Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Crazy Belgian, Fruhstuck Express (now with added SOO abuse)

QUEENSLAND ARE CHEATING GOULDING GOULDS*!!! The sycophantic Victorians need to decide whether they are :
a) Tasmanians on their way to NSW or Queensland,
b) Queenslanders on their way to Tasmania
c) Opportunistic Sydney wannabees.

Its simple, you soggy cybernetic cyborgs from the sad city! Get your own fucking State of Origin!

Yez can all go and get fucked!!!

*I have previously explained what a Gould is. If you need to know you can troll through posts by myself or Dr Yobbo. Otherwise drop him a line. He knows how much of a self-important cunting wanker Phil Gould is.

Now, back to the blog.

Luckily I took notes during my travels, otherwise I wouldn't be able to recount this with any degree of accuracy. Seeing as I don't have the journal at hand, inaccuracy will remain. Its mainly the place names I'll have trouble with so don't set a lot of store in their being accurate over the series of Doug'n'Dave tales which I'll be recounting for a while.

The Crazy Belgian

We'd lobbed up at Neuchatel after farnarkling around that part of Suisse all day, booked into the hostel, checked to see if the Irish girls we'd met in Basel were around and then strolled into town.

We hit the first bar we came across and commenced that evening's business. After an hour or so we'd started getting a bit raucous and felt it may be an idea to go and lower the tone of other establishments. Particularly when the barman started giving us the evils and shaking his head over the mess we were creating. Somewhere between cooking up a scheme to rendezvous in the near future for Dave's birthday and finding some Midnight Oil on the jukebox we managed to add a few points to the share price of the local brewers and explain cricket to Doug. (That was like trying to explain sensible discourse and the Art of the Pisstake to the likes of SJS).

Eventually we made our way back to the original bar which also had a jukebox. Just to annoy my Canuck and Pommy mates I put on a few INXS tracks. Whilst these were playing we realised we'd missed curfew at the Youth Hostel. Oh well, may as well stay and have a few more.
Which we did. Fortunately the barman had allowed us to stay, realising that we weren't all that dangerous, just silly drunken twats.

At around 1.00 a.m. and well after curfew we went back to the YH. Knock on the door, no answer. We circled back to the front and could see our dorm window on the first floor. The roof reached back a couple of meters to said window, forming a serviceable landing. Right, break and enter time. We figured that Dave, being the smallest would be the climber. Doug and I hoisted him up onto the lip of the roof and stood back and watched our brave Brit clamber up and walk over to the window and open the fucking thing! Woo hoo!

"Dave, go and open the front door!" no response from Doug's entreaty.

"Dave you dopey pommy bastard, go and open the fucking front door!!!" nothing from my request either.

What was the silly bugger up to? After a few more luckless attempts to get Dave back on track we decided that Doug would hoist me up. Now I'm a biggish bloke and that was a great feat on Doug's part. It got better. When I hauled up and turned around, Doug had jumped up, grabbed the edge of the rough and was lifting himself up.

"Wanna hand?"

"No, I'm okay."

Fuck me if he didn't manage to get up on the roof landing. He was some sort of super athletic type. Apparently he'd done well at such things at college. (I made a mental note that I was going to have to bring him back down to my level and be sharpish about it too). When we got into the room we found that one of the spare beds housed a sleeping figure which we decided not to disturb. That ended up being a good move. We turned to Dave who was grinning idiotically and seemed well gone. He didn't respond when we asked him about not opening the front door so we wrote him off for the evening.

Next morning, Dave was the first of us awake and was in conversation with the room's other occupant, a Belgian. It was a broken English thing and Dave tried his schoolboy French but with little success. I could make out some of the Belgian's French but wasn't going to let on. Doug had learnt some in school as well, being a Canuck and all. He kept shtum and we watched Dave battle on. Fuck him, the previous night he'd been as useful as one of SJS' s comments at Blunty and we weren't going to help. Besides, Doug's gorilla hangover theory was proving itself correct once again. It seemed as though the entire crew of animal extras from "Gorillas in the Mist" had been on the rampage in the wee hours and we felt and looked like the bits of lint you find in washing machines after a heavy wash, except way dirtier and even more linter.

Then we saw the Belgian's face! Man, I baulked at it like I'd just seen someone discard a full bottle of single malt. It was some sort of freakish nightmare of a thing which made me wonder if the gorillas hadn't gone around slipping microdots into our mouths during their hangover rampage, or had given him nightly serves with a cricket bat for the past decade. His forehead was a mess of scars and the rest of his visage was running a close second to it in the Belgian Buttugly stakes.

This got me a little curious but very concerned. I was figuring angles of escape and whether or not we could use Dave as a live sacrifice while Doug and I did a runner. Well, Doug still had his bicycle (he was after all supposedly doing a cycle tour of Europe), so he'd escape a bit quicker than me. I looked at Doug, Doug looked at me and we both shook our heads. Dave looked beseechingly at both of us and we ignored him, just continued packing up and alerting our arm and leg muscles that they may be needed for an emergency "fight or flight" exercise.

Well, the Belgian's story unfolded in a scarifying way. In some sort of manic race with himself he'd introduced his Euro sports car to a fence. His girlfriend had tragically died in the passenger's seat. He'd subsequently had a couple of other vehicular arguments and seemed to be driving around Europe looking for answers and/or victims. That weren't gonna be us. He'd lost it and there was stuff all a Commonwealth Drinking Games group could do for him when Europe was supposedly stiff full of top notch psych specialists. Sure, we could have attempted to knit a strand or two together but at best it would have been a half-arsed attempt and probably would have made things worse for the crazed gargoyle.

Dave was still in bed looking very ill. The Belgian was looking a bit leery so Doug and I asked Dave if he was coming with us. Dave said no. He must have been really, really ill given the circumstances so we hung in waiting for Crazy Belgian to go. CB eventually packed up while we kept guard for Dave. CB even asked us if wanted a lift anywhere. The Weird Therbs was prodding, "Yeah, this could be fun. One of those interesting adventures, just like Hunter S."

Sensible Therbs then approached The Bench saying "Milord, look. You and Doug decided that a boat trip over to Yverdon at the other end of the lake was in order. Besides, Doug's bike wouldn't fit in CB's Euro buzz box."
Doug just flat out said no and Dave groaned in his hungover agony. I succumbed to non adventure. CB took off and after we'd made sure he hadn't crashed into anything or anyone we left Dave moaning in his bunk, telling Dave to see us in Yverdon that night.

We then hit the local Co-op and loaded up on six packs, bread and cheese; the staples of ratsacking around Europe. The ferry trip took most of the day with a couple of side excursions involved and we landed at the YH, signed in and sat outside hooking into our beers and a bottle of rough red we'd finagled from somewhere. A Tasmanian married couple sat with us for a while taking notes about avoiding crazy Belgians, hangover gorillas and how to manage Fruhstuck Express.

Fruhstuck Express

Fruhstuck Express was unveiled in Basel, the morning after DaveDoug' n'I's first night together on the turps.

That morning we abluted and RV'd in the eating area of the YH. To get the included breakfast (fruhstuck) you had to show your YH card and were given a Fruhstuck voucher. This voucher entitled you to a bread roll with jam and a hot chocolate. I saw Kiwi Chris mournfully attempting to eat his and enquired,

"Is that shit any good?"

"The bread's a bit stale and not worth it. I could fucken murder some paewa fritters and a can of L and P!" He looked dejected about the whole thing and sounded homesick. Doug'n'Dave's facial expressions were demanding a translation of Kiwi-ese from me. I couldn't be arsed explaining our Kiwi cousin's language to them and simply said, "We need other options."

The Icelandic crew appeared to be enjoying their fruhstucks, were big lads who could do with another breakfast each, so Doug was promptly despatched to do some trading. We ended up getting enough cash to hit the Coke machine and get us some bubbly caffeine colaness inside us. Just what we needed, not some retarded version of a contintental breakfast.

From then on Fruhstuck Express, (Don't Leave Home Without It) became a by-line with us. Whenever we scuttled out of hostels we'd check with each other to make sure we had our Fruhstuck Express cards. One time when we RV'd at Montreux I'd been solo for a couple of days and had left my YH card at the previous night's stop. When I saw Doug I had to admit that I'd lost my Fruhstuck Express. He launched into one of his traditional howls of laughter. Bastard. I ended up wasting a few hours on a return train trip retrieving the fucking thing. By the time I got back he'd nabbed Cherri, another Canuck but of the female gender who had way superior looks and bumps to Doug. We'd been drooling over her for half an hour like Kiwi Chris would moon over paewa fritters and L&P. But that fucking Canadian bastard had slipped his Ontarian hooks in and she wasn't budging. Bastard.

Did I mention how much of a bastard Doug was? He was a ropey Torontonian who'd cut another bloke's lunch without a by your leave. Bastard. Never did like him anyway.

I'll have to tell you about the rest of our Montreux jaunt another time. Oh yeah, and Yverdon, where we'd just left the Tasmanian couple before going on about Fruhstuck Express.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beardy Twat, Gorilla Hangover Theory, Blocked Comments,Dozers

I mentioned beardy nutter elsewhere in response to someone else's blog entry about being evil. Here’s a recap.

Beardy Nutter

I encountered beardy nutter in late February this year. It was a Sunday and I was feeling a tad sorry for myself after a hard night and I was assessing the damage wrought by the hangover gorillas. The night was half a dozen gorillas, three chimpanzees and a family of crab eating macaques. Tough I tells ya, tough. Remind me to explain to you Toronto Doug’s theory of hangover gorillas later on. So I drove into Eastgate shopping centre at Bondi Junction and parked my car, thinking of chocolate milkshakes and donuts and calculating what the fridge needed in terms of remedies. I’m a traditionalist in such things so I was pondering bacon, sourdough, eggs and bottles of beer, coke, vodka and shiraz. I parked in a space which had a stencil of a pram on it. There were plenty of similar spots still vacant and hardly anyone was around so I felt no guilt. I don’t really understand what the symbol is for. No-one has ever explained it to me but I guess it must be for people who have those stupid “Baby on board” signs stuck to the inside of their cars. You know, the signs which encourage you to be loud, aggressive and generally dangerous to bassinet-bludgers.
So I get out of the car and this bearded do-gooder type approaches me with a fairly workable scowl on his face. These buffoons always seem to be frowning about something don’t they? I guess its because their brain is trying to figure out how to talk their ropey beards into jumping off their faces and straight down their windpipes so the bastards die of strangulation. Anyway, this arseclown came up and said “those spaces are reserved for people with kids.”
Great! Fanfuckingtastic! I’m hungover, wanting remedies and this dickhead is up my arse about a stencilled outline of a pram. Tosser. I pointedly looked around at the gazillion similar spaces which were vacant, sighed and walked to the back of my car. I banged on the boot lid and said loudly “Jayden! Don’t drink the dog’s water and make sure your sister gets her bottle in half an hour. If you stop whingeing I might even get you a lolly.” Or words to that effect.
I looked up at the local Member For Being Concerned and he shook his head, muttering something like “That’s outrageous!” My reply, in a loud voice was “At least I know where they are!”. Tosser.
From memory I ended up with beer, bacon, Turkish bread, cab-merlot, lemonade, 2 packs of B&H Classic and a dvd (Ironman).

Toronto Doug’s Hangover Gorilla Theory

Doug was a bloke I team up with in one of my ratsacking jaunts around Europe. He was ostensibly riding a bicycle around said continent but had fuck all chance of success with that noble plan once he met up with me. He may as well have had the ambition of invading Russia armed with a cotton bud and a pair of tweezers. Once we joined forces (along with Dave from Preston) he mostly caught trains with the occasional exception when we guilted him into riding. That only worked twice. Anyways, one morning at Montreux we were getting over an argument with Feldschlossen and he explained his hangover theory.
What happens is that after a night on the turps you are visited by gorillas and their assorted hench-apes. They beat you around the head, take all your money, put a couple of light cuts on your body, piss in your mouth and blow smoke all over you and your clothes. They then strew all of your belongings around the room, throw up in the bathroom without cleaning up and rip the shirt you were wearing the previous evening. Some adventurous ones even park your car awkwardly on the footpath.. So that’s how you end up broke, feeling sore and sorry, with your clothes smokey, ripped and strewn everywhere, a mouth that tastes like gorilla piss and unexplained cuts on your body. And a jauntily parked vehicle. You gauge the level of the night by saying stuff like:
“It was a dozen gorillas and a troop of baboons visited me last night. Bastards.”

I think you now get the idea.
Doug was pretty useful with this sort of thing. He was also handy when it came to breaking into youth hostels which had shut because of their stupid Teutonic curfews. Remind me to tell you about the evening Dave, Doug and I had to break into a YH elsewhere in Switzerland after another night on the beers and our subsequent encounter with The Crazy Belgian. Oh yeah, speaking of Belgium I’ll have to tell you of the bestest YH we ever visited – Namur. It was a corker.

Commenting on other blogs
All of a sudden I’ve found that on some blogs I can’t comment. I go to the comments area and nothing happens when I click into it. Sure I can read comments but not make any. Dunno why this is happening but I thought I’d send a shout out to Yankeedog seeing as how his is one of the blogs I’m not able to talk to. Sorry to read the news, hope it goes respectfully well. Cheers mate.
My old man was ex-navy and when he set his final course they set up a memorial plaque for him at Rookwood Cemetery (Sydney). It was a nice touch. We scattered his ashes at his favourite beach, Avalon.

Okay, okay I'll end with something brighter.

Doug 'n Dave 'n Me - The First Innings

I ended up at Basel, hoping to meet up with a couple of friends from Sydney. They were meant to leave a message at the YH. I front up and nothing. Fucking slackers. So I forgot about them and booked a bunk, cleaned up and started swapping bullshit with a few Yanks, Canucks and Kiwis. I told them some crap about how in the 19th century kangaroos were trained to go between cattle stations (ranches) in the outback and carry mail in their pouches. Luckily the Kiwis didn't blow the gaff and I had a couple of these Joe College types well on the hook and was reeling them in. All of a sudden this Canadian bloke breaks out with the mother of all guffaws and screws the pooch. His howling was so infectious I was soon cracking up with laughter as well. That was Doug. The laughter circle quickly consumed Dave and Chris (Kiwi), a real Commonwealth Games challenge.
Next morning found us wandering around Basel together and sooner or later it was bound to happen. There's only so many bars you can walk past when you're in fine company without calling a halt to the tourist bullshit and get down to brass tacks. Or beer. We did that and it was a confluence of like minds. None of us really gave a stuff about being serious travellers, we were just out and about seeing whatever we felt like seeing. After the bar we grabbed six packs and ended up by the river sprouting all sorts of bullshit and finding cultural meeting points. For example Dave and Doug were discussing what they called big bulldozers and graders. They had various names for them and asked me what we called them in Australia.
"Fucking big yellow things, you drongos" was my reply and I reached for another Feldschlossen. That sort of set the tone for our relationship.
Remind me to tell you about Dave's birthday jaunt.

Monday, May 25, 2009

You Call That A Festival?

Well I don't. I call it a shambolic mess which reminds me of the stumbling, vacant eyed walk of zombies. I am of course talking about the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Okay, okay, I'll take me a calm down pill and get to the point of my whingeing. So I shows up on Friday down at Walsh Bay where all the theatres are housed in converted wharves to have a listen to some pontificators talk about 'getting real' in writing. You know, tackling the big issues in their various published amusements. Kick-off for my first target was due at 1.00 pm. I was there on time but doors were closed. "Its full" said some uni reffo. "Bullshit, how about disabled seats?" I enquired and then hastily added "I'm mentally deficient, you know." Didn't work. I was rejected. Again. The only reason I'd made it in time was because the shuttle bus from The Rocks handily took off a few metres away from The Fortune of War hotel where I'd been happily looking at the football form guides and consuming a couple of pre-match beers.

So there I was, stymied in my attempt to jump into intellectualism. To nurture my mind with thinky goodness. I sat outside the venue and they were streaming the discourse from inside via a couple of loudspeakers. I listened for a short while and then, nonplussed, got up and had a look around. The shuttle bus was pulling up for a trip back to The Rocks so I did what any stymied bloke would do. Jumped on the bus and headed back to the snug little boozer. There I had a couple of more beers, pondering the next SWF event I had earmarked and the likelihood of leaving my new fave haven. An internal debate which was really only ever going to have one winner. However. In the middle of this self interrogation a couple of other punters were discussing the fillum Star Trek. I hadn't seen it yet. Checked the paper for screening times and Bingo! I had enough time to hit the George St precinct, grab a ticket, jump the popcorn queue and make the afternoon session. Woo hoo! It was a cracking film and was made even more enjoyable by the libations I had previously consumed. Others have reviewed it properly so I won't bother except to say it was well worth the bus trip up from The Rocks and away from the SWF.

Aftwerwards I was talked into a few settlers with an ex-colleague and that became what one would expect. I think later in the eveningI told one of the barmaids I regularly talk to that I was madly in love with her. Ain't it funny how romance just pours out of a bloke like an out of control sonnet by The Bard when someone serves him a few drinks? So what was going to be an intellectually stimulating afternoon ended up being a drinks, movie, feed, drinks, slap on the face sort of evening. I even made it home in time to watch some IPL cricket. Unfortunately unaccompanied by that evening's love of my life. Next year it will be different. I won't get a slap on the face.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sydney Writers Festival & Medicine

The Sydney Writers Festival is just about to kick off and I've selected a few bits and pieces I may pop in and see.

• Thursday, May 21 2009 •
11 : 30
88: For Whom the Arts Serve - Frank Moorhouse, Robyn Archer, Helen O’Neil and Geoffrey Atherden discuss arts funding. - could be a bit tosserish, may need a jar or two beforehand to liven things up. Probably end up hanging in the nearest pub and missing it.

13 : 00
96: True Crime StoriesTom Gilling, Clive Small, Robert Wainwright and Paola Totaro talk about their true crime stories.
Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay 13:00 to 14:00
Ticketed Event (NOT FREE!!!)
Crime, Nonfiction, Scriptwriting, - this one may get the brush off I thinks.

13 : 30
100: Irreverence - Ben Canaider and Dominic Knight discuss taking the mickey with Mark Dapin.
Sydney Dance Company, Studio 1 13:30 to 14:30
Free Event - straight into immediate post lunch euphoria. Note to self, will require hip flask (maybe two). Don't heckle, these guys are pros.

• Friday, May 22 2009 •
10 : 00
147: The Future of Journalism- Should the rise of the citizen journalist be celebrated?
Sydney Dance Company, Studio 2/3 10:00 to 11:00
Free Event - fuckin' journos eh? Should be a good piss-up. Better b.y.o. again. Journos aren't known for shouting a round or two. Keep your trap shut though, they can get a bit sharp this mob.

13 : 00
170: Tackling The Big Themes - Andrew Davidson and Andrea Goldsmith discuss the potential of fiction to take on the big topics.
Sydney Philharmonia Choir Studio 13:00 to 14:00
Free Event - a bit thinky, really need to do a Rocks pub crawl beforehand. Wonder if that p.a. on Level 3 likes thinky shit and pubs down at The Rocks? Have to find out and make sure she can take a sickie.

14 : 30
181: Rock’n’Roll Lives - Don Walker (Cold Chisel) and Stephen Cummings (The Sports) speak about music-making and much more.

Sydney Philharmonia Choir Studio 14:30 to 15:30

Free event Fuck yeah!! "Bow River"! "Who Listens To The Radio"! Bastards better take their guitars along. Geez, I'll have to check out the nearest bottle shop. Will definitely need to reload before this gig.

Didja notice how most of the things I've selected are free? Didja huh, didja? It means I'll be queueing up. Or tripping up cane-wielding retirees, pushing past self-absorbed arty types and generally acting the yob. Or GenY.

And yes, Grumpy Old Tart, Female Eunuch-ist , Big Brother contestant and one of JB's besties, Germaine Greer, will be appearing at one of the venues at some stage, sprouting forth grumpy old tart stuff and no doubt doing Diary room entries to try and get the viewer's vote. Swap that for a game of soldiers.

At the moment I'm once again fighting off a cold. Been using OP Rum. Its magic stuff I tells ya, magic.

Next week I won't be working as I have accrued a heap of leave. So I thought I'd see what its like being a Gen Y type during Sydney Scribblers' Week.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Animal Liberation - Without Warning FanFic

Animal Liberation – Without Warning Fanfic

‘Sniper’ Blake heard the tell tale crack and froze, waiting for the inevitable, searing pain.

To earn the monicker ‘Sniper’ ,Wayne Blake had played the rules in a typically elastic fashion. At the time it happened he was newly out of high school and had drifted into a warehouse job in Kent Street, Sydney. The warehouse was old, dusty and like all of the surrounding buildings was not airconditioned. Electric fans and open windows were de rigeur. In this environment Sniper learnt the ins and outs of despatch and storage and he’d been pretty much left to run things himself.

His interest in hunting had led him to bringing his air rifle to work. He liked to exercise his eye by taking pot shots at the resident pigeon population. One such shot had potted itself on the desk of a very startled accounts clerk in an office across the road, having missed its feathery target. The slug’s trajectory had taken it through the open window, grazed a decrepit pot plant, struck a cartoon panel featuring Hagar The Horrible and landed,. Plut!, onto the clerk’s desk blotter. Officers of the Law had been duly summoned and it wasn’t long before Wayne was making profuse apologies, buying a bottle of scotch for the clerk and offering further recompense if the matter stayed out of court. In the fashion of diplomats he had appeased the offended parties by inviting them to the warehouse for beers. His natural charm and wit won them over as he quickly fashioned the day’s events into an amusing monologue. The police had given him a stern warning in the vein of his much troubled ex-school principal. The local tabloid paper had run a story on page 8, concentrating on the comedian, not the hooligan and he managed to avoid the courts. However, he hadn’t avoided his friends who had promptly whipped up the ‘Sniper’ appellation. The whole episode while being very amusing to his friends had tempered Wayne’s rambunctiousness.

After hearing the crack, Sniper eased his left leg forward, resting the bulk of his weight on the right. Not feeling the anticipated coil of pain he hobbled back around to his desk where the phone was demanding his attention. This was to be expected of someone working in the welfare arm of the Australian Public Service. He picked up the phone and gritted into the mouthpiece;
“ Wayne Blake speaking.”
An excited voice blew through the line;
“Sniper, its Reepo! The Chamberlain’s got beer. Jacko just rang Mark and confirmed it. See ya there in fifteen, okay?”.
Blake’s response was rapid and eager; “You little ripper! I’m in.”
He stood up and heard his knee crack again, but this time the joint was brought back into its rightful place. It was as if his football injury had decided that the prospect of beer was a fair reason not to exude further torment. Ever since The Wave had turned everything into a galactic crap hole, the beer sessions were becoming more difficult to organise. Home brew was okay but it just wasn't the same as pub beer with a bunch of mates.

Sniper quickly briefed his payments team, organised the late stayers and led the happy throng away to the lift lobby. Blake observed that it was a far more efficient exercise than the dummy fire evacuation they’d held a month ago.

The Chamberlain Hotel was situated on the corner of Pitt and Campbell Streets, close to Belmore Park near Sydney’s Central Station. It was an old style pub with traditional counter lunches, well priced beer, clean beer lines and well seasoned bar staff. Wayne and his friends were regulars. The publican sponsored their touch football team, the Dingos.
Inside the pub Wayne found Reepo already set up at their favourite zone. The rest of Wayne’s team settled into ordering drinks and occupying the surrounding tables.
‘Reepo’ was Ian Reep, full time parole officer and part-time touch football player. He’d joined up with Sniper’s social crew through playing in the Dingos. They were named the Dingos after the stuffed wild dog perched above the bar. This piece of taxidermy had been installed to exploit the name of the pub, “The Chamberlain Hotel.” Back in August 1980 Azaria Chamberlain, all of ten weeks old, had been holidaying with her parents when she disappeared from their camp site near Alice Springs in the heart of Australia’s outback. Her parents claimed a dingo had slipped into the tent and nabbed the baby, or as Meryl Streep put it “A dingo took my baby!”. The body was never found. The court case and controversy raged for years like Bondi Beach after a good southerly buster. The mother, Lindy, was initially convicted of Azaria’s murder. Azaria’s father, Michael, was convicted of being an accessory. A High Court appeal quashed the convictions and they were released after years of heartache and legal farnarkelling. Having a stuffed dingo guard the bar was seen by many as appropriate for The Chamberlain Hotel given the nature of some of its regular customers.

Blake bellied up and ordered,
“Two New’s thanks Marg. Put this in for my team.” Blake slapped a couple of twenty dollar notes on the bar and added,
“Glad we got in early!”
The barmaid was a feisty red head who’d seen Wayne’s group of friends and workmates through many a late session over the years. They were generally good natured, not overly prone to violence and spent a lot of money. She continued working the tap as she replied,
“Its gonna be a crush I reckon. Mark’s put on a couple of casuals.” Marg flicked her short crop of red in the direction of a youngish girl working the main stretch of the bar. The youngster was also working enough cleavage to make The Sniper’s scope fog up with the lust of a wild dog.
“And guess who has to nursemaid them?” Marg continued with a grimace.
“That’s okay Margie. We’ll look after her if you like.” Blake grinned back.
“There’s another bloke's already offered that.” This time she nodded sideways to a large, strong looking gent seated at a table a few metres away. He was alone except for two empty glasses, an abused ashtray and a Taronga Zoo cap perched on his weathered head. Wayne nodded at him, smiled and ferried the schooners of beer to their destination ports.

Reepo motioned to someone just entering the pub and grinned.
“Well Jacko, we’ve got some beer on us tonight.”
Max Jackson was an alcoholic gambler who also worked in the same welfare department as Wayne Blake. He was however posted on the front line at Darlinghurst. It was an office commonly regarded as the toughest in Australia, having its client base consisting mainly of junkies, prostitutes, homeless and the psychiatrically disturbed. “Pros, smackies and busted up psychos” was how he put it. He survived life with a combination of rat cunning, sharp wit and good friends. Margie the barmaid wasn’t one of them.

“Three thanks Margie. Geez, you’ve cut your hair just like a lezza!” Jacko observed
“Your enough to turn any woman gay.” Margie parried.
“Christ! Who’s the new sheila with the big tits?” he cried,
“Cathy. Leave her alone.” Margie was well aware of Jacko’s ability to seriously fuck up the lives of young girls.
“Sniper’s already paid for these.” she explained as she placed three beers on the counter.
Jacko retreated back to the table, noticing the large man sitting on his own. He nodded and offered a greeting,
“How ya going mate? Lucky to get some beers in. Been a fair drought these past few months.”
The stranger nodded back in reply, opining in a rumbling American drawl,
“I’ll tell you this much. Despite what’s happened, it still is good being the Rhino.” He puffed a large cigar into life and smiled, catching the eye of Cathy who winked back and poured a beer.
Sniper, Reepo and Jackson caught the interplay, grinned and invited him to join their table. Sniper simplified the introductions after retrieving the Rhino Beer from the bar and placing it in front of the big man.
“You folks don’t mind these stogies I trust.”
“No mate, you’re fine. You one of the Uplifted are ya? That’s pretty fucked what’s happened. Our sympathies.” offered Reepo.
“Not really Uplift-ed, more an Uplift-er. And yes, its been rough.” The Rhino clarified.
“So you working with the Navy or on one of the liners?” Sniper continued the interrogation.
The Rhino then explained that he’d been navigator on a big yacht and deposited their uplifted passengers a couple of weeks ago, more or less intact. He’d just finalised his Australian immigration and U.S. re-entry paperwork that afternoon and headed into the most likely looking local pub. The stuffed dingo had sealed the deal for him and he’d booked a room for two nights.
As he rattled on, Cathy moved amongst the punters and around the tables, collecting glasses and emptying ash trays, leaving fresh coasters on each table and frequently turning and smiling at The Rhino.

At Sniper’s table the conversation targetted the various conspiracy theories which raged across the globe. Jacko opined that it must have been a dingo from outer space. Rhino summed up his own thoughts;
“Well I don’t reckon its down to space dogs. ‘S far as I can make out its just some freak phenomenon. Maybe its man made or p’raps Mother Nature got all pre-menstrual on us and we didn’t give her enough chocolate and Haagen-Dazs. Can’t pin this one on the rag heads, the North Koreans or the Chicoms. The Russkies used to cream into their ushankas about this sort of thing but I don’t know. Its beyond any of that bullshit. All I know is I have beer, cigars and the prospects of good food and fine women.” Rhino nodded in the direction of Cathy who was cleaning a table near the TV.
“Amen.” Reepo completed the prayer.
As the evening continued and the beer flowed Rhino displayed an active interest in the stuffed dingo.
"And that little baby girl was taken by one of those things? That's just not right. Her mom said 'A dingo's taken my baby.' Damn dog deserves a goring!"
Sniper then explained how he'd once gone on a dingo hunt, after some rogue dogs had terrorised a small hamlet in Queensland.
"Cunning bastards. Quick on the kill as well, targetting the small and the weak. That's how we nailed a few. With live bait. Kids."
Reepo arched an eyebrow and Sniper quickly explained,
"Baby feral goats, you wombat."
Rhino shook his head, mumbling "Dirty damn dogs."

Noticing Cathy heading to an exit, the big man eased himself off his stool and followed the young barmaid to an interlude burgeoning with the promise of pachydermic pleasure.


The sun cast a few early shadows along Campbell Street when Mark McCartney, the licencee of The Chamberlain, ventured down to the main bar area of his pub. He checked for left over bodies and to make sure the cleaner had restored the bar to its best and brightest. Most of all he was hoping that Jacko hadn't used the bar as a bedroom. Last time that happened a bottle of overproof rum and half a ham set aside for the lunch trade had disappeared.
He was also wondering what had happened to young Cathy, and that roguish, cigar chomping American tenant who'd set his horn in the barmaid's direction. Margie, after closing the bar and doing the tills had expressed her doubts about the suitability of the two. Mark had seen it all before and simply left such things to fate and the power of a well poured drink.

Mark checked one of the bar fridges and pulled out an orange juice. The cook wasn't in yet so he settled for an instant coffee to bring his brain back to pubmania and to plan the day's operations.
The publican's musings were interrupted by the stumbling sound and shocking sight of Sniper Blake attempting to navigate his way from the upstairs lounge area to an exit. Sniper didn't look in good health so Mark quickly opened a pre-mix Rum and Cola and offered it to the battered looking Blake. Sniper quickly breathed in, belched, grabbed the can and downed a few mouthfuls. He belched again, shook his head and pointed to the stuffed dingo above the bar, or rather the space it used to occupy. Mark followed his line of sight and blanched. His face turned white.

"Hey Mark, there's a note pinned up there." He clambered unsteadily onto a stool and retreived the piece of paper. He held it up so that both of them could read it.

The note was written in copperplate handwriting and simply stated:

Consider this an IOU.
The dirty damn dog needed a walk.
I shall return.


Sniper was surprised to see a small tear start trailing down Mark's face. A half choked sobbed also emanated from the stricken publican. As this was happening a side door opened and the cook, Dot, walked in. She saw the look on Mark's face and the single tear. She was appalled that the hard-bitten publican was showing an emotion usually reserved for his football team, the St George-Illawarra dragons.

"What the hell has happened?" she asked as she slung down her bag on a stool,
Mark replied,
"A Rhino took my dingo!"

Friday, May 1, 2009

Clubs, Pubs and Cheap Drinks

Last week I ventured into The Gallipolli Memorial Club (Dugout Bar) at the Circular Quay end of Castlereagh St for a few beers with an old work colleague. Its a small RSL with a Chinese lunchtime noshery and $3 schooners during happy hour. The previous week I had met up with Our Man Lermie outside the Automobile Club before heading off for a couple of quick beers.This got me remembering a couple of quirky little clubs which I used to frequent but no longer have their own premises.

The Cricketers Club Of NSW used to house iteslf above the bank in Barrack Street, Sydney. I became a member because of the proximity to where I worked, low beer prices, their magnificent bacon sandwiches and the cricketing memorabilia which adorned the walls. Every year they'd host a dinner for whichever team was touring and that was always entertaining. The place was a rightly well regarded establishment. It had affiliations with international and interstate cricket clubs including the Cricketers Club based at the Gabba. Back in the 80's I used the reciprocal arrangements to ensconce myself in that clubs fantastic facilities during a couple of Test matches. It was old school, cheap drinks in glasses and a brilliant view of the ground. Fine times indeed except for the fucking West Indies giving our blokes a complete towelling.

Now for all of the vegan whingers out there, The Bicycle Club was housed on the 3rd floor of 36 Carrington St, right next door to the Menzies Hotel and right below a component of the State Headquarters of the Department Of Social Security for whom I worked. That was a top fucking place for afternoon tea and no mistake. Cheap drinks, a sit-down Space Invaders game, jukebox, poker machines and a shit load of drunk public servants. Not one bicycle rider to be seen. In fact I don't think I ever saw anyone remotely resembling a cyclist in the too few years I attended the place. Obviously it couldn't cope and eventually shut down. I think their lease eventually went from reasonable to "you fuckers now have to pay Prime CBD rates or yez can fuck off out of there." I think they re-established in a cheap suburb somewhere but our venue loyalty at afternoon tea time didn't extend to travelling for more than 20 seconds in a lift let alone hop on a train to nowherefuckingstan. So when it shut we just frequented the bars of the Menzies Hotel and various pubs within a five minute walk.

One of my faves was The Occidental. Back in the day it was more like a country pub and we ended up running amok there., but mostly in a good way. The back lane was a different matter but that's a tale for another time.
The Occi used to serve country style lunches, roast of the day, rissoles, vegies, proper mashed potato and it never cost more than two beers. Don't know what its like now but I'll check it out again soon. One of the bar managers there graduated to taking on the licence of The Chamberlain Hotel (before it got done up like a cheap St Kilda tramp), The Captain Cook and now has the licence for The Metropolitan. If you ever venture in there say g'day to Mark, Michelle or Chris (Young'Un). The steaks aren't bad if you're feeling hungry. Tell Mark he'd banned you once from the Chambo or The Cook for abusing The Angry Red Head.

I'm currently trying to get a WW fan fic piece together which will feature the Chambo. Its a crap bit of writing at the moment and needs something. Perhaps it could be Havock wearing a frock or Dr Yobbo sans hat. Maybe just tits 'n arse and a cheap joke. We'll see.

I'm now heading off to The Dugout for a few Friday nighters. Cheers!