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My Brush with Greatness


Bart, it was 1986.
I was 12 and mum took me to Echuca see the Prince and Princess of Wales when they were visiting Oz.
I had a brand new walkman and as Diana walked past she caught sight of it, came up to me and said
"I've got a walkman, too. I like to listen to it when I rollerskate around Kensington Palace."

"Cool" I replied. Charles then walked up, gave me a stern look and said "Why aren't you in School?"

"Mum said I could come." I replied. He gave me a dubious look, but shook my hand and said "That's alright, then."

That's a pretty good Brush...

Late the following year my family was visiting the U.S.
My brother and I were walking down Sunset Blvd. when a really cool car (an Excalibur) pulled up near us.
We were checking it out when the driver said "Hi, boys." and gave us a wave. It was Florence Henderson.

Florence Henderson, the right-winger who'd do anything to have Kenneth Starr's baby...
Who knew (before then) that sweet TV mom Mrs. Brady was Nazi scum?

A few days after that we were at the Vegas airport waiting for our flight to the Grand Canyon when
dad pointed to a guy and said "That's BB King." I was a 14 year old Aussie so I didn't really know who
BB King was, but I was precocious, so I went up to him and said "Hi, you're BB King, aren't you?"

"Yeah," he replied "Hey, you're an Aussie. I'd love to visit Australia."
We chatted about stuff for a few minutes. A really nice guy.

Saw B.B. King playing a live gig on TV the other day.
He's like 85 and still going.
Did you know "BB" stands for "Blues Boy?"

1988 and I was chosen to sing in a choir for a mass given by Pope JP2. As he walked past I pulled out
a large foam hand that I had hidden under my choir robes and waved at him, he looked over, laughed and waved.

Afterwards I had my arse kicked (only kicked, luckily. It was my scout leader who was the kiddie fiddler,
thankfully he was afraid of my dad.) by the choir master.   ha ha

Skip to 1993 and I was walking out of a Hungry Jack's (the Aussie name for Burger King) in Melbourne,
not looking where I was going, when I bumped into a guy "Sorry, mate" I said.

"That's ok" replied Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder, Mr Bean).

1997, my mate Gus (RIP) and I were sneaking in the back way of the MGM Grand in Darwin to see a concert.
We found a quite place to smoke a joint and watch the sun go down over Darwin harbour before we hit the concert.
We heard a woman's laugh and turned around, there, about 10 meters away, also watching the sunset,
was Patti Smith and Bob Dylan. "Want some?" asked Gus, waving the joint.

"No thanks," replied Patti "You guys going to the show?"

"Wouldn't miss it." I said, while refraining from mentioning that we'd snuck in.

"Great" she said "I hope you enjoy it." And off they went.

Oh, and a couple of years ago my mum and I met the Dalai Lama, the guy laughs a lot.

A couple of months after that, at a conference at my university in Melbourne, I shared
a pot of tea with Mohammad Khatami, former President of Iran ('97 - '05).
  Joel the Aussie

Joel, that was a very entertaining Brush with Greatness report - thanks.


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