The recent kerfuffle over the people banned from the city during CHOGM reminded me of the time I was on the WA Police Special Branch list of suspects.
Let me be honest, it all began because I was out of work, not long out of university and struggling to make prospective employers recognise my great skills and accept my promise that I would be the next Laurie Oaks.
But I’m not a chap to sit around even with loads of time on my hand so I planted a massive and much admired vegetable garden. I think it was the first, the last, and the only community vegetable patch in the district.
In between plantings I read a book by a man called Henry Root. Henry filled in his time by writing letters to pompous people, pricking their balloons and enclosing money so they felt obliged to reply. I got right onto it.
Among the many I wrote to were Alan Bond, the PM of NZ Sir Robert “Piggy” Muldoon, the PM of the UK Margaret Thatcher and Queensland’s very own, Joe Bejelke-Petersen.
They all replied and no doubt a number of them reported me, but the one that forced the Special Branch to take action was the note I penned to the French Consul congratulating that nation on the development of the Exocet missile. This was during the Falklands War when Baroness Thatcher was at her virulent best.
Within the week a delegation from the Special Branch knocked on our suburban door to find my pregnant wife who welcomed them in with a cheery “Yes, he is my husband. Would you like a cup of tea?”
That knocked them off their feet for a second or two but they still insisted on meeting me in a carpark in the centre of the city and when I did I explained to them that my letters were satiric, meaning “a criticism of a folly and the holding up of said folly to scorn”.
Their collective brow curled over but fell back in place after I told them the joke about the Frenchman, the Irishman and the Lithuanian. And I added that I was a working comedian and compiling a book of letters to sell at comedy shows.
Years later when it was announced that the Special Branch would be disbanded I wrote in to demand I be retained on a list of social threats because without it my life would lack meaning and I would lose major bragging rights. Unfortunately I forgot to include money and I never heard from them again.