Friday, November 21, 2008

Six O'Clock Swill

The 6:00 swill - an old tradition which has since fallen away - much to the joy of the drug pushing beer barons, who get knight hoods, while kids go to jail for having some pot or a couple of pills. 6:00 closing time had it's origin (in NSW anyway) in a riot of soldiers, during the first world war. the setting of the poem can be dated from the description of the cricket match. other than that you have to find the reference to ezra pound, cause the kipling is far too easy to spot. who was the demon bowler??

Strewth! Stumble out stumble down
Crikey! Hot stinking street swaying
Vomit spraying in from offices
From wouldn't that rot your socks
Workshops dock yards shop front warehouse
Tile packed pissing where smoking
Cravens they stood afternoon heat.
And then I left, Johnson got out
And Hasset on the same number
Thirty eight runs more Langley fell
What eh? We still battin'? Turn up
The wireless maite nine are out
Fifteen more to get. Johnstone
Like a rock he is, eh? and Ring!

Here over here! Happy new year!
Same Again! Get me a butcher's!

Time boys! Fair go boys! Drink up!
Drink up line 'em up hose 'em down
And bless his cotton socks and out
And the O'Connells and Lynchs
And Corrigans and the Boycotts
The Arenas and Rossinis
Spilling Montagues and the Smiths
Shatter and dinkum drunken
Swagger sway the still bright sidewalk

And two old gray beard old geezers
Wild eyed the cabbage green boyos
With tales of Victor Trumper
The first one player to ever hit
One hundred runs before lunch
In a test match - 'twas all style
One old gray hair 'twernt no style
Said the other - but oh! they
Both agreed he was something
To see - A gentleman in all
Ways and all Sydney came out
For his funeral. Myself I
Drug myself out me humpy.
Singing ain't I a demon
Three quick balls three English fell.
In the dressing sheds the demon
Bowler he was called. I never
Seen him myself but me ancient
One saw him bowl - ain't nothing
Like it the demon bowler
Bloody oath! Gooown! Rattle your dags

Too right me old mate cause it is
Tommy this and Tommy that -
And Tommy how's your blooming soul
But 'tis the saviour of our land
Once the guns begin to sing

Your name it is Tommy? Don't be
Daft! Ya bastard, quoting Kipling
He is, but why? Why old timer?
Strewth I was there, bloody hell
I was there. Doomed to defeat.
The pitch was responsive to spin.

Too right Tommy this and Tommy
That and rat a tat the melting
Barrel shitting myself a trench
Cut through Hill 70 and lots
Of diggers aged sixteen bawling
For their Mummies. And I was
There blooming too right I were there
In stinking hot Camp Casula
And they fed us swill and worked us
No better than mongrel dogs.
And the laddies come down the bush
And they died in their scores, they did.
Not a one could get a beer
Cause the boys in Flanders had none
So the wowsers made our throats parch.
There was Billy a pluggin'
Conscription, and the King he were
Again it. And I was too
No one should have gone, none at all.
The party split, and the workers
Suffered and the Nationals ruled.
And Billy got us Papua.

Our little digger he never fought
And Botha thought him mad, while
Wilson framed him as vermin.
And the Pommies killed Connolly.
And one day it were all too much
And we downed our tools and said
Bloomin' hell this is barmy lads.
Let's go and tie one on.
Cause in six months we will surely
Be dead, buried the Flanders mud.
And when we got to France we built
Up barricades with the fallen.
There were so many and I was
All night and all day cut off
With my captain and stinkin' dead.

So all us dinkum cobbers
And all us thirsty sports we marched
Ranked on Liverpool. Must have been
Over ten thousand diggers armed
And we drank the flamin' town dry.

And the bells and the bells calling
And the barkeep hosing Tooheys
Black Ale Schooners. Here! Over Here!
Went the cry all 'round. Closing time
Soon, here for flamin' Christs sake!
A clinical joyless ruck formed
Of sweat spilling red faced men
In the evening heat, swaying
Stumbling puking pushing
Fights and fists and oaths let fly.
Spillin' swillin' round the Hero
Of Flamin' Waterloo Hotel.
Vomiting, let's away one winked
I know of a gry slog we can...
Swirling round the scrum. Bloody
Buna bloody Gona ragged
Bloody heros carried Fuzzy
Wuzzy angels sideshowed to
Bloody over sexed bloody Yanks
Borneo. And we marched and drank
The town dry and we did not pay
One penny. Beat the publicans
Senseless, they ran and cried and
Then we took over the trains.
Bailed 'em up like old Ben Hall.
We drove down to the big smoke.
And drank and raised bloody hell
Some more. Until the armed police
Arrived. Pointless court martialed.
So we sailed to Sinai and France.
Most the lads never came home.
And the rat lost the plebiscite,
Failed twice. But the wowsers won
The hotels still close at six.

Cause it is still Tommy this
And Tommy that and Tommy
How's your soul, but the hero
Of the country when it's closing
Time here. Drink up! Time gentleman!

Here! Here! The Cries roll up, pushing
For the life boats, joyless slipping
Fingered smashing glass on tiled
Floor, hose 'em down, hosed of beer.
Vomiting forth closing time.
Line up line up five more to swill.
I've got the ways and means, too right.

Johnstone won the test, steered us home.
And Les he laughed, Trim got run out
For nought in both his innings.

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