Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 19/6/2012

Sometime last year I received a call from man asking me if I would consider coaching a basketball team.
I said it was impossible for me to engage in such an activity, given I had never played basketball, thrown a hoop, slammed a dunk, or dribbled.

That was not quite true as I had dribbled but I didn’t want to go into that time of my life with a complete stranger.

He was persistent and insisted I explain myself.

“I’m from Bridgetown,” I said, “and when I grew up the only basket I saw was one mum used to take shopping.”

This surprised him and he pointed out that he thought I was from Mandurah. That riled me and I made it abundantly clear that Mandurah died, for me, the day the crabs lost their bite, the canals were built and the town re-imagined itself on the Gold coast.

Then something hard and solid hit a nail and he said: “Hang on, there’s two John Dousts.”

Indeed there is, in fact, there’s five, but I am the only who rejected the H.

The other John Doust, the one who slams a dunk in the Great Southern, is an extremely decent man, as you would expect, even given he spends too much time in Mandurah.

In addition, he is a basketball magician and it was because of him that I finished up at the China Australia game with my ears full of toilet paper because the extremely loud speaker right next to my seat was destroying what little I had left by way of ear drums.

If you see me in the street, please use your lips extravagantly and talk into my left ear only.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 5/6/2012

This year the Queen of Australia celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.

I remember her crowning in 1953 and in 1954 I did but see her passing by on Stirling Highway.

Back then I thought her regal and quite beautiful, although I never took to her voice or her one-colour outfits.

These memories returned as I watched The Diamond Queen on ABC TV and my emotional responses startled me. Then it hit me - I missed my mother.

Not so much the mother I had, but the mother I wanted, the resilient one, strong, steadfast and constant in the face of all odds.

When I screen old home movies I see snatches of a regal looking woman who I, along with others, thought beautiful, a woman in multi-coloured outfits and whose laughter could lift a dull spirit.

Unfortunately, my mother’s early life was not a happy one and she battled insecurities and low self-esteem throughout her 84 years.

She never had the stamina of the Queen, her support, or her grace under fire, but she was my mum and mum to my three brothers. No-one loved us more.

She was, in short, our queen and now, even though she is no longer with us, we will never forget her.

And that’s how I feel about the other Queen. When Australia becomes a republic it will in no way diminish the impact she has had on my personal life or the life of this country.

I don’t mind the young princes either but I don’t want them as titular heads of my country, in the same way I don’t want my brothers running my family and I don’t want to run my son’s.

I will mourn this Queen, but welcome an Australian Republic.