The tale of the Desperates’ dog and a few thanks at eighty.

I can go no further in these musings without relating the tale of the Desperates’ Dog as I recall it. The Desperates were a club of sorts made up largely of Film Crew with a few Creatives thrown in. (This is not to suggest that Film Crews or parts thereof aren’t creative.)

The Desperates held no proper meetings and they had no proper rules. They had a tee-shirt but I never got hold of one. They had no clubhouse but met in a couple of favourite pubs on such occasions as when a film shoot was rained out. It was on just such an occasion that a number of Desperates gathered at a certain North Sydney pub which, of course, became clubhouse for the day. (“Woodie” reminds me it was the Union Hotel.)

The Desperates had a dog. They had earlier pooled some money and had purchased it for a very reasonable figure given that it held so much potential, or so they said. It was a greyhound.

The event of which I speak took place in my absence, since I had left a little earlier to return to my office in Playfair House, the one with the large bay windows that I shared with no-one. I had gone back to work. I was learning that freelance is not all beer and skittles.

The way I heard it was that when the subject of Desperate, for that was the dog’s name, was raised it led to a series of questions. To begin with, where was it? Apparently it was in the back yard of a certain Lighting bloke. (He who was known to just one person, the lovely and gracious, as “Cuddles”.)

Some complained they had never met the animal. This, they decided, would have to be corrected. So off went “Cuddles” in his lighting truck to return to the pub with Desperate. All were agreed that he was a very fine dog indeed with much potential.

Then, someone asked the question that set this whole sorry tale on its way. “Can he run?”

“Can he ever?” came the cry from those in the know and it was decided that this should be put to the test, then and there.

The crowd spilled out onto West Street in North Sydney. A long straight street, in those days it attracted little traffic. A small group of the Desperates was commissioned for traffic control. Someone held Desperate Dog at the ready while another key player was dispatched into the distance, I would guess about a couple of Rugby fields away, with someone’s bandanna in hand.

All was poised. The bandanna was waved. Desperate was let loose and ran like the wind up West Street towards the waiting bandanna-waver … and past the bandanna-waver … and away! Never to be seen again. I have always hoped that Desperate found a good home.

And now …

With my eightieth birthday coming up April 28, next week, this might be a good time to acknowledge some great supporters and indeed great mentors of mine. To my great delight I have recently been in conversation again, albeit by email, with one of the most astute and certainly most courageous Clients I ever knew. He is the one who saw value in the avagoodweegend campaign. His name is Andrew Caro. I worked with and for him on Samuel Taylor’s many products and later World Series Cricket. The others were Leo Fuller-Quinn the Creative Director at NAS who saved me from life as a Suit, and the legendary John Paramor of BCJ&P-FC&B (I’m not about to spell that out again.) There were others but these along with Bill Bernbach of DDB, who of course I never met, were my heroes. There were more again that I admired, such as so many colleagues in Agencies and a couple of television and radio stars who were mates and any number of musicians whose company I enjoyed. Thank you all. I would love to do it all again.






3 replies
  1. peter ryall
    peter ryall says:

    Love it all. You were a fabulous writer peter and always made the difference between ordinary and spectacular. You really branded products and they have stood the test of time because they are still available today. There should be an advertising hall of fame in Australia with your award for Aeroguard. YOU TOOK IT FROM NOWHERE AT ALL TO NUMBER ONE THEN AND NUMBER ONE TODAY.

    • peter maxwell
      peter maxwell says:

      Thanks Peter. I appreciate that. I really did enjoy those days and it is rewarding to know someone is following my stumbles down memory lane. But wait; there’s more.


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