Monthly Mailbag – December 2019
The last time I wrote an article in this fine magazine now feels like a lifetime ago, articles as “Health Editor” in which Dan and James allowed me free reign to accuse my mates of suffering from afflictions such as crotch rot, STDs and flatulence. I would send the articles off, Dan would send back an email asking if I really wanted to write that, worried in hindsight more about a defamation claim than my quickly diminishing professional reputation, and it would appear in print attached to some horrendous photo James had selected. That was the way of things – Dan was the brains and the common sense, and James the front and the boundary pusher. It had heart, it worked, and I was part of it for many years. They were happy times.
Those days now seem a million years ago, and I write this time with a sadness that is hard to put into words. Dan recently lost his brave battle with the insidious disease that is so hard to beat, and the world is much, much poorer for his absence. He had kept readers up-to-date with his journey in a series of articles that, on re-reading, epitomise everything that Daniel Hutton was. Never once did he complain. He worried more about the effect this would have on those he loved than he ever worried about himself. He spoke openly of his love for the amazing Georgie, and his beautiful children, Monty and Delilah. He wrote with wit, strength and hope. Dan always knew the power of words and he was such a talented writer. Social media is littered with the corpses of those whose grammar and punctuation he killed dead on the spot.
Dan and James have built something from nothing. This magazine is a testament to them. It has outlasted the so-called end of print media, it has supported local businesses including a young pharmacist trying to make a go of a business in the same way they were, it has provided a voice for so many who would otherwise not had an avenue. Dan was so much more than just The Beast, but he put himself into every page of every issue, especially when James was off pretending to know how to surf overseas for months on end. More than that, on a personal level it provided me with two brothers who became very dear to me, in friendships that you assume will last a lifetime. The tragedy here is that little Hutto and my friendship did last a lifetime, a lifetime that has been so cruelly cut short.
Every now and then you meet people that radiate kindness. People whose first thought is not for themselves but for those around them, those they care about. I last spoke with Dan the Thursday before he passed, after he had been hospitalised again, and he was as stoic as always. He asked me, only partially joking, to help keep his brother on the straight and narrow, but suggested I might need to get him on there first. That was him, thinking of others when he had every right to be turning in on himself, and using his sense of humour to get his point across. Sometimes life hurts us to remind us of what is important, and this one hurts.
The reality of life is that we are all provided with a series of ups and downs. Some small, some large. Dan was provided with a series of huge ups in his life. Meeting Georgie, his amazing kids, his brother and best mate who has been nothing short of phenomenal through this whole process, a whole tribe of mates who care deeply about him, the ability to make anyone he met feel special. Sadly the flip side of this is that all of us are now so much poorer for his absence. He lived a full life, a happy one, and his memory lives on in those who knew him.
Thank you Dan
Mate – Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks. I am sitting here in Speedos feeling sorry for myself about something I’m now too embarrassed to mention. That’s because I’ve just read your Relapse article in this month’s edition of The Beast.
My life is perfect. Thanks for letting me see that. Good luck with it all. You’re obviously a fighter so keep fighting. You should be very proud of yourself.
Dear Ed – Don’t you just hate the expression, “Happy Holiday”? Puke. It is so pathetically secular. So cowardly PC. So, dare I say it, American. I wonder if this December we could be ever so brave and man up (or woman up) and dump the “Happy Holiday” for a good old fashioned “Merry Christmas”! Have a good one (Christmas, that is).
Honk if you love Yeezus
Is it me or does everyone instinctively jump on the horn when behind the wheel nowadays? To some it seems every random or unremarkable road situation deserves a lusty blast from behind the anonymity of tinted windows. To wit the blustering motorist honking repeatedly at the red light while sideling around the queue to gain a few metres. So much angst, such little benefit. Then there’s Mr holier-than-thou thoughtfully but redundantly tooting at an errant driver, no matter how minor the transgression. After the fact and pointless.
To all the honkers and tooters out there, unnecessary use of the horn is an offence so please lighten up. Or next time, take the bus.
How Good is G-d
In response to Christopher Bellenger’s letter in the Mailbag (The Beast, October 2019), Australia is most definitely not a country where “no one expression of faith… is favoured over others by the State.”
We have state-mandated holidays, as well as the entire ebb and flow of the business year, that lines up with Christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas. The same cannot be said of holy days for those of the Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist or other faiths. Jews in particular can use all their paid time off just to cover religious holidays. Furthermore, in some states, including New South Wales, blasphemy is still a part of the Crimes Act.
As Pearl’s original letter hints at, Morrison’s social security and welfare policies frequently defy community consultations, industry feedback and even government-commissioned studies and reports. The best explanations I have seen show a clear link between these policies and Protestant Christianity Prosperity Theology. Between Centrelink, #robodebt, the cashless welfare card scheme and everything in between, the Department of Human Services is evidently running under a theology and not a democracy – a “merger of state and church” indeed.