" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

September 21, 2011

"... And There's So Much Water So Close to Home" Paul Kelly

Great Reading IMO
I've just finished reading Paul Kelly's How to Make Gravy and the synchronicities just keep coming. 
I have a few of Paul's CDs in my music collection, but I have never heard him play live.
I wanted to catch him at the Byron Bay Bluesfest this year, but 
Elvis Costello was playing at the same time as Paul, and like Paul sings in "Everything is Turning to White" (as a group of men go fishing over a hundred miles away from their home, when they live right next to the sea)"... and there is so much water so close to home". 
Well, that was me and my son's reasoning, anyway.
We figured Paul's an Aussie and we'll be able to catch him anytime, while Elvis Costello may never come out here again.
But, so far I'm yet to see Paul play live ... and there really is no guarantee that I ever will. 
It's just one of those things we take for granted in our lives, when really there is nothing we can.
The same thing happened at the Byron Bay Writers Festival.
I was planing to see one of Paul's talks, but,"... and there is so much water so close to home" I went to see other authors form across the seas and missed out yet again.
As luck would have it though, I was in the bookshop tent and realized Paul was at the signing tent just outside, so I had to make a decision fast ... should I buy Paul's book, (that I didn't really want to read under normal circumstances. It cost $50 and weighed something equivalent to a house-brick ... which I was going to have to carry the rest of the day in my backpack) or should I miss another opportunity to met the man in person? 
My gut feeling told me I should buy his book, so I did.
And I'm glad that I did.
It was a great read and a treasure trove of memories and syncronicities.
One of my favourite Paul Kelly songs is Before Too Long, and I have only ever seen the film clip recently while Google-ing old videos of Paul's.
In the video a young Paul Kelly drives people around Sydney in his taxi.
I used to have a peddle car as a little boy, and only realized the other day while looking at an old photo that the number plate on it was CY-888
In the above clip at the 1.11 minute mark the phone number of the cab company on the door of the cab becomes visible (332-8888).
My father drove cabs for most of his adult life and the only cab number he owned was 424 (Before Too Long ... or Be4 2 4ong?-) and when he took his first yellow cab off the road, he gave it to me to drive as a private car, but transferred the number to his new gold cab.
The car I drove was an XD Ford Falcon, which is similar to the cab in the video.
424, the old cab I used to drive around
 that belonged to my father

On page 40 Paul talks about seeing Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons play in crowded pubs and how he would write a song for Joe Camilleri  
(the lead singer of Jo Jo Zep) called Only the Lonely Hearted, which would be Paul's first cover song, giving him a credit as a songwriter on an album.
Oddly enough, one of JoJo Zep's hits was titled Taxi Mary.
Paul says on page 41, "Joe was like a big brother to me and helped me get up and running ... and invited me to write with him for the Falcons. 
Through his influence Mushroom Records offered me a record deal, putting up the money for my first album, which he produced."
I never got into the Falcons, but I loved Joe's second band 
The Black Sorrows, so much so that I bought tickets to see them play on Queensland's Gold Coast, at Seagulls football club.
I even took my mum with me to see them, as she liked them as well, from all the radio play they were receiving at the time.
Linda and Vika Bull were in the band at the time and I thought that their voices were divinely inspired ... and I still do to this day.
They have the most angelic of voices between the pair of them.
And if ever  "... and there is so much water so close to home" meant anything, that was the night.
On page 53 Paul talks of riding in a taxi with Sir Donald Bradman as a five year old, because his dad knew him through professional circles.
Don Bradman has a reputation as one of Australia's greatest cricket batsmen to have ever played for Australia.
To be honest, I don't like cricket. 
It bores me to death.
To me summer means boredom, cricket and heat.
I'm a winter person. 
I spring to life in winter and die a slow, hot, bored death in summer. 
I live for the football season.
In Paul's song Careless the first line is, "How many cabs in New York City, how many angels on a pin?"
He even wrote a song called Cities of Texas , and in the middle of the book that comes with the CDs is a picture of Kerouac's book 
The Dharma Bums, which is another synchronicity, because I had just finished reading Dharma Road by Brian Haycock, which is about Zen and Brian's experiences of driving his cab around Austin, Texas (much like Paul is doing in the first song video above, 
Before Too Long).
Paul's CD book (left) Brian Haycock's book (right)
 I wrote about the day I purchased Dharma Road at a Byron Bay bookshop here -
The Black Cat Calendar and Wabi Sabi
 and the 8/infinity connection.
Paul's How to Make Gravy CD cover.
White Crow tomato sauce???
Did I mention Paul's favourite football team?
I love crows, too. 
But not the Adelaide Crows, sorry Paul. 
Go the Lions!!!
 Another  weird connection with this blog and Paul's book was on the Friday night after having bought Paul's book I had made a reservation for one (me) to dine at The Fig Tree Restaurant, and since I was dining alone, I thought I had better take something to read with me, so I grabbed How to Make Gravy (which was probably a good choice for a restaurant anyway;-) since it seemed an easy book to skim through.
On page 172 Paul talks about writing his song 48 Angels and how he was inspired by listening to Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot's duet Je T'Aime ... Moi Non Plus, which Serge wrote for BB.
But Brigitte pulled out and Serge recorded it with his girlfriend, English actress Jane Birkin.
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin are the parents of singer and actress Charlotte Gainsboug who was the lead actress in The Tree, which I wrote about here -
The Fig Tree Restaurant has a massive fig tree which reminds me very much of the tree in the movie.  
The Fig Tree looking out from
restaurant window
While talking of movies, Paul's Grandmother was an Opera singer ..."who maintained a lifelong friendship with Australian author and communist Katharine Susannah Prichard, whom she had first met in Perth. 
Some of the scenes from the film Shine (see post below for more Shine connections) were set in Katherine's house.
When my mother watched the film in her seventies she had flashbacks to her childhood visits, so faithful was the recreation of the rooms within."
Paul even starred in a movie himself, along with his wife at the time and their daughter.
It was named One Night the Moon named after a song he wrote for the film.
I haven't seen this movie yet, but it is on my "to watch" list.
Another coincidence was when the Kelly's moved from Adelaide to a house halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast (which is pretty close to where I live, although I'm closer to Brisbane) and how Paul said, "during Queensland tours, the band and I would drop in on our way to a gig at the Beenleigh Tavern, just up the road" (page 254).
The Beenleigh Tavern is where my Wedding reception was held in 1988 (23 years ago).
On page 256, Paul makes a remark about the 11th November (Remembrance Day), which was the day I got engaged to be married in 1987.
On page 278, Paul says, "Juliet came by the house quite often. She was a curl-haired, voluptuous, almond-eyed beauty with dangerous ways. 
Later on, the filmmaker Paul Cox would make a film based on her called My First Wife.
Paul Cox was at the Byron Bay Writers Festival the same day
Paul Kelly was.
I went to see Paul Cox and Gillian Armstrong give their talk on the Saturday called If a Picture Paints a Thousand Words.
Which was where I  ran into Mad Max actor Steve Bisley, who just happened to sit down in front of me.
I wrote about that here,
Bob Dylan and Byron Bay
I bought Paul Cox's book Tales From the Cancer Ward, but he never turned up to the signing tent, so I ended up with an unsigned copy. 
It was about his recent run in with cancer and his liver transplant.
I'll be starting it soon. 
Paul was asked to write a song for a movie called Tom White. 
He came up with Meet Me in the Middle of the Air ... pretty much Psalm 23 with a few variations.
On page 313 Paul says, "psalm 23, attributed to David, is often recited or sung at funerals...", which is funny because I specifically requested it for my wedding, because it is one of my most favourite and comforting religious songs.
Meet Me in the Middle of the Air
Paul Kelly

I am your true shepherd
I will lead you there
Beside still waters
Come and meet me in the middle of the air
I will meet you in the middle of the air

I will lay you down
In pastures green and fair
Every soul shall be restored
I will meet them in the middle of the air
Come and meet me in the middle of the air

Through the lonesome valley
My rod and staff you’ll bear
Fear not death’s dark shadow
I will meet you in the middle of the air
Come and meet me in the middle of the air

With oil I shall anoint you
A table shall I prepare
Your cup will runneth over
Come and meet me in the middle of the air
I will meet you in the middle of the air

In my house you’ll dwell forever
You shall not want for care
Surely goodness and mercy will follow you
Come and meet me in the middle of the air
I will meet you in the middle of the air
Come and meet me in the middle of the air
I will meet you in the middle of the air.
Paul then tells how Tom White was up for 13 AFI nominations in 2004, but lost them all to a movie starring Sam Worthington form Avatar, and Abbe Cornish from Limitless won all 13 awards.
It was a film called Somersault.
In yet another "Six Degrees of Separation" moment,on page 321 Paul talks about recording an album in 2003 at Real World in England
A complex set up by none other than Peter Gabriel.
And if you've read through this blog, then you will know what part Peter Gabriel's influence has had on my life.
Also talking about the movie Tom White, the lead actor Colin Friels is also in Alex Proyas's Dark City as Det. Eddie Walenski;
"Walenski: I've been trying to remember things, CLEARLY remember things, from my past, but the more I try to think back, the more it all starts to unravel. None of it seems real. It's like I've just been dreaming this life, and when I finally wake up, I'll be somebody else. Somebody totally different!
Inspector Frank Bumstead: You saw something, didn't you, Eddie? Something to do with the case.
Walenski: There is no case! There never was! It's all just a big joke! It's a joke!
Colin is also married to actress Judy Davis who is in Fred Schepisi's The Eye of the Storm (see post below) a movie I hope to see this Wednesday.
And still on the subject of movies the song 
Everything is Turning to White was written by Paul for a movie called Jindabyne based on the short story by Raymond Carver called "So Much Water So Close to Home".
Below is a You Tube of Paul's song.


  1. Okay so holy sh*t...lots of cool music today. I've not heard any of these before so appreciated the fresh on the ears thing. Also a synchro for me...The Dharma Bums has come up here... making it the third time I'm seeing it today...guess I better see if the library has a copy. shame you didn't get Paul Cox to sign your book.
    Have a great day.

    On another note...I've taken my blog private...invite only after having it hacked into twice now...would love to extend an invite to you if you are so inclined to read....send me an email address to

  2. Karena,regarding Paul Cox not signing the book.
    I think it was just another synchro,because I got to have a very interesting conversation with another author,Karen Viggers,about her book and lighthouses and all kinds of stuff,and I got the feeling this was the real purpose for me waiting for Paul at the signing table.So,I think somewhere down the track I'm suppose to read "The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife" for some reason.
    Here's the link to her book,if you are interested.