Stories of Lunch: Why do they do it?

by Mulcaster


One of my rare pleasures is lunch with Polythene Pam and Moon. Pam is irascible, taciturn and unsmiling and in truth he generally prefers his own company. Although generally silent, he is splendid lunch company because of the armour-piercing ordinance he fires at Moon.  His other endearing habits include picking up the inevitably (famous) greasy glass to sniff the bouquet of Moon’s red (Pam declines to drink red wine but enjoys its aroma). Moon morphs into a Labrador at the table-side keeping a firm gaze on his red until it is returned. Pam is often seen in the company of his wife’s dog Molly. Molly is a Beagle-Labrador cross. Molly is a happy dog and wags her tail constantly. Molly is Pam’s physical tell: nobody who is genuinely unfriendly or uncaring could maintain a happy dog.

We were discussing footy club banner-makers and their persistence, particularly when their team is on a losing steak. The conversation was uncomfortable for Pam as he is a Richmond supporter. Moon was born in Collingwood and therefore has no choice as to the team he follows. Moon said “Yoooou people” (for that read Queenslanders and, more particularly, residents of Townsville) “could NOT possibly understand… It’s all about loyalty.”

Moon’s DNA is a black and white helix and he professes great comfort in the fact that he has no choice about which team he supports. “You know old man, we (for that read himself) are capable of enjoying the true art of the game without the need to win. Yoooou people have no concept of a good mark or a brilliant kick. All yooou people want to see is Victorians lose.”

Becoming defensive and injudicious I blurted out “… and who bloody wouldn’t?”.

I felt like Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges trying to “retract that bit …”. Moon’s knowing smile and polite silence was a complete “check mate”. Pam stares at me picking up his wine glass and says pointedly: “Idiot”.

Pam was not born in Richmond, yet for 30 years he has waited patiently for better times. He explained to me he became a Richmond fan because of his father and uncle. He too had no choice but to support the Tigers.

Trying to regain some dignity, I challenged Moon. “If that’s true, you would be perfectly happy to be a Footscray supporter.” (We never refer to the Western Bulldogs by that name at lunch. Moon does not like change. There are no Sydney Swans, just “that push”. The Brisbane Lions remain “the Spice Girls”).

“That is true loyalty yooou people could never understand”…”Imagine yooou lot going off to the bum-sniffers for 60 years without a premiership… yoooou people would have given up long before then.”

“Moon you can’t be serious … the hopes and ambitions of Footscray supporters will shortly be eligible for a senior’s card. You would never barrack for them”.

Moon’s reply was altogether far too long to record accurately in the space provided here (with the odd ‘Idiot’ thrown in by Pam). In the end it was to the effect that that Footscray had not won a flag for 60 years and banner-makers were still rolling out every week was evidence Footscray supporters were from a higher order on the evolutionary scale.

Pam came in (unexpectedly) saying: “You know Ivan Milat won’t do sixty years … the Doggies are all right. They’re always up there. Not like Richmond, who scrape into the finals only to lose in the first round.”

Not quite the armour-piercing round that I needed to get out of the hole I had dug for myself.

Moon had a full head of steam up and nothing would stop him.

“Would you say the same about Hawthorn supporters or Geelong supporters who have the recent pleasure of three on the trot?”

Moon’s dismissive responsive was “I don’t know what you are talking about”, which really meant “You don’t know what you are talking about.”

I replied: “Moon your Catholic slip is showing … what the meek shall inherit the earth?”

At which point Pam chimed in saying, “Loyalty has more to it than blind faith. It is the hope for better things in the future. Did you see Hawthorn players after the Grand Final? Talking about doing it for a fourth time. Remember Brisbane and Geelong? They thought they could win four. That’s what footy’s all about … the belief that there are better times ahead …no matter how bad or good things are … things can always get better.”

Pam sipped on his white wine, with a distant look. Moon was looking for the waitress. I know that neither Pam nor Moon were happy with 2015, yet both will loyally line up in 2016 with hope in their hearts.

There is an El Nino raging up here and we are all hoping the drought will break ….perhaps it will break for Footscray.







About Anthony W Collins

A northerner with a mild distrust of anyone from south of St Lawrence.


  1. Neil Anderson says

    Re the last paragraph, ” God I hope so”.
    Amazing to think that the fortunes of a football-club in the western-suburbs of Melbourne were being discussed over lunch in FNQ.
    Good to see the best nick-names articles in the Almanac were nicely incorporated in this story as well.

  2. Mulcaster

    You must don the white shorts and come Down South for lunch. Bring Moon and Pam. Moon can take us on a tour of Collingwood although I doubt he’s have a clue of the tram numbers nor the street layout.

    But really I want hear Pam say, ‘Idiot’


    PS The Labrador image is one of your better ones.

  3. Polythene Pam says

    Thanks Neil, but NQ not FNQ – Townsville is NQ, Cairns is FNQ .

  4. Neil Anderson says

    Where does the FNQ border start? Tully? I was through that area last year and I just like dropping the local names.

  5. Polythene Pam says

    I think probably Tully, yes – wherever it starts to really rain.

  6. matt watson says

    As a former Victorian, I love hearing people talk about footy in central Queensland, north Queensland and far north Queensland.
    I remember getting excited one day in Brisbane, when I saw a North Melbourne jumper weaving its way through cars in a car park.
    Then I realised it was my brother…
    I occasionally see people getting around in North Melbourne shirts and hats in Brisbane.
    I don’t feel like I’m in Melbourne, but it’s good to know someone else shares the faith…

  7. Anthony W Collins says

    Moon, Polythene Pam and I humbly accept that we called this a year ago. The Townsgrad A Grade Lunchers would like wish the Footscray supporters Bon Chance.

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