The 2014 Jack Miller Cup

Greetings Tipsters


One thing that really bugs me about summer is the International Date Line. No, not that one where you meet Russian girls who only want a decent man, the one that runs north-south thru the Pacific Ocean and ensures that NFL matches aren’t on teev here until Monday morn, when I really want them on Sunday arvo.


Motorcycle racing is done for the year. Alex Marquez pipped Australian Jack Miller, 278 to 276, for the Moto3 Championship. Jack’s KTM was woefully underpowered next to Alex’ Honda and he often had to race four Hondas all at once. So he’s skipping a grade and going straight into MotoGP next year while Alex steps up to Moto2. His brother is winning most everything in the senior class. How would it be being their folks and having them around for Christmas lunch?


Mr Julià Marquez used to drive front-end loaders for a living and could never have afforded to give his kids the chances that, say, Wayne Gardner’s boys get, but the kids were so freakishly talented that other folks were happy to sign the cheques. He looks like a younger version of Manuel, my 83 yr old backlane neighbour who is happy to let me borrow from his great collection of tools.


The prospect of another cricket season no longer interests me. I might stroll over to Petersham Oval to watch some grade cricket at one of my favourite cricket grounds. A good-sized Victorian-era park, with pathways, pavilion, WW1 monument and big, healthy trees, ringed by terrace houses and the old Lewisham hospital. I oughta check the draw and get Dad along.


Dad and I never really had a conversation until we went to the Third Ashes Test at the SCG in January ’95. We’d never had the chance. He was born into a working class family in 1935 and was working six days a week supporting his wife and four kids when I was a youngster. I was born into a middle class family in 1966 and turned out irresponsible and indulgent. When I was 23, I was rambling to Dad about maturity and he said “When I was your age I was a widower with two daughters.”


Then we started going to the cricket and talking, getting to know each other. We found a lot in common, f’rinstance, our brains work in very similar ways at processing and analysing information so that when we disagreed on something we knew where the other was coming from and it was an intellectual disagreement, not an emotional one.


Then Tests just got more expensive and noisy. Our last cricket match at the SCG was a Sheffield Shield game in late ’08, when my leg was in green and purple striped plaster from toe to knee. As I write, it’s within a week or two of four years since Dad had a stroke, two days after my best friend told me he had serious cancer.


Dad has trouble articulating concepts, remembering names. It frustrates him more than it does me. We share a disquiet about the state of cricket.


I couldn’t get him into American Football. It’s the time, the apparent ‘just hanging around’ that got him, which I found odd in a devotee of a five day game that can easily end in a draw. “Dad, it takes near three hours to play eighty minutes of Australian Football.” “Sure, but they’re doing something in that time, not just walking on and off.”


Cricket on the ABC radio, it was one of those sounds of summer. Seems years since I used to listen all the time. I oughta try again, see if there is something to be rekindled.


Hey, is it just me or did the few weeks after the AFL GF seem to take a few years to get through? It just dragged on and on. Gillo ‘Man Of The People” McLachlan slapped a trading ban on the Swans and seemed to get a quiet agreement from the print media. While Gerard Healy slammed it on radio, the big websites have conspicously not beat the drum. The AFLPA quietly mumbled a complaint, as did the Swans.


Remember Big Jack Elliott slamming the ‘socialistic’ draft and salary cap? Ah, how we laughed. But like many a People’s Democratic Republic, the police state has it all wrapped up. I was thinking of taking refuge in local football next year but Balmain were once Tigers, for many years and I wrote a piece on their first flag in ’97, since then they’ve been the Power and the Dockers, AFL teams have bought a piece of each of the Sydney Football League teams and it’s not the same.


The beauty of the NFL is that I don’t expect anything like that. I’m viewing from half a world away and the visuals are fantastic! We don’t really sit and watch the games, I record them and we play them with the sound off while we listen to music and do stuff of a weekeve. Not unlike our AFL habits of a winter weekend.


Colour and movement, speed and power. Rock and roll. We rode up to catch Radio Birdman in Newcastle two weeks ago, blitzkrieging the hinterland to a pub of mad punters, it was wild energy going insane, we were out all weekend on Rita (130hp of sporty two-wheeled joy) better make a honeymoon of it, cos me and Perky Girl got married a week after the GF.


That was the first show of Radio Birdman’s tour, we caught the last show last night, that gig review is gonna hit some decades-old ellipses.


Got Bobby Womack’s early ‘70s songs loud on the stereo, got a beer and a cig, got that dodgy bog on the van to re-do, got the Packers wipeout of the Bears to watch, that I fell asleep in front of around 0200 this morn. Got the tribute show to Phil this eve, he was killed by a bus a few months ago, got Jeff and Nicky coming over tomorrow for a late and lazy lunch. I don’t need sport, not like I need rock and soul, but it’s good to have it around.


Cheers Tipsters


P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Inc.

Brought to you with the assistance of ‘Stop On By – The Soul Of Bobby Womack’



About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Great stuff Earl. Congrats to you and PG (lucky bastard – you not her). Loved the way you weaved your Dad into the story.
    Similarly I can’t get excited about sport at this time of year. Music, books, friends and work have much more to offer.
    Is there a Trans Dementia Inc compilation album in the works?

  2. Thanks Earl.
    That’s the best thing I have read this Sunday morning.

  3. Weren’t those young upstarts from Punchbowl supporting the Birdmen in Newcastle? I missed out on the Brisbane show due to severe lack of cash flow. As usual the lax attitude to tax return details resulted in a delay. On the bright side, my wife has given permission to invest in a new surfboard…

    Taking Dads to cricket is a good thing. My Dad and I celebrated Queensland’s first Sheffield Shield watching the final two days together. Somewhere there is a photo of the scoreboard interrupted by flying cans after Carl Rackemann took the final catch. Good times.

  4. Earl O'Neill says

    Gus, yes, Hard Ons played. I was staying w Ric, a mate of long standing who’s Keish’ cousin. King Of The Surf, go for it.
    Smokie, thanx, if I can make a Sunday morn a bit better, I’m well chuffed.
    Peter, Trans Dementia Inc sends flashdrive comps all around the world, folks in legendary bands would have no record of shows and demoes if not for me.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Those flashdrive comps sound interesting Earl, but I’ve got nothing to offer in return.

    I’ve got no excuses for not seeing Birdman the other week when they were down here – sounds like I really missed out. I’ve never seen them, had tickets in 2007, but had to go overseas for work. Although I did drive past Paddington Town Hall when I was in Sydney a few weeks back – only 37 years too late.

    I did see the “Hard-Ones” support the Ramones in my Adelaide days.

    I’ll keep reliving my teens vicariously through you.

    thanks Earl

  6. Earl O'Neill says

    I better confess to a lack of research – Balmain won the 2014 SFL flag in their first season as the Tigers for several years.
    Mark, and others, making a flashdrive comp is its own reward. I’m fortunate to have 100,000 songs on HD. The hours I put into compiling one are joyful and I love sharing music with folks.

  7. Earl, Just catching up with some back-Almanac-reading so a belated congrats to you and Perky Girl. And thanks for this really enjoyable read with lots of observations about your Dad, conversation, sport and music.

    “Then Tests just got more expensive and noisy”. What a pearler of a line. I should send your piece to Cricket Australia.

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