And now for something completely different
I was prevailed upon to blog on the subject of my honorary "Zulu-hood" but that would be a huge post covering that most complex of subjects "Africa". I would seriously need to sit and ponder to be able to clarify my relationship with that continent to you, gentle reader. So while I mull this thorny issue over I have decided instead to treat you to "Murph ~ The Australian."I lived in Australia for the better part of a year whilst wandering the globe and I grew to be very fond of this strange land. In all my travels I never met anyone more typical of the Aussie male (clichés and all) than Murph. If (as I hoped) I had been invited to do a lecture tour on the subject of my journey when I returned to Britain I would have wanted to use Murph as a demonstration model of Aussiedom. For any Australians reading this post I would first like to point out that, yes, I do understand that you are a cosmopolitan and sophisticated society blending many influences in a intelectually stimulating whole BUT you must admit that you too know a "Murph."A few weeks after arriving in Sydney I procured a job with a restaurant called "Ribs & Rumps" in an area known as Manly. I was deeply fortunate both in job and area, Manly is the most fabulous place I've ever lived and the restaurant was a quite an experience. On day one I met lots of new people and as is normal in a new work place it was a blur. One of the things I couldn't help noticing though was that one of the chefs had the worst black eye I've ever seen. It was a huge purple mass covering the poor chap's whole eye socket and it was obvious that it would be quite a few days before he would be able to see anything out of it. I guess I should describe this chef so you have some kind of mental image of the fellow. He was maybe an inch or two shorter than myself (I'm about 5' 11" I think) and quite slight framed. He had a shock of unruly brown curls on his head and a smooth complexion. His good eye was a bright blue and he seemed a very cheery and smiley person, always joking and laughing with his kitchen work crew.As chance would have it I had a chance to talk to this chef, who it transpired, was commonly known as "Murph" after work that very night whilst enjoying a post work beer. My curiosity overwhelmed me and I asked Murph how he had acquired such a prize shiner. So he told me this story (which I verified with others who were there):Everyone from work was in the "Stein"(local pub) the night before, including Murph and the Zulu's (yes we had Zulu chefs, more on them another time) and everyone is having a fine old time. Now I probably need to tell you about Maoris. The north shore of Sydney (of which Manly is part) has quite a high population of Maoris and other pacific islanders who have come to Australia for the good work prospects. Now, I do not know these people well but I have a few observations about them. 1. They tend be HUGE 2. They like beer 3. They don't seem to handle beer very well. Please remember that I only have the experience of the Maoris I saw out and about in Manly to go on. I have no other experience of them, so if my crass generalisations couldn't be further from the truth I do apologise. But anyway back to the story.Whilst the group from work is stood drinking a Maori comes up to the Zulu chefs and begins to launch a verbal assault upon them (Why? I have no idea). He is calling them every name under the sun, seemingly in an attempt to provoke them. Murph sees this and his sense of fair play is offended (the Zulu guys were very peaceful and non aggressive) so he steps up to the Maori and says "Oi! What's your problem? They're blacker than you are so get over yourself and fuck off!" A shocked hush falls over the work mates as everyone waits for the inevitable outburst of violence. It doesn't happen; to everyone's surprise the Maori guy turns around and walks off. Eventually conversation returns to normal and everyone forgets about the odd incident. Until that is the end of the night comes round Everyone's left the pub except Murph and one last person who is in the loo. Murph is waiting for them to come out when around the corner who should arrive but the Maori. He sees Murph and strides up to him, draws back and lets fly, socking Murph right in the face. Murph rocks back then straightens and looks up at the Maori and says "you're a big fella, you can hit harder than that!" So the Maori winds up thumps Murph again. Murph rocks back again, straightens, looks up at the Maori and says "that was much better", turns, collects the straggler who has come out of the loo and leaves unmolested...I said to Murph when told me this story "Why did you say that? You were basically saying hit me again?" He replied that he genuinely was surprised that the first punch hadn't been harder.
Great story, Mad - even if heard many times before. Murph's Ozzie accent adds a lot to it as well. I just love the fearless cheek of the guy. So typically Ozzie (it's a compliment, Ozzies). If Murph were a dog, he'd be a Bull Terrier... ;)
I salute ya, Murph. Thas class.
ah! Bar fights! I felt like I needed to go have 4 beers before I started reading 'bout ol' Murph. Sounds like an Aussie fellow that played softball with us yanks in Cairo -- always scuffling with the local unintelligentsia. Surely reminds me of times past.
Can't help but love 'em, the stereotypical Ozzie. And I shall steal that delightful word "unintelligentsia" if you don't mind, Josh.
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