Footy Talk: Ziggy Stardust & Chris Judd discuss the Messiah burden (and other matters)

by John Butler

Setting: Fleeing the rock ‘n’ roll craziness of the 70’s, Ziggy Stardust ended up running an underground backpacker’s in Coober Pedy (a long story). He finds that he blends in with the local wildlife surprisingly well. His hair now tends more grey than fluorescent red, and a middle age paunch hangs over his belt buckle. After a few drinks, he can still be persuaded to don the silver thigh high stack heel boots, although the effect is now rather disconcerting.

Chris Judd is, well, Chris Judd. He too was seeking relief from the spotlight, and Coober Pedy is as good a place as any for that.

ZS: (passing a tinnie) What brings you up this way Chris? A bit off the beaten track isn’t it? Shouldn’t you be terrorizing Las Vegas or suchlike with the other lads?

CJ: Cheers. (raising the can) No Zig, I’ve had quite enough terrorizing for the time being. What with the whole Fev debacle, and my own little brain snap, I felt the need for some time out. No dates with doctors this year, so I just got in the car and drove.

ZS: Pretty much how I ended up here myself.

CJ: I was wondering about that… I don’t mean to be rude, and it’s a little before my time, but I kinda had the impression Bowie had killed you off. It was a bit of a shock to see you here.

ZS: I get that a lot. If that Bowie joker had his way, I would be six feet under. It was when he and his manager got all worked up over that Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide crap that I decided I didn’t like the way things were developing. One of the few lucid thoughts I could muster in those days. Irony is, now I spend most of my time four metres under, rather than six feet.

CJ: So you and Dave don’t catch up anymore?

ZS: Nah! Had enough of Dame David’s ways. Bugger never knew whether he was Arthur or Martha most of the time. Got sick of him playing his little psycho-dramas out through me. Eye-liner, leather messiahs… the whole scene got too much.

CJ: I know how that feels. Well… not the eye-liner or leather stuff, but things getting too much.

ZS: Yeah, one minute me and Mick Ronson are just bangin’ out a few tunes, dreaming of getting laid. Then Bowie and his entourage muscle in and all hell breaks loose.

CJ: Likewise. You start out just kickin’ a footy around with your mates, then its development squads, draft camps and the whole treadmill starts rolling. Soon you find yourself on the other side of the country. I’d never even been to bloody Perth!

ZS: I heard the boys out there like a party; made me a little nostalgic hearing about it. (passes another can)

CJ: Tah. Yeh, things were all smooth sailing for a while, but some of the boys hooked up with the wrong crowd. Not much going on in Perth, so we were kinda like the local rock stars. You’d get all sorts comin’ up to you. Some bad craziness set in. Cuz was just the tip of the iceberg. It was all a bit much for a nice Caulfield Grammar boy.

ZS: So that’s why you came back to Melbourne?

CJ: Basically. I was missing the family, and things didn’t seem too promising at West Coast. I wasn’t too impressed when they wanted me to play lame either; we were doing it from memory that year anyway. Too many distractions. Seemed like a change all round was a good idea. The money the Blues offered didn’t hurt either. (grins)

ZS: Out of the frying pan and into the fire eh?

CJ: In some ways. I was still working at getting over the groin; a bit of a hobbled messiah that first year. And the footy circus in Melbourne takes some getting used to. I’d had a taste of that with Bec and the bloody dress thing. Still, she’s turned it to her advantage. She’s working the Spring Carnival as we speak. Soon enough I’ll be Mr Twigley.

ZS: How does that feel?

CJ: Not a problem. Nice to know one of us will be earning when I retire. (grins wider) I’m hardly wanting for attention anyway.  It’s all a bit of a laugh. Though you do feel the weight of expectation. Carlton has done it tough of late, and they’re not much used to it. Still, that’s what we get the big bucks for.

ZS: Speaking of laughs, what was all that pressure point crap about eh?

CJ: (sighs heavily) Not one of my finer moments. Rischa had been like a fly on stink all night. Then he had Carrots by the nuts in that pack and I thought for a second it was payback time- then thought better of it. I had a feeling it wouldn’t look good on the teev. We were gutted when we blew the match, so we got on the truth serum afterwards. I was in no shape to be holding pressers at the airport next morning, hence the debacle that followed. I wish somebody had stopped me- I’m no comedian. The only thing I know about pressure points is what I’ve seen on WWE. When I saw the news that night I had a sinking feeling it’d be all downhill from there.

ZS: Seemed like a good idea at the time your honour. (laughs)

CJ: Precisely. Then bugger me if they don’t go after Rischitelli as a trade for Fev. Not surprised he wasn’t keen.

ZS: The whole Fev thing was a three ring circus. What’s the mood in the camp now?

CJ: Mixed. Sad to see him go in some ways. But, if truth be told, there’s relief as well. It was all becoming such a distraction. A bit like how Turnbull must feel about Wilson Tuckey; you’re always waiting for him to have one (or ten) too many and goose the Queen or some such outrage. Then you’re left to deal with the mess. I could have done without some of his “jokes” on the night; and I thought Bec was gonna slug him one if he stared at her tits any longer. It’s a brave man who cramps her style on Brownlow night. And could anyone get that cameraman to shut down? He thought it was Christmas. What a mess!

ZS: Had a similar feeling about that Iggy chap Bowie used to hang with. Lucky there weren’t as many cameras around in those days… At least Brisbane has good beer drinking weather.

CJ: (shudders)

ZS: (laughing again) So what’s on the agenda now?

CJ: A few days peace and quiet under the stars in the desert. Then back to Melbourne and it all starts again. Expectations have risen after this year. I wouldn’t mind blending in with the furniture a little more, though it’s hard to see it happening. My late start to the season may help that. And we’ll have to figure out a new way to kick some goals.

ZS: Don’t be letting those expectations weigh you down. I remember when we hit big; all of a sudden I was supposed to be the answer all these sad geezers had been looking for. It can do your head in if you let it.

CJ: Thanks Zig, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Still, the psychs are always banging on about controllables. Although sometimes I think some of the shrinks are loopier than the patients… It’s all so much more than just kicking a ball around now… (sighs again)

ZS: You sound like a man who needs another beer. (hands one over)

CJ: Thanks. I’m alright, just need a bit of a break. (raises a toast) To the stars.

About John Butler

John Butler has fled the World's Most Livable Car Park and now breathes the rarefied air of the Ballarat Plateau. For his sins, he has been a Carlton member for more than 30 years.

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