Yesterday, I purchased this painting from my old friend Bob Cunningham who lives and paints in the Vale of Clwydd, on the outskirts of Lithgow, NSW. It’s one of several I’ve bought from him over many years. I love his work, especially his masterful use of colour, and he lets me have them at a ridiculously low price. Bob is a real character who shuns the commercial art scene and can be quite cantankerous at times. At other times he is very jolly. Bob Cunningham is always interesting to talk to, usually over a glass of red wine in his shed/studio. Bob told me a very funny and tragic story from his youth, when he was asked to join a jazz band. The band was made up of some unusual, eccentric characters and culminated in their one and only, disastrous, gig on an island in Sydney Harbour. The drummer who suffered severe stage fright, drank a whole bottle of gin and passed out just before they were due to perform for the assembled audience, who were ferried to the island especially for the gig. One of the band members was a very ambitious entrepreneur who became very wealthy at a young age but tragically shot himself dead, ending the band. I couldn’t help thinking that this would make a great short story.