Nan.

 

Getting back to that “Last Supper” thingo…you notice (as have many others) one of the “Apostles” looks remarkably like a woman…well, that’s because she is!…It’s no secret that whenever a group of “alpha-males” gather, there is always one token female allowed into the group. She is there as the “straight- man” for their confabulations (yes..I looked THAT up…)….for their double-entendres, when they say a sexist or vulgar comment and it’s …”present company excepted…” or…”If,’n you’ll pardon my language”….or ” in the company of a lady…” It’s the only way the Alpha M. can have “uncommitted sexual contact” and still be plug-ugly!

Abbott’s front bench had one…I believe..I remember in the coterie of the “Seacliff Hotel Sports and Social Club…inc.” there was one….they called her “Nan”….which is telling…although she was younger than most of them.

The “Seacliff Hotel Sports and Social Club!” used to have a fri’ night happy hour fund-raiser w/ meat-tray and chook raffles, called ; “The Clang-Bang” (don’t ask!!)…and the coterie would congregate at one corner of the front bar and make whoopie…Nan, (who was a hairdresser by trade) would be in the middle sitting high on a bar-stool (the “Wheatland st. Madonna”? ) sipping her Bacardi’s and…she sported an enormous (of the day) blonde Farrah-Fawcett bouffant…so you couldn’t miss her there….

All this went well, until one fateful day, being kept back in the salon tending to a rather demanding ‘blue-rinser’ she was late getting to the clang-bang raffle draw for the chook….her regular number came up, and by the rules stated..; “no claim, no game”..although there was a degree of hiatus sympaticus for the person involved as she quite often professed her desire for “something fowl” ( bring on the guffaws!)…but all debate was silenced by one half-shiggered Jim Tuffin when he took a moment of pause in the conversation to call out slurrily..:

“Ahh, f#ck her!…if she’s not here, it’s her hard luck”…and of course, he was just voicing the feelings of the majority..so away with all sentiment and a re-draw!

Nan, did not take this news well when she arrived all flushed from the hurry and keen as mustard for the night….

“Well f#ck you too” was her parting words and she decamped to the Brighton Hotel, never to darken the doors of the Seacliff again….She was soon replaced by another blonde…they called her “Norah?..Dorah?…” anyway after that blonde woman in the TV. series of the times..: “Prisoner”.. She ended up marrying a Flats Bookie who ran the SP. (Starting Price) bookie, one ; Little Johnny in the front bar..I remember because the reception was held there in the front bar and a Jeroboam bottle of champers was passed around for the patrons to have a swig in congratulations for the happy couple..

Toothless.

Toothless wasn’t really toothless…it’s just that she had a plate that filled the gap of three missing front teeth, that she would click and clack and sometimes push out with her tongue …an unfortunate habit that gained her the nickname of “Toothless”.

She was ahead of her time for those days, as she didn’t carry a purse with her and kept her money in a wallet like a bloke..she had a comb that she would now and then pass through her page-boy hair cut and replace to a back pocket of her jeans. But she did seek out the company of males, which would contradict any presumption of ; “batting for the other team”. But hey!..who cares..

But she was a hell of a drinker!…Christ!…could she knock ‘em back…and she wasn’t above shouting her round. I sometimes wonder if she was a kind of “neuter” in the sexual stakes…a sort of “neither here nor there” kind of person..you do get them..I remember one such young chap in my experience..he never dated, and would spend more time admiring his own looks in a mirror or passing glass window then even consider anyone else.

Bruce got on quite pally with her and he even scored a date to meet at her flat for a few drinks.

“I’ve got a half dozen long-necks , a flask of Bundy, and a packet of weed!” He announced gleefully…”If that doesn’t soften her up, nothing will”…he informed us frankly.

Actually, such a volume of narcotics was a big investment for Bruce, seeing that he was on unemployment benefits at that time, so it must have eaten somewhat into his savings.

“Wish me luck!” he winked to us as he headed out the front bar doors.

You can consult the archives of the “Seacliff Hotel  Sports and Social Club” for a report on that night’s events…the short of it being that Toothless drank, smoked and kicked Bruce under the table!…She not only polished off all his booze etc. , but then pulled out a supply of her own and proceeded to tuck into that! Bruce confessed that he gave it best when she played that unbeatable hand. ..and it took him a week to recover both his sobriety and manly pride from such a beating!

Toothless hung about for a while until she tired of the wimpy  blokes there and moved on to greener pastures…She was last heard of ripping through the male egos of the northern beach hotels…; The Henley, The Pier and Larges Bay….and good luck to her I say!

“Sos”.

You had to feel for Sos…He was one of those people raised in an institution from a very young child…”Minda Home”…that’s what it was called once, but the name was changed to “Minda Incorporated”…there was a personal slur in this state by using that original name…ie; to call someone a ”minda” was to imply that they were simple-minded…Minda Home being an institution for the disabled.

The first time I “met” Sos, was when he was coming out of the double doors at the front-bar of the Seacliff Hotel one night…I was crossing the esplanade with a couple of friends, headed to the pub for a beer or two. Sos had just pushed the door open rather roughly…he was a bloody big bloke, so he filled the entire door-space up..and his shadow stretched in a jagged elongation out onto the expanse of Wheatland Street. He suddenly turned and yelled back into the bar..; “ I can dream!…” he stabbed his finger into that space and repeated..: “I can dream!”….he let the door slam shut and turned down the verandah when he spotted us and he repeated the fact that he yelled into the bar..; “I can dream”…though this time not as forcefully…he then took a push-bike from where it leant against the wall and awkwardly mounting it, pushed off clumsily onto The Esplanade heading toward Brighton jetty….we could hear him repeat the “I can dream” mantra a couple more times as he rode away.

I remember I said the obvious to Mark (I think it was him) .;”I wonder what that was about?”…”Dunno” he shrugged “ But I’d hate to know of Sos’s dreams…be a pretty wild trip more likely.”..It turned out Sos was standing near some group of blokes and one had told another in the course of the conversation that ; “ You’re dreemin’ mate..you’re dreemin’ !”….but that was Sos…he could get the wrong end of the stick anytime…it was his mental health…you had to feel for him…but he never got into any trouble that I can remember, though he could have a “dark scowl” look after a few too many.

But boy!..could he eat!..talk about a trencherman!..I remember once seeing him sitting at the front bar, drinking pints of Coopers Ale…now, I’m talking about that old Coopers Ale…back in the days when it was real ale…with twigs and sediment in it , as they would say…but cloudy…then the cook brought out this huge roast-platter…you know those big oval platters they’d serve up the Christmas turkey on…one of those big platters with three complete “T-bone” steak meals on it, replete w/ roast pratties, carrots, onions and sweet-potatoes….the salad was in a side dish, it wouldn’t fit on the main plate….and about half a loaf of bread to mop up the gravy!….AND all the while he was eating, he was tossing back those pints of Coopers Ale….THEN!..after he had finished that platter, he got stuck into his own packed lunch he had there with him!….Mark once told me that Sos had challenged him to an eating contest…Mark declined the offer.

There was a reckless side to Sos…Once, when I came down the road that led from Minda Home, toward Brighton Road (Brighton Road is a main road carrying most of the traffic from the southern sea-side suburbs), a very busy road. I was on my motor-bike and had stopped at the intersection waiting for a break in the traffic…when suddenly, this “maniac” on a push-bike swept right past me straight out into Brighton Road…his bike bell tinkling like Christmas chimes and he laughing his head off….cars were going every which way!….braking and sliding all over the place….Sos (yes..it was he)…just roared with laughter and crossed lanes and peddled away like mad!….bloody crazy!

Oh yeah…that push-bike he rode off on that night I first saw him?…..it wasn’t his, he stole it as it was just there…the owner..a bit of a misery-guts who had won some money in a minor prize in the lottery came wandering wide-eyed into the bar later that same night calling out in surprise..: “ Me bike…me bike!..someone’s stole me bike!…” of course, no-one ever told him it was Sos……it looked like a heap of shit anyway!

The last time I saw Sos was about ten years ago, in Goodwood…he was still riding a pushbike..I called out to him, but he was heading in a different direction to me and he didn’t hear….gosh!..He was old then..I suppose he’d be “gone” by now.

Erroll’s Prawn Night.

The “Pub Gathering” was interesting , if for all the other things, the Hotel where it was held. I have “history” with that establishment…lesser so than my old “alma puttana” ; The Seacliff Hotel…it was There that I forged an alliance (however accidental) with Beelzebub!….ahh!..the “demon drink” did for all us youth in THAT den of iniquity!

But beside that, the three hotels that formed a triangle in the suburbs there (nick-named ; “The Pollywaffle Triangle” as a foil to “The Iron Triangle” of Spencer Gulf ; The Esplanade, The Brighton and The Seacliff, had thriving membership to their respective “Sports and Social Clubs”….mind you, speaking for the members of the Seacliff Club (of which I was not a member ref ; Groucho Marx and ‘clubs HE would not join!)..but I was quite familiar with those said members, while I would not for a moment doubt their capacity to “socialise” with hard liquour, their capacity for sport of any kind was limited to “elbow bending” and channel surfing with the remote….and I am reminded of a Nelson Algren story (“The Captain is a card”) where the Captain of police asks a suspect why he was running a house of ill repute:

“It wasn’t a brothel, it was a sports and social club” the reprobate defended…
“So who were the scantily dressed women?” the capt’ asks…
” They were the social part” the man replies…
“Oh that’s good” the Capt’ says ” For a moment I thought you were going to tell me they were lady wrestlers!”

But besides that, the three hotels thought it good fellowship to join in a joint-hosting program where they would take turns, once a month, to host the other’s social club for dining at their premises. This went on for a while till a small mishap involving Errol “the drunk” and member of the Seacliff club. I heard it from Mark, a fellow imbiber at that hallowed trough….

“So how come the event was cancelled ?” I asked.
“It wasn’t cancelled, it’s just the Seacliff has been banned for the near future from participating.”
“Why…what’s the dirt?”
“Errol!”…..Mark’s eyes lowered and his top lip curled.

Errol was one of those homosexuals of the seventies who seemed to slip under the “Aussie Poofter Radar”…; acceptable because they were amusing even though high camp!…as a matter of fact, I remember the owner of the pub in those days, a retired footballer (of course!) addressing the crowded front bar thus..;

“Listen youse blokes…I don’t want anybody picking on Errol or Steve (Errol’s occasional partner)….They’re good blokes…not like you an’ me ..p’rhaps…but they’re alright…..ALRIGHT!?”

Truth be known, Errol and Steve drank enough to lift the pub’s profit margin above “respectable” on a good night!…..Errol was in his mid-fifties w / comb-over and was a quite disreputable person regardless of ANY sexual proclivities!

I recall a moment when I was next to them along the bar and I distinctly heard Erroll addressing a petulant, Stevie :

”Jeesus..Steve, you’re really up-tight tonight…you should try farting..it’ll loosen you up a little”.

I took the accompanying moment of silence to slip away from that location at the bar.

Anyway..this night it was the turn of the Brighton Hotel to be “Mine Host”….Errol had been tossing a few down at “the cliff” before he went to the dinner….At The Brighton, in the dining room, quite full of family diners, it being Fri’ night, Errol took a shine to the bay-marie bowl full of big, fat prawns….he gourged himself…GOURGED himself!…and drank another couple of pints…then he decided he’d go for seconds..(you just know where this is heading, don’t you?)….eyewitness accounts state that Errol unsteadily approached the bay-marie side-table…a miniature, mock wagonette in the “Oklahoma Musical” style, replete with the “fringe on top”… plate out-stretched..he stood in front of the prawn container momentarily…he swayed a tad, his eyes widened somewhat and he then delivered what has been described as a “Guinness Book of Records” quality “technicolour yawn”….all over the prawns, all over the chopped carrots and the three-bean mix and the sweet corn (off the cob)….finishing in a dead faint flop onto the lot, then sliding, slipping, unconscious to the ceramic floor dragging the entire bay-marie potpourri and waggonette down with him…one witness remarked that his inert body slipped over the tiles like a dead fish would on a fluid based tray.

Of course, such action did not go un-noticed and the consequences were felt right up to the highest echelon of The Seacliff Hotel Sports and Social Club management….ie ; Col Penny and Joe Phistus!

The “night to remember” has gone down in the annals of Seacliff front-bar mythology…along with other memorable moments…of which, if you like, more later!