The 2018 Paul Morse Cup

Greetings Tipsters

Watching the Monaros grind their way to a meritorious victory on Sunday eve when April called. We go back a bit. July ’91, moved into a house at 707 Bourke St, one of the larger terraces. April and her boyfriend Julian were there with Rachel, who wore a Boom Crash Opera belt buckle, Paul moved in the same weekend as me.

Evicted a couple months later, we scored 88a Fitzroy St, between the Hopetoun and the Cricketer’s Arms, opposite a laundromat and the legendary Johnnie’s fish n chips. Paul had a V8 HG sedan, strapped his bed to the roof, threw his clothes and records and stereo on the backseat and was drinking beer on the balcony and blasting rock and roll before anyone else had gotten so much as a milkcrate of singles in. He had the balcony room, I had the comfortably large second upstairs room, April and Julian had the back room, Rachel had the front room downstairs. We found enough change in the backyard laundry to buy a case of beer and never entered it again.

Paul was a hit at the Hopetoun. Tall, lean, charming, he had women falling all over him. Handy bloke, too, being a plumber. We’d sit on the balcony of an evening, listening to the band playing at the Hopetoun and then decide if it was worth the effort. Drink prices went up when the bands started but we were locals so paid the day price and got served much quicker cos we didn’t have to order. Just lean on the bar, wave a hand, there’s my schooner of Resch’s, $2, thanks Marilyn. When the Hopetoun closed, we’d go to the Forrester and when that closed at 3, we’d go to the Courthouse at Taylor Square, which never closed.

That’s when I first met Perky Girl.

Cool house, but a hint of underlying tension… Crazy Week ’91, got home on the eve of 25th, Julian was sitting on the couch, wearing one of those mood t-shirts that were all the rage, had a distinct appearance of pissed offedness. (Crazy Week runs from 25/12 to 1/1 when you’re just old enough and still young enough).

Celibate Rifles played at Dee Why couple days later, a bunch of us piled into my HJ panno – me, my girlfriend Sue, her mate Trish, my good mate Mark (RIP), best mate Jeff, and a few others.

Take a moment, Tipsters, and recall an age when eight people in a panno was a legitimate form of transport. Maybe it was nine or ten.

Jeff was 23 but of youthful countenance so wasn’t allowed in until I got Jim (CR bassplayer) to vouch for him. Sue and Trish and I went outside for a spliff or three. Craig got thrown out for sneaking behind the bar to steal drinks. When leaving Mark said “Can I sit in the front cos I don’t want to be near Craig.” Dropped Craig off at Newtown, he performed an extraordinary feat, leaping from the back of the panno, getting his head out of the passenger door and spewing heroically whilst farting in time.

Surry Hills mob went to the Forry to catch up on drinking. Saw Julian there, saw him leave, Ray and I went back to my place for some speed, April was in the loungeroom, said “Did you see Julian there?” “Yes, he left with Christine. Oh fuck, I shouldn’t have said that.”

The telephone cord in 88A snaked up the stairs. On the fone next eve, still awake, door of the back room opens, April’s face, yells, disappears, door slams, I opened Paul’s door, six people in there, yelled “Paul, April’s in trouble” and he bolted down the hallway, pushed the door open, a barely clad April ran for her life.

The cops were called, just to get him out of the house. Paul took April to St Vincents casualty, Julian slept in his car and reappeared next morn, he was one angry bastard. I got a bag, crammed clothes in, handed thru kitchen window, rang Christine, told her not to open her door.

New Years Eve, we played the Evening Star w Monroe’s Fur, 165 payers, good cocaine and all the rest, a bunch of us walked back to 88A, lost Peter at the Forry, I went back to get him, met Julian.

Talking to D when I saw him, “just stay here for a bit” but D walked away, weak prick. Julian slammed my head into the sidewalk while his mate bleated “you might kill him.” A tiny woman who worked the bar at the Landsdowne dragged him off me, I stood, hailed Roz in her R-type Valiant, jumped in the back, Fluffy said “don’t bleed on my trousers.” Got home, end of the party, down to St V, when I met the doctor he asked “do you take drugs?”

“Only recreationally”

He conferred with a colleague – NYE in a casualty ward must be a horror for doctors and nurses – decided I was worth the risk.

“What colour thread are you using?”

“Blue” – the shortest, sharpest word you’d ever hear.

“Sky blue, royal blue or navy blue?”

Paul came by, he’d gone to the Courthouse, found Julian, would’ve beaten him up if the bouncers hadn’t intervened. Sue and I got home, April and Jeff were waiting up, they’d saved a longneck of Cooper’s Sparkly.

1992 was great, the first Big Day Out was a gigantic pub gig, everyone was there. Paul got a drum kit and we hammered away, sometimes w mates in the loungeroom – cf, Johnny Rainbow And His Psychedelic Blues Experience – sometimes at the Hopetoun, Eviction Notice played several Saturday arvos. Depending on who showed up, it could be terrible or pretty good.

April started taking photos around the house, she had a knack for capturing an image. (Now makes a good living w it)

The Queens Birthday long weekend, we had a party, (mentioned here – https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/the-2016-88a-cup-round-twelve) and that was the grandest party that anyone ever had a mind to think of. Standing room only, live rock and roll from dusk ’til dawn. Rachel went away that weekend, April, Paul and me were secretly pleased. She’d put a lock on her door, but hadn’t used it, we threw all the loungeroom furniture in there, aside from one foam rubber chair that Pete Hartley and a dozen girls sat on, twas ne’er the same.

April moved out a few weeks later, we packed the panno and drove up to her family home in French’s Forest. Her European dad gave me three bottles of lovely red wine. Paul and I hung out and played music but drugs crept in. The 88A house broke up, I saw him at gigs for a few years, then he moved back to Melbourne.

March ’02, saw Paul in a pub in St Kilda around 2AM, had a yelling chat for a couple minutes over the 120db PA.

Missed the last quarter of Monaros @ Crows talking with April, about Paul and why he chose to top himself Friday. “I could always see me being old, or you being old” said April, “but I could never see Paul being old.”

He was a bit like a big puppy dog, his hair flapping about like long ears, his big grin. Perky Girl made a coupla calls to old mates, “beautiful sad eyes” came up a lot. Paul hit the half century coupla months back.

His team was Melbourne. I’d like to think that he was, at the least, satisfied that his team was doing well. Paul, we shared some intense moments, glad you were there.

Rest In Peace, ya goofy bastard.

Cheers Tipsters

P&C A Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production
Brought to you with the assistance of Cosmic Psychos and all the other noisy music we listened to on the balcony.

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.

Comments

  1. Peter_B says:

    I thought a lot about suicide for a while 15 or so years ago. But I figured I’d never find out what I’d do when I grew up. It’s like tearing the last chapters out of a book that no-one ever gets to read.

  2. ” We found enough change in the backyard laundry to buy a case of beer and never entered it again.” is the best sentence I’ve read in a while. Thanks Earl.

  3. What’s going on with the Hopetoun property?

    Nice story, Earl.

  4. Earl O'Neill says:

    Jan, it’s sat there since ’09. Whether the propery has been sold or the licence transferred, I know not. Every now and then a rumour of its resurrection floats about and people get stupidly excited.

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