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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Just GOOGLEing


As I was GOOGLEing, using one of Padma's most defining attributes, I came across a 1984 Australian movie I hadn't heard of, let alone seen, before: FAST TALKING.

It's about secondary school student Steve Carson who is always in trouble, whether it's stealing eggs from a battery hen farm with his mate Moose and Vicki, or whipping up a penis-shaped dildo in his woodwork class.

He conducts a war with deputy principal Yates, a man who loves to apply the cane and devises ways of evicting Steve from the school.

Steve's been abandoned by his mum, who's run off with an Acme cake man, and left him in the hands of his always drunk dad, who keeps a couple of greyhounds. His useless brother wants Steve to peddle smack at school for him, instead of the marijuana he's been selling to make a little money.

Most of his teachers have given up on Steve, but a new arrival, practice teacher Sharon shows some sympathy for him - only she gets herself into trouble by taking an unhealthy interest in a student.

Steve also strikes up a friendship with Redback, a man who runs a motorbike shop but who has done hard yards in prison after stealing a motorbike and riding it to Alice Springs. Redback helps Steve drag a wrecked bike out of the swamp and teaches him how to restore it.

When in trouble, Steve is always scarpering off, as a way of avoiding being caught and punished, but things begin to catch up with him.

His dad poisons the greyhound he was fond of, and Yates calls in a couple of detectives to investigate the drug deals going down in the school, and when Steve disappoints a couple of his brother's customers with chalk scrapings, he cops a beating.

Sharon is forced to leave the school, and Steve, the Moose and Vicki are ritually humiliated at a school assembley by Yates, and that night at the school social - the Eurogliders are on up stage - as teachers and students dance to the music, the trio break into Yates' office, accidentally setting it on fire.

They douse the flames by dumping Yates' fish tank on them, and then steal his Valiant and hit the road. After a brief interlude between Steve and Vicki that night, the trio run out of petrol and have to push the car into a country petrol station.

When Steve spots some cops, the boys panic, leaving Vicki behind with the attendant. The Moose drives the car through a billboard into a river. After barely escaping drowning, the Moose is caught, but Steve makes it to a boat with an outboard motor and escapes. He turns up back at Redback's to get his now restored bike and go on the run. Redback is disapproving - he's seen this show before - and warns Steve about heading off to Alice Springs. The last shot is of Steve riding his bike up a steep city bridge, towards the setting sun and an uncertain future ...

Even though the film was a flop, anyone who experienced an education in a large secondary school during the 1960 -1980s - decades that might be called "the era of the cane and six of the best" - will find the documentary aspects of the film full of memories.

As for Padma's fast talking, let me tell you, the scariest thing alive is a quiet woman.