Dreamer, Drifter, Drunk
Greetings, comrades! The obvious question is why have I titled this book the somewhat obscure-sounding Dreamer, Drifter, Drunk? I did consider Just an (Extra) Ordinary Bloke, Chronicle of the Common Garden Aussie and other similar titles, but figured other aspiring authors would’ve beaten me to the punch.
But without beating about the bush, the title’s origins go back many years when I was an extremely unreliable young bloke (now I’m no longer young), seeing an extremely reliable young lass. The word seeing makes me sound like a voyeur, but – stop me – I’m veering off track already.
Frustrated by the direction – or rather lack of it – our relationship was taking, she who shall remain nameless said with a pronounced note of finality: “Pete, you’re a good bloke, but I don’t think we’re suited. You’re nothing but a dreamer, a drifter and a drunk, and are destined to end up in the St Vincent de Paul soup kitchen queue.”
Nameless lady has proved to be a remarkably good judge of character, though, as yet, I’ve avoided the dreaded soup queue. But who knows for how long, as I hear Vinnies make a dynamite mulligatawny soup.
Dreamer, Drifter, Drunk isn’t what Sir Les Patterson, a significant role model of mine, would call an “autobiology”. Far from it, as I’d only write such if I’d played Test cricket or AFL footy, or appeared in Big Brother, or exited politics in disgrace, or met lovely Letters and Numbers’ star Lily Serna (“Near Silly” is a very unfair anagram for this mathematical genius), or sailed around the world in a bathtub (nude, of course). As I haven’t come within an ant’s testicle of doing any of these, the book is more like Forrest Gump’s assorted box of chocolates: a collection of stories relating to rascalish behaviour (by others), sport, taxi driving, travel, university life and the many weirdos I’ve met (generally without trying) along the way.
Because of my perfectionist streak, combined with an increasing tendency to keep gentleman’s hours, Dreamer, Drifter, Drunk has taken 20 long, bloody years to write. For example, I spent 15 minutes debating whether to describe a certain individual (and it’s not Mad Mick Ashley) as a “raving” or “raging” transvestite. Decisions, decisions! In the end I kept the “v” and ditched the “g”.
Some people swim through life knowing exactly what they want; others have to splash around a bit to find the pot of gold. But I believe life is like a Twenty20 cricket match, where you bat just the once and have to play your shots from the word go, rather than plodding along waiting for the loose ball. You never know if that unplayable delivery will knock you over when you’re bruising on nine or cruising on 99.
That’s enough of the beer-glass philosophy. Since you’ve decided to buy this book (well … I assume you have), I hope you find it an enjoyable, light-hearted read, albeit one that registers pretty high on the Bloke Factor Index. You might find some yarns as funny as a fart in a spacesuit, while others may be a fraction over the top (but I don’t believe in letting the truth get in the way of a good story). Whatever, I hope the great majority will have you thinking: “Get real, mate, you’ve got hold of it!” Some names, and indeed stories, have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. But to those reputations I’ve still managed to butcher along the way – I DO have a very good lawyer (Rebecca “the Lucy Lawless of Litigation” Pendrill). Cheers and beers, no fears!
Dreamer, Drifter, Drunk in 60 seconds
Publication date: December 2014
Dreamer, Drifter, Drunk is an assembly of anecdotes relating to Pete Carter’s weird way of watching and wandering the world. From studying (well, attending classes) mathematics and statistics at the University of Western Australia, driving taxis to finance a University of Canberra sports studies course, impersonating a cricketer or footballer at the very lowest levels, bumbling and stumbling his way through the majesty of India, and learning the craft of home-brewing beer in strict Saudi Arabia, Pete has never failed to get himself (or others) into trouble. Pete hopes you enjoy reading this licorice allsorts collection of stories about all sorts of “liquorish” people. He also wants to thank a range of people, including artist “Mad Mick” Ashley, book designer “Super Steve” Barwick, website designer Tse Yin “Green Book” Chang, and proof readers Gerald “Bones” Bradley, Marisa “Mris” Branscombe, Glen “The ’Orrible ’Awk” Quartermain and Marty “Old Fart” Saxon for enabling the finished product to materialise.
Table of contents
- The Shearers Cook
- Two Flies Crawling Up a Wall
- Halfway Between a Jail and a Brewery
- Bit O’Blarney and Glass O’Guinness are Good Neighbours
- Off His Trolley Car
- Daughter – Dance for My Very Good Friend!
Scallywaggery and Tomfoolery
- Party Repartee
- How Will You Go When You Sit for the Test?
- Degrees of Madness
- Genghis Khans of the Examination Hall
- The Night of the TROTMUS
- A Piss in Time is Hardly a Crime
- Boys Behaving Badly
Taxi Tales and Taxidermists
- The Four-Wheeled Lottery
- Doing the Harold Holt
- The Russian Czaress
- Wheely Weird and Whacky Women
- You Don’t Feed Pigs Caviar
This Sporting Strife
- A Very Rare but Life-Threatening Dose of South American Zingo Zango Sickness
- A Very Sporting Fellow
- Which Pub Are We Drinking at After the Game?
- A Royboy’s Lament
- But at Least They Read What I Write!
- A Good Head for Radio
- Mastermind, Mystified
- Baked Beans in the Garden of Eden
- 500 Rupees … Well, That’s Just Charming
- I’m a Bimbo, and I’m Not Even Blond
- Alphabet’s Great Indian Rubber Trick
You Learn From Your Mistakes (or do you?)
- Leprosy, or Something Far Worse
- Well, I’ll be Beggared
- Thumbing It from A to B
- Bonkers in Honkers
- Kangaroo No Jump!
- Ding Dong, Gullible’s Here
Mischief and Mayhem in the Magic Kingdom
- May All Your Camels be Good-Lookers
- Keep the Bastards Honest
- Cloudy in Saudi
- Off and Racing in the Riyadh Grand Prix
- Welcome Back to the “Real World”
Nowhere Else To Go
- Bad Santa – But I Needed the Money
- Desperate and Dateless
- You Can ’Ardly Go Past a Rolls-Canardly
- The Best Fun You’ll Ever Have with Your Pants On
- Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
- Hey, Mate, Cop an Eyeful of My German Helmet!
500 Rupees … Well, That’s Just Charming
You might think I’ve cut off my head and replaced it with a pumpkin – few would disagree – but I’ve long had this morbid fascination with snakes. The reptilian variety that is, not the one-eyed trouser snake that the late, great Sigmund Freud devised all those complicated theories about. This fascination included wanting a photograph of a snake charmer in full flight – and what better place to get one than India!
As always happens when you’re trying your damnedest to find something, you never do. I had more chance of bumping into a Golden Arches “restaurant” in the land of the sacred cow of the Hindu than a snake charmer as I aimlessly wandered the streets of New Delhi. Until, stumbling around yet another corner of the amazing Connaught Place maze, I saw him – a small, bearded fella with an orange turban, sitting cross-legged and blowing a flute while eyeball-to-eyeball with a king cobra.
View 500 Rupees… Well, That’s Just Charming sample chapter [PDF 719 KB]
A Royboy’s Lament
“Whad’ya follow bloody fitzroy for – you must have flamin’ rocks in your head?” people too numerous to mention have asked me over the years.
I’ll grant they had a valid point, given Fitzroy’s eighth-and-last premiership came way back in 1944, when Hitler was struggling to kick a goal for Germany and his mate Hirohito was dropping the ball with Japan. Although the once-mighty Roys kicked on longer than those two likely lads, they ultimately met the same fate.
Fitzroy last made the Victorian Football League finals in 1986, but went rapidly downhill and finished stone motherless last in 1995 and 1996 – with just three wins from their final 44 games. The Lions were promptly shown the door because they had no money and the AFL Commission wanted to introduce Port Adelaide into the competition. The AFL kicked Fitzroy firmly in the guts and out the door, one bounce into the gutter, despite them being a foundation member when the VFL-turned-AFL began in 1897 and one of only three clubs to’ve competed uninterrupted in the League’s first 100 years. It’s a cruel game – or should I say, business – is football.
View A Royboy’s Lament sample chapter [PDF 1.1 MB]
Bad Santa – But I Needed the Money
“They must’ve been desperate. sure, you’ve got the massive stomach and the hunched walk, you’re red-faced and enjoy the company of little elves, but I thought they normally gave the job to some old codger with two feet in the grave,” a mate of mine said over a coldie.
They were desperate? Fair dinkum – I’m sure it was me who was desperate. Against all odds, I’d scored a job as King of the Kiddies – Santa Claus; Father Christmas; good old St Nick; whatever. Must have marshmallows for a brain, my friends thought.
I did not disagree one iota. Who in his right mind would sit in a big shopping centre in the middle of summer; wearing a ridiculously outdated, red-and-white, woollen costume with a fake beard and a pillow stuffed down his shirt to make it look like he had a mega-normous gut; balancing impatient, obnoxious, snotty-nosed kiddies on his knee; many of whom were experiencing varying degrees of incontinence, and who were only there to scam lollies and balloons; or because their mother wanted some anonymous stranger to lay down the law about them lifting their game at home, otherwise they’d get no Chrissie presents? Geez – I’m bloody glad I’ve got that out of my system. Fill up my glass again, thanks very much!
View Bad Santa – But I Needed the Money sample chapter [PDF 742 KB]
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