posted on May 8, 2009 at 9:10 pm

i just read yesterday
possibly the nicest thing
that anybody ever said about our music
mr verdelay on hotel womb
wrote something like
i love this album
and i want to find more ways of talking about it…
and in those most simple words
especially as we all know verdelay can turn on a burst …
but this simple emotion so frankly and guilelessly put
hit my heart harder
than all that brilliant wordy stuff
honourable mention to altres
whose enthusiastic gush also made my day
there is a lesson to be learnt in this
i remember my brother russell showing me something
something he’d written
a script or a treatment or something
now i had previously felt that russells stuff was never quite as
“special” as mine
but today
his writing was so clean
so minimal
suggesting so much in such few words
bereft of even one unnecessary adjective
the whole piece was like an aerodynamic glide
no friction no pull
it was a joy to read
it suddenly made most of my stuff seem
so overwrought
(witness bits of earthed where the fucking adjectives pile up
like verbal corpses)
and i really learned something that day
something that had never ever occurred to me
sometimes simplest is best
you see
a writer has a lot of choices
and an english writer has a lot more choices
than writers in some languages (swedish for example)
because english has a lotta words baby
yes and even wise guys like me dont know the half of em
so think about it
when you wanna chuck an archaic latinate word in there ….
is it really the best thing?
i think practice makes perfect too
and you gotta write n write n write
it took me a while to find my feet on here
and it’ll take you a while to find your own feet out there
dont give up cos youre writing what you think is rubbish
nobody really knows about their own stuff
and great writers go off the rails
and idiots can come good
and after all
you got all the same words as philip k dick or j d salinger
so whats stopping ya?
i dont think theres a short cut
even if you are a genius
you have to stumble round in the wilderness for a while
then one day
a phrase slips out
and you
you marvel
did i write that?
that poignant and effortless phrase…?
and you begin to see a light
and you suddenly say
hang on
thats it!
and maybe for a brief moment
you can see
your “in”
your own way in to the mystery of writing
so many different types of writing
travel writing for example
you dont want baudelaire writing a travel piece
youd never wanna go there wherever he wrote about
you dont want enid blyton writing about carnivale in rio
you dont want henry miller reporting on the funeral of a princess
you dont want james joyce writing the car reviews
you dont want steve frickin’ kilbey writing the footy guide
you dont want edward lear doing the restaurant reviews
am i making myself clear here…?
horses for courses
you may be a surrealistic whirlwind
but you cant describe a bowl of fruit
you may have a delightful naive sensibility
but your attempts at beat poetry are the pitts
i dont know
be what you could all my friends say
be what you could
a simple twist
take everything ordinary
twist it ever so slightly
change one tiny piece of a pattern
re-present concepts in a new light
yes i read ryans travel writing in some mags
and guess what
i ceased to think about his writing
and i just thought about the place where he was
his sore feet
the camels
the horrible food
and his writing became transparent
and revealed through his eyes
the places he was travelling through
this is exactly how it should be
a travel magazine shouldnt dazzle ya with fancy language
its all about the travel
and much writing is like that
you must be able to subsume yourself
like a record producer
some writers stamp themselves all over it
while others allow things to be but with their subtle guidance
oh there are some beautiful parts in the bible too
pages n pages of rolling words sublime and fragrant
and this is part of the “good” books appeal
it has such an iconic beginning
in the beginning god created the heaven and the earth
it brooks no disagreement
its succinct and all inclusive
it leaves no loop holes
a masterful beginning to a book
one can learn a lot from the bible…
unfortunately reality is not one of them…
any way
ive blthered on n on
not mentioned philip pullman (marvellous!)
proust (marvellous!)
and loadsa others
not covered the half of it
but ok
thatll do for now i guess
now go on
write a masterpiece
i dare ya!

34 Responses to “write on ! (3)”

  1. avatar
    VeganBoogers | 8 May 2009 at 11:02 pm #

    I wish I could. I must have a learning disability because I cant remember stuff a few days after learning. It’s embarrassing. I began using chat rooms over 10 years ago after a friend suggested this to help my spelling and punctuation. I quit!

  2. avatar
    Martin | 8 May 2009 at 11:28 pm #

    Listening to the record and I’m liking it more and more. Thanks! “Cobalt blue”, “Space Saviour”, “On Angel St.” and “Sunken Sun” are my favourites right now. Hope to see you soon … are you playing in Europe at all this time?
    – Martin

  3. avatar
    eek | 8 May 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    “you dont want steve frickin’ kilbey writing the footy guide”

    Yeah, actually I do!

  4. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 8 May 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    hey now if everyone wrote a masterpiece we would all be on the same page…hip hip hooray
    Jonny Hollywood

  5. avatar
    davem | 8 May 2009 at 11:48 pm #

    Kilbey on the back pages!! Scary thought.

    “write a masterpiece
    i dare ya!”. We leave it to you from #1 to #23.

    Just had a mooch on HW. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their opinion but….to write “this album sucks” whilst raving about Jammed is just incoherent and silly.

    I think U#23 is more than a fine piece of work…but even if you don’t “lurve” it, it certainly doesn’t “suck”.
    I’m going to bed feeling a bit (understatement) annoyed at reading that. Spiritualized were splendid tonight. JP in fine fettle.
    Love you SK

  6. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 8 May 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    “and you gotta write n write n write”

    Couldn’t agree more. Basically nobody can teach you how to become a good writer but yourself. You may get some good pointers and some useful advice at workshops, but at the end of the day you’re not going to be succesful at it unless you write, write, write. And write.
    I’ve been working on a screenplay for years, while making a living as a copy writer, and I remember reaching a point, where I had written 50 pages and waking up in the middle of the night realizing it just didn’t work. So I got out of bed and right back to work. At this point I have written about 100pages, and after a dozen rewrites I am ready to write those last 30 pages or so. Writing is HARD work. Very frustrating but also extremely gratifying.

  7. avatar
    restaurant mark | 9 May 2009 at 12:04 am #

    i really enjoyed that one steve…very inspiring. i’ve been writing poetry/lyrics since i was a little kid. hit me pretty young. sometimes i struggle with it…the liking my words one day and finding them either trite or overdone the next. but i keep on…feel compelled to do it. guess i always will. thanks for your words.

    take care

  8. avatar
    Thomas Irvin | 9 May 2009 at 12:21 am #

    sometimes simplest is best
    you see
    a writer has a lot of choices
    Good point. And if I may say so, I think your best blogs are those in which you’ve got a very tight focus. I recall one in which you discussed “detachment” in the creative process and its importance. That was a great blog, as it was focused but also brought in lots of disparate elements (even Tiger Woods). I also remember your writings when Grant died, which were incredibly beautiful. Obviously on those occasions the focus kind of takes care of itself as you can’t really think of much else.

    “But, but,” I hear some protesting, “that’s not what we want from SK! We want his mind to wander all over the landscape!” Well, I’d suggest that your best stuff has a tight center core, and this foundation allows you to build the intricacies and wordplay we all love around it with greater clarity.

    So, anyway, I guess my point is thanks for this series on writing. I like the “suggest a topic” format. I suspect it’ll continue to bear fruit.

  9. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 9 May 2009 at 12:44 am #

    Lamentably, writing is akin to the music industry wherein the popular writers are rubbish and the talented writers are ignored. John Kennedy Toole’s “Confederacy Of Dunces” is viably the most clever and funny book ever written. It was rejected by dozens of publishers and the poor guy killed himself. It got published several years after his death and has sold millions of copies. He was suicided by an unfair world and never had the chance to experience any acclaim.

    The biggest jerks are newspaper editors. You can write a terrific letter but if they disagree with it or don’t like the writer, forget it. No wonder Morrissey hates them so much.

  10. avatar
    princey | 9 May 2009 at 1:23 am #

    You make it sound so easy sk! I’ve never found it easy stringing words together in a beautiful and poetic way, that’s why I enjoy reading other peoples words, especially yours.(aint that a surprise)

    Have a lovely weekend, it’s so cold, wet and dreary here today, you’d be glad you stayed put in Sydders with weather like this:)
    Love Amanda

  11. avatar
    M E M | 9 May 2009 at 2:14 am #

    killer, enjoying your exposes on writing… wonder if you have any statements or experience to share on collaborative writing…


  12. avatar
    heather | 9 May 2009 at 2:15 am #

    yes Thomas Irvin, the detachment day was memorable (cannot bring myself to use the horrible b word)..had a very meditative feel didn’t it; which transmitted to the reader….I am fond of that one

    and with Eek on the footy guide….if SK’s reviews are any indication, his footy guide would be brilliant!

    I’m still waiting for Killer’s bedtime stories…would love to hear Steven read his favourite kids stories.


  13. avatar
    CSTCoach | 9 May 2009 at 2:32 am #

    Thanks very much Steve. I never expected 3 blogs worth. And thanks to all the fiendss who recommended books. I posted a long reply to yesterday’s blog. I’m outta town so a day behind.

    iseult – very kind of you to link my blog. i’m pleased and humbled to hear you’re enjoying it.

    esskay – i think that’s the ticket. simple, clear, direct writing. elegance and minimalism is tough to pull off well. when you really nail it, the writing should be effortless to read. it should carry you along, and transport you.

    i loved this: “change one tiny piece of a pattern -present concepts in a new light” – that’s one of the coolest things i’ve gleaned from your lyrics over the years. those plays on words and subtle shifts cause you to pause for a second and see something new in the seemingly familiar. One of the things i want to do with travel writing is to draw something larger from the journey. i want to write the sort of things that provoke reflection, that aren’t forgotten the moment you turn the page. the sort of thoughtful, reflective journeys that make you think about your own life from another angle, and that maybe spark the fire that sets you free. I also want to find the common humanity that unites us regardless of culture. its tough to support bombing someone you’ve shared food with. you know firsthand that that’s a human face out there, someone who also has hopes and dreams. you can either shatter them or share in them. What do you choose?

    I also completely agree with what you said yesterday – that in music you also have the emphasis you place on the lyrics. The way you deliver them. You’re a fucking master at that. Anchorage is a great example. I’m so steeped in your music that I hear certain words in my head as you’ve delivered them in certain songs. And that’s how i mean them in my writing – with that subtext (the feeling that song called up in me).

    and i agree with all you guys about just writing. i rewrote my book 7 or 8 times over 7 or 8 years, and only by the end of that did the actual story come clear to me. it was a way of interpreting my experiences. But it does get easier. it flows more clearly the better you get, until you reach a level of mastery as exhibited by steve, where it flows out such that even you may not know what it means. that’s pretty forking cool.

    thanks again brother for doing this. What a cool thing this blog is. Imagine being able to ask advice and share thoughts with the artist whose work you most admire, and consider most influential? 5 years ago old kilbee was just a (rather cool) disembodied voice on the only music that really took me there. the world’s a strange place.

    i just hope 3 blogs worth didn’t plunge you into new hells of rsi. If you’d just do (and keep doing!) your fucking exercises we’d get somewhere ๐Ÿ˜‰

    will look into the other issues you mentioned. anon was right re: unfermented soy. the studies are pretty compelling about soy’s undesireable impact on the hormonal system. you may be seeing the results of that.

    more in a day or two. I’d like to print these blogs and reflect on them for a few days.

    (fiendss, please support the arts and commission blogs, you won’t regret it)

  14. avatar
    lily was here | 9 May 2009 at 3:31 am #

    I get too frustrated SK. It drives me to tears that i cant get out what i feel. My husband says its all in my face but on paper Im speechless. I am prolific at deleting. Im all over the place ๐Ÿ™
    I agree, its a real talent to say a lot, inspire in just a few words. I thought exactly the same thing when i read Verdelays words.

    I’d like you to write the footy guide too, the cooking section, the horoscope, tv/music/film reviews and you’d be particularly funny in any gossip columns. You should have your own paper, the Kilbey Times.

    love xox

    ps Brien C i thank you wholeheartedly for all the reviews you’ve posted around the net for the band.. thank you so so much!

  15. avatar
    Tim_G | 9 May 2009 at 3:36 am #

    “. . . and after all
    you got all the same words as philip k dick or j d salinger
    so whats stopping ya? . . .”

    So true, and we all have the same amount of 24 hours a day too.

    Great post today SK – so many of us readers of your blog enjoy the value of the written word, dabble in writing our ‘stuff’ so your words today are inspiring and motivating.

    Thanks for the post.

  16. avatar
    Anonymous | 9 May 2009 at 3:46 am #

    ”I feel a loss
    that i just can’t deny
    try to compensate
    for that last goodbye
    when it comes to you
    well i just can’t hide
    there’s a kind of love
    that will never die
    after all this time
    and all that we’ve been through
    seen it in you eyes
    and i sussed that truth
    tried to talk things over
    get to the root
    hardly seems worth saying
    how i’ll miss you…”

    wrote the above in about 30 seconds ten years ago, never managed to change a single word. Three chords-ish (DAG). Suppose it just sums up a feeling.

    (PS. Rediscovered an old Church bootleg from a Madrid gig in Dec 82 a few weeks ago)

    SJM, Aberdeen, UK

  17. avatar
    linjo | 9 May 2009 at 4:31 am #

    Fear will stop us from trying new things. I have recently started studying cert 4 in mental health (cough splutter!!) and being basically a lazy person was expecting multiple choice answers. WTF! have to write 1000 page reports on each subject with Harvard referencing! yikes! first 3 down and its starting to roll, yeah I can do this, just gotta keep on trying. You are a wonderful storyteller Steve, I love this blog so much and it doesnt matter what the subject is. Eek, I know Steve’s voice is like a warm bath (with lavender oil) but I have never thought of TY as having a whine. Have you listened to ‘fake plastic trees’ (TB) or ‘Thinking about you’ (PH) heaven! Linda x

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 9 May 2009 at 5:59 am #

    Glad you got the test results. Don't worry the thyroid and liver can be treated, lucky everything else is good, follow the Doc's orders. Saw a recent pic in a mag of Patrick Swayze, he's a walking skeleton now, it's so sad, I really admire his fighting spirit. We take life for granted too much when we are in good health.
    Just read the Rolling Stone 5 star review, Congrats you all deserve it.
    Not long now to the o/s tour, hope you have time to fit a farewell gig in.

    Peace & love

  19. avatar
    Anonymous | 9 May 2009 at 6:04 am #

    I don’t know what to write means, I don’t know its origins (I know the origenes but when I started I was naturally blind about it), I don’t know from where it came. At 4 I was extremely impatient cause I could read but couldn’t write. I still remember when I wrote my name for the first time, the first word I ever wrote. It was a difficult name (the form leads to the content) and it had many curves and accidents but I dominated them and felt power for the first time. The moment I grabbed the pencil sitting in my teacher’s lap at 5 I felt I could do anything in this world (which world?, I was yet to find out the vital question). At 7 I bursted, my fingers were all reaching my grandmother’s typewriter (an internationally awarded four-language translator) and I wrote about desolated fishermen, stormy seas, sinking ships, the glory of spring, furious and threatening messages to the world (ha), ecology, my father, my permanent anguish, forests and transcendental love. I still can see quality in some of these. And I also easily recognise there was something monstrous already living inside me that made those words come to life. And this was in a far more complex and tougher language than English. Then I grew up and learned that I came from a writer’s lineage and that one of our greatest modernists and literature/social critics was my great-grandfather. I began to read him and our themes seemed to be scarily similar. Nature and the nature of truth and happiness, the anguish with Time (he died at 41 from health complications after a car crash but he was actually killed by his doctor who was addicted to cocaine and did his last surgery when he was theoretically out of danger without any hygiene), sinking ships and the ephemeral. His rhythm was vibrant, his words were simultaneously geometric and baroque, his vision despised surface, he was after the shadows that things create. Anyway this is a deep subject (for me) and I won’t continue it here.
    Writer = ego novelist. Storyteller = writing egoist (o egoรญsta da escrita). The writer paints, the storyteller takes pictures. The plot of a writer is his language, the language of a storyteller exists for the plot. Still, both can mingle, a writer can reach peaks of enthusiastic fiction and a storyteller can indulge in valleys of slippery words. And the poet rises above them all for his words have the power to become facts through their sonority, cadence and elegance which all lead to expanded meaning. The reality of a poet is more than a story. Sometimes I really think stories aren’t meant to be told. The human comedy is already too experienced by poets and writers. And what do they do? They reorganise it making their words become the legitimate offspring of human comedy. But I understand that when a novelist is also a writer he can get into a really immeasurable territory.
    On health: you’re fine, virgRoan. I’m pushing 30 (who? me?) on late May and well… Right kidney is a mess, chronic esophagitis, sinusitis (underwent a nose surgery last year, big deal), completely fucked up back from writing too much, over-sensitive skin (what a metaphor, what a joke) and the list can increase during thorny times (the list did begin due to endurance tests’ overload). But of course, in spite of all this pain, I am a rock. And I can surely overpass my own limits. I just have to learn DISCIPLINE. I only have discipline to struggle to have discipline.
    Now I have to sleep, but please, magician, do some luck potion to me cause I’m gonna need it this weekend.

  20. avatar
    Anonymous | 9 May 2009 at 6:08 am #

    Oh. I think the only person entitled to write about carnival in Rio is… you. Fleshy surrealism, dear.

  21. avatar
    linjo | 9 May 2009 at 6:45 am #

    meant 1000 word

  22. avatar
    loolaabillions | 9 May 2009 at 8:22 am #

    well i guess
    i’m not much of a writer
    but i know what
    my eyes like to read
    so i will always return to
    this sanctuary
    forever live on the time being….xx

  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 9 May 2009 at 11:22 am #

    My dears,

    This is the first Saturday in May and a sad anniversary of the death of another writer….our dear Grant. I remember this day three years ago…seems like yesterday…and I was only a fan.

    You were lucky to have known him SK.

    Good night,


  24. avatar
    Freddie | 9 May 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    โ€œ(witness bits of earthed where the fucking adjectives pile up
    like verbal corpses)โ€
    Oh ๐Ÿ˜€ Surely not!
    I know a nice lady who always seemed to be telling me or somebody โ€œyouโ€™re using too many adjectives!โ€
    I like Earthed! Did you ever consider reworking it w/o the adjectives just to see how it sounds?
    I donโ€™t know; Iโ€™m not so sure I have a masterpiece inside of me.
    My attention span is too short.
    Does a haiku count as a masterpiece? ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. avatar
    iseult | 9 May 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    nobody else can write like any of you

  26. avatar
    fantasticandy | 9 May 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    your responses the last couple of days have been almost as cool as the work you commisioned.
    good on yer man!
    i think i’d better start checking some of your stuff out……
    mr. kilbey,
    you do seem to attract interesting characters don’t you?
    a talent in itself methinks………..

  27. avatar
    esne snoner | 9 May 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    thanks sk – it was because of your blog that i started my own – back in the days when is was tres fashionable but for me a lesson very quickly learnt was the simple act of articulating a thought, emotion or experience actually multipled the sensation – particularly when expressing the experience of a film seen or a gig attended

    i’d recommend to anyone with time to spare and especially no particular person to share experiences with to sign up and start rambling – so true what you say – sometimes it is bewildering what can spill forth

  28. avatar
    Anonymous | 9 May 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    I was listening to Mimesis and then I thought: “Let’s see what Kilbey has written today in his blog”. Reading your blog as the music/words flowed was really a very interesting and worthwhile experience.

  29. avatar
    Anonymous | 9 May 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    love . here’s to absent friends,

  30. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 9 May 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    Lily Was Here:

    Thank you for your nice remarks. I crusade for animal rights, Jeff Beck, Steve Kilbey, Chrissie Hynde, MOZ and MACCA. It’s an honor !

  31. avatar
    princey | 9 May 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since GW passed away, I was just listening to Fireboy the other day, my fave song “Riddle in the Rain” still brings tears to my eyes, he was such a great songwriter:)

    Happy Mother’s Day to all mums today too!

  32. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 10 May 2009 at 12:48 am #

    yes i do agree that less can be more when you’re working with words (also admire mem’s poetry for this fact, very spare but vivid), i also love when somebody weaves a rich tapestry of words when describing something/someone, carries me away like a river…..
    love always….

  33. avatar
    because i know u can | 10 May 2009 at 5:48 am #

    do you

    you can

    i dreamt
    the color

    you saw

    on your



    off with a

    what is


    me behind

    find me

    i stand


    all been

    this before




  34. avatar
    Anonymous | 10 January 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Ah, I got it! Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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