December 14th 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY A myriad transformations effected by one birth

VICTORIAN POLITICS Andrews hacks away at another way of life and source of jobs

CANBERRA OBSERVED Labor must own up to why it took the thrashing it got

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Hong Kong voters reject Beijing and its proxies

LIFE AND FAMILY On the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, how are we doing?

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Brexit: Quintessentially British party politics

OBITUARY Fr Paul Stenhouse: The thoughtful editor for the 'ordinary' reader

OBITUARY Vale David Milne, paragon of loyalty and perseverance

ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwan and Hong Kong: Pawns in a bigger game

U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS How and why the U.S. should stop financing China's bad actors

HUMOUR You can't stop the music, Paddy

MUSIC 2020 foresight: A musical odyssey

CLASSIC CINEMA North by Northwest: The immaculately produced nightmare

BOOK REVIEW Truncated truths for post-truth times

BOOK REVIEW Food for a summer immersion program

POETRY

LETTERS

THE QUEEN V PELL: A blight on the whole of the criminal justice system

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Johnson to take UK out of the EU on January 31

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HUMOUR
You can't stop the music, Paddy


by Pat MacStuttles, Theobogan

News Weekly, December 14, 2019

Your Theobogan is not renowned for his musical ability. Triangle, air-lute, comb-a-phone are the only ins­truments I play with any mastery. My only album, Hot August MacStuttles, went double splat-and burn, man.

From the MacStuttles private collection:
Top, triangle and skewer in B flat; middle, 12th-century
BC Babylonian harp-lute; and, bottom, an authentic
Matsui-Soony chromatic comb.

No, Joan is the musical one in our household. She will warble along to anything that comes on the radio. But, when she announced that the whole family was going to one of those “music festivals”, well, didn’t the stylus hit the vinyl!

When I first started courting Joan, there were numerous suitors your Theobogan had to see off. The most serious contender was in a band! Terry Nullius was his name. He was a good bloke, Terry, but a triple threat. He could surf, he could play footy and he could play guitar! Terry was good looking and cool and your Theobogan was up against it.

It might be hard to believe now, but there was a time during the courtship when young and devastatingly handsome Paddy MacStuttles might have lost out! Joan had been to a few of Terry’s band’s gigs and when she turned up at the water slides wearing one of the band’s T-shirts, I thought I might have to back the ute up. Paddy, passed over?

Things were looking grim for your Theobogan until Joan found out Terry was an atheist! They had a big row, Terry got the flick and your Theobogan was back in the frame. Crushed, Terry packed up his band, Mick and the Mallee Roots, and they all headed to Melbourne, to crack the big time with Molly, on Countdown.

Joan forgot about Terry quick smart and he was never heard of again. But her love of music remained. Still, I was surprised to hear we were off to a rebellious music festival.

The City Council tried to ban the Contentious Concerto. A rowdy council meeting questioned the efficacy of holding it. Angry things were said: “Perilous, offensive, upsetting for those that live close to the venue” … “a radical assembly of dangerous, risk-taking citizens trying to get high” … “It’s going to cost the rate payers plenty – law enforcement, crowd control, health professionals, first responders” …” Once whipped up by the subliminal messages in the subversive songs, who knows what might happen?”

The furore did not faze Joan: “You’re going, Pat, and the kids are too.”

Concert, on sunset. First stars out. Kookaburras sing nightcap tunes. Helicopters swirl overhead as the MacStuttlesmobile parks up. A mass of concert party animals stream into the paddock. Cops are copious. People coming and going to and from little tents outside the venue. Strange bins are strewn all over the place. I grab the picnic hamper Joan had packed! Poor woman, she’s lost her mind! What does she think this is?

Joan calls out “Pat, don’t forget the rugs” and immediately the helicopter spotlight shines on me. There’s a big booth marked “Rugs/Resting Tent D” – the first letter had already fallen off and been replaced incorrectly.

Kids are running around everywhere, and they look like they’re on something. Fair dinkum, there’s more beads and robes here than at Woodstock.

We get a pozzie close to the stage. Incensed vaporific air full of expectation, buzz, pre-concert ruffle. Joan opens up the first intoxicating substance “Wine, Pat?” “Thanks, Love.” “Sandwich?”

Suddenly the whole oval starts to rumble. Drums, loud and steady. A drummer and his kit slide down a huge mechanised platform. Crowd goes nuts. Hang on … it can’t be! I recognise the rugged strongman skins-whacker. It’s DI Father Bruce. What’s he doing here?

Bruce shouts into the microphone “G’day Midtown. Welcome to Carols by Candlelight and here’s our first carol, The little Drummer Boy. Merry Christmas, everyone! Par rumpa pum pum …”

Opponents and critics of the event were right to be worried. This music festival was out of control, it was Christian – sects and rugs and ocker-Noel! Peace on Earth, the Saviour is born. Merry Christmas everyone. In Excelsis Deo!

Pat MacStuttles,
Theobogan




























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