11 Oct




Friday August 10

Firstly, thanks for all the encouraging e-mails. As I’ve said before, I enjoy music very much but I refuse to ignore the lurid garbage pedalled as lyrics in this day and age. The Lord’s book says it plainly:


– [ Matthew 7.20 ]

Today’s troubled teens sport a ‘LOOK’ that demonstrates a belief in life’s inescapable futility turned inwards upon themselves. Could a young person rejoicing in the comfort of His love even consider mutilating their own faces with coloured contact lenses and spiny metal pins through their innocent flesh?

I think not.

The vital spirit of today’s kids is being poisoned at the root by the smutty and satanic words and images irresponsibly pushed at them.

Our C.D.s and DVDs are still available. Please allow 6 weeks for delivery.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Simon Lang, Ormeau Life Ministries



Pastor Luke Ingleton, Ormeau Life Ministries

As soon as this venomous article crossed my desk, I felt a sickening miasma descend. Not since the demented drivel of self-proclaimed black magician Ozzy Osbourne has one record included so many disturbing and destructive themes and images. The front cover is offensive enough. A warped blasphemous image of the Ark of the Covenant is flanked by faceless ‘angels’ and backlit with an ominous unexplained glow. There is nothing being hinted at here. Cynically it states ‘We refuse to mask our intentions, we have come to spread perversion and demolish your conventions’.

Thankfully, this is the first time I have had to listen to this group but they are listed as having released a previous LP entitled ‘Two Zeroes Clash’ that dealt with the supposedly ‘harmless’ practice of Numerology. From such seemingly innocent parlour games, seeds are sown leading to far more dangerous consequences. The young blithely say ‘Hey Dude, dont hassle me, man, It’s cool’. Nothing could be further from the terrible truth. Hell is anything but ‘cool, man’.

This recording’s unhealthy blend of the worst elements of Rock and ‘dance’ music is full of obscene shouts and eerie cultish chants and it expresses one overarching message and that is: reject the Lord and worship an ancient pagan sex cult.

The members of the group have rejected their Christian names and assumed the aliases of the ‘ I-Sonic Order ‘, a thinly veiled outlet for the teachings and satanic philosophies of the man variously called the Beast, the Antichrist and the Wickedest Man in the World; Alistair Crowley. His Anti-Christian motto sums up his prideful dismissal of Christ’s lessons bluntly stating ‘ Let do what you like be the whole of the law’. In the middle section of one of this album’s songs, called ‘Fantasyland’, male and female voices chant ‘Let do what you like be the whole of the law’. Coincidence? Or indoctrination?

Masking infernal messages is an old hallmark of Satan’s handiwork. There is a moment in the chorus of the song ‘Complex People’ containing this disorienting effect. This is the infamous process of backward recording or ‘backmasking’, in this case transforming a pleasant female vocal into a howl from the vortex of the damned.

There is a disagreeably cruel tone to this music. The listener is broken down spiritually by the torrent of filth and the juddering whipcrack rhythms. Disk jockey and body-piercing enthusiast S. F. ( Satan’s Friend ) The Arrester invites you to a place where ‘love is a chore and life is a bore’. Electronics expert Professor Loom slimily croons of pagan orgies and perverse ceremonies while his masked counterpart, Doctor Pump blurs fiction and reality to disorient and destabilise the unwary listener. Even attractive MisElenious gives a cold rejection of the church as no more than ‘a sad consequence of your history, baby’.

Surprisingly, there are references to Scripture throughout this repellant work. Unsurprisingly, they are twisted and mangled to parodically serve the demonic powers they have digitally encoded. This record is no less than a time bomb of Satanism, releasing its demons each time it is played. As a Christian and as a parent, I implore  you to make sure your children are kept safe from this infectious filth.

Pastor Luke Ingleton

Ormeau Life Ministries, Qld.

‘ If you begin with the premise that the Freemasons killed Tupac..’

10 Oct

RMS Magazine presents
A Strange Trip into the Institute
Kelly Stanton interviews Doctor Pump from the Crazy Baldheads

While being kept waiting, I was gloomily figuring the exact point when a group of like-minded individuals becomes a cult. When exactly does that lethal mixture of charisma and coercion consume the will of each devotee and make them fearful of betraying themselves to the others? The rare press releases had all come from whatever lay behind these gates and as the guard let me through, I briefly fancied I might never leave.
Finally I was led through an opulent series of rooms and into what appeared to be a reception area. Doctor Pump and his silent and beautiful assistant Miselenious stood at the opposite end of a huge elliptical black glass table, waving at me to sit. As a condition of being allowed to interview this enigmatic figure, I had to complete the I-Sonic Institute’s ‘Self-Realisation Personality Test’ and had admitted a fondness for frozen Margaritas, so I hoped that’s what was in the nearby blender. The gorgeous but somehow robotic woman passed me a large goblet sharp with lemon and redolent of teqila. He’d added spoonsful of a russet coloured powder to the mix, if he thought I hadn’t noticed.
‘ It’s freshly ground’ he said, smiling from behind his enormous sunglasses.
‘ Freshly ground what, exactly?’
‘ Nutmeg. The lemon cuts the taste, the crushed ice masks the dustiness factor. ‘
He lit a large joint. Miselenious warmly took my hand then smiled and silently left the room. He sat and beckoned me to ask him anything.

Kelly Stanton – It is often said that artists are the antennae of society. This second album – The Golden Age of I-Sonica – seems to tell the story of a prosperous civilisation destroyed by its own decadence and pride. Am I correct in assuming that I-Sonica is an allegory for the United States?
Doctor Pump – Kelly, the words say what they say. The record was completed weeks before the attacks on New York. That’s it. As much as people might wish for it, I’m no Nostradamus.
K.S. – Sure, and yet from the beginning your work has has a prophetic tone. Leaving aside your Babylon-must-fall stuff, the cast list of references hints at more. Paracelsus, Crowley, that sort of thing..
D.P. – We’re not hinting at anything. I can’t be held responsible for the feverish imaginations of the uninitiated. Believe me, Kelly, prophecy is a matter of interpreting subtle and often contradictory data. You don’t get next week’s paper on the doorstep each morning.
K.S. – How is your music created? Is it true that you only leave the studio for your rare live shows and have employed a lookalike to impersonate you at public events?
D.P. – That ‘lookalike’ you mention is me. My commitments with the Theosophical Society force me to send a replacement up to Russell St from time to time but the gigs are 100% Pump. The Professor produces the music and the lyrics come through a process akin to what illiterate new-agers would call ‘channeling’ so..while the fragments of various pre-recorded elements create a temporal chaos, the thematic integrity provides order. Something sadly lacking in contemporary music, if I may say so.
K.S. – This record, it almost SMELLS of sex. Almost every track contains references to it. What’s the point of including sex in music?
D.P. – Institute policy is free and kinky, babe. Drink up.
K.S. – Philip Jarvey claimed in last month’s ‘Austral Projections’ thet the I-Sonica mythos is not much more than a rehash of the idea of Lemuria. Why the interest in lost civilisations?
D.P.- Jarvey and his wannabe Rosicrucian mates have been a fucking thorn in my side for years. His magazine’s an unfunny joke and he wouldn’t know Lemuria from his arse. I suppose Disney’s godawful Atlantis flick is another example of people ripping off our ideas but who knows? Look around you, Kel, wouldn’t you choose ANY alternative to this?
K.S. – Is that why you’re always going out into the desert? I refer to the songwriting trip you mention in the track ‘Fantasyland.
D.P. – Whatever it takes to achieve clarity.
K.P. – Tell me about the lyric ‘When death is the only mystery, horror is a chance to transcend’. Are we, as you say, about to ‘dust off the war drums’?
D.P. – It’s hard to say, but I wouldn’t give up the darts just yet. Ask Bush about the Skull and Bones.
K.S. – What do you mean?
D.P. – Well, his vow of allegience to the Skull and Bones predates and thus cancels his Oath of Office. I’d really rather talk about the music.
K.S. – What’s next for you all?
D.P. – A break. Now this album’s blossomed into a fearful reality, we need to think about something else.
S.F. may return to Africa, MisElenious is midway through my advanced psychic training course and when that’s complete I’m going back to the desert. God knows what the Professor will get up to. The plan is a 2 album compilation of all the artists under the I-Sonic imprimatur, that way the Baldheads can retreat to the shadows again. We’re all so drained and I’m sick of being famous. The thing is..if you begin writing your album with the knowledge the Freemasons killed Tupac Shakur, then the rest is going to be a grisly trawl through the very worst of human evil and deceit. We all need a change of scene.
K.S. – Doctor Pump, I thank you.
D.P. – The pleasure’s mine. Thanks very much

King for a day

16 Sep

( As published in 3 RRR FM’s subscriber magazine ‘ The Trip ‘ )


Each year as I walk to BBQ Day down past Madman’s old joint, over the sunny ridge and down across the creek to CERES, I hear them soundchecking the kick drum. BOOM….boom….BOOOM….boom…echoing across the water as I take a moment to feel the sun on my back.

“Harken, O Billygoat and Bellbird “, I proclaim to myself, ” the sun doth shine and the ancient rhythm summons the king. It is the appointed day and I, Doctor Pump, am the King of BBQ Day “.

The ancient scrolls record that the first BBQ Day took place in 2003. I remember carting the gear up to the Rooftop Cafe above RRR’s old premises in Victoria Street, Fitzroy and enjoying a cheeky spliff while looking out over the pretty tangle of tin roofs and cobbled lanes as clouds of ambrosial sausage smoke curled across from the ‘Barbisaurus’ where my man, Angus Sampson, wielded the tongs. Julian Wu prepared ‘Chicken on the throne’ on his Weber, each poor fowl standing impaled on a can of VB. I think I heard the aluminium in the cans gives you Alzheimer’s but I can’t remember for sure. Celebrity chef Iain ‘Huey’ Hewitson watched on, chortling as we performed popular songs with the lyrics altered to refer to meat and beer, the comic blueprint that remains unchanged to this day.

Big songs that year were ‘Everywhere you go, you always take the Weber with you’ and U2’s Sunday Barby Sunday’ in which the question was asked, ‘How long…how long have these chops been on?’.

BBQ Day is the brainchild of my radio colleague, Mr Von Goes. Jon decided that the first Sunday of Summer each year should be celebrated as what he originally called ‘National BBQ Day’ and I’ve been associated with the show ever since. He used to be able to wrong-foot me on air. In mid-conversation, he would stop and peer expectantly over the console with his eyebrows raised in agonising stretches of silence until I’d inevitably blurt out some idiotic remark to fill the dead air. Those days are over. I am wise to his game.

Since 2004, BBQ Day has been held at CERES, the nursery, cafe and bicycle builder’s Frankenstein lab on Blyth St, backing onto a bend in Merri Creek and just down the road from RRR. How the herbivorean gentlefolk were talked into a rock and roll meatfest amazes me, but it’s the perfect location. There’s plenty of space, some shady spots and a little mud hut for Archie to set up his Outside Broadcast gear. There are little kids and dogs and sausages, sunshine and burgers and beer. ‘Eat it’ and ‘Dirty Deeds’ [ a food show and gardening show respectively ] go out live. People get to put a face to the name.

Preparation for the gig takes weeks. Rehearsing 20 songs with an equal number of singers is tough. I’m not certain but musical director duties seem to be split between Ed Bates, a man who lets his slide guitar do the talking and Matty Earl, a drummer with a loose, last-moment-swat style on the kit but eyes like a prison guard during rehearsals. Kerrie Simpson, Sarah Carroll and Suzannah Espie sing, Dan Warner and Marcel Borrack are on guitars, Nathan Farrelly plays bass and Dave Evans is on piano and accordion. Adam Simmons and his mate Sgt. Slaughter play sax and trumpet but they don’t need to rehearse. They seem to be able to appear minutes before showtime and telepathically communicate horn parts to each other. These people are called the ‘Melbourne BBQ Orchestra’ or ‘M.B.O’.

Over the years I’ve covered everything from Barry Manilow to Body Count, Simon and Garfunkel to the Smiths, James Brown, Roberta Flack, the Electric Six, Otis Redding, Missy Elliott, The Commodores and the Stone Roses.

My brother Stickman made his stage debut taking on the highspeed back and forth of Run DMC’s ‘It’s Tricky’, remade as ‘It’s Smoky’ and the Kid laid it down like a pro. Carla and Gabi, the dynamic dance duo called the Town Bikes, joined us dressed in blood-drenched butcher’s aprons, slashing at the air with meat cleavers and making frenzied syncrobooty shapes as Van Halen’s ‘Hot for Teacher’ became ‘Hot for Butcher’. Sarah Carroll tackled ‘Tofu Fighting’ one year as a local Karate group smashed shit up and threw roundhouse kicks at each other’s heads. Both the Rebelles and Cash Savage routinely blow the place up.

Last year, Casey Bennetto got the crowd so insanely hyped with his KC and the Sunshine Band jam that I feared I’d lost my crown in a diabolical disco coup d’etat.

Each year, when the party’s over, we all slowly climb the dusty rise into the lowering sun, exhausted and exhilarated, and head to Dan Warner’s annual aftershow gig at the Lomond. Dan’s BBQ Day Lomond shows are a bonus gift to those of us who want a bit more of a good thing and they are always packed with friends, all of us sunburned, half-cut and giggly.

BBQ Day is a mess, a triumph, a farce, a uniquely Melbournian social phenomenon and a good laugh. It’s a RRR kind of thing. Keep up the good work, everyone.



Lapses in Good Taste 1

26 Dec


Call me old fashioned but what’s going on here? It’s the low-slung pant for the non-committal dude. You’ve got the recently-trendy arse-equator waistband with another 6 inches of denim added above then another, more conservative, waistband up at, well.., waist level. Is he trying to look like he’s got denim boxer shorts on? How many belts do you wear with these things? What were you fucking thinking, pal?
My dears, I am aghast.

Acid and Guns

13 Dec

In the Kimberley region of northwest Australia, the summer nights remain oppressive as the heat of the day is slow to fade from the baked earth. My ‘wattoo’, or brother-in-law, Doodie Lawford had gone to bed leaving me sitting in the darkness with a gang of screw faced youths from Fitzroy Crossing, smoking yarndy from a stinking Orchy bottle bong and drinking greencan. They were unsuccessfully trying to freak me out with tales of the Featherfoot and the ghostly Min Min light.
” I jus’ seen this one light eh… One light…..moobing… ” crooned one, shaking his head.
They all shuddered at the unspeakable horror of it. I could think of scarier things than a moving light but they were used to credulous white fella tourists, eager to believe whatever half-baked bullshit they could come up with.
” You got yarndy in Melbourne?” one roughneck in a Tupac shirt and cowboy boots demanded.
” Yeah we got yarndy ” I scoffed ” we got yarndy, speed, trips…ecstasy ” raising my eyebrows and giving a look to suggest that was just the beginning.
” What’s speed?” one asked.
” Speed’s a white powder, it makes you very..energetic and you stay up all night. You sniff it up your nose ”
They shot each other quick, sceptical looks as though I’d suggested beer got you drunker if you poured it in your ear. I went on:
” Ecstasy’s a little pill that makes you love everybody and trips make you see things differently ”
I left them to ponder what that might mean as I coughed my guts up on the coarse Log Cabin tobacco and the rough bush leaf, eventually passing the half-smoked pipe back to the young fellow packing the cones and taking a nauseating swig of the blood-warm beer.
It was then I remembered the small flap pocket in my wallet.
” I gotta couple a trips on me as it happens ” I whispered, scanning each stony face and pouring on the menace. ” You wanna try something scary? This shit’ll really put the wind up ya ” I assured them as I leaned back into the darkness and let THAT fucking sink in.

I was up there for a couple of weeks with my girlfriend Ningali visiting her family at Kupatiya Station, a small cattle property that had been annexed from the larger concern her father had previously run as head stockman. A young relative of hers had kindly elected himself as my sponsor and guide to the byzantine intricacies of Aboriginal society. His name was Claudie Carter and the next morning, Claudie came around to wake me up.
” You got that speed ” he asked, looking at the ground.
” Not speed, trips ”
” You got that trips? ”

I’d been there for two weeks and my initial appreciation of the desert’s arid beauty and the star-filled skies had faded and I was getting the shits with the isolation and the in-laws’ petty jealousies and family politics. It’d become a week-long piss-up enlivened only by the occasional fistfight staged with wide showy roundhouses, rare contact and a good deal of yelling and falling over by the fighters and their audience. I’d had a gutful and a change of scene felt overdue. Claudie, however, concerned me. He lived a life of traditional laws and a good share of trans-dimensional badness and commonplace dealings with the supernatural. We were way out in the bush, on the home ground of malign spirits and bad voodoo, on the edge of the desert. Debil-Debil country. Was it a good idea for either of us to drop speed lab acid out here?

Fuck it, I thought and clipped the corners off a couple of squares of blotter acid and gave the sacrament to my young black acolyte. I told him it’d take a while to come on so as we sat in the relative cool of the morning shooting the breeze, I felt good. So good, in fact, that I thought why the fuck not and we divided up the rest.

I sat wickedly enjoying myself. Loving the knowledge that today would be another kind of day, sensing the delicious feeling of oncoming risk and promise.
Claudie flicked his hands out away from himself as if his skin was too tight.
” Shit ” he said.
” It’s cool ” I said.
Claudie stood and walked to the left, then changed his mind and shook his whole lanky frame like a wet dog. He stopped a moment, then having made what seemed an important decision, he went over to the saddle shed, returning with a rifle and a butcher knife.
He pointed with his lips at the Toyota. ” Let’s go get a killer “.

Banging and bucking over the spinifex hillocks, we laughed our guts out singing along as the tape deck played Twisted Sister’s “We’re not gonna take it ” at distorted top volume, a roiling cloud of red dirt billowing in our wake. It was a big tune up there.
” Eh brother! ” Claudie shouted ” you reckon I’m trippin? ”
” Well I’m mighty fucked up myself Cuz! ‘ I yelled back.
” Eeeee!! I’m trippin!! Truegod!!
Suddenly he wrenched the wheel to the left and braked hard and as we waggled on the shocks and the thick cloud of red dust dissipated I could see three young bulls eyeing us warily from the fence line about 80 metres away. Claudie killed the engine and it was immediately perfectly silent.
” Which one you gonna kill? ” I whispered.
” The white one ” he replied.

Claudie reached over the back and got the rifle, his eyes constantly on the three bulls, then stepped out of the truck. He moved weightlessly forward, the rifle hanging loosely at his side, his long frame shimmering in the heat haze. He stood still for a long time then raised the gun to his shoulder, took his aim then there was a loud crack and the white bull dropped to one knee then toppled over as his mates lazily trotted away.

We gently rolled over to where the dead beast lay, its lolling tongue already thickly covered in dirt. In a swarm of flies, he began skinning the bull in long, sure strokes. Soon he had the legs off and the guts remained neatly encased in a swollen wet veined balloon. I helped him load the meat into the tray of the truck and the coarse white hair and the blood and flies were all over me. He neatly severed the spine and threw it in, the huge vertebrae banging on the sheet metal.

He gunned the engine and swung the Toyota in a tight circle to head us back to camp. I laughed in pure horror.
” Fuck me dead Claudie that is some fucked up shit ” I screamed ” YAAAAH!!! Fucking bloody murderous motherfuckers, boy! Yeehaaaah!!! ,”
Claudie let out a baboon shriek of mad joy as the truck leapt over another spinifex bush and my head hit the ceiling. ” We proper MAD cunts!!! ” he agreed, leering like a lunatic. On the horizon, the twisted arms of the Baobab trees coiled horrifically in the reddening sky.

Back at Kupatiya, the meat was divided up. One old granny took the spine and draped it over her shoulder, shuffling off to her filthy blackened earth oven to cook it. The most prestigious members of the family got the rib bones, the legs went off to the freezer, the lowliest scraps to the dogs. Ningali, seemingly unaware just how wasted I was, offered a run into town, a hotel room for the night and a few games of pool in the air con at the Fitzroy Crossing Inn. I quickly cleaned up and gratefully got into the car. Claudie seemed fine, I knew he wouldn’t blab and we could compare notes in the morning.

The next day, back at Kupatiya, my drug buddy was nowhere to be found. I asked Doodie and he spoke like he’d never seen anything like it.
” That Claudie! Poo! He’s a hard worker! He fix up that old man fence, he bin get that truck started nobody bin able a start for two year, he clean up that whole yard, he was jus’ goin’ for it, no shit”
Doodie seemed sure a bit of whatever had got in to Claudie might do a bit of good around here.
Finally, I found him crashed out in a “donger”, a pre-fabricated box used for sleeping quarters on stations or out on the mines. I entered the oven-like darkness and there he lay in his filthy jeans and boots, a sweating toddler in a disposable nappy asleep beside him.
We looked at each other and grinned.
” How’d you go, Claudie? Doodie reckon you bigges’ one handyman. ”
Claudie ruefully laughed as if he’d rather not be reminded then sat up on the bed, his hand on my arm
” That thing ” he said, searching for the right words, “that thing make you walk eh “.

The end of the optimistic eighties

19 Oct

We had a 3 album deal. The first one had done well, the second less so. This third album would either set us up or sink us. The good sports at our label thought a bigtime American record producer might do the trick and turn our accordion-heavy and parochial Oz Rock songs into a glittering string of international pop hits. As I said, the eighties were an optimistic decade.

I’d never been really sure how it worked. The record company paid for everything but, to use their jargon, all advances had to be recouped. Thus, if we sold enough ‘units’ to cover the cost of making the record, we’d make some cash. If not, they’d write it off as a bad punt and we’d go shopping for deals as 3-time losers. So in a final high stakes roll of the dice, we were sent to Memphis, Tennessee to make a hit record with, of all people, the wilful maverick Jim Dickinson.

Three weeks into the recording and we were conducting risky experiments. Behind the board, Jim patiently smoked a racehorse spliff and waited. This is the man who’d recently recorded ‘Pleased to meet me’ with the Replacements and so he was taking another longshot bet on what might happen if we got completely demolished on piss.
In the studio we hysterically screeched with laughter as we played a chaotic version of ‘Where do you go to, my lovely?’, making up the lyrics as we went along. Finally, I fell to the studio’s panelled floor, tangled in my headphone cord, saliva and snot and tears all over my face, gasping and hooting like an ape.

We hadn’t reckoned on the mind-bending effects of a local beverage called ‘Everclear’. I’d found it in the nearby bottle shop and impressed by the label’s flammability warning, mixed it with 2 litres of orange juice and served it warm in plastic cups from the studio coffee machine. Dickinson’s theory was that great performances sometimes occured out by the edge of madness and he was ready to roll the tape if it happened.


Shortly, the band and producer agreed that we’d done a full day’s work and would start again tomorrow. The drummer and I had finished the ‘beds’ and it was the guitarists’ week of ‘tasty overdubs’ so I stood a good chance of not being needed the next day and kept drinking as my friend Karen had invited me to a party that night.
In the ensuing blur, a few memories remain: leaving Karen’s party with a visiting New Yorker who was in town for a funeral, being driven by her across the Mississippi into Arkansas, pashing in her rental car outside the motel where Dr Martin Luther King was killed and her constant referring to me as ‘Daddy’.
I was guilty of cheating on my girlfriend but let me tell ya, she was no saint either.

The hangover after drinking 190 proof grain alcohol is murder. I had poisoned myself and was crippled with self-loathing and bitter remorse. At least Karen kind of forgave me and took me for biscuits and milk gravy and nursed me around a rainy afternoon tour of Graceland.

Although the Memphis album proved another bad bet in the band’s career, we went on to sign with another label who behaved with even more of the carefree, hubristic and have-a-go spirit of the typical eighties record company. A set of tinted postcards featuring our grumpy dials were produced, video clips were suffered through, there was talk of the company moving to new premises where the public could observe the glamourous goings-on through glass walls from raised catwalks. People paid for records in those days. Trust me, it’s true.

The hangover was a bitch. We struggled along gamely but this new company made too many decisions based on assumptions of their own infallible genius. Perhaps they missed the wave of interest in things ‘Aussie’. A couple of years and they were gone along with the Bicentennial and the Sydney Olympics. The shrimp had been on the barby too long. It was all over.


In the corner stands a boxer

18 Oct

In 2004 I was on the bones of my arse, busted and skint. My woman had taken the kids and shot through to W.A. leaving me to pay the rent on a 3 bedroom house. I needed to make some serious plans so I dragged my sorry arse to the Albert Hotel for a beer and a think.
The Albert was owned by Keith Ellis; a man who’d trained his brother Lester to the very heights of international boxing. Keithy also ran a gym and mentored young hopefuls through the exacting trials of the fight game.
He’d recently staged an exhibition match between two teenage fighters in a ring set up in the pub carpark by the bottle shop on a Sunday arvo. Local bignoters were outraged but Keith refused to be told. Get ’em out in the fresh air, he reckoned. I loved it. It was like living in ancient Rome.
Keith promoted fight nights and had the weigh-ins at the pub. I never missed these occasions. The M.C. looked like a disgraced former TV host who’d hit the piss, young nervy and super-fit fighters were introduced and the room crackled with potential violence.
The fighters stripped down to get weighed and gave each other showbizzy threatening glares and hissed threats. There were some dangerous looking cats but none as fearsome as the polynesian behemoth ducking and dodging in the corner, throwing whistling-fast combinations of punches, his face a stony mask of concentration.
I chainsmoked rollies while watching him, transfixed by the speed and firepower of his punches. If just one caught you, the bones in your face would shatter like a biscuit. He could batter you to death with his fists in a minute. His name was Jimmy Thunder.

On a gloomy unemployed Tuesday arvo, I bemoaned my fate to Keithy.
‘Gone missin’ he offered, ‘gone walkabout’.
I shrugged and agreed as he refilled my pot.
Keith scratched his cheek and looked up at the PubTab telly.
‘I’ve got a young fella needs a place to stay. Good kid.’
‘Oh yeah?’ I said, sounding interested but thinking no fucking way.
‘Yeah, young bloke, good kid. Jimmy Thunder’s his name.’
I soon dawned on me who he meant. The stony assassin in the corner. The angel of death. Jesus.
‘Let me have a think about it’ I said, scooped up my change and headed out the back door to the bottle shop.

Later that week, I was having a yarn with my mate International Super Hoggy, a florid white-whiskered fellow with strong opinions on most topics.
‘Keithy’s got this young bloke he wants to stick in my spare room’ I said.
Hoggy’s eyebrows shot up and he goggled at me in disbelief.
‘You didn’t promise him, did you?’
‘Nah’ I said, ‘just told him I’d think about it’
‘Have you seen him, this boxer?’
‘Fuckin’ oath’ I gasped, slowly shaking my head in recollection, ‘he’s fucking terrifying. Mr Instant Death.’
Hoggy just stared as if to make me continue talking.
‘Keith reckons he’d be OK. They’re christians too, most of that mob, gentle giant, that sort of thing..’
Hoggy spurted his breath derisively and gulped his Bundy.
‘It might be alright..’ I weakly said, unsure of why I wanted to convince him.
‘It’d be alright’ Hoggy began, flushing redder with the words pushing to bust out. ‘It’d be alright, Rockstar’ he said, ‘it’d be alright…UNTIL THE FUCKING DOORBELL RANG!!!’.

Paddock Soup

30 Jun


This photo shows the bouncer from the Port Macquarie Bowls Club pretending to chuck out my grandfather, Jack Weeks. It’s clearly a set-up shot but there’s a few details I like. The list of club dignitaries, the christmas tinsel that has yet to be put away and Poppy’s terrifying forearm and cocked fist. If you needed holes punched in concrete, he was the man for the job.
Jack and his wife Ivy enjoyed their later years in ‘Port’ having moved from Yass where my mum grew up. He’d been with the 18th Field Ambulance stationed in New Guinea during the war and worked for the Main Roads Department when he got home.
Over the years, we enjoyed the regular arrival of things that, literally, fell off the back of trucks although we wished he hadn’t brought home the huge haul of hotel-grade bogroll that crackled like greaseproof paper.
The old bloke ‘babysat’ my brother Mush and I whenever we spent the weekend in Yass. This meant him being repeatedly paged by the scottish doorman at the Soldier’s Club and handing over more coins for us to feed into the pinball machines at the disreputable ‘Fireball Club’ around the corner. This arrangement was kept as a private matter between the three of us and allowed him more beer time with his cronies.
When Nanny’s stove needed firewood, we’d go out to neighbouring farms and help stack the wood Poppy cut. She’d make us a thermos of soup and because we worked out in the paddock, it was called Paddock Soup.

Take 2 litres of water and bring to the boil in a large pot. Add 500 grams of bacon bones and simmer for 90 minutes. Remove bones from the pot and strip the meat, chop meat roughly and give the bones to the dog. Return the meat to the pot, adding a large finely diced carrot, 2 sticks of diced celery, a diced swede or 2 parsnips, a chopped potato, a diced onion, a few pinches of black pepper and 200 grams of rinsed pearl barley. Add 5 tablespoons of Worcestershire or ‘black’ sauce and simmer until barley is completely soft. Add handful of washed and finely chopped parsley. Season to taste.

Macgowan and Me

7 Jun


It’s January 30th, 1988 and in room 612 of the Brisbane Parkroyal, shenanigans are afoot. My old band Weddings,Parties,Anything and the Pogues have just done the last gig of a national tour and the hotel manager has gamely promised that if we leave the cocktail bar and return to our rooms, drinks will be delivered. Being a man of his word, room service staff are busy bringing trays of tropical cocktails. I have no idea who’s paying. The mood is convivial, a guitar’s getting passed around and t-shirts and other possessions are being exchanged.
Suddenly, Shane Macgowan’s infallible drug radar goes off and he weaves his way to the bathroom. Mick Thomas, my band’s singer, runs through the Hunters and Collectors classic ‘Throw your arms around me’ while folk-rock lynchpin Terry Woods listens glassy-eyed assuring Mick that they will, despite the song’s lyric, meet again.
Shane enters the bathroom to find Brian and Angus, our Glaswegian roadies, unfolding a foil package.
‘ Woss thaat? ‘ demands Shane.
‘ It’s speed ‘ the brothers reply in unison. Shane snatches up the foil and in a great wheezing gulp inhales all of the powder into his nose and mouth, pauses for a moment then turns and leaves emitting his Muttley-from-Wacky-Races laugh.
Shane returns to the singalong where Mick’s going down well until he begins to sing ‘Spanish Bombs’ by The Clash. At the time, Joe Strummer was being mooted as Shane’s eager understudy should ill health make him unable to go on tour.
‘ I fuckin’ hate the Clash ‘ is Shane’s neat summation of his feelings on the subject. Spider, Shane’s apparent closest pal, gets the shits and demands Shane sing a song if he finds the current choices wearisome.
‘ I WILL sing a song ‘ Shane states and takes the guitar to perform, in his singular voice, a version of Sam Cooke’s ‘Saturday night at the Movies’.
There’s no topping that and thankfully another tray of fruity tequila drinks arrives.


Pan-roasted salmon and vine-ripened tomatoes

15 May

Where I work, one of the ‘specials’ is advertised as ‘pan-roasted’ salmon. Talk about culinary innovation. Roasting in, of all things, a pan! What next! I should try it. My attempts with a plastic bucket never came out that well.
There’s also an ad on tram stops lately for instant soup flavoured with ‘vine ripened tomatoes’. All tomatoes are ripened on a vine. Even in these heady modern times, no tomato grows to ripeness floating in a vat of nutrient solution or via molecular assembly in a cyclotron. Really, they do talk some crap.