Mr John Clarke

Things that don’t quite fit anywhere else go here.

We had a wonderful response to our March quiz and we thank everyone who entered. The winner was Stan Hope of Stanhope. And very nice work Stanley. For the record, the answers were as follows:

  1. True. Your house is worth more than you paid for it 20 years ago. More news as it comes to hand.

  2. True. The full forward for the federal opposition is Bill Shorten. The previous two spearheads were stretchered off under the blood rule. Bill was handily placed on both occasions to help with the clean-up.

  3. True. Bernard Tomic is going along beautifully and recently chalked up a massive PB of 28mins 20 seconds at the Miami Masters.

  4. False. The Shapelle Corby Special was a one-off program. The Severn Bore is an annual wave phenomenon on a river in England.

  5. False. Scott Morrison is not an Admiral. In a lot of countries he would not even have a navy. He is the Immigration Minister.

  6. True. According to Joe Hockey the Australian economy has been fixed, is collapsing, will be transformed, is recovering, has run out of money, is the envy of the G20 and has been reported missing. Hold on to your tickets.

  7. Buddy Franklin. The GFC didn’t play for the Swans.

  8. False. It’s the other way round, Nick Minchin and Alexander Downer are not Australian sportsmen and David Warner is not a diplomat.

  9. False. There is no Senator Bigot. The man in the photograph is a highly paid Brisbane librarian.

  10. True. The age of entitlement is over.*

  11. True. It has been suggested that the Grand Prix isn’t loud enough. Other concerns for organisers are that the trees are insufficiently dendriform and the sea isn’t wet enough.

  12. False. Bernie Ecclestone is the state’s most highly paid official but technically the Premier is still Denis Napthine.

  13. False. The ALP is not in liquidation. Management has expressed the hope that it will be able to trade its way out of the current difficulties.

  14. False. It was Tammy Wynette. Tania Hird has never released a single.

  15. False. George Pell is not fallible. He trusted some people who simply weren’t up to it. He admits this freely and has named them all publicly on his way to the airport.

  16. False. Paul Howes will not be going into politics. He has simply accrued a large number of RDOs, a substantial backlog of sick days and a fair bit of leave.

  17. False. Arthur Sinodinos has never met Arthur Sinodinos and was not previously aware of his existence.

  18. False. Craig Thompson is not appealing.

  19. True. It was the former Governor General Quentin Bryce. The dive was a reverse republican somersault with a damehood and two twists. The degree of difficulty was 9.97 and although the entry was a bit messy, the wonder is that it could be attempted at all.

  20. True. Australia does have a one day cricket team. It is hoped that one day they’ll play cricket.

*A list of those to whom this does not apply is available in the first class lounge.

We had a wonderful response to our Christmas quiz and we thank everyone who entered. The winner was Clay Tonsouth of Clayton South. Well done indeed Clay. For the record, the answers were as follows:

  1. True. Tony Abbott has defended the need for secrecy in dealing with asylum-seekers by saying it is similar to the conduct of war. The war he is referring to is possibly Evelyn; particularly ‘Scoop’.

  2. False. Neither Patricia Wak nor Kermit Jagger played cricket for Australia. Kerry O'Keefe was detailing a significant incident which occurred away from the field of play.

  3. True. Justin Bieber has retired. He is twelve.

  4. False. The man in the picture is not Joe Hockey. The man pictured was signing for the deaf at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. It was later discovered that he had no qualifications for the job whatsoever and was ‘simply waving his arms about’. Mr Hockey is the Australian Treasurer.

  5. False. The album ‘Tapestry’, one of the best selling albums of all time, was recorded by Carol King. Calorie King is an online weight-loss organisation.

  6. True. Christopher Pyne is concerned there is insufficient emphasis on ANZAC Day in the Australian school curriculum. In order to be consistent with other government policies, this will replace science.

  7. False. The Battle of Waterloo was won by the Duke of Wellington. Duke Ellington was a composer and band leader.

  8. False. Deputy Prime Minister Julie Bishop did not describe the conditions of Australian mining workers as worse than those of asylum seekers on Nauru. She described the conditions of asylum seekers on Nauru as better than those of Australian mining workers.

  9. True. Using the model of the Sydney to Hobart yacht-race, the way to stop the boats is to welcome them with a lot of hooting and yelling and give everyone on board a drink. This seems to work well every year.

  10. True. Tony Abbott’s removal of the carbon tax will reduce your electricity bills. This will work as follows. When you receive an electricity bill, slip it under your pillow. In the morning there’ll be a tooth.

  11. True. Media comment on Alastair Cook ( C ) has been rather harsh. Following representations from the English players, his status is expected to be lifted to Alastair Cook (B minus).

  12. True. A tax on going to the doctor is an excellent idea and no, it won’t reduce the profits of international mining companies.

  13. True. Piers Morgan is an English cricketer. He faced one over, was clean bowled and suffered a broken rib. He was immediately approached by The Test and County Cricket Board about how soon he can start.

  14. True. Australia has just had it hottest year on record. This was not the result of an increase in temperature. The cause was an absence of cooler conditions.

  15. True. Holden will close its manufacturing business in 2017. Holden Adelaide will close and Holden Port Melbourne will close. Holden Caulfield will retain his status as important fictional character.

  16. False. Hitting a tennis ball over the net through your legs while running backwards is a considerable skill but it doesn’t have a name. ‘Federation’ is a constitutional term.

  17. False. The man photographed is not Prince Harry. It is Ben Stokes, a Siddle-order batsman in the English cricket team.

  18. True. The school play this year will be The Dog that Whistled, by John Howard. John is an old boy of the school and will also be directing the production. Tony Abbott will play George Pell, Christopher Pyne will make a brief appearance as Yorrick and Cory Bernardi will continue to feature in the role of Bill Heffernan.

  19. False. The Prime Minister has announced that medical insurance premiums will rise by 7%. The suggestion that Medibank Private will be privatised is clearly absurd.

  20. True. Diplomat Jacqueline Zwambila feels she cannot not return to Zimbabwe without persecution. She will be sent to an offshore detention centre in case other international diplomats are encouraged to avoid persecution. We need to break their business model.

We had a fantastic response to our recent quiz and we thank everyone who entered. The winner was William Stown, of Williamstown. Good boy Bill. For the record, the answers were as follows:

  1. True. Of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled their country because of civil war, Australia has decided to accept 500. (All stand)

  2. There are three man-made structures visible from space; The Great Wall of China, The Palm Island archipelago in Dubai and the Australian Parliamentary Expense Account Register.

  3. True. Buddy Franklin is huge news because he has gone to Sydney, where the news comes from.

  4. False. The Governor General of Australia is Quentin Bryce. Quentin Crisp was a writer and entertainer.

  5. False. Tony Abbott is not a marriage celebrant.

  6. False. Nicola Roxon is not a marriage counsellor.

  7. False. This was a trick question. The winner of the ballot was Anthony Albanese. Bill Shorten was elected.

  8. True. Sophie Mirabella’s plan to get out of Indi by losing her seat and getting a plum government appointment somewhere else is going particularly well.

  9. False. Tony Abbott insists that members of his cabinet must be appointed on merit, regardless of whether they are men or women*.

  10. True. Treasurer Joe Hockey described the state of the Australian economy as ‘in crisis.’ Australia was facing ‘a financial emergency’ he said. Since the election it has emerged that ours is among the strongest economies in the world. Mr Hockey regrets any misunderstanding and apologises to anyone who was hurt in the incident.

  11. False. George Brandis is not held down by strong metal cables. The reason he doesn’t float away is that he’s heavier than air.

  12. False. Science is not illegal in Australia.

  13. False. The reason so many polling companies got the election margin wrong, the swing wrong and the senate wrong is not that they are idiots. It is that the only people polled were those with fixed line telephone numbers. This excludes anyone under the age of 106.

  14. True. There are nineteen token men in the federal cabinet.

  15. False. Mr Napthine is the Premier but Victoria currently has a Shaw government.

  16. True. In the Declaration of Interests for members of parliament, under shareholdings, directorships, real estate, trusts and investments, Malcolm Turnbull has written ‘See attachment’.

  17. False. Tony Abbott took three hours to complete the Macquarie triathlon. Despite a limited buildup for the event, he tried really hard, honestly. The suggestion that his expenses are worked out by the hour is ridiculous.

  18. True. If Peter Slipper thinks it’s unfair that he’s on trial for allegedly rorting expenses while both the Prime Minister and the Attorney General are claiming expenses for attending his wedding, then perhaps he should have thought of that before he got married.

  19. True. Scott Morrison is a minister in the Australian government. His portfolio is a secret.

  20. True. The recent fiscal crisis in the US was caused by part of the party which is not in government. An equivalent in Australia might be allowing a decision about whether Australia has a carbon tax to be decided by a Queensland coal billionaire and a motoring enthusiast from Gippsland.

*Plural of ‘woman.’

We had a fantastic response to our Election Special Quiz and we thank everyone who entered. The winner was Trent Ham, of Trentham. Well done Trent. For the record, the answers were as follows:

  1. True. Australia is a democracy. Some conditions apply. Please note the position of the exit nearest your seat.

  2. False. The people cannot vote for the person they want as Prime Minister. They must vote for a candidate in their electorate. Party Leadership is a matter for the parties themselves. This is going well.

  3. True. The best way to ensure the defeat of the party you least prefer is to vote for the other one. This is called ‘choice’.

  4. False. Neither of the parties is led by the preferred prime minister. The preferred Prime Minister is Malcolm Turnbull. One of the reasons he is preferred is that he cannot become Prime Minister.

  5. False. You cannot vote for Tony Abbott’s daughters or for Therese Rein, Jessica Rudd, Antony Green, Dami Im or Cyril Rioli. They are not candidates.

  6. True. The first week of the campaign was between Kevin Bloke and Tony Knackers about who is fair dinkum. The second week was about the economy, which is run by Treasury. Since then it has been about remaining awake.

  7. This was a trick question. In fact they are all true. Tony Abbott won a Rhodes Scholarship, Bill Shorten expects people to vote for him and there is a car called a Range Rover Evoque.

  8. True. In one 24 hour period, Tony Abbott confirmed that no-one is the suppository of all knowledge, that a female candidate he supported had sex appeal and that allowing people to marry on the basis that they wanted to would be too radical a change to existing laws. These were the playful errors of a man abundantly qualified to run the country.

  9. True. Kevin Rudd is The Labor Party. There are apparently some local members but Kevin is the founder of the party, owns the copyright and holds all the portfolios in the federal cabinet.

  10. True. There were two days of the campaign on which Tony Abbott did not mention asylum seekers. He wasn’t well. Happily, he’s feeling much better now.

  11. True. Climate change is effecting the global environment, except in Queensland and Western Sydney.

  12. True. ALP strategists got rid of Kevin Rudd because the polls had collapsed and then got rid of Julia Gillard because the polls had collapsed. Their current problem is that the polls have collapsed.

  13. True. Sophie Mirabella has been to her electorate on many occasions.

  14. True. Both parties waited until the electorate was suffering from drivel-fatigue and then launched their campaigns.

  15. False. Bob Katter was not in ‘Dirty Harry’ although his hat was nominated for an Emmy for its performance in ‘Gunsmoke’.

  16. False. Tony Windsor is not a member of the royal family.

  17. True. There is a new TV show called Eden-Monaro. It premiers on Sunday and will be heavily promoted after the polls close tonight. All TV election coverage will be peppered with presenters on all channels repeatedly saying ‘Let’s go to Eden-Monaro’, ‘I’d like to have a look at Eden-Monaro’ and ‘Can we get Eden-Monaro on this thing Antony?’

  18. True. Other new TV shows also set to be shamelessly promoted throughout the election-night coverage include Robertson, Dobell and Lindsay (comedy/drama about three cops with only one bicycle, trying to bust a drug-ring), LaTrobe and Deakin (a spoof news panel show) and Greenway, Banks and Corangamite (reality show in which 15 dozen vol-au-vents must be prepared in a house containing only a toaster and a vacuum cleaner)

  19. False. Clive Palmer does not actually face Queensland when he speaks.

  20. True. Media coverage of this election has been uniformly excellent.

Last weekend in a beautiful area just north of Brisbane, Marcus Craig died, aged 73. Marcus and I worked together in the mid 1970s at a club in Auckland called ‘The Ace of Clubs’, an allegedly sophisticated barn in Cook Street in Auckland, run by Phil Warren. In business terms the stage entertainment was part of a smoke and mirrors argument designed to help obtain a liquor license. As I was leaving one night after the show, a quite small and very drunk patron was engaging in racial abuse and attempting to punch the very large and extremely sober bouncer. The bouncer, who had clearly dealt with sophistication before, grabbed the front of the man’s shirt with one hand and turned it slightly so it became a handle and then he ran the surprised loudmouth about a foot and a half up the wall behind him so his feet were off the ground. ‘Listen mate’ he said softly to the man. ‘If you hit me. And I ever find out about it. I’m going to be fuckin annoyed. Now, go home’. And he left the man to crumple gently on to the ground and consider the position in its many aspects.
Marcus was the main entertainment at the club in those years. He appeared in drag as a character called Diamond Lil, often with the excellent Doug Aston as his partner and a house band band led by Doug Smith. When I was there the marvellous Bridgette Allen was also on the bill. Bridgette could sing anything and could still the room to pin-drop or light it up like a Christmas tree. Doug Aston came from a British music hall tradition and often added form and structure to what Marcus was doing. What Marcus most wanted to do was sing opera, so he’d get the drag schtick working and then repay himself with an aria so unrelated to anything else in the show or to the way he looked, that the audience was delighted to find itself somewhere it had never been before.
Aside from being a terrific performer, Doug Aston was a caring and perceptive man who knew Marcus well and looked after him when he struck the occasional iceberg. For Marcus, the club and his work on-stage was life itself. He threw all his energy into it, his timing was fabulous, he was very generous on stage and he could really sing. Danny la Rue and many others specialised in glamorous costume changes and in Danny’s case in representing a cavalcade of great female stars. Marcus simply went out as Lil, with the burners on high and the safety catch off. His costume and demeanour were exaggerated to a point where you wondered whether he was impersonating a female or impersonating a female impersonator. Whatever he was doing, he was very good at it and the audience loved it. I don’t know when it all came to an end but some time during the 90s he moved to Sydney and after a period working at the Australian Opera Company, he moved to Queensland where he had a classical music show on Brisbane radio.
He remembered his days on stage with great fondness and with some pride. He was right to do so.
Shalom Marcus.

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