2012 in review. well this is really 2013 in review, I was going to write a blog as I’m aiming for another NaBloPoMo in December, but I’m so damned tired I can hardly keep my eyes open so I sahll have to write my blog tomorow
Last night I switched on the TV to watch part 1 of the season finale of James Spader‘s ‘The Blacklist”, the season concludes tonight. I do think that the writers/producers/directors and anybody else have gone over the top with this so much so that I think we’re in for more rubbish tonight.
So far the program has been reasonably good for this genre, but the finale is just a load of rubbish from what I’ve seen so far, whether or not I watch part 2 after last night’s lot depends how masochistic I feel at 20.30 hours.
I mean let’s face it are they really going to bump off our hero “Red”, this program is doing so well from what I read on line and who’s going to throw away all those hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in advertising revenue.
The only thing we can be sure of is that whatever happens “Red” is going to get out of his predicament, after all there are several hundred more on his “Blacklist”, the only thing I’m not sure of is, do we have to wait for the next season to start to see how he survives, which is the usual Yankee way or will we get to see it tonight. The people responsible can’t be that stupid ; can they?
Last night proved beyond doubt that our “Red” is a man of many talents, there he is locked in his box with his badly wounded/dying FBI chum, Don, and “Red” pulls out a knife and performs life saving surgery. Gives a blood transfusion direct from his own arm. What a guy!
I really was waiting for Don to have a kidney failure or heart attack so that “Red” could have chopped out one of his own and shoved it into poor old Don, absolutely ludicrous.
And then what happens? Poor Lizzie who was on her way to rescue them all gets herself caught, so tonight I suppose Harry is going to give the baddies the code to get “Red” out of his box in exchange for Agent Lizzie and then will we see what ghastly things are in store for our hero? Who knows, I don’t think I particularly care at this moment; what I’ll feel like in another 4 or 5 hours is another thing.
Have you noticed too how the Yankee’s like to have all the real nasty, rotten baddies be English, It used to be that the English baddies were the upper crust well spoken “what ho! ol” chap” type of bloke but these days they’re going for more of the Cockney/East End Londoner for their crooks.
Isn’t it time our American cousins got over the Revolution and the War of 1812-1815, and realized that we are on relatively friendly terms? Hell!, we even let them share and use/mutilate our language
Being a Cockney I take umbrage at this, we’re the backbone of the Empire or was, except for the “Kray Bros” of course.
Anyway whether I come back on the subject of the “Blacklist” and “Red” is in the lap of the Gods, I don’t believe old Father Zeus would enjoy this nonsense.
Days, date and time meant precious little to me at Shay Gap, I was open seven days a week 52 weeks of the year; the only days the ‘Wet’ didn’t open were Christmas Day and Good Friday, so if I get things out of sequence it really isn’t of any great moment. I was entitled to 7 days off with free return air fare to Perth every 3 months.
I took this only once, the second day back in Perth I was bored to death and couldn’t get back up to the Pilbara quick enough. In Perth I knew nobody; I’d lost contact with all my old chums male and female and with limited time I couldn’t be bothered trying to make contact ‘for old time’s sake’ . I missed my ‘Wet’ and I missed my boys, it hadn’t taken long for me to think of all the men as my boys.
It must have been about 4-5 weeks after I took over I was getting ready to open for my morning session and my morning casual that day arrived all excited, “What’s up with you” says me ” we’re going on strike” says he, ( I’ll have to get out of this says me says he business)! “Hello, Hello!” thinks me; strike.
There hadn’t been a strike since I’d been in Shay although I’d heard that they used to be frequent and sometimes long. This was no good for me and my ‘Wet’, if the strike dragged on then the men drifted into ‘Hedland’ if they had money to spare/waste and if they didn’t they couldn’t afford to drink and I didn’t like that idea one bit.
“What are they going on strike for?” says me “The water cart” says he, it seems that there was a water cart going around and around the mine site damping down the dust and sand pretty well every minute of every shift and the mine management wanted to stop it except when the dust/sand was really bad; or some such nonsense.
Anyway I thought this was a ridiculous reason for going on strike, so I said to my casual ” right I’ll go out too, I’ll close up shop and join the strike, can’t have the management standing over us like this” or words to that effect. He said something like ” What you’ll close up? Won’t open?”
“Too right, I’m with you blokes if they want to fight I’ll close up and stop and stand with you blokes” “No way I’ll let them treat my boys like this” ” Damn their takings and profit, if my boys have to suffer then so can they”!
With this my bloke asked if it was okay to go off and let the men know that I was with them and what I intended to do and I told him to get moving quick smart.
He must have been gone best part of an hour when he got back he told me that the strike had been called off, there was never a strike my entire time at Shay Gap and I sometimes wonder if it was because I swore I’d go out and join the men in sympathy; or not.
I never did tell my casuals that I could not close up shop and go on strike with them. I’d have been breaking the law, our licence required the “Wet” to open whether I liked it or not, and not only that Poone Bros had nothing whatsoever to do with Goldsworthy Mining, and whatever Goldsworthy wanted to do was their business; but they were convinced that if and when they went on strike I’d be standing up right there with them.
Here in a not so sunny Australia today it’s the 1st day of December 2013, and being simple folk we celebrate the first day of summer on this day.
Why wait for an equinox or solstice to welcome the changes of season? Get it over and done with; what’s the point in waiting for three weeks into a month before changing, just because the Sun won’t change its schedule doesn’t mean we can’t adjust ours, does it?
Now that I’ve got that rubbish off my chest I’ll let on why I wrote it. Currently it is 11.00am Sunday the 1st of December here; in New York, USA it’s according, to my calculations. 7.00pm (19.00 hrs) Saturday 20th November and in San Francisco, USA its 4.00pm (16.00Hrs) Saturday 20th November 2013.
Why do I tell you this nonsense?
NaBloPoMo will finish in the USA at midnight either on the west coast or the east, so when I hit the “Post” button and post this it will be my last post in US time. Does that make sense?
My first post in this NaBloPoMo was made on the 2nd November Sydney time, 1st November US time and I reckon that I’ve succeeded in posting one blog a day for the month of November; which was the challenge.
Anybody wishing to dispute this it will be swords at dawn on Newport Beach, that’s Newport NSW not Rhode Island of California.
Those wishing to give me their heartiest congratulations, please feel free to do so and the more laudatory the better.
When I first started to bore you to tears with my reminiscence of Shay Gap I told how ‘Paddy’ my predecessor was pulling around 4 a week and was slopping bucket loads of spillage down the gurgler, but the company didn’t care they were happy with the figures he was giving them; in a way this meant a problem for me.
Naturally I decided to keep the same figures going through to Perth for the time being just to see how things panned out. Trouble was I was making around $8.00 a keg more than Paddy. Every morning after closing up from the early session I’d do my books and then slip over to the bank and bank the previous nights and that mornings takings.
Now here I was at the end of a week having banked enough to cover more beer than I’d shown on my returns. How can I put this simply? Paddy had been selling say 4 kegs for a return of roughly $310.00, I was getting and banking for 4 kegs $330/340; so I actually had roughly a half a keg of beer for every four I’d pulled over. I had no inclination to skim the extra off the top for myself although it would have been the easiest simplest thing in the world, So what to do?
Come my first Friday night and I had more than 9 gallons of beer up my sleeve, so I turned on beer on the house for the best part of half an hour, the customers didn’t know what hit them, have one on the house was unheard of, I reckoned I had around a gross of pots (10oz) to give away. From then on I knew what to do with my excess beer.
I never did it the same time or day I’d been around too long to be caught by the freeloaders, those that only come in when they know that they’re going to get something for nothing. I’d wait ’til I reckoned on having a keg up my sleeve and then tell my casuals to start the happy hour.
They really were happy hours; free beer not reduced price beer. And nobody knew when I was going to spring it!
I forgot to tell the township manager what I was up to, but I didn’t suppose he’d care, he was more than happy with the figures he was sending down to Perth and was probably taking credit for it but I didn’t mind; he wasn’t getting under my feet.
Getting back to my doing the banking of the takings, I’d get over to the bank right on opening time and usually there’d be one or two maybe more of my customers waiting to do their banking. Banks being banks they kept the same hours up there in a desert mining town as they did in the city 10am -3.00pm Monday to Friday, which was ridiculous, The supermarket was the same, and that was run by Poone’s they did a 9 to 5 back then.
These hours may have suited the married men, their wives could do the banking and shopping but for the single blokes and there was literally hundreds more who worked 7 days a week 12 hours on 12 off it wasn’t so easy.
Anyway one morning I said to a couple of my boys, “look fella’s, if you like I’ll do your banking for you and you can pick it up in the afternoon before going off to work, just stick your stuff in an envelope I’ll hand it over to the tellers and they can do what you want and shove it back in the envelope”, ” They said “Are you dinkum?” “I said “Why not? I don’t want to know your business so I’ll just be the pick-up and delivery boy“.
They gave it a bit of thought and must have discussed it with many of their workmates; from that day on I became the banking messenger for many of my customers.
This gave me another thought while I was over there at the bank, the bank and supermarket were in the same building and I went to my opposite number, the Poone’s man in the store, (I hadn’t met him before, he wasn’t one of my customers. Did his drinking only at the ‘Club’ ) I told him what I’d suggested to the workers re their banking and then told him that I had plenty of space and room over at the “Wet’ and if he liked I’d carry the magazines (Playboy’s and suchlike girly magazines) and he wouldn’t have them displayed all over his store for the women and kids to see.
‘What do you think of that idea?” says me “Sounds good” says he ” how about taking some of the other lines too” says he; “like what?” says me (this is getting monotonous) “soap, shaving gear, stuff that single blokes need” says he, I said “fair enough let’s give it a whirl” So we did!
My bar became not only the men’s drinking hole but their bank and store and post office, there was no need for them to ever go anywhere but my “Wet” canteen, my sales went way up, and I never had less than one casual working for me the whole time I was open.
I’ll save up for another time the business of the “girly magazines, my boys and the sergeant of police”. I mustn’t forget too, to tell about the great beer delivery disaster, rivalled only by Bristow’s “Great Tea Trolley Disaster of ’67″
Well I said I’d fill in the gaps today so I’ll try and keep it as short and sweet as possible, which probably means another three days of useless information before I get back to Shay Gap.
After spitting the dummy and leaving the Ford dealership, I thought I’d give a GM/Holden dealership a whirl and went round to James Clay Motors and they put me on straight away. A lot easier back in the 60′s to get work than it is these days.
They didn’t bother trying to indoctrinate me with their products, they had a fairly new model out at that time the HK Holden; it was a big improvement on their HR. I got a couple of sales up my sleeve but wasn’t too happy, I thought the Holden HK was inferior to the Falcon XT the direct competitor; still the people who’d done the deal with me were Holden people not Ford and didn’t need any hard sell.
In my second week I was given a lead on what looked like a promising big order, I can’t remember the company now but Clay’s sent me round to see them. I went through the usual pitch then the buyer hit me right between the eyes.
He said ” You look like an honest sort of bloke, tell me what’s the best vehicles to do the work that we want and why.” or words to that effect. He’d told me the hard work that his vehicles were subjected to and he wanted an honest opinion
What could I do? I told him ” What you need and the best vehicle to do the work you want is the Falcon 500 Ute, (the 500 was the more expensive, bigger donk model)” Then he asked me who I’d recommend he buy them from, I knew that the mob I’d dumped had the best service and after sales service; so what could I tell him?
“Anderson Ford in Adelaide Terrace ” I told him; he thanked me very much for my honesty, ( I know that he did go order his vehicles through that dealership; I had some good drinking companions there); I went back to James Clay told them what I’d done handed over the keys to my demo told them to forget the commission due to me and I left. Bit stupid really!
Having been in the car sales game/business/racket for a while Id got to know plenty of blokes in the business especially the used car business. You always had to ‘shop’ your trades around the town to get the best price to seal a deal and you got to know just about every genuine used car dealer, There are/were some.
Anyway one of the used car feller’s said he’d give me a go selling his used cars if I was stuck so I took him up on it but I couldn’t hack it, I won’t go into the reasons why this is getting to long drawn out as it is!
I was having a drink at the Ozone Hotel, (the old watering hole for Anderson Ford salesman) on Adelaide Terrace with Neville Mountain and his offsider Jack,( they ran the used car’s division before going off on their own a year or so later) and Jack asked me what I planned on doing, I said I’d probably go back to Anderson Fords and he said “Why don’t you get yourself a job in a pub?” “What the hell do I know about pubs” says me. “Well” says Jack ” you do half of your business at a bar, your girl friends dad’s got a pub and you ought to know what’s going on, you spend more time in a pub than on the road”; we were pretty good mates so I didn’t take offence “so why not give it a go” says he, then comes the point.
“I’ve got a mate who’s got a pub in the bush and he’s having trouble getting a reliable bloke to look after his bars, he asked if I knew anyone who’d be interested” “You’re conning me” was my immediate retort, “No” says he “He’s a real good mate and needs a bloke no harm in my asking” “Okay” says me “where is he?” “Down in Narrogin” says Jack, “Where’s that” says me; “Halfway down to Albany” says he; “Okay” says me,” how do I get there, I don’t have wheels”.
“Take one of the cars from the yard” says Nev, getting in on the act, he could do this he was the boss.
So having nothing better to do I said okay. Next morning Nev fitted me up in an old 63/64Ford Compact and I cruised on down to Narrogin which was around 120 miles we still hadn’t graduated to metric; it took me a couple of hours I didn’t see any point in pushing it, enjoying the ride. Great car the old Compact big and comfy.
Pulled up outside the “Hordern Hotel” on the main street of town, and wandered into a small bar. Really quiet, not a sole in there, and this bloke comes around and says to me “Come round this side” pointing through a doorway, so through I went and he asked what I was drinking and I said “nothing I’ve come to see a bloke named “Goochie” who’s looking for a bloke to run his bars”.
He pipes up “I’m Goochie” so I make myself known and we have a chat and I told him I’d never worked in a pub or bar in my life but had had my fair share of drinking at them. He said “Okay I’ll give you a try if you’re no good at the end of a fortnight your gone” I said ” fair enough if I’m no good at the end of a week I’ll be gone.” We got on fine. :)
Then he tells me that the reason he wouldn’t talk to me in the bar I first went into was because that was the Aborigines only bar and that that was the only bar they were allowed into.
The Aborigines had only had the right and freedom to drink and go into bars for a couple of years or so and they were segregated in most hotels. I won’t go into the reasons for or against here suffice to say that in 1968/69 this was pretty well the case throughout the West. One of the pubs in Narrogin barred them completely.
We agreed that I’d start the following week so I tootled back up to Perth, gave Nev his Compact back and told them I’d be starting in the pub the coming Monday. I went home to my digs, I was staying with another car salesman and his mother in a nice house close to the city, told them that I’d got a job in the bush and I’d be leaving at the weekend.
I arrived at the hotel on the Sunday I can’t remember for the life of me how I got down there; I didn’t have any wheels of my own at the time. I think I must have gone down by bus, anyway it doesn’t really matter. When I got there I was met by “Goochies” wife Rae, (they were a good team) and she got me settled in, she gave me a nice big room, well and comfortably furnished and told me to make myself at home. Little did I know it at the time but it really did become my home.
There were two opening sessions of two hours in the country towns of WA back then but I didn’t go infor a drink that afternoon, I had to unpack and settle in as I was starting work first thing Monday morning. Rae told me that she’d be there to show me the ropes and to set the bar up at 9 am, the pub opened at 10.
I didn’t get any sleep that night. Not from thinking or worrying about the job, that didn’t bother me at all.
Narrogin as it turned out was the half way mark on the railway between Perth and Albany and it was here that the steam engines did the shunting and shuffling of goods wagons all night long. I kid you not! I was washed out completely and when I put in my appearance in the morning the rest of the staff, that’s the cook and the waitresses and Rae, plus the yardman all were laughing their silly heads off.
They knew what was going to happen to me that first night and didn’t warn me so that they could have a laugh. I did manage to put away a damn fine breakfast though, the best food I’d had in years.
After breakfast, and I didn’t have to wash up, Rae took me to the bar and gave me a run through. She asked if I’d ever pulled a beer and I assured her that I’d never pulled a beer in my life but I’d seen plenty pulled, so she told me that I’d better beware the customers always gave a new untrained barman/maid heaps but not to take any notice they’d soon get bored ; I told her that I’d be ‘Jake’.
It didn’t take long to remember the prices and the cost of spirits/splits was stuck on the cash registers, so I didn’t anticipate any problems. Rae was going to leave me and throw me in the deep end at 10 when I opened the doors.
But before that at 9.30 on the dot a quiet knock on the bar door, “That’s Bill” says Rae “he always pops in for a couple of whisky’s before opening time” Bill was one of every pub in towns (there were 3 pubs) best customers. He owned a large furniture business and was an alcoholic.
His first stop in the morning was the pub on the other side of the railway line, where he had his 2 whisky’s then the other pub up the road from us (strange; try as I might I can’t recall their names) for his 2 whisky’s then across to the Hordern for 2 more.
In all the time I was in Narrogin I never ever saw Bill drunk, he was always quiet and polite, drank only Macleay Duff Whisky and if we were out he’d reluctantly drink White Horse. I’ve never come across another drinker like Bill, once late in the afternoon when he’d probably got the best part of 2 bottles down him I thought I’d fool him, when he came in for his 2 (always 2 never more I think he thought we didn’t know what he was doing going from one watering hole to the next) and poured him a White Horse. Now I know he’d drink that in an emergency but never if there was his Macleay Duff.
Anyway to cut the story short I poured the White Horse, he took a pull and called me over and said ” I don’t mind having White Horse if you haven’t got Macleay, but don’t pull that stunt on me again!” After all he’d knocked off that day he still knew what he was drinking. That was Bill.
Ten o’clock came and Rae opened up for me and the troops came parading in, a lot of shift workers from night shift shunting, and I started taking orders and pouring beer like I’d been doing it forever, nobody picked me for a tyro, some asked where I’d worked and poured before and I’d just say something like here and there you know what it’s like in this business.
Rae came up to me and said “You’ll be right no problems” she left and I never saw her again until lunch time. Jean the barmaid joined me around 11.30 to help with the lunchtime rush and Goochie himself arrived to give a hand, he took me down the cellar and showed me how to change the kegs set the gas and the general running of a cellar. He was a good teacher and I was a willing pupil, I’d decided I liked this side of pub life.
And that will do for tonight!
It might be an idea if I take a spell from all the drivel I’ve been carrying on with over the past several days regarding Shay Gap and let you in on how I became involved with the sale of booze in the first place. Don’t you just love the word ‘Booze’? I suppose I link it to my days as a Frank Sinatra aficionado.I’ve always believed most sincerely in my motto “Booze straight; Women curved”, not that I’ve really had much success with the latter and at my time of life I doubt I ever will.
So, as per usual I’m now going to bore/regale depending if you have a nice stiff drink in front of you or not, with the story of how I finished up behind a bar.
A few years after the breakup of my first marriage I decided to head over to the ‘West’ for a couple of months, I liked the place and I settled in over there quite easily. I got myself a job with Mickey Mouse Airlines,; this was the WA airline McRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA), it was a subsidiary of Ansett’s and was known throughout the west as you guessed it Mickey Mouse Airlines!
Now back then was before jet travel had arrived, MMA were still using DC3′s and had a couple of Fokker’s, so if anybody wanted to fly to the far north they left Perth at midnight 1 am or some other ridiculous time. I got the job in their city terminal, the all nighter.
I didn’t last long, trying to stay awake all night and sleep through the day was not my cup of tea. Half the time I was non compos mentis stuffed up and they asked me politely to leave. The Sandgropers were very polite people.
Anyway I was enjoying Perth and the people so I went looking for another job and got one as a new car salesman with a new Ford dealership in Adelaide Terrace. I’d never sold anything before in my life but they were on a ‘program’ of training new car salesmen to their standard, (whatever that was) anyway I must have looked presentable because they hired me.
Training lasted half a day or thereabouts, then they loaded me with all the paper, order forms, insurance forms hire purchase forms and said okay you’re it; go sell cars; well something like that. So I wandered out onto the showroom floor with a pro and he was giving me the drill and my first customer walked in; I’ll never forget that sale.
Youngish bloke and his wife, said he was interested in buying a Cortina, at this time I didn’t no one car from another I kid you not! Okay says me and went through the drill that we’d been given in the morning and after ten minutes I was in really deep water over my head so I called on a senior salesman, an older bloke and a top Ford salesman in the West; Brian Turner , a fair dinkum bloke for assistance and I recall the customer saying to Brian, I’m buying a car but it’s his deal pointing to me and Brian said fair enough. The customer was a policeman, who said policeman don’t have honour?
So I had my first sale within an hour or so of starting and management saw great things ahead for me. I didn’t have another sale for the rest of the month. Some salesman.
Like all salesman I was on a retainer, in 1967 it was $30 pw, I got $13.00 for each car sold plus 10% of the accessories I sold. Radio’s and heaters were not standard; Radio’s could cost up to $110, and heater demister’s $85, for the Falcons. If I sold Hire Purchase I got $10 and another $10 for insurance.
I must admit that I wouldn’t push the insurance, I’d been in Insurance too long and was too qualified to know that the insurance we were expected to sell was no good and there was no way I’d compromise myself on that
Anyway things got better and I was doing really well, I had scored one big client who purchased at least two ute’s every month plus their sales rep cars after 24000 or two years whichever came first and in WA it was usually the miles that came first.
The manager of the transport section would just ring me up and say he had such and such a ute or vehicle to replace and I’d drive out pick up the ute get a price work the figures write up the deal and he’d sign it and I’d deliver the new ute/vehicle soon as practical, normally just a day or two.
Came the time there was a new model Falcon out on the market, Wrights had one to be replaced and I went through all the paper work and did the deal and told them that there’d be a couple of weeks wait as the new model hadn’t started coming through to the west. That was okay they’d wait for the new one no problems.
Trouble was when the new models did arrive my General Manager told me that he couldn’t hold the original figure and that the trade would have to be reappraised and a new deal made, I said you have to be joking, No said he we can’t hold a trade in figure that long. I said do you realize how many vehicles his mob buys through me; from us; each year. The clown says that doesn’t matter the rule applies to everyone.
Nothing left for me to do but ring my man at Wrights and tell them that our GM wouldn’t hold the price and I’d have to have his trade re- appraised, and work a new deal/price.
He was very polite didn’t tell me to go to hell or get nasty but just told me not to worry forget the whole deal he’d go to another dealer. He thanked me for my work and that was the end of the best account I ever could have; my principles had lost me at least a guaranteed 30 sales a year and their profit plus the service contract through the narrow minded stupidity of a figures man. Naturally I resigned from Anderson Ford that day!
What has this got to do with me getting into the booze business? Well I’m getting there as best and as quickly as I can; I’ll fill in the gaps tomorrow.