I was only 19, when I dodged a working-class bullet (feat. Redgum)

I just realised I am perhaps the first and only person whose publishing career began at Port Augusta power station, scribbling stories in an Atco hut between shifts involving the use of heavy-arse tools we called ‘handbags’, which are made from spent uranium and designed to spew radiation on to welds to take photos of their insides. I was given The Unbearable Lightness of Being by one of the NDT technicians on that job ~ NDT stands for ‘non-destructive testing’, which is irony at its finest

(we had to wear radiation detecting badges … because the testing was non-destructive, because in the old paradigm, seeing is believing).

The rest is history, and to quote Redgum out of context, I was only 19. As it happens, this song was made 19 years before I was 19. I also just realised it’s March 19 today. 10:55AM.