Friday, July 15, 2005

32 Songs - Track 23

Broad Lick Nic - The Doug Anthony All Stars

It's a broad lick Nic,
And I'll tell you while I'm able or I'll smash your skull,
If your not drinking enough Black Label.
It's a hard man's drink and though the bottle's broken,
Put your money on the table,
Strain the glass through your teeth.

My early years in Canberra are intrinsically linked with a future dance tv-show host, a z-list TV host and a computer game designer/triple j radio slut.

Some nights I come close to tears when I see what has become of the Doug Anthony All Stars. (1)

Many Saturdays of my youth were spent throwing my Dad’s small change at Tim, Paul and Richard as they busked in the cold concrete artifice of Civic giving it a warmth, energy and fun that it would never ever have again. Somehow the guys managed to scrape enough money together, after a very succeful Adleaide Fringe stint, to take them out of Australia on to Edinburgh where their campaign to shake up the world really took off. Paul’s pissed off character with the angelic voice, Tim’s bent straight man and Richard’s guitar playing idiot made them a cabaret team unlike any other. And fact that all three of them were funny buggers and knew how to sing a harmony saw them move from street corner, to club, to stage, to TV show, to their own TV show in just a matter of years before they all got sick and tired of it and packed it in.

By the time I had started drinking and dabbling in other chemical pursuits the Dougs, as they became known, were off and soaring and Broad Lic Nick, a song of drinking, lewd behaviour and lyrical intelligence was just what the twisted mind was after. I remember listening to a Dougs tape again and again and again in order to learn the words.

The song, a tale of male boasting to the extreme, moves at a lightning pace hitting everything from trappist monks to teenage fatherhood, Ghandi to Mata Hari in just a couple of minutes. It’s not the best example of Paul’s singing voice or the harmonies that the group is capable of but it would have to be one of their best tracks.

A track which, I am proud to say, I still know all the lyrics to. And will happily regale special people with after a few of my chosen adult flavoured beverage. Maybe one day I’ll even have the honour of doing it on stage.

(1) - The Doug Anthony All Stars took their name from an Australian politician of the 60s and 70s. Doug Anthony was the Leader of the Country Party for a number of years and was responsible for renaming the Country Party as the National Party in the mid seventies. Anthony became deputy prime minister (and yes i meant for the lack of capital letters) in 1975 after the Governer General John Kerr dismissed the Labor Governement Prime Minister Gough Whitlam after a double dissolution on the passing of the Budget. Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser was put in as the new prime minister and because of the coalition Anthony was given the no2 spot. In other words, Anthony, is a passenger.

The whole thing is a great piece of australian folk lore and Gough has coasted on the coat tails of this for 30 years. He, and the Labor Party, really need to get over it.


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