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Town Lore, Memory & the Bullshit of Time

I come from a small town in Northern Tasmania where I seem to have become a part of town lore over the last forty years. Particularly for some people with nothing better to do than gossip or pretend they are somebody important to those events. Sadly, if another person tells me they heard about “what happened at the caravan park” (one of many miss told tales of my invented biography) I’ll probably eat their face and wash it down with a pint of stout.

So I offer some corrections. Because on the Internet I can offer those corrections.

There was no incident at the caravan park. This story of town lore is based around several incidents in my youth that had no presence in any caravan park. Why is the lead in about a caravan park? To be honest, I have no idea.

That I was a drug user, I agree. A drug dealer? I hung around with drug dealers because I was a heavy drug user. It’s not a very big town. But put this into context, when you talk about 1982-1983 drug dealers in Tasmania it’s pre-hydroponics marijuana. That’s it. Bush grown choof and the regular smattering of tied sticks from the bikers. Heroin was unheard of in Tasmania (you really had to know someone and pay a lot); speed didn’t make it’s way into recreational drug use here for another five years at least after I was gone from that scene. So, no… not a drug dealer and all I did was smoke some weed and hash. I inhaled… a lot. And drank booze.

Another correction. This town lore story that I wrote to the parole board and pleaded with them that I came from a dysfunctional family. I mean, it was in the newspaper so it definitely didn’t come from any “letter to the parole board”. It came from the court process where a prosecutor or a barrister put forward an argument for or against my case at sentencing. So, not actually something I said. And letters to the parole board wouldn’t be in the newspaper. In fact, I don’t remember ever writing to the parole board. If I did, it certainly wouldn’t have been about my past. They don’t care about that shit; parole boards and courtrooms have different priorities and concerns.

In fact, I asked the forensic psychiatrist (the late Dr Wilfred Lopes) what they meant by that statement and he told me it meant that my father and mother were both shift workers. He said, in a functional family the father worked and the mother stayed home. So, in a company town in 1983 that’s probably saying most families were dysfunctional. Times change and maybe that’s not the definition of dysfunctional anymore, but it was at the time. Again, it’s also not something that I said… it was said at me, about me and printed in the newspaper.

And another. The beating I apparently got on Mount George in 1983 for a drug debt. I was present, true. But it was George who was slapped about by Zed in a bongo van on Mount George. Not me. Hardly a beating. In fact, I was only there because George knew he was getting a slap and thought I’d jump in and help him. And it wasn’t over a drug debt. As he’s been dead since 1983 I’ll refrain from slurring his name with the reason. But it wasn’t me who got hit.

I did however get kicked unconscious one night down by the waterfront when I was so stoned I could barely tie my shoe laces. I was kicked unconscious with steel capped boots and left in the middle of the road. That wasn’t over drug debts, either. I opened my stoned mouth at a sober pentathlete who with friends had beaten up several of my cohorts and I was beaten up, too. It was a rough town. That’s it. Actually, I haven’t lost a fight I’ve been in since that night. I learned a very good lesson about winning and being called out. It made me a much more dangerous bad boy, for sure.

And again. The fact was that I, not the other person, crossed the road and stuck my head into someone else’s fight that fateful day (at around 5pm) in 1983. Me. The other guys were across that road. And later than night I crossed the road again. I don’t need emails telling me non-factual easily researched rewritten snippets of a past the writer wasn’t present to witness. What a load of crap.

Well, I hope just a few examples show something about the nature of town lore, memory and bullshit. There are people in that town who Chinese whispered their way through life pretending to know stuff about events and places they had never travelled. Some simply remember incorrectly. Others pretend to be a part of something or know things they simply lie about to conflate their status amongst peers. And then there are the bullshitters. Plain and bold.

I was a bad arsed youth in my day. Don’t get me wrong. But if you ever hear the town lore stories you have to take them with a grain of salt. I’m taller in them, or smaller. I was 18 years of age and 62 kilograms of either bullshit or criminality. But pretty much of the truth disappeared through decades of the telling. Particularly the details. The bullshitters, they multiply like ants. God bless, ’em. That prison was full of that same level of misinformation is why I find it irritating to this day. Shit like that should just tell you that the story is so old now that it’s almost become meaningless to repeat. Except by idiots who weren’t there. Or bullshit artists, I guess.

It was 36 years ago. Stop talking rubbish.

A contemporary self portrait

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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