Once upon a time my family used to wake up on as one on a Saturday morning and perform a time-honored Brisbane play, as we fought over the first rights to read the morning news in the much awaited weekend Courier-Mail, and ended up in our customary comforting compromise of splitting the form guide, the front pages, Canvas and the glossy Q-Weekend four ways and then retiring to sip coffee or suck coca-cola as we languidly savored our allotted section in the warmth of the Geebung sun.
Back then reading the Pineapple State’s favorite rag was a rare pleasure, and when after a prolonged period on the throne in the dunny I’d deluded myself that I’d found the day’s dead set certainties and was thus destined to reap hitherto untold riches, I almost couldn’t wait to wipe my arse and wangle the Q from my adored and adoring Dad, and made every effort to do so quietly while the old bugger wasn’t looking so that he couldn’t cruel my long-longed weekly pleasure of a few minutes with Mike O’Connor by pronouncing the great man’s magnificence and in the process spoiling the back page plot.
People like the Princess, my cynical aging sex-siren of a sister, say that I’m living in the past, and that Mikey O is yesterday’s man, but until last weekend I’ve never believed the lasagna-loving long-legged Delilah of my Bunger Bot mate’s dreams, for Mike was a mate, and had sent me sans-subs new signed copies of the well worn and much loved compendiums of his Eye on Eye-Q columns from days of yore.
But last Saturday morning, as Yeats so solemnly and subtly put it, all changed, changed utterly, and a terrible beauty was born.
The glossy was gone.
Q-Weekend was no more.
Cost cutting had cost Courier-Mail readers the pleasure that they had enjoyed for eons, and Mike O’C’s back page recount of his last week’s cacophony of catastrophes had disappeared, and it its place appeared an enema-inspiring advertorial of epic proportions preceded by a series of unsubtly placed full page paid ads for the subject of what once was O’Connor’s unbeholden to any bastard unmatched humour.
It may not have been immediately apparent to the untrained eye, but in Geebung we learn to spot lurks at the same time that we first discover the delights of sucking on a bird’s boob, and if the terrific tit just happens to be our Mum’s well then I am compelled to say that it’s not a lesson in lechery, but rather a lecture in the joys of being a boy born in the Bung, and a seminar in how to suck the marrow out of the short life we have on the surface of the multi-layered strata to which by gravity and Geebung greatness we remain for the term of our unnatural lives rooted.
As strange as it may seem to wankers from the western suburbs, this early education in the art of spotting roots and rorts stands a Bunger boy in damned good stead, and thus the erudite but rudely hungover residents of Casa Del Geebung who had flicked through the full page ads for Fiat and Maserati in their haste to head straight to O’Connor’s much-loved page immediately spotted the full extent of the scam that the scum-sucking sycophant that Rupert cravenly calls an Editor had inflicted upon us.
Fortune may well favour the brave, but being quick on the uptake favours Bunger blokes and birds too, and we didn’t need O’Connor to tell us that the manufacturers of Fiat and Maserati were one and the same wog outfit, for Nanda spaghetti had long had its headquarters in Robinson Road, the Bung, and we knew a pull-the-wool-over-a-mug punters-eyes play when we spotted one, and could spot a surreptitious sell-out a million miles away.
After all, those wastrel w*nkers from the wrong side of the Zillman Waterholes had been trying to pull them on us for centuries.
There was wailing all over the Weet-Bix, and corn flakes flung all over the kitchen floor as Granddad stood at the end of the kitchen table and solemnly assumed his rightful role as the hereditary harbinger of terrible tidings.
“It’s over!” the Chief of the Butterfly clan declared, and our weeping and wailing was heard from Wilmott Street and across the plains of Seventh Brigade park, over Downfall Creek, and all the way to Wavell Heights.
“O’Connor’s his skills and his soul so that he can speed around racetracks and sup with that vapid environmental vandal Satan” the old bloke declared, as summoning up a strength we hadn’t seen in centuries he tore the matt-finished foldout fish and chips wrapper that once was the Q-Weekend into a hundred little pieces.
“That’s it! We’re going on-line!” screamed Grandpa.
And now here I am on this hitherto unthinkable platform telling you this terrible tale.
My Mike, my Maserati, my Full page ad for Fiat – Why have you forsaken us?