Bird-watching, examining the Tonsils, striking Flint and watching sparks fly – guess who’s been busy, busy, busy…

So busy that we’ve become run-down and susceptible. Susceptible to John Laws. The Crikey Bird Watching Team are now almost fully paid up members of the John Laws fan club. One of his albums is playing in the background. We’ll soon be quoting his poetry.

We’re more than happy to accept the assurance he gave the Cash for Comment inquiry that he is only a humble entertainer.

That line of his early on in the current media about how he and Jones “only really disagree on religion, religious grounds, I refuse to treat him like God” was priceless. The only Australian showbiz figure who might match it is Barry Humphries in one of his more megalomaniacal manifestations.

We said last column that Laws’ carry-on was shameless. He’s got worse this week – and we’re loving every moment of it. He’s being hammier than a charcuterie convention.

His performance with Andrew Denton on Enough Rope on Monday night was priceless. The gag about the Prime Minister and our feathered friend: “They’re both little men. Both like matching ties and handkerchiefs.” The bit about the Parrot writing to David Flint on “scented paper”. The “Have I…have I been this bad? How wonderful!” when Denton confronted him with just some of his sins…

But we hear that there was a darker side to some of Law’s lines. The Bird Watching Team has been told that the following exchange was very significant. Very significant indeed:

“DENTON: Why would you be surprised, given that, that an influential broadcaster like Alan Jones might have the ear of the Prime Minister?

“JOHN LAWS: Well, I wasn’t surprised by that. I was surprised by the fact that he said it in front of other people, that he was that confident that he could say it in front of other people. And John Fordham turned to me and… Shortly after, er, the telephone… Alan’s mobile rang. And it was a footballer, Tricky or somebody, I don’t know who it was. But he went away to talk on the telephone and Fordo turned to me and he said, ‘I can’t believe what he just said.’ I think that was what shocked us, not that he had gone to the Prime Minister, if he has, but the fact that he would sort of boast about it.”

OK. This is obviously a reference to NRL player Darrell “Tricky” Trindall. Previously Laws expressed no knowledge of who called Jones on the night. So why did he suddenly throw the name “Tricky” into the mix?

Laws is obviously hinting at something here, but what?

Trindall has played for the Bulldogs. A troubled team – but everyone knows the Parrot is clubby with Canterbury.

Trindall has had his ups and downs, too – like when he copped a 12 months suspended sentence for assault last year. Here’s some of a yarn the Sydney Morning Herald ran during the case:

“When rugby league star Darrell ‘Tricky’ Trindall indecently assaulted and punched a long-time friend, she said she was going to the police.

“But Trindall told her: ‘I’m a first grade footballer. Who are they going to believe, you or me?’

“As it turned out, they believed her. Yesterday, Kelly Robb was relieved when the former Bulldogs player pleaded guilty in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court to the attack at a city pub, Scruffy Murphys, on June 22 last year.

“Police said Trindall grabbed Ms Robb’s breasts, punched her in the face three times and held her in a headlock four times. Ms Robb had suffered bruising to her right cheek and right ear.

“They had been friends for 18 years but had never had a sexual relationship, the court heard…”

Not a good look – but that can’t be why Laws dropped the name.

What’s the significance? Now is a time for deep thought.

The Crikey Bird Watching Team can be contacted at droppings @crikey.com.au

Peter Fray

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