Tag Archives: Melbourne

Mornington Glory

Round-Eye Scotty, Asian Scotty, and Your Drunken Hero were zooming down the Hume Highway in an overloaded VW Beetle, gazing in awe at the passing scenery and stopping at every scone and crumpet shop we passed. Our destination was Melbourne’s glorious Mornington Peninsula, but we couldn’t imagine what this paradisical scrap of coastline had in store for us. Little did any of us know that this trip would change us all forever, introduce us to the most incredible person to ever live – or that one of us wouldn’t survive.

Peeking through bushes comes naturally to me

Asian Scotty was behind the wheel, smoking his crack pipe as usual and abusing every granny he overtook. The blood from our brutal battle with the tuffs in Yackandandah clung to his face, clothes, and outrageous mullet-style haircut. Round-Eye was lazing around on the back seat, admiring the diamond-encrusted rings on his fingers. We were passing the Australian Alps, where I’d once flown my paraglider, but you wouldn’t know it. The entire landscape was blanketed with bushfire smoke, lending an eerie glow to everything. Our driver wasn’t in the mood to chat, so I turned around to talk to Round-Eye.

“So where are we going, mate?” I asked him. Scotty rolled his eyes, obviously annoyed that I’d dragged his attention away from picking his ring.
“We’ll be staying with my friend John. He has a shack by the beach.”
“Sounds nice. But will there be room for us?”
“If not, I’m sure there’s a dog house for our Asian friend here. Just as long as he doesn’t eat the dog!” As if on cue, Asian Scotty snarled.
“How do you know this… what did you say his name was? Jack?”
“Some people call him that. We met many years ago when we were both struggling musicians. Well, he was struggling more than I was, but I taught him how to sing. He went on to some manner of success.”
“Would I have heard anything of his?”
“Are you aware of The Voice?”
“That crappy singing show? Don’t watch it, but if that’s all he’s known for he must be rubbish. Hope he can keep his mouth shut.”

Topless chick! Topless chick! Topless chick!

The outskirts of Melbourne are a jumble of grotty factories and burnt-out kombis, but as Asian Scotty cruised onto the Mornington Peninsuala, the clouds parted and I was astonished by how beautiful it is. There were cliffs, bays, and thousands of trees. At Round-Eye’s direction, Asian Scotty pulled the car to a stop along a cliffline and we all got out. Below us sprawled the shimmering Mount Martha Beach, with crystal clear water and golden sand. Along the shore was a clutch of brightly-painted beach shacks, each accompanied by a set of happy people drinking and fucking around. The scene was so wonderful that we all went for a skinny dip (and the sea level rose worldwide when Round-Eye waded in above knee-height).

Even a dickhead like Ben Cummins could see how good this view is!

Paddling around in the wonderful water and oggling the local beauties in their barely-there bikinis helped us work up a thirst, so Round-Eye suggested the nearby Red Hill Brewery. It was 10:30 in the morning, which is later than I usually start drinking, so I told him to lead the way! It doesn’t take long to leave the Mornington Peninsula’s beaches and climb into the wilderness, and half an hour later our Beetle pulled into the quaint little brewery, surrounded by dense bush, with dozens of local birds heralding our arrival.

Another place to get thrown out of!

The rustic bar was packed with pissheads well-groomed ladies and gentlemen enjoying a sensible drink in a lovely setting. The three of us swaggered up to the bar and asked what the barman suggested, and he told us about their tasting paddle – basically, four small glasses of beer. “We’ll take three of those,” I smirked, “but make them pints instead of little glasses, and we’ll have all the beers on the menu instead of just four.”

“And a glass of metho,” added Asian Scotty, to which the barman shook his head.

This is what they looked like before I turned them into urine

The beers at Red Hill are bloody good! From a crisp, refreshing pilsner with floral aromas and a slight citrus tang, to a Kolsch golden ale that’s smooth yet surprisingly complex, they all went down well. I can’t really describe the pacific ale or the Christmas haze, because I was hammered by the time I got to them, but I’m sure they were awesome. Anyway, they all did the job, because I spewed on the way back to the car.

I’ll pay anyone $1000 if they can take a photo of Round-Eye without a beer in his hand

With litres of quality booze under our belts (and in Asian’s case, a bottle of liquid paper he pinched from the office) we decided to give paragliding a miss for the day and head straight back to Round-Eye’s mate’s shack. I’ve had my tetanus and yellow fever vaccinations, so I wasn’t too worried, but still not excited by the prospect of staying in a fuckin’ shanty. So when Round-Eye directed Asian Scotty into a tree-lined private lane, I was intrigued. It took us up the side of a hill, and after a few hundred metres we reached a lavish metal gate. Round-Eye said a few words, we were buzzed in, and the Beetle crept further up the hill. The further we went, the better the view looked behind us – I swear, I could see half of Victoria out the back window. Suddenly, the trees in front of us opened up to reveal the biggest house I’d ever seen. It was white and modern and four storeys tall, with dozens of balconies, and a giant pool out the front, surrounded by palm trees. A marble staircase that was 50 metres long rolled down towards us. The whole thing looked out over Port Phillip Bay, and I knew the owner had to have serious coin.

Aw yeah, beats sleeping in a shopping trolley I guess

“Bro, this no look like home of some fucker you meet in jail,” gawped Asian Scotty. “This bitch even have record?”
“Oh, he has plenty of records,” smirked Round-Eye, as we parked beneath the gargantuan building.
As I climbed out of the car and stood beneath the mansion, I felt smaller than the time I fucked Casey Donovan, and poorer than the time I took Casey Donovan to lunch. I was curious about who could own the house, because Round-Eye is a bit of a deadshit and I assumed he only hung around with hobos and drug addicts. The wooden doors at the top of the long, marble staircase swung open dramatically and a robed figure thrust himself into the sunshine. He stood still for what seemed like a minute, then a faint, hypnotising beat began to emenate from speakers dotted around us. I started tapping my foot to the familar tune, scarcely believing what I was hearing. Could it be him?

Scotty was confused, yet intrigued

“We have,” the robed figure warbled, with a voice that could make angels weep, “the chance to turn the pages over.”
Asian Scotty had dropped his tough-guy attitude and was wiggling his bum around. I was punching the air. The robed figure descended towards us. “We can write what we want to write! We gotta make ends meet, before we get much older.”
Closer, closer…
“We’re all someone’s daughter. We’re all someone’s soooooooooon.”
The figure was almost close enough to touch!
“How long can we look at each other, down the barrel of a guuuuuuun?”
The figure flipped off his hood to reveal rosy red cheeks and kind blue eyes. It was Johnny Farnham, in all his glory!
He took me under one muscular arm and Asian Scotty under the other, and we danced in unison with the man they call ‘Australia’s answer to Elvis Presley’.
“You’re the voice, try and understand it! Make a noise and make it clear! Oh-woah-woah-woah, oh woah woah woah.”

The legend himself, Whispering Jack

The four of us danced and sang happily, until the song finally reached it’s thrilling conclusion. I hugged Farnsey and, overcome by emotion, asked him to be my dad. He laughed, with the big, warm laugh of his, and said we should start with a beer and see where things go. He whipped a longneck of VB out from his robe, ripped the top off with his teeth, and started pouring the golden elixir down our throats. And that, my friends, is how I became best mates with the greatest rock star the world has ever known!

GOLF AND SAND

PARAGLIDING

WHISPERING JACKS HOUSE

The Dog on the Tucker Box

The Drunk and Jobless World Tour™ has readers from across the planet, and one thing my fans are always asking me is whether it’s worth flying to Australia just to see the famous Dog on the Tucker Box at Gundagai. I wrote about this legendary roadside attraction a year ago but, in the interest of providing the most in-depth travel blog around, I decided to head back to that spot nine miles from Gundagai… or five miles, as it turns out.
After visiting the Big Banana, the Big Whale and two Big Pineapples across two continents, the Dog on the Tucker Box didn’t impress me with its size. It is, after all, the size of a regular dog, and I see them all over the place. The Dog gets a pass, however, because he was knocked together back in 1932, around three decades before some bright sparks started building gigantic roadside attractions up and down Australia.

You know a Gundagai’s full of life when a dog sitting on a lunchbox is most interesting thing to happen in the last century

The Dog was erected (oi, stop sniggering!) as a tribute to drovers across New South Wales, and inspired by a 19th century poem called Bullocky Bill, which featured the memorably odd lines, ‘And the dog sat on the tucker-box/Five miles from Gundagai’. For my foreign readers, a tucker-box is something you’d keep your lunch in, so it would be understandably upsetting if some rabies-addled canine sat (and supposedly shat) on your sandwiches.

Without television, video games or internet porn, a statue of a dog was pretty much the most interesting thing around back then, and drew admirers from Albury to Armidale. It was so popular that it inspired a further poem called Nine Miles From Gundagai, which ripped off Bullocky Bill in a way that would make any rap singer proud. In this version, however, the dog carked it: ‘The dog ah well he took a bait and reckoned he would die/I buried him in that tucker-box nine miles from Gundagai’. I feel sorry for the bloke who reached into the tucker-box expecting a Vegemite sambo and ended up with a fistful of rotting cattledog.

Big koala, bigger love!

The statue is just off the Hume Highway these days, and is a decent place to stop between Sydney and Melbourne. There’s a pie shop (the owners looked like they’d been slapped when I got out of my car and they discovered I’m not a fatso anymore and so don’t live on pastries), a KFC, and some sort of health food shop where they sell really expensive food that you could just as easily pick from a tree. The truly monumental Kip the Koala looms large about 500 metres down the road, and should satiate anyone’s need for something big (and if not, give me a call, ladies!).
So, should you travel to Australia just to see the Dog on the Tucker Box? No fucking way, but if you’re out here for the beaches, the bizarre animals, the lovely people and the lack of infectious diseases, you might as well stop by as you’re driving around. But if you see a tucker-box lying around, don’t reach into it. They do weird things with them in Gundagai.

My parents were delighted to visit the Dog on the Tucker Box back in 1973. My dad still wears those trousers!

WHERE: Gundagai, around four hours south-west of Sydney

WHAT’S THERE? A statue of a dog. A big statue of a koala. Some wagon wheels. Fat people eating KFC.

IF YOU’RE THIRSTY: There’s nowhere to grab booze at the Dog-stop (boooooh!) but there are a couple of good, traditional pubs in Gundagai (yay!)

AND IF YOU’RE HUNGRY: The shop behind the Dog has awesome pies and sausage rolls

WHAT ARE THE WOMENFOLK LIKE? The ladies in the pie shop are lovely. Give ’em a wink and they might chuck in a sachet of tommo sauce for free

FUN FACT: Gundagai is the only town in the world that rhymes with ‘thunder thighs’