The Complete Barry McKenzie

The Complete Barry McKenzie

  • No so much a legendary strip more a resonant social history per se
  • written by Barry Humphries drawn by Nicholas Garland
  • Humour
  • Amazon.co.uk

Barry McKenzie’s Song
“The Old Pacific Sea”

I was down by Bondi pier, drinkin' tubes of ice-cold beer
With a bucket full of prawns upon my knee
When I’d swallowed the last prawn,
I had a technicolour yawn
and I chundered in the old Pacific Sea

Drink it up, drink it up,
Crack another dozen tubes and prawns with me
If you want to throw your voice,
mate you won’t have any choice
But to chunder in the old Pacific Sea

I was sittin' in the surf, when a mate of mine called Murf
Asks if he can crack a tube or two with me
The bastard barely swallowed it
When he went for the big spit
and he chundered in the old Pacific Sea

Drink it up, drink it up,
Crack another dozen tubes and prawns with me
If you want to throw your voice,
mate you won’t have any choice
But to chunder in the old Pacific Sea

I’ve had liquid laughs in bars and I’ve hurled from moving cars
And I’ve chuckled where and when it suited me
But if I could choose the spot
To regurgitate me lot,
then I’d chunder in the old Pacific Sea

Drink it up, drink it up,
Crack another dozen tubes and prawns with me
If you want to throw your voice,
mate you won’t have any choice
But to chunder in the old Pacific Sea

It was this delicate pean to the liquid laugh, to crying Ruth, to parking a tiger that stuck in my head whilst perusing the cartoons. Chug-a-lug! Chug-a-lug! Originally it was the fact that Sir Les Patterson wrote the preface that lead me to buy this book. I didn’t have much of an interest in reading a book of cartoon strips, but the one thing that kept me going was trying to decipher all the slang contained in the speech balloons. Thank goodness for the comprehensive glossary in the back. The one omission seems to be ‘the hard word’ which I still can’t quite figure out.

Looking at the artwork over the ten years you can see a progression from the fine black lines, through the lighter grey shaded era and back again. Barry still has the same chin, wide-brimmed hat of course and always sports a tie and a double breasted suit. To think that such a book was considered so risqué that it could have been banned in Australia. Reading it today it does seem quite tame.

Reading it from cover to cover possibly isn’t recommended. It’s more likely to be something that you should just dip into. Although having read it all I can certainly see where Uncle Les got some of his sayings from.

Barry McKenzie - on his homeland:

My oath I’m Australian. It’s the greatest little humdinger of a country in the world. You poor old poms don’t know what you’re missin'. Beaut sandy beaches, lovely juicy steaks, big shiny cars, decent church-going buggers all over the place, and gorgeous clean livin' sheilahs, who root like rattlesnakes and can’t pass a prick!

Barry McKenzie - on his favourite pastime:

Isn’t it funny when you come to think of it? A bastard tucks away a few jars of ice-cold, it’s only in his ned kelly for a few jiffs, and then, when he has a decent hurl, it comes out all thick and different somehow. Isn’t nature bloody marvellous!

Whacko-the-diddle-oh!

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, 02 September 2009
  • Tagged with book review