Rod Wise

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One feels diffident about writing such things as a potted biog. It seems, in my case, that a ``career'' has not been a relatively planned progress forward, but rather a perplexed looking backwards, after the event. Then one can say: so that's what was happening, so that's what I was doing all those bloody years, fart-arsing around like that. I should never have listened to VJ ``Shirley'' Temple back in 1961, and become a brickie, or something else useful, instead. (`cept I can't stand heights.) Yeah, I suppose I did a few things, went to a few places, met a few people, which might amount to much or nothing. In brief, I dabbled at uni, emerging eventually with an MA degree; I dabbled in trade unions, organising a few strikes, spending a night in the slammer, drinking a hell of a lot of beer; I dabbled in politics, nearly got into Federal parliament, won a churchill fellowship, threw a few bombs, schemed and plotted, then managed to fall out with just about everyone from the communist party to E.G. Whitlam to Nick Greiner, which was a pretty fair effort, I guess. And eventually ended up in journalism where I should have been in the first place. Hey, they pay you here for saying what you think (or, at least, they used to) instead of sacking you, as happened to yours truly a couple of times along the way. But that's another story.

Also along the way, I managed to get married twice, and sired five kids (one of whom is a heavyweight at American Express - where the hell did I go wrong?); the youngest has just turned three which should test me well into my 70s. I travelled a bit, including illegally into Laos during the Vietnam War, which was enlightening, especially falling into quicksand on the banks of the Mekong. Football training stood me in timely stead then. While I was doing all this crap I began to get the idea that what I had really wanted to do all along was be an opera singer. So when my 1981 divorce freed me up a little I gave it a go.

Seriously, I'm glad I did it - you should do those things you really want to do (capital crimes excepted) - and eventually surprised myself by being cast in and singing a few lead parts in the Mozart (light to middle) baritone repertoire Figaro, count almaviva, valentine, rigoletto, that sort of thing. But they didn't tell me that you also had to remember your lines. By 1987 when Il Pagliacci, of all things, had become a bloody nightmare, I said to myself one day in Pambula, stuff this. And haven't sung a damn note since. For the past ten years, on and off, I have been working on The Novel, which after 425,000 words and 75-80 chapters, is just about finished. (Its working title is, of course, ``Bastards I have known'', and you're all in it!) After forty years, I think I can say that I am much mellowed. So, as I said at the outset, that's what happened. But as to why? Stuff me!