Collingwood dreaming 2018: new coat of paint

Edgar Jameson can’t believe it.

Look at that sunrise.

Edgar Jameson breaks into a skip as he crosses Lulie Street, Abbotsford. He grins. Glancing up he sees somebody’s bright orange dress flap gently on a makeshift clothesline; way up high on a fourth storey balcony.

Edgar Jameson’s grin spreads like ripples on a duck pond. It envelopes his nostrils, his taut upper cheeks, his eyes. Edgar Jameson is eye-smiling.

He thinks nothing of the thin, sheer layer of rain water on the bitumen. He grins, he skips and now he whistles a tune; his floppy hair bounces with each pace.

He artfully executes the skip of a man who has known pleasure and has known pain. This is the skip of a life. Climate change deniers? Pah! Unexpected heart attack? Pah! The imminent fall of civilisation? Pah!


Edgar Jameson arches one eyebrow as he approaches the far kerb; magpies scarf dancing with him. The gutter here is draining at less than 100% efficiency. Eucalyptus leaves, mud and (inexplicably) one size 8 black leather shoe all impede water flow along the gutter.

Yet here, in the dawn light, Edgar Jameson swoops with surprising loose-limbed athleticism to pluck the shoe from the blocked and silt-lined gutter; in mid-skip. Without missing a note of his tune.

The tune issuing from Edgar Jameson’s lips is Tom Waits’ “New Coat of Paint.”

As Edgar Jameson flicks a handball; the size 8 black leather shoe clatters into a kerbside bin.


Maybe this would be their year.


Let’s put a new coat of paint
On this lonesome old town
Set ’em up, we’ll be knockin’ ’em down
You wear a dress
Baby I’ll wear a tie
We’ll laugh at that old bloodshot moon
In that burgundy sky
“New Coat of Paint,” Tom Waits






Wen Li can’t believe it.
Wen Li straightens the neck of her dress. She stands tall. Looking in her Cottesloe bathroom mirror Wen Li stretches her neck first to the left, then to the right. Then to the left again.

“Are you ready, Wenny?”


Tim O’Connell calls down the hallway. Standing in the living area, Tim holds two tickets in his sweaty little hand.


Wen shrugs to herself in the mirror. She had only been in Perth a couple of months. At least this sweaty little man had got her tickets to the final. Wen Li throws her Collingwood scarf over her shoulder. Nah, he was actually a pretty good catch, this Tim O’Connell.


Maybe this would be their year.


All our scribbled love dreams are lost or thrown away
Here amidst the shuffle of an overflowin’ day
Our love needs a transfusion let’s shoot it full of wine
Fishin’ for a good time starts with throwin’ in your line.
“New Coat of Paint,” Tom Waits


Young Tegan can’t believe it.
They finish third!
What a year!
These magpies, her magpies, her creative, strong, hole-plugging and cheeky magpies finish third.
And Tegan hasn’t even seen her favourite Jamie Elliott.
And all of those injuries. Poor Matt Scharenberg.


Walking to school, Tegan kicks a stone along Gipps Street.

“Get that scarf off, you Collingwood filth!”

A man shouts from his car; stuck in traffic.
Tegan hears him. She squints; Tegan shrinks a little.


“Cut it out,” says a tall woman standing at the adjacent lights.


Tegan smiles as she draws level with the tall woman. This woman is virtually bald.
“Don’t worry about him, darl’,” she says.

Tegan smiles.


“Your magpies are having fun, I think,” says the tall woman.

“Who do you barrack for?” Tegan asks.


“Me? I’m a Fitzroy girl,” says the tall, bald woman. Her skin is very dark. “You enjoy your finals, young one. You never know when it will be your last.”


The lights change.
“Thank you,” says Tegan. And she crosses Hoddle Street.


Maybe this would be their year.


So let’s put a new coat of paint
On this lonesome old town
Set em’ up, set em’ up we’ll be knockin’ ’em down
You wear a dress baby
I’ll wear a tie
We’ll laugh at that old bloodshot moon
In that burgundy sky
“New Coat of Paint,” Tom Waits

13th to 3rd on the ladder.
I stand up slowly.
Look into the fire.


Somewhere a Collingwood supporter is born.
Somewhere a Collingwood supporter dies.


Soon it will be dawn.
My imaginary flying horse Harry Collier, named after the Collingwood footballer Harry Collier, walks up behind me. He steps around the fire. Years have passed since Harry Collier last felt the urge to approach me. But I am ready.

Our old bloodshot moon hangs in the burgundy sky.

“Well Harry, here it is; it is a “New Coat of Paint” kind of day,” I say. I take my billy from the fire; fill my cup.


It was had been that kind of month, really. No, no. It had been a “New Coat of Paint” kind of year. My imaginary flying horse Harry Collier stamps his foot. A cloud of dust puffs.

I hold the enamel mug of tea in both hands. The fire flickers at my feet; sun rises through the eucalypts.


“Harry. Fishin’ for a good time starts with throwin’ in your line. Maybe this will be our year.”

Harry shifts. He lifts his head and says in a low voice: “Maybe it already is.”




Artist : Arthur Streeton (Australia, b.1867, d.1943)
Title : The national game
Date : -1889


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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. Love it David. And I don’t even support the Pies. Just felt a little sympathy for them this last half century. Occasionally.

  2. Thank you Ken. Very kind.

  3. Earl O'Neill says

    False dawn or new dawn? Hope springs eternal.

  4. Love the sentiment – if not the subject. Wandering lyricism – yours and Tom’s. He does a neat line in optimism despite. We like because; we love despite.
    We are off to Singapore for 5 days tomorrow. Forgot about Thursday night finals when I booked it 3 months ago – for the bye weekend. Rang Gillon’s secretary and said I needed a Saturday night game in Perth. Who’s calling she asked?

  5. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Love it ER.
    Dare to dream young Pies !

  6. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    The bubble and budding of spring. All things ready to pop open. Even black and white hope.
    Lovely, Mountain Ash. Good luck.

  7. Colin Ritchie says

    You paint the picture so well ER, and I just love Tom Waits!

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Magnificent ER.
    My son Josh wears J.Elliott’s number 5 every week. He misses him.
    But 2018 has been wonderful. Hope. Youth. Attractive footy.
    Have absolutely loved 2018. Josh even more so.
    Whatever happens in the finals is a bonus.
    This group of players is right up there with my favourite group to represent Collingwood in my time following the club.
    Look forward to the return of the equine H.Collier.
    Go Pies!!!

  9. Thanks all.
    After a wintry weekend, the sun of spring arrived today in Melbourne town.
    With that springtime angle of the morning’s sunrise.
    The winter season ends.
    The finals season starts.

  10. david conallin says

    Way back in 1978 a journalist for the defunct pink paper with the powerful punch” – the Sporting Globe, wrote something like “It must be tough being a Collingwood supporter going along each week, expecting the worsest. It may not happen until the Grand final but happen it will”! Then we had that horror run. So just keeping fingers crossed. Maybe next year>

  11. Maybe, D Conallin. Maybe.
    Like the boy with the wheelbarrow now.
    The job is in front of them.

    And the shifty shadow never knows.

    “All our scribbled love dreams are lost or thrown away
    Here amidst the shuffle of an overflowin’ day…”

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