Just finished reading the latest Les Norton yarn, High Noon in Nimbin. Not a bad read, everything you’d want from Robert G. Barretts hero. Fun, travel, adventure, sex, violence, and restaraunt reviews. Les finds himself up to his ears in trouble again, and as usual, finds a unique way to save the day, make a few bucks, belt the daylights out of some idiots, and takes some time out to ‘throw a few ladies up in the air’.
Just your typical Aussie holiday 🙂
I was first introduced to Les in the early 90’s, it was a defining moment, an old workmate surprised me by announcing, “I’ve just read a book!” This from a bloke who didn’t even read papers! He’s one of many people I know who haven’t read a book since highschool, but have since become life long readers thanks to Robert G. Barrett. Bob gets told this quite a lot. And good on him. If more people are reading because of his writing, then that’s a remarkable legacy to leave the world.
Anyway, I was intrigued, so I slipped down to the local library and borrowed ‘The Day of The Gecko’. It was a roaring yarn, and I instantly fell under the spell of the big redheaded Queenslanders’ charm. Les, is a bit of an outsider. A country boy earning a living in Sydney as a bouncer at an illegal casino. He’s witty, got more than a touch of luck, likes a laugh, is popular with the ladies, and always finding trouble and dealing with it in his own ‘special way’.
I’ve been hooked ever since. And when I put my father onto Bobs’ books he rang me up and said, “Hey, you met some of these blokes in these yarns!”
“Well, the casino owner,” explained Dad, “Price Galese, is Perce Galea. He lived down the road from your Aunt in Sydney. He used to wash his big yank tank in front of her house. He once said to me, ‘Hey mate, I reckon I could fit your VW into my boot,’ and I told him he’d have to take all the bodies out first!”
Dad continued rattling off a few more yarns, and I marvelled at how bloody small this country is. Then, back in the mid-90’s we all flew to Cairns for my sisters’ wedding. Guess who else was in town, yep Bob. He was doing book signings, and some research for his next novel. Try as we might, do you think we could find the bastard?! Our fate, it seemed, was to arrive at destinations he’d visited the day before. We did it without even trying. It seemed that everywhere we went in Far North Qld, people were raving about the ‘Orfer feller, who rites them funny, dirty, fighting stories, who wuz here yestiday.’
So, when I read Goodoo Goodoo, it was like reading a travel brochure on the trip we had taken up North… minus the fighting, sex, and scary monster.
Then a little while back, we drove down the coast of NSW, and guess who had just finished a tour around the joint? Yep. Bob. I’m thinking of writing to him and asking him where he’s headed next year, just to give me an idea of where we’ll be going down the track 🙂
Anyway, High Noon isn’t a bad yarn, and while it didn’t knock my favourite Les Norton story from 1st place, it didn’t disappoint either. My opinion of Nimbin matched Bobs, I was singularly unimpressed with the joint. Pretty, but seedy. Some genuinely nice folk, but a lot of bad buggers about too. I may take the family there one day… but then again.
Anyway, I’ve included a link here, about Bob http://www.robertgbarrett.com.au/about%20bob/bio.htm he’s like a lot of blokes I’ve met in heavy industry, funny, wry, and incisive. He’s full of bull, but at the same time a straight up and down sort of person. And one day I’ll meet him, shake his hand, buy him a beer… or let him buy me one, and have a few laughs. If I can find him in time that is 🙂