Thursday, February 19, 2009

Paul Kent, Schools, Shouts, Schooners and Parrots Pissed

Way back when, so long ago I can barely remember the riots in the school yard, I was a trainee teacher in a country town. Hard to imagine, but there you go, even harder to remember. Thank god I became a refugee from the education department.

After school, I became part of another school. The English and History departments - with the odd French teacher for cheese eating flavor - would do a round of shouts in the local pub. Schooners of beer. Fifteen ounces. By five or six or seven. And then drive home.

Being a fragile thing, I left these gatherings pissed as a parrot and totally bewildered. It seemed the meaning of life was to hate your job, get as drunk as a skunk, and then kill somebody on the roads.

Ain't it good to know things never change. Come on down dipstick dodo Paul Kent, macho beer guzzler for the Daily Terror, with Wowsers wear the trousers.

The good old Aussie shout must be protected. It is as Australian as dodgy kebabs and rhyming slang.

As Australian as our cricketers, Bradman, Benaud, Dougie Walters and Wally Grout.

Yeah I've stood in public bars listening to hard nosed news men explain how getting paralytic is a sure sign they've caught the best of the news. I've stood with cops as they slid to the floor explaining how one more ale was a sure sign they knew how to match it with the crims. I've even stood with John Meillon as his mind went walkabout in William street.

And then I woke in fright. The main difference between the brain dead macho stupidity of Paul Kent in his column and Chips Rafferty out in the "Yabba" was that Chips was acting.

You know once upon a time we had the drunks whingeing about the six o'clock swill. It's a measure of the man Paul Kent that he's whingeing about the midnight swill.

He even gets anxious about plastic cups. Geez, what's a man to do with a plastic cup when a good glassing is the righteous way to chat up a woman. Never mind that the Daily Terror has waged a campaign about drunken hoons and glassings in classic tabloid fashion. Paul Kent will lead us all into the land of righteous spewing in the streets.

You know Paul there's more to life than schools and shouts as a way for the boys of hiding sublimated fear of homosexuality, in the style of Donald Pleasance in Wake in Fright. It doesn't make you Donald Bradman to get as legless as a chook in a dunny. The Don was in fact a virtual teetotaller, and Wally Grout's weak heart meant he wasn't up for a dose of binge drinking and glassings. (Sure a grout's a shout, but a stout grout didn't flout the tote). By a strange coincidence, Richie Benaud was a gentleman, and good on him.

So that leaves you with Dougie Walters, and you're welcome. Or the late breaking adolescents in the current team - no names no pack drill - who can't handle a radio interview because they're tired and emotional.

There's no way around it Paul. You're a tool. Just like the enforced regime of shouts and schools, where alcoholics made others feel they had to join in grogging on to be companionable, hospitable and Ozzie. Geez they even opened up the public bar to women so they could get a real dose of male culture. Thanks boys.

Meantime Paul, go choke on a dodgy kebab. And remember it was the Cockneys that invented rhyming slang, you tosser. You wouldn't know Aristotle from a bottle, or beer from Christmas Cheer, or a drink from tiddlywink.

And tell me again how safe it is to have a drink in Manly on a Saturday night? And how a woman in company with a rugby league player can take a glassing as a sign of real love?

Oi oi and fucking oi. 

Pubs have got rid of tiles, and been forced to get rid of smoking, and thank the lord it seems they might be getting rid of Paul Kent, schools and shouts.

So drink in moderation, except when in the company of Paul Kent. Because when he shouts you, you'll have to shout him, and then he'll shout you, and so on and on, and then you can both slide into the gutter in good Aussie style ... because it's so dinkum to be a drunken loon ... (come to think of it, that way you might get a job as a television personality, just beware the cell phone camera).

Suddenly I feel a deep affection for that desiccated coconut Gerard Henderson.


Nick D said...

Another refugee schoolie! Should have known. Been there myself.

You need some real bravery (or a stiff drink?) to stand up to the sacred cow of chugg-and-chunder in this country. I remember kids as young as year 7 buying a couple of bottles of vodka for a weekend party. It used to be a rite of passage, now it's this monodimensional wasteland of paralysed zombies who actually can't function at all in a social setting without first reaching a plateau of pissed-ness (the plateau usually being them flat on their backs in a toilet cubicle).

It's all gone a bit far, but hey the free market in smokes crash-dived and somebody needed a new way to sock the kid market. What was that play in Sydney last year based on the experience of the writer, who gave up drinking for a month and found most of his friends didn't want to know him?

I love a drink, but I'm bored with the pathologically drunk.

dorothy parker said...

I'm no wowser, in fact I come from a family with Irish roots and a proud history of alcoholism, but:

(a) buying rounds of drinks started with the Irish (some say the UK but it has to be the Irish) and then travelled to Australia, parts of the US and wherever else the Irish set up shop. Not knowing the origin of the custom or that Don Bradman was inclined to be a teetotaller marks Kent as dumb;

(b) and because he's dumb, the cultural fascism, and the compulsiveness of the drinking the custom induces, completely escapes him. There's better ways to enjoy grog than get caught in a school of authoritarian shouting piss pots. Generally being socially inept, men fall for this sort of crap in the way I once looked for leprechauns at the bottom of the garden.

Thick as the froth on a Guiness and just as lightweight.