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The Rock-itt : June 2012
. Errol Imagine how Errol’s native Kanakas would have reacted to going to a big store like Anthony Hordens back in 1932 Errol spent the next few days treating his native troupe to the delights of Sydney and took them to the biggest department store in the city, at that time being Anthony Hordens. The natives had an unbelievable time chasing each other up and down stairs, sliding across the highly polished floors and absolutely loving every moment of this great experience. Errol also took them to a picture theatre where they marvelled at the huge figures up on the silver screen, the plush seating and ornate art deco surroundings. Eventually Errol returned the natives back to the ship while he did the rounds trying to conjure up perspective partners for his plantation deal, but to Errol’s dismay, no one was willing to take a chance on a deal in Papua New Guinea. It was too remote and not enough was know about the place. Errol’s venture fell on deaf ears. One of the most popular and plushest theatres of the era was Sydney’s Capitol Theatre down in Sydney’s Haymarket district Errol returned to his old watering hole at Ushers Hotel where he used to steal free lunches when the arse was out of his trousers and he was sleeping in a cave in the Botanic Gardens. The same barman was there and he remem bered Errol, and they laughed about the scamming he did to keep from starving. Funny enough, the barman as well as the rest of the staff knew all along what was going on. He told Errol that they all looked forward each day to Errol putting on the routine of buying a sixpenny packet of cigarettes then helping himself to the buffet, then going out and selling the cigarettes on the corner opposite to get the sixpence back for the next day’s routine. Errol remarked later on in life, that the routine with the cigarettes was probably his first acting role but didn’t realise it. Errol sent the Kanakas back to New Guinea and with his tobacco project well and truly washed up from lack of backers, broke and desponded; he was forced to return to the Sailors Rest at Woolloomooloo. Now all that he’d feared, returning to the old down and out life style that he had lived before, had come back to haunt him, as if a bad dream had returned him to the reality which he had never left. He commiserated that surely life could not be so cruel. Surely for once in awhile he was entitled to a break. The gold mining at Eddy creek had failed, he’d lost Sirocco to the cruel lash of natures venom, now his plans of making a killing with the tobacco plantation was all washed up because of lack of financial backing. He’d worked hard to try and make something of his life, yet the cards always seemed stacked against him. Then by chance one day when he was back in the sixpenny pack of cigarettes routine at Ushers Hotel, he met Madge Parks one of the ushers. He could tell by the way she held herself that she was financially well off, although considerably older than himself. He was almost knocked off his feet when she walked over and began a trivial conversation by asking about a certain street which led to a bit of idle chatter, then before he knew it, Errol was being asked by Madge if he’d like to dine with her. Even though the world was in the grip of depression, there were still wealthy women around that could afford anything And so an affair began with this older, wealthy woman which at that point in time suited Errol right down to the ground. He never went hungry again and enjoyed the company of an attractive wealthy woman, who liked to dance, dine, and have fun with a younger man. Suddenly things were not looking as bad as he thought and although Madge was married, Errol played along with the game knowing that he was better off being looked after by her than playing the sixpenny pack of cigarettes routine, even though it made him feel somewhat of a gigolo. Madge oozed class with her tall, statuesque figure and beautiful auburn hair and walked with the sophisticated grace of a woman who had breeding, and Errol liked escorting her around. Although it was fun, Errol could sense that he was just a number in a long procession of younger men who had shared Madge’s lavish life style and her bed and the uncertainty he felt inside at times, that she could replace him with someone new at any time, made him feel ill at ease. Yet she had him by the short and curlies and there wasn’t a thing he could do about it, except go on with the charade until it finally ended. See you next month and don’t forget if you missed an issue then go to our online archives section. www.therockittmagazine.com.au .....................Cheers Pete