A friend lent me this book over Christmas- "you might know one of the players," she said. I was familiar with only a few but I know the times. I am 73, only a few years younger than Whiteley would have been had he lived. But he didn't of course, dead of an (accidental) overdose in a motel room in the south coast town of Thirroul. I am of a time but I knew nothing of it. I was a boy in short pants compared to Whiteley. While i lived sedately and toed the line he was living wild climbing his way up there with the greats. he did it with drugs. It was a sort of self destruct button, prepared to do any thing to get what he wants. His art is great mostly but you do wonder. I f an athlete can't take performance enhancing drugs, why can an artist? I think I would even swing from the highest trapeze with out the right support. But perhaps it is all about what you're prepared to do for your art. In his public pronouncements, Whiteley was all but incoherent. Patrick White, an early fan, disowned him when it became clear (to Patrick) that he was grovelling to those of use to him. But in the end, its al lbout art, and Whiteley and drugs was a great artist The art gets you wondering, which art is supposed to do. But the book- nicely written, well researched makes you think : about art, about life and about Whiteley. In the end he was an irresponsible little boy, but what are we to expect. As he himself believed, as an artist he was little more than a medium. The trouble was his god was drugs. But I enjoyed the book, finishing it in a couple of sittings. Whiteley will stay with me because of it. We are all little boys at heart, but not all of us have the guts or ability to be great artists. Good on you Brett, wherever you are. At least you made us think.