Public Peacocks

It may come as a surprise to many that the Churchlands campus of ECU is almost entirely devoid of overt socialist propaganda. Judging by my classes, 95% of the students are full fee-paying overseas students anyway, who are somewhat less interested in class struggle than the idealistic Australian school-leavers who still seem to make up the majority at UWA.

It was with joy then, that I got a chance to visit UWA campus yesterday in the hunt for some pieces of official-looking paper that I am required to produce to get free money from you lovely taxpayers. I was looking forward to taking in the sights during my visit.

I wasn’t disappointed. The refectory area was filled with students merrily dancing on the grass while Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze blasted from the guild village. Posters of a kindly-looking Karl Marx guided the way to the guild office. Everywhere I looked, the evidence was clear that capitalism must be stopped.

I couldn’t spot Rob Corr anywhere, but he was there in spirit. I briefly considered drawing up a sign with my URL on it to provide a counter-argument, but in the end decided that my wish to avoid a parking fine was a higher priority. So, in a sense, Marx was vindicated.

Unfortunately for me, the surprisingly efficient and courteous director of student services told me I was in the wrong building. I had to go to Hackett Hall to pick up my free money vouchers.

Merrily then, I turned for another pass through Penny Lane. I was almost tempted to try out some of the cheap vegetarian cuisine offered by a couple of middle-class teenagers pretending to be buddhist monks. Then, I remembered eating vegetarian food is like drinking non-alcoholic beer, and headed for civilisation.

I found it, in the shape of a PriceWaterhouseCoopers recruitment booth on the capitalist side of the University. Unfortunately, they giggled at my admission of being an ECU student, and directed me to continue on my way to Hackett Hall.

It was on the way past the SSLT and Octagon theatres that I remembered my own days at UWA with great fondness. I passed the very Koi-filled pond where, 8 years ago, I witnessed the greatest example of drunken brilliance anyone is ever likely to see:

I WANT SOME PUSSY” He yelled, his toga falling off his shoulders and revealing his still-developing adolescent beer gut. The 188 kegs had finally run out, and we were on the way home to St. Columba. The stranger, though, had different ideas.

“If I can’t taste some fishy pussy RIGHT NOW, I’ll do the next best thing!”

And, with that, the spirit of John Belushi filled every ounce of his pudgy body, and he leapt, without checking the depth, into the Koi-filled pond adjacent to the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre. He hit the bottom with a sickening thud, but a jarred knee wasn’t about to cut short his quest for that fishy goodness.

Our hero leapt back into the water, and, after what seemed like an eternity, the thrashing ceased. He reared his head with an air of majesty to reveal his prize: A 2 foot long, still kicking Carp held firmly between the very teeth that had, just minutes before, been entrusted with the carrying of a home-made beer jug.

The unknown gladiator then took a bite from his prize, and laid it at the feet of the astonished onlookers. His mission complete, he stumbled on down Hackett Drive and was never seen again. He’s probably a geological engineer now, or something.

My fond memories of drunken hi-jinks were soon to become a more mystical John Belushi experience when I saw, for the first time in nearly a decade, the tail feathers of the UWA peacocks.

When I first attended UWA, I was fresh from the country, where all sorts of animals walk around wild, never giving humans a second thought. They didn’t really strike me as odd at all. I sometimes threw them a chip while shooting the breeze on the oval. They didn’t actually eat the chips, but, being no expert on Peacocks, I didn’t really have any better ideas.

Yesterday though, I had all sorts of questions…

How long have the peacocks roamed the sprawling campus of UWA? Who brought them there? How do they know not to wander onto the road? There are no fences. The peacocks are free-range, baby. What do they eat? Who feeds them, if not bored students with extra chips? Who pays for their food?


And then, I had a sad thought.

What will happen to the lovely peacocks when the Universities are all privatised and there are no benevolent taxpayers to fund their existence?

A split second later, I remembered that my name isn’t Hugh Mackay, and started to wonder what kind of salad you’d put in a peacock sandwich.

After all, I once saw a guy eat a live carp. Peacock can’t possibly be worse.

Explore posts in the same categories: Education, Greatest Hits

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