I’ve been reading through the Friendsreunited and this site and it has brought back heaps of memories for me from my time at SSHS.
I started in grade 8 in 1970 and left six monthis into grade 11 in 1973 to take up a career in banking which turned into an even better career in IT (still going).
I have heaps of memories from high school including (in no particular order)… cream buns at the tuck shop, school disco, a biology field trip to the Gold Coast which involved a road rage incident with our teach being bashed and rocks thrown at the bus… playing guitar with a few musical friends – Peter Caldwell was one I remember…. Played guitar on Speech Night one year only to have the guitar split apart mid performance (you can’t put steel strings on a nylon string guitar without the inevitable disaster)
Girls I was involved with?? I can name at least five but for the sake of privacy I won’t…. Let’s just say there were some really happy times…
Teachers? Hmmm let me think…. Mr Cooley (maths), Miss Swift (English), Mrs Poidevin (French), Mr Muller (headmaster and master of the “cuts”) – don’t ask me how I knew Mr Slingsby (History), Mr Yates (Library) …. too many brain cells have departed to come up with any more…
Friends like .. Gary Weston (from USA) – we had some great times… Peter Caldwell, Sandra Young, Lynette Forgan, Chris Andrews, John Eggleton, Gayle Exon… too many to remember..
I am really sorry I won’t be able to make the reunion this year but for those that do, have a great time and remember fondly the times at Sunnybank High!
Brisbane’s West End, mid-70s. Saturday morning and a group of we high school seniors were off on the town to watch a movie under the guidance of our English teacher, Ray Fuary.
Mr Fuary was a ratbag, simple as that. In the largely conservative world of Bjelke-Peterson’s Queensland, he surely voted Labor, smoked dope, and hurled bricks at sacred cows. He was a breath of fresh air, and just a bit scary.
The movie was Harold and Maude, one that had never made the mainstream cinemas in Brisbane, but had somehow attracted Mr Fuary’s ratbag attention to the extent that he thought it worth exposing a class of callow teenagers to. To entertain us, to shock us a little bit, to make us think.
I was a few minutes late and as I sat down beside a schoolmate, I asked him what I had missed. “Not much,” he replied. “The star committed suicide in the first few seconds.”
And so began my love of a bizarre film, where the twenty year old Harold (Bud Cort, fresh from M*A*S*H) does his best to be dead, whilst still maintaining a grip on life. His seventy-nine-and-three-quarters-year-old girlfriend Maude (Ruth Gordon) is pretty much the reverse, and her harum-scarum schemes to enjoy life while she’s got it are in stark contrast to Harold’s inspired attempts to harass his mother by faking his own death.
A black comedy, panned by the New York Times at release, and famously described by Variety as having “all the fun and gaiety of a burning orphanage”, this movie attracted a cult following, who watched it time and time again, loving it more each time. Odd viewers. Like me.
I love Harold and Maude. Offbeat, upbeat, downplayed and replayed. A hundred great lines.
Maude: Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.
Perhaps what attracted Mr Fuary to this film was the way that establishment figures were treated:
Uncle Victor: [attempting to interest Harold in military service] The two best wars this country ever fought were against the Jerries. I say get the Krauts on the other side of the fence where they belong. Let’s get back to the kind of enemy worth killing, and the kind of war this whole country can support.
Priest: I would be remiss in my duty if I did not tell you that the idea of intercourse – the act of your firm, young body… comingling with… withered flesh… sagging breasts… and flabby b-b-buttocks… makes me want… to vomit.
This was an antiwar, antipomp, antiauthority film. And, despite the focus, with scenes set during funeral services, picnics in cemeteries, and the cutest little E-Type hearse you ever laid eyes on, antideath.
Or rather, pro-life. Life to be lived and experienced in full. Every day something different, even after eight decades.
Age is not something that matters a great deal. Maude looks back on her life with fondness, even the parts that can’t have been very pleasant, but she doesn’t dwell on it. Or in it. She lives very much in the present.
As with many of the productions I love, this is something worth returning to again and again, just to capture a few more details. The converted railway carriage that is Maude’s home has some wonderful details that the camera just pans over, leaving you wondering, “just what was that… thing??”
I couldn’t leave without mentioning a superb supporting cast, led by English actress Vivian Pickles as Harold’s long-suffering but determinedly upbeat mother. The scene where she fills out a computer-dating questionnaire on behalf of her son is a gem:
Harold’s Mother: I have here, Harold, the forms sent out by the National Computer Dating Service. It seems to me that as you do not get along with the daughters of my friends this is the best way for you to find a prospective wife. The Computer Dating Service offers you at least three dates on the initial investment. They screen out the fat and ugly so it is obviously a firm of high standards…
Another element that makes this film a hit in my ears is the soundtrack music by Cat Stevens. Don’t be Shy, If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out, and perhaps best of all, Trouble, masterfully overscoring the twist on a twist that makes the film’s ending one to savour.
Ray Fuary had a lot of great films to show us. Roman Polanski’s Macbeth was another I recall fondly, a world away from pure classical Shakespeare. When I went on to university, I became a film student, and it used to drive my girlfriend nuts that I’d point out arcane production or scriptwriting details when she was trying to enjoy a movie experience.
How I ended up as a night cabbie is another matter, but every day is a chance for a new experience.
Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are!
High school lessons sometimes come in handy, decades down the track. My European geography is very shaky indeed, as we discovered last month when I imagined that if you left Amsterdam because of a volcanic eruption and you wanted to reach Switzerland, you would head east.
Mrs Josie and her French irregulars have helped me out here and there, but truth to tell, I know as much German and Italian and Dutch as French, nowadays, and all rolled together they barely get me a snort and a snigger when I order a beer.
Belgium, and lunch wasn’t quite as easy as we thought. None of us had much in the way of Euro left after Germany, and we either needed some place that would take cards, or an autoteller so that we could draw out further supplies.
We stopped to fill up at an odd service station. It was a servo at the front and a tavern at the back, but it wasn’t the sort of place that seemed to cater for a few quick sandwiches and soft drinks.
So we went off down the road, looking for something better. Which was sort of a Belgian Subway or Quiznos, once we found a place to park that wasn’t ridiculously illegal, marvelled at the roadside shrine at the front door, and looked inside.
Two problems: first, the ordering process seemed overly complex. Doubtless it was just a matter of selecting bread, filling, sauces and salads, but I probably had the best French of us all, and my few phrases weren’t going to be up to the task. Falling back on “point and grunt” might work, but would likely earn us no points with the long queue of hungry Belgians. Second problem was that there were no signs indicating acceptance of any cards we had. We could be seriously embarrassed. And hungry.
So we piled back into the car, hunted around for fatter pickings. No autotellers operational, no diners taking cards.
Eventually I took the wheel, found an autoteller in a neighbouring town – along with parking – and discovered that the brand of autoteller only served Belgian Post Office accounts.
Finally found one that worked for us, got some money, and looked for a food outlet. Seemed to be market day, and a cluster of stalls in the town square was doing fine business. We looked, and one stallholder was slicing meat patties in half – two semicircles – which he cooked and crammed into a half-baguette with salad and sauce. Consensus was that these looked quick and tasty, but what were they called so we could order them? A young woman received hers and began moving away.
“Go, on!” I was urged. “Ask her!”
“Um,” I said in my best French. I pointed at her snack, “Qu’est-ce que c’est?”
Hope this finds you all well and happy.
Well, as I said in my last notice it became very apparent that a definite date had to be set so I hope that Saturday 26th June will suit the majority. So circle those calendars and book those flights!!
I have attached our list of found and still to be found. At the time of writing we have located 71 past students and teachers from our year. A further 32 letters have been sent out to people whose addresses we are pretty sure of but they have not responded as yet. There still remain a number of people that nobody has an idea on. I am off to the electoral commission to try that avenue to locate them.
The Sunnybank Bowls Club has been booked from 5pm to 12 midnight on that date. The bowls club will provide bar staff and drinks will be at each individual’s expense.
I contacted the caterer who the bowls club recommended and Wendy Riedel(Wendy Litzow) was added to the found list. She has her own catering business and we have been lucky enough to not only have a fellow class mate with us but also catering for us on the night. Instead of having a sit down formal dinner she will have staff offering food so that people can mingle freely. There are seats and tables for those who would like to sit down. By the time we have finished the food offered it will be equivalent to a full meal.
Tony Smith is organising the audio visual side of the evening and 70’s music, along with John Olive who will be MC on the evening and making name tags for us with our school photos included to reduce embarrassment of not having a clue of the identity of the person we are chatting to. Sue Perry(Addison) is decorating the room in our school colours. So I guess we are on our way.
The cost will be $35 per head. Once we pay for the room hire, caterer, decorations, hire of screen and projector and name tags any funds left over will be donated to the Sunnybank High P&C on our behalf..
By next newsletter in April hopefully everyone who is attending knows they are and I will send bank details for people to pay into and thus confirm their attendance. It will give John a chance to start on those name tags.
Listed below are links to motels/accommodation in the area for people who may wish to stay close by on the night. I went to Sunnybank Hotel/Motel as well as the places listed below. The Sunnybank still has rooms but as the lady said they have no rating. Still in 70’s condition but clean she reassured me so that may also be a consideration for those who want to walk. Others in the area are
Partners are very welcome. I know some partners have no wish to listen to people with fading memories recount events that probably never happened but please know that they are welcome.
We still need photos!!! An 11E photo would be handy so that every person is accounted for with at least one photo. Any Year 12, formal, Singapore trip and Camp Shannon photos would be appreciated as well. For some reason we can only get our hands on 12 3 and 12 4 . No one kept those year 12 photos!!!
Well I guess that is all the news from me. I went to Sydney last weekend to spend some time with Gillian. She lost both parents last year and it seemed we only saw each other at hospitals and funerals so decided to have just a fun and joyful weekend. I came home with a strained hamstring and a shoulder I could not lift for 4 days. We unfortunately started playing each other tennis on WII Fit until the wee hours after too many vino’s and the competitive streak kicked in. I lost I am surprised to report. Remember I represented Sunnybank High at Tennis, she was a debater!!! Gillian obviously has more time on her hands than my good self to practice computer games. I am just wondering when the’ grown up gene’ will kick in as we will be 53 years old this year.
As I go through life on the web, I am sent, or I discover sites with what the Americans call “Commencement Addresses”. These are addresses to students at graduation, usually delivered by someone middle-aged and successful and occasionally entertaining. Sometimes the advice is earnest, sometimes light-hearted, occasionally practical. Never is it acted upon. People know better.
I never thought I’d end up a night cabbie, driving little old ladies and their groceries in the afternoon, transporting public servants to and from the airport in the evening, wheeling drunks home in the wee hours, and spending the honest hours of the morning and noon fast asleep.
I had grander plans in mind.
I tried several of those ideal careers, and I have never found one as satisfying or stress-free as driving a cab. It’s the smiles that make it for me. Making people happy, getting people to where they need to go efficiently, comfortably, safely. Feeling useful. Exceeding expectations, as the motto of the cab company goes.
Plus I get to eat as much midnight fast food as I want, and drink bucketfuls of cold coffee. It’s all good.
The only downside is the kangaroos. They jump out at you without warning or roadsense or money to pay the fare. If you and they are moving fast enough, they can come in through the windscreen and thrash around in the front seat trying to get out, and they can kill you. Kangaroos are just big balls of muscle with claws on the ends, and they scare me.
It’s not the drunks and the crazies that bother me, it’s the herbivores.
That’s one piece of advice I’d like to give my younger self. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week or next month or in your retirement. It’ll work out. Keep your mind in the present and watch out for the shapes hurtling out of the sudden darkness. It’s the things you aren’t worried about you should be worrying about.
Sometimes a half-second can mean life and death. The difference between going home to your wife in a warm bed or her getting a call to come see you torn up and drugged out on a hospital bed. Just a fraction of a second can bring decades of careful planning to nothing.
Keep your mind in the present and your eye on the ball.
The right one was to go faster, the middle one slowed you down, and the other one had something to do with the gears.
I doubt too many of us had even that theoretical knowledge in 1970. A few kids might have driven a car around the backyard under the careful eye of a parent, and a handful from the backblocks probably had an old Morris or Ford Zephyr to go “bush-bashing” in until it expired against a gum tree.
But our parents owned cars, and car advertising was everywhere on the radio, on television, in newspapers. Still is.
The big divide was Holden versus Ford. My Dad drove a Holden, so I was a Holden man, and if I saw a Ford Falcon, I’d glare at it and make machine-gun noises to shoot the enemy down from my back seat window. Biggles had played a huge influence in my childhood, and if there had been Sopwith Camels and Fokker Triplanes around, I would have been a Camel man.
A few parents drove imports. British cars were still selling. Morris Leyland and Austin 1800s. European Fiats and Renaults. Japanese Datsuns and Mazdas were making an appearance.
But for most of us, it was Ford, Holden or Valiant. The General Motors Holden plant at Acacia Ridge was cranking out Kingswoods, and my Holden heart would beat faster every time we passed by on Beaudesert Road, rattling over the railway crossing.
The HT Holden range was the epitome of modern Australian cardom. Angular and sharp-edged, they looked aggressive and futuristic on the roads. Heads turned as they went by, and if your Dad had one, you were the envy of every kid on the block.
The Monaro was the ultimate. Winning races at Bathurst, it looked fast just standing at the pumps. We wanted to grow up and drive one, hooning down the highway, sunnies shading our eyes, Rolling Stones blasting out of the cassette player. Everyone would bow before us.
They only cost a couple of thousand. You could afford one after a year of hard saving in a base-grade job if you didn’t worry too much about eating or paying a mortgage or personal grooming.
Just look at that auction estimate. $150 000 to $180 000. You know anything else that could appreciate at twice its purchase price every year for four decades?
What we should be doing is going out and buying a specced-out Holden Cruze, parking it in the garage until we are about ninety, and then auction it off in mint condition.
Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell. A world away from The Beatles. And Elvis Presley. These are my songs. Songs of yearning and love and memories. Sentiment dripping out of every note. My wife can’t stand them, but I’m misty holding her hand.
Glen Campbell hits my spot. My Glen-Spot. My Gentry-Spot. These two were a natural pairing to sing songs of middle America’s secret passions. Bobbie Gentry – despite the name, female – had a huge hit with Ode to Billie Joe in 1967, an intriguing song contrasting the banality of everyday life with tragedy in Carroll County.
Campbell had a long string of hits. Gentle on My Mind, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Little Green Apples. I love them every one.
All I Have to do is Dream was a huge hit for the Everly Brothers in 1958. When Campbell and Gentry went looking for joint projects, this one popped up. I guess that, both being singers of middle America, they had visions of acres of golden corn in their minds.
An inspired opening. It ends, as we shall see, with the same wording, and there were some half-strength lines in a couple of place between.
…I want you in my arms
…and all your charms
…I can make you mine,
taste your lips of wine…
Now, who was it said that corn doesn’t sell? Certainly not an American!
Schooldreaming – photo by melodi2
Cliches and worn rhymes aside, the basis of the song is that a lover is unnecessary. All you have to do is dream. While there is a certain amount of pleasure in this thought, I can state with some certainty that holding the girl in your arms beats any daydream. Perhaps this is the unspoken message of the song, but given the unbroken stream of corn, I think we may safely take it at face value. It’s not that subtle.
I spent a lot of my high school years dreaming. I suspect I wasn’t alone. Perhaps this was just as well. If our daydreams had been reality, there wouldn’t have been as much academic work going on!
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
Dream, dream, dream, dream
Dream, dream, dream, dream
Bonus video: live performances by Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
I might swing away from school for the moment, poking my nose, eyes and ears out into the wider world.
Australia was a very different nation in those days. You could probably count the number of students who could use chopsticks on the fingers of one hand. If not for a trickle of Greeks, Italians and other odd Europeans, Australia was a monoculture. We were slowly moving out of the British orbit, but drawing closer to America than Asia.
ANZUS was a reality. We and New Zealand were fighting in Vietnam alongside the USA. The UK was not. American troops were on the streets of Sydney for R&R breaks from the war, American television shows were edging British programmes off our screens, and “All the Way with LBJ!” had been a recent election slogan.
Gough Whitlam, not quite there
It was Richard Nixon in 1970. Former US Vice President Nixon, elected as President two years earlier after a narrow loss to John F Kennedy in 1960, was to end American involvement in Vietnam. Watergate, re-election in 1972 and resignation two years later were still in the future, and for the rest of our high school years he would entertain us with bizarre scandals.
In Canberra, the long-standing dominance of Robert Menzies had come to an end, and Australia was governed by a succession of leaders who, like Nixon, assumed they were masters of their destiny. Harold Holt had been sucked away by the sea, the Country Party’s “Black Jack” McEwen had been a caretaker PM until the realities of coalition politics kicked in, and though his Liberal successor John Grey Gorton had won a slender victory over Labor’s Gough Whitlam in 1969, popular support was leaking away from his government.
It was to drain even faster under the ridiculous figure of Billy McMahon, a loser in the “It’s Time” landslide of 1972. Whitlam, with his contempt for middle Australia, found support slipping, faster than any of his predecessors, until he was shown the door by Kerr and booted through it by the voters. It was a time of political leaders who thought that all they had to do was occupy the top spot and they would rule forever.
Joh, Queensland's powerhouse
In Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who from his ever-tenous support base of less than 30% of the voters never took any election for granted, was a recent arrival in the Premier’s office after the surprise death of Robert Nicklin in late 1968. He presided over a period of growth and prosperity for the state. Every month there would be news of new suburbs, new mines, new opportunities.
His local counterpart, Clem Jones, was the Labor Lord Mayor, as much a powerhouse as Joh. He took what the rest of Australia saw as a big country town with dirt roads and outhouses and made it into a capital to be proud of. Throughout our time there were bridges and freeways built, skyscrapers rising, suburbs spreading. And schools and universities established. I scored a few minutes with him when he came down to Canberra for the Constitutional convention, and all I could do was ask him about the time he personally prepared the Gabba wicket for a Test Match.
Exciting times for any observer of popular culture. The conservative views that had reigned for generations were dissolving as the Baby Boomers entered adulthood, the workforce and politics. Global communications of satellite transmissions and ever-increasing bandwidth brought the world and outside influences closer.
Black and white became colour. In television, newspapers, opinions.
Elvis Presley was by now a classic part of the American influence in Australia. Not yet the pathetic, bloated figure of 1977, the 1970 video shows him in his prime.
“Flaming Star!” Mrs Podevin exclaimed when somebody mentioned the 1960 Elvis film. “That was the first movie I went on a date with someone.” For a moment she was sixteen once more, and I resolved to look up when the movie had been released here. 1923, I imagined.
Knocking out hits in music and film since the mid-50s, Elvis was a cultural icon. For the Baby Boomers, he was a role model, a heartache, an inspiration. He could make middle-aged women weak above the knees.
Like President Nixon, his future was bizarre and downhill. In December 1970 the two got together, with an uncomfortable Nixon making Presley some semi-official anti-drugs crusader. Ever after, Nixon was remembered for corruption and Presley for drugs, with both implausibly regarding themselves as innocent.
Today I stumbled from my bed
With thunder crashing in my head
My pillow still wet, from last night’s tears,,,
Don’t cry daddy
Daddy please don’t cry
Daddy you still got me and little Tommy
Together we’ll find a brand new mommy
Daddy, daddy, please laugh again
Daddy ride us on your back again
Oh daddy please don’t cry.
The song calls for a return to the good old days, a call that Elvis – and Nixon – should have heeded. Sad, like so many of Elvis’s songs now, Don’t Cry Daddy did well in the charts, reaching Number Six in the US and Number Three in Australia. Burning Love in 1972 was the only later Elvis song to do better. His last Number One had been Suspicious Minds in 1969. The trend was downhill.
Don’t Cry, Daddy was one of Presley’s last good songs. The hits were getting scarcer and the performances, both live and studio, increasingly shakier. Kentucky Rain, released in 1970, described a search for a woman who had left the singer, perhaps echoing the increasing distance between Elvis and his wife in real life.
The Beatles (still together, more or less, in 1970) were embracing new themes and musical styles, but Elvis, rooted in gospel and rockabilly, was not one to go with the flow of the times. Other bands, other performers took over Elvis’s territory.
Elvis’s death in 1977, and that of Michael Jackson in 2009, prompted many to mutter “Good career move”. I have no doubt that shrines to Jackson will prove as popular as Graceland, Elvis’s home in Memphis, where “The King” reigns and the middle-aged worship.
I visited, years later, staying at the Peabody downtown, rather than Heartbreak Hotel, just along Elvis Presley Boulevard from Graceland. But I couldn’t pass through Memphis without a stop along the way to think of Elvis. Elvis had been a familiar part of my childhood, part of the soundtrack of my early life, always there in the background, like the Beatles and Frank Sinatra.
There’s an Elvis song for every occasion, and if his later tracks were sad and sentimental, the earlier ones were full of love and fire, life and passion sizzling out of them with every fling of those famous hips.
I’m not one for flock posters of Elvis in his prime, nor do I have the complete set of his films, sighing over smouldering romance in the wee hours. But he’s on my iPod, here and there. Not Don’t Cry, Daddy, though. Some songs are probably best described as “interred”.
The date has been set for the reunion to allow people time to plan holidays and book flights from interstate and the far north of Queensland. The big day is Saturday 26th June
John Olive and I went to visit the Sunnybank Bowls Club today and we are booked there from 5pm to Midnight on the above date. I do not have full details as to cost as I am yet to phone the caterer to organise food. Drinks will be at your own expense and the bowls club will provide bar staff. Just mark your calendars and organise those flights. John will put together accommodation options close to the bowls club for those who do not live locally.
I did not know I was going to book this when I sent the newsletter yesterday but it became obvious that a definite date was necessary.
The shortest path from Art to Woodwork – photo by sundstrom
Looking back on Grade Eight – from Grade Nine – I was kind of disappointed in it. In many ways it was old ground recovered. Language and gender-related subjects aside, everyone had the same syllabus. Boys did woodwork, metalwork, and technical drawing, girls did typing and cooking.
I think the intention of the first year at high school was to even out any differences in primary school teaching. Everyone got the same grounding in basic subjects of English, History, Geography, Maths and Science. The big difference from primary school, where one teacher had taught everything, was that here in high school we had different teachers for different subjects.
I’ll talk about each subject in later posts, but looking back on high school as a whole, it’s strange that the most useful learning came right at the beginning.
When I eventually got a job in the public service after university, the minimum educational requirement was matriculation, i.e. senior high school graduation. But for the five years I worked as a clerk in the Department of Defence, so long as I could read and write, the most advanced learning I needed was arithmetic and percentages, so that I could calculate discounts on claims due for payment. That was an exciting job, that was!
Computer programming in Canberra, I was mostly self-taught. Discovering the computer room in Griffith University pretty much put an end to my arts degree, but I didn’t care. Computers were the big thing and paid a lot more than I could ever expect to gain from a career in the humanities.
As a political journalist, cynicism was the main requirement for success, and finally, as a second-hand internet bookseller, a dab hand with packing tape and enough strength to haul crates of paperbacks about in my garage was about all I needed.
I doubt I’ll ever find work as anything but a taxidriver now. What else could possibly be as much fun?
Which brings me to the useful stuff from high school. Useful in employment, that is. Statistics and probability have kept me out of casinos and away from games of chance.
Geometry. Fair dinkum. Right from the first day at Sunnybank, learning about circles and angles and triangles has helped immensely in plotting the shortest paths between two points in Canberra. The Parliamentary Triangle, where I do a lot of driving, is all angles and circles, and it warms my cabbie heart to hear a passenger say that “that took less time than I thought!”
“Oh, we can drive around a bit longer if you want,” I venture, but they never take me up on it.
The classic case is Captain Cook Crescent. It’s a double-size wedge of pizza and which is the shortest distance between the two ends? If that angle is less than 360/π, then it’s the chord. Which it is.
S&P also comes into working out the best areas to go to get work. I look at the Stats screen on the taxi despatch computer, which shows the number of radio jobs in the last hour, divide by the number of cabs in the booking area, and whichever ratio is higher is my best bet.
Rolf Harris. Funny man. He did funny pictures with cans of housepaint. He sang funny songs. He looked funny.
He was funny. I loved his corney jokes and his silly paintings, his winks and beard and big thick glasses. He was a role model to me. A dork made good. Except he was obviously a great deal more extroverted than me, and that was something I had to work on.
I’m getting there. Never you fear. One day I’ll be Rolf Mackay and I’ll be painting portraits of the Queen and amusing a smile or two out of her. You’ll see. I can even tell jokes to my passengers once they are strapped in and we are hurtling through the city at well over the limit. I know where all the speed cameras are. I’m careful. I can pick my moment to tell corney jokes.
I sail through the last moments of an amber light. “Taxi green,” I wink at them, and they smile. Possibly to humour me, but it’s a smile nonetheless and that’s a bonus.
Anyway. Rolf Harris could make people smile and he could sell hit records with the most ridiculous material. Six White Boomers. Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport. Jake the Peg, for the love of God. So long as it had a catchy tune and got people smiling, Rolf was laughing. All the way to the bank.
Two Little Boys was as silly as they came, and people loved it. Funny thing about it is that it isn’t funny at all. It’s a story of two boys who later become soldiers, where one rescues his wounded and dying comrade. That’s poignant stuff. It’s straight out of a previous age when gallantry and chivalry and cavalry still had a place in the front line.
We were fighting the Vietnam war in those days, and for half a generation of male Aussies, there was a very real chance of ending up dying. It wouldn’t be a comrade on a horse, but some hero in a Huey doing the rescuing.
Years later, well six years, to be precise, the war had ended, we weren’t likely to get into another scrap for a bit, and I had joined the Queensland University Regiment Drinking Club, any resemblance to a military unit pure coincidence.
We sang Two Little Boys in our own lusty manner, fuelled by a few Fourexes, leaving out a word here and there, making a “blank” motion as we hushed.
Two little boys
Had two little _____s
Each had a wooden ____
Gaily they played, each summer’s day
_____s both of course
One little chap
Then had a ____ ____
Broke off his ____s head,
Wept for his ____
And cried with _____
As his young playmate said:
Did you think I would leave you ____ing
When there’s room on my ____ for two?
Climb up here, Jack will soon be ____ing
“I can ____ just as fast with two!”
As I said, silly. And funny as all hell to we little boy soldiers.
Not easy finding time to post – especially at the length I like to talk about a day, an incident, a song etc.
But I’m enjoying it, posting in between passengers from the front seat of my cab. Rather miffed to find that the Amazon links to MP3 downloads I’ve been pasting into the Top 10/20/40 listings don’t work in Australia, although you can get a short preview. YouTube videos are more easily found.
I’m beginning to look for people via Google and Facebook, in my copious spare time.
And learning more about WordPress, customising the blog, adding new widgets etc. It really is a wonderful blogging environment.
I’ve had a bit of a look through my boxes of “stuff”. Found my graduation certificates for Junior in 1972 and Senior in 1974 and 1975. Will scan and upload for posts in due course. I must have more. I’m sure I have diaries for some of those years. Somewhere. I know I threw out a bunch of old papers last year, but I think they were mostly university.
I’ve got another seven months or so to cover 1970-1974/5. Even at the rate of a week a pay I can’t make it, and I don’t have that much time – or memories. I’ve got two big overseas trips planned for April and August, and I’ll be flat out then, out of contact for a lot of time. I’m hoping to find others who will help out.