Dudley Street Doggies – A Late Westerly

A lot has happened to Clem since the 2016 Grand Final.

 

Bess never really recovered from her miniature Bob Murphy incident and Clem found her curled up at the foot of his bed on the morning after the trade period ended.

 

A month later, a spivvy spiffy spivvy looking young bloke in a black SUV knocked on his door and asked Clem if he was looking to sell up.

 

‘We have buyers willing to pay up to $300,000’, he told Clem. Clem couldn’t believe his ears. That was thirty times what he and Madge had paid for the place. ‘Wait until I tell Quang’, Clem mused.

 

Quang was anything but amused when he heard of this ruse. ‘Do you realise Clem that your place is worth close to a million, even without replacing the lino in the kitchen or the carpet in the dunny?’ [He actually said ‘shitter’, his favourite word since Clem introduced him to Xmas Vacation, overtaking his previous favourite word “pork”, but this is a family site.]

 

The thought of becoming a millionaire without having to suck up to Eddie made Clem all giddy, almost as giddy as that night in Adelaide in the 70s when his cousin Brenton suggested that they swap from Southwark to Coopers for the next ten shouts, ruining his weekend away with Madge in the process.

 

Quang’s brother Van’s son Paul (try to keep up), who was still at Clive Waterhose, negotiated on Clem’s behalf and his Dudley Street home of several decades eventually sold for $1.025m. The chocolate brown shag-pile toilet mat that Clem spotted in Savers made all of the difference.

 

Quang’s wife Han took on the job of finding new digs for old Clem. She found a spot in an ‘Aged Care Facility’ not too far from home. He had a smallish upstairs room that overlooked ‘the Racecourse’, too small for his (and Madge’s) double bed. His new king single memory foam ensemble was even more comfy than his old one. Clem put this down to developments in kapok growing technology over the past thirty years.

 

The new joint meant that Clem had to adapt to a new menu. No longer did he have to prepare his own meals, so he ate like a king. ‘They must have hired the winners of Masterchef’, thought Clem, as he tucked into such new-fangled delicacies as Frittata, Risotto and Penne as well as the healthy choice options of Lamb’s Fry, Tripe and Meatloaf.

 

There was room on the wall to hang that photo of Madge and himself outside Luna Park on their honeymoon, although he worried about whether that sticky hook thingo was going to last the distance after the disaster with the signed Teddy Whitten poster (you know, the one in the tight Joncos that was in Football Life in 1969).

 

Bess’s remains were up there on the mantelpiece too, but Clem probably should have stumped up for an urn rather than a commemorative Olympic Tyres ashtray to store them in.

 

Most of all Clem missed his Dogstel and had to rely on Channel 7 for his footy fix. This lasted about two weeks before young Danny sorted Clem out with a tablet, a dongle, a subscription to AFL Live and some other stuff that may or may not be legal, but lets Clem watch every game on his big screen.

 

Quang still picked up Clem every Sunday for lunch, dropping him back home after the Sunday live game is finished. But they hadn’t been to a single game since the 2016 Grand Final. Not a single game in 2017. Nor 2018.

 

Quang, Han and Van and were just too busy these days. Business was booming at the market. Clem saw them one Saturday morning but they did not have time to stop for a chat as they skittered between their (now three) stalls. Clem noticed two ladies in matching Footscray scarfs and couldn’t resist a hearty ‘Go Bullydogs’. They came over to him, introducing themselves as the ‘Libba Sisters’. They were very chatty, especially the short(er) one but he failed to see any family resemblance to either Tony or Tom. After they said their goodbyes and turned towards the cheese stall, one of their heavily laden eco-bags swung wildly and whacked Clem in the Jatz crackers while he wasn’t looking. ‘Perhaps they were Tony’s sisters after all’, Clem thought.

 

At lunch last week, while they were watching the Weagles v Doggies game, Van suggested that they should take in at least one 2018 game. ‘Hey look’, he said, ‘They are playing at Ballarat next Sunday. We should go to that, make a day of it.’

 

‘It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Ballarat’, said Clem. ‘Come to think of it, it’s been a long time since I was even half way’ as his thoughts returned wistfully to the cardboard box of publications on top of the wardrobe that he had to chuck into the skip before he moved out of Dudley Street.

 

He dimly recalled a nephew’s wedding that was held at Kryal Castle (‘more like Fuqhall Castle’) during the Mick Malthouse years, where the budget was so low that the highlight was serving of the main meal where the guests were asked to ‘All Hail The Spam’. And that time that he lost three fillings after chomping on some Sovereign Hill boiled lollies that the two school teachers down the road brought him back after an excursion.

 

‘Let’s do it’, said Clem. ‘Should be a nice day and that 1.10pm start will be perfect, won’t it. I can be back in time for dinner. It’s Corned Beef night.’

 

——-

As they zoomed past the old Lion Park on game day, Clem asked Quang about his new car. ‘It’s an Audi’ he replied.

 

‘Cripes, those German supermarkets sell everything, don’t they? I thought they just did snow gear. Not that we’d need it today’, said Clem.

 

Go Bullydogs!!!

 

——-

 

For more Clem look  here

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right

Comments

  1. Cowshedend says:

    Gold Swish, reckon every old Footscrayite is now fossicking through old draws for their Olympic Tyre ashtrays.
    Also think any theme/theatre restaurants have equally memorable dining experiences as Clems at Kryal castle.
    Surely Kryal and Gumbuya Park was the inspiration for the ‘Late Show’ inspiration for ‘Pissweak World’

  2. Rulebook says:

    Absolutely superb,Swish ( fair bit of truth re the Southwark-Coopers line )

  3. kerrie soraghan says:

    How honoured I am that the Libba Sisters got a mention. I’m sure the incident with the eco-bags was just a misunderstanding, though if you’re referring to me as the short(er) one I may have to swing one in your general direction.

    I hope Clem survived the day, he may have thought he was back at the Western oval. I’m not sure I have ever been so cold, but I’m glad Clem got there.

    PS our family had several olympic tyre ashtrays, always overflowing.

  4. Swish – I think of Clem and co from time to time so was thrilled when this popped up earlier today. I enjoyed mention of Xmas Vacation- all who’ve seen it immediately chirp, “Shitter’s full.” There`s no choice.

    But the reference I most enjoyed was the commemorative Olympic Tyres ashtray which took me back to the 1970`s and those ashtrays on stands where the black knob could be pushed and the metal plate would spin and the ash and butts would desend to the bottom. Revolting, but also fascinating.

    On a recent plane trip I watched Swinging Safari with Kylie and Guy, which wasn`t great, but did have terrific set and costume design- lots of burnt orange and sunken lounges. Huge fun.

    Thanks Swish- `twas wonderful to revisit this beautifully drawn set of characters.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Ta CSE. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Wobbies World really was a thing when we moved over 20 odd years ago.

    Thanks ‘Book. I found that out at the 1983 Schutzenfest.

    Many thanks for those kind words, Miss Tall(er) Libba. I’m guessing that there were localised variants of those ash trays. The Uniroyal version was popular in Adelaide’s north.

    Ta Mickey. My grandma, Elva May Schwerdt (née Wiseman) played tennis into her seventies and was the world’s greatest Scrabble player, despite supporting a two packets of Turf a day habit. She had one of those magical ashtrays but I never saw her use its Redheads holder. She also had one of those ballet dancer mirrors, but didn’t they all?

  6. Joe De Petro says:

    G’day guys. Great piece, Swish, love these characters.

    The mention of. Wobblies World reminded me of a story. I have a client who downsized her home so I went out to review her finances a couple of years ago. I had her address but couldn’t find it in my GPS. So I rang her and she gave me directions. She was now living in a lovely little apartment just off Springvale Rd. We were chatting away and I mentioned that my GPS had failed me. It looks like everything is new, I commented. What was here before?

    Wobbles World. I have a client who lives at WOBBIES WORLD! How cool is that?

  7. I’m a bit worried about your taking Clem off to Ballarat in the depths of winter. Are you and Quang trying to kill him off? Pneumonia – the old man’s ‘friend’.
    Glad to hear there’s still a bit of life in Clem. I haven’t been able to break the bad news about Bess to Shandy the Wonder Dog. Bit sensitive about these things at the Dogs Waiting Room.

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Thanks Joe, but I’d keep away from their trampoline if I were you.

    How do you know that he made it back PB?

  9. Dave Brown says:

    Welcome back (hopefully), Clem! Everyone has a red death learning experience in their life, don’t they? My grandfather was a pipe/cigar smoker, so I always had a fascination for his smoking paraphernalia (he preferred the large ceramic style ashtray advertising some form of alcohol or other). I even have some of my own that I break out when it’s been sufficiently long that I’ve forgotten how rubbish I feel after knocking off a decent cigar.

  10. Great to hear from Clem again.
    I am most curious about those publications he threw in the dumpster.
    Half way to Ballarat indeed.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    I found a pack of Alpine in 1973 that I hid behind a rock near the Shell service station on Philip Highway. Unlike many teenage habits, that one didn’t stick Dave.

    Man, Parade and a very yellowed Kings Cross Whisper, Smokie.

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