Last night was the Amnesty International fundraising quiz night. I could not persuade any of my so-called friends to join my quiz team, so I turned up at the event alone. I felt obliged to go as I had helped with the promotions, and had assured everyone involved at the time that I'd be there with bells on, with all my mates, being quite a popular fellow y'know.
The thing was a sellout, despite clashing with a big footy match on TV, and I was only able to squeak in when some ticketholders didn't show. By necessity I joined their team, as there was just nowhere else to sit. I knew one of the team slightly but they were all very nice. Smart too - after three rounds we were leading the pack.
One of the team was a lively sixty-something chap called Pat. After one question ("Who was the last Tasmanian to win the Archibald Prize for Portraiture?" [A: Geoff Dyer]) - Pat asked "And whose brother did he paint?" I was a bit flummoxed. The sitter for the portrait was author Richard Flanagan. His brother Martin is quite well known, but I know he also has 3 or 4 other siblings. Anyway - turned out the answer Pat was looking for was himself - he's another brother.
I was very pleased with this, as although I think very highly of Richard, Martin is actually one of my very favourite writers. Richard is mates with my boss and pops up everywhere, while Martin is based in Melbourne and much more retiring. So I earbashed Pat for some time about how great Martin is and he said he would pass it on.
Martin's last book 'The Line' was written with and about their father Arch, a WW2 veteran in his nineties. I was pleased to hear that he's still with us, and going pretty well. He was a prisoner of war on the Burma Railway with Weary Dunlop.
So, I had a good night, was very pleased to meet Pat Flanagan and we even won the quiz, so I staggered home laden with bottles of wine, each with a big label spruiking the politician who donated it.