A preamble. For those of you not familiar with the name George Best, George, a Belfast boy came to prominence in the 60’s as a phenomenon in football. His skills drew the attention of talent scouts leading to a career with the now world famous Manchester United. Back then when George joined the team under Manager Matt Busby he demonstrated his talent to adoring fans both male and female. He was probably one of the early Football superstars living the high life in all the connotations of that word. Ultimately he was consumed by an addiction to alcohol. Belfast posthumously honoured its famous and notorious son naming the city airport George Best Belfast City Airport.
We were sitting outdoors at a street café in West End, Brisbane enjoying the late evening ambience on a first visit to the city. Jamesie, Kevin, Jim and myself, all Belfast bred, had arrived in Australia for an international conference outside of the city and commuted daily to the event. So this evening we were having a beer exchanging stories, and probably bad jokes as we would in any hostelry back in Belfast. We had a couple of days before returning to Ireland so planned a visit to the ocean to entice the sharks with Irish beef.
The café on Boundary Street had a low barrier defining it’s pavement space, which our table was tucked up against. As we talked I notice an approaching gent who was obviously a little the worse for wear. He was dressed in a khaki shirt and shorts and his trajectory was plotting a collision course on our little group. The barrier proved our line of defense. Denying defeat he leaned forward and used it as a prop and a fine vantage point from which to conduct his interview of the limeys.
This man, excusing the unkempt thinning and greasy hair, the outback wardrobe and runny right eye like a raw egg, had a build and striking resemblance to actor Michael Gabon.
“Hi fella’s where you from?”
“We’re from Ireland.”
“Oh Ireland eh? Which part?”
“Oh Belfast eh? George Best eh?
“Yea that’s the boy and that’s the place. One of our greatest exports.” was the response, not mentioning the Titanic for obvious reasons.
“Georgie boy played for the Brisbane Lions ye know back in ’83. Saw him play myself, what a star eh?”
He had become so animated at his good fortune in witnessing the great George Best play that his khaki shorts escaped and dropped to his feet. The interloper was bollock naked.
“Oops!’ says he flashing more than a smile while simultaneously mooning up street, before bending to hoist the khaki flag.