Wendy by Gus Gordon

Now a little background here. Many years ago, before I became a National Treasure, I used to spend time in Sydney trying to become a National Treasure by hanging around in the big smoke, then buggering off back to Hobart when the money ran out or I got sick of the nice weather.

This time around (I think it was around 1999) I was filling in on the oped cartoon for The Australian on one of the rare occasions when Peter Nicholson and Bill Leak were both on leave simultaneously (they didn’t run a page one cartoon in those days, and I had to walk to the newspaper in bare feet in the snow).

I had spent quite a lot of my previous trip in Sydney sleeping in the back of my Datsun 180B station wagon, but since the Datty was now deceased and I was between cars that wasn’t an option. Fortunately, the quite short but not-to-be-messed-with Claire, cat-lover, cynic and fellow expat Hobartian was up for a potentially short-term and far less tidy flatmate in upmarket Kirribilli.

Since I wasn’t going to be sleeping in the pinnacle of Japanese automotive excellence this time around, I had set my heart on buying a futon mattress in the name of luxurious decadence. As I wasn’t all that keen on lugging a mattress all the way home and I was too cheap to get it delivered, I called my mate Gus who I hadn’t spoken to in a while, but who I knew had a ute (he’s from the country).

“Gus!” I said when he answered his mobile, “I’m in Sydney mate! Where are you these days?”

“In Kirribilli.”

“Now there’s a coincidence, so am I, in Elamang Avenue.”

“Get out!” exclaimed Gus (he’s from the country) “I’m in Elamang too! Number 21, 11th floor.”

“I’m two floors below you, I’ll be right up.” I said.

Now, for a Tasmanian, that’s not exactly gobsmacking, as you’re almost certain to be related to pretty much everyone, but Sydney’s considerably roomier and it was something of a coincidence.

It was very handy having a likeminded fellow working cartoonist hours just two flights of stairs away, and there was a very nice pub just up the road. Gus at the time was also of sub-National Treasure status but starting to kick off his book illustration career.

One fine day over an equally fine Guinness, he showed me a story he’d written about a very adventurous chicken. One day you’ll get that published,” I said, “and it’s your round.”

“One day, I’m going to get this published!” said Gus, and bought two more stouts to celebrate.

…and to cut a long story short, ten years later, I got along to Gus’ launch party and drank a responsible amount of beer to commemorate his transition from Book Illustrating National Treasure to Book Writing and Illustrating National Treasure (you get to wear a pink father boa when you graduate).

‘Tis a mighty fine book and well worth your buying for your little tacker. My three year old loves it.

Gus’ blog is here
and here’s one of many glowing reviews.

Posted in general bollocks.


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