This ANZAC Day we're honoured to share this 2015 piece by Andrew Ferguson.
Honouring Stan Carpenter...
90 mins ago
When I want new clothes, I often visit op-shops or second-hand clothing stores. Most of the time you filter through filthy rags and forgotten fashion mistakes in a futile search, but occasionally you can unearth a true gem. There are several good op-shops in Newtown (Bluebag territory), but last month I was browsing in the popular ?Mr Stinky? op-shop in Surry Hills, where I hit fashion pay dirt: an impossibly cool, 80?s style blue, black and white leather motorcycle jacket. I was, obviously, over the moon, but my joy didn?t end there. Soon afterwards I was to realise that this was no ordinary jacket - this jacket once belonged to the legendary former St George halfback/winger Steve ?Slippery? Morris.
The realisation came to me three days after purchasing the jacket. It was one of those rare, epiphanic moments we have all experienced where our inner censor slips away, the volume of our headnoise is turned down low and we realise that we are wearing Slippery?s jacket. It?s just an enveloping cloak of sureness, which falls from heaven and settles over you. The embroidered initials ?SM? inside the lapel just sealed the deal for me. It?s Slippery?s jacket alright.
Much has been made of the fact that Slippery never owned nor rode a motorcycle. Since it is a motorcycle jacket, that would tend to indicate (to the ignorant observer) that it probably wasn?t his. But I am undeterred. It was the 80?s, remember? Fashions were all wacky back then. Back then it was ok to wear motorcycle jackets sans motorcycle; people wore horse-riding boots despite the fact they didn?t own or operate a horse; and aerobics attire such as tights and woolly leg warmers were considered casual chic. My theory still holds water; in fact it is only stronger.
I regularly wear the jacket when visiting friends and acquaintances. Now, I?m not one to openly proclaim aloud that I am wearing Steve Morris?s jacket; but if they happen to ask me, I tell them. They always ask. It is impossible not to indulge one's curiosity when confronted by a garment of such innate beauty and exquisite design.
Predictably, the feeble, disbelieving minds of my friends are unable to grasp the concept I have outlined for you, but that is inconsequential. Any perceived lack of actual evidence to support my claim is far outweighed by my own steadfast faith in the truth. Spiteful jibes such as: ?You?re 6 feet tall - Steve Morris was only 5 foot 3 you deranged f*cking lunatic!? simply roll off me like water off a duck?s back.
They also are quick to point out my childhood obsession with Slippery, and suggest that the jacket has simply awoken this latent obsession. The notion is just ludicrous. I was never ?obsessed? with Slippery. Sure, he was my hero growing up and I may have decorated my room with his posters, but I was a kid! Surely this is normal behaviour. And yes, maybe copying his bouffant mullet hairdo and painting on his signature moustache was a bit excessive, but to suggest that this is indicative of a broad obsessive emotional problem is absurd.
?Obsessive? is a strong word in my opinion. At worst, all I am guilty of is being an overly passionate fan. How uncommon is that? There are millions of us! Yet some people have barely stopped short of accusing me of stalking. I am not a stalker. I don?t ring Slippery ten times a day or anything like that. His number isn?t even listed.
Ultimately, I?m just a St. George supporter - do I deserve to be made the subject of ridicule and slander for that? Hmm, perhaps you should just ignore that question.
As I sign off on this little treatise from my car outside Dragons training, I ask you to ponder the differences between passion and obsession, and consider on which side of the divide I lay. I trust you will discover the truth. By the way, my car is Ricky Walford?s old 87 VL Commodore. How do I know its Ricky?s? I just do.
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