Sir Les Patterson

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In Terms of My Natural Life

a poem crafted by Les Patterson

I am an Australian in terms of Nation
And a Public Servant in terms of vocation,
But there’s one thing amazes my critics and that’s
How many I wear in terms of hats:
I chair the Cheese Board, I front the Yartz
You could term me a man of many parts
I’m a Renaissance type, if you know the term
And I’ve held long office in terms of term,
Yes I’ve long served Australia in terms of years
And in terms of refreshment I like a few beers.
My opponents are mongrels, scum and worms
Who I bucket in no uncertain terms
And my rich vocabulary always features
Large in terms of my public speeches
My favourite terms in terms of debate
Are: “broadbased package” and “orchestrate”.
But on term I never employ is “failure”
Especially when talking in terms of Australia!
For in terms of lifestyle we’ve got the germs of
A ripper concept to think in terms of.
Yes, in terms of charisma I’ve got the game mastered
In anyone’s terms I’m a well-liked bastard.

Sir Les Patterson

1989

Back With A Vengeance Tour Brochure

Up the Republic!

Evening Standard (London) Clipping

As Australia moves to end the British-style opening of the Canberra parliament, an eminent politician anticipates the inevitable demise of Betty Britain…

I love England. This might shock a few of my hardline political colleagues, but I do. Every now and then, the Poms come up with a bit of legislation that screams common sense and humanity. Look at the civilised kids-in-pubs legislation. What better way is there to teach youngsters how to handle booze than to sit them in pubs for hours watching their parents getting pissed.

That’s how I grew up and no one’s got a more sensible attitude to grog that I have. If it’s in a bottle, drink it, that’s my philosophy.

Many’s the time my dear old Mum - the Lord be good to her - would send me down to the Harp of Erin to collect Dad at closing time. If he wasn’t sleeping peacefully between the bar and the gents, he’d be embroiled in some heated debate with a few other thirsty Australians on the pros and cons of an Aussie republic.

Now I happen to think highly of dear Betty Britain, but the truth is, readers, that I would be a traitor to my Australian heritage, and my cherished religion (Lapsed Mick), if I didn’t endorse Prime Minister Paul Keating’s courageous endeavours to push our wide, brown sub-continent kicking and screaming into the republican family.

Let’s face it, never before in our history has Australia had more in common with Tanzania, Montenegro, Poland, the Philippines, Haiti and the world’s other great republics.

“The sheila on the Aussie five-dollar bill has got a face on her like a half-sucked mango!”

I can now reveal that I’ve been a key member of our Republican Think-Tank for donkey’s years.

Yet far from being pissed off with our efforts at independence from an outmoded and discredited Pommie monarch, the Queen had told me she can’t flamin' wait. She recently confided to me: “Thank Christ I won’t have to go on another of them walk-abouts down under,” or words to that effect. She reckoned that the last time our PM “went the grope” and put his hand up her frock she nearly declared a republic on the spot.

“Will they take me of the money, Les?” she plaintively asked me yesterday. “The sheila on the Aussie five-dollar bill has got a face on her like a half-sucked mango!” Again I paraphrase slightly. The Queen resumed: “She looks like she could do with some hair and glamour tips from my old friend Dame Edna.”

I promised Her Majesty we’d whip her off the currency and the stamps as quick as shit, and replace her delightful but anachronistic visage with some more suitable Irish-Australian icons like Ned Kelly or Kylie Minogue.

“Why didn’t Australia declare a republic yonks ago?” is one of the questions I keep getting. Basically there are two reasons:

1) The Convict Cringe

As Robert Hughes proved in his seminal publication, The Fatal Shore, all the cons sent to Oz in the olden days were highly intelligent Irish political activists, subjected to sexual molestation in the bush by public-school Pommie poofters. For generations we were actually ashamed of our heritage and, let’s face it, there must have been moments of degradation when our manacled ancestors were forced to think of England, or some uplifting royal personage, while the Brit freckle-punchers did their worst.

Now we’re proud of our convict past and no longer turn our back on it - if you get my drift.

2) Whingeing Immigrants.

These poor confused bastards have flocked to Oz from shithouse regimes…

Paul Keating told me he couldn’t hold a referendum yet on the republican issue because most Australians - complex and paradoxical bastards that we are - would have voted for the Queen! You see, my superlative homeland is now swarming with Viets, Yugos, Koreans, Tea-towelheads, in fact every ethnic minority you could poke a stick at.

These poor confused bastards have flocked to Oz from shithouse regimes, hoping for a dose of tradition, sanity and stability. For years they’ve dreamed of an English parliamentary democracy in the Pacific, with an occasional state visit from Betty herself.

Imagine their feelings when they arrive in the Promised Land only to find it’s being run by a mob of over-paid Irish ratbags pissing on the Union Jack! That’s why our PM is holding off a referendum on the republic until the next royal scandal breaks.

We’re all very excited about the future. Me and my think-tank are going on a fact-finding mission to Mongolia (all expenses paid) to learn how another republic ticks, and our world-class artists, craftspersons and musicians are working on the new flag, stamps and national anthem. Someone’s come up with an Aboriginal anthem, but nobody can bloody well sing it.

The flag’s easier. Green of course, in homage to the Emerald Isle, and yellow - for bananas. We grow little beauties in our republic!

1980's

Evening Standard (London)

Sir Les Patterson Saves The World

Time Out Clipping

Sir Leslie Colin Patterson, Australian Cultural Attache, Chairman of the Cheese Board has been waxing lyrical in both the mainstream and music presses. This uncharacteristic coverage has been prompted by Sir Les' diabolical flick, Sir Les Patterson Saves The World.

For those of a hardy disposition we present a short tribute to the man of a thousand phrases.

I don’t know how broadminded your readers are but my task as I see it is pushing back the foreskin of Anglo-Australian relations.

At least I don’t frighten the Christ out of people with a lot of stuff about crocodiles and swimming pools.

Between you and me although I didn’t slip Pamela a length, she wouldn’t have said no in my opinion. I’m very gentle with women, I just slip it in and say walk slowly towards me.

She’s a religious woman, she believes that there’s something Up There, and on Saturday night there usually is, you with me?

I stood on the little transom to see some of these beautiful birds coming through - fantastic. But you try getting through a transom with a hard-on son.

Every bloke has a root and runs a risk, it’s just a bit worse now, that’s all. I generally stick to Catholics and Australians unless I’m in Manila or Bangkok.

1986

Time Out

Pop your cork this Christmas

As Les Patterson explains, at the office party it’s the human touch that counts.

The annual Christmas party at the Australian Cultural Legation in London, England, is going to be a ripper this year. My handpicked staff are already getting pretty excited, although funnily enough none of the young women in my office can remember last year’s event. I seem to have an enormous turnover amongst the opposite sex community, and most of the horny young ceiling inspectors which the Australian taxpayer has placed at my disposal, find the pace more than they can stand.

“I guess I’m a handson diplomat in every sense of the phrase”

Speaking as the man who put the dick back into dictation, I think I can say, without fear of successful contradiction, that I have given gainful employment to more nubile research assistants with no qualifications than any employer on the planet. I guess I’m a handson diplomat in every sense of the phrase, and the festive season is when I really let it all hang out. My office shindigs are legendary, and most people who can still remember them, reckon they are better than the office party in that film Caligula, not to mention that allegedly raunchy bit in Eyes Wide Shut when, paradoxically, I briefly opened my eyes.

We all know that the water cooler is the focal point of any office, and come Christmas, I thoughtfully fill ours with a fine old Australian vodka.

You’d be amazed to see my loyal staff lining up for refills with a cigarette and plastic cup in one hand and a mince pie in the other. Thanks to my connections with the Australian wine and cheese authorities, there’s no shortage of good wholesome imported tucker at my yule-tide bash. The poor old Poms who occasionally score an invitation can’t believe their eyes when they see the roast haunch of emu, platypus and rillettes of bandicoot with a Queensland mango glaze and a kiwi fruit and macadamia coulis.

I’m pretty popular with the Oz government right now since I got the Games for Sydney, and they never query my expenses like they did in the bad old days.

“Last year we were packed in as tight as a fish’s freckle”

No wonder the Patterson Christmas party is a 9½ week event; at least that’s what it feels like. The main problem in any office party is finding somewhere to sit. Last year we were packed in as tight as a fish’s freckle and my temporary executive assistant Zo' sat on the scanner in her leather mini and accidentally jpegged her map of Tasmania onto the global network.

People have been accessing her site ever since. Incidentally, any female fans out there are hereby invited to straddle the scanner and bitmap their Promised Land to my personal email address anytime they like.

In the spirit of the occasion and as the night wears on, I always like to dress up as Father Christmas, and the womenfolk find my realistic acrylic beard pretty exciting, even when I kiss them. I generally tuck a sprig of mistletoe in the top of my trousers over the old purple-headed warrior, and there is no shortage of lovely young interns eager to pucker up in accordance with that lovely old Christmas tradition.

But the sexual harassment law is a real bastard these days. That’s the Grinch that could bugger everyone’s Christmas. Do the dirty deed with a 16-year-old work-experience schoolboy in the executive toilets and you’re a hero, and in line with EU guidelines. But try putting the hard word on your 30-plus Girl Friday under the mistletoe and she could pinch you for SH and have you recalled to Australia to face a morals tribunal (mostly poofters and wowsers).

Incidentally readers, when Tony and his cronies pushed through the new pillow-biting age of consent we didn’t exactly hear a cheer go up from the 16-year-old kids.

The principal revellers were the abruptly-retired Scoutmasters and the scallywag padres of Irish orphanages.

One of the most popular games in my office, for which I offer a prize of a large case of vintage Wombat Creek Chardonnay, is Grope The Gregory (half Australian rhyming slang: Greg Dyke - an uncooperative member of the opposite sex community). Let’s face it, every office has got a Gregory these days.

They’re usually pretty easy to spot: black clothes, short hair, a few curtain rings in their eyebrows, and with an irrational aversion to an encouraging pat on the bum from a happily married senior executive.

“I’ve known blokes score with a Gregory, it’s been after a hell of a lot of hard work and hard liquor.”

They’re not all as ugly as a hatful of arseholes and some are even quite pretty, if dysfunctional. They give each other kd Lang CDs for Christmas and giggle over the latest Jeanette Winterson novel. It’s not easy, but on the rare occasion I’ve known blokes score with a Gregory, it’s been after a hell of a lot of hard work and hard liquor. It’s not a bad idea to tell them how much you abhor sexual harassment in the workplace and then add with a conspiratorial smile: “So how about my place?” Sometimes they’re grateful for a simple confirmation of what dirty bastards blokes really are and, speaking personally, that’s something I’m always happy to offer any woman, especially at Christmas.

I guess I’m a perfectionist and my Christmas parties are famous for certain lovely little touches.

This year I’ve hired a few Asian sweeties from my favourite Bangkok rub-and-tug shop, flown in by a friendly airline. They’re going to sing some lovely carols like Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, and my own composition, Give Her One For Christmas (which will be included on my forthcoming album, Les Is More).

After that, they will be the cheerful recipients of some typical Australian hospitality. Those little Sheilas will come to the party in more ways than one.

The best time at any party, especially mine, is towards the end when most people have passed out and there’s just a solid core of survivors in my inner sanctum. By then, I have usually loosened my Santa outfit considerably, and it’s time to show a few all-Australian hardcore adult entertainments on the DVD equipment, which the Australian taxpayer has generously installed. The multiple-angle feature has special educational appeal to some of my newer interns.

It’s about then that I usually get a call from my wife Lady Patterson in Sydney, who is often obliged, due to my heavy work schedule, to celebrate the festive season on her Pat Malone, God love her.

I always get my old Sydney drinking mate Dr O'Shaughnessy to double her medication as a Christmas treat and she sounds like she’s talking with a mouth full of cotton wool. If she hears any of the squeals and yelps from my video in the background, she’s never mentioned it, the Lord be good to her. I guess one of the very special joys of this time of year is putting in a long-distance call to a loved one.

It behoves me now to wish you all a Merry Christmas from the Australian Task Force in London. I hope you get what you want most of all, and I hope your wife never finds out.

Dr Sir Leslie Colin Patterson, an acquaintance of Barry Humphries, is Chairman of the Australian Cheese Board and Cultural Attach to the Court of St James.

2000

Copyright Evening Standard (London)
December 18th

Mongrel B*st*rds

‘If you ever want to hide something from a Pom, stick it under the soap.’ This was an old saying of my Dad’s - the Lord be good to him. He told it to me at Sydney’s internationally acclaimed, award-winning airport when I took off on my first overseas trip. The poor old bugger was on the way out himself at the time with emphysema. He was down to 40 kingsize mentholated filters a day, but his husky words of wisdom certainly gave me an insight into the Brits I was soon to encounter on my first diplomatic assignment.

“They gave our forefathers buggery in more ways than one!”

When, like me, you’d been brought up in a good, clean-living, working-class, Irish Catholic home in south Sydney, you tended to look on the English as, by and large, a bunch of mongrel bastards. You just have to peruse my co-religionist Bob Hughes’s seminal tome The Fatal Fuckin' Shore to see how the Poms treated our illustrious ancestors. They gave our forefathers buggery in more ways than one!

Naturally I was pretty nervous before I hit Old London Town the first time, wondering how I was going to spend the arduous years as cultural attache to the Court of St James’s with the back of my handstitched, powder-blue, Crimplene safari suit permanently pressed to the wall. At Heathrow aerodrome I had my first taste of English hospitality, standing at the end of a long queue of Aussies and Kiwis whose uncles had more than likely stopped a bullet in defence of the Pommy Empire, while all those tea towels and bush-bunnies flashed past in the fast lane through immigration.

There was a waiting limo laid on for me by my old friend the Australian taxpayer and there I met my driver Terry, a typical whingeing Pom with a face like a beaten favourite. As he started to grab my Samsonite and make with the old ‘Yes, guv, No, guv’ routine I told him in a nice Australian way to cut the bullshit. They don’t like it when you tell them to stuff all that bowing and scraping and forelock-tugging up their arse. They don’t mean it, of course; they hate your guts and they’d piss in your soup for sixpence, but they’ve been brown-nosing for generations and old habits die hard. Egalitarian bastard that I am, I jumped in to the front seat and, halfway to Australia House in Strand Street, I took a long pull on my hip-flask and passed it across to him. You would have thought I had foot-and-mouth! He nearly shat himself at the wheel. I guess the poor little prick had never had a real man in the car with him, so Spectator readers will not be surprised to learn that he came the raw prawn* when I asked him where I could get my rocket polished at that time of night.

“They all play their cards pretty close to their Savile Road chests.”

It was when I was promoting Tasmanian Mauve Vein in England during the Eighties that I encountered the English businessman at close quarters. Now we all know that the average Pom wouldn’t work in an iron lung, but most of the types I meet in the business arena are as shifty as shithouse rats and about as straight as the roof of the Sydney Opera House. Compared with them old Jonathan Aitken would be in the pipeline for a sainthood. They all play their cards pretty close to their Savile Road chests. I once asked an Aussie stockbroker mate (now copping the vertical suntan in a Perth VIP correctional facility) why he never became a member of Lloyd’s. He told me he smelled a rat from the beginning: ‘The Poms are a greedy bunch of bastards, Les,’ he opined. ‘And they’re snobs as well. Give them a sniff of 18 per cent and something that sounds like an exclusive club and they’ll be in like Flynn. I knew Lloyd’s was shonky when they started to advertise it.’ I asked him how come. ‘Simple, mate,’ replied my perceptive friend. ‘If it had been any good the Brits would’ve kept it to themselves.’

You’ll never catch a Pom ringing your front doorbell with his elbow. If you say, ‘Come round Sunday arvo, and bring the wife and kids,’ it’s 100 per cent certainty they’ll come empty-handed. If they turn up with a bottle of grog and a quiche you can bet your bollocks they’ve got Australian blood somewhere in the family. Short arms and long pockets are very English characteristics. In my capacity as cheese supremo and authority on the Yartz, I am often obliged to hold big working lunches of long duration for my Pommy opposite numbers. When at last the waitress toddles over with the bill, the Brits are all suddenly drawn to the toilet like a magnetic fuckin' force. While they’re out there aiming Archie at the Armitage, or having a smoke, the longsuffering Australian taxpayer is picking up the four-figure tab.

“‘In Sydney the sheilas call me The Plunger.’”

My closest interpersonal relations with the English have usually been with members of the opposite-sex community. English horn-bags and ceiling inspectors love me, probably because I’m a good listener, I dress nicely and I’ve got one like a baby’s arm. After a bit of preliminary chitchat about Damien Hirst and Harrison Birtwistle, I usually flash my frightener and murmur, ‘In Sydney the sheilas call me The Plunger.’ That generally does the trick, but is it worth it? As performers I’m afraid the English women rate about 2.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. They usually lie there motionless with their eyes shut while you do all the work and, if you suggest anything a bit exotic that you might have picked up in a Bangkok rub-and-tug shop, they’re dressed and out the door faster than the falling euro.

Most high-profile Australian expatriates I know usually compare notes after they’ve done the dirty deed with a member of the upper classes and, by and large, the posher they are the hornier they are. In the circles I move in the sheilas don’t get much at home. They’re usually married to adulterous bastards, Robin Cook look-alikes or card-carrying pillow-biters. In my experience the best pick-up places are Glyndebourne, the Wallace Collection and Cruft’s dog show. I’ve scored in all three places and, without wishing to boast, I’d reckon I must be the first redblooded male to have porked his research assistant on the inaugural spin of the London Eye. I could try it down at the Millennium Village, but not even a kneetrembler with a randy little village maiden would make a trip down to the Dome a viable priority for yours truly.

Now that the poor old Poms have bared their backsides to the European Community and are taking orders from a bunch of paedophiles and chocolate poisoners in Brussels, I’m beginning to feel sorry for them. I don’t see a happy ending and I want you all to know that when you’re really up shit creek in a barbed-wire canoe without a paddle, Les Patterson will always be there for you. Are you with me?

*Raw prawn: green (Aust. Col.). ‘To come the raw prawn’ is to feign ingenuousness.

Dr Sir Leslie Colin Patterson was cultural attache to the Court of St James’s from 1975 to 1998.

2000

Copyright The Spectator
April 1st

The Essential Wardrobe

Arena shares dry-cleaning tips with the antipodean gastronome

The Essential Wardrobe

Sir Leslie Colin Patterson, K.C.B., is the most famous Australian in the modern world; a world around which he has travelled tirelessly bearing the Australian standard in his various capacities as the former Cultural Attache to the Court of St. James, the Nobel Prize-winning Ambassador to the United Nations, and Chairman of the Australian Cheese Board.

A troubleshooting diplomat with the bottle to say whatever is on his mind, universally renowned for his patronage of the Yartz and his thorough enjoyment of the opposite sex, Sir Les is a man’s man. His is also a pretty snappy dresser. Over a pre-prandial bucket of Bloody Marys in his modest suite at one of London’s most prestigious hotels, Sir Les elucidated his personal style.

“When you are fronting up for the greatest little country on the face of the planet - ie Oz - you need to be pretty smart in the sartorial department. What would the world at large think of my homeland if its best-known roving ambassador dressed like a hippie? That’s why I’m a suit man and it’s not for nothing that I have logged up numerous nominations for Best Dressed Man at home in Australia.”

Ruffled shirt by Signor Byritti, watch from a selection by Fo-ni at Hong Kong airport, whisky courtesy the Great Australian Taxpayer

Sir Les is dressed as if for a diplomatic cocktail party in an evening suit by Rossini Of Bond St, a minor extravagance for which he is grateful to his old mate the Australian Tax Payer, who foots the bill for his official wardrobe. The restrained opulence of the suit is highlighted by the co-ordinating purple shirt and patent leather platform shoes.

“The platform shoes are de rigeur in the Australian diplomatic community and I like them because in a social situation they enable me to look over the heads of most people, whilst knocking back the free Bucks Fizzes, and to look down the cleavage of any little research assistant, or hornbag, that may be in the offing.

“The ruffled shirt is also an indigenous Australian style. It’s a statment, more than anything else. It says that I know where I’m coming from, even if I don’t know where the hell I’m going.

“I like casual clothes and I do enjoy a splash of colour, but I am representing Oz and I have to dress formally. Besides, I am a bit conservative in my taste. The new flared trousers which are now coming in in Australia are a bit avant garde for my taste. I’m not going in for that yet, because that look might go out and then where would I be? No. I tend to stick with the dignified, classical look, albeit with my own little twist. What you see is what you get with Patterson, although you can’t see the boomerang motif on my Australian Y-fronts; there is no secret. I just have natural style and flair. An old bathrobe looks glamourous on me.”

The Essential Wardrobe

Even when less formally attired in a business suit, Sir Les likes to sport subtle accessories which signal his origins from and patriotic devotion to Down Under. The kangaroo is a very potent symbol in Australia and Sir Les flaunts one, in earthily excremental colours, on a tie that was handcrafted for him by his daughter, Karen. The obligatory platform correspondent shoes are made from genuine dead kangaroo, humanely culled. “I can assure your readers,” Sir Les informs me, gravely, “that this kangaroo did not suffer in the manufacture of my shoes. He felt no pain.” That is not to say, however, that the shoes were specially made. “I’ve got perfectly normal feet, all my extremities are normal. These are stock size in any upmarket Australian shoe shop.”

As an inveterate traveller, always on the go, Sir Les requires his clothes to be both smart and serviceable: “I’ve been to a lot of places and I don’t even know that I’ve been there, that’s how well travelled I am. Sometimes in my job I have to put in a 24, 25, even a 26 hour day and I might be wearing the same outfit for three days on the trot. But if you could see my wife, Gwen, you’d appreciate how much I get out of travel.”

With such a frenetic lifestyle, synthetic fibres make a lot of sense to Sir Les: “I don’t insist on wearing Australian wool, that’s all bullshit. I am loyal to Australian polyester, however, it’s so much more practical. It doesn’t crease! I would put in a good word for wool if they slipped me a quid, what a hypocrite I would be if I said anything else, but I’ll wear drip-dry wherever I can.

"Never mind the quality," says Australian fashion plate Sir Les Patterson, "feel the width. Are you with me?"

“I only have one or two good suits but, like a lot of us career diplomats, I get cheap copies run up in Hong Kong or Singapore, wherever I happen to be having a compulsory layover. I generally go to Bangkok for a fitting. I get fitted for most things there, although it is sometimes hard to find my size. Those oriental tailors are very good to me, though. The little bloke on his knees with a mouthful of pins, like a shark with jaundice, running the tape up my leg and asking ‘Which side you gless?’ I always tell him, ‘Just make 'em a bit baggy about the knees, son.’”

As well as having duplicate suits, Sir Les has over the years cultivated a crack squad of sympathetic dry cleaners in key cities throughout the civilised world. “I like to discuss my stains with the top man because, let’s face it, it can be pretty embarrassing to point out all your intimate trouble spots in a crowded shop, be they blood or chocolate, banana daquiri or sperm. Generally in my case it’s a mixture of all four. Vindaloo chunder is the worst stain known to man. Incineration is the only answer to that, no worries.”

Although a legendary philanderer, Sir Les is also a deeply home-loving man who is never happier than when he is placing a long distance phone call to his wife. “I am a religious man. I do believe that there is somebody up there and Gwen, my wife, she believes that there is someone up there. And often, in the early days of our marriage, there was.”

The Essential Wardrobe

However, as Les would be the first to admit, he is only flesh and blood, a man with virile human needs: “I don’t do any exercise because I’ve seen far too many of my colleagues croak on the squash court or strapped into the Nautilus. The natural exercise is what I go in for, a few lusty pressups with the right kind of gym instructress keeps me straight.

“Let me be quite frank about this, my heart is always with Gwen and the kiddies, wherever my dick might be, but I do love women and they love me. Women are attracted to me because I have a gentleness about me and also, y'know, they like a bit of raunchy talk. Women like to know where they are with a bloke and they can always count on a married man, such as myself, to put the hard word on them before the night is through.

“Let’s face it, I am a romantic and I’ll never deliberately hurt a member of the fairer sex. Well, not after the first time anyway. Usually I just slip in the tip and say, ‘climb aboard, darling.’ I am that bloody considerate and gentle that I have sometimes paid a high price for it, with a busted jar of Vaseline oozing out of my Samsonite.”

Oz's answer to Warren Beatty - but what was the question?

Fine old cheese, king size mentholated smokes, rare vintages; you name it, Les Patterson is pretty heavily into the finer things of life. As perhaps the leading authority on Australian cheese, he prides himself on a nose so sensitive that he can distinguish between and Ayers Roquefort and a pungent Tasmanian Gorgonzola with the lights off. He is a strong believer in healthy eating and insists on Mother’s Pride baked beans which, he points out, are packed with protein and teach your body to think for itself. He is also an indiscriminate drinker who has got full on every substance in the alcoholic alphabet from Advocat to Zambucca, often in a single session.

“Unlike a lot of my colleagues and peer group, booze has never been a problem for me. My only problem is getting enough of it, because I have to feed this complex organism that is Sir Les. A lot of people say that I drink too much, but actually I suffer from terminal jet lag. I jet about all over the place and I very rarely hit the toilet when I’m tired. People say I spit but, I ask you, what d'you reckon God gave us saliva ducts for? They’re to lubricate the gob for the mastication of food, or giving an air hostess a tongue sandwich, or whatever. Often when I’m up there, y'know, 30,000 feet and eight inches up there, I thank Christ for my saliva because you can get pretty dehydrated. I always carry a tube of lipsalve, too, just in case.”

The Essential Wardrobe

In fact, Sir Les has come in for quite a lot of criticism in his home country, where he is truly a prophet without honour. “I cop a lot of shit from other Australian political figures who are jealous of me because I am the only elder statesman who has had a fillum made about a real incident in his political life. They tried to put the kibosh on this fillum at a very high level and I advise your readers to see it before the Government tries to shut it down.”

Sir Les is of course referring to the controversial new docudrama, Les Patterson Saves The World, an astonishing reconstruction of a series of incredible events which forced Les to team up with Dame Edna Everage in the pursuit of fair play, the Australian way. “It is almost unbelievable, I know,” admits Les, introspectively, “I’ve heard people staggering out of the cinema saying that they can scarcely believe the things I stumbled across. I literally stumbled across them because I was half pissed at the time and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The truth will come out no matter how the establishment tries to hush it up. I have been the victim, like old Peter Wright, of a fuckin' witchhunt. Old Bob Hawke, the PM, is an old mate, and I never suspected the ramifications of my posting to the Middle East, nor that he would be prepared to sacrifice yours truly to further his own political ends. That’s politics for you, it’s a jungle.

Sir Les's shoes are made from humanely-culled kangaroo leather, and offer a discreet contrast to his understated suit

“Dame Edna, too, acts like she’s got a stick up her arse. She is far too big for her boots these days. She was a nice enough tart at one time, many years ago before she was married, when I took her out once. She seems to have conveniently forgotten that.

“All I want is what’s coming to me, no more than my due. I copped the knighthood, that was a stroke of luck. I did win the Nobel Prize, but that only made page three in the Australian newspapers. My ambition is to follow in the footsteps of Henry Kissinger and become an agent for global harmony. Are you with me?

  • Story Russell Cronin
  • Photography Kevin Davies

1988

Copyright © Arena No 12 Autumn/Winter