Oh, Ned

iTunes popped up Fotheringay’s Ballad of Ned Kelly a few minutes ago, which dredged up an odd memory from my Vietnam days….


We Signal folks frequented three NCO clubs while I was in Pleiku. The club in 71st Evac had decent food, occasional entertainment, and friends, but was too big and too ugly to spend an evening unless you were mainly planning to drink. Club 21 in the local MACV compound had a nightclub atmosphere and was more likely to have live entertainment; that’s where I usually ate supper after the end-of-workday traffic rush ended. And the club at the Air Base I remember as a neighborhood bar, and as the only club open in the morning when our night shift ended. Sometimes that was valuable.

One morning, after thirteen hours at the DSTE and on the teletypes, we hit the airbase bar for breakfast and a few drinks, only to discover that the club was planning to run the (then) new Ned Kelly movie. So we stayed and watched, as did a handful of Aussies who were stationed in the vicinity.

Mick Jagger or no, the movie was boring, and would have been dull even had we understood the story. Interesting, in its way, but very slow. We got loud, the Aussies took offense, we went home to bed.


Thought about calling this entry “You’re better off dead” (makes sense if you know the song). But I figured it wasn’t a good idea.