What has karma and a guitar purchase got to do with quality wine?

I have a friend called Brett, who lives in Adelaide, South Australia, near some of the very best wine producing areas in this country.

Several months ago, Brett contacted me because he was in a bit of a bind with a purchase of a second hand guitar that he had made over the Internet.  The guitar was an Epiphone Explorer bass that didn’t come with a case and it was sold on the condition that it was to be picked up by the purchaser.  Trouble was, Brett lives in Adelaide and the guitar was in Sydney so he rang me up to ask me to go and have a look at it, to inspect its condition; pick it up, and then wrap it up for shipment by air to him.

Epiphone Explorer bass

The guitar was in the excellent condition that it was advertised and so I picked it up.  Being a bass guitar meant that it had an extra long neck and to be honest, it was huge. Another thing that caused me concern was that the headstock bent back further back than the very back of the body of the guitar so that when it was laid down, the headstock was supporting the weight of the guitar. I just didn’t think that wrapping it in bubble wrap and cardboard was going to get it to Adelaide in one piece, so I rang Brett and told him about my fears for his new guitar.   Unfortunately, because the guitar was so big, the carry cases for them quite rare, and therefore they cost quite a bit more than normal cases, so I offered to make him a wooden carry case for it.

Brett’s father owns an upholstery business, and as such, Brett has access to the materials to cover the case with, and the hardware to hold it together.

In the meantime, my friend Mark was going back to his home town of Adelaide (Mark and Brett grew up together) for a short trip, so he offered to take the guitar in its case to Brett.

Brett was very happy with the job that I did for him and he rang me up to thank me and to see if there was anything he could do for me.

I know that Brett has a large wine collection of very high quality Australian wines, so I said to him, half jokingly, just bring around a bottle of “Hill of Grace” (one of very the best wines made in Australia, at any price, which I know he has quite a bit of) next time he is in Sydney, knowing full well that probably wouldn’t happen for quite a while and that would let him off the hook feeling obliged.

Brett surprised me by replying that he would be coming to Sydney at the end of October for Mark’s upcoming wedding and that he would be bringing a few bottles of wine with him.

As a rule, I don’t really have that much time for the whole wine wanker scene. I consider myself a bit of a wine philistine in that I don’t believe that one should spend a lot of money on things that one probably wouldn’t appreciate anyway, just for a pose. Having said that, I have three friends who have extensive knowledge about wine and large collections who have patiently dragged me, kicking and screaming like the low class trailer trash that I am, into a better understanding of oenophilia. 

Over the last couple of years, my friend Peter (who collects wines), has been generous enough to share his knowledge and wine with me. So it was with great pleasure I was able to invite him to a barbecue at my place on this coming Sunday with Brett and his wife to enjoy the wine that was coming. 

Last night, Brett sent me an e-mail with a photograph of the wines that he is bringing, so I looked them up on the Internet to find out a bit more about them, to try and gauge what I should cook to go with such wines. 

I never thought I'd ever get to try these wines

I got the shock of my life when I found out more about the wines that Brett is going to be bringing along. 

The wine is worth at least twice as much as the guitar and one of the bottles, the 1992 Wendoree Shiraz Malbec is quite rare, and is considered by many to be a spectacular wine.

The 1994 Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz is of such quality and fame that puts it in a price range that I thought I would never ever get to taste.

The 1993 Turkey Flat Shiraz is made from some of the oldest shiraz vines in the world. Apparently, the original Shiraz vines in France were wiped out by phyloxia (a nematode) , and that modern French shiraz vines have been grafted to the root stock of a native American variety of grape from the Mississippi region.  Which is ironic because the nematodes were first brought to Europe from America. It seems that the French had to import their current shiraz vines from here in Australia, South Africa and South America.

As I write this, it makes me think about the famous Australian bush walker, Paddy Pallin, who once said, something along the lines of, “if you know the names of a few trees, when you look at the bush, it’s not just bush any more”. I’m starting to feel that way about wine, in that the more I know about it, the more interested I become in it and therefore, the more I enjoy and think about it when I drink it.

So to make sure that I do justice to Brett’s generosity in sharing his fabulous wines (that I don’t deserve), I will be going out and buying the absolute best piece of meat to barbecue for us this Sunday. Probably the best meat to barbecue (I have a kettle style Webber barbecue that burns charcoal) that you can buy here in Sydney would be a whole Scotch fillet of organically grown, aged Angus beef.

I can’t wait, and pictures of our bacchanalia will follow!

Here’s a video of the band (The Smokin’ Crocs) that Brett plays bass in.

[youtube kGH1oJs6VSY]

Placing a subject within a context using a wide angle lens for portraiture.

When I started photography back in the early 1970s, I was very much attracted to the “Life” magazine style of photography. The trouble was that I was only about 14 when I started, and I didn’t really understand what I wanted to say photographically. I favoured using my 135 mm lens, because I was so target fixated upon the subject. I used to like the way how the short telephoto lens isolated the subject from the background because of its lack of depth of field.  I just loved the way how there was a sharp face against a non-distracting blurred background.

I was once asked by an 18-year-old fellow student, when I was in design school in my 40s, if it was true that one became smarter as they got older. I replied that I didn’t think we got smarter, rather that we had more experience that helps us understand what we were experiencing a little more clearly. I suspect that we’re a somewhat like computers, in that we have the raw processing power of the main chip (our brains), but we need to have something (life experience) in our hard drives to work with.

I have a bit of a theory about how our understanding of the world changes as we get older. To try and simplify what I’m trying to express I will use the cube as a metaphor. I suspect that when we are young and we see something like my metaphorical cube; our lack of experience in the world leads us to perceive it almost 2-dimensionaly as a mere square.

As we get little bit older, we start to realise that the square has in fact, another dimension, and we start perceiving it as a three-dimensional object. Then, further along in our lives we start to see the texture of the cube’s surfaces and where that cube sits in the world.

Now, as I get older, I have noticed that I am more interested in photographing people within a context and I am no longer as satisfied with portraits taken with telephoto lenses that decontextualize the subject.

On Sunday, when I went to the sculpture by the sea exhibition I found myself looking at the people on the beach as much as I was looking at the artworks. 

After all, some people are artworks in their own right.

A gracious subject within a context

When I saw the fellow in the photograph above, I knew I had to take his photograph, so asked if I could take a shot of him.  Years ago, I would have been more interested in emulating Cartier Bresson by standing back and trying to take a picture surreptitiously with a telephoto lens, without asking so I could capture a “pure”, unstaged moment.

When I asked permission to take the photograph, my subject asked me what I was going to do with the image. I told him that it was for my own use, and that I felt a certain responsibility to record the age in which I live. I also explained to him that I was using a very wide-angle lens (10mm) and I was going to get quite close to him (I didn’t want him freaking out or anything).  He then asked me why I was using such a wide-angle lens (he had a video camera with him so he understood such things). I explained that I wanted to put him within a context. I wanted, not only a shot of him as the subject, but also the environment in which I encountered him.

I found the whole experience of explaining what I was doing, to my subject, quite pleasing and I know the fellow that I took the photograph of was glad to know what my intent actually was. As you can see from the image above, he graciously gave his consent and co-operation.

Another outcome of asking for permission to take photographs of people is that one gets photographs of them looking at the camera.  I’m always very interested in the expressions on people’s faces as they look into the camera, because it’s all about how they the deal with engaging with strangers.

12th Sculpture by the sea. Sydney Australia. 2008

Yesterday, my wife and I with some friends (Jade, Claude and Stephen) went to see the 12th annual exhibition of “Sculpture by the sea” along the shoreline between Tamarama and Bondi beaches. This year was the first time my wife and I have gone to the exhibition (mainly due to the fact that we tend to be on holidays elsewhere at this time of the year) and we were so impressed that I’m sure we will go to it again (if we are in town) next year.

Sculpture by the sea is free to the public and occurs on the coastal walk between Bondi Beach (the nearest large beach to downtown Sydney) and Tamarama Beach. The walk is always beautiful, but during Sculpture by the sea it becomes a wonderful stroll past the amazing products of some very talented people’s imaginations.

In some people’s minds, art is something remote, that is kept in the temples of culture we call museums. The Sculpture by the sea exhibition counters such preconceptions by being so accessible to everyone and as such it has proved to be a great success with the Sydney public. It was certainly very well attended.

Below is a small sampling of the works on exhibition.

On the beach by Tim Kyle

The work below is by Rod Mc Crae who was one of my teachers at the Sydney Institute of Design when I studied there. Rod is an incredibly talented man. His drawing skills are amazing and his mind is so creative. I used to be constantly amazed at how talented and inventive he is.

This work is a reference to Alice the elephant who was used at Bondi 97 years ago to provide elephant rides at the beach. The elephant figure is only one of a larger group of whimsical carnival characters.

Alice in wonderland by Rod Mc Rae

Prop by Jon Denaro

The life sized plastic soldier below seemed so full of pathos. Amazing and sad at the same time. It made me think about when I was a child and how long ago that was.

Soldier scale 1:1 by Ruth Bellotti and Steve Rosewell

Marguerite Derricourt’s “Flight of the Bogong” is about how the bogong moths (an important seasonal food supply for the Aborigines) during their migration from Queensland in the north to the Snowy Mountains in the south, end up being drawn in their millions to the brightly lit cities. 

A bit like people really, when you think about it.

The flight of the bogong by Marguerite Derricourt

When my friend Stephen saw the sculpture below he said that it reminded him of the best urinal in the world, that he’d ever seen at least, in a bar of of the Xin Tian Di area of Shanghai. Stephen said that the urinal was full of glass objects like the sculpture that one could empty their bladders on.

And I thought to myself, “why not!”

m.080801 by Toshio Iezumi

The iron urchins below was one of the few peices that obviously reflected the enviroment that the exhibition took place in.

Urchins by Kelly-Ann Lees

As soon as I saw the work below I thought of the computer game “Riven”.

Phenotype by Tim Wetherell

The “Fragment” below immediately reminded me of  “Cow up a tree” by John Kelly in Melbourne, even though it has nothing to do with the same ideas addressed by that work. I guess I thought about Kelly’s work because it has a tree with a black and white element in it.

Fragment by Kevin Draper

I just wish I could’ve taken a photo of the “Humpback gunship” without the cluttered background so it could be seen more clearly.

Humpback Gunship by Benjamin Gilbert

The drifter by Stephen Marr

There were many more works than what I’ve shown here, but of course I couldn’t put all of them up (damn the internet and how slow it is). What I’ve shown here aren’t necessarily the best works but they are the works I was better able to photograph due to the lighting conditions (shooting into the sun for example) and the masses of people in the way.

Yesterday was one of those perfect clear spring days where the weather was just right. Sunny and warm without being uncomfortable. It was such a great day spending time with friends, walking along a beautiful coastline looking at art. Pretty hard to beat and it’s one of the reasons why I love living in Sydney. 

Into The Nightlife by Cyndi Lauper on the Graham Norton show

Last night I watched Cyndi Lauper on the deliciously subversive Graham Norton show.  Any interview with Cindy that I’ve seen in the past has always made her look like a vacuous ditzy blonde, so it was with some pleasure that I heard her being interviewed by somebody who gave her enough time to expand on her answers. Cyndi Lauper is a very amusing raconteuse with a great, down to earth, sense of humour.

When I used to live in Vancouver, back in the early 80s, I used to regularly go to a nightclub called the “Love Affair” which probably had the best sound system in that city at the time.  I really enjoyed the New Wave music scene back then until it petered out with the self-conscious and dandyesque music of the New Romantics. Originating from those frenetic nights at the Love Affair so long ago, is my guilty pleasure of playing poppy synthesiser music from the 1980s, VERY LOUD.

When Cyndi Lauper’s ” Girls just want to have fun” was a hit, it was played to death on nearly all the radio stations to the point that I could hardly stand to hear her voice any more. A few other mediocre hits followed, and to my mind Cyndi Lauper faded from my consciousness as a one-hit wonder.  So it was with some curiosity, that I watched her on the Graham Norton show to see what she was up to nowadays.

Boy oh boy, did I get a surprise!

Cyndi Lauper was not only an interesting person to listen to when she spoke about some of the funny things in her life, but at the end of the show she got up and sang “Into the nightlife” from her album Bring Ya to the Brink

I was blown away!

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in Sydney Australia we get digital television with excellent sound and picture quality which is quite often broadcast in widescreen. The production values that the BBC put into the Graham Norton show is very high quality; and it was a real pleasure to listen to Cyndi sing her new dance hit at high-volume in surroundsound.

Her new song sounded new, but at the same time, definitely showed Cyndi’s roots in the 1980s. I was immediately transported back to the Love Affair. I just wish that these little videos from YouTube had clearer and better sound so you could really crank up the volume and appreciate the production quality that has gone into broadcasting her performance.

[youtube 5o2CxeHUTJc]

I went out today and bought the CD and what a pleasure it was to listen to in the car at full blast!

The sky above the Bashfull Bull on Noriega and 19th, San Francisco, USA. 2006

Those of you who come to this blog every now and again, will have probably noticed that I often have photographs of the sky. There is something about the sky, that just calls to me.  The pure blue of a clear day just draws my attention to it like a bedazzled moth to a flame.  I particularly like to see unobstructed sky, like what one would see on the prairies or high up on a mountain. Just to look up and around to see 360° of sky is for me pure bliss.

I think I like the sky because it makes me aware of the fact that I am on a planet surrounded by a thin atmosphere. I quite often find myself just watching the sky and the weather that it brings; wondering about the forces of nature and their complexities.

Because I love the sky, I am also automatically very antipollution and I think that we should do everything we can to keep our environment healthy.  The trouble is that street cars or trams as we call them here in Australia, require overhead wires that clutter up the view of the sky.  I have lived in and visited various cities around the world that have opted to have electrical transportation on the roads. While I can only applaud the rationale for such a decision, I absolutely hate the way how such systems with their overhead wiring make a city look.

The cable cars in San Francisco are a huge tourist attraction but the overhead wires detract from the charmingly scruffy beauty of that city.

The Bashful Bull

In Vancouver, the overhead trolley bus wires are like some giant piece of vandalism that destroys the view of the nearby mountains and gives the whole town and dingy grubby look. What should be a beautiful city is in fact quite ugly downtown.

Melbourne, which has had an incredible urban renewal facelift over the last 20 years is still blighted by overhead wires for the trams.  The city authorities in Melbourne have gone to great lengths to make it a more liveable city by investing heavily in public artworks for the street, and the creation of open spaces. One would think that people in Melbourne would want, nay, even demand, some unobstructed sky in their open spaces. But what do we see instead, on the south bank of the Yarra? More overhead wires as decoration to hang little lights from. I would love to give whoever made the decision to do such a thing a good shake, while asking them what was going through their tiny little minds to do such a thing.

I don’t like Toronto, so to my mind the overhead wires for the street cars only make a drab city even more unattractive. I once had a fairly serious bicycle accident when I was in Toronto as I was turning a corner. My bicycle wheel got caught in a streetcar track, and I was flung off the bike headfirst into at a retaining wall made up of jagged pieces of recycled concrete pavement.  All I can say is, thank goodness for my helmet, or I would have been much more seriously brain damaged than what I already am.

So as you can see from my rant above I’m not a fan of transportation systems that obscure the sky.

Subways are good.  

Yes, yes, yes, I know……..

they cost more.

The gatecrasher

Yesterday I went to a bucks party for my friend Mark.  Now this wasn’t a bucks party in the usual sense that stereotypically involves a bunch of guys going out on a pub crawl and ending up at a strip club.  Most of my friends are way too civilised and jaded for such things.  So some of us went kayaking in the morning and in the afternoon we had a barbecue at one of Mark’s friend’s place.

Mark and I go way back, and we used rock climb and go ski touring a lot together in the past.  Mark and all his friends have had very similar lives to me, and it is amongst this group of men that I feel very at home and relaxed.  It’s not very often that I meet a group of people where each one of them has plenty of stories that are as wild, or if not, then wilder than anything I’ve ever recounted.  But in nearly every situation, there seems to be a fly in the ointment and at yesterday’s little gathering an uninvited neighbour gatecrashed our little get together.

The gatecrasher

Our host Ed was in a bit of a bind because he wanted to maintain good relations with his neighbours, so the intrusion of the gatecrasher was tolerated. The gatecrasher was so different to everyone else at the barbecue. He was dressed in clothing with either alcohol or car logos, splashed all over them and all he wanted to talk to people about was football.

We all found out as well that the gatecrasher had some retro ideas about women. For example, he thought that one of the most important question somebody should ask a prospective girlfriend is what footy team she barracks for. Strangely enough, he’d recently divorced and was single. I have a hunch he is going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

In all the years that I have known Mark and his friends, not once has any conversation with them, been punctuated with talk about sporting events.  It’s not as though these guys aren’t active, on the contrary, most of them still rock climb, a few of them do serious mountaineering and all of them have travelled extensively.  I guess that they are all doers, not watchers.

The gatecrasher was so out of step with what everyone else was into, that I was fascinated.  It was a bit like watching a train wreck. Each time he made an utterance, I kept thinking to myself I should remember what he said. I wanted to remember so I could write about it on this blog; because what he had to say was so different in sensibilities to what else was being said at the table.  As discordant as the subject matter of the gatecrasher’s conversation was, nothing really stuck in my mind, as none of it seemed to carry any weight.  His prattle was light and airy, but not in a nice way like a sparkling wine, but more like the off coloured scum one sees floating in open drains.

Why I felt I had to leave Vancouver in 1983

I lived in Vancouver for about three years, back in the early 1980s, and on the surface of things it looked like I had a good life. It’s a fairly picturesque place; I was making easy money as a freelance carpenter in the theatre and on television commercials; I was getting out into the outdoors often and to paraphrase Tom Waits, “I was getting more arse than a toilet seat“.

What more could a guy in his mid twenties want?

[youtube kzKiqk2iynY]

So why did I leave?

After travelling for a few intense years in Asia, I worked for another couple of years in America as a laser light show operator. My years in America had been one big blur of drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll.  For a young man in his early 20s it was like a dream come true but after a while, the ennui of such a life began to pall.  By the time I went back to Canada it was a case of “done too much, much too young”, and I was having a hard time forming lasting relationships with the people I was meeting because I had so very little in common with them. 

Many of the young people I met in North America back then, seemed to be spending an awful lot of time high as kites, spaced out on sofas in dingy basements panelled in fake walnut veneer listening to Pink Floyd.

When I look back at that time and think about how I was relating to people, it reminds me of those wildlife documentaries about wolf society. The alpha male and female get to mate and have a great time, while everybody else stands around in a circle watching, wishing that they were in the centre.  I found that the average North American of about the same age as me at the time, was quite passive socially, in that they wanted to treat every situation as though they were watching a performance on TV.  They just sat and watched, immobile.

I’d get up and tell my stories to a rapt audience but there wasn’t really any two-way communication. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I had such a good time in the States when I was working in the laser show. It was like I was some kind of low-rent rock god and people wanted to know me, because of what I did for a living, not for who I actually was. Back when I was younger, I didn’t really care why people (especially women) liked me, as long as they did.

By the time I arrived in Vancouver I was so different from the people I was meeting. I was beginning to feel very disconnected.  Just about every social gathering I went to was fuelled by alcohol and drugs and often times ended up with me wobbling home with some strange woman I didn’t give a damn about other than for some ephemeral gratification.

It was at this time in my life that I discovered how empty, casual sex really was.  After one particularly party packed and eventfull month I ended up in the sack with yet another strange woman who I had met that day, and I found myself totally disinterested in the promised pleasures of her offered flesh.  As I lay there, I thought to myself, “what the heck am I doing here?” “Who the hell is this person lying next to me?” For the first time in my life I got a sense of the complete “otherness” of another person.

I was also getting very sick of being high all the time. It seemed that everywhere I went the first thing that would happen was the marijuana would be taken out and a few joints would be rolled. It was just starting to get really crazy. Snowshoeing up in the mountains and half your party is sitting down in the snow tripping on acid incapable of taking care of themselves as the weather was changing for the worse. Lazing around naked on Wreck Beach with large groups of friends, all off their faces, high on magic mushrooms.  The party just went on and on and on.

the Razzbuffnik in his prime or so he thought

One day I was sitting on a park bench, much like the photograph above, tripping on magic mushrooms with a new-found plaything, who happened to be a woman, when I looked down at myself. I noticed how threadbare my jacket was and I thought about how I had nothing to show for the last couple of years in Vancouver other than millions of slaughtered brain cells. And who was this woman on the bench with me anyway?

In a flash, I realised I had to get out of Vancouver, before I was destroyed by my own sybaritic nature.

Within a month I bought an old bicycle second-hand and cycled back down into the States to do a 2000 km bicycle trip.

But that’s a story for another time.

Kinobe “Slip Into Something More Comfortable”

My wife and I had this piece of music by Kinobe, playing after our wedding ceremony as people entered the reception area to dine.

[youtube oonHquCgFl4]

We will be going to an ANCOLD (Australian National Committee on Large Dams) conference up in Surfers Paradise in Queensland next month. We figured since we’ll have to fly up there we may as well go right up to Cairns after the conference and do some diving on the Great Barrier reef, then fly directly back to Sydney. Both my wife and I enjoy train travel so we will go by sleeper up north from Brisbane. It’s a 32 hour trip but trains are a great way to travel because you can get up and walk around, visit the dinning car, socialise etc. It’s so much more civilised than cattle class on a plane.

As I was making my booking for the train and diving trip (2 days aboard a sailing boat), Kinobe’s Slip Into Something More Comfortablekept playing through my mind.

Our new folding bikes.

Next year my wife and I will be spending about three months in Europe. We will lease a new car in France and drive through Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Spain and Portugal. One of our plans is to spend a couple of weeks cycling down the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Although bikes can be hired in Germany to do these rides it’s not that cheap and we figured that it would be a time consuming hassle to return the bikes to their place of rental, plus it would be nice to use the bikes in some of the smaller towns we’ll visit.

A good friend of mine, Paul has a very high quality folding bike and he travels overseas on business frequently and sometimes he takes his bike with him. For example, Paul was in England last week and he rode his bike around Oxford for a couple of days. It’s Paul’s enthusiasm for folding bikes that helped us to decide to buy two of them for our up coming trip. The fact that the bikes were on sale was icing on the cake. 

Today we went cycling at Homebush Bay with our new bikes.

Engogirl and her new BendR

The picture below shows our two folded bikes in the back of our car. Normally I have to put down my back seats so I can fit one bicycle into the car, but as you can see, our folding bikes don’t take up much space.

The folding bikes in the back of our car

The bikes are also extremely quick to un-fold and it only takes about 30 seconds to do so.

Engogirl shows how easy it is to get the bikes ready to ride

Hindu fatalism and life in a volcano. Mount Batur, Bali, Indonesia. 2004

Back in 2004 my wife and I went to Bali on our honeymoon. My wife is fascinated with volcanoes, so we went to visit the massive Mount Batur, an active volcano in the middle of Bali, that last erupted in 1973.  All around the caldera there are various restaurants overlooking the inside of the volcano.

The volcano is so large that the far side of the caldera looks like a distant mountain range and there is a large lake in the middle.

Since volcanic soil is so fertile, the inside of a volcano is densely populated and heavily cultivated.

The Balinese are Hindus, and as such are quite fatalistic and feel that their fate is in the hands of the gods and as such they give scant regard to the danger of living in such a place.

Back in 1974, when I was 17 and visiting Bali for the first time, I met up with some guys that I had first met in ( what was then ) Portuguese Timor. We were all renting motorcycles to travel around the island. The road rules in Indonesia are more of a suggestion rather than law and the people renting us motorcycles didn’t care if we knew how to ride the bikes or not.  No licence was necessary, no helmet was supplied, and if needed, one would receive about two minutes of instruction in the empty lot next door.

Later on that day when I returned my motorcycle I saw a few of the guys that I’d bumped into in the morning and they told me about an accident one of their party had been in, that day. Apparently their friend had been making a turn and didn’t realise that when you are riding a motorcycle that you should lean into the turn and he smashed his bike into an agricultural ditch by the side of the road, breaking his neck.  As soon as the others had seen what had happened to their friend they stopped their bikes and ran to his assistance.  He was unconscious, so they tried to flag down some passing motorists, but nobody would stop.  So they blocked the road and asked the driver of the first car they forced to stop if he could help them by taking their friend to hospital.  The driver said that it was the god’s will, and it was their friend’s fate that he should die that day, and he refused to help them.  They pleaded with the driver but he refused saying that he did not want to interfere with the will of the gods. Left with no other option, the guys grabbed hold of the driver and threatened him with a beating if the he didn’t take their friend in the car.

All the way to the hospital the driver complianed that it was bad luck to help injured people.

When they got the hospital they were told that there was nothing that could be done for their friend as there was no one there with the training to deal with such an injury. The parents of the injured man were called in Adelaide, Australia and told of their son’s plight. Their parents immediately rang Qantas to find out about flying their son home, and they were told that they would have to buy tickets for five first-class seats to put a stretcher across and hire nurse to fly with him.

I didn’t see those guys again after that day so I don’t know what happened to the injured man. Back in those days, I thought I was 10 foot tall and bulletproof, and I never used to give any thought to my safety or the consequences of some of the stupid things that I did. 

These days, I travel with travel insurance