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Sir Les PattersonDecember 11, 2009 - 4:01PM

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From alcove orchestras to block skirt, a misspent activity in musicand backroom is remembered.

ALTHOUGH I'm about declared as a asperous diamond, I'm additionally a acute music lover. In point of fact, back I accept represented Australian ability all over the planet, I am heavily into the bigger things of life: Australian wines and spirits, accomplished old Tasmanian cheeses and attainable associates of the adverse sex community.

Long afore my old mates in the high echelons of the Labor Party saw fit to accomplish me Minister of Culture, I ran the ball analysis of one of south Sydney's bigger footy clubs. Back in the rock'n'rollin' '70s I coaxed a lot of crash-hot all-embracing aptitude to that club and although Ol' Blue Eyes, Sammy Davis jnr and Shirley Bassey regretfully couldn't accomplish it, I showcased the backward abundant Don Lane, Johnny Adolescent with the Adolescent Aptitude Time aggregation and my claimed favourite, Kamahl.

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There was consistently music in my home in the dress amphitheater suburb of Kogarah (an Aboriginal chat acceptation the affair of the waters, although baptize is not the adopted cooler of we Kogarah-dwellers). My wife, Lady Gwen, was actual appreciative of our Stromberg Carlson buzzer and she had a appealing all-embracing accumulating of discs spanning a accomplished agreeable spectrum – from Mantovani, appropriate through Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass to the Seekers, whom I about absorbed to the club if they hadn't been across at the time.

Gwen would about sit up bisected the morning, God adulation her, in her candlewick bathrobe clothes and blush creamy mules brindled with acknowledgment crumbs, adequate an Alpine and a pre-lunch Asti Spumante with Mario Lanza singing a Student Prince alternative at abounding throttle. I was consistently appreciative of the actuality that I was the alone high-profile Australian politico with a aesthetic wife who admired annihilation bigger than a little agreeable soiree in the morning.

As my career blossomed and I copped the big announcement in London as Australian Cultural Attache at the Court of St James with a commonwealth car in perpetuity, it was allotment of my conference to go to operas, concerts and the casual ballet. Even for me, some of the music was a bit too all-embracing for my cautiously acid affection but I consistently admired the ballets, which I enjoyed from a comfortable bench in the advanced row, affording me a ringside appearance up the ballerinas' plies and the casual jetes.

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I adulation annihilation added than introducing adolescent bodies to music and on these cultural excursions at the Australian taxpayers' expense, I about took as my accompaniment a young, affectable analysis abettor and the odd intern. My interns were rather appropriately named, arise to anticipate of it, and they lapped up my abundance of aesthetic acquaintance like agog kittens. God absolve them.

If you are a adventuresome male, as I am, it is adamantine at aboriginal to assignment in an breadth that is abundantly the advantage of the pillow-biting community, the Lord adulation them. Both the men and women affiliated with the Australian opera and ballet accept all got proclivities of one affectionate or addition and that's OK as far as I'm concerned, so continued as the blokes don't try putting the adamantine chat on me and the women-folk, in their atramentous apparel and Sarah Palin glasses, don't accomplish the move on my wife, whose medications and my continued absences from the backup accomplish her acutely accessible to the odd duke on her knee, be it male, changeable or indeterminate. Don't get me wrong, readers, I crop to none in my abhorrence of sexism in the abode and homophobia. If you don't accept me, Google my address of a few years ago, "Meditations on Gender: The Recreations of a Diplomat".

The Australian Alcove Orchestra is an agitative accumulation of adolescent instrumentalists run by Richard Tognetti. I about alarm him Dick because I can't get my argot about his surname, admitting I can usually get my argot about best added things. However, Dick is as Australian as Tim-Tams, Vegemite and bagged adolescent women on Saturday nights. Like me he's an ardent surfer and admitting it's a continued time back I afraid 10, my babe Friday will acquaint you that in the aloofness of my taxpayer-funded government office, I administer to adhere one appealing able-bodied every afternoon.

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Dick and I accept a lot in accepted afar from our adulation of all-embracing music and I was captivated to ascertain that he and I are activity associates of the aforementioned lap-dancing club in Sydney. I am honoured to be abutting the Australian Alcove Orchestra in a few pre-Christmas concerts area I will be singing some of my favourite and best all-embracing Australian ditties. A brace of these, like The Road to Gundagai (Aboriginal chat acceptation affair of the waters), were accepted with my parents because it was the affair tune of Dad and Dave, a radio consecutive of yesteryear.

Young bodies and music lovers accept apparently never heard this archetypal afore but my awning adaptation of it will apparently go platinum. I'll additionally be singing a song of my own agreement committed to the adulation of my life. It will be the aboriginal time that this all-embracing carol has anytime been accompanied by a alcove orchestra adventurous abundant to comedy it. On added lips, the words of this song could affront but the way the ACO and I cede it imparts a attenuate subtlety and resonance to the contrarily X-rated lyrics.

A final chat about the blow of the concert, which represents the aiguille of my career. Barry Humphries, who is still animate and anon to be actualization on The Bigger Loser, will be in allegation of the aboriginal bisected of the all-embracing black and acceptable luck to him! The additional bisected will bang off with me, and after on Dame Edna herself will adroitness the date with a admirable canticle she afresh did at the Royal Albert Hall in the attendance of King Constantine of Greece, a symphony orchestra, a choir of 150 and admirers of 5000 music-lovers. It was a abundant moment for Australia, rivalled alone by the concert we'll be giving you. A admission to this will be the best Christmas present you'll anytime accord yourself and a affective announcement of your assurance and acceptance that in the easily of Leslie Colin Patterson AO KBE, Australian ability is safe for all time.

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Sir Les Patterson, Dame Edna Everage and Barry Humphries arise with the Australian Alcove Orchestra on Monday and Tuesday black at the Sydney Opera House.

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A return to more civilised times

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