Monday, 28 December 2009

Brush with fame

I've been spending a bit of time getting my photo file in order and came across this one from some considerable time ago in a previous life. On the left is a twenty-eight year old truckie's daughter from the beigest of bland suburbs of Brisbane, and on the right, the one-time Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam. We are in Venice, dining with artists after the opening of a pirate exhibition staged by my then husband, Ray Hughes.

Never in my wildest dreams, when I gratefully took advantage of the free tertiary education his government provided some ten years earlier, did I imagine that I would sit at table with the great man himself. I was, as you can see, what became known as a dewy-eyed Whitlamite.

Although it looks like he is imparting some gem of wisdom, he is actually telling a joke.

I can't imagine how my life would have panned out without that passport out of the burbs, to aspire to something more than barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen (although I did manage to fit that in too). I will always be in debt to the Australian people for that all too brief moment of opportunity.


  1. I am sooooo jealous!!!! Gough Whitlam is my friend on facebook (he obviously forgot that he should have made it a fan page, but I'm not complaining). I'm half-way though your book - great stuff. The review will be coming soon.

  2. I want to know if it was a FUNNY joke.

  3. Who 'd know - I remember it involved latin references. Can't you tell that I'm pretending to know what he's talking about? I imagined that being a man sitting opposite a young woman, he was trying to impress me, but I was already over impressed, so whatever he said, I just sucked it up. I had absolutely no idea what the joke was about, but laughed or course.

  4. It makes me wonder if we could afford free university education and health care then, and I think everyone would agree it was better quality than currently available, why can't we afford it now?

  5. Well may we say Dog save those earings, 'cause nothing will save the third bottle of red.
    Nice one Hughsey.
    It would be an exageration to say that Gough was venerated & beatified in my family, but the votive offerings of candles, flowers & fruit around the little shrine gives one some inkling of the respect with which he's held.

    Then some smart bastard brings up Timor Leste.
    It's like eating a ham sandwich in a Synagog (sp?) or shooting protesters on Shia Islams day of peace.

  6. Yes, well Dog himself has been responible for a few startling acts of bastardry, but still there are believers.

  7. How cool is that?

    Being also a prodcut of state sponsored university funding I can understand your feelings Hughsey.

    Nbob, there's also a little thing of almost bankrupting the country and vietnamese refugees as well but GW is like any other pollie of his time a mixed bag of pros and cons, compared with the lot we have now who are all cons!! Have to say I'm a Hawke man meself when it comes to ALP PM's.

  8. Me thinks it is easier to revere them, those old ALP PMs when they stay quiet, unlike one Recalcitrant, whose scrawny neck I want to wring every time it makes an utterance.

  9. GPB it wouldn't be the same one who's just screwed up a piece of prime sydney land would it?