Dudley Street Doggies – Five Get Over Excited

Fancy putting a K-Mart across the road from Savers, mused the old-timer, last Thursday at around 1:20pm.  How are they gonna compete? That K-Mart stuff is way too expensive.

Maybe they’ve put the K-Mart in to cater for the grizzled engineers from the Board of Works and the youngsters in fancy duds working in the new skyscraper behind the Mechanics Institute Library, which he used to visit weekly for a Carter Brown hardback, or the occasional Nevil Shute novel (the library, not the skyscraper), thought Clem.

That same skyscraper that Clem had visited earlier that day to make sure that his Will was in order, a task that he’d avoided since Madge’s passing. After that, he’d hobbled around the corner in case the library was open, having forgotten its opening hours. It was closed for lunch, just like the old days.

FMI Library

Clem then shuffled up Nicholson St, across the bridge and around to Savers to drop off some of Madge’s old Women’s Weeklys (that were taking up room in the corner of the bedroom), which led him to his K-Martorial thoughts.

But he left with as much as he came with, filling the green nylon string bag with a copy of Hawk Manure, the 2013 AFL Season Guide and the Penguin Book of Ashes Anecdotes by some bloke called Gilligan Hayes. He was always amazed at the racks and racks and shelves and shelves of quality items on display, making a mental note to return soon and update his Dudley Street décor from Savers’ modern range of Bessemer goods, frosted glassware and crocheted placemats. A box set of Readers Digest Popular Music Hit Parade long players took his eye in the record section; it was in better condition than the one at home.

Back onto the 220, Clem having thrown budgetary caution to Geelong Road end winds, slipped into Coles and treated himself to one of those tasty Cadbury chocolate rabbits, while buying the tins of Good Friday tuna (for the mornay) and a couple of Bakers Delight hot cross buns, before joining his dog Bess for an early dinner (scrambled eggs on toast).

A full summer of footy viewing on the Dogstel was hardly enough to slake Clem’s thirst. Since losing to the Crows last September, it was the thought that 2016 would be Footscray’s year that got him through the hours, days and weeks of daylight saving. The Thursday night season opener kept his interest up, but he wondered why that new little guy from Carlton didn’t have Dr Geoff Englestein in the coach’s box with him. Maybe he was getting married again.

Mornay making aside, Friday was Clem’s quiet day.

On Saturday he was so up for footy that he sat through the entire Melbourne v GWS game. He chuckled to himself as he wondered where a Lesser Western Sydney team would have its home ground.

But it was Sunday that he couldn’t wait for.

Quang picked him up noonish on Easter Sunday, stepping out of his Aurion to deliver some old-style hot cross buns and the now traditional box of Favourites, on the condition that Clem kept the Turkish Delights aside for Van’s boy Danny.

Quang’s family had surprised Clem at Christmas Lunch with the news that they had purchased five Footscray memberships for 2016; one each for Quang, his daughter Li, brother Van, Danny and finally, as a Christmas gift, for Clem. Not just any memberships, but Silver Boundary Memberships (home game option but not the EJ Whitten Social Club bit). He was so overcome by this news that Clem almost forgot to present his gift to the families, but that extra large tin of Quality Street was eventually unwrapped. Who knew that there was so much money in bok choy?

This motley gang of five hadn’t been together since their trip to the last round of the KKK Big Bonk, as Quang referred to his first trip to the cricket. Clem was embarrassed because they all had to leave early that night because of him, as he was overcome by the triple threat of loud throbbing music, blinding lights and Chris Gayle’s ego.

Clem took the buns back in, patted Bess on the head twice, then realised that he’d left his 2016 member’s scarf in the bedroom. He paused to give Madge’s bedside picture a quick but loving peck.

He returned to take his customary shotgun place for the smooth run to the Doggydome, shaking his head as they passed the Big Wheel, like everyone in Melbourne has been doing since the late 2000s, wondering why it wasn’t located somewhere better, like the Showgrounds or the old Wobbie’s World site at Nunawading.

Their new seats were magnificent, right on the fence at the end that Brad Johnson murdered those feeble Crows in his 300th game with three last quarter goals.

Clem sat amidships, the men to his right, the kids to his left.

Was he worried? Nah, Freo had Aaron Samsonite missing and Ross Lyon coaching. Not a chance. They cracked open the packet of Tim Tams, poured themselves some tea and waited for their team to run out in front of them.

Carn Bont, yelled Danny.

Welcome back Libba, squealed Li

Go Bullydogs roared the blokes.

Go Bullydogs.


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


  1. The Wrap says

    Looks like you’re an Eric Blair Fan too Swish. Or have I got that wrong? it’s a long time since I read Animal Farm.

  2. Carter Brown. Neville Shute. I am glad that some Almanac writers cater for the superannuant generation. Brings a wistful smile to the dial. Onya Clem. Onya Swish.

  3. Nice to have Clem back; I do enjoy his Sandy Stone-like meanderings.

    A friend and I were talking of the Readers Digest record collections only last weekend. Even though they had some scattered gems, as a kid I found them somewhat depressing, a grim glimpse into a future best avoided.

    What will happen if Clem finds a second hand Footy Almanac and reads a report by Swish Schwerdt?

    Thanks again.

  4. Neil Anderson says

    My favorite stories about my favorite people who follow my Club.
    Peter and the Wrap could see references to other writers from George Orwell to Neville Shute and I would like to add one more. Barry Humphries.
    There was a lot of Sandy Stone reflections in this piece, full of gentle nostalgia, particularly for the superannuant generation as Peter call it.
    I’ve always enjoyed Humphries’ stories of 1950’s Melbourne suburbia and laughed along at the likes of the recently deceased Sandy Stone who described the boring minutia of everyday life. I can still laugh about all that satire, even though I realize I’ve reached that aged group he was talking about.

  5. It was the last four lines that somehow jingled a little bell in my literature head. Memo to self: re-read Animal Farm.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks all. Yep, there’s a fair bit of Sandy Stone in Clem, but I suspect that there might be a bit of my 2040 self too.

    I’ve got form in this regard.


  7. Dave Brown says

    Always a fan of a Housemartins reference, Swish. Clem too for that matter.

  8. That photo !!! If only you’d walked another 50 metres down the road you’d have photographed our front door here at Cohealth.


  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Dave, feigning concern is a specialty of mine.

    In that case Glen! we must catch up for lunch.

  10. The description that the dogs play sexy football was surely a premature ejaculation on behalf of Gillon McLachlan!

  11. Great title too. Echoes of the brilliant British spoof Five Go Mad In Dorset.

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    KKK Big Bonk. Sounds about right.
    Excellent Swish. Great to have Clem back.

  13. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Sensational Swish fantastic to have,Clem back

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