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PETER BIBBY Pens letter to teenage self

With his long awaited second album Grand Champion out tomorrow, it’s time to get ready for homegrown talent Peter Bibby to take over your life again. The suburban poet, occasional alcoholic and self-confessed drongo of Australian music released one of WA’s best albums in memory with his debut Butcher/Hairstylist/Beautician and now he’s announced a pair of WA shows on Friday, October 12 at Badlands Bar and Saturday, October 13 at the Prince Of Wales, Bunbury. We asked Bibby to pen a letter to his teenage self to commemorate the occasion.

To Peter,

It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken, it’s not been my fault, you have to realise you’ve been gone for many years.

I’d like to thank you for the strange choices you’ve made over the years, as much as they’ve fucked me over, they’ve also shaped who I am today. You’ve provided me with a lot of joy and bewilderment and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re a bloody drongo and I love you. You’ll be happy to know that I’m having a great time all these years later. Sleep now because you’re not gonna get much of that stuff in the next 15 years.

How old are you now? 15? 16? Got a bit of hair on the chest by now I bet. That’ll keep coming, embrace it. It will open a few strange doors, don’t be afraid, you’ll have fun. You’re probably thinking about quitting school about now. While leaving high school early will make certain aspects of your life more difficult, it’s not a huge disaster, do what feels right. You’re going to be given an opportunity to become a plasterer, and you will take that opportunity because you think you have no other choice. I tell you, you have more choices now than you ever will again, but you will only make the one choice: PLASTERER. It’s a good skill and all but it’s not your big time future. It’s a prick of a job and it’ll give you chronic body pain sooner rather than later. Get into woodwork, or yoga. Wood is nicer than concrete, but concrete shouldn’t be a regret.

I remember the time you gave up on regrets, and I’ve had to respect that; as much as I have thought about alternate paths as time has gone by, I think you were bang on. It couldn’t have been any other way. Fuck regrets. You nailed a few things, you fucked a few things up beautifully but that’s neither here nor there. At the very least I am able to write this to you, you haven’t killed me yet. You made plenty of mistakes just like I continue to do but remember when we learned that mistakes are just lessons we have to learn? That was a good lesson, if not a gorgeous mistake.

I remember a big part of why you loved playing and writing so much was due to the fact that you fell in love with a girl. It might not have happened yet, but she will take your heart and stomp it into the hot stinking dirt, just as you will hers. You’ll feel that heartbreak forever, and again, and again, and again. The thing is, young man, that this is your fault and your gift, for being there, for wanting it, for nurturing it, and just like I can’t change the things you do, you can’t change the things anyone else does, and you will one day accept this and the chaos of the world and you will find yourself sitting slightly uncomfortable on a chair you once praised in song as the best chair in the world writing a letter to yourself, feeling confused yet comfortable in the fact that you now know how to make tables (I’ll send you instructions in a separate letter).

This whole exercise makes me think about schizophrenia. Let me give you some context as to why I’m writing to you: all that guitar playing and word writing you’re obsessed with at this point, it has led you to a point where people, surprisingly, give enough of a fuck to want you to write to yourself in the public forum. Crazy, I know. Right about this time you’re probably rubbing a bandaided wound inflicted by some goofy skateboard blunder and writing a poem about some  mythical creature formed between your mind and Macka’s. You’re probably eager to get to the end of this text so you can go rip a bucket with him and play deafening, ridiculous music. I wonder if you boys have settled on the name Frozen Ocean yet? Either way, I’m proud of you both. A little bit of me wishes you had witnessed The Trevally’s a few years earlier so you could have started playing in public sooner, but a lot of me is more than happy knowing it all happened the way it did, no regrets, like you say, they don’t exist.

In a way you’re lucky you didn’t start sooner, maybe it was me who let you wait until you had your head screwed on tight enough to not get caught up in this contrived world of absolute toff that is the music industry, maybe it was me in the future looking out for the both of us, writing a letter to Harvey telling him to leave us all alone until we had some idea of what we’re doing, but who are we kidding? I recently received a letter from an 87 year old man named Peter Bibby which essentially said he doesn’t understand why song writers are expected to tell the world more than what they say in their songs for the sake of online filler and that he had lived a long and healthy life and it was now time to overdose on nasturtiums and chamomile and the whole thing was written in silver emu blood and it left me feeling spooked and uneasy. I can’t wait to go on a holiday to Bali and forget about that haunting fucking letter. I feel like the old man was disillusioned, maybe even insane. Don’t be like the old man, keep the sparkle in your eye, it’s a nice way to see the world, all shimmery and nice. He did say something poignant, a quote, it said:

“D for disaster, E for my eye, A for my anger, D before I die, M for mona, O ohh good, O so good, N for the night.”

Not sure what that means but maybe you can make something of it.

Mate, I don’t expect to see you soon, I know you’re busy crafting your future. I feel like I should give you advice but I know it’s pointless because you’re just me in rewind. Nothing can change, so just keep doing what you do and before you know it you’ll be writing this to you and who knows where I’ll be? I wonder if you’ll be listening to Gala Mill by The Drones when you do it? Life feels like a fugue right now.

I do actually have some advice:


From Bibby

P.S. Enjoy all the busking while it lasts and keep your guard up, speak your mind but not all the time (you’ll learn more about timing as time goes on) and mate you have some amazing shit to look forward to, I won’t spoil the surprise, but also, some real fucking bummers, so, hold tight, it won’t be boring but it won’t always be enjoyable. Just be the guy you need to be to have the time you want to have, that’s all there is to it.


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