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Monday, 2 March 2015

An above-Everage honour

Strewth! I'm a Dame Edna favourite!

Just before Christmas, I posted a fairly routine tweet about Dame Edna Everage appearing on BBC Radio Four's Today Programme. Now, after all this time, I get this message (see below). Can there be any greater honour for an Australian?

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Back in the Dim Dark Ages (the 1970s) I used to freelance as the London correspondent for Australia's TV Week magazine. I got to know Barry Humphries a bit before he became seriously famous outside Australia. Sometimes when I would ring him, "Edna" would answer the phone and tell me that "Mr Humphries is busy just at the moment, but he will call you back as soon as he is free" -- and he would, returning the call as himself. 

We would sometimes chat about his Private Eye strip, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, and make up deliberately-crude Aussie sayings. One of these, I remember, was "Go stick your head up a dead bear's bum". 

On one occasion, at a social function in London, Barry/Edna agreed to do a radio interview (for 3AW, Melbourne, I think) and the only quiet place we could find was the men's toilet. Fortunately, no-one burst in on us during the interview, as there would have been a lot of explaining to do.

Barry never liked being interviewed as Edna unless dressed in character. However, on this occasion I remember that he was wearing a dinner jacket. I wish I still had that interview, but it was back in the days when 1/4" recording tape was expensive and was bulk erased after being broadcast.

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