Bernie pic

Bernie pic

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Reply to racist Pauline Hanson

 Australia's chronic racist politician Pauline Hanson has joined the crusade against China. I like to give my Hanson short story another run when she p[ops up spewing more filth.


Prince of Wales Hotel, Nundah, Brisbane, March, 1996

A MAN’S voice from behind me whispered four numbers in my ear. I turned around to see a short Asian man, neatly though casually dressed in a blue polo shirt and brown slacks. He repeated the four numbers.

‘That’s what I thought,’ I said and echoed the numbers.

He nodded. ‘Take them in the quinella and the trifecta.’

I retreated to a far corner of the PubTAB, turning to nod slightly at him. Lonely people, usually blokes, approach strangers in a betting agency to discuss the chances in the next race. He had made no effort to follow me.

His tips ran 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 10th. I did the math. If I had bet one unit on a box quinella and a half-unit on a box trifecta, I would have collected $1900 and change for an outlay of $18. I looked across at him and his face held no expression apart from a hint of sorrow.

He was beside me again five races later, minutes before a Brisbane event. Four more numbers he gave me, again for the quinella and trifecta.

‘Thanks,’ I said and made other wagers which lost. His numbers had won again. This time my collect would have been $1450 or so on $18 of bets. I sought him out.

‘You must be going well.’

His face was blank. ‘I cannot afford to bet. The next race won’t work out. I will tell you when.’

Taking tips from a man who can’t afford to bet is pretty dumb, but I did, anyway, when next he tapped me on the shoulder. I missed out on the trifecta where you need to back 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the right order. The best three of his four horses ran 1st, 2nd, and 5th, instead of 3rd. I collected $82 on the quinella ─ backing 1st and 2nd in either order ─ for a win of more than $60.

I offered to buy him a beer and he took lemonade instead before we perched on adjacent bar stools. We introduced one another. I was Steele Hill. He was Mat bin Wardi. He was a 39-year-old from Malaysia. I was not interested in much of that. ‘Too bad, you are short of a dollar when your luck’s running hot, Mat.’

He sipped his lemonade. ‘I have money but not for gambling.’

‘You could have had a lot more,’ I said. He was a rare punter without regrets, could’ves and should’ves, we gamblers call them. The traditional riposte to should’ve-ers is ‘if me Aunty had balls’. The rest of the admonition ‘she’d be me Uncle’ is left understood. Mat was no should’v-er.

‘I only need what I have ─ $10,000 and enough to live on for two months.’

I looked for eavesdroppers. ‘I wouldn’t mention ten grand too loudly. That sort of dough makes some people do nasty things.’

He had already pledged the big money. ‘It’s for the Racing Minister.’

I imagined why Mat would give the Queensland Racing Minister 10 large but I came up empty. ‘See you later,’ I said and walked over to study the form sheet stuck to the wall.

He tipped me another quinella on the last race in Brisbane, $115 collect this time, but no buckets of gold from that elusive trifecta. It was time to go home, have dinner and maybe hit the Hendra TAB for the night’s trotting races.

I saw him walking down the footpath off Sandgate Rd in the opposite direction to where I was heading. I swung the EH around and pulled up beside him. ‘Wanna lift?’

He pointed down the footpath. ‘I can walk to Aspley.’

I suppose he could. ‘Bother, that’s gotta be seven or eight kilometres. Hop in.’

He put comfort ahead of self-reliance. ‘Thank you, Mr Hill.’

‘It’s Steele, and, if you’re worried you told me about that 10 grand, I’ll drop you near your place.’

‘Ten grand? Drop me?’ 

‘Let you off. She’s a tough old emu, our version of the English language.’

He laughed. ‘I love it. It’s just like Australia. Free.’

He gave me directions to the Aspley Caravan Park. We pulled up beside his rented van.

‘Would you like an early dinner?’ he said. He saw my look which pondered whether he could afford to shout. ‘Nothing special but tasty,’ he said.

We entered the van and he flicked on the tiny screen of a television set perched on a round cane table. ‘The six o’clock news will be on soon,’ he explained.

We had rice, pieces of fish and vegetables with both chili and soy sauces ─ tasty indeed.

We talked; mostly he did, over dinner. Mat bin Wardi had been in Australia for fourteen months. He was a medical registrar in Malaysia and his wife was a nurse. Their two teenage children were in high school. By national standards, the family was doing all right. Middle class, he said. Asian stiffs, I thought.

It was the usual story. The kids have to do better than us. Take them to Australia to study medicine. Happily ever after, I think that’s how it finishes. You’ve probably seen the movie.

He interrupted himself when the news bulletin started. He turned up the volume on the television. I continued to eat and waited for him to re-kick his bio into action.

Both parents tried for permanent residence in the free Land of Oz, as a couple and as individuals. No go, they had preferred occupations but other things were not quite right. Mat came over alone on a 12-month visa to find work and sponsors. He found little of the first and none of the second.

A news item made him leap to his feet and point at the screen. ‘That’s her.’

I looked up to see a 40-something red-haired woman I had never seen before, but I watch little television.

Mat was winding himself up and the words flew from his mouth. Her name was Pauline Hanson. She had been kicked out of the Liberal Party for saying illiberal things about Asian immigration into Australia. She was still running for the Federal election as an independent. She owned a fish and chip shop. Sounded pretty mundane stuff to me – Mr and Mrs Bigot and the Bigot kiddies having a whinge around the barbie.

One aspect was a little strange and I asked about it. ‘Is it relevant she owns a fish and chip shop?’

‘No, I bought the fish we are eating from there and it reminded me I had read it.’

‘You bought fish and chips from Pauline Hanson’s shop? Did she serve you?’

‘Not from her shop which is way out in Ipswich. From a fish shop near here. I asked what sort of fish they had and the man said cod or whiting but they were out of whiting. I ordered a codpiece and chips. In Malaysian markets, you can choose from many species of fish. I ate the chips at lunchtime with the batter I cut from the codpiece which we are now eating.’

‘Delicious,’ I declared, thinking Mat must have heard someone in front of him order a piece of cod and chips. His version of the order was close enough not to need correcting. He continued with his story of trying to bring the family to the Great Southern Land of Opportunity. Mat was desperate.

Can you adam-and-eve his luck? He met a man in a PubTAB. His new friend would see the Queensland Racing Minister, and, 10,000 of Mat’s dollars later, he would have permanent residence. Can you adam-and-eve it? Can you believe it?

I could see no point in explaining immigration was a Federal, not a state, responsibility. The best thing I could do for Mat was to meet this politically connected hustler about to relieve the would-be New Aussie of 10K. I changed the subject to his racing system.

Mat bin Wardi was using numerology to pick the placegetters in races. Certain numbers are connected. More than that, they are the same number, only different. When that number, or series of four numbers, which are actually the one number, will come up is determined by previous results. I know it sounds complicated but it is reasonably straight forward when an Asian numerologist such as Mat explains it.

You are probably saying it is all hoodoo-guru-voodoo tripe and I agree. But I still win on the system from time to time, so I am not sharing any more details, in case you follow the system and erode my winnings.

We finished dinner and I wrote down my phone number in case Mat wanted a lift to a TAB.

I tried his system on the horses over the next month. Sometimes, I used just Mat’s numbers. Other times, I mixed his numbers with my own scientific selections. During the third week, I finally cracked the trifecta, a $2500 collect at the Mooney Valley trots. I lost half my winnings during the next week. Betting on the greyhounds from home on a Thursday night, I received the call. The bloke who knew the Racing Minister had disappeared along with Mat’s $10,000. Mat was skint and needed unemployment benefits. Could I help? We met the next day at the Prince of Wales pub. He looked spent and I asked him if he had walked. He denied it.

He explained why he needed my help. ‘I have no money to pay anyone to get me unemployment relief and I don’t know how to do it any other way,’ he said.

I promised to ring someone. Sexy ambitious public servant Cassie Billings had almost got me killed five years earlier. She owed me. The Nundah dole office told me still-20-something go-getter Cassie had moved to head office. I phoned her there.

She remembered me. ‘Oh, right, you’re the beno I exchanged tongues with a while back on the top floor of our building.’ I was glad I was memorable for my speaking in tongues.

Five years on, I was again sucked into a verbal joust with Cassie Billings. ‘Cassie, I thought you weren’t allowed to use the b-word as in beno for unemployment beneficiary.’

She seemed to be sucking on a lollipop or a biro while she spoke. ‘I’ve made a unilateral exception for a spunky beno like you. How you doing?’

I was owed, that’s how I was doing. ‘You almost got me killed.’

She made a sympathetic sound in her throat. ‘Almost, as in you’re still alive. How can I help you?’

I explained about Mat. She said she expected a more exciting request but she would post the application and identity forms. She could not process the forms herself. She would line Mat up with a Chermside assessor who would play nice. ‘Jamie Harris, remember that name; he’s kosher.’

‘Thanks,’ I said, wondering what kosher meant in public-servant speak apart from consuming too much American culture.

The forms arrived in the post below a With Compliments slip. ‘Call me, Sweetie,’ Cassie Billings had written on the with-comps. I wrote ‘why would I call you Sweetie?’ below her message before I decided the jest was lame. I binned the note.

Mat and I went through his caravan looking for all the items you need to make up the points for identity. We came up a little shy so I rang people I know in the industries of printing and forgery.

Within a few days, Mat’s proof of identity was sweet. We even had a notice of termination of employment and a glowing reference, both courtesy of my illegal bookmaker mate, Con Vitalis. It seemed Vitalis also had a lawful business in office supplies. That sideline business existed only on very convincing paper.

I coached Mat to be respectful but not too nervous when he applied for the dole. He needed to ring beforehand and make sure he would be interviewed by Jamie Harris. Mat was to mention Cassie Billings. If Harris did not respond positively, we would have a re-think.

Mat attained his interview with Mr Harris. Mat said it appeared to go well. Harris asked about his other work besides his stint in office supplies. Mat answered truthfully about his lowly-paid back-breaking farm work of vegetable picking, north of Brisbane. Harris asked about his family in Malaysia. The public servant appreciated Mat’s fervent wish to earn enough to bring them all to Australia, the land of the free. Harris said Matt should have his first cheque in the mail in three weeks.

He waited three weeks and nothing turned up. Another week passed and still nothing. Mat asked me what to do and I was unsure. We decided to wait another week.

Two days later, it was I who received a phone call from Jamie Harris. He wanted to see me at the Chermside unemployment office.

Harris was in his late 20s, of average height and skinny. He wore all black from top to toe, including long black hair in a ponytail. He spoke in a deep warm voice. ‘Come in, Steele. You’re quite a character from what Cassie Billings tells me.’ He guided me to a seat at a desk opposite him in a private cubicle.

We spoke about the weather. We talked about Cassie Billings. The conversation moved to music and he was in a bluegrass band. ‘You should come see us play. I will put you down for one-plus-one on the door.’ I thanked him for the offer of two free tickets to a gig. After that, we were down to business.

He asked me how I knew Mat bin Wardi. I was figuring the odds and decided a half-truth was the way to go. I would sort of say we met at the TAB. ‘We both turned up for work at the same place.’ He guessed the end of the tale. ‘No luck with the work, ay?’ I shook my head.

‘Not that day, no.’

He looked down at the desk in embarrassment but raised his head with a smile. ‘It is going to be Mat’s lucky day, today. He is a good bloke. I worked in a country office for a few years. Like Mat, I did a bit of vegetable harvesting to raise a few extra shekels as pub gigs in the bush pay shit.’

I nodded in agreement, knowing, for most bands, pub gigs pay shit, city or country.

His expression became more serious, but still friendly. ‘The thing is, I did not wish to worry Mat, but my superior is holding up the application. I tell you; three times I’ve tried to hide it under her nose by slipping it among straight-forward payments. She has caught me out every time.’ Harris tapped his own nose twice, with a finger, as if that meant something to me.

I felt my own index finger move towards my nose but I retracted it, not seeing value in exchanging obscure signals. ‘What’s the problem?’ I asked.

He shook his head and waved his arms to show he had no problem with Mat or me. ‘He forgot to put in his passport. Mat has sufficient identification, but in cases like his, we need to see his passport.’

‘Is that it?’ I said. ‘Mat just has to bring his passport in and you will give him a counter cheque.’

He gave me a vigorous thumbs-up. ‘That’s it. You can even bring the passport in for him. I’ll photocopy it and phone you, Steele, when Mat can come in for his cheque. He has absolutely nothing to worry about.’

I thanked him and said I would see Mat immediately and have the passport for copying within the hour.

Mat took some time to find his passport. I asked him why he had not thought of it when we put his identity together. He said he did not know. ‘I give you my passport and I will get paid, Steele? And you’ll bring it back straight away.’

I laughed at Mat’s worrying nature and at his relief when I brought the passport back within 45 minutes.

Immigration officials came for him, two days later.

They worked fast and said he would be on the plane to Malaysia within two months, after they had interviewed him thoroughly.

They allowed me to visit him in his detention cell. It was funny. He was the calmest I had seen him. ‘It’s not your fault, Steele. I should have told you why I did not want to give you my passport when we first looked for identity documents. You tried to help me, but you were too trusting. It’s not your fault. Your personality is in the numbers. We are friends. When I come back to Australia, I will meet you at the Prince of Wales.’

I said I’d like that.

I rang the bluegrass man. Harris said it was nothing personal but the Australian ecosystem needed zero population growth. ‘It is all our land can sustain,’ he said.

I asked him about the rigmarole of calling me into his office and making me get Mat’s passport.

‘You won’t help another one of them, after this,’ he said and hung up.

Another one of them, the phrase rang in my ear.


PAULINE Hanson was elected to Federal parliament before Mat was deported. I took a little more interest in politics after that and asked Gooroo to send me a copy of her maiden speech.

She was still banging on about her favourite sore points. ‘I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos, and do not assimilate.

‘If I can invite whom I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say into who comes into my country.’ She said her views were based on ‘common-sense and my experience as a mother of four children and as a businesswoman running a fish and chip shop’.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Bush Poem 8: Seniors' Resistance

Day 8 bush poem 8:
Here is a John Best original about the Seniors’ Resistance

John Best:
Contemporary Bush Poetry reflects Australia’s life today and historically has provided a powerful vehicle for social change. Maybe not this poem, but who knows? I wrote this in 2002 and now we have a national inquiry. I’ve called it:

Are the Elderly Revolting?

I have reached the autumn of my life which wasn’t that flash in its summer.
That’s me, you see, I have always marched to the beat of another drummer.
But I like to think I can end my days, and round this great land roam,
For I’ve a dread of the living dead, locked up in a bad nursing home.

To the aged it’s a sensitive issue, to the young just a smile, maybe shrug
But I know you seldom find answers to problems swept under the rug.
So if laughter be the medicine, let’s tackle this with humour.
What’s he on about? Let me spell it out and dispense with the myth and rumour.

Those caring honest operators – this is not about you, I should stress.
It’s those few, the heartless and greedy, who attract all the unwanted press.
Yes, you’ve a problem Canberra and my thoughts on the problem I’ll share.
There’s a need to review the one you have who is responsible for aged care.

For a start there’s the problem of image which should be addressed with vigour.
Who can reconcile that aggressive style with a caring mother figure?
I’ve no doubt she’s a very nice person but on TV she makes me go tense.
She purses her lips, seems to shoot from both hips. She’d be far better off in defence!

From defence, it’s not far to travel back to, dare I mention, a war?
When the Poms built a camp concentration, you know in that blue with the Boer. 
From there it’s only a hop step and jump if you leave your thoughts free to roam
And what do you get? Your worst nightmare yet – you guessed it, a bad nursing home

In some homes you’ll find shelter and comfort and their owners should all be applauded.
Yet others deserve to be closed down, for they’re not what the doctor ordered.
Or are they? Who owns all these places? Whose is the money invested?
Do their interests conflict? Some may, I predict, and this certainly needs to be tested.

Now I’ve spoken at length to these seniors. I do poetry for them, then chat,
And slowly I’ve reached a conclusion–there’s other places they’d rather be at.
There’s a groundswell of disenchantment, now a whisper, it’ll soon be a shout 
It’s not good enough. They’re doin’ it tough. I can picture a mass breakout.

See I’ve checked out their library records and these lines you should all read between –  
Three most popular books? “The Great Escape”, “Papillon” and “Stalag 17”.
The local TAFE’s not unsympathetic: anti-nursing home protests they’ve staged
To show that they care they’ve sewn bags for hot air and taught tunnelling to the aged.

So, don’t be surprised if, one morning, balloon squadrons float over your fence.
There’ll be no spring chickens in these baskets and the hot air?
Yeah, flatulence. And don’t ring the law, please just ignore those depressions in your front lawn.
It’s a tunneller, mate. When he reaches your gate by tomorra, he’ll be gone

Should they not have the strength to leave on their own, this issue I will not shirk.
They’ll just laptop their mate in a wheelchair. Please note here the genius at work,
Vision impairment? No problem! I’ve a scheme I admit I’ve not tried,
See, I’m breedin’ these bloody big guide dogs. They’ll just hop in the saddle and ride!

And you mob, if drivin’ near nursin’ ‘omes spot someone a little bit older,
They’re not hard to pick –  they’ve a walker or stick with a furtive look over their shoulder.
Do the right thing! Lend ‘em a hand, render whatever assistance.
Your turn’ll come ‘round, now known underground “Paid up member of Senior Resistance”.

As you’ve gathered by now, I’m across this. Those that can flee will have flown.
 I’ve no doubt solved most of their problems and those left behind, “Home Alone”.
Yes Minister, you’ve done some good work. Give credit where credit is due,
But I think, and I’m not alone thinkin’, that we should do better. Don’t you?

For these folk and their like forged this nation, this country of which we’re so proud.
Some gave up their youth for Australia, others gave up their lives, brave, unbowed.
Minister, is this how we repay them? For this did they work, fight and die?
We can and we must do this better, or is “Lest We Forget” now a lie?

YOU CAN ORDER TALL TALES from your physical bookstore (author Long John Best, publisher Bent Banana Books) or in paperback or eBook from online-retailers including     (paperback and Kindle) (Barnes&Noble paperback)

Proceeds to animal welfare, RSPCA QLD

Lest We Forget is the motto of Anzac Day the Australian equivalent of Memorial Day in the US.
We started our first day of Long John Best bush poetry with a Beatles song and we will conclude our eighth day with another. For decades I thought the line was “Will you still heed me . . . “
I don’t want to usurp the genius of this rock group but I do think “Will you still heed me . . ." is a better lyric.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Another dog poem from Long John Best

8 Days a Week
Day 7 bush poem 7:

Long John Best has that rare gift of being able to create a poem which is both sad and uplifting.
Here is one:

Long John Best:
Inspired by a piece called A Dog’s Purpose. Anonymous.

The Vet

Ron and Lisa’s dog was Bluey, part Blue Heeler, nearly ten,
Real good mate, more like a brother, to their six-year-old son, Ben.
I’m their vet, I’ve known the family, I dunno, for quite a while,
Watching boy and dog grow closer, one of Life’s joys, makes me smile.
Only school days find them parted, faithful friend waits by the gates.
But Life’s unfair, cruel. Cancer comes, claws deep and devastates,
And it’s now my task to tell them, all their prayers have been in vain,
Euthanasia, only option, to relieve poor Bluey’s pain.

Ben had asked if he could be there, which I thought strange for a kid,
But Ron and Lisa had agreed, and I’m so glad that they did.
For not before or ever since, have I witnessed such a scene,
At the passing of a loved one, sort of spiritual, I mean.
He seemed so calm when patting Blue, who looked up and licked Ben’s tears,
Respect and love and dignity, shown way, far beyond the years
Of their short lives spent together. Then we sat and wondered why,
Bad humans live a long, long time, and good dogs too soon must die.

Then Ben spoke, “I know the answer.” He is six, what would he say?
He gave us words of wisdom, that I dwell on to this day.
“Most people have to learn to live a good life, to love, be kind,
To be nice to one another, and I think that you will find,
That this really is the reason, but I’m six I could be wrong.
See dogs already know that stuff, so don’t have to stay as long.” 

YOU CAN ORDER TALL TALES from your physical bookstore (author Long John Best, publisher Bent Banana Books) or in paperback or eBook from online-retailers including     (paperback and Kindle) (Barnes&Noble paperback)

Proceeds to animal welfare, RSPCA QLD

The Drover’s Dog is a mid-1980s parody by Redgum, a folk/bush band. Former trade union boss Bob Hawke deposed Opposition Leader Bill Haydn just before the 1983 election which Hawke won. A somewhat bitter Hayden said a drover’s dog could have won that election against Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Bush Poem Day 6

Day 6 bush poem 6:

Here is another rofl-job with a Long John Best original from his collection, Tall Tales.

Henry’s Passing

There’s a look you get when dying, startled headlights on a deer,
And that’s the look old Henry had. Oh, he knew the end was near.
Family gathered round his bedside, vultures waiting for the end,
Only Naïve Nev his night nurse, Henry figured, was his friend.
Henry’s hour was fast approaching, time to leave this mortal coil,
With the wisdom born of Rhinehart, he would allocate the spoil.

“Wife, I leave to you all Pitt Street, Eldest Son, you get The Cross;
Michael, Mossman, most of Manly, toss in Bondi; that’s no loss.
Sisters, Sophie and Sofia, divvy up the CBD.
My Mercedes goes to Neville, for the kindness he’s shown me.”
Barely had these words been spoken, when his eyes closed with a sigh,
For all ties to Earth now broken, Henry’s time had come to die.

Well Nurse Neville was astounded, at what he had seen and heard.
That one man in just one lifetime, could acquire so much.
“My word,” He said, “This man, your Husband, Father, of him you must be proud,
So much property he leaves you.” Wife said, “For crying out aloud,
He was useless and a skinflint, for us didn’t give two hoots,
All’s left’s a clapped-out car, no money, and his bloody paper routes!”

YOU CAN ORDER TALL TALES from your physical bookstore (author Long John Best, publisher Bent Banana Books) or in paperback or eBook from online-retailers including     (paperback and Kindle) (Barnes&Noble paperback)

Proceeds to animal welfare, RSPCA QLD

Love that bit about “Sisters, Sophie and Sofia”. If the sisters Sophie and Sofia, were teenagers in the 1960s, they might have been taking in the Kroo Brothers at their local Australian milk bar. They do not look much like brothers, maybe because they are not. A milk bar was an Australian cafe where milkshakes were a favorite of the teenage clientele. And yea the Kroo Bros did perform at milk bars.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Bush poem 5 from Long John Best

Day 5 bush poem 5:

As a teenager and young man, Johnny served 15 years in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Here is one of his poems about a World War II veteran.

Long John Best:
Someone told me this was illusory, whatever that means it sounds pretty flash. It’s called:

Verandah Dreaming

Good to see you, old mate, I've missed you of late, have you been just a little bit off?
Pull up a chair, oh you've got your own there, twenty-eight inch wheels. Bloody cough.
Hey remember as kids, we used to do skids on our pushies with big wheels like that?
No pneumatics of course, solids; bucked like a horse, but Jesus they never went flat.

These kids of to-day, they dunno how to play, they say Gramps put TV on, we’re bored,
Then they up and they prance, like they've ants in their pants, that music’s a crime to record.
So what's with this chair, you've still got your legs there, aren't you bunging it on a bit, Fred?
Them legs saved your life, when you got into strife, with that farmer, I thought you were dead!

He must have seen me, though I hid up a tree when he lined up that 12-gauge on you.
Well struth, I knew you could run, but outrun a gun. Christ mate, you bloody near flew!
Proved a decent old bloke, liked a bit of a joke, and showed that he wasn't no dobber,
Left Mum a box with a note, still remember he wrote, "melons for felons", your cobber.

Oh but we never knew, when he lined up on you, and let one fly in the air out of fun,
That in only three years, with me hiding me fears, we'd be lined up again, by the Hun.
Oh, we'd joined up real fast, just in case the chance passed, who wouldn't want to be in it?
We drilled and we trained, but excitement soon waned, with bad news from the Front; can we win it?

Fred, I wasn't so sure, but you'd just ignore the doom and the gloom, get stuck in.
Me, I went with the tide, hoped, with you by my side, at the end of the day, mate, we'd win.
Cobbers eh, Freddy, weren’t all staunch and steady, a coupla right mongrels we knew,
"Reckitts" you dubbed 'em, and when Jerry near scrubbed 'em, they turned out quite white in the blue.

"Weak pair of bastards", you said, "they'll both wind up dead", a prediction, which wound up spot on,
Both blown to the khazi outside of Benghazi, and there weren’t a lot left, when they’d gone,
We crept in, out of Crete, near dead on our feet, couldn't picture us getting much older,
But you Freddy mate, oh Jeez you were great, I got scareder, and you just grew bolder.

The terrible two-some they called us, but mate you knew some, if not all of my fears,
Like, late at night when I cried, having dreamt I had died, a secret you kept down the years.
The next few dragged by, it's just in hindsight they fly, and I come back home, pretty right.
Oh, it's nothing you'd notice, but Jesus don't quote us, see I still wake up bawling at night.

I’m burnt out now of course, what you’d call a spent force, bastard banks took the deeds to the station.
Have we come such a ways, since our Middle East days, when you gave up your life, for this Nation?
I get feelings of guilt that this country we’ve built,might of done better with you here than me,
And quite often I wonder if this younger mob understands what it costs to be free.

Am I losing it, Fred? Am I better off dead? Seems the world of our youth's come behind.
Though your body's not near, your spirit is here, it's why I talks to you see, in me mind.
I suppose there's been others who had better brothers, but no one I've met ever did.
This long life I have led, is down to you, Fred, still sleeping in Libya, still a kid.

I’m fading fast, Freddy. I think I am ready, to take up where last we left off.
Put the billy on, mate, I've not long to wait, got this pain in me chest---bloody cough.

"Come in now please Dad, it makes me so mad, when you're jibbering to old Uncle Fred,
You know he's long gone, gee, you do carry on . . .  Oh, Sweet Jesus, my Father is dead."

YOU CAN ORDER TALL TALES from your physical bookstore (author Long John Best, publisher Bent Banana Books) or in paperback or eBook from online-retailers including     (paperback and Kindle) (Barnes&Noble paperback)

Proceeds to animal welfare, RSPCA QLD

Here is a 1969 hit about a young man going to the Vietnam war. At the end of the song, stick around to see a very skinny, very young Bee Gees covering Bob Dylan.

Monday, 13 July 2020

8 Days a Week: Bush Poem #4

Day 4 bush poem 4:

Some of Johnny Best’s bush poems are rofl-funny. Here’s one.

Long John Best:
This is a factual account of an incident that occurred to me in my late teens and altered the direction my life took from that day forward. Only the locations have been changed to protect the townsfolk from the notoriety that descended on the good citizens of Lourdes in France. I called it:
                         Horse Sense

Far out beyond the Great Divide, lay another world to me,
Son of suburbia that I am, from a city by the sea.
My academic achievements were greatly admired on the coast,
But way out there, I must declare, it’s horse sense that counts the most.
Oh, I’d travelled West, with youthful zest, in search of the Great Outback,
When the ute tossed it in outa Quilpie, along the Windorah track.

In the old girl’s sparse shade, I ponder, what could be possibly wrong?
And try as I might, what I do is not right, and nobody comes along.
Five long hours creep slowly by, can the heat be affecting my brain?
For I swear I can hear someone talking; there, I can hear it again.
I’m standing now, and I’m looking, but the only creature I see
Is an old grey horse across the road, and he’s staring straight at me.

He sorta grins and then he begins to talk in a voice quite low,
“It appears to me that your carby’s blocked, clean it out and yer ute’ll go.”
I stand amazed, and somewhat dazed as he saunters off out of sight.
I’ve no other recourse but have faith in the horse and hope I can put it right.
I did as he said, God Bless him, she started first turn of the key.
I’m off down the track with no looking back, a miracle’s happened to me.

Windorah’s first pub finds me braking, my God what a story I bear,
Like shot from a gun, up the front steps I run, the bar’s empty, there’s nobody there.
Only the barman is present, bored, polishing glasses away.
Thinks I, just you wait, the tale I relate will certainly liven your day.
He poured and polished, I ranted.
Never into my story, he broke, Struth, you could have knocked me down, with a feather, when finally spoke. “My word,” he said, “You struck the grey, you should count your lucky stars,
The bay was out there last week, he knows bugger all about cars.”

YOU CAN ORDER TALL TALES from your physical bookstore (author Long John Best, publisher Bent Banana Books) or in paperback or eBook from online-retailers including   (paperback and Kindle) (Barnes&Noble paperback)

Proceeds to animal welfare, RSPCA QLD

Place means a lot to most people and it is essential John’s story is set in the Outback.
Many successful songs reference a place. Few reference as many as this 1962 Australian song from Lucky Starr.

Johnny Cash Americanized the song but he could not name-check as quickly as Lucky.
Hank Snow had a hit with the first American adaptation.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

8 Days a week: Day 3

Day 3 bush poem 3:

This is a confronting original work from Long John Best’s first print collection, Tall Tales.
You will see in the poem how Bestie incorporated audience response to it.
P(rovisional) Plates indicate the new driver has a restricted license.

Long John Best:
I wrote this to try to slow down the senseless road deaths of our young people. Young people who are on the threshold of life. They have been nurtured and loved to get to this stage, they have taken on board an education to enable them to make their way in this wonderful world, only to see it thrown away needlessly.  For what?

P Plates
Heading home from, doesn’t matter, driven further than makes sense,
When this car, coming towards me, leaves the road, ploughs through a fence.
Hits a tree, this far above ground, then explodes, disintegrates.
I pull up, you have to, don’t cha, might be me, could be me mates.