Almanac Lunch: Poignant pauses utter gems

by Steve Earl


There’s times at sporting events when everything quietens and a pin can be heard to drop – not like the minutes silence on Anzac Day but just that lull when not much is going on or something special has happened  where it takes a second for the reaction


I was at the melding of Percy’s Odd Friday lunchers and Harmsy’s Almanacks at the North Fitzroy arms when Harmsy was up describing to Percy’s crew what the Almanac was all about. One of his yarns included some colourful language from some colourful characters from Fitzroy having saved all year for a bus trip to the Gold Coast to watch the Roy’s play the Bears back in the mid-80s. Colourful for the Tatts embroidered on their arms not their gainful disposition albeit questionable and possibly colourful (turned out to be the Lynch Mob according to Roy stalwarts Dr Phil and Lionhunter Hillle ) when John in part description used the word esoteric.


Well the lunchers looked on in amazement as they thought he’d stopped to order a drink – the bar staff member next to me whispered inquisitively ” what’s in an esoteric”. I said whatever it was John would like it with a dash of panache


(It was some time before the staffer re-emerged – empty handed)


So in that poignant pause John realised he’d misread his audience – there wasn’t a luncher to be found of the likes of the Coodabeens Nigel from North Fitzroy – so in that pause he introduced Perc to the crowd, as if that was needed, but went on to find the true love of the lunchers / the Blue Baggers. The room went on to a resounding rendition of the good ol navy blues – not a stutter to be heard.


So in all this swell indulgence it reminded me of one such poignant pause at Victoria Park in early 1990 with the Pies playing an inauspicious game against a competitor I cannot recall as by three quarter time I’d indulged a little liberally in the members bar  but had resumed my spot on the terrace in front of the bar for the last quarter,  three steps down four across – our footprints were scored into the concrete such was the ownership of ‘your spot’


Two rows back and six  across were Statler and Waldorf – fixtures for many a year in the animal cage and most likely gone to wherever old Magpies go – I know which way most of you are thinking.


So the Pies were travelling like a tram with square wheels when Craig Starcevitch turned over the ball and the oppo kicked another goal / the crowd went into such a pause when Statler remarked in his usual volumised manner ” that bloody Starkehorst is worse that that other big bloke Monkevitch”


Even the outer got a good laugh – it was the only for the day and only highlight I remember.


Steve Earl



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