to own a gun. So Herb delivered the gun to my mother! I still can see his little VW Beetle parking outside our house and him walking up the front path to hand the box to mum. She handed it to me and said.. "Don't shoot yourself.. or anyone else!"

Inside that box was this magical gun wrapped in grease proof paper. Beautifully oiled and ready for action.

How much fun was this? Loads of fun!

So let's try it out.

Under our house I had built a rough shooting range with the target mounted under our front steps. As the steps were made of cement, the pellets could not travel any further and cause harm. An old "Dandy" ham tin mounted on a board upright, housed a small kerosene light to throw some light on my target. With a box of Marksman Pellets.. it was show time.

A box of Marksman pellets. Let's try this sucker out!

And with the fullness of time & with instructions from older brother Viv, I came to be a good shot with that gun.

So.. Bruce Vaughan my old mate came to acquire one as well.. as did Russell who had a Russian made air rifle.

This went well.. until we got bored.......

So we would take our guns down to the back of Nudgee Road to give them a real try out. There was all manner of old crap left over from the war still there. Old signs, various bits of tin etc.. all good targets for the likes of us! Bruce and Russell would tie their guns to their bikes; mine had a sling, so over the shoulder it went as we peddled along the back streets of Hendra.

Can you imagine doing that now?

Three teenagers riding along with rifles on their bikes?

Straight to jail; do not pass go!

Around this time my mother had an issue with cane toads that were invading our place. No problems mum.. I'll shoot them.

So I stood over a toad and aimed straight down onto his head... bang!

Pellet away... bounced off his skull and came back to hit me in the forehead! Jesus! Could have lost an eye! So a different approach to aiming was devised and every night around 9:00 PM I would be out the front. Mum would hold the torch and I would despatch the toads with a little lead poison! Some nights we would cull 15 or 16. These days I get around 1 toad a night.. and no air gun!

But back to the 60s....

So one lazy summer's Saturday afternoon I am at Bruce's house and we are looking for something to shoot at! (We had tried phone books, drink cans, bottles, plastic models.. you name it.. we shot it!) On the outside wall of their work shed was a small blackboard.

I carefully drew a target on it in chalk and then took aim... fire!

Bull's Eye.

Followed in a heart beat  afterwards by a scream of pain and then Bruce's Grandfather appearing out of the shed holding his neck! Shit! The pellet went right through the wall and hit him!

I was in big trouble!

Mrs Vaughan wouldn't let me take my gun over there for a month after that!

We also went to brother Viv's place at Clear Mountain with our guns.. but he would drag out his Hornet and taught us how to shoot with it! A real gun! Much more fun than an air rifle. I still remember shooting the side of an old tin shed at Viv's with the air gun. Take aim, fire.. lower the gun and then wait for the clang of pellet against the side of the shed!

So what happened to that gun?

Well as my interest in motorbikes, girls, cars, girls, motorbikes and girls took hold.. it stayed all wrapped up in an oiled cloth under my bed. And then one day when I was about 17 or 18 my old school chum Charlie Cleator asked me if I still had it.. cash changed hands and it was gone.

Poor old Charlie died 10 years ago this June.. and whenever I think of him.. I wonder where that gun is now!

I could use it on those toads!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Youth: 1972, a favourite year with the promise of tomorrow coming on strong!

So in early 1972 I am 18 and cruising around in my 1964 XM Falcon. What a car.. 50 MPH in first gear, 90 MPH in second.. and that was it. Fordomatic 2 speed auto transmission you see! Come late January of that year my good mate Ken Brand suggests a week of playing up in Kings Cross, Sydney. So we load our gear into his Torana GTR, surely one of the most desirable cars for a young bloke back then and point it southwards.

As I type this the memories come flooding back. Climbing Cunningham's Gap in the GTR with Ken treating the road as a competitive hill climb. Me somewhere south of Tamworth dragging an E Type Jaguar at over 90 mph. Dangerous you must be thinking? Yep! Surely was but somehow we lived to tell the tale.  The week in Sydney was amazing.. but I really cannot talk about it here. I can mention that I caught up with Bruce Vaughan my old school mate. He was on a RAN ship which happened to be in dock.. so we had 15 minutes on the wharf with him one night!

Back in Brisbane April comes around quickly enough and with it my first company car. A virtually new Escort 1300 which was surplus to requirements at the shop with staff changes etc. I loved it. And with that car I joined the Ford Escort Car Club of Qld which went on to become the Ford Car Club of Queensland. New faces and friendships soon formed. Geoff Gay, Ray and Bev Clarke, Ian Abercromby, Geoff Frohlich and also caught up with old primary school, high school and Scout mate; Peter Scott. Plus many others.

My 19th birthday arrives and the talk turned to national service and the then government conscription of young men by ballot of birthdays for military service. I did not want to join the army. No way! I had enough trouble with my time being structured by my apprenticeship. In third year and having to go to technical college 2 nights a week was enough for me.

And then somebody mentioned Gough Whitlam... from that July night on I was transfixed whenever he appeared on the TV. To this young man he appeared to be so different to other dreary politicians of the time. I was captivated.. my mother was too and my father spent many evenings at the dinner table trying to convince both of us that Gough was not a good choice to lead the country.

Then the adverts started on the tube.. how could so many show business people have it wrong I asked? The election day drew closer, Kay came into my life and it was to become a real Indian Summer for me. Drives in the country (when I first discovered the Lion's Road into Kyogle), Friday nights at Lennon's Pacesetter's high up over Queen Street and Saturday nights at the drive-in movies. Life was sweet.

On election day the Ford Car Club had a barbecue on at Graham and Caroline Cherry's home at Acacia Ridge. A hot discussion was the election of the ALP Government. Geoff Gay thought it would be bad for business. I was a whole lot more optimistic than that....

By 1974... Kay and I were over (actually over by March 1973) and..well Gough wasn't doing so well. He called a double dissolution election to get Medibank up and ran the slogan.. "Give us a go and we'll get the job done!"

He lost seats, but won and Medibank was born. I voted for him (my first ever time voting) and... by 1975 it was all going downhill so fast. Now I was "Technical Sales Rep" for the business and I watched how our business and so many of my customers too were affected by horrendous inflation and a scandal wracked cabinet that showed us a dysfunctional government in its death throws.

Fraser and his team blocked supply.. it was all over! And I have written about that elsewhere on my blog. As I didn't believe (and still don't) that the end justifies the means, I voted ALP on principle.

Looking back on the Whitlam experiment.. my only comments are to quote Gough himself from an ABC documentary...

"What can you say? What can you bloody well say?"

So 1972 was a year that started out with so much hope and promise.. it ended for me at least with that magic Indian Summer... which was a prelude to turbulent times in Australian Politics.

And as for Gough himself.. well I have met him and photographed him and he is amazing. His intellect is awe inspiring no matter what your political bent. He certainly was a giant in Australian Politics and you have to wonder about some of the pygmies who have followed in his foot steps.

My brother Max likes to comment on the colour of the card in my pocket!

So another of my favourite years put to bed....

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Life: One of my first loves:

1969.. one of my favourite years and I had a couple of objects of desire that focused all of my attention. And they were.. not in any specific order.

1. Julie Vanek.

2. My astronomical telescope.

3. The Holden Monaro 327 GTS

4. The Suzuki TS 125 Stinger motorcycle.

So as I said.. the above list is not in any order of preference.. but there you have it.

Julie was at my school the day I started and I thought she was good stuff! I guess in today's parlance I would have said she was hot! But sadly, like the Monaro 327.. well she really was beyond me.. but I kept on keeping on!

And then one day, not long after Neil walked on the moon a group of us were standing outside the shop where we would go each day to buy lunch (now Katrina Christ's Studio) and this red motorcycle went past. And it went past ever so fast! With a trail of blue smoke from its exhausts and the exquisite sound of two cylinders firing every second stroke!

I turned to Alan White and said something like.. "What the fuck was that?"

Julie said to me.. "What did you just say?"

Mmm.. "What the heck was that?"

Ignatius chimed in with.. "It had a Suzuki badge on it I think!"

That very same afternoon after school found this young man in Mayfairs in Adelaide Street, in the heart of the city.

You see, Mayfairs were the Suzuki dealer back then.

And there on the showroom floor I found it!


The Suzuki TS 125 Stinger.

A twin cylinder two stroke motorbike that looked to this 16 year old like it came out of a Bond Movie.

God.. how could man design and build a machine so beautiful? The salesman told me it would do 75 MPH and with an optional hot up kit 100 MPH was possible.

I sat on it, I twisted the throttle, imagined me and Julie heading to the Gold Coast on it on a sunny Sunday morning.. and I wondered how I could get one into my life.

The fact that I couldn't even get a licence for another year was irrelevant.

Give me this bloody beaut bike mate! I just have to have it!

That night I showed the Suzuki brochure to my parents.. a very frosty negative reception indeed.

"Why do you want a motorcycle?" my mother asked.

"Freedom!" I yelled back!

"But you are free now," said my Dad.

"Gees.. you two just don't get it.. it's the ability to go where I want, when I want to!" I said as I went back to my room to stick the brochure onto the wall.

"You will be mine" I said the next day as I dressed for school whilst admiring my new toy!

Here is what this two wheeled freedom machine looked like back then.... (Except mine was going to be candy apple red!)

My ideal freedom machine in 1969.

And so it came to pass.. that I never ever owned one.

Like Julie Vanek, and the Monaro GTS, the Suzuki TS 125 was not to be mine.

No.. somehow by the time I was 17 I owned a clapped out 1963 Black Mini 850.

My less than ideal escape machine. Blew as much smoke though!

Oh dear!

And some days even now when my mind wanders.. I wonder if there is still one of these classic motorcycles out there with my name on it.

After all.. it could / should have been my first real love!

(Sorry Julie)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Photography: By the time we got to Woodstock...

I heard about it on TV in 1969. Nearly 45 years ago... and today I found this image. Sweet memories of youth.


Well I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road
And I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me:
Well, I'm going down to Yasgur's farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, set my soul free.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Well, then can I walk beside you? I have come to lose the smog.
And I feel like I'm a cog in something turning.
And maybe it's the time of year, yes, and maybe it's the time of man.
And I don't know who I am but life is for learning.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong,
And everywhere there was song and celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bombers jet planes riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies above our nation.

We are stardust, we are golden, we caught in the devil's bargain,

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.