I helped move
a friend from her
flat in Elizabeth
St to her new place
then in Tasman St
From Mt Vic to
Mt Cook, sounds
like the title to a
but this was just
how it was, back in
We scrubbed the
walls to get the smoke
stains off from where the
pictures had been
and all the while the radio
was playing Beatles songs.
I was on the heavy lifting,
helping the removal men
when they arrived.
I was lifting tables and chairs,
computer desks and various
things down the alley-way to
It was baking hot, I’d played
a gig the night before and stayed
up late drinking whatever was in
the house as a toast to the Quiet
My hangover was getting a workout.
The removal truck arrived, driven
by the world’s rudest man.
He was instantly a caricature.
Loud and dumb and full of
And his truck was in the middle
of the street – a one-way road.
He figured everyone could wait
because he was on a paid job.
And when he did, grudgingly,
move the truck, he backed it
into someone’s car. A neighbor
popped his head in to say he’d
seen what happened. The moving
man stuck his neck out to tell
the man to forget what he saw if
he wanted to keep all his fingers.
Then there was a car of women
beeping. Beeping. Trying to
tell this man to move.
I was head-down and just bringing
out the loads of stuff.
But I said, at one point, that maybe
he ought to move his truck.
He laughed maniacally and then
went to meet the women in the car.
He bent down, leaned in and hoiked
a giant spit right into the face of
His co-worker laughed, then corrected
himself, shook his head, was mortified.
And he asked the lunatic, “why did you
The meathead replied that it was the
“the dirtiest thing I could think to
The radio belted out I Me Mine and
Here Comes The Sun and Taxman and
While My Guitar Gently Weeps. All those
great George Harrison-penned Beatles
songs. We heard a few of the solo gems
too – obviously My Sweet Lord and
All Those Years Ago, that cover of
Got My Mind Set on You and a Travelling
Wilburys song – or two.
But this was the end of the line. A guy
spat in a woman’s face because he couldn’t
be bothered to move his truck.
Because he was sure that he was the boss.
Because he knew that he was large – and if
not in charge he was still the king. At least
of anything that mattered in his world.
We were mortified. Horrified. We were stunned
to silence – and didn’t feel good about that.
We had a story. A weird story. And it’s one
we’ll always have. Me and the friend I helped
move that day…were married a few years on,
we’ve moved houses a handful of times since
that occasion. We’ve streamlined all we can
but the mess continues to grow, the stuff
we don’t need builds up around us. And we
have a son now that wants to know any
story about The Beatles that we can think
One day, he can read this. And make of
it what he will.