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Broddie's Gazette No. 16

December, 2012


I recently read “The Dingoes' Lament” by John Bois which is a fun book to say the least, but, like most folks who write autobiographies, John has somehow masked his real self and emerged as a hero surrounded by fools. A handsome hero who women find irresistible.

John, although a handsome young chap in those days, was not particularly attractive to women. He could in fact within a few moments of meeting them actually scare women, especially when you are in the depths of Texas in a small town and he would regale a Farrah Fawcett wannabe with tales of dressing up as a ballerina and dancing to Swan Lake on the Victrola. He also occasionally wore a tattered beer, dirt and vomit stained “Munich Octoberfest “ T-shirt that a friend of his had brought back from Germany the year that Australians got banned from the Munich fest. And yes. It did happen.

So, I will, at different times, correct certain incidents in the book.

The Juarez fruit market incident happened like this:
We did ,indeed, enter a Juarez fruit market in the poorer section of the town to have some photos taken, which I immediately, as a western suburbs boy, sensed was not a good idea as we were gringo looking and had no money to bribe folks. In his book John says that I went around in army shorts all the time which is not true although I did wear them for the hotter weather as they were handy. On this particular day however, I was wearing a pair of blue jeans, a jean shirt, a red neckerchief, a pale flat brimmed Gary Cooper type hat and fancy Spanish boots with gold bands on them. I was also deeply tanned and my hair was long. Like the Dingoes’ “ Five Times the Sun” cover. As we entered the market I was instantly on-guard as I detected I was walking with a group of people who were asking for trouble but drunkenly oblivious to the problem. I watched them from a distance being photographed and felt a slight murmur going up among the local folk as Boisy in a rumpled Hawaiian shirt and John Lee, the drummer, in his usual Andy Capp impersonator outfit were making fools of themselves around a fruit stall. Chris Stockley was giggling behind them and Kerryn was joining in to preserve the camaraderie.

The pic below is pretty much the way we were dressed. It’s shadowed but you get the idea.

Now, being a Westie I became very apprehensive about the mood of the crowd and found it was better for me if I just walked into the crowd backwards thereby becoming one of them. So, I'm now basically a Mexican. The crowd at this point started yelling at them, telling the guys in the band to piss off. They didn't want the gringos in the market. So I'm standing among them and I think well it's time for me to really become a Mexican. Boisy is being rather loud and acting stupid to try and ease the tension but the Mexicans took him for an arrogant gringa and he was in fact stirring them up to a mild frenzy. The crowd gathered and move towards them now, throwing fruit. At this point I thought to myself I will speak Mexican. I also threw fruit at the band and was yelling out, “Gringa bastardo” . The Mexicans accepted me as one of them and we all moved towards the band in a menacing manner.

A young boy appeared at the side of me with a cattle prod connected to a battery and looked at me and I grinned. I’d spent my early years on a farm so I knew the cattle prod wouldn't do any harm. I recall the boy going up to Kerryn and moving him along by jabbing him in the bottom with the cattle prod and still holding the battery under his other arm.

So, a Mexican crowd, of which I was a part of, chased the band out of the market . As the crowd surged after the band I slowly backed off. Then I went down a side alley into the next street knowing the band would be running around there in fear of their lives. I sauntered round the corner and by now the crowd had left the band alone and they were standing by themselves. I was leaning against a wall as they appeared and joined up with them again with the whole band in shock and not particularly happy with me as I’d deserted their ranks instantly and become a Mexican. In fact I liked the Mexicans a lot. They reminded me of the Maltese who I’d grown up with.

That's how I remember it.
Gracias amigos & loco Australianos
Brodrigo Zapata




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