30-31/7/1985 Today I will learn Italian

You may recall that the root cause of my extraordinary mobility over the these last few weeks in 1985 was due to my mother’s absence in Western Australia and my ability to ‘do’ puppy dog eyes which convinced her to loan me her vehicle while she was away. Well, it was Tuesday 30th July today and time for her return to town and my return to reliance upon my wits, friends and guile to get me places. Oh yes, and my bike!

Having had access to the british racing green Datsun 180B wagon for the last few weeks made me a sure bet to be the meeter-at-the-airport, and so after work I raced to Mt Gravatt to collect my brother, Adrian – then headed to the Ansett terminal at Brisbane airport to meet mother’s 7:10pm fight from Perth.


No Gateway bridge in those days (though it was under construction), I took the opportunity (using my wits, right) to get dropped at home on their drive back to Morningside.

There’s an obtuse note in my diary today which says, “I started learning Italian today – Sam will help me”. Sam , I assume, was Sam Cutuli, the angelic, 60-something, kitchen-hand at work, who moved at a slow pace but with incredible finesse and efficiency. He once cured a particularly long case of hiccups with, what he claimed was an old Sicilian cure – a teaspoon of sugar with a drop of vinegar on it – and it worked, and still does work, a treat. I didn’t think I ever tried to learn Italian till after I went there. Perhaps it really was the urban gent forming!

Wednesday 31 July is most unusual in this diary’s terms, as I wrote 6 of the 8 lines entered about work and it’s lack of appeal. Apparently my assistants hadn’t come in, which made the day quite difficult and me quite difficult as well by the sound of things…

Here’s a spot I made for Triple Zed on 6 July 1985…



28-29/7/1985 Anne Jones and the juicy brain


The 28th of July was my house-buddy, Anne Jones’ birthday (even in 1985) and celebration was the focus of the day. It may well have been a birthday, but it was also a Sunday and late-rising has always been a Sunday tradition.

The friendship between late rising and Sunday mornings might well have been stretched on this day though – a 10:30am rise is not a good match with a 100 person lunch at 1:30pm. I can only assume it was a busy morning and a booze-filled afternoon. Pip and I snuck off from Merthyr Rd at about 6pm and charted a course for Dorchester St and a quiet evening of recovery.

Monday saw the usual La Bamba meeting at La Boite and I was moved to enter in my diary that Amanda Falconer was “uncharacteristically tame” and allowed the discussion to steam ahead. Sadly, I gave no hints as to the nature of the discussion that were so successfully steaming, but I did record that Anne Jones, Pip and Andrew (now, I’m not sure which Andrew this was – could have been Andrew Raymond) headed back to Merthyr Rd after the meeting and devised a shit-hot show in less than an hour. Oh for those juicy, creative brains to re-emerge!

26-27/7/1985 Sounder than Romeo

Apart from the astonishing revelation that Friday July 26th 1985 was the Darwin Show Day (I guess this was way before we had Darwin Awards), this particular Friday was originally marked in my diary as a La Bamba entirely devoted to a performance orchestrated by the Qld Writers Collective.

However, that was crossed out and replaced with a much more appealling sounding production entitled, Son of Romeo, performed by the entirely more appealling Chris Willems. Another cross out removed me from the role of Stage Manager to that of patron and then another scribble had me in the Box Office with Pip. The show sold out quickly, leaving me in the foyer and unable to see it.


Monsieur Diary informs me that I was able to see a former girlfriend, from whom I had parted on less than good terms, for a civil chat. (That’s comforting!). With the Box Office came the thankless task of hanging around till the bitter end to clean and lock up.

As night followed day – Saturday followed Friday and I endured another of those Saturday morning shifts in the cellar. I shouldn’t complain, they paid well and it was really very quiet as a rule. After work, Pip and I did a leetle second-hand shopping, on a mission to find a gift for Anne Jones for her birthday. That mission was accomplished with the acquisition of an old lantern slide featuring a hand-painted, HECLA on’t. That slide and a small frame featuring the visage of QEII.

Headed back to Pasta Joke for dinner with Pip and had a pleasant time which apparently featured a confession to the waiter that our meals were only marked as ‘ordinary’. We were rewarded for our honest appraisal with a voucher for complementary meals and I do not recall whether they too were ordinary. Saturday was topped with a movie at home, recorded as having been well enjoyed but which I am entirely unable to recall. I shall enGoogle-ise Sounder at once.

24-25 July Borbotham

So much for me seeking my origins in the mouldy pages of this old diary. July 24th and 25th 1985 are days of incredible lack lustre.

I even told my diary that Wednesday was the most boring of boring days at work and that boringness on that scale was followed by washing my clothes and later the dishes that evening. Excitement machine? I think not. Something however moved me to write a letter to the arts editior of the Courier-Mail – something called ‘David Rowbotham’. Herr Rowbotham is no longer with us having been called to the great editor in 2010, but his legacy of poetry, literary and theatrical critique still stains the era. It seemed that nothing local could ever please him. 0


David Rowbotham – POET! 

Thursday was not much more exciting than Wednesday. The three Merthyr Rd Amigos hit the heady heights of the Lutwyche late night shopping scene and invested well over $100 on comestables for the week ahead before heading home to a quiet evening.

Well how freakin’ tragic. These are two days in my life that are gone. Disappeared with no visible effect – my Rowbotham rant wasn’t even published.

22-23/7/1985 Keeping up with the Origin

Back to to a Monday in 1985 and back to a La Bamba meeting where something actually happened! 22nd July 1985 and La Bamba finally decided to go fortnightly and to attempt four major shows a year.

I think this meant I had some free Fridays approaching. I wrote in le journal that more of the details would need to be nutted out in the weeks ahead, just before I wrote that I headed home; cooked up a spicy chilli con carne (renaissance man that I am), and stayed up talking to Anne Jones and recording tapes for Sunday.

I had to peak ahead to find out why I was recording tapes for Sunday – turns out it was for Anne Jones’ 30th birthday event.

Anne Jones – Cane Toad Times from State Library of Queensland on Vimeo.

Tuesday the 24th proved to be challenging after work. La Boite was holding a Council meeting, while across the road (literally in those days), Lang Park was holding a State of Origin. Parking wasn’t regulated in those dim, dark days and it was everyone for themselves as far as parking went – footpaths were fair game; churches were fair game; driveways were ignored and public tranpsort was laughable.


Ron McAuliffe Stand – Lang Park

Pip and I battled to get to an unsurprisingly poorly attended Council meeting, the only highlight of which seems to have been a simmering hatred that Laura McKew was plating up for Mike Bridges. Pip and I left the meeting and headed to her sister, Maria Cleary’s house for coffee and discourse till late.


Maria Cleary was into fashion design in 1985


20-21 July 1985 Round Australia by poke

The 20th and 21st of July 1985 were the Saturday and Sunday of another weekend. Another Saturday morning’s work, ’cause that’s how we rolled back then, and another Sunday morning radio shift.

My mother and her huband, Don and his boy Martin collected me after the gruelling morning’s graft in the dank, dark cellars of the United Service Club and we headed to Le Scoops in Elizabeth St for what was described diary-side as a “really large pig-out” (‘pig-out’: a term I have not heard for quite some time, but quite common back in the day I seem to recall!). I was dropping my mother and Don at the bus station so they could undertake the hellish journey to Perth by coach. Braver souls than I, although I do recall a couple of bus trips back then – most notably a prize trip won at a Triple Zed Radiothon which took the form of a Greyhound coach round Australia ticket. I went Brisbane – Townsville – Cairns – Townsville – Charters Towers – Alice Springs – Darwin – Adelaide – Brisbane and have never been on another coach since.


The best thing about my mum embarking upon the hell in a hand basket trip, was that her prized Datsun 180B Station Wagon would be all mine for a couple of weeks. I drove Don’s boy, Martin back to Cannon Hill and then accompanied my Dad on one of his weekendly trips to Northern NSW to play the pokies. Our destination was Seagulls Club. My Dad was a great fan of the pokies and must have poured quite a few dollars into them, but he never seemed to over do it and he loved the Club life – Queensland didn’t have Poker Machine in 1985 and those intent on the evils of gambling had to travel to one of the several wealthy sporting clubs just over the border at Tweed Heads. I occassionally went with Dad – for bonding purposes.

Big day Sunday – my usual radio shift from 10am till 2pm; a working bee at La Boite, paired with Tony Auckland and a La Boite Members Meeting at 4pm. I told my diary that the radio shift went really well. Pip and went to the La Boite meeting, however I reported that due the ‘point’ being mislaid, the meeting did not go particularly well.

A quiet evening was had by all at Merthyr Rd.

17-19/7/1985 Community Theatre – Youth Theatre : Discuss

I don’t know. This was the rest of the week that was July 17-19, 1985. On Wednesday the only excitement I had to offer was the 19 minutes it took me to ride to work. 

I note with consternation that I wrote 19 minutes – when people live out in the sticks and are challenged about their travelling time, they always pull out a recent example that only took 19 minutes, like they timed it carefully. They never say 20 or 15 – it’s always 17 or 19 or 33 minutes and I frankly don’t believe them. My work day was followed by a trip to La Boite and meeting about the future of the Theatre Company. A meeting which by my report fiddled about for quite a while before getting down to the nitty-gritti. A discussion paper was presented and seemed to have done it’s job in the conversation stimulation department. Dearest Diary also advised that our meeting eventually got on track and that discussions made some headway, with the Theatre looking like going ‘youth’ in the not too distant future.


Coolangatta 1985

The Thursday was filled with such wonders as completing a tax return can provide, although there was a slight deviation to the Lutwyche Shopping Mall. ABC Radio National ran a story on Qld Community Theatre, which was helpful as the Qld Community Theatre Group  were the act at La Bamba on Friday night. I also collected a registered mail item – a couple of wrist bands for my watch which were wrong. Tech Toch was a fabulously brightly banded diver’s style watch with interchangeable watchbands.


Sydney from CentrePoint Tower – 1985

Friday was the 19th July and Friday was La Bamba – The Qld Community Theatre Group did their performance thing. Their performance thing also involved Laura McKew as the Stage Manager and was a benfit for the QCTG. Their performance thing was also reported as a bit of a dud in my diary, but even then I was renowned for my harsh reviews. I’d also like to mention, though I’m not sure why, that I purchased a short-sleeved, black, really enormous sweatshirt for $19. 

Here’s some 1985 flava…