30 YEARS OF THE BUG/FROM THE ARCHIVES:
The Sir Joh Gone issue
Over the decades, The Bug has eschewed that simple but pathetic technique used by humour and satire publications of far-lesser quality and standing – the shock value of wrongly declaring some famous person dead.
It’s a cheap shot that requires no real talent or creativity. It breeds sloppy and unimaginative minds and that’s why we have always left it to tawdry university undergraduate magazines to ….. bloody hell, who put those two covers there!
Okay, but what we were trying to stress is that, normally, if we wanted to have some fun with the notion that some celebrity or pollie had carked it, we’d at least do it in what we hoped was a clever and original way.
It’s why The Bug is proud as part of its 30th birthday celebrations to offer for assessment its Sir Joh Gone issue of November, 2003.
It gave us the chance to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, that’s for sure, as thick as a, well, thick and fast, that’s the way, good strong government and the rest.
At the time, Queensland’s hillbilly dictator Johannes Bjelke-Petersen was known, hopefully at least, to be on his last legs and right on queue, Labor Premier Peter Beattie rolled out the old warhorse one last time to give him a look over work on the Lang Park stadium redevelopment.
Why did Beattie do this, considering decent Labor people hated the bible-bashing bastard with a red-hot passion? Two reasons: one, Beattie was a media tart who would do anything for some press coverage.
Two, it’s only when someone becomes a Premier or Prime Minister that they realise what an almighty achievement that is. What an absolute testament to their personality, ambition, drive and unparalleled skill set. Accordingly, any one else who has done the same thing deserves to be feted as well. Placed on a pedestal – or in a wheelchair and rolled around.
So what did The Bug do? We concocted a JOH DEAD scenario, with the strap line: “We’ve lost him: Kingaroy Hospital spokesman.
Yes, the old bible-bashing bastard looked dead for all money until the story explained that Beattie had snuck into Kingaroy Hospital and spirited the dreadful, mealy-mouthed tyrant away for that Brisbane PR exercise.
The Bug got special enjoyment in watching a certain old bloke, known as the Father of Chinatown in Fortitude Valley, shuffle past the Bug’s newspaper stand in Valley Metro one arvo, take in the cover and just about break down in tears at the great man’s passing.
Footnote: When Bjelke-Petersen finally croaked it in April 2005, and true Labor people were hiring outdoor lighting, a sound system and some terrazzo floor panels to lay down a dance floor over the awful corrupt old cunt’s grave up at Bethany, The Bug devoted most of its cover of a special Thank God He’s Gone! edition to the memory of Sir John Mills who also died around the same time.
We thought it was only fitting.
Just to prove it wasn’t a left-wing, commie shit rag, The Bug often got stuck into Labor luminaries. We highlight two front pages more than 15 years apart.