20 March 2012

Of bandanas and caps

Sometime in the 60s

Sam: And just where do you think you've been young lady? Just look at yourself will you? All those flowers in your hair and that fancy red bandage on your head.

Julie: It's called a bandana.

Sam: Don't you go getting smart with me. Just 'cause you had fancy schooling don't give you no right to go round being clever you hear. When will you learn? I know what bandanas looks like and they don't look like that. Them on the bandana boats never sang, "Day-o day-o! Day light break me wanna go home" unloading red bandages.

Julie: You're just being obtuse. If you must know, I have been to a Folk Festival.

Sam: Folk Festival? What in hecks name is a folk festival? I know all the folk round here, and none of them been to any festival since last Autumn.

Julie: It's like a concert. An outdoor concert.

Sam: Outdoor concert! You and your pinko friends had better not have gone and scared the cows. If you want a concert, you hold it in the church hall like the Women's Institute do. Just when will you learn girl?

Julie: We can't. We sing songs of peace, love, freedom, equality and justice. The preacher said "I'm not having any subversive songs like that in my church." and started singing Onward Christian Soldiers Marching off To War.

Sam: He's a good man, that preacher. Just like his dear old dad before him, God rest his soul. And they never could prove nothing on either of them.

Julie: It was great. We sang "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" and "Blowing In The Wind"

Sam: Sounds pretty much to me like you found your answer.

Julie: We sang and hugged each other and listened to "Masters Of War" "Eve Of Destruction" and "Fixin To Die Rag"

Sam: Oh sounds real cheerful and romantic. I can't see me going up to your Ma at the Palais and saying, "Oh darling, it's Fixing To Die Rag, they're playing our song" Sheesh, when will you learn?

Julie: We sing songs about making the world a better place

Sam: Trouble with you lot, you all want to go round messing things up when things are just fine the way they are. You don't see me and your mother going round trying to make the world better. We got better things to do. I give up sometimes, when will you learn?

Julie: I am going again tomorrow. We are going to sing Phil Ochs songs

Sam: Ochs? Never heard of him. I bet he's a cheerful bugger as well. Bet you can't hum along to his songs. When will you learn my girl. Singing for peace, songs of freedom. Bet you don't get those commies singing songs like that. Oh no, they wouldn't dare, they do what they're told. They don't have the freedom like we do.

Julie: "Come mothers and fathers throughout the land. And don't criticize what you can't understand."

Sam: I understand what you're doing to my patience.

Julie: "Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command."

Sam: Not in this house it's not.

Julie: "How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?"

Sam: Round these parts we call them tramps. Sometimes I wonder if you'll ever learn.

Many years later

Julie: Are you ready Mark?

Mark: Yes, just about darling. I hate going to dinner parties.

Julie: I've been married to you long enough to know that dear. Just keep calm and remember not everyone has the same opinions as you. At times you remind me of how dad used to be.

Mark: Your dad is quite a character. I remember him when they bought your brother Marty home. He was so proud. He said he died to save us being over run by commies. " We may have lost our little boy but he didn't die for nothing. We don't want no commies in this country."

Julie: Poor dad. You know, he sort of mellowed after Marty, although he's still got that old cap he used to wear! Hard to realise what it was like back then.

Mark: Remember The Summer Of Love? People marching all over the globe. The summer we thought the world had changed? I'll just take a quick look at the six o' clock news before we go. You don't mind do you?

News presenter: As the Prime Minister confirmed troops would not be home before Christmas, mounted police today broke up an anti war rally. Police on horseback charged as police helicopters flew overhead.

Influential talk back host, Alan Howard commented, "Look at them will you. Haven't they anything better to do, that's what I'd like to know.

Did you see that old man in the battered old cap. Shocking. Un-Australian, that's what it is. Un-Australian. Obviously a long time rat bag, thinks he's back in the 60s.

Did you hear him as the police took him away? Clutching an old photograph, yelling "Marty" and singing - yes, singing, "When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"

What I would like to know is, what does it take for people like him to learn?

* First written in 2004. It was loosely based on a man in his eighties being injured while taking part in an anti-war protest in Sydney.

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