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col joye and the changing times

Early every morning
Early every evening too
Early every morning
Early every evening too
I get so lonesome for you
That I don’t know what to do

This is what Col Joye was writing when Bob Dylan was wheeling around America singing Woody Guthrie songs.

Col knew his songs were wrong; lyrics are supposed to be reflective of the times you’ve lived, and here’s Bob Dylan taking big chunks out of the domestic record market singing about American death, despair, lynchings and poverty. So Col got into his own ear, told himself to man up. Get into some Aussie grit.

It happened Col Joye had a mate, lifelong, a friendship never tested, loved him like a brother. So he rang him, Ted.

Ted picked up the phone and said g’day straightaway.

‘G’day, mate,’ said Col, ‘goin’ alright?’

‘Good Col, you?’

‘Not bad, listen, could you do us a favour?’


‘Your brother still out of Ultimo?’


‘Got any room in the car one night does he?’

‘For what?’


Col’s car was called to the Emergency Room at St. Vincents Hospital at 07:45 pm on Saturday evening and after parking by the front doors everyone piled outside heading for the noise inside, Col in the rear. Ready.

The two officers already inside had collected all the names of the twelve Turks currently in Emergency and handed the list to Dave, Ted’s brother, Ted being Col’s best mate. I’ve been told that when you write something with a comprehensive bundle of characters it’s best to throw in a few conjoiners on the way through. Don’t want to have the reader flicking back to the character list every couple of pages.

Col eased into the Emergency Room and looked for a spot by the wall, found one, slipped a pencil and notebook out of his jacket pocket and took a look around, thinking by the time I get this mess written up into an album and learn how to blow a harmonica, Dylan’s got Aussie problems.

Altan was bleeding from a deep laceration to his left palm, part of Babagidi‘s upper lip had been cut away, Caetano was holding his right side, blood seeping through his fingers and Dagwood‘s left ear had been cleanly cropped. He was holding the piece of bloodied cartilage in his right hand. Eban was bleeding from above one ear, his left, the front of Fass‘ T-shirt was bunched and crimson in his fists and Gaetan was examining the depth of a long knife slice in his left arm. All the fingers of Hadrian‘s left hand were deeply lacerated and his blood dripped steadily to the floor, mixed with that of Icarus, whose nose had been brutally crushed. Jabir was leaning against the wall, the blood from his shoulder wound seeping down the wall and puddling on the floor around his boots. Kaarl sat with his face in his hands, occasionally touching his head where the hair was matted. Blood had coloured his ears. Lajos spat another piece of tooth into his hand and swore bitterly.

There had been a wedding. The bride was beautiful, her brothers many. The groom was known to have bad blood, and his brothers too many

Everything happened quickly.

An hour later the police had twelve statements, the Emergency Room air was clear of Turkic blasphemies and Col followed Dave and Bill down the corridor to the exit. Bill being Dave’s offsider. Thinking back on it, Col wondered why they hadn’t asked him anything about himself that night. Col Joye in the back seat!


The exit door opened inwards six feet before they got to it, another policeman entered, holding a what looked like a doctor’s bag. Dave, Bill and Col opened up to let him through.

‘What have you got in there, Ed?’ said Dave, ‘lunch?’

Ed gave a short laugh and stopped. Looked at Col.

‘You’re that Col Joye bloke, aren’t you?’

‘Yeah,’ says Col, thinking at last, someone who knows who I am.

‘So what are you doing with these two fuckwits?’

‘Getting a bit of background.’

Ed looked over at Dave and Bill.


Both nodded.

Ed glanced at Col. Looked back at D&B.

‘He look hungry to you blokes?’

Both nodded.

Ed opened his bag. Inside that a green garbage bag, open at the top.

Col peered inside

A bloodied head.


‘Car accident, body’s in the ambo outside.’

Ed closed his bag and walked away.

We’ll take a vacation
Go away to stay
Where there’ll be no work
There’ll be nothin’ but play
Walk down to the river
To a baby nook
Make a love like they do in a story book.




8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Terry Jenkings #

    Guess it was one for the money , two for the show 😁
    Captured the scene well Pete .
    Interesting read.

    March 15, 2017
    • Told to me by a bloke who was there at the time.

      March 15, 2017
  2. Mike Bennett #

    Col Joye. Pete, recalling the story brought back a lot of memories of my youth in Sydney. The singers, the pub scene, the surf, the girls. Those were the days…..or were they? I think they were. Thanks for the memories.

    March 17, 2017
  3. I still reckon Bill Haley’s Rock around the Clock has some of the best bass lines in the business, howareya Mike?

    March 17, 2017
    • Mike Bennett #

      The Canadian kook is alive and well in surfless Arizona. However my annual July/August surfing trip to Hawaii is right around the corner. Best of all I’ll be seeing my mates Wheels Williams & Andy Cucaracha Cochran. More stories to be rehashed and more lies to be told. The waves get bigger and the girls more beautiful as the years go by. Life continues. All the best to you mate.

      March 18, 2017
  4. Michael Tan #

    Col Joye once saved my dad from being bashed senseless by a bogun racist rocker at Beefies Big Boy burger bar (the first US style drive-in in Aus) on Parramatta Rd Camperdown circa. 1961. He stepped in and calmed the bogun after my father had been king-hit for ‘no reason’ to the ground by the racist. My mom stepped in threatening the bogun/s and thats when Col came to the rescue – Thanks, Col – I wonder if you remember?

    April 17, 2017
  5. Westies, Mick, to be avoided.

    April 26, 2017
  6. All the best … cheers …

    June 21, 2017

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