What Pro Hart Told Me About Ants

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‘That’s only a subject. People think I’ve got something about ants and dragonflies. I haven’t. I couldn’t care less about the damn things. Except that it’s a subject to paint, and there’s plenty of the coots around the place. I had one in my studio the other day, a bulldog ant, a big one, about an inch-and-a-half, nearly two inches. You know, they send a scout out looking for a new place. The thing wanders in me door. Massive big thing it was! And the worst part of it, they watch you. Oh ho, the head goes around and they follow you around, mongrel things! Fancy having an ant watching you! Keeping an eye on you! And they watch the dogs and the cats. Terrible things! Ever seen one, a bulldog ant? You wait until one bites you mate! Eight of them will kill you! I tell you what; we get them. That one ant, you know, if I hadn’t seen him, they could have set up a nest somewhere around my studio, because he’s a scout, they send out a scout, you know, he watches you. Fancy having an ant watching you! Oh ho, yeah. And if a dog walks past, you see all the [ants’] heads turn [to] watch the dog, for goodness sakes! It’s very dangerous for babies and kids, because if they lay on a lawn one bite could kill a kid. You know, bulldogs are very…well they’re around here. They’ve got them down town. There’s a bus stop down here, had a seat outside the bus stop, and they’re all crawling around the seat. Some ladies jumped around there when they sat down on the seat, because they come up in your clothes and bite chunks out of you, you know! Oh, it’s the worst bite you can get. Very, very deadly blooming bite, you know. Green heads are the same, little green heads, the mongrel things. Anyway, I don’t like bulldog ants. And we’ve had a few nests in our yard too. Awful things they are.’

The Day I Met Happy

by Garry Scale (Derham’s best mate at school)
As kids growing up in Geelong we were aware that Happy Hammond (compere of The Happy Show) was Geelong born and bred. His tartan hat and coat and the click of the fingers followed by the catch phrase, “Is everybody happy?” set up Happy as everybody’s friend – a happy affable chappie. My grandfather’s best friend, business partner and nextdoor neighbour was a boyhood friend of Happy’s and if Hap was down for the day he would often pop in for a cup of tea. One afternoon whilst staying with my grandparents I was sent next door on an errand. There, sitting in the breakfast nook sans tartan hat and coat, but clearly recognizable, was Happy Hammond himself. This just didn’t happen to young children in Geelong: Happy Hammond in Uncle Frankie’s kitchen. I stood gob-smacked as Hap turned to Uncle Frankie saying “Bloody hell Frankie! Everywhere I go there are bloody kids, even on my day off, bloody kids.” Not being mean spirited I choose to believe that Happy was having a non-too happy day. And I did continue to tune in.

ADDENDUM
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Happy Hammond was an Australian comedian. He was famous for clicking his fingers musically and wearing a ‘test pattern’ suit and tartan hat that clashed awfully in real life but worked well in black and white TV (which was then being broadcast in Australia). He started in radio in Melbourne and hosted the Tarax Happy Show on GTV 9, Melbourne, which was then relayed to ATN 7, Sydney. It won a Logie in 1959 for Most Popular Children’s Show. He performed a famous routine which had him singing a silly song while throwing cream pies in his own face. He moved to HSV 7 in 1960 and won a Logie in 1963 for Outstanding Contributions to Children’s Entertainment. (Wikipedia, plus my own corrections)