Dudley Street Doggies

Sitting down to his third cup of home brand instant coffee for the morning (milk, three sugars), Clem’s right shoulder warms as the midday sun begins to stream through the grubby terylene curtains.

His frayed but still comfortable armchair creaks as he rises to fetch a coaster to protect the largest of the nest of three side tables that he bought with his payout from the tyre factory in 1986. Madge (may she rest in peace) was a stickler for a coaster.

The lunchtime squeals from the nearby school reach his Dudley St lounge room, a reassuring sound.

He unfolds the Herald Sun and settles in for his Monday read.

“Those Dogs” he sighs contentedly to himself, “fancy beating bloody Sydney”. Clem looks out into his narrow street, remembering those days in the 80s when his street was bumper to bumper with parked cars every second Saturday arvo.

“They’ve been difficult to catch on the tele this year, fancy having to pay for it. Pay TV? I already paid for it when I had to ditch the portable in the kitchen when digital came in and the set top box carked it and I splashed out on that big skinny one at JB. $249, but it can’t pick up Foxtel”.

Clem was in despair when Griff pissed off and Macca got the Tijuana last year. Play the kids now he thought, knowing that it would be years before they were competitive again. Not in his lifetime perhaps.

Anyway, since they moved to that big shed next to Spencer St, Clem hadn’t seen his Bullies in the flesh, except for a couple of times when they were training and he was still able to take those long walks that his hips and knees no longer allowed.

Bobbie Murphy, he’s a ripper, but is he captain material? Who’s this coach Bevo? Saints guy is he?

So Clem listens to each game on the radio, hoping that it’s on 3AW “cos at least that big bastard Tony knows who our boys are”.

Back to the paper, another look at the ladder. Third. They’ve beaten two capital cities in two weeks. If we beat Brisbane and Melbourne as well …

It’s three o’clock. Clem hears a scratch at the back door, wakes up, gets up and let’s Bess in.

He sits back down, Bess on his lap, the phone rings.

Clem sighs again, thinking that it might be one of those call centre thingos, but he doesn’t have a calculator, let alone a computer, so he won’t need to download their wirearse checking software, so he lets it ring out.

It rings again. He gets up. It’s Quang, the bloke from the market. “Mr Clem”, he says, “I have tickets for the footy at Docklands this Saturday against the Saints. You wanna come with me and my family?”

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. Neil Anderson says

    Great read first thing in the morning. Come to think of it, any nostalgic and positive piece on the Dogs at this hour is appreciated. It was Zurboesk in its style.
    We would love to hear a follow-up piece if Clem actually did get to the footy.
    Really felt for him being reduced to just the radio in this day and age. Maybe he was just as comfortable listening to Footscray stalwart Tony Leonard calling the game.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great stuff Swish a heart warming almost poignant step back in time ,follow up article please

  3. Earl O'Neill says

    Lovely piece, Mark, thank you.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Neil – Zurbo, that’s high praise. Stay tuned.

    Thanks ‘Book, we’ll see what happens next.

    Thanks Earl, this Clem guy might have some legs.

  5. great stuff Mark – I’m sure there’s lots of Clem’s out there hankering for the old days of Doggies dominance. Looking forward to hearing how Clem finds the closed roof, catering & confines of Docklands (“What …one bloody beer costs more than a carton of big Red cans used to”)

  6. Enjoyed this thanks Swish. Agree with others who’d like to read more of Clem.

    The other day our eldest declared that, “The Bulldogs are his eighth favourite team.”

    I reckon lots of folks have them as their second or third side.

    Like Madge, I love a coaster too!

  7. Love it Swish……stickler, a word I haven’t heard said for years

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    A load of patronising shite, swish. Tripe.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    DL, Mickey, Kate, glad you enjoyed it, thanks.

    Skip, thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  10. Yvette Wroby says

    There’s a little bit of Clem in all of us. Lovely read.
    Yvette

  11. Michele Davis says

    Love the story Swish, but I want to hear what happens next? Is Clem going with Mr Quang? I hope so! What will he think of Etihad?

  12. J. Haswell says

    And more to the point, if he went to the game, what was Clem’s final word on the Bulldogs? Pekingese?

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Best new character since Viv Tufnell

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Of course Clem’s memory ain’t what it once was, forgetting Bevo’s time at the Western Oval in the 90s

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