Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Return to Vienna

Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn,
or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me….
– The Heiligenstadt Testament

Three miles from my adopted city
lies a village where I came to peace.
The world there was a calm place,
even the great Danube no more
than a pale ribbon tossed onto the landscape
by a girl’s careless hand. Into this stillness

I had been ordered to recover.
The hills were gold with late summer;
my rooms were two, plus a small kitchen,
situated upstairs in the back of a cottage
at the end of the Herrengasse.
From my window I could see onto the courtyard
where a linden tree twined skyward —
leafy umbilicus canted toward light,
warped in the very act of yearning —
and I would feed on the sun as if that alone
would dismantle the silence around me.

At first I raged. Then music raged in me,
rising so swiftly I could not write quickly enough
to ease the roiling. I would stop
to light a lamp, and whatever I’d missed —
larks flying to nest, church bells, the shepherd’s
home-toward-evening song — rushed in, and I
would rage again.

I am by nature a conflagration;
I would rather leap
than sit and be looked at.
So when my proud city spread
her gypsy skirts, I reentered,
burning towards her greater, constant light.

Call me rough, ill-tempered, slovenly — I tell you,
every tenderness I have ever known
has been nothing
but thwarted violence, an ache
so permanent and deep, the lightest touch
awakens it. . . . It is impossible

to care enough. I have returned
with a second Symphony
and 15 Piano Variations
which I’ve named Prometheus,
after the rogue Titan, the half-a-god
who knew the worst sin is to take
what cannot be given back.

I smile and bow, and the world is loud.
And though I dare not lean in to shout
Can’t you see that I’m deaf? —
I also cannot stop listening.

– Rita Dove



Wednesday Photos.
Default settings.
Whose crazy idea was that?


Tonights photo is from a lovely little vignette on the ABC’s Landline program.

It’s about two young lads who took a pair of Motorbikes around Australia when it was a whole lot harder to do that.

Sixty years later, two older blokes recreated that trip and here is their take on that story Transmatilda revisited.

It’s probably easiest just to take the jump and look at the landline program, it’s only 10 or so minutes.

If I had an old Triumph I’d call her Matilda or maybe Mathilda.

Anyway if you’ve been following for a while you’ll know how I love connections.

Alt-J are favoured sons at the moment. My middle boy saw them play just last week and a song of theirs called Matilda, is pretty much my favorite thing at the moment.

It’s very peaceful, hope you like it.


I used to think the land
had something to say to us,
back when wildflowers
would come right up to your hand
as if they were tame.
Sooner or later, I thought,
the wind would begin to make sense
if I listened hard
and took notes religiously.
That was spring.
Now I’m not so sure:
the cloudless sky has a flat affect
and the fields plowed down after harvest
seem so expressionless,
keeping their own counsel.
This afternoon, nut tree leaves
blow across them
as if autumn had written us a long letter,
changed its mind,
and tore it into little scraps.

– Don Thompson

Ham Fisted

I should never be allowed to pick up a spanner.
My garage is full of parts of motorbikes. The detritus left over from long gone failures. Cast-offs, junk, scrap picked up from the side of the road. This Honda was the last to run and at the moment is the only one with all its bits still connected together, the obvious place to start right? About 12 months ago it blew off its side-stand on a particularly windy day (lifting a 210 kg VFR back up is a good reminder never to turn the front wheel back to center when parking it). Then the Registration lapsed and as there are three cars and other bikes competing for that small bucket of money, it was parked and left to stew on its miscreant behavior. However the Phillip Island Motogp is only a few months away so time to get it running again.
The front fairing stay was bent so I grabbed the lump hammer to straighten it out. Nestled in between there is a fairly expensive circuit board for the electronic dash. ‘Better be careful not to smack that’ I thought when I should have been thinking, ‘Better you take that off Brett’. I managed not to hit it but belting the bejesus out of the stays that it was attached too did just as good a job of buggering it up.

vfr instruments (2)I’m hoping that a little plastic welding and some rubber washers (to help isolate any vibration) will get it fitted back on the bike. Whether I’ve done more lasting damage will have to wait till I can power it up again. It’s surprisingly difficult to straighten thin steel tubing like this; it just wants to spring back with each blow. Heat however is a wonderful thing for persuading metal and this MAPP gas I’m using is pretty much as hot as you can get in a portable container before having to go to the big rigs. Of course the lovely advertised figures of 3200 degrees F mean diddly squat in use; It’s the heat that’s getting into the metal that’s important and out in the open air that is a lot less than you’d think. Anyway it was hot enough to make the bracket a little more malleable. Apparently one trick if you want to use it for brazing or something that requires higher temperatures is to make a little cocoon out of insulation wool but I didn’t need to for this job. Anyway the stay is more or less straight, I just need to fix the instrument console now (sigh!).

vfr repair (1)

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

– Phillip Larkin

the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line

The inclusion of Poetry in my first blog was something I was a bit ambivalent about. I sat on the edge for quite a while before taking the plunge. In retrospect other people’s verse was one of the better parts of Goodbye Albatross. This is more or less what i wrote the first time around:

I’ve been debating with myself about adding a new category to Goodbye Albatross, a tag reserved just for Poetry.
The world of Art today is the world of the egotist. Painting, Film, Music, Performance all seem to be at the mercy of the appropriatonists. Post-modernism is the thugs life; the argument that is won by yelling over the top of everyone else. Much of what proclaims itself as modern leaves me feeling deflated. Conned, cold and cheated! But Poetry, good Poetry can stand like a bulwark against the theft that passes itself off as creativity. Perhaps it’s the abysmal hand that poetry has been dealt. So diminished in stature for so long, that it no longer seen as cool, if it is even seen at all (gone the way of the Thylacine and Mandolin Orchestras).
Which places me at odds with the 21st Century because I still see Poetry very clearly and believe it still does matter.
Yes, it is a slow conversation. I’ve read the argument that it is no longer relevant; replaced by the all too torturous lyrics of Popular music.
But as George Szirites wrote in a small but excellent article I came across in The Guardian;
“Poetry is not a pretty way of saying something straight, but the straightest way of saying something complex”.
So … (deep breath) … the whims and vagaries of popular culture be damned.
Too the arbitrators of style, whomever you may be – “go fu*k yourselves”.
My reputation come trail behind me in tatters
but poetry is going to become a regular feature of this Journal!

No such dilemma the second time round with MadeofWhite. Poetry will be appearing regularly on these pages. The plan is to drag across all of the old poems from Goodbye Albatross. Not only to clean that blog up and realign it with it’s original purpose but also because those poems were some of the best ever written and I shall enjoy reading them again.
Rosemary Dobson’s verse was the one I started with and here it is again:

Friends die one after another;
each time a dark disorder
A ceaseless banging of shutters

Upstairs there in the mind;
Beating of wings, loud weather
Days, nights together

To force on the mind order:
Journeys taken on maps,
Attentive delving into

The roots of language.
A search for the true invention
Of form by line in drawing.

Also renewal of linen –
Keeping the old customs
Putting sides to middles.

Thus, mind and hand stilled
And with a gentler grief
To draw down the blind

The white holland blind
Like a banner of love
Against that wild confusion.

– Rosemary Dobson.

That poem found me as a clipping snipped out of the Sydney Morning Herald 30 years ago.
I think it stuck with me because of the echoes of ‘Becket’ in that “draw down the blind” stanza.
However I don’t want to be starting a new with something old. So here is where I’ll start this time around:


From other
angles the
fibers look
fragile, but
not from the
spider’s, always
hauling coarse
ropes, hitching
lines to the
best posts
possible. It’s
heavy work
fighting sag,
winching up
give. It
isn’t ever
to live.

Kay Ryan.


Why’d ya have to leave so soon

Rossi snow riding

Kept this for a long time.
But the reasons for –
all changed on lap two of the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Marco Simoncelli (centre) was killed after as his bike careered across the track at turn eleven. Hit first by Colin Edward’s bike then by his friend and mentor Valentino Rossi (left) he died pretty much instantly from  catastrophic head injuries. It was the second impact that cost him his life and I think Valentino lost something that day, something more then a friend. I think he lost for want of a better word his Luck and I don’t know if he’s realised that yet.

I think it’s a lovely photo, all the more poignant for what was to come.
An uncluttered day from a simpler place that can never be revisited.

High Hopes

That’s my middle son Zeke (The Insights) on the right & Charlie (10 Mile Stereo) on the left.

I’m inordinately proud of him & there’s a multitude of posts on my old blog attesting to that:-

here and here and here and lots more here.

10 Mile… have an e.p launch coming up Friday week & Charlie & Zeke are doing this Kodaline cover prior to the set.

Zeke is the singer by default in The Insights. Nowhere near a good voice as Charlie but if you can get past the crappy iPhone sound quality I like the way they harmonize even if Zeke is off key in a few spots. That’s a joke at the beginning by the way, ‘How to love’ is truly horrible.

‘High Hopes’ is a great song in anyone’s hands but of course their version is my favorite.

young erv

1parkinglotRunning with the theme of tuners here is a photo of a very young Erv Kanemoto (white tee – center of photo). Whilst Erv is most closely associated with Kawasaki there were two years in the mid-seventies when he spannered for Suzuki.
Love this era of racing when the big two strokes ruled the tracks.

Simoto frame


Another mystery photo dragged across from old hard drives.
Apparently I labeled this SIMOTO Frame but for the life of me I can’t remember why.
It’s very obviously an RG500 engine in that custom made frame and the guy’s expressions are priceless which is probably why I Kept it.
But a quick browse on Google doesn’t yield much using ‘Simoto’ as the search term.
Never the less a worthy participant for Wednesdays photo.