Alex The Toff Riley when a Sales Officer would often return to State Print around 4.00pm. After settling in he would ring Brian GrubbyHartshorne to enquire about his jobs in progress throughout the plant.
On this day Grubby’s phone was not answered. Bugger me says Riley and departs for Grubby’s office after phoning another three times with no answer.
On arrival there’s our Grubby sitting back at his desk. Riley confronts Grubby and asks why he doesn’t answer his phone.
The old Grubbs answers back smugly that if the phone doesn’t ring, He can’t answer it. Riley is stumped for words and storms off.
The following day when Riley returns, he again attempts to phone Grubby. Again no answer. After a hard day’s work Riley storms off to Grubby’s office only to find him sitting back with not a care in the world. Riley again confronts Grubby about not answering his bloody phone.
Grubby again says his phone didn’t ring. Now Riley’s getting annoyed and asks Grubby to get someone, anyone, to ring his phone. And guess what – the bloody phone rings.
Riley is now beside himself and can see that Grubbs is becoming annoyed. So, he returns to his office red faced, clearly in a state of annoyance and he tells the guys in sales his problems with Grubby and his phone. They all look surprised, but say nothing.
The next day Riley again returns to work, but this time an hour earlier, and decides to settle for a coffee. He rings through to Grubby, but the phone as usual rings off so Riley says nothing and finishes his coffee. He then decides that he will phone Grubby, JUST ONE MORE TIME.
Finally, Grubby’s phone is answered, but not by Grubby. It was answered by a workmate Peter Humby and that’s when Riley realised that he had been sucked in.
Some rotten bastard had changed Grubby’s phone number to Peter Humby’s home phone on Riley’s phone.
Oh! yes it was a big joke and all they were grinning at how The Toff had been made to look an idiot. What bastards.
And the biggest grinner turned out to be Rodney Sam Bloody Lawn, the Cheeky Monkey. Beauty Sam.
Photo: The late Harry “The Horse” Kinder (left) warned me many years ago about what a bastard Alex “The Toff” Riley (right) could be.
YOU BE THE JUDGE...
THE first story begins on a visit to the Adelaide Airport when The Toff was pulled aside and asked if he had any objection to being tested for bomb making residue on his clothing.
The Toff sarcastically replied that he was a 90 year old retired “Planner in Charge” who had lost the use of both of his hands in the Korean War and had not made any bombs that week.
The security guy went ballistic and said that he would have him frog marched out of the airport and be made to appear in front of Tony Abbott the very next day.
The Toff clamped up and offered up only one word answers from then on.
Luckily the State Governor put in a good word for Alex and he walked free.
Well f**k me, then it happened again.
The very next time The Toff returned to the airport he was pulled aside and asked the very same question again.
This time the Toff replied cautiously and said he was now a 75 year old pensioner with “disabilities” and had fought in Vietnam.
The security guy apologised and said he was only doing his job. The Toff was not amused and muttered under his breath “moron” as he walked away.
Well f**k me, then this happened.
Some months went past and then The Toff received a letter from a Bad Debt agency.
The letter demanded how and when was he going to pay the $2,500 fine for the shop window front in the Riverland town of Berri that he tossed a wheelie bin through on New Year’s Eve.
The Toff was shattered as once again he was being accused of something he did not do.
Really? He phoned the agency and said you have the wrong man as he the Toff was a 80 year old pensioner who could not lift an empty wheelie bin, yet alone throw it through a plate glass window.
The Toff said he could prove that he was at Seaton that night at a New Years Eve Party for geriatrics, some 150kms away. Fortunately the dumb guy agreed and no more was heard.
Well f**k me, and then this happened.
Some bloke left his business card in the Toff’s “letterbox asking the Toff to call him. This bloke David, said there was a “victims of crimes” case against the Toff regarding his assault on a woman called Elizabeth.
This time the Toff explained to the bloke that he was a 85 year old pensioner with dementia, a heart problem and had recently undergone brain surgery.
Oh! said the bloke – sorry about that but a number of people have said they think you look like a sexual predator.
Well f**k me said The Toff, how many more bastards are using my name out there.
“wacka” A juicy rumour so important that an instant crowd of workers would gather on hearing the wacka alert whistle. No good ever came out of spreading a “wacka.”
“Like blowflies around a lump of shit” The Dago’s masterly description of a “wacka” crowd gathering and hovering around like eager to hear the latest gossip.
“Clicker” An archaic term used to describe a Leading Hand in the printing trade.
“The Long Weight” A joke played on an unsuspecting new apprentice who was sent off for a long weight. They would be left waiting for bloody ages, until the penny dropped. “Meggsy” Grunert fell for it ten times in a row.
“The Old Guv at KWR” Meaning the Old Government Printing Office in King William Road, Adelaide. It was knocked down by the Government in 1974. One hundred years of history down the drain for a bloody car park. A disgrace!
“The Netley Complex” The new Government Printing Office on Marion Road. Opened in 1974 through to the mid 1990s. Famous as the Home of the largest parquet dance floor in the Southern Hemisphere.
“Things will get better when we get to Monarto” Saying coined by Brian “Grubby” Hartshorne. Monarto was a bush area miles from Adelaide where half the population of Adelaide were to be relocated. It never happened.
“Artful Dodger” one of the young villans from Dickens “Oliver Twist,” also used by the “Flash” to describe a compulsive sickie taker, a work bludger and compo bludger.
“The Fish” Metal bar with a hook eye on the end, it was made of lead, tin and antimony and was fed by a chain into the Intertype typesetting machine’s casting pot. Apart from casting lines of type “The Fish’ were made into the most amazing range of fishing sinkers on the planet. This was illegal of course.
“The Minda Bus” a totally cruel term for anyone born in Adelaide and used to describe the Special Bus from the Adelaide Railway Station to Marion Road where the Old Guv day shift workers could be seen staggering and lurching their way down the steps of the bus.
“The Wayzgoose” Printers’ Picnic where the members of the Old Guv Chapel would travel to a picnic spot or hotel usually miles from Adelaide. Originally for men and boys the ladies and girls became part of the Wayzgoose program in the 1920s. Dinner, speeches, running races and novelty events were the order of the day.
“The Phantom Shitter” This man had the ability to block a loo with ONE continuous loop of poo. A long piece of printing wooden furniture was needed to break up the loop to enable it to be flushed away.
“The Rocket Room” Home of a monstrous vacuum driven delivery system which had a giant clear plastic rocket used to carry Hansard galley proofs across the ceilings of the Netley Complex. You could hear them rattling along a mile away just like the doodle bugs in the London blitz. Our older English comps scattered each time they heard one going over.
“The Log Cabin” A wooden add-on built between the comp room and machine room in the late 1970s. Generally populated with arse crawlers, “yes” men, bullshit artists and no hopers. It was where most of the Bosses were located.
“A Flash in the Pan” Infamous quote from the late 1960s by Brian “Jumbo” James, Govt. Printer and Frank Johnson, Printing Overseer and used by them to describe what they thought of the future of Offset Printing.
“Clang Out” When an old Comp retired his workmates would gather by their work stones and grab any metal object especially type galleys and small chases and proceed to belt the shit out of them creating an avalanche of noise to send our retiring comrade off in a respectful manner. With the advent of cold type technology the “clang outs” became a thing of the past.
“Follow copy out the window” Expression used to describe a comp setting exactly what’s in the copy even when he suspects it is incorrect. Playing it safe!
“Foreignee, buckey, foreign order” Job done done under the lap or under the counter using the company’s paper, ink and materials. Illegal of course, but endemic in the printing trade.
“It wouldn’t happen in Hot Metal” A painful and sad lament offered up by hot metal comps whenever the computer typesetter stuffed up. Eventually, this expression fell by the wayside as the new technology got better and more reliable