Don Brown’s School Daze

The only student ever to be banned for life from Queensland Agricultural College near Gatton offers another extract from his never-to-be-released memoir of his five exciting years at the college.

Chapter 4: How Rad can things get?

It’s taken more than 50 years and this memoir for it to be finally revealed that I shared my bed with another student in our first year at Gatton College.

His name was Phillip Scrymgeour Bate and we remain close mates to this day, albeit not as close as we obviously were way back when as callow young youths on Shelton Dormitory, now known as Morrison Hall.

Room 145 it was, on the eastern side of the charming old dorm, the single bed on the left as you stood at the doorway, facing in.

Now before Phillip reaches for his mobile and searches Google for a list of pro-bono defamation lawyers, I suppose I should mention that Phillip slept in that bed in his first year at college – 1965 – just as I did for all of the 1966 college year.

Yet there wasn’t a night throughout that academic year of 1966 that I didn’t go to bed without thinking of Phillip, even though I probably didn’t get to really know him for maybe a year later.

So how could that be?

Despite leaving home at a very immature age of 15 – I turned 16 in August of that year – I can’t recall being nervous or scared about being away from home for the first time of my life.

Yet every night, Phillip Scrymgeour Bate shared that bed with me in a very intimate way, in fact looking over me and protecting me in a strange, maybe almost perverse manner.
Perhaps I’d better explain that too.

Above that bed of mine, all over the wall in red paint, some other students in 1965 had painted a grossly oversized depiction of part of Phillip’s anatomy, so maybe in hindsight I should have been a little worried if not outright scared.

Alongside the gruesome half-metre graphic were the words, Rad’s Lubra Lips. That’s right, the much-larger-than-life drawing was those students’ impression of Phillip’s rather luscious lips.

And please don’t write in. These are silly boys-on-the-cusp-of men using words from a very different world 55 years ago. They are now probably attending Black Lives Matter rallies with their grandchildren.

Was this an act of jealously by some entirely forgettable thin-lipped students to what nature gifted Phillip in the smackaroo/smoocharoo department?

Today, Phillip’s lips seem all rather normal although they remain, now as they were back in the 1960s and early 70s, unkissed by me.

But not by a lovely country lass by the name of Diane.

Years later, she came into Phillip’s life, saw his potential as both as kisser and a life partner and at their wedding in Brisbane, I explained how Di and I had a special bond because of that first year I spent at college.

Of all the people at that wedding reception, only Di and I knew what it was like to lie in bed over countless nights, wide-eyed with the spectre of a grossly enlarged part of Phillip’s anatomy looming menacingly over us.