1999 was a bad year for me - uni drop out, having to get a job, a lot of casual gardening, a full year away from Bardot, a bored 45 year old housewife from America on the Internet as my only friend, and to top it all off, Collingwood finished dead last. Who could forget Cameron Venables? For reasons that are lost to history, I watched that years AFL Grand Final at the Hobart casino in a superbox. When I say superbox, I mean a big room with a big TV in the corner and a lot of sausage rolls and crepe paper. I'm not in any way flash but I have been in the odd luxury box or simulated luxury box, and they all completely suck, mostly because there's a lot of people wandering around asking which team is which and where are the party pies? This one was particularly uncomfortable because the game was lousy, I knew no-one, and the barmaids were dressed, Cricketers Arms style, in football tops and shorts, and on the end of more and more leering comments. Partying like it was 1999 was no picnic, let me tell you. Luckily, what no one knows, especially my dad, was that I went off and found three chinless wonders doing cocaine in the toilets, threatened to dob them in to security, and they gave me 200 bucks each to keep quiet. Then I had to stay near the party pies to avoid them punching my head in. Oh, and my finely tuned chat up lines failed to impress the girl in the Carlton top. Huh, lesbian I guess.
That's the Penguin response.
To continue our theme today of declining heroes, the main man of the moment was Wayne Carey, the AFL equivalent of Jesus (God was taken as a nickname). In the Grand Final record that year the superlatives were so over the top you can only imagine what it was doing to his ego. The 1999 Grand Final was his last great moment before the affair with his team-mates missus, the domestic violence, the drugs and the rock bottom moment, talking to Denton, but already the cracks were starting to appear. I went down to the lobby of the casino to wait for a cab and hope to god I wasn't , and a taxi driver was smoking a cigarette. "Maybe I could get a cab soon?" I said to the smoking stereotype. He simply looked me up and down and said "What was the score mate?" and I mumbled something about, oh, North Melbourne won, boring game, didn't have sex - he looked me up and down again and said "Oh, did Carey play well?". I looked up the stairs nervously to see if I was going to get bashed, and said, oh, OK, probably Shannon Grant played better.
He took a deep draw of his cigarette, and simply shook his head. "Fucking gary." I said, who's Gary, and he said, not Gary, Carey. Fucking Carey. He shook his head again. "I had him in the back of my cab the other week. Took him to the Mens Gallery. Him and that fucking Grant. Wankers the pair of them. Going on about giant tits." He threw his cigarette on the ground, and got to the meat of his argument. "And, get this, he told me he didn't like Powderfinger - never, ever trust a fuckhead who doesn't like Powderfinger!"
If only someone had alerted the club - the decline was so obvious in hindsight. And I ended up wasting my six hundred bucks on a boozy night out at the biggest dive in Hobart. Prince, you had no idea what you were talking about...