dave the grim reaper Pus 1974 (2)imagesXGZ1Z4UR

The upcoming gigs at Downstairs His Maj in Perth and Django Bar, Sydney have given me a chance to trawl through my back catalogue of songs to find some I always loved but haven’t played for years.   The unplugged nature of the intimate gigs suits more delicate songs that got washed away in the tsunami of beer and Marshall amps that marked my big pub gigs.

Lonely Sailor I wrote around 1974 before going to London. Albert Finney fascinated me from the first time I saw him in the scariest film I ever saw as a kid, Night Must Fall. Then as a late teen I discovered British kitchen-sink drama and was electrified. Saturday Night Sunday Morning in particular (book and film) was a huge influence on me as I sought to artistically render boring Australian suburban life like Sillitoe had boring English working class life. And Laurence Harvey, well he was just too cool for school and he and Liz sizzled in Butterfield 8.


finneyI’m a lonely sailor just like any Albert Finney

With my hair greased back just like any Laurence Harvey

I’m a rock-out from Blackwall reach

But I don’t have any Elizabeth Taylor

And I won’t be the groom to Princess Caroline

No I don’t even have a Saturday night tramp to call mine

I’m a lonely sailor just like any Laurence Harvey

No Lizzy Taylor no eyes like Albert Finney

I’m a rockout from Blackwall reach

10 years behind my time and 20 years ahead

What good will it do me if girls love me when I’m dead


After the near hysteria from Victorian media that followed North Melbourne’s trip to Perth and the umpiring there, I thought it an apt time to publish the final full-season umpiring results of Home and Away games.  As with the North Melbourne-Eagles game where the Vics focused on a free kick that certainly should have been paid to North for a trip near goal, yet ignored the free kicks not paid to Josh Kennedy early where he was clearly held without the ball near the goal line, Vics usually think their teams get terrible deals when they play interstate but look only at what happens to them. The table below again shows that while the Home team always gets the best deal, Vic teams get a better deal than non-Vic teams.

However the prelim finals did confirm that The Eagles are the most umpire rewarded team in the game but also that the rest of interstate teams, especially the Dockers and Sydney, get some of the worst deals. So here you go footballing tragics two tables, one showing the AVERAGE percentage of frees paid to Home and Away teams over the entire season, the other showing those games where there are SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES in a game in frees between the two teams involved.

VIC TEAMS (and neutral home state) 50 54 50 48
NON-VIC TEAMS 52 53 46 47


It can be seen that when same-city teams play one another the frees pan out 50/50. Almost all of these games are between Vic Teams in Victoria. When Vic Teams host Non Vic Teams however the frees in their favour jump, and while frees in favour of Non-Vic Teams are also greater when they host Vic teams, the advantage is nowhere near as high. (52% as against 54%)This is shown even more graphically in TABLE 2 BELOW.

TABLE 2 looks only at games where there were significantly more free kicks to one team than the other. Significant has been defined as 58% of free kicks or more in THAT PARTICULAR GAME.

Here you can see that Vic teams playing each other have virtually no difference. However in significant games in Victoria between Vic Home sides and Non-Vic Away sides it is a different story. Of the 16 significant games played 12 went in favour of the Vic teams only 4 in favour of the visitor!

Victorian media always claim that the same happens to them when they play away but THAT IS NOT THE CASE. Only 11 games had a significant free kick difference of those 7 went in favour of the Non-Vic Home Team. So yes, the Non-Vic teams have a home advantage when playing Vic teams but nowhere near as great as Victorian home teams.

When Non-Vic Teams have to play away to other Non-Vic Teams they fare even worse. The count is 0-6 in favour of the home Non-Vic Team.

Games where there were significant differences between frees in favour HOME V VIC TEAMS HOME V NON-VIC TEAMS AWAY V VIC TEAMS AWAY V NON VIC TEAMS
VIC TEAMS 12 12 10 4

I have been looking at these statistics for around 9 years and they are pretty consistent. The Home side is always favoured but Vic sides playing away don’t get anywhere near as bad a deal as Non-Vic sides playing away.

When one considers that the EAGLES topped the significant game list with +7 (ie: 7 more games where they had significant frees in their favour) it shows how badly the other non-Vic teams fared. Sydney and Fremantle are generally on the bad end of the umpiring and this year was no different with Swans -4 and Fremantle -3 in significant games. St Kilda and Geelong were also -4 teams while Richmond was the favoured Vic team with +5.

For those Vic fans thinking their team is hard done by in the West look at some of the games played in Vic this year and the free kick differential HAW 21 V FRE 12, CARL 24 v PORT 10, COLL 24 v EAGLES 8, WB 25 v FRE 11. Last year Fremantle played a game where they received 4 free kicks in total against the Bulldogs. Hmmm, count yourselves lucky Vic fans and let’s not mention that if your team makes it to the Grand Final you get a game in your state, even if you don’t rank #1.


frances adnrijich

It’s just a few weeks now before I’m in Perth for my season at Downstairs His Majesty’s Theatre Thu OCT 22- Sat OCT 24 so I hope to see many of you there. Tony Durant (Suburbs and Fuchsia) is back from Sweden to join me and Phil Bailey as we run through a stream of suburban classics and a few lesser known titles from the days of Alberts Tavern. I will be doing a number of my mock epic poems, plus a few other readings from various things I’ve written, and the brilliant Damien O’Doherty will be joining me with comedy. It’s a great venue with cabaret style seating and if you can make the effort to get in there I promise we won’t let you down. It’s not a big room it’s an intimate setting that will suit the show. Book through Ticketek.

After Perth Tony and I link up with Bill Beare and Lloyd Gyi at the Django Bar, Thur Oct 29 in Marrickville. Tickets via Sticky Tickets or The Camelot Lounge. It’s a terrific venue for us and the last time we played was fabulous so if you are anywhere near Sydney, please join us.   The photo of me above is by the amazingly talented Frances Andrijich.



BRISBANE WRITERS FESTIVAL was terrific fun in great part thanks to my fellow panellists/authors whose books are displayed. The very witty Robert Gott’s The Port Fairy Murders is a lovely little crime novel set in 1940s in Victoria. It captures the era so well it is like reading an Arthur Upfield novel. Anne Buist’s Medea’s Curse is a psychiatric mystery with suspense and high octane sex a-plenty. Matthew Condon’s Jacks And Jokers is part 2 of his true-crime trilogy on corrupt Queensland of the 70s and 80s and is compelling reading while Nick Dyrenfurth’s Mateship is a very thought provoking and informative work on the origins and malleability of the concept of mateship. Thank you Julie Beveridge and all your staff and helpers, and thank you Brisbane for making it such a top event.


Just a quick thank you to those who have recently purchased off my web-site. I’m hoping to record a new album soon, I have all the songs, and every cent helps. So Thank You Stirling McIntosh of St Kilda, Shane Pinnegar of Canning Vale, Billy Rogers great sax player,  Pauline Dawson of Perth and many others.  If you are in Sydney my CDs are also available at REDYE RECORDS in the city. In Perth DADA RECORDS stock my cds.  This weekend I’m at the Brisbane Writers Festival and I’ll take a few cds with me in case anybody is chasing them. Thank you Suburban Soldiers


The dull thwung of tubular steel peels a requiem

Over a beer sodden ocean, carpet flecked with whitebait butts

The pub so recently a piazza, a black tomb

Amplifiers growing cold already on their aluminium beds

Rocking cross-town, not enough traffic to trip lights

 Red as the singer’s raw throat

The drummer brooding over a missed anticipation in the second verse

A nurse in a sixth floor window sipping bitter coffee to the slow beep of heart monitors

Her anonymous patient dreaming of cherries and the smell of a new pencil-case in a long ago

primary school when pens had nibs.

While far below through the ink

Glue-pot in hand the stink of urine clawing at him

He waits till the chuckles of revellers to fade like a loveless marriage

Before emerging unhurried but with the seconds carefully counted crumbs

Wipes his brush quick and smooth over last week’s labours

Seizes a still warm sheet

Spreads his wingspan and presses his whole body into it

For a moment one with the chipped bricks, part of the wall itself, consummating

Then stepping back conception and birth flattened into unity

Allowing himself just a second or two to admire his work

For he has a bootful left to do and only

A fool works after dawn.