times they are a'changing back
I walked down Sydney Street I got that strange stiffening tingle down
my tail -- the one that tells me something is badly wrong. The police
cars were first thing I saw. There was a fire smouldering in the rubbish
bin outside the newsagent and a cop was pouring water on it with a jug.
went to ask him what was going on, but then I looked down Werrong Lane
and saw it. "Fuck the ABC" and "Off your fat bludging
black arses" had been sprayed across the front of the Brushtail
Joadja was talking to the cops amid a scene of devastation. The chairs
and tables were all up-ended among broken bottles and glasses. The big
painting of the dancing nude that hangs in the café window was
lying on the floor. It had been slashed from the navel to the breasts
and somebody had scrawled SLUT across it with shiny red lipstick.
was still shaking. "Holy Mother of Darwin! What happened? Who did
this?" I asked.
whole mob from Fairfax came in. It was some sort of party to celebrate
the first couple of weeks of the new-look Herald. And then it spun out
facts. Just the facts Ma'am", I said, but I saw she was in no mood
for a laugh.
was about a dozen of them ... Paul Sheehan and Paddy McGuinness carried
Paul McGeough in on their shoulders. Mike Carlton and Bettina Arndt
and a bunch of others were waving rolled-up copies of the Herald they'd
set on fire.
told them to put the fires out and they weren't too happy about that,
but they did it. The other customers started leaving.
they ordered drinks and started discussing what they called 'the lesbian
threat'. Paddy McGuinness was fulminating about the universities being
overrun with LUGs ... "
Until Graduation ... some pathetic undergraduate story his daughter
told him. Anyway ... They'd been drinking for a while and somebody was
saying Noel Pearson was an intelligent boy and somebody else said yes,
he must have some white blood in him, and it was then that Imre Saluslutsky
... anyway he saw that old theatre poster with Judy Davis on the wall
and he tore it down and urinated on it. Then he started ranting on about
Tom Uren and Colin Friels running Sydney and that poet who just died
... you know, Judith Wright ... and then he threw up over the bar. I
told him to leave ... and then they just went berserk. I locked myself
in the kitchen and called the cops.
kept my head down for a while but then I watched through the kitchen
hatch. They started chanting 'Mob Rules! Mob Rules!' and then Slakulasky
him ... he started singing The Times They Are A'Changing. Then they
must have heard the police siren and they left."
looked around the room. "Phillip Adams is a grub" was scrawled
across the wall in what appeared to be Mike Carlton's handwriting. Somebody
had left behind a handbag. It contained no ID, but there was a greasy,
well-thumbed copy of Among The Barbarians, an autographed photo
of Pauline Hanson, and thirty dollars in small unmarked notes.
hope you're going to charge a few people over this", I said to
Inspector 'Shag' Pile when he turned up.
pushed his hat back on his head and his toupee shifted with it. "Nothing
we can do about it" He muttered. "Government policy. We're
not allowed to charge them. They'll say we're victimising them and they
get all this free legal aid and smart-arse lawyers from their own mob."
in Whispers from the mean streets
-- Best of 2000