A few of Alfie’s character-building playmates who feature in his stories...
Stephen Bradley Kidnapper
Jim McNeill Jail Playwright
John Andrew Stuart
Excerpt from Characters & Capers:
“One day Jim took me aside and mentioned that he was thinking of writing a play. He’d never done it before, but the thought had seized him and he wanted to do it. In the coming months I spent more time than ever in his company. It was such a richly rewarding experience for me. Jim was at heart an irreverent, funny man, with a huge fund of stories gained from observing others. He would simply sit there and talk away to me as he wrote. So much of what we discussed ended up word for word in his play, which became known as “The Last Cuppa”. Theatre critics of the time praised Jim’s abilities to the skies when the play was published, then performed. He was compared favourably with Australia’s best playwrights of the time, but his situation was quite obviously different from that of any other Australian playwright. The media couldn’t help themselves. They took up his case and he deservedly became a celebrity.
Some months later Jim and I were relaxing together in his cell. He was taking a break from writing his second play. As he lay on his bed reading a newspaper, he suddenly asked me if I knew what “…three metaphysical levels….” meant. “Nope!” I said. “Well, ya bloody should! This bloke here reckons that’s what I write like! You’ve been watching me all the time. How come you didn’t see that?” He held the newspaper out for me to read, then grinned at me. Then we both cracked up laughing. Jim used the statement pretty much every day for the rest of our jail time together, just to take the mickey out of himself.”
Links to additional information about my friend Jim McNeil