Okay, forget for once the dinkus above. I need to take a break from my usual rant to talk about a great mate who, if life were fair, would still be with us today.
If there were a god of any description, my lifelong mate (well, from when we met in grade one) Doug Murray would have turned 70 today.
Aspley state and high school mates, Gatton College students together, flatmates with plenty of stories to tell, owners of powerful chickmagnet motorbikes (okay, well at least his was) and journalistic colleagues until the Spanish dancer took Dougie from us in 2014, aged only 63.
The same, rare, cancer took Dougie Senior at the same age.
You would have had to have met the old man who loved teasing me unmercifully to know where Dougie Junior got his flamboyance and his charisma and his, aah, err, fashion sense, as displayed in the image at top.
My mum called Dougie a pint-sized Gary Cooper and Doug’s own mum, Pam, was a second mum to me.
Dougie had a great journalism career. He worked brilliantly in radio and television, became well-known to country viewers though his roles as reporter and host of ABC television programs Country Wide and Landline, winning two Dalgetty awards in the process, and was “the man in the hat” on Channel 9’s popular Extra program.
I mean, really, if there was a quirky story and a colourful character to cover, who were you going to call?
I still think of Dougie often, sometimes shout “sweeeet” out of the blue in his memory and try that little nose tweak and side tongue flick of his for old time’s sake.
I’d share some of his famous pick-up lines from when he was a young rake sowing his wild oats but I don’t think they’d work now, seeing they didn’t work then.
Of all the many wonderful memories of this bloke, the only one I try best to suppress is the night with both of us in advancing middle age and girth when I made the mistake of mentioning the purple jumpsuit Dougie wrote to me once about (letters! that’s how long ago we were both born), the one he wore to wow the ladies at Perth nightclubs when he worked over there with the ABC.
Unfortunately, he declared he still had it and raced off to his bedroom, emerging in this hideous moth-chewed thing that had lost a lot of its sparkle but still managed to show each and every vein on his aging niagras.
No-one, ever, great mate or not, deserved to be put through an experience like that.
RIP Douglas Moreton Murray. July 24, 1950 to March 11, 2014. Gone but never, ever, forgotten. That would be impossible, even if you wanted to.
PS: And, damn, I have a lovely photo somewhere of Dougie leaning on a post at his beloved Brookfield farm and I’ll upload it if I can.