Sunday, July 31, 2011

National release of "Red Dog" film sparks sneaky return of the legend

This week, the Pilbara had a bit of a coup. To the lovely Jess Mauboy, that's not coup as in cow-p or coop as in chickens or coop as in scoop. Even though it is a scoop. A lovely one at that. I hear the doves coo (as in coup). It was a national movie premiere, no less. Perhaps our debut. (The one which rhymes with coup, not mutt).

Speaking of mutts, that's where all these seemingly random literary segues are headed. To Red Dog.
He's a famous woofer in these parts. Liked to roam about the Pilbara between Paraburdoo and Dampier several decades ago. Today in Dampier, his statue stands proudly. The only way history could stop him disappearing into the ether of history forever.
Many people have stories about Red up here. Some knew him. Some fed him. Some knew someone who knew someone who knew him. And everyone else who didn't grabbed a role as an extra in the film so they missed out neither on history nor hobnobbing.
When the film premiered recently in the beautiful amphitheatre of the Walkington Theatre in Karratha, the town went off and Kleenex bought shares in the Shire of Roebourne.
Koko - star of "Red Dog" on location in Dampier, WA,
with Courtney Bertling, 2010
I like to imagine that Red Dog is still alive. He's out there wandering, looking for a bit of Chum and the odd truck ride to Port Hedland. And he quite likes the look of himself in the movies.

Woof and you’ll miss him

Who, oh who, let the dog out?
Who oh who? What’s more,
he’s been gone about a week,
he’ll be dripping down his cheek
gettin’ honks from hooning road trains by the score.

Someone out there yells, “Got ‘im!”
And the locals gather round ‘im to be fussy.
But he’s rather too polite,
floppy ears and hair’s not right
and it turns out we’ve been duped - it’s bloody Lassie.

Far oh far away in outer space,
even there the martians think they’re right.
And we reckon, finally, righto,
but they’ve mucked it too, that’s Pluto!
So they speed off green, embarrassed, into night.

That dog, oh dog gone it, he’s just vanished
and everyone is feeling rather goofy.
It’s a dog’s life for our Red
and we’d like to go to bed,
but we cannot help but being that bit snoopy
Red Dog? Nope. Doopa.
“There he is, all fluffy!” yells some kiddie,
wand’ring about Hedland last weekend.
But that kid’s in some blind fog
‘cause he’s sniffed down Doopa dog.
Must have overdone the fairyfloss again.

Some Paraburdoobian hears Elvis,
sniffs a hint and gets right on the scent.
But it’s Hound Dog on the radio,
not our Red, just yodeladio.
Our man eats a dagwood dog quite sad and spent.

Suddenly, a call comes from Snake Gully,
a Pilbara traveller’s seen a tucker box
But the dog that she has found
is glued on, not trotting round
and, embarrassed, she just sinks into her socks.

Finally, the word comes from Fremantle,
a red dog standing proud, now that’s our lingo.
Biggest dog you ever saw
looking out to Rotto’s shore
and we smile, realising then…the flour dingo.

So here we sit in Dampier just wondering…
enigma of the roads, where might he be?
For he never ever failed
to stop all chasing his tail
and he never ceased being stuff of legend, see.

Meanwhile, there’s a movie on in Karratha.
Lights down and all eyes agog.
“They made that film right here,”
whispers someone in the rear
and behind him, sitting quiet…shhh
                                                    …Red Dog.

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