Archive | June, 2012

Paddock Soup

30 Jun

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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.

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Macgowan and Me

7 Jun

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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.

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