Jim Street

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Jim StreetI read John Walsh's story and it led me to write these memories, my story.

I often reminisce about "rehearsing" at your place on Canberra Avenue.  As a drummer without a drum kit I think I managed to bash out a rhythm on a pair of bongoes I purchase at Bourchier's Music Store in Kennedy St Kingston.  Yes John we were great, if you want a second opinion, ask me again. 

I recall you and I did a duet with you playing guitar (I think) and me hitting something vaguely rhythmic at the Methodist Centre one evening.  The adulation of the fans lasted for several minutes.    Other reminiscences include Canberra without a lake, riding push bikes through "deadly" storm water drains in Griffith Oval, Deakin being the furthest southern suburb before that "new" suburb of Curtin was developed, getting sun-burnt at Manuka Pool and having Mr Taverner yell at me for doing bombs off the high board, the beautiful old Capitol Theatre at Manuka, meeting great Aussie artists such as Russell Morris when they came to perform at the Methodist Centre and we were helping to organise the show, aah yes great times.

Speaking of music, I am now a drummer in a rock band.  A friend at work (yes, I'm still working but more on that later) asked me to join the office band so I purchased my first drum kit a year or two ago and am happily keeping time with the rest of the guys as we play covers of songs from AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Badfinger, Easybeats, Black Keys and more.  It's a hoot, should have done it years ago.

I'm not working full time, I have the best set-up going.  I "retired" in 2005 having reached the 54 and 11 month mark that the Comm Super scheme is famous for.  Six months later I was asked to do some IT audit work at the Australian National Audit Office and, as the work is very cyclical, I can work 6 months on, 6 months off.  Works beautifully for my wife and I.  We are based in Canberra when I'm working and we can do whatever we like when I'm not.

Like John, I am still happily married to the same person (Annette) for the last 37 plus years.  We have 2 kids who are both in the APS and based in Canberra although that could change at any time.
Unlike John, I left Telopea in 1966 having completed year 10.  I was a silly 16 year old (tautology there I guess) who wanted a car so desperately I left school to work in a bank.  Got my mini, wrote it off in an accident that wasn't my fault, got another mini (a Cooper S this time) and thoroughly enjoyed myself for a few years.    The public service beckoned when I saw how much money could be made compared to underpaid bank-Johnny wages, and I joined Defence in 1969 in computer operations.  I went back to night-school to get higher qualifications and moved up the public service ranks at the usual, moderate pace.  Fast forward a few years and a couple of departments and I found that my years of IT skills could help me in life after work - hence the IT audit work.

One constant through the years has been travel, both domestic and overseas.  Annette and I never have to think too hard about what we want to do whenever we have 6 months off.

I sing with the Shiny Bum Singers and have been with them for the last decade or so.  The Shinies are a group of public servants and friends who perform wicked parodies of folk and popular tunes usually to poke fun at our political masters or just to lampoon office life in general.  Keep an eye out for us at folk festivals and other happenings around the place.   One of the tunes we parodied is "Oh Christmas Tree/Oh Tannenbaum" so I had to let them know it was my old school song, aah We pledge to thee Telopea, our loyalty forever.

The Shinies parody is called "The Office Fridge" and goes:
                The office fridge is full of slime, no-one has cleaned it in our time,
                The shelves a feast of green and grey, and what's that lurking in the tray.
                So raise the putrid morsel high, to throw it out, or eat and die,
                Though gourmets flinch and drinkers sneer, we use our fridge for more than beer.

And it goes on to tell a tale of horrible food left to grown in unsanitary refrigerators.

I am also a regular volunteer presenter on community radio station ArtSound FM (92.7FM in Canberra, 90.3FM in Tuggeranong) and you can hear me every 2nd Wednesday from 5-7pm.

Unfortunately, I can't make the get together in October as Annette and I will be travelling to Queensland.  But I am looking forward to seeing all the e-traffic the event will generate and maybe catching up with a few Canberra-based Telopeans in the next little while.

Cheers,  Jim Street.


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