posted on September 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm

sim salla bim

bar rome 1924

well folks i just did the melbourne writers festival

3 gigs over 3 nights

weird i suppose

seeing i’m not a writer really

i mean lyrics are lyrics

a great lyricist is not necessarily a writer

its not  a given

anyway i gotta slightly literary air to me

so i do my first gig on thursday

its at a really nice venue northcote social club

i’m on between lisa miller and a poetry act johnny hammer n little miss x

when i get to the gig its not a bad sized crowd

it seems they were mostly there to see me

which i dont take for granted

maybe a couple of hundred people maybe a little more or less

anyway i get off to a good start when i play ancient world

this makes me smile and the audience make me smile

it wasnt how i’d planned it to be it was better

i had planned this smooth singer a real pro

but it soon just unravelled into me

but i didnt mind myself so much

and the songs came flowing out ok

i fluffed n blew a few small things

i was a little rusty on guitar but it was ok

ok is ok , ok?

i wasnt fucking mozart

but i wasnt a total hamfisted turkey

i was something else

i began to open up a bit

told some stories behind the songs

grant would enjoy hearing me tell of our jack frost days

i do 2 frosties songs and i stop to annotate them for the crowd

it all comes off smoothly

i explain where grant n i are coming from

how we came up with our stuff

it was a mysterious mystical process

grant had broken up with miss a b

and all his songs were informed and energised with his melancholy hurt

he turned his sadness into beautiful songs

shot through with his tender through to jealous outbursts

so i told em about some of that

i played ok as i said

but it was a warm night

the audience and i had no pretensions with each other

they were supportive and protective

they tried to enjoy what i did  and they did

they understood it and it was a relief like rain coming

so no barriers

a lovely audience

thank you i needed that gig

i came off and i was happy

i nipped round to the little lords and had veg lasagne at 11 oclock

with lovely avo salad

next day

me n martin k drive for miles out to a photographic studio somewhere

on melbournes sprawling outskirts

we drove for ages to get there

we do a photo shoot in our tuxes

our new album is called white magic

so we’re like 2 magicians or scientists or billiards players

or some pair of crazy inventors

a bit of dry ice smoke n voila

instant esoteric geezer

i pick up a slender chrome tube

martin has a little crystal ball

hey this is me as erskine

you finally get to see him folks

that dusty old fraud doing tricks

anyway what a great session

what a great new record

the guy doing photos is a brilliant bloke too

knows what to do thats for sure

one of these will be our album artwork

hey presto !

anyway that night do a gig with a bunch of writers including bryce courtney

i get to meet one my all time faves china meiville

who wrote the scar which is an incredible fantasy

we chat a bit n hes every bit as entertaining as his excellent books

i was starstruck and i pounded him with questions

he cut an imposing figure

quite a bit taller than me

in his mid thirties i guess with shaved head

one ear has many many weird piercings

and hes totally buff

like hes in amazing shape

just short of body builder

he looks like a stunt man for a character in his own books

folks this guy is a real genius

it was kinda weird to talk to him

his books are a total detailed n sometimes fucked up universe

on his world its more laissez faire

life is cheaper and things are more random

apart from humans there are other cactus-men

and lobster men

and mosquito men

and these all coexist uneasily

and things get outta hand easily

so meeting the author of all this fantastic madness was extraordinary

my actual gig was 2 quick songs n bobs yer uncle

afterwards i went for ten minutes to a boring party

i dunno i felt uneasy

after a few conversations i split

i came home got an early night

been eating too much sweet stuff n have put on weight


just goes to show ya

this morning did a little photo shoot with glenn bennie

then we rehearsed new gb3 album with band

wow very very good band too

tight and controlled

i am amazed at how they reproduce the songs so faithfully

we rehearse for a few hours

i split to do a gig in town

i end up sitting around with dave graney having a chat

dave graney is a mercurial type

hes got quite a look going half dapper half camp

hes got a good schtick too

hes funny n urbane n knowledgeable  on a wide range of things

we just have a general rave

i play a couple of numbers not that well

ive added a new verse to ancient world

the girls down in nineveh

give their love forever

the temple whores’ll have ya on the floor

the ladies down in ur

with the whips and the fur

they say summer is super in sumer i’m sure…

anyway that gig was ok you know

i just talked to dave for a while n that was that

thanks con n family for goodies

nice to see big smiles kate who was smiling of course

sam sejavka was there

we had dinner together

but sam felt a bit under the weather n left early

that leaves me here hombre

in my 5 * hotel big deal nice view

melbourne is a huge vibrant city

i love it i love its residents

the coolest city in australia

im just too hedonistic to live here

i just like that bondi weather sorry and the pool


great to hang with martin kennedy

we had a good time doing the magician shoot

nice to rehearse with gb3 with gigs coming up in syd n melb

all my true n original fans who came along

man, i appreciate you guys

you are the core of my sanity

finally a weird moment

i started painting a commission portrait

to snap me out of my painting dry spell

although i stall halfway through a painting of hotel womb

yeah i was painting the song on commission

its a hotel foyer

theres the guy who commissioned it, theres me, theres an armadillo

theres a native girl theres a guy screaming at the desk n blah blah

but i just havent been able to finish it off

i bit off more than i could paint it seems

anyway so im doing this commish of this couple

and i been working on the guy for about 2 weeks

from this photo hes sent me

and i know this face with its glasses n little beard

a kind of vaguely uni student face i guess maybe a bit older tho

a reasonable intelligent looking kinda geezer

so i’m standing there today talking to someone

when my mind goes

whoa theres your painting walking past

and i start to think i’m finally cracking up

coz my mind has recognized this archetypal face now

cos i been working hard trying to get him right

and this painting side of my mind

that knows this guys face so well

is confused to see that face over there

and it looks just like my painting of him

seeing the actual guy was a bit overwhelming

when i wasnt expecting it

i was totally confused for at least a moment

i never realized the guy was from


i thought he was an austrian or something

it was disorienting anyway for a short time

he turned out to be another diamond geezer

i hope i can nail the painting for him n his mrs

so thats it my friends

my report

see ya next week at van park

you gotta come

its a whole new bag

42 Responses to “writers festival”

  1. avatar
    Lara | 4 September 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    You’re not really a writer? You had me fooled. 😉

    You know I read for a living and thus am very picky about what I choose to spend my time with. Trust me, I would not be checking the TTB every day if you were not a very talented writer.

  2. avatar
    Richard | 4 September 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    would be there in a flash if it were a few suburbs instead of a few states

    thanks for the invite

    hope lots of others take it up

  3. avatar
    Shoffy | 4 September 2010 at 11:24 pm #

    Steve, great blog tonight, best one for ages, however long ages is? Sounds like you had a great time and you were happy. Good stuff. I love Melbourne, just dont get there often enough. Shoffy

  4. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 5 September 2010 at 12:25 am #

    Excellent !!!!! I can tell by this blog entry that those old batteries of yous are almost completely charged. I hoped and prayed that these past couple days would be fulfilling for u, and reading about about a near-stalking of a esteemed writer made me smile. Isn’t that ironic, thats what many of us do (become awe-struck) when we are in you presence. Did anyone record parts of these events so u could post them for the masses to enjoy? If not, it was a pleasure to here u describe the shows, it made me feel like i was in the audience, or backstage with u. About the weight thing, sweets will do that to you-but a little concentrated exercise,yoga and cleansing will get u back to ur boyish figure…LOL !!!


    Also- that is a great picture u posted from the photo session, very mysterious and full of wonder. Martin K looks like one of those early vacum/encyclopedia salesmen that makes his employ-door to door. You would be the muscle to ensure the patrons pay-up.

  5. avatar
    eekie | 5 September 2010 at 12:31 am #

    Austrian, Australian — eh…same difference. 😉
    I was just wondering if you’d gotten started on that painting…guess I know the answer now. How cool for the guy who commissioned it to have you recognise him…I bet that will make the painting even more special.
    The HW one sounds amazing…someday I want to see that one!
    I’ve been seeing some of the photos from the KK photo shoot — gorgeous! What spiffy album art that will make! White Magic…nice title.
    “it wasnt how i’d planned it to be it was better
    i had planned this smooth singer a real pro
    but it soon just unravelled into me”

    Someone sent me a recording of most of this performance and I’ll tell you it was better than ok, it was delightful. That came through so clearly, even in a recording. I can only imagine how much more wonderful it was actually being there. “…unravelled into me” — I think this is a big part of what made it so special…a good and supportive audience allowed you to let down your guard and just be you…and that’s pretty damned special. This performance radiated a wonderfully joyous shared experience. Even made me happy. 🙂

  6. avatar
    Freddie | 5 September 2010 at 12:34 am #

    I enjoyed listening to most of the first show, too bad the recording didn’t catch Ancient World.

    The magician pics have been showing up on fb one at a time. Each one I like better than the last and to date this is my fav. I impatiently await the new album.

    Funny about the guy in the painting. I saw a young Steve Kilbey in the park yesterday. He wore a hat like the older one and shorts too, yep and the same beard. Looked like he must have been caught up in some sort of time-space warp and got spit out in a park in C-ville, GA. He was pacing about the parking lot looking kinda lost.

  7. avatar
    davem | 5 September 2010 at 12:55 am #

    That was great. Thank-you!

  8. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 5 September 2010 at 1:05 am #

    I’m totally convinced that Steve Kilbey is just as talented as Johnny Lennon and MACCA ! MACCA tops SK as a musician but SK tops MACCA as a lyricist. In short, it’s great that all three men have graced the world. More of the world needs to become cognizant of THE CHURCH.

  9. avatar
    Ryan | 5 September 2010 at 1:38 am #

    >seeing i’m not a writer really

    You’re a brilliant, gifted writer. Your writing has taught me a great deal about the craft and continues to inspire.

    Sounds like things are going really well – great to hear about all the shows, though a bit envious of those in Australia who get easy access to all this stuff!

  10. avatar
    PINK CHURCH FLOYD | 5 September 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Hi again Kilb’s
    The weather was awsome in Melbourne today.
    On the way down,it woodend was pissing down
    I get to Melb and it was warm and humid.
    Headed home and get back to Woodend, and yep!
    It’s still pissing down …. , “Typical”
    But it is worth the crappy Winter weather here
    Living in what i like to think as my personal paradise.

    I really enjoyed your little do today at Fed square
    I was hoping hard to meet you but really doubted that i would,
    But then, at the end, i realized that it was all up to me.
    I either go home on my merry way with just a memory, or, i take a dive into anxiety plus and come over and say hi and ask for your famous name in my book of you.

    Like i said, i really didn’t expect to “meet” you , and i surprised myself and trodded off with my new mobile phone wallpaper of Steve Kilbey, Angela Barclay and Sam Sejavka.

    What a cool day it ended up being,
    Thankyou so much Kilb’s
    And your singing and guitar wasn’t rusty at all.
    It was just lovely.
    The perfect thing for a sweet Saturday afternoon.

    Enjoy your stay in Melbourne Kilb’s
    And i’ll see you in Thornbury in November
    I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

  11. avatar
    Tanya | 5 September 2010 at 1:56 am #

    I beg to differ – You are a writer AND a superb lyricist.

    Hotel Womb has always intrigued me…very cool that someone has requested a visual! I Gotta give some thought to the significance of the armadillo in your painting, as I’ve only seen them dead on the side of the road since moving to Texas. Perhaps seeing your painting would be the only chance I’d have to see one ‘alive.’ Will there be an unveiling on your website?

    Happy painting, writing, playing, singing, creating…. Wow, I wish I was the female version of you!

  12. avatar
    andy | 5 September 2010 at 3:23 am #

    sounds as though your’e in fine fettle my friend!
    so glad your’e enjoying all these new departures……..

  13. avatar
    andy | 5 September 2010 at 3:26 am #

    and…oh yes,
    buy MEM’s cards people, they’re bloody awesome!
    and…they come with a little book with an intro by SK……..

  14. avatar
    M E M | 5 September 2010 at 4:00 am #

    HOT TICKET when i sprout my wings i’ll be there in a second.


  15. avatar
    Donna | 5 September 2010 at 4:27 am #

    Wow! Sounds like you’ve been busy doing a lot of great stuff! I love the tuxes! I’m glad everything is going so well. I hope you picked Mieville’s brain about writing books, because you really are a writer. I would buy one of your books in a heart-beat.

  16. avatar
    Name | 5 September 2010 at 5:05 am #

    that reactionary bliss both ways — an audience and a writer meet!

    you know, I don’t remember his words specifically, but Henry Miller…

    when we are reading a writer’s work it is truly for when the reader feels something that bonds in their own hearts… both shear joy and sorrow (are good)if it shows the connection of souls — and the dreams that are so vivid help to walk through what is our own path(s). That to write (/read) only for knowledge or to placate the culture of our society seems worthless.

    I always thought he was so right (though I know(!!!) — I probably butchered his quote, but not his thought I hope).

    My favorite authors bring lyric and a form of music to their writings; though, I don’t think many others are musicians too.

  17. avatar
    verdelay | 5 September 2010 at 6:47 am #

    I could call a few towns home, but Melbourne is My Town in excelsis. My bones were picked clean in Bearbrass, exposing my soul; I sacrificed my twenties on the altar of excess in its bars and cafes; I bathed in wonderous golden light through three thousand shimmering Melbourne evenings; I opened and closed The Book there (but understood nothing I read). And yes, it’s the very town where I bought my rose tinted spectacles, the ones I’m wearing now with their filigree frames of lead. It’s been six years now since I left. Just six, but a whole life in those little grains of sand. Just hearing you whisper its name brings a smile and tear.


  18. avatar
    Jonny Hollywood | 5 September 2010 at 8:25 am #

    from one writer to another, YOU ROCK!!!

  19. avatar
    captain mission | 5 September 2010 at 8:41 am #

    ‘not really a writer’- well for what it’s worth, you are my favourite writer. some narratives are just breathtaking.

  20. avatar
    Darling Baby Pie... | 5 September 2010 at 10:21 am #

    (Sim Salla Bim)
    Wow K.B.P.P, I love the way the photographer captured you juggling both balls in the….. oh…. hang on….

  21. avatar
    princey | 5 September 2010 at 10:40 am #

    Hi sk, it’s always a pleasure having you here in Melby, and to hear you talk about music and other stuff yesterday was so special, you’re always so interesting and funny, I could listen to you for hours (can’t say that for DG though! :). I feel so lucky that we see you here so often and look forward to all the gigs coming up!
    Take care, stay positive and have a safe trip back home sk.
    love always,

  22. avatar
    evilren | 5 September 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    so many bad, bad daze this year and The Time Being was always the
    bright spot of my day, glad to see things shine your way also Steve.

  23. avatar
    Mike | 5 September 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Can’t wait to hear the new Kilbey Kennedy. Loved this entry. What a glorious time.

  24. avatar
    Melissa | 5 September 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Thank you so much Steve and your beautiful guild 12 string guitar <3 It was the loveliest afternoon I've had in a long while!

    Safe travels home, and a wonderful Dad's days with your children 🙂 Counting down the days for Sydney and Van Park, woooo!


  25. avatar
    hellbound heart | 5 September 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    busting a boiler to hear the new sk/mk album…..
    i LOVE china meilville….have just finished reading ‘the city and the city’ and it blew my mind…….have you read it? what did you think? i want to read his latest one, ummmm, what is it, my mind’s a blank at the moment but i couldn’t order it because the publisher had ‘issues’…….was it the kraken?
    damn, all’s i know is i want to read it rather badly….god i love a good book….

    love always….

  26. avatar
    cazziem | 5 September 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    You may not see yourself as a writer SK, but as far as I am concerned both your songs and your poetry tell a story. Hell I’ve even listen to some of your music without lyrics that trigger my own over-active imagination to visaualise images that tell a story, so please believe in yourself a a writer the way I do.

    Also, the VERY best of luck with the musical not to mention your birthday on 13th!!!

  27. avatar
    Richard | 5 September 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    you are someone who tinkers with words
    you see how they sound
    you hear how they look
    you see them back to front and inside out
    you see them as something that can be cut up and recycled
    as something at once inane and indispensable
    meaningful and meaningless
    maybe there’s a better word for what you do with words than ‘writer’

  28. avatar
    Steven Krut | 6 September 2010 at 4:58 am #

    You have a really interesting life and get to meet so many talented people and do cool things. I’m really excited about the new album with MK. The last one is incredibly impressive and so beautiful. You two are a good fit. I hope things go well with Van Park. Wish I lived close enough to go see it and your gigs.

  29. avatar
    Kristine | 6 September 2010 at 5:49 am #

    I adore the photo of you and Martin K. Brilliant photography – what a great session!

  30. avatar
    simon | 6 September 2010 at 9:38 am #

    yep, that was me – and believe me, it was such a surreal moment for me as well, not to mention my brother and friends, who had i hadn’t told about the painting, and didn’t know what was going on when SK recognised me and approached us

    but i definately appreciated the chat Steve – we couldn’t stop talking about it all night

  31. avatar
    princey | 6 September 2010 at 10:06 am #

    Hello, hope everything’s ok and u had a lovely Father’s Day with the kids yesterday……Melby already feels cold and empty without ya 🙁
    Hey, I forgot to say how much I loved hearing “Nothing Inside” and “Fly” the other night, beautiful songs they are.
    Good luck with the play this week sk and keep us posted ok.
    Take care and lotsa love,

  32. avatar
    Cocoamo | 6 September 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Wonderful blog.

    Well, if we devoted fans can’t exactly be the apple of your eye, at least we are the core. Ha ha. By the way, have you ever eaten the seeds of the apple? They are delicious – taste sort of like anise.

    And if you are not a writer, I am not

    Your friend from Pennsylvania

  33. avatar
    Na | 6 September 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    can’t find it, the one copy gone
    looking for days, maybe soon it’ll come
    back to my hands for a listen once more
    to remedy the Sabbath, torn to the core
    found some Paw in the nick of time
    hard sound thick guitar, most sublime
    not in comparison to friends now gone
    did I lend it to my brother
    should I ring his home
    the radio’s the same, tepid and voidly void
    record shop memories, Bus Driver, pink floyd
    looked one more time in a closet by the garage
    maybe soon spinning, soothing, my desert mirage

  34. avatar
    Di | 6 September 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Looks like I’ll have to move to Melbourne then.

    Lady Di

  35. avatar
    jonny hammer | 7 September 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Hey hammer here thanks for mentioning us in yr blog…we got on 15 or so minutes after you n threw my poetry and thundering guitar bass n drums into the solus of those people who remained.
    I liked our easy chat in the band room, like we were old friends.
    All the best ….little miss x….

  36. avatar
    jonny hammer | 7 September 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Hey hammer here thanks for mentioning us in yr blog …we got on 15 or so minutes after you n threw my poetry and thundering guitar bass n drums into the souls of those people who remained.
    I liked our easy chat in the band room, like we were old friends.
    All the best ….little miss x….

    sorry to repeat i put up the wrong mutherfuggin website!!!!

  37. avatar
    matt davison | 7 September 2010 at 8:13 pm #


  38. avatar
    hellbound heart | 7 September 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    ……am now reading the third bear by jeff vandermeer……bloody good stuff…..

    love always……

  39. avatar
    mark griffith | 7 September 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    wow…you’ve been a busy man! sounds like things are going well for ya though. very good to hear! loved the blog today. i’ve been very busy here as well…that’s why i haven’t commented much lately…between work, kids…especially my 1 year old hurricane sophia, and a lot of recording for a new project i’m working on…haven’t had too much extra time. trying to come up with a band name…hate doing that. they all either sound like too much or boring to me. it’s just me and jay ( you’ve met him with me and anthony ) from my previous band on our own…songs are going great. we’re not sure if one of us are going to sing or try to audition for one??? my birthday was sunday and spent most of the night recording drums/percussion/bass and mixing…so a day well spent…
    anyway…take care sir

  40. avatar
    princey | 8 September 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Ok, 4 days is waaay too long, is everything ok sk? Please come back soon 🙂

  41. avatar
    BigSmilesKate | 8 September 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    Just checkig…don’t publish this – but are you OK Steve?? nothing for a few days not even approved comments?? Please just a one liner to say you’re OL. I hope you are. Bit worried.

    BS Kate

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.