I can’t resist a good novelty song. Even better is a bad novelty song. The ABC’s music programmer Bill Riner diagnosed me years ago when he said I caught the bug as a young fella growing up in England, where there is a tradition of novelty songs “topping the pops”.
It is true that I was still living in the UK when,
in 1980, the St Winifred’s School Choir spent
eleven weeks in the charts, including two weeks
at #1, with Grandma, We Love You.
Look it up on YouTube – the lyrics might be
simple but boy does it tug at the heart-strings.
“There’s no-one quite like Grandma/And I know
you will agree/That she always is a friend to you/
And she’s a friend to me.” Fortunately, two months
later, I moved to Australia and was saved.
Or was I? Because if there’s one thing I’ve
learned in my 20-plus years on Queensland
radio, it’s that Aussies are suckers for a silly
I was reminded of this recently when we did
a story on 612 Breakfast about a new four-story
building at the University of Queensland – a
building with no toilets!
Apparently this isn’t a problem, because
the building next-door is well-equipped, but
I wouldn’t like to be dealing with an upset
stomach whilst working on the fourth floor of a
loo-less office block!
Anyway, I dragged out the 1997 song Don’t
Go in the dunny after Dad by then-Kallangur
primary school teacher Geoff Whitehead (and
his students): “Don’t go in the dunny after Dad’s
been in/No, don’t go in the toilet, don’t go in
the loo/Don’t go in the dunny
after Dad’s been in, if you know
what’s good for you.”
The song made it into the top
40 in 2002 when it was
covered by Jamie Dunn
and Agro but I hadn’t
played either version for
well over a decade.
One play on the radio
and we were inundated with
people asking whether you can still buy the song.
For the record, yes, Geoff has copies of the CD
and if you call him on 3264 5198, he’ll fix you up!
So what’s the latest novelty song to attract my
ear? Well, it won’t be released until next year,
but I have been listening to a new Chad Morganesque
album by Brisbane’s own Franky Walnut.
This really has the potential to go somewhere, I
reckon. It includes the song As Australian As.
“I’m as Australian as a sheep’s turd in the
shape of Australia riding on the back of a sheep
named Bruce who’s been shorn in the shape of
Australia/I’m as Australian as a pie that’s been
run over by a ute being driven by John Williamson
while he narrates a documentary about
Australia/I’m as Australian as a red-back spider
and a funnel-web spider having a root inside a
kangaroo scrotum purse/I’m as Australian as/I’m
as Australian as.”
But then the song takes an ironic twist: “I’m
as Australian as a surfie who gets really bloody
hungry and then he goes and eats some sushi/I’m
as Australian as sushi.”
And eventually, “I’m as Australian as the
moon (when viewed from
So who is this Franky
Walnut? Well, he’s the
creation of Keir Nuttall, Kate
Miller-Heidke’s husband and
collaborator, so this record
has some serious musical
clout. And yes, Kate sings
The first time I played
As Australian As on 612 Breakfast, tweeter
@JaneofAustralia tweeted @FrankyWalnut:
“Catchy tune. Note sure re lyrics”. Franky replied:
“Neither am I. Actually, I’m not sure about the
tune either.” For now, the CD is only available
Finally, thanks for all your emails and tweets
about Teddy and Pun’kin, who we recently
adopted from Red Hill cat rescuer Katina Balson.
Katina was thrilled to be mentioned in the
magazine. She wrote: “Thank you so much for
the lovely write up in bmag. Fab message about
the sweet scaredy cats. I get so teary when I hear
how well-loved my/your babies are. They are
lucky boys. Give them a big kiss for me. Love your
As I mentioned in my last column, Katina can
be found at the Pussies Galore charity shop on
Musgrave Road or you can peruse her “scaredy
cats” online at www.pussiesgalore.com.au