‘I have Stage IV cancer – it’s under control at the moment. I value every moment. I value the time I’ve got. I value friends and just the beauty of the world around me. You don’t have to go out in to the countryside to see beauty. There’s beauty here. There’s beauty everywhere. I seem to notice it more. I notice things more now. I don’t need to do spectacular things. I get pleasure out of very simple things in life.’
If you would give your ten year old self words of wisdom, what would they be?
‘I can’t remember when I was ten. I think I was a rebel then and I’m a rebel now. I would have said, “Keep it up kid!”’
‘I’m proud to be an old coot. On the 22nd of September, I shall be 90 years old. I’m no longer a dashing young chap. I used to dread old age but now I’ve learnt all these things about how to maintain my health.
‘Avoid all synthetic food – like margarine. The other thing to avoid is Aspartame – it is quite a poison. Also, there are five exercises called ‘The Five Rites of Rejuvenation’. These are the most interesting things I have learnt. I’ll demo the first one. You’ve heard of prana and you’ve heard of chi and George Lucas tells us about the force. It’s all around us. There is a way of scooping it in. This is the basic one – now stand back. What you do is you’re scooping it up with this hand and with the other hand you’re flinging it away.
‘I do that every morning. I learned this at 60 years old. I still get up half an hour earlier every day to do this. People are flattering – they tell me I don’t look a day over 60. Well, 60 was a long time ago!’
‘I’m a lawyer working in tax law.’
What do you like most about him?
‘His art and he’s got style.’
What’s the nicest thing she’s ever done for you?
‘Looked after me – we’ve been together over 30 years.’
What’s been your biggest challenge as a couple?
‘Oh, we’ve had a few problems over the years. I guess dealing with me – it’s not easy being an artist. It’s a very hard profession. In your twenties, it’s kind of exciting but as you get older and if you haven’t become famous, it gets harder and harder to keep carrying on. Everyone I know has problems. Everyone in their twenties thinks they’re going to be famous and have this fabulous lifestyle but it doesn’t work out that way for 99% of people.’
What would be your message to young artists starting out?
And so the tables are turned.
If you were to give advice to a large group of people, what would it be?
‘It’s about the bigger picture. You think that the world is your little bubble but take a bird’s eye view of where you’re at. My dad actually told me that you picture your situation and then you zoom the camera out a bit and you take in the suburb you’re in and then you zoom out and take in the state and then you take in the country. It puts your experience in to perspective because there is a lot going on outside of where you are that’s also important.’
Thanks to the lovely Jo from ABCTV for this morning’s interview (her’s and mine) and a lovely hug!
‘That would be when my father died. I was 11 years old and he had cancer for basically all of my life. I guess I’m still kind of coping with it a bit.’
Are there any words he shared with you that really stick in your mind as advice that you’ve taken on for life?
‘Once when I asked about what the meaning of life was, he said, “People have wasted their lives trying to answer that’. That’s a decent philosophy I think.’
So what would be your main philosophy in life?
‘I try to be happy regardless of what people say or do. Happiness is a choice. If you accept yourself then you will find happiness.’