57 Mt Pleasant Street (part 2)

Ladies and gents, hi-ho and welcome back to the Thermal Mass here in the north-light-filled-alcove of passive-solar-designed and renovated 57 Mt Pleasant Street for another week where I’m joined at the Mass by the great man himself, “Slippery” Stan Archer.

It’s been an unusual week at the Mass, with Wallabies, AFL Drafts, Football (the World version), Racing, Australian Open Golf and the Head of the Yarra Rowing all skidding by like so many cumulonimbus.

But of course, as I welcome Stan here and you start up your raucous applause, overwhelming the lot, Stan, sitting completely outside the perimeter or confines of a mere sporting fixture, we witnessed and all felt the sudden death of young Phil Hughes from injuries sustained while batting in the Shield game. What’s it all about, Stan?


Thank you very much, BJ. Well, in a lot of ways it’s a bloody mystery. But then, in a lot of many other ways, it’s just what happens in life. But I’ve certainly #putoutyourbats this week, I have.


Have you, Stan?


I have indeed. Put out the Slazenger that I used in England back in the first World Cup. What a tremendous activity of unified goodwill that has been. Just brilliant.




Though I noticed more than a few rogue #putyourbatsout tags. That was a shame. Grammatically inferior. And now not part of the global collective. Or rather, part of an embarrassing global collective.




But I’ll tell you what this gives us all, BJ, and that is a wheelbarrow-sized serving of perspective, that’s what.




No more of this Yogi Berra “it’s not life and death, it’s much more important than that” bullshit. We all know it, BJ. From our own lives. Or from a cursory skim of the interweb. People die all the time. People are killed in tragic circumstances every day. Head injuries are sustained every day. None of it is fair. Yet we carry on like two-bob watches if we make a duck. Or if our man misses a shot at goal. It’s ridiculous.


It is. What did you tell the boys before they took the field this week, Stan?


It’s simple. I told them “this is but one afternoon of your life. That’s all. Have a crack. Share a laugh. Tell your stories. But most of all, help one another. For that is all there is.”


Did you, Stan? How did they take it?


They forfeited. Game over. Left the field and all went back to Macca’s place for a swim. He’s got a new pool.


Has he?


In-ground. He’s got one of those crawly cleeners. Costs a bomb.


Is that what life’s about, Stan? Fun? That can’t be right. What about reward for effort and growth through suffering?


Ahh, it’s all a crock, BJ. Life is about a laugh, your stories, helping one another. Fun. Nothing more.


Are the AFL draftees having fun yet?


Oh my word, yes. No pressure there, meeting their idols. Meeting countless video-review monitors, theatrettes, pieces of gymnasium equipment, lockers. Watching their scrawny frames passing in front of floor-to-ceiling mirrors for the first time. What fun! Being referred to as a Draft number, with all of its associated implications. Meeting the rest of their all-male co-workers and knowing they stand outside a shared language and a shared bond and realizing they need to get inside it. Brilliant. Swapping twitter handles. Initiation ceremonies. That Blane Boekhorst at Carlton is having a ball. Wonderful first up notoriety for the boy. Mick will have loved that tweet he sent in mid-year.


Oh yes, before he was drafted. What did it say, again?


“The whole Carlton team need to go or Mick does,” were his thoughtfully chosen words of wisdom, BJ. I’m sure he’ll get a chance to elaborate in one of those comfortable meeting rooms down there at Princes Park #1.


Yes. What about the Wallabies? Or the golf? Head of the Yarra? A-League?


Wallabies are no good, BJ. It’s time they folded. Pump all of the resources, all of the money, all the physiotherapists, all the concentrated effort of Old Money elsewhere. We spreading ourselves too thin. You’ve got to take a Big Picture view of this stuff, BJ. That’s what concerns me. Who’s taking the Big Picture view? What’s our population these days? 22 million or thereabouts? At that size, we simply cannot be the best in the world at rugby union, as well as at golf, rugby league, horse racing, rowing, cricket, three day eventing, modern pentathlon, luge, the rest of them. We’re spreading too thin. Let’s rein it back a touch. And we can start by dropping all football codes except one. Rationali-footy-sation, we’ll call it.


And just keep the one?


That’s right. Think how good we’ll be.


You might be onto something, Stan. But which code should we keep?


Australian Rules, of course. You surprise me, BJ. Australians love a winner. And we’ve got the inside running on the World Cup there, I give you the tip.


Ahh, well reasoned, Stan. You’ve thought of everything.


Think of the FUN we’ll all have.


Ah, yes.


In fact, scrap the footy. Let’s all head to Macca’s place. He won’t mind.


Stan, what about the golf? The rowing? The upcoming Test series against India?


You got any togs, BJ?


And so on that cheerful note, it’s goodbye from the Thermal Mass here at 57 Mt Pleasant Drive for another week. Play on!


About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Good stuff ER. We need to keep the sackcloth and ashes gloom in proportion. Moving from community grief to media frenzy now.
    The “more important than life and death” quote belongs to Liverpool manager Bill Shankly.
    Yogi Berra was “the future ain’t what it used to be” (among many others).

  2. Ahh yes, PB, thanks. I’ll pass the quote on to Stan.

    And yes, it’s important for everybody to deal with P. Hughes’ death in their own way, but life in its infinite joy and infinite cruelty goes on.

    A child was born yesterday.
    And a 4 year old child was hit by a car and killed in Prahran.
    “You don’t make no sense” – Cold Chisel.

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