My generation came in on the fag end of the ocker boom of the seventies. About all that was left when we were old enough to notice were Paul Hogan’s Winfield ads – it was literally the fag end.
Which was why it was a delight to wag Canberra last night for a bloody good cultural show at the Paddington RSL – the launch of The Barry McKenzie Movies by Pluto Press commissioning editor Tony Moore.
We were treated to a screening of Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, then a discussion between Moore, Barry Humphries, Barry Crocker – Bazza himself – and Bruce Beresford, with contributions from a pair who had a very minor walk on role, Gough and Margaret Whitlam.
Since I report on politics, I might just quote one political part of Bazz – a song to sing to stuck up Pommy bastards:
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Now Australians’ power of eloquence
Is part of our national glory
You just have to listen to Parliament
To cop our oratory
Our politician’s wit is quick
His voice is rich in timbre
So one of these days, I won’t be surprised
To hear this speech in Canberra
I hope the right honourable Member
Will permit me to give him the drum
Go dip your left eye in hot cocky sh*t
And stick you head up a dead bear’s bum
Bazza isn’t everybody’s tube of the chilled article. But, if you get it, its exuberant, extravagant filthiness and utter absurdity remains a delight.
“The 1974 sequel to The Adventures of Barry McKenzie is packed with lines like ‘Our dear little stunted, slant-eyed, yellow friends’ and ‘Have a crack at putting the ferret through the furry hoop’,” Moore has written.
But don’t be scared. Bazza is nothing but pure devilment. Absurdity. Barry Humphries remains the Camberwell Dadaist, saying “Balls” (dada joke) to the world just to see how it responds.
“I’m Australian and proud of it!” Bazza says. “It’s the greatest little humdinger of a country in the world. You poor old Poms don’t know what you’re missing. Beaut sandy beaches, lovely juicy steaks, big shiny cars, millions of drive-in bottle shops, decent church-going buggers all over the place and gorgeous clean-living sheilas who root like rattlesnakes!”
Of course. And if you’re proud of that Australia, if you love that Australia, if you rejoice in that Australia, give Bazza a fair suck of the sauce bottle. (The two Texan IT workers we took last night loved it.)
The book and the DVD of Bazza Holds His Own are both available now.