Pete Emptage lives and works in Melbourne as a disability support worker, English teacher and musician for groups such as Paddock, Where Were You At Lunch, Sweets, Hello Satellites, Hotel Echo and Open Swimmer. He also happens to have a growing passion for Chinese translation.
Max Ryan is from Newcastle, on extended leave in northern NSW, his father’s country. His book, Rainswayed Night, won the 2005 Anne Elder Award and his chapbook Before the Sky was joint winner of the 2010 Picaro Poetry Prize.
Together, Pete and Max have collaborated on the project, Before We Lose Each Other Again, which featured settings of Max’s poetry by the trio, Where Were You At Lunch, was launched at the 2012 Queensland Poetry Festival.
More recently, however, Pete and Max have explored poetry through translation. Three poems, originally by Max, appear here in translations produced by Pete in collaboration with two colleagues from the Taiwanese residency program, Taipei AIR. Peril is delighted to join with Pete and Max to share the following works with – and invite feedback from – our readers as a part of our Elderspeak edition:
Pete and Max are opening the door to Peril readers to contribute and develop these three works in translation – well, and if there is a Chinese death metal or punk outfit willing to take on the musical response, then they’re open to that too! Readers interested in contributing to translations are welcome to comment to the pieces or to email Peril or Pete directly.
Here they speak with Eleanor Jackson, Peril Poetry Editor/Editor in Chief about the process of collaboration, translation, multilingualism and poetry, and how to stay ‘game fit’ for language.
E: Thank you both for taking the time to share an insight into these works, which really are an outcome of several collaborations – first between you, Max, as a poet, with the band, Where Were You At Lunch, in which Pete plays bass, which involved settings and performances of poetry to the beautifully spare, post-rock accompaniment of this Melbourne-based trio. This time, however, Pete is acting as Chinese translator in collaboration with Travis Hung (洪明化) and Yun Ju Chou (周韵洳) as a part of a recent residency project in Taiwan. Can you share with us a little of how this new phase in collaboration came about, its inspiration and what the process entailed?
PE: Max’s son Kishore and I studied music at a TAFE in Melbourne, and after a while we started playing in an instrumental band together with one of Kishore’s oldest friends, Samaan Fieck. It’s probably fair to say that besides music one of our biggest shared loves is writing, and after a few trips to the North to visit Max and make music as Where Were You At Lunch, it became abundantly clear to the three of us that we’d be hopping mad not to engage with Max in a collaborative music making and word wrangling sense. With all his big-open heartedness and wild word-smithing brilliance, Max jumped on board and we commenced what was to be a thoroughly inspiring process of writing, recording and performing new music that had been built into song forms around the scaffolding of Max’s words. We were very fortunate in getting to make the first of what will hopefully be many Max Ryan and Where Were You At Lunch albums with our dear friend, producer and lover of poems, Nick Huggins.
Max’s deep love of songwriters, his past experience with Indian classical music and his collaborations with Cleis Pearce, Kavisha Mazzella and other talented musicians has equipped him with a very virile and free-range arsenal of melody and emotion when relating his work through sound. He is also very generous in sharing what his words may or may not be about, yet he leaves plenty of room for his bandmates and listeners to extrapolate their own meaning from his fluid and beautifully crafted ramblings. On reflection, it is this generosity of spirit that first enamoured me towards Max’s writing and encouraged me to listen more closely to his words as he sang. The two published editions of Max’s poetry, Rainswayed Night and Before the Sky are, in my opinion, both very moving, humorous and devotional collections of poetry that turned me on to some of the heart breaking poignancy of daily, ordinary fleeting moments and the steadfast effectiveness in the rhythms of ancient poetic structures like the pantoum, haiku and tanka.
I’m really grateful to Max for helping to bridge the gap in my waylaid imagination between the poetry that bored and bamboozled me in high school (here’s looking at you William Shakespeare and Bruce Dawe) to a joyously infinite variety of poetry and words that with humility, patience and a relaxed mind, can be enjoyed by almost anyone regardless of their knowledge of ancient languages or works of ‘the Greats’.
Family connections in Taiwan and a growing love for Mandarin Chinese, have led to me dabbling with translation over the past 10 years or so. I’ve toyed with anything from Mandarin pop songs and Tang dynasty poetry to a shoe company’s inner-sole instruction guide, in an effort to understand the language and broaden my ability to connect with people through listening, speaking and writing.
The first poem of Max’s that I attempted to translate was Before We Lose Each Other Again. This earthly and romantic ode addresses death as a ‘faceless hunter who never rests’. Its steady meter creates both a foreboding, ominous mood whilst also embracing moments in time, ‘the runaway sun’, a ‘dress of mirrors’ , ‘ your name on a stranger’s tongue’, that whilst impermanent, help flush our daily lives with a love beauty to oppose and balance out the at times crushing and ever present shadow of death.
Max graciously accepted the gift of a handwritten version of my very amateur translation of this poem. He stuck it on his fridge and each time Where Were You At Lunch travelled to Max’s home in Northern New South Wales, Max would ask questions with childlike curiosity about how I’d gone about translating certain lines. This ongoing dialogue has always been supportive and inquisitive, and Max whilst not having a background in Mandarin, has been really wonderful in making me aware of translations he’s enjoyed of works by Rumi, Tagore, Rilke and more modern writers whose poetry has been published on online journals such as Asymptote. We’re both aware of the limitations of my fluency in Mandarin language and ability as a translator, but this hasn’t swayed us from the goal of sharing Max’s works with a bilingual readership and discussing the ways the act of translating opens doors into new landscapes of meaning and interpretation. To date, this has been an immensely rewarding process that we hope others can partake in via offering suggestions or alterations for these translations improvement.
A key factor in finding the time and support to complete these translations involved my participation with a group called Murmuration in an Artist-In-Residence program in Taipei, Taiwan called Taipei AIR. During a three month stay at Treasure Hill Artist Village, our hosts Travis Hung and Yun Ju Chou were incredibly kind in assisting me in my endeavour to translate and print six of Max’s poems from English into Mandarin. We conducted both informal email sessions and more structured meetings in person in an attempt to present Max’s work in a manner that honours and truly represents the poems form, fluidity and emotional intention. None of us have had formal training in translation, however we were able to really relish and embrace the healthy to-ing and fro-ing of ideas and options whilst whittling out these versions of translations included in this edition of Peril. My deepest thanks go to Yun and Travis for their patience in working with such a persistently enthusiastic hack. Hopefully, some Peril readers are able to share in the wonders of Max Ryan’s writing and also feel welcome and inspired to help chip away at the layers of incoherence and intrigue that these translations into Mandarin potentially create.
MR: Really I had little to do at the translation end. I remember Pete had done Chinese versions of a couple of my poems before the Taiwan residency. He asked me if it was alright to go ahead with his collaboration with his Taiwanese colleagues and of course it was.
EJ: The novelist and poet, Anne Michaels, once described reading poetry in translation like “kissing a woman through a veil”, which must surely be a disappointment to the many English-speaking haiku readers, non-German Rilke fans and anyone without enough Ancient Greek to get through the Iliad. But what about the process of having your work translated? Max, as both the author of these works and a reader of poetry, what is your relationship to poetry in translation, and has this experience with Pete altered that in any way?
MR: Firstly I’d have to say many of my favourite poets are read in translation. Rilke, Lorca, Rumi, Rimbaud would be pretty well unavailable to me without such. I think of Coleman Barks especially in this light – his extraordinary versions of Rumi have brought the great man’s utterances to millions of hearers. Is Rumi in English the same as Rumi in Arabic? Of course not. A shame, though, if we were denied Barks’ work on such grounds. We put a great trust in the translator to walk the fine line between some kind of accuracy and truth to the original and an honouring of the ineffable quality that constitutes poetry. In a sense every poem, even one in the first language of the reader, represents a translation. Each individual reader brings her unique experience to interpretations of the poem.
The great critic and lover of poetry, Harold Bloom, shows us the deep connections and mutuality of the work of many great poets, a relationship that crosses the seeming barriers of language, time and gender. For Bloom the poetry of Lorca or Neruda has more in common with Whitman for example, than with works of these poets’ native contemporaries. The strange and vivid diction of Emily Dickinson has perhaps no equivalent in English and seems to be in the spirit of some modern Japanese poets I’ve read in translation.
I’m touched that Peter is drawn to attempting translations of my poems. His deep commitment to the study of several Asian languages is an inspiration. Of course, my perception of these versions is somewhat opaque but I’m rested in knowing Peter and his colleagues have delivered something special and I’m honoured these poems will be read by at least some readers of Mandarin.
… “kissing a woman through a veil” sounds like a good description of reading works in translation but hopefully that doesn’t preclude the profound glimpse into wonder that a reader may experience.
EJ: Pete, having had the good fortune to see you and the rest of the band, Where Were You At Lunch, perform some of these works live, I am curious as to your motivation to revisit Max’s work in this work in this way. In a musical sense, the band’s response had a strong, improvisational feeling with a very unforced relationship between the music and the natural meter of Max’s lyrical, narrative style of poetry. Translation, on the other hand, especially for a non-native speaker, seems to me to require a different kind of measured focus – has this been the case for you, and how does this compare to your creative process as a musician? Has it changed your experience of the poetry itself?
You are so right, Eleanor. There is an amount of measured focus that was required to translate Max’s writing that is quite different to the type of focus harnessed as an improvising musician. That said, I’ve discovered there are crossovers in terms of both mediums requiring a patch of ‘grunt work’ or analytical study to enable a lucid freeness or intuition to flourish and reign when making a new translation or song. In translation, this for me has involved picking out the words or ‘bones’ of the piece that I hadn’t encountered before and translating them individually so as to have them at the ready when confronting the whole poem or piece of writing. In music, I guess that’s kind of like practising scales or learning other people’s songs so when it comes to improvising or making something new you have this ready-to-go palate of sound ideas to draw from and play with. Both these fields seem to require us to tap into the joys of endlessly expanding our internal vocabularies so as to be ‘game fit’ and prepared to access the appropriate language or sounds when the right moment arises.
In this lifetime, I’ve spent more time playing with music and sounds than I have playing with Mandarin and poetry, so I feel that relatively speaking, I have a touch more fluency as a musician than I do as a translator. I whole-heartedly accept that I’ll always be able to learn more in both these areas, and messily revelling in the learning process rather than beating myself up mentally for being clumsy and inarticulate in either activity has been for me a helpful and healthy way to remain light-hearted and present when partaking in these two distinctly varied past times. Max’s trust and willingness to have his work subjected to the tinkering of beginners has been a real gift and has inspired me to do the best job possible in presenting his work in another light and language.
Another similarity between translation and music-making has been the presence of continued dialogue between two or more parties. In both these practices, once a proposal for a song or a translation has been made to a collaborator or collaborators, a discussion ensues in an effort to reach the right phrasing, meter or tone of a line in a poem or melody in a song. This dynamic interaction between two or more humans has for me become somewhat of an addiction. The myriad of outcomes that unfold inevitably leads to more questions and possibilities, and in the end to achieve some kind of resolution or shareable ‘thing’ with a concrete form, conscious decisions have to be made and the people involved need to arrive at some kind of agreement or confluence of visions.
Engaging in this process of translating Max’s writing has definitely changed my experience of his work. The act of speaking his words out into the world for a stranger or new friend to hear and relate to, has provided me the opportunity to hear how Mandarin’s internal sounds and structures shape meaning and also how other people respond to his work. Travis and Yun’s interpretation of a line like ‘in the last hotel before the sky’ from Streets of Jogjakarta opened up many an elongated conversation regarding Max’s meaning. “Does he mean ‘heaven’?” “Is he talking about ‘purgatory’?” “Is that some hotel in Indonesia that Max has actually visited?”
For more abstract phrases like this, Yun and Travis were often inclined to search for a 成語（Chinese phrase or idiom) that they felt captured the essence of Max’s writing in a more ‘poetic’ manner’. In these cases I was often arguing against the use of a 成語 because I felt that many of Max’s word choices were drawn from ‘everyday’ language he’d either overheard or chosen for their effectiveness in portraying intangibles in as simple and unclouded a manner as possible. These discussions were invariably knotty and often hilarious as Yun, Travis and I tore our hair out wondering “what in God’s name is that crazy Max on about?”
It was really fun and refreshing working on these translations with Yun and Travis, who by their own admission “aren’t that into poetry”, but were willing to chat openly and candidly about what they felt readers of poetry in Chinese need in order to comprehend the meaning or ‘story’ the poems have to tell and get a sense of the original meter and mood of Max’s writing. I think Max knew full well that the three of us may have been engaged in a process of decimating his chances one poem at a time of ever becoming a respected poet in the Mandarin speaking world, but to his credit he always remained supportive and understanding that the beauty in his work may at stages be lost in our well intentioned amateur translation. As I’ve mentioned previously, it is my wish that the continued dissemination of these works in English and Mandarin leads to further discussions with people who are be willing to offer suggestions as to how these translations might be improved.
EJ: In one of the works that we are featuring here, After Catullus, you evoke the somewhat shocking figure of the Roman poet to question a particular kind of new-age poet fostered, presumably, in the Byron Bay area where you live. Max, how do you imagine how the cheeky fun of a work like this would be received by Chinese reader without that context? Pete, how did you co-collaborators relate to some of those cultural contexts or references?
PE: After Catullus was a real blast to translate. Conveying the deliciously venomous humour Max’s original is dripping with, required quite a lot of hand flailing and histrionics. Providing the back story or ‘cultural context’ to a poem like this was essential in conveying to Yun and Travis, why the narrator appears so perplexed when pleading “just please, oh please, don’t call it poetry.” It turns out that the Goddess, charlatan/poet archetype oft found inhabiting the Byron Bay area, is also a live and blathering confidently about themselves and their insights at readings and gatherings all over Taiwan. Once this cultural connection was established we were off and able to attempt relaying the mighty sarcasm and exasperation in the voice of After Catullus‘ spokesperson.
One interesting conversation that cropped up during this process was in relation to the use of sarcasm or 諷刺in different countries. A contentious question arose as to whether or not sarcasm was used more frequently in Australia then in Taiwan as a means of delivering acerbic criticism veiled in humour. My co-translator Travis assured me that sarcasm thrives in everyday exchanges, political commentary and playgrounds all over Taiwan and that whilst the character Leela in After Catullus sounds like quite a specific and localised breed of human, the universal aspects of her nature could be recognised and related to by a Mandarin speaking audience.
MR: Hard to say of course but there are always these libelous characters in all cultures. I know some of the ancient Chinese poets made sometimes veiled but highly satirical references to members of court or even fellow poets. Han-shan is a poet who springs to mind – his Cold Mountain poems are wonderfully irreverent and untrammelled.
My poem was called After Catullus just as much for its form and style as its fairly castigating tone. If you read the man himself, you’ll see my words are fairly inoffensive compared to his. He was even exiled for some of his more vicious utterances. We call this Leela on our recording – a full throttled ‘barbaric yawp’ to quote Whitman. I was pretty coy about doing it as a song but Kishore and Samaan especially were keen to thrash it out. Growing up in Byron Shire, they’d doubtless met many a Leela. We all love doing it now.
I can only imagine some of the difficulties encountered by Pete and his co-translators, especially in encountering certain idioms. I got a small insight into this when Pete made me a copy of Streets of Jogjakarta with the English and Mandarin versions side by side. The line “there’s tea and easy tales of places” came back as “there’s tea and relaxed tales of places” – a fairly minor difference in English but one they’d obviously nutted out between them. Pete’s mentioned the conjecture about the last image, “the last hotel before the sky”, in the same poem. I’m not really sure what it means myself.
EJ: It is worth mentioning that one of the other band members of Where You at Lunch, Kishore Ryan, is in fact Max’s son. While I am fairly certain that the coolest thing my father and I have ever collaborated on was probably an amazing Jackson-family special version of apricot chicken, I imagine that there are always interesting dynamics when collaborating between generations. What do you feel you have both learned from the experience?
The fact of Kishore’s being my son is some times mentioned in connection with our work together but I’m not sure how much there is in this. Of course it’s a rare honour to have this creative relationship with one of my sons but when we’re actually playing or rehearsing it’d be pretty hard for some one who wasn’t aware of the familial tie to notice anything different from the way any of us relate to each other. Our work as a band is very much a four-way street, which is one of the things I love about it. I imagine as we keep playing together we’ll come up with a more collective name.
As for the inter-generational ingredient, I can only say it’s exhilarating to have this experience. Besides playing a music that is very different from music of my generation, WWYAL have a very different feel to most of their contemporaries. It’s really inspiring to be working with such intuitive players. Quite spontaneously we seem to have fallen into a beautiful groove. These things can happen and hallelujah for that.
We’re playing pretty loud these days, which might put off some older people. There’s more of a demand to listen in a way that a younger generation seem to have no trouble with.
PE: We’ll have to get that special apricot chicken recipe off you, Eleanor. I wonder if for the vegetarians out there a ‘tricken chicken soy-based meat substitute’ would go well with the sweetness of the fruit?
Anyway, this mention of inter-generational culinary collaboration reminds of the very honest and often ridiculously funny way in which Max and Kishore often communicate during our trips to the North to write music together. Their repartee in the kitchen or on the deck out the back of Max’s place is always buoyed by such love, humour and openness which I reckon has a really positive influence on the dynamic of our meandering meetings and rehearsals. There is always plenty of room for one more story before dinner is made or songs are tinkered with and as Max, Kishore and Samaan are all such gifted, natural story-tellers, in my opinion these exchanges, over cups of tea are often where the joy in our collaboration lies. I feel I’ve learned from this collaboration that the songs we build together are just proxies for all the things going on in and around us and our kaleidoscopic lives. Making time when we get together to share stories has so far been as enjoyable and valued as the instrument plucking and word forming aspect of this collaboration. It feels as though through sharing stories that a real loving connection between the four of us has been forged. Hopefully in some small, intangible way this love trickles down into the music we make together.
EJ: The Heart Breaking Makes No Sound uses the Malaysian-derived form of the pantoum in which, in English at least, the meaning of repeated lines can shift somewhat depending on the context, and at times punctuation. Did this, or other works, present any challenges or opportunities, Pete, in terms of translation into Chinese, particularly in the sense of the use of form, which is a particular quality of classical Chinese poetry?
PE: To be honest, in translating The Heart Breaking Makes No Sound, my heart skipped with glee. After long grinding stretches of working on poems of Max’s with less or no repetition, I saw this poem as an opportunity to rest up and use the ‘apple C’ and ‘apple V’ quick keys on my keyboard to cut and paste the repeated lines of this very haunting and elegiac pantoum.
One of the most treasured gifts I’ve ever received is from my dear Taiwanese friend Wanling, who patiently and painstakingly wrote in lead pencil all the bo-po-mo-fo (the phonetic script used by students learning Chinese in Taiwan) to a thick book of Tang Dynasty poetry. This helped me read and get a feel for some of the heart-shattering beauty in classical Chinese poetry. Whilst nurturing a love for poetry and translation, this very non-academic engagement with poetry and it’s multitude of forms has not really equipped me with the ability to deconstruct works and utilise their formal elements when reforming new versions of a poem into a second language.
I guess that’s been one of the biggest learning curves and challenges in attempting to translate Max’s work. Max has such a good knowledge of the forms he is using that it seems he is able to work with them, whilst not having them impede a very simple transition of often really raw and visceral emotion. Working to create new versions of these works, made my technical limitations as a translator very clear. I feel as though whilst Max is able to build with his writing a sturdy structurally sound house that feels wonderful to inhabit, with all the magic joinery and craftsmanship concealed but essential, at present the versions of his poems we’ve made are structurally sound, but probably lack a bit of the polish and finesse that gives a place and poem a really sweet feel. We’ll keep working on them.
EJ: A reviewer said that the Where Were You At Lunch collaboration on Streets of Jogjakarta, which we feature here, “invaded Tom Waits’ repertoire” with its “Gamelan percussion and the sultry humidity that bathes this Indonesian love song”, and I am inclined to agree with that this track has one of the best evocations of place and sensation on the album. Max, many of your works are influenced by your experiences living and travelling through various countries in Asia. The academic, Mark Beeson, once described Australia’s relationship to Asia as “The Years of Living Aimlessly”; how would you describe Australia’s artistic and cultural relationship with the region and has this changed significantly in your experience over the years?
MR: I don’t think there’s much in the Waits connection but I can appreciate the description of Streets of Jogjakarta. I’m glad our recording evoked that experience. There’s a line in the song, “and while music draws pictures from the steamy air”, which pretty well sums it up. There seems to be a dream-like dimension to this piece amplified by the hypnotic rhythms and spare instrumentation.
I feel blessed to have been able to spend so many years in Asia, especially in India. Most of my time there was in the 70s and 80s up to the assassination of Indira Gandhi when things got pretty dark for a while.
It was a different time, before the internet and mobile phones – even making a telephone call was almost impossible – so there was at times a fairly exhilarating sense of having disappeared from your previous existence and the western world. For me, our gain has been our loss in terms of the ease these days in being contactable. I remember standing on a railway station in the middle of the night somewhere in Madhya Pradesh and thinking I could just walk off the platform and just disappear. It feels like that ‘’lostness’ has been a major part of my experience of India and South Asia. It’s pretty conducive to the writing of poetry or at least a state that can engender it. In some ways, I think the focus on “identity” can go around in ever more emphatic circles. Maybe in some sort of existential way, the mulling over this as defining some sort of personality can be valid but I tend to agree with Keats that the poet has no identity.
Most of my poems about these places were written many years after a particular experience, like Wordsworth’s notion of poetry’s origins being “emotions recollected in tranquillity”.
I can relate to the notion of “living aimlessly”. I was fortunate to have been able to surrender to some sort of deep unknowing. What can you say about a place where God is an elephant riding on a rat, a goddess with a necklace of skulls and ten arms and ten legs or a monkey who can bounce the sun around the sky? India will bring you to your knees. Despite the weight of years, I can’t forget the mystery it flashed to me.
EJ: When I initially approached you about this work, Pete, you were beautifully open about your newness as a translator and the invaluable contributions that your co-collaborators, Travis Hung and Yun Ju Chou, made to the project. You have also warmly offered Peril readers the opportunity to contribute their suggestions to the translations in the hope of developing them further. Are you aware of the work of the Marco Polo project? And do you feel that multilingualism is well supported in Australia, particularly for Australians with English as a first language? What kind of feedback or response would you hope for from other readers?
PE: I wasn’t aware of the Marco Polo Project but will look into it. Celebrating diversity and encouraging people to engage with multilingualism and literacy is really important. Especially in a country like Australia that has a history of under-representing minority groups in positions of power and prioritising the celebration of sport and war over art and reconciliation.
Although second languages are taught in primary schools in Australia and in urban centres we can see language schools popping up and certain councils providing much needed translation and interpretation services for the communities they serve, I feel more can be done to foster a genuine love for language acquisition in this country. Particularly for Australians with English as a first language. In my own experience, the best way to engage with learning a second language is to put yourself in environments where that second language isn’t just a novelty or a way of showing off your ‘education’, but a means of getting by, finding a meal, connecting with other humans to alleviate loneliness and facilitating new friendships. Language exchange programs, bilingual schools, and the addition of translated articles and language education features in mainstream media would all be helpful ways of supporting a push towards a broader multilingualism in Australia.
As you mentioned, Yun and Travis, my hosts and co-translators in Taiwan, were heavily involved in creating these versions of Max Ryan’s poetry. This collaboration was so rewarding in terms of the three of us all gaining insights into our different cultural backgrounds as well as a few more footholds on the long and endless climb towards fluency in a second language. It is my sincere hope that anyone reading these versions of translations will feel compelled to dig further into Max’s writing and also feel welcome to contribute to the open ended discussion regarding how best to translate his works from English into Mandarin. I hope that people understand that we haven’t been precious during this process, and that as non-professional translators, Travis, Yun and I accept our limitations in this field whilst also yearning for feedback, to participate and to learn more about language and the craft of translation.
EJ: Finally, what are your future hopes for the project? Is there perhaps a Chinese trio prepared to take on the task of the musical response?
MR: Yup, a Chinese death metal band would be fine. I think when it comes to interpretations of your work, there has to be a degree of surrender. I remember hearing the American writer Bret Easton Ellis say how it wasn’t till almost the end of a screening of a film adaptation of one of his novels that he realised the connection.
I’d like to draw your readers’ attention to these words of Leonard Cohen that doubtless say more about these questions than I’ve been able to.
PE: That would be siiiiiiiiick!!! If anyone out there knows of a Chinese punk outfit willing to learn a few new tunes featuring Max Ryan’s words please contact me.
If any suggestions for the improvement of these translations come through, I’ll be thrilled. I’m definitely going to keep working on translating Max’s writing as part of a long-term effort to share his work and learn how to translate poetry well.
Murmuration, the group which took part in the Taipei AIR program, will be hosting a performance and exhibition of work in early 2015 that is related to our stay in Taiwan and will feature the reading of some of these translations.
On a musical front, Max Ryan and Where Were You At Lunch have been brewing a fresh batch of songs in preparation for a series of shows at Woodford Folk Festival at the end of this year. We’re planning on recording these songs and making a new album in January or February next year. After that, who knows…looking at a recent photo that Kishore took of Max and I together on Max’s balcony, Max reveals an uncanny resemblance to Basho. So perhaps this is a clue that a journey on the narrow road of the deep North of New South Wales, just South of the South-China Sea is on the cards, and hopefully this will lead to more songs, stories and inter-generational interactions. Or at the very least a few more gags and hot cups of tea.