38. A visit to the NSW Art Gallery

1.Drizzle didn’t prevent a small band of faithfuls from attending. The speakers took turns speaking under the shelter of a big tree, with Steve Maxwell being the first to speak. He spoke about former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies . . . z z z z z z z

When this scribe woke a few minutes later, Steve was still speaking, and an argument raged about whether or not we needed to know about what happened 60 years ago with that old dinosaur, Robert Menzies. After all, we are in the 21st century.

Mr B took over from Steve and sent the listeners to sleep again by disputing the idea that there are no stupid questions. ‘There must be stupid questions,’ claimed Mr B, ‘because we can’t expect stupid people to ask intelligent questions, can we?’

Mirko arrived just in time to provide some excellent examples of unintelligible questions.


2. The rain became heavy, and most of us took refuge in the art gallery. Professors Pete, Greg, Michael and Bashful took turns in explaining works of art. Professor Pete didn’t hold back when he spoke about a ‘banal’ work featuring an old plane propellor, and he later disgraced himself by pointing to a depiction of five animated souls sitting on a bench, and renaming the work to: ‘Who farted?’

We expect better from our regulars.

Professor Michael restored our reputation with a classy interpretation of a man holding a gold pan. Thank you, Michael. And Professor Greg had good things to say about Frederick McCubbin’s ‘On the Wallaby Track’ until Peter disgraced himself again with unwanted observations.

On the Wallaby Track, by Frederick McCubbin

On the Wallaby Track, by Frederick McCubbin, 1896

3. Sunlight shone through the gallery’s skylight, suggesting the rain had ceased, so we resumed our natural place in the Domain. It was still drizzling. With no passers-by around we played the Just a Minute game, which involves speaking on the podium for 30 seconds without umming. In one of those speeches we learned about the discovery of the bones of a whopping big herbivore dinosaur called the giraffatitan. Bigger even than the brontosaurus.


The above diagram is faulty for a number of reasons: (1) There is no evidence to suggest that the creature was green. (2) Humans did not co-exist with dinosaurs. (3) Chickenwire had not been invented yet. (4) Nor had metres.

Given the diagram’s inaccuracy, this scribe wonders how many other supposed facts about the creature are correct. Did the thing even exist? Could the bones be of a blue whale?

4. The sky cleared and Uncle Pete departed, like a metaphor.

5. Steve Maxwell criticised the government’s handling of refugees and fended off earnest questions from the audience. Professor Greg wanted to know why the government chooses to spend $700m on refugees, yet leave the states to make up a $250m funding cut that was meant to help the homeless.

6. Steve Maxwell had a hearty ‘debate’ with Mr B about the merit of history. Steve thinks we need to understand the past in order to rectify the present; Mr B reckons we should ban the past to achieve the same goal. This scribe suspects Steve’s approach is more practical.

7. Nearby, a crisis was averted. These two young heroes prevented a man from plummeting to his death.


8. While Mr B was earnestly rubbishing everything that the previous speaker (Steve) had said, a passer-by intervened and summarily took control of Mr B’s ladder. Her name was Tania and she spoke about happiness and about how we can distract ourselves from unwanted emotions. She spoke well and the audience loved her, much to Mr B’s dismay.

We wonder what Tania would make of this:


9. When Mr B regained his ladder it began to rain again, heavily. Like a metaphor.

It was 4.10pm and we called it a day.

10. When I think of the number of subscribers we have on our Facebook page I think of a ghost town. And our archive site as a tumbleweed.