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Fruity Ale and a Fire Bucket

fire drum

Aside from irregularly charging into the charcoal chook shop on a tricky Tuesday and escaping with some cooked poultry and fried spud there’s limited chances in my cosy sphere to pretend I’m a hunter and gatherer.

But since we’ve now a fire bucket on the back patio I find myself sourcing wood throughout the wintry months, and last week in my pre-pub enthusiasm I zipped across the suburbs to a garden vendor and loaded my car with red-gum. My purchasing challenge had been made clear by the wife: don’t get stumps that are too big and don’t get stumps that are too small.

As a timber-collecting Goldilocks I surveyed the wood heap. With the drizzle tending to rain and the mud sloshing about my boots I pecked about the crumbling Cheops of logs like a fussy rooster. What I lacked in scientific application I compensated with crude, Cub Scout judgment and soon had a wagon-full of iron-hued stumps.

Easing the motor onto the weighbridge I felt an inner glow borne of a successful excursion that guaranteed I’d enjoy my subway sandwich at a proximate shopping centre. But this can be complex for I often find that a six-inch sub isn’t enough, and that twelve can be too much. Let’s all petition Doctor’s Associates Inc for a nine-inch sub!

*

Saturday saw the house lashed by angry squalls and clattering rain but the mid-afternoon fire kept us warm. Starting the blaze is acutely ceremonial and Alex was enthusiastically insistent and Max, a spirited jumper and involuntary clapper, while their Mum lit the first match to get us underway.

Gradually, there were family and friends and burgundy wine and cheese and chat and nostalgic music, and these generated a fetching glow in which I happily swam.

With a national conference looming it was an ideal gathering at which to road-test my new ice-breaker. Having workshopped it extensively with my old comrade and new-ish colleague JB, out it came, for in some ways it’s the ultimate question, and taps neatly into the endless Zeitgeist.

On “Islands in the Stream” who gives the best performance: Kenny or Dolly?

With stunning clarity, the results were revealed as a little lop-sided, perhaps in a similar fashion to that which saw Anne Shirley “Willsy” Wills (OAM) collect 19 Most Popular State (South Australia) Personality Logies. After scrutineering the votes were

Dolly- 9
Kenny- 1.

Still, as the late wrestling icon Rowdy Roddy Piper used to say, it’s about the process.

RRP

*

The fire danced and crackled and my playlist changed mid-seventies gears from the Bee Gees to Dr Hook so we added heavy chunks of red-gum and then night descended. Inside our boys and the other kids tore about and transacted in robust and efficient ways as their games began, unfolded and then collapsed, as all games must.

Meanwhile across the city, country and globe all manner of professional games were being played, and remarkably every single team in which I’ve varying degrees of investment engineered a loss. Here’s a roll-call of anguish: the Glenelg Football club, the Adelaide Football club, the Socceroos, the Wallabies, and at The Oval in London, where many years ago, we’d personally witnessed a grim result, the Australian cricket side. I should’ve bagged them all up into a hideous multi and had myself an unpatriotic if tidy earn.

But none of these irritants mattered on my birthday for there I was by a mesmerising fire with fruity ale, if not fruity conversation. Later, the dogs, Buddy and Angel, flopped on their beds and the last of the storm fronts rushed furiously by. Happily, there’d still be cheese for late Sunday afternoon.

With a sturdy click the back door was locked, and at least in my mind, I could hear the projected voice of a 1960’s publican bark across his dark bar, “Time, please.”

I was soon asleep.

willsy

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Dolly v Kenny

kenny

On “Islands in the Stream” who provides the superior performance: Dolly or Kenny? Asking for a friend.

ShaunDolly in a close one.

Rebecca: Dolly totally – she set out to get him with a fine tooth comb. That is commitment!

Rebecca: Actually maybe that’s stalking!

Cath: Team Kenny!

Ali: Dolly!

Nicole: Not even a question…Dolly.

Sarah: It’s a duet?! Team Dolly.

MickeyI’ve just got off the phone with Kenny who’s pretty disappointed. Next year’s Adelaide concert is now cancelled!

Lois: Dolly, by a mile.

Mickey: And he wants back his fine tooth comb.

GregI feel obliged to dip my toe into this water. Kenny is without doubt the seemingly underrated star of this vocal conglomeration. He starts it. He finishes it. He loans it out in the middle a bit, but essentially, he owns the heck out of it. I know for a fact that Ernest Hemingway himself owns a ‘rough cut’ version of the track with none of Dolly’s parts…arguably the way it should be. I’m no chauvinist, but Dolly should be thankful she was brought along for the ride on this one.

k d

Nicole: Greg I thought you & I were heading towards a meaningful relationship based on our shared Sylvia experience…I have serious doubts now…just the mere mention of the song evokes the sound of Dolly singing her part…the words, the emotion…I recall nothing of Kenny’s part!

Greg: Kenny mentions islands and streams several times by my recollection. That is what he was*. I can’t vouch for Dolly, but he ‘had something goin’ on’.

MaurieI have a mate that goes fishing every year in March on the Murray. They all use small boats called tinnies with small outboards. Why do I mention this? The islands in the river are few, but I guess that does qualify for islands in the stream. The guys have special T- shirts each year and have a biggest fish prize. I guess my end comment would be they call the trip Tinnies In The Steam.

tinnies

Brett: Greg wrote “Dolly’s parts”.

Greg: Let it never be said that they were not significant parts, but could not quite cast a shadow over Kenny. And now that I think of it, with two Adam’s apples like that you’d think she’d have had a deeper voice wouldn’t you?

Peter: Neither have covered themselves in glory in my humble opinion. A passionless performance from both.

Rick: Greg, afraid you’re a little out in your assessment. By the time this duet was released Kenny was the biggest country star going around. Johnny had lost his touch. Merle and George were struggling. Charlie wasn’t recording. Kenny was riding high. His bland inoffensive MOR sold millions. Dolly was hanging in there (barely) based on her reputation and a couple of films. They record this Bee Gees tripe (Kenny recorded a number of Gibb songs; Johnny at the same time recorded Springsteen and Elvis Costello with no success). At the time Kenny was king of country, Dolly hardly allowed into the court. They toured Australia around this time or a bit after. In concert there was no contest. Kenny was good. But he was in his Las Vegas lounge period. He didnt even sing all of Coward of the County! That’s right. We didn’t get to hear, “and you could’ve heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and closed the door”! Criminal mistake. Great voice, stage pressence but a lot of so what songs. Dolly was magnificent. Pure performer. A stand up comic, charmer, brilliant string instrument musician and that voice. Left Kenny and most others (including Porter) in her wake. She wins hands down. No contest. That is all. Cheers!

GregMy rebuttal is twofold: 1- Kenny had a better beard. 2. It would seem you’re basing all of your statements on facts and/or personal experience, and those factors have no place in any argument I enjoy being a party to.

Rick: And I’m still bitter about Coward! Cheers.

Mickey: Are you aware that Kenny is the name behind Asia’s favourite country music themed, family-friendly, roast chicken restaurant chain and that our five times married Texan baritone personally guarantees the quality of your meal? What has Dolly ever done for the global roast chicken industry? Just sayin’.

KRR

SarahC’mon, fair go. She may not be an Asian food chain but she’s doing her best. Her 6 reviews place her at 4.5 stars.

MickeyIn April 2008 South Bend, Indiana, radio station WZOW played the song continuously for several days on end, a stunt drawing attention to the station’s format change from alternative rock to adult contemporary.

Marc: Dolly by a mile.

Dolly