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In January, 1966, I left the Comp Room’s shitboy job to start my apprenticeship in the Jobbing Room. My clicker was Fred Hardwicke.
The crew consisted of Shorty Moncrieff, Jack Wells, Ray Stagg, Joe Scholberg, David Copley, Rod Stone, Alex Riley and Bruce Kutcher.
Fred’s bark was far worse than his bite.
If you started talking about his beloved North Adelaide Football Club (he played for them) or the country town of Port Broughton everything would work out just fine.
Shorty Moncrieff would often set my copy on fire. I was stubborn. “I’m not putting it out”, I’d say. Shorty would just shrug and reply, “Neither am I.”
I’d go over to Fred and say, “I’ve lost my copy.” Fred would grunt and ask, “Did that idiot set it on fire again?”
But he would always get out the spare copy for me.
Fred noticed that I was always buying LP records. “You like music?” he would grunt. “My brother had a record shop on Hyde Park Road years ago.”
One day out of the blue he came over to my frame with a package, “Thought you might like these!” Inside were four brand new 78 records (Gene Krupa, Spike Jones, Kid Orry and Duke Ellington).
Another time he grunted, “I notice that you like bright coloured shirts.”
A few days later later he gave me a couple of those Hawaiian shirts that people were wearing in the late 1950s.
“You don’t wear those shirts I gave you a few months back,” he queried.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had binned them.
Bugger me dead if they didn’t come back into fashion six months later.
A lot of people didn’t like Fred’s grumpy moods but he was good to me and I say anyone that can put John Buckby through a window can’t be all bad!
The late Warren Pietsch.