Good Reading : Febuary 2009
book bite BOOKBITE johnny rotten In 1987, with tongue firmly in cheek, John Clarke and Bryan Dawe began to broadcast on radio a series of weekly interviews in which prominent and newsworthy figures spoke openly about issues of the day. This noble public service soon took to television screens, where their weekly report has brought a welcome splash of colour to the week’s events for over two decades. The Catastrophe Continues features the very best of these interviews in one volume with all the stars of the era: Keating, Kennett, Howard, Costello, Latham, Ruddock, Rudd. In this extract from the book Brian Dawe interviews Peter Costello (John Clarke) about John Howard’s refusal to ‘give him a go’. THE HON. PETER COSTELLO TREASURER OF AUSTRALIA Sit down, Peter. (Peter sits down.) What’s the matter? Nothing. Can I ask you a few questions? All right. You don’t seem very happy. I’m all right. What happened? Nothing. Come on, I heard all about it. What happened? Johnny wouldn’t give me a go on the bike. He’ll never give me a go on the bike now. Did he say he would give you a go? Yes, but he won’t. He’ll be on it forever. He’ll never get off it now. Hang on. What did he actually say? He said he’d give me a go. Didn’t he say he’d think about giving you a go? Yes, but he won’t. I’ll never get a go on the bike now. Look, I’m sure he’ll give you a go. When? When he’s ready. I want a go now. He said I could have a go now. Johnny’s having a go now, and he’s pretty good at it. I’ve seen him going past my office a few times. You should see him when he’s not going past your office. He doesn’t even tell the truth. He tells big whoppers about what’s going on. Johnny doesn’t tell the truth? What are these big whoppers he’s been telling? If I tell you what the big whoppers are, he’ll never let me have a go on the bike. But if you don’t tell us what the big whoppers are, you’ll be helping him tell the big whoppers. Yes I know. Bloody Johnny. He’s snookered you a bit here, hasn’t he? I hate Johnny. Come on, you don’t hate him. You’re just a bit angry. I’m bloody furious. We all get angry from time to time. Look on the plus side. Johnny lets you play with the accounts, and there are people who say you’re really not very good at that. I only got one thing wrong. Yes, but it was rather a big thing, wasn’t it? No, I only put the wrong price in for Telstra. But you could have got the right price, couldn’t you? How? It was in the paper, wasn’t it, Peter? I didn’t have a paper. So what did you do? I made a price up. So it looked as if there was a surplus? Johnny told me to do that. That was Johnny’s idea to have a surplus. Bloody Johnny, I hate Johnny. Look, let John have his turn and then when he’s finished, you’ll get to have a go. And I’m sure you’ll be very good at it too. I should have had a go a long time ago. You’ll have a go. Thanks for coming to see me. That’s all right. Feel a bit better now? Not really. The Catastrophe Continues: Twenty- one years of interviews by John Clarke is published by Text, rrp $32.95. NEXT ISSUE Meet Lisa Genova debut author of Still Alice Writers of the Beat Generation Life Saver Peter Singer on his new book Animal Nature Dog Boy by Eva Hornung Melbourne City of Literature Naguib Mahfouz Egypt’s Nobel Prize-winning author on sale 27 February ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!
December January 2009